Outlier Discipline

Day 50 Week 8 Q1  Sunday, February 19, 2023

You have infinite options because you are unusually curious, tend to follow your thoughts down all sorts of circuitous paths, and have the good fortune to live in an internet age.  

This is both a blessing and a curse. I myself subscribe to multiple audible books streaming services, multiple tv streaming services, and multiple music and podcasting services, all for less than some people pay for cable television.

We can easily fall into discovery mode at any time and anywhere. When growing up in New York City, there were a dozen television stations, dozens of radio stations, and more museums and libraries that you could visit in a year. My parents raised my sister and me to be culture vultures. All of my friends were reading, studying, and growing all the time. We all had at least one encyclopedia in our houses. I am not saying this to brag but to say it was incurably fortunate growing up in such an information and experience-rich situation shared with another 8 million people.

It was also hard to get work done because of how many high-quality distractions there were. In today’s internet world, you do not need to live in a big city, attend a great university, or be raised as a culture vulture to be overwhelmed.

You can now do it for free in a second. I am sure many of us have hundreds of apps on our phones and computers and thousands of sources of interesting stuff.   

The problem is you can spend too much time  consuming compelling stuff and never get anything done. If you are an outlier in terms of creativity and curiosity, you are even more likely to do so than not.

This is why you have to develop Outlier Discipline because, like a junkie exposed to free drugs all around you all of the time, it can be hard to resist, but you have to. Without some compelling projects to work on and accompanying deadlines, your day can evaporate, never touching what you thought you were supposed to be doing.

Even if you are ostensibly working on whatever project you previously committed to, there may be infinite new tools to explore that may possibly help you. And then not only the acquisition of the tools but the learning how to use them can also completely consume you and me. I have a handful of apps with over a thousand-page manual, and then there is YouTube.  The more options we are able to create for ourselves, the more discipline we need not to explore them all. Life can be simpler and require less discipline if you are not curious or creative. 

The hungrier your mind, the more difficult it is not to overeat.  

This is why we need Outlier Discipline.