444. The Lies That Mislead and Derail Us

Mar 18, 2024 | 0 comments

Are you lying to yourself? There are lies we tell ourselves all the time that trip us up. They’re little things we whisper in our own ear that we think will help us be productive, build good habits, or grow our business, but they don’t. In this episode, we’re going to go over the most common lies that mislead and derail us.

The list includes things like “Oh I’ll just multitask and get these things done quicker” or “I’ll just rely on willpower in the moment.” Those are statements that only lead to struggles and failure later. Don’t use them to plan your day, much less your life.

We talk frankly about prioritization, focus, discipline, willpower, and work-life balance. We give you the truth to counteract those little lies. Tune in and learn what to tell yourself next time you’re tempted to mislead yourself.

Want to channel your discipline to build habits, rather than trying to solely rely on limited willpower? Download the free My 66 Day Challenge Calendar!


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To learn more, and for the complete show notes, visit: the1thing.com/pods.

We talk about:

  • Using the 80/20 rule to focus on what’s important
  • Building your calendar with your daily willpower levels in mind
  • How training yourself to think big is like running– it gets easier with repetition

Links & Tools from This Episode:

Produced by NOVA Media


Nikki Miller:

Hey, everyone. And welcome back to The ONE Thing podcast. I'm Nikki Miller.

Chris Dixon:

And I'm Chris Dixon.

Nikki Miller:

And I'm super excited for this podcast today, because this is actually something that we've never done before. So you all know that often we will give you sort of small trainings on these podcasts, ways to use the principles of The ONE Thing in order to get to where you want to go. And that's really what we call the principles inside The ONE Thing, or rather, I should say I've aptly named them the magic of getting anything that you want, using these tools in order to bring any goal that you have to fruition. And yet, the beginning of the book is around the lies that mislead and derail us.

And I think that we probably don't talk about these often enough, and so we decided for the first time ever, we were going to do an entire podcast around them. Because there are certain lies that we're often told around success and around business, that are really the things that take us off track. And I think probably the biggest challenge or the biggest obstacle to really using The ONE Thing that we see, Chris, are people who continue to believe these lies before they've actually used the principles in order to understand that these things just don't work or just aren't true or real. What's your perspective on that?

Chris Dixon:

Yeah, I think you got to get these out of your way. You have to become aware of them first, like the pitfalls slash lies, traps or maybe even underlying beliefs that you have, that you've been told from your environment, past experience, societal, whatever those sources are, but you have to bring awareness to them and then get them out of your way. Otherwise, implementing the principles of The ONE Thing and all of the tools of purpose, priority, and productivity are going to be ineffective because you're telling yourself self either consciously or subconsciously lies about how you can create success.

Nikki Miller:

And ultimately, these are the things like you said that just take us off track. These are the things that we believe, I would call them the old thinking around success that aren't the things that actually get us to where we want to go. And sometimes at the beginning, we see people really struggle with implementation of The ONE Thing because it feels counterintuitive to what they've always been taught. And it's these lies that constantly come up that they have to work through before they can truly start using this in their life.

Chris Dixon:

Yeah. And there's symptoms or signs that you might be telling yourself these lies, or you might even be saying them or reverberating these lies in different ways. And I'm sure you've said something like, I have too much to do and not enough time, right? Or that if I just tackle a couple of things at once, I can be more productive. And so these are the symptoms or where these lies can tend to show up and they're starting to show up for you and you're verbalizing them.

Nikki Miller:

That's so important, Chris. I love what you just said about it being symptomatic, right? The lies really come up in the symptoms that we see when people aren't getting to where they want to go. And ultimately, it's usually one of these things that's getting in their way. So shall we kick off with the lies?

Chris Dixon:

Let's do it.

Nikki Miller:

The first lie is that everything matters equally. If there's a principle that The ONE Thing is founded on, it's likely this one, that the quality is ultimately a lie in the sense that achievers are always going to work from a clear sense of priority. And The ONE Thing will call it the 80-20 principle, which comes from the Pareto principle, which says that 80 percent of our results are going to come from 20 percent of our activity. So what we would offer is that if an exorbitant amount of your results, if 80 percent of your results are going to come from one specific activity, if disproportionate results are going to come from that, then we have to give disproportionate time to that one activity.

And yet the way most people approach the day is how they're going to do everything, not the thing that matters most, where we often differentiate for people is that most people are going to approach their day trying to do everything in the hopes that they'll eventually make time for what matters most and where an achiever approaches their day is they're going to do what matters most. And then if there's time, do everything else. So the majority of what we want is going to come from the minority of what we do. So we can't pretend that everything matters equally. What's the symptom that you usually see in this, Chris?

Chris Dixon:

I just don't have enough time. I have too much on my plate. And there's something to think about. If you think of your calendar or your day or your week, kind of like your closet or your garage, over time, stuff just gets in there that you don't need anymore, and it gets full. And you can get a feeling that you're overwhelmed or that you have no place to put things. But that's just because you haven't taken the time to go through and really clean things out and look at what really needs to stay and what matters. And I think that's helpful to think of your calendar this way.

