This Week’s BIG Idea
Now that the year is almost over, I’ve been thinking about goal setting. I know that systems are better than goals, that’s one of the main concepts behind Atomic Habits. I also know that systems are a combination of different habits. To illustrate this with an example, I decided to take exercising seriously this year. For the past few months, I’ve been working out regularly. Lately, I’ve been noticing some results and I couldn’t be happier. Interestingly, when I first started exercising, the idea wasn’t to have six-pack abs (that would be a goal) but to exercise every day (that would be a system). In other words, the journey is the destination. I think this idea is powerful because if you set the goal of having six-pack abs, you won’t feel the drive to continue doing the thing in question once you get there.
When I think about systems, I always try to focus on the things that are within my control. The Stoics called this the dichotomy of control. So even if I wanted to get five hundred Substack subscribers by the end of the year, that is ultimately outside of my control. What’s within my control is to write great content that attracts people. This has been tricky because when we’re talking about the internet, we’d all like for numbers to grow. That’s not up to you though. The only thing you can do is create the best content you can and hope that it resonates with people.
In the end, systems give you a sense of direction in life, something to move toward. In a way, systems work as a compass. Now the tricky part is figuring out where I want to end up so that I can work on a route that will take me there. Ultimately, that’s the magic of goal setting.
What I’m Working on
I finally posted the Best Books of 2023 article I’ve been talking about for the last couple of weeks. So if you’re interested in learning what my favorite books of the past twelve months have been, you can read that article. Writing this piece was fun because it forced me to reflect on the numerous books I read over the past twelve months. Although I find myself starting several books I never get to finish, some of the books I read from cover to cover I loved.
What I’m Listening to
7 Paradoxes That Will Change How You See Everything: Mark Manson’s YouTube channel has been a constant source of amazing content for the past few months and this recently released video is no exception. In this video, Mark Manson discusses how some of the unavoidable truths in life are paradoxes. With this in mind, he examines paradoxes and shows how ideas that seem contrary on the surface, can also be life-changing.
What I’m Reading
The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown: I bought this book months ago and never bothered to read it. Well, I finally changed that over the last couple of days. In the book, Brown argues that humans are imperfect by nature. Therefore, we must embrace those imperfections to become who we are. She calls this wholeheartedly living and she provides a roadmap of ten guideposts to get there.
What I’m Watching
How to Actually Read 100 Books in 2024: as someone who summarizes his favorite non-fiction books and posts those summaries online, I know that a lot of people struggle with reading. Ali Abdaal just released a video sharing some tips on this topic. If you’re struggling to read more books, you should check this out.
This Week’s Quote
“You are not the cause of everything that happens to you, but you are responsible for how you respond to everything that happens to you.”James Clear
Here’s a link to my website where I share chapter-by-chapter summaries of non-fiction books.
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