My old thinking, which I held for decades, was simply wrong. I used to be excited when I found myself at home at “only” 9:00 or 10:00pm. I would regularly abandon any more pressing concerns and get on with fun stuff. Stuff, specifically, that was effective at increasing my pleasure factor RIGHT NOW but had no lasting impact or benefit of improvement.

What I never really considered in those moments was the future; building to something greater in life, and the impact that decisions in those moments would have. Annie Duke calls this “mental time-traveling”, thinking ahead and visualizing what difference a small decision right now will make in five or ten years. This gives us a critical new perspective on bets we’re about to make, takes us out of the emotions & biases of the moment and shows us more potential outcomes that will increase the accuracy of the decisions we make now.

Another concept that I learned recently was Jim Collins’ Flywheel. The Collins Flywheel is explained in the context of building momentum in your business to turn a good company into a great one. But I’ve found that it’s just as applicable to your personal life. Betting on your future instead of just your present makes your personal flywheel go a little faster, and you want to keep that momentum building.

So next time it’s 9pm on a weeknight, choose to go to bed and wake up early tomorrow ready to do the essentials again, except this time a little bit better than before.

PHOTO: The Ashton Frost engine at Mill Meece Pumping Station. The flywheel is 19ft 6in (5.944m) in diameter and weighs 31.5 tons (30,481kg).

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