Writing to Think

When is the last time you had an original thought?
When is the last time you sat down in silence to just think?
When is the last time you thought through something, from the initial idea through to the logical end?

Thinking is hard, and thinking is work. A good way to improve your thinking, is writing. Writing forces you to develop, refine, and organize your thoughts. To get better at thinking, get better at writing; to get better at writing, write more often.



As human beings, we have this incredible capacity to learn. And because we can learn, we can accumulate knowledge and develop skills in nearly any field. Never played a piano before? No problem! Get a second-hand keyboard, watch a few tutorials on YouTube, practice daily, and within one month you’ll be able to play a complete song.

This model can be applied to nearly any area of knowledge or skill. Because of this incredible learning ability, you have the capacity to become anything you want, or at least you have several viable options.

Yet, although you can become anything you want, you cannot become everything you could want. Life is not long enough; you don’t have the time. It is therefore essential for one to choose a field (of a few of them). Focusing on one or a few fields will allow you to spend the time that is needed to acquire the foundational knowledge, develop and refine your skill through practice, and earn experience over time.

You can become anything that you want, but you cannot become everything you could want. Focus is key.


#BTAOE (e.g. where physical disposition is advantageous e.g. being shorter than 6ft in height would be seriously disadvantageous in the game of basketball)


Clipped from James Clear’s newsletter.


The (Really) Hard Working 20%

You have probably heard of the Pareto Principle or the 80/20 rule. In 1897, Vilfredo Pareto observed that nearly 80% of the land in Italy was owned by just 20% of the population (that is, that income follows a Pareto Distribution, which is a power law probability distribution. Learn more on this here and here). Joseph Juran, an American management consultant suggested the principle, named it after Vilfredo Pareto, and popularised it with respect to quality management issues stating that 80% of a problem is caused by 20% of the causes. The principle has since been generalised and extended to be something more like “80% of the effects are caused by 20% of the causes”.

This law of the vital few has some powerful implications. Applied to organizations, it means that 80% of the value is created by 20% of the business processes. Or that 80% of the revenue comes from 20% of the customers. Or that 80% of the work is done by 20% of the team.

Most organizations (80%?) have experienced negative effects from the COVID-19 pandemic. Temporary lockdowns, curfews, social distancing, and other health and safety measures have changed how organizations work. Understandably, many organizations are thinking about how they can transform themselves to better adapt to the situation.

As organizations observe, reflect, and react to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, it will be important to keep the 20% in mind, ensuring that every strategic or tactical pivot is aligned to, enables, supports, or at least does not negatively impact the really hard working 20% in and out of the organization.