The bootstrapping attitude

This is a quick post highlighting a recent change in my mindset that I suppose might be useful to others. (I make no claims that this shift in mindset is clear from the post.)

I used to have a bit of a “failing with abandon” problem. If I wasted most of a day, that meant it was too late to have a “good day”, and it wasn’t very motivating to get up and work on having a “slightly better, but still not very good day”. [I will get around to writing up how motivation works, sometime]. So I would something like give up on my long term goals for that day, and fitter it away.

These days, I have a different attitude. My functionality and effectiveness is a structure that depends on a bunch of different, self-supporting, maintenance processes: exercising, getting enough sleep, having my attention clear, having “everything handled”, doing Deep Work first thing in the morning etc.

These processes are self supporting in that each one makes it easier to do the others. Sort of like a reciprocal structure.


It used to be that when I looked at my lightsheet/ daily checklist and everything was red… Screen Shot 2019-07-14 at 1.52.37 PM

…I felt the weight of how far I was from hitting my goals. That feels un-motivating. What’s the point of pushing myself, if I’m not going to get a payoff?

Now when I look at today’s column, and it’s all red, my response is something like: “Yep, I’m not going to have a “good day” today, my supports are not in place. But I can start bootstrapping.” I can, starting from right here, lay the first of those supports, and start building up momentum.

This resets the reference point: I’m not expecting to have a satisfying productive day, but I can still put pieces in place, so that I can have a day like that soon.

2 thoughts on “The bootstrapping attitude

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