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Showing up is 75% of the battle

• Written by Josh Wolff

Showing up is 75% of the battle - for nearly every single skill or goal you can think of.

Elon Musk says that showing up is half of the battle. I actually think it’s more than that. It’s at least 75%. When you show up, there’s not much else you can do once you’re there. If your goal is to go the gym three times a week, you actually just have to get there. Once you’re there, it’s very difficult to turn around and go home. You’ve already cross the mental barrier of preparing and arriving to the destination.

Imagine you are self-managed, such as myself. Separating your work space and home space is critical to productivity, as it offers you a well-defined start and stop time. If you do not have a well-defined start time and start location, it’s easy to persuade yourself to do other tasks that are nearby or convenient to do. The act of starting and identifying with a task is such a strong mental forcing function for actually completing the task.

It’s very hard to arrive at WeWork at 9am and then start doing other tasks unrelated to work. However, if I’m at my desk, near by bed, it’s in fact much easier to become distracted by a video on YouTube, or even take a nap.

Ironically, it’s then much easier to stay at WeWork until 10pm than it is to leave for home at 7pm (assuming I have food).

The biggest predictor of how productive my day will be is how it’s started. Do I complete my morning routine on-time and arrive at WeWork by the desired time? The productivity is, yes, correleated with what I actually do and how I spend my time, but the day-to-day is in fact more correleated with how and how quickly it’s started.

Thus, it follows, what people seem to struggle with is often not the activity itself, but the identification and mental preparedness of and with it. There are many such things that are obviously a good habit to have, which are hard to start but easy to continue once started. Reading, is a great example. Reading a great book for just 10 pages is harder than continuing to read for 20 pages.

A corollary is that many of the things we do which we wish not to do, are actually very easy to start doing. For example, it’s very easy to start drinking, or to open up Twitter or TikTok.

If you desire to stop doing something, make it very difficult to start doing it in the first place, as the ease of access to the activity is actually much more of a driver of your behavior than the activity itself.

Written by Josh Wolff

Hi! I'm Josh. The blog is a compilation of random thoughts, and some of my life experiences.


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