They progressed every day without particular effort

Here’s a sentence:

Always put an upper and a lower bound on habitual practices.

Let’s discuss why I like this sentence:

First of all, reading this sentence now, I feel like it’s almost stating a tautology. But I do still think that there is some good advice in it.

What I mean by that is that it is notoriously hard (at least to me) to find balance between various things. Like, for example, working life and private life, or, exercise and rest, or, talking and shutting up, the list could go on for quite a while.

I think that this sentence helps in keeping a certain balance. For example: When you are writing a daily journal, you might want to commit to writing no less than 1 sentence per day and no more than 5 sentences per day. This way you can leave something in your tank for the next day, so to speak.

Or, to maintain a work-life-balance, you might decide to commit to working no less than 4 productive hours per day and no more than 8 hours. But please don’t forget to decide up front what you mean by productive hours (like e.g. coding, meetings, etc.). Resist the temptation then, after having worked for 8 hours, to sneak in more todos from your list or to just quickly complete that other project. Just call it a day and walk home as a happy and satisfied person. And tap dance to work then the next day because you’re finally able to continue working on that project which you did not complete yesterday.

As a blogger, you might also decide to write no less than one post per week and no more than 5. This can help you to get into the habit of finding things you want to share with the world and get better a writing and explaining ideas.

By the way: I got this idea from a video on Matt d’Avella’s Youtube channel the other day, in which he interviewed Greg McKeown, the author of the book “Effortless”. The examples I use are also partially from that interview.

In the interview, Greg McKeown used one striking example to underpin this concept of having an upper and a lower bound. He used the example of the race to the South Pole between the British and the Norwegians in 1911. Both countries had sent expeditions to Antarctica and the Norwegians won the race (and survived the return) because, according to Greg McKeown, they stuck to a fixed distance of 15 miles that they would walk every day. This is in contrast to the British team whose mileage varied much more and who exhausted themselves in the process. Greg summarizes this by quoting a biographer of the event: “They progressed every day without particular effort”.

The story was also masterfully illustrated by Matt, that’s why I highly recommend watching the video.

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