In Today’s Information Age, Execution Is Key

Back in our parent’s generation knowledge was power. In the 1970s only 8% of young adults were going into higher education, while nowadays the figure is closer to 50%. On top of that, the rest of the world are becoming more educated, with more access to resources. The rise of the Internet means we are now in an information age where knowledge is abundant. If you don’t know a simple fact, Google will tell you.

So if knowledge is no longer as powerful, what has replaced it? Execution. The abundance of information in the environment nowadays means that individuals can pretty much choose any vocation that they wish to. The problem for young people now is choosing something to do, and following through on it.

Those who have the courage to execute reap the rewards in comparison to those who are continually seeking knowledge only. A lot of insight can actually come during the experience too, and this type of insight is more impactful if you’re out there in the arena of life instead of simply studying theory.

Entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk consistently advises millennials to “stop thinking and just do.” Your young adult life is supposed to be about trying new things, figuring out what you like and don’t like, what you’re good or not good at, and having the advantage of time to course-correct. The way to achieve more in the modern day? Think less, do more.

When is Quantity Better Than Quality?

Recently, an article from this blog was mentioned in a page on The Jordan Harbinger Show website. Okay, I hadn’t heard of the Jordan Harbinger Show either, but apparently it’s a popular podcast with previous guests such as Kobe Bryant, Tony Hawk, and Simon Sinek. In his latest episode, he happened to be interviewing Adam Grant, the author of a book I had mentioned in one of my blog posts. In the show notes, my blog post on imposter syndrome was one of the suggested resources.

So what am I getting at here? Well, everyday in the last few months I have been writing and posting on things I find interesting, and created a catalogue of blog posts I can peruse through at my own leisure. I’ve written 77 posts in the last 62 days, usually taking about an hour to write each day.

Why so many posts? Firstly, it’s a good way of trying to get better at writing, and being more comfortable with producing and sharing my thoughts. But also, I knew that the more blog posts I wrote, the more chance there would be that there’s something that someone out there likes. I just pelted as much shit on the wall as possible, to see what would stick.

Now I’m not saying that quality is not desirable – of course it is. But the maxim of quality at the expense of quantity doesn’t always ring true. If I just focused on making one or two of the best possible blog posts in the last couple of months instead of producing 77 daily blog posts, I have a feeling that exactly zero of my posts would’ve been mentioned in any award-winning podcasters’ websites. It’s akin to buying 77 lottery tickets instead of one, without having to pay 77x the price.

My sister has amassed over 40k followers on her Instagram page about books from almost-daily posting and engagement with her followers. Of course, the quality of the posts are good too, but the fact that she has posted over 1200 times probably helps.

Entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk recently suggested that Netflix may put traditional movie theatres out of business because of the sheer quantity of movies and shows they are making. He highlights that quantity in creative fields no longer needs to be demonized in the Internet-age, and the unfortunate thing about quality is that it’s subjective. The shit that sticks with one person may not with another. What Vaynerchuk is mainly getting at though, is that you’re now more likely to find a Golden Globe-winner like The Queen’s Gambit in Netflix’s 71 movies coming out this year, than in Sony’s 13 movies scheduled for release.

In what ways can quantity trump quality in your life? I’d love to know in your comments!

Lessons in Stoicism: The Illusion of Control, and How to Deal with Adversity

Lessons in Stoicism is a book written by John Sellars that introduces the Stoic school of philosophy made famous by Marcus Aurelius, Seneca and Epictetus in the first and second century AD.

One of the main themes in Stoicism is the idea of control within one’s life. The Stoics asked themselves what they really control. The answer – the only thing we can control is our judgements. Although judgements are only a small part of the mind, the Stoics believed that because we can control our judgements, we are able to control what truly matters for our wellbeing.

So, if our happiness is based on our romantic relationships, career, possessions, appearance, or health, we are leaving our happiness in the control of external forces. Even though we can take actions to aid us to be successful in the categories above, we ultimately cannot control whether a partner loves us, whether a company hires us, whether possessions remain in our possession, and whether the body remains healthy. So make your goal simply to do the best you can.

Another tenet of the Stoic philosophy is how to deal with adversity in one’s life. Stoics believed that adversity is the stimulus that is needed to develop as a person, and that life wasn’t complete without facing any difficulties – that would be the real misfortune! Even so, the Stoics remind us not to seek out adversity and drama for the sake of it, it will happily come naturally in the timeline of our lives.

The Stoic philosophers practiced a technique called the premeditation of future evils. They thought about all the possible bad things that could happen in their lives – the death of a family member, loss of reputation and riches, loss of health etc. This may seem like a negative thing to do, but the Stoics found that when people avoided thinking of these setbacks, they were ill-equipped to deal with the reality of it when the time came. Entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk frequently thinks about what he would do if he found out his mother had died in a car accident – not only does it prepare for the probable event that his mother will die before him, it realigns him to what is truly important in his life.

Read more about Stoicism in some of Seneca’s most revered essays: On Tranquility of Mind, Consolation to Helvia, and On the Shortness of Life.