There was a podcast I used to listen to that would always ask a question that I thought was kind of dumb of each of its guests. The question was “if you could post any message on a billboard that everyone in the world would see, what would it say?”
I hated this question. What could a guest possibly come up with on the spot that would apply to the entire world? The human species is varied, needs are as unique as individuals. People have different ages, lifestyles, preferences - a singular message for all of humanity isn’t possible.
But as I wrote more essays about whether we should admire creators, or on Future You Masturbation, or on when we use efficiency as a shield for our emotions…. I finally came up with an answer that could apply to everyone – everyone! – in the world.
The most important thing you’ll ever learn in your life, the single philosophical tool that has the potential to change every decision, every emotion, every reaction to any event in your life, is this:
Focus on what you can control
Focusing on what you can control is the alphabet of effectiveness. It gives you all the tools and building blocks to build everything else in your life.
It’s the refactored version of all other self improvement and productivity advice. Every book on self help, or dieting, or dating advice, or anything at all… they all boils down to this single idea.
There is nothing you can do to get what you want other than to focus on what you can control.
If you take this idea to its maximum potential you will find yourself in the elevated company of some of the most effective, interesting, and successful people in the world. They all do this maniacally - they all look forward instead of back.
They look inward instead of complaining about the world.
Is this straightforward and simple? Yes.
Is it an easy thing to accomplish? Definitely not.
But now you have the keys to every life situation. Every predicament. The best thing you can always do is to focus on what you can control.
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