Make a Chain, Doing Your Work Every Day – Don’t Break the Chain! – (Success Advice from Jerry Seinfeld, via Deep Work)

I’m nearly finished reading Deep Work by Cal Newport, my selection for the March First Friday Book Synopsis.   There’s a story in it I want to share…

Extreme OwnershipBut first, a quote from Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin:

We encourage leaders to do the things they know they probably should be doing but aren’t. …Such concepts are simple, but not easy…

In other words, much success comes not from some new knowledge we gain, but from doing the things we know we should be doing, but aren’t (doing).

deep-work-cal-newportNow, the story from Deep Work. A young comic asked Jerry Seinfeld “if he had any tips for a young comic.” Seinfeld responded:

The way to be a better comic was to create better jokes, and then explained that the way to create better jokes was to write every day.

Write every day! That’s the key. And then, Seinfeld told how to stay on top of that challenge:

He (Seinfeld) keeps a calendar on his wall. Every day he writes jokes he crosses out that date on his calendar with a big red X. “After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow every day. …Your only job next is to not break the chain.”

Do something every day. Check it off (X it off). Keep doing it every day. Don’t break the chain!

Yes, this is old advice. Time-tested! – “doing the things you know to be doing but aren’t.”

That’s a reliable, useful, key to long-term success.

And, by the way, I’m starting my own chain myself with a very physical calendar and a bright Sharpie. Wish me luck.



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