Stop wasting time on things that don’t matter
August 13th, 2012 - 88 Comments
Here’s a classic email I recently got:
It would be easy to make fun of Scott, but I actually love that he had a hypothesis of what mattered (his beard), tested it (by emailing me), corrected himself, and then dominated.
It’s hilariously perplexing how many of us devise crackpot theories of what really matters, only to never test them. Invisible scripts guide our lives. We waste years of our lives pursuing the wrong strategies because we never sent one email to find out if our assumptions are true or not. For example…
- MONEY ASSUMPTION #434: “I need to cut back on lattes.” Have they ever actually tracked how effective this is? Do they understand that negotiating their salary or automating their finances would be 1000x more effective? No. They’ve bought the assumption without ever questioning it.
- LIFESTYLE ASSUMPTION #287: “I need to buy a house.” I cover why buying a house is often a poor financial decision in exhaustive detail.
- INTERNET WEIRDO ASSUMPTION #998: “I need a high PageRank.” A guy came to one of my talks and raised his hand to ask about my SEO strategy. I responded that I have no idea and there are a lot smarter SEO people out there than I am. This answer evidently didn’t satisfy him (as anyone could see by his manic eye movements and oddly cocked neck) so I asked, “Why? What are you trying to do?” He told the room how he “needs” to improve his PageRank to make more money off his site. Again, I asked, “Why?” He stopped, realizing he had never examined his assumptions that PR is important. When I told him my PageRank sucks and I make more than most of my competitors combined, he did not know how to respond. His only response: “But…but…PageRank….” STOP ASSUMING
Question for you today:
Today, let’s pause and check some of our assumptions.
Tell me, what assumptions have you challenged in the last 1 year? (Example: “I’m not the kind of guy that can lose 40lbs” or “I could never make $75,000” or “I didn’t think I could take a 3-month vacation to Asia/Europe, but I did XYZ and I was able to…”).
Share yours in the comments below.
If you haven’t tested any, pick one and share how you’re going to test it.
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