👋 Hey Friends,
Welcome back to the 30-Day Productivity Challenge by the famous YouTuber, former doctor and now writer Ali Abdaal.
After we took a day off yesterday, we come back fresh and renewed with new ideas and methods for today.
“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There's no way around these two things that I'm aware of, no shortcut.”
— Stephen King
Stephen King is by far one of the most influential and best-selling authors of all time. He has written over 60 novels in his lifetime, including popular works like "Carrie," "The Shining," "It," and "The Dark Tower" series. He has been awarded the Bram Stoker, the World Fantasy and the British Fantasy Society awards for all his contributions to the world of literature. In 2003, he even received the National Book Foundation's Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.
But what made him so successful, and how can a man write 60 novels in his life with a high chance of writing more and more?
The secret to his success lies within a few elementary words:
Amateurs are obsessed with tools, and professionals are obsessed with systems.
A professional writer like Stephen King wasn't concerned about the computer, the pen, the legal pad or the typewriter he was working with. He didn’t focus on creating the perfect image for him to write. What he did was simple. He woke up, brewed his coffee, and then sat down to write for at least two hours straight. What he was doing is incredibly simple yet not easy to replicate.
What he was doing was writing only a few hours a day, but for thousands of days in a row because he had a system.
Everyone thinks that when you are a writer you write the whole day, that when you are an athlete you train the whole day or when you are a chef you cook the whole day. Although writing, training and cooking are important, they do not make everything for these carriers. A writer needs to read, an Athlete needs to rest, and a chef must conceptualise new meals.
What I am trying to say is that the main tasks are essential, but the systems you built around it are incredibly critical as well. If Stephen King had never built the system of writing and reading every day for his entire life, he would have never made it to all these awards, and he would certainly never have written 60 novels.
🎯 Why think in systems?
In life, we often get obsessed with the idea of finding the best tools for what we can do. When I started running, I got lost in the realm of running shoes and I got obsessed with the idea of finding the perfect shoe for me. The problem with this line of thinking is, however, pretty clear to see.
🙃Do the best running shoes on my feet get me out of the door, or am I?
✅I am responsible for going for the run. The running shoes, how great they are, will not get me out of the door any faster. It is me who needs to make time for the run, plan it and then just go for it.
To think about tools is an illusion your mind creates for yourself to say that you made progress. But real progress never comes from the best tools, but from those who use them. Those who use them aren’t governed by any tools, they govern the tools. The only thing one should be governed by is their system.
😕Concern: A perfect system will bring too much certainty.
✅A system brings freedom. When you have built a system around your life, and you can follow it, you have chosen to be freed from all the distractions from the outside. If you have the urge to watch a show, but you go for a run instead because your system helps, you are free from the temptation that was created.
Having a reliable system brings freedom to your life because you learn to control your mind. We will dive deeper into how to build a system in the following days, but for now, remember that you own your mind and not your temptations, your urges, or your feelings!
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Thanks again and I'll see you soon.
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