A Letter To A Friend: How To Spend Your Time
Posted by Michael Vacanti
I just googled that.
Literally, I just typed “how should I spend my time” in my chrome browser, putting full faith in Google’s algorithm to allocate the remaining hours of my life to specific activities and behaviors.
Halfway thru a the clickbait-y top result, I decided that I was in a better position than Jason Demers, the Inc writer, to answer my question.
So, I decided to do something weird.
I am going to pretend that I am my own best friend.
And I am going to write him a letter with my opinion.
Then, raw and unfiltered, I am going to post it on the internet.
Here we go.
Hey Mike – I’ve been struggling lately with how to use my time: I’m trying to balance work vs. fun, saving vs. spending, how many and of what quality relationships to maintain, and hedging against future unknowns vs. living in the present. Would love your thoughts. Thanks.
First, this is a champagne problem.
You live in a first world country and literally have never known suffering. You work a job you actually enjoy. You’re healthy, and so are your friends and family. You have it really really really really good.
Go live in Africa for a month.
Done. End of letter.
I’m kidding. Kind of. But seriously, try to be a bit more grateful.
Here are my thoughts…
On Ego & Business
Here is one problem I see: you place too much ego in outcomes and accomplishments.
You let your mood rise and fall in correlation with your alexa ranking or average views per video.
That’s a dangerous game. One that no one wins.
Because as you know, no matter how good you are… how ripped, rich, smart, or impressive your bench press, there is always someone better.
You know this, but sometimes it’s helpful to be reminded.
Instead, derive self-worth through effort, self-discipline, and probably most importantly: belief that you are worthy.
I know, it’s woo-woo.
But “fake it til you make it” is real. No one knows what the hell they are doing; some people just pretend better than others.
On Hedging Against An Unknown Future
Despite living in one of the greatest times in human history, you have a scarcity mindset when it comes to future resource availability.
While caution is good to an extent, you are hurting yourself by assuming x00k versus y00k in your bank account will make a difference if we face real danger in the future.
Marginal dollars earned won’t protect against doomsday scenarios.
So you have two options: you can go all in and live underground and bet the house on shit really hitting the fan, or you take a deep breath and take solace in the fact that if we get fucked we all get fucked together.
I’d recommend option B.
Stop worrying about the unknown. 99% of our fears and worries never come true.
Now, I am not saying you should stop saving money and throw your investment account into hookers and lines of preworkout, but you should be realistic about macro (not the food, meathead) economic conditions in the future.
Assume the world will be either slightly better or slightly worse than it is now, decide how much money you will need to live the life you want, and work towards having enough to comfortably satisfy those needs.
Not more. Not less.
On Intuition And Getting More Done Effortlessly
You want to know your biggest downfall?
Listen up, ’cause this is the most important point I’m going to make.
You currently cannot execute a decision without second-guessing that very decision as you make it.
Second-guessing is harmful because it 1) requires time 2) sucks mental energy and 3) often prevents you from even completing that action.
Which means you do each thing worse and you do fewer total things.
How can we change this?
Well, I truly believe your intuition is inherently good. I think that is the case for most people.
You need to believe this.
Because when you doubt your intuition, your action is muffled and modified as you let your perception of others’ reaction change the speed or authority of that action.
This sounds like mental gymnastics. And it probably is.
But here is the key takeaway: Your intuition is inherently good. It will produce net positive impact on the world if you just get out of its way and let it. Think less. Worry less. Do more. Then do the next thing.
It’s better to take 100,000 shots @ 97% accuracy than to only take 1,000 shot @ 100% accuracy.
Better to play 1m hands at 2bb than 100k hands at 2.5bb.
You are selfish. Straight up my friend.
If you weren’t such a commitment-phobe, I would suggest a pet.
Maybe a fish is a good place to start.
For many relationships, primarily of the sexual variety, you never let a girl past a certain point. As soon as you feel the slightest hint of vulnerability, experience a connection of any reasonable depth, or believe there to be a chink in your armor, you bail.
Now, I’m not going to speculate about fear of rejection, abandonment issues, blah blah blah.. that could get embarrassing if this letter is intercepted and posted to the internet.
But here is what I want you and everyone in the world to know:
you are worthy if you believe you are worthy and you are not if you believe you are not.
Being “good enough” is a choice.
It’s not something that can be won or achieved.
There is no amount of strength, no body fat percentage, no stack of cash, or accumulation of double taps to make you enough.
Rather, you have to tell yourself you are, because you are.
And eventually you start to believe it.
You don’t appear to have a lot of fun haha.
Most of the places you commit time are productive tasks: business goals, fitness goals, personal goals.
This is all well and dandy, but what do you like to do?
You should probably do some of that. And schedule those fun things.
Parkinson’s law states the work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.
For example, if you scheduled a night in AC rather than leaving a “free half day” maybe you would have watched a few less Elliot Hulse videos (aka ‘writing breaks’) and gotten this shit posted to sooner.
Err, I mean, I should have. One of us… should have.
Basically, don’t trade a night in AC for consuming youtube content.
Schedule fun shit. Every week, ideally.
On Social Media Overuse
Any time you are going to consume content, ask why you are doing that.
It is SO EASY to consume.
Articles, videos, shows, movies, podcasts. Content is everywhere.
And most of it sucks.
Heck, you’ve put out stuff that sucks.
You need to be relentless about cutting excess consumption.
Currently, you do fairly well here; you don’t consume much media.
I think this is wise.
People could learn from you. Even if that means they stop following you or stop reading your blog. That would be a good thing for certain people.
Content needs to meet a certain level of entertainment or education to be worthy of consumption.
Keep reading books.
Keep seeing good movies.
Keep a small rotation blogs, youtube channels, and shows.
But limit all consumption motivated by boredom.
There is no reason to be in the depths of your newsfeed reading idiotic arguments between people you don’t know about Donald Trump or whether the lives of an entire race matter.
Growth comes from creating, not from consuming.
On The Perfect Plan
It is better to diligently follow a decent plan than to stew over the creation of a perfect plan.
Here’s what I mean: Get your day on paper and then do it.
Don’t stop during your third task and spend 45 minutes debating whether or not that task would be a better fit for Thursday.
Spend a little time making a plan. Then spend a lot of time executing the plan.
Without 2nd guessing the plan. Without veering off of the plan.
Just fucking do the plan.
On Getting What You Want
No one knows exactly what they want.
Just start doing things, one at time.
Try things you might like. Give each an honest shot. Go deep. Then periodically step back and objectively evaluate whether it’s something you wish to continue.
Some parting words…
- Be friendly to strangers
- Smile to create your own happiness
- Get a fish
- Follow the plan
- Don’t make a new plan
- Relentlessly execute one task at a time
- Create constantly
- Consume wisely
- Trust your intuition 100%
Love you bro.
Alright, I’ll let you jump in here so you can do your gimmicky sign off 🙂
“Subscribe” to your newsletter, or whatever.
Why do you even have an email list… you don’t even sell to them!
Michael John Vacanti Jr.
Macro Estimator Extraordinaire
Belieber Since ’08
“Big Time” on snapchat
JayneGreat post! I really enjoyed reading this and you should probably write more like it! I did something similar this past week, didn't come out as post worthy as yours lol, but it really does help looking outside of yourself and giving advice as a "your own bff". My fav. part was "Growth comes from creating, not from consuming," because I'm so guilty of that. I'm probably turning it into an quote pic for my IG account. Keep up the great work.
February 14, 2016 at 12:55 am |