Infinite interests, limited resources

It’s a long list.

I’d like to learn math. And multiple languages. I’d like to understand economics, marketing and business strategy on a deeper level. I’d like to read more ancient literature and learn more about British history. And Japanese history too. I want to learn the basics of programming. And how to ride a horse. I want to learn about movement and study different martial arts. One day, I’d like to build a house.

The problem: infinite interests. There’s so many things I could and would like to do. But I can’t do it all. I have a finite amount of resources. There’s a limit to to the time, energy, attention and money that I have.

So what can I do? What can you do if you’ve got unlimited interests but no way to explore them all? 

I found a solution in Jocko Willink’s Extreme Ownership:

“Even the most competent of leaders can be overwhelmed if they try to tackle multiple problems or a number of tasks simultaneously. The team will likely fail at each of those tasks. Instead, leaders must determine the highest priority task and execute. When overwhelmed, fall back upon this principle: Prioritise and Execute.”

​But how do you do that? Jocko continues:

​“To implement Prioritise and Execute in any business, team, or organisation, a leader must:

– Evaluate the highest priority problem.
– Lay out in simple, clear, and concise terms the highest priority effort for your team.
– Develop and determine a solution, seek input from key leaders and from the team where possible.
– Direct the execution of that solution, focusing all efforts and resources toward this priority task.
– Move on to the next highest priority problem. Repeat.
– When priorities shift within the team, pass situational awareness both up and down the chain.
– Don’t let the focus on one priority cause target fixation. Maintain the ability to see other problems developing and rapidly shift as needed.”

​Every decision holds trade offs. If I want to learn more about business and strategy, I can’t devote as much time to the study of mathematics. As Jason Fried quipped: ““No” is no to one thing. “Yes” is no to a lot of things.”