Friday, 8:13 a.m.
Hello again my friend,
Humans have an irresistible urge to go faster.
Over the last 50 years that urge has led to a massive increase in productivity. And for the most part, that’s a good thing.
But productivity is a lot like progress. It sounds great but it can mean a lot of things. What I’m saying is…
…not all progress is good.
Say you decide to take a road trip. You pile the wife and kids into the Family Truckster and hit the open road.
A few hours pass, then a few more. Eventually, one of the kids pops their head into the front seat and asks, “Dad, when will we be there?”
“That’s a great question son! Let’s check Google Maps.”
You punch up your destination and discover you’ve driven 3 hours in the wrong direction.
You made progress. But not the kind you wanted.
Now imagine if you were 3 times as productive at going the wrong way.
See what I mean?
The Dark Side of Productivity
Productivity and progress are only good things when they result in you getting what you want.
Unfortunately, most people aren’t very good at connecting what they want with the steps necessary to get it.
Entrepreneurs start businesses to have more control over their time and to do more fulfilling work.
But most of them end up shackled to their business, consumed with day-to-day operations.
So they think, “I need to be more productive. If I can just do more in the same amount of time I’d be ok.”
So they purchase software or hire an employee to help with some of the less demanding work.
Now they have more time and for a brief moment, all seems right. But instead of using this new advantage to gain more freedom, they quickly fill it up with more ‘stuff’ to do.
Think of it like being on a treadmill. You can set a nice walking pace of 2.5 or 3 and feel great after an hour of exercise.
You’ll feel invigorated for the rest of the day and when you show up tomorrow you’ll be able to do it again.
But crank the speed up to 9 or 10 and you’re at a dead sprint.
At the end of that same hour (assuming you make it that long) you’ll have covered a lot more ground, but you’re going to be exhausted. And it’s going to affect your performance in the gym tomorrow.
Most productivity increases are like turning up the speed on our business treadmill.
Is it any wonder most entrepreneurs are burned out, stressed out and overwhelmed?
Life is an Infinite Game
If you’re a regular reader of my letters you know I don’t separate business and life. They are the same to me.
My business supports my lifestyle. My work is folded into my life in a way that allows me to maximize my time freedom and income mobility.
For this to work you have to accept that life is an infinite game. It’s a game you play whether you like it or not.
It’s a game that has no end. It will continue long after you’re gone.
It’s a game where the rules are constantly changing and aren’t evenly applied.
Such is the nature of infinite games.
To play the game well means making compromises based on your dreams and ambitions.
For example, let’s say you’re thinking about launching a new product. You estimate that it will increase your revenue by 50% this year but will require you to spend an extra 10 hours a week focused on the business.
Most entrepreneurs would look at that opportunity and think well, this is the next logical step to grow revenue.
More money means a higher net worth. More status and respect for you and my family, and a higher standard of living. So it must be the right more. Now how do I find an extra 10 hours a week?
But that extra income must be weighed against the time and energy exchanged for it.
What good is storing up millions if you never get a chance to live your life? You might be playing the game of business well but you’re performing poorly at life.
The Problem With AI and the Promise of Greater Productivity
This week I watched a YouTube video from a creator I’m not familiar with.
He was discussing the incredibly productive value of solutions like ChatGPT.
He said, “ChatGPT is by far our most valuable employee.”
My initial thought, having used ChatGPT was that he must not be hiring very well.
Yes, ChatGPT can be very helpful. I’ve used it to come up with content ideas and to create lists I can use to expand on a concept I’m playing with.
But before we kneel at the altar of greater productivity we should ask if that productivity is moving us closer to what we want or are we just turning up the speed on our treadmill.
More, Faster Isn’t Better
Society is obsessed with bigger, faster, stronger. Another way to say that is society is obsessed with increase.
Every entrepreneur I know is spending their days producing massive amounts of content.
- Social media posts
- Youtube Videos
- Newsletters and Blog Posts
- Live Streams
The list goes on.
Everyone’s looking at Alex Hormozi as the model for success. The guy built and sold two, 8-figure businesses and now owns a 200 million dollar holding company.
What they fail to grasp is that Alex did something incredible first. He built two businesses quietly. Then, when he had something truly unique to share he hired a team of people to create content for him at a blistering pace.
The last figure I saw put the number at $70,000 per month.
And if you work 80 hours a week for the next 10 years you too might be able to spend $70,000 a month on a team of people to produce content for you.
But is that really what you want? Do you want a life where you’re worth hundreds of millions but still work like you’re broke?
More importantly, being different, and having a truly unique perspective isn’t something you can farm out to ChatGPT or a team of marketing monkeys.
If all you focus on is more, faster – you’ll spend your days creating massive amounts of crap.
You’ll become really efficient at accomplishing very little.
Most people are trying to outsource their thinking to AI. And that’s the real problem. Because thinking is what matters.
As AI and other forms of automation become a bigger part of our lives, creative thinking will become the most valuable skill you can offer.
So be careful what you exchange for a little more productivity.
You might be cranking up the speed on a treadmill to nowhere.
Until next week,
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