And if you look at everything that's on your calendar or that you have on your to do list, there's certainly things that matter more than others. And to really get a picture of what matters most, you have to do it relative to something like your goals. And so you're looking at your goals and you're looking at the things you aim to accomplish. And if you do that work correctly, informs then what are the things that matter most, right, because everything on that list that you have does not matter equally.

So you're trying to figure out like what on this list has the highest return on investment for your time, because you should look at your time like an investment and not an expense that you're not just spending your time. You're consciously intentionally investing your time. So if you take that perspective, look at your list of things that you have to do in relation to your goals and say, okay, what on here is going to get me closer to my goals? That's the 80-20. What's the 20 percent that will deliver 80 percent of my results? We say, go further, go extreme Pareto. Like go from that 20 percent down to The ONE Thing, and that's where the true extreme power lives is say, what's that one thing that's going to get me the majority of the way to my goals.

Nikki Miller:

This is so important, Chris. I want to go back to what you said that the symptom of this is often that someone will say, man, I just don't have enough time to do all of the things that I need to do. And what we often say is it's not that you don't have enough time to do all the things, it's that you're trying to do too many things in the time that you have. You're trying to do too many things that don't carry equal weight in the time that you have to do them.

So for us, what we look at with The ONE Thing is what matters most, what's actually going to move the needle the most, what's actually going to drive results in whatever it is that we're trying to do. Right. And then we're going to spend the most amount of time doing that. And an example of this is if we look at all of the things we could do to get in shape. Well, one of the things we might do is buy better workout clothes, but is that going to be the thing that actually drives our results. Is doing the research, buying the right clothes, expending the money, whatever it is on those clothes, going to be the thing that actually drives results? Or is it going to be, I'm going to exercise this many days a week.

And that's a flippant example. And yet we actually behave this way in our lives. We’ll spend a lot of time researching something and not a whole lot of time executing on what actually matters, what's actually going to drive the results. And this is an example of a reminder that not all of the time that we spend matters equally. We have to identify what's going to drive the results and then spend the majority of our time on that.

Chris Dixon:

A common piece of feedback that I'll hear, especially in a team environment or somebody that they may be in a leadership position, but they don't ultimately feel like they have control over what is priority inside of an organization, or you aren't a leader and you're on a team and you feel like you're dictated what your priority is, there'll be some pushback. And it's like, well, I get told what I'm supposed to focus on, so I don't have control over what matters.

And I would say maybe shift your perspective that there's always an opportunity to create alignment and have a conversation. And in doing that, it's two directional. Like if you are a leader, you need to provide that or help your team to author what that priority is together. If you are on a team and you can have conversations with your leader, manager, direct report, whatever, to just have that alignment. Hey, what is the most important thing? What are our goals for the week? How can I structure my calendar so that it reflects that? And it's just a matter of closing that gap because you do ultimately have some control.

Nikki Miller:

And I think where this also comes up, this really leads us to our next slide, Chris, which is when our leaders don't have a clear sense of priority and can articulate a clear sense of priority, that becomes symptomatic to an organization as well. And what we often see is that when a leader is creating chaos by way of not having an absolute clear priority or a clear picture of the goal that they're trying to achieve, that they have a lot of things that they're trying to do at once.

And then what ends up happening is you have a very large group of people who are constantly trying to multitask, which is the second lie, that multitasking or the ability to multitask rather is an absolute lie. And our favorite is anyone who comes to our training is going to know now that this is a trap, but we'll often use this in our trainings, especially when we're doing corporate trainings with companies that will say, who in here is a great multitasker and invariably you're going to see a good portion of the hands in the room go up. Like people are very, very proud multitaskers.

And we have a really fun exercise. You all should try this at home. You can race somebody. And the way the exercise goes is we split, we'll have two people competing against each other. And one of them has to write 1 through 26 and A through Z. And the other one is going to do the exact same thing. Except for person number one is going to write 1A, 2B, 3C. And person number two gets to go 1 through 26 and A through Z consecutively. And every single time we've set them up and person number two is going to win. And the reason is because they can have a linear thought and just go from one to 26 and A to Z, which is easier than task switching, i.e. making your mind go back and forth. That person always gets to the numbers faster, not because they're smarter, better or stronger, but simply because their mind doesn't have to go back and forth through multiple options.

And this is how we prove to people that multitasking is always a lie. And by the way, not to say that you should never multitask, you just aren't going to multitask when it matters. In other words, if you are watching TV and playing on your phone, you're multitasking and that's fine. You're in a relaxation period. It doesn't matter. But when you're doing what matters most, you have to stay focused on what matters most, right? We have to make sure that the time that we have to focus on our number one priority, the thing that drives disproportionate results is done without interruption.

Chris Dixon:

Yeah. Multitasking really is a lie. And even like the perception that you are doing it well is a lie and people can do it well is a lie. It's just important to acknowledge that because like you said, you're not going to be perfect. I mean, it's so easy to be distracted. And in the world that we live in today, the game is attention and there's companies that are real good at it and they're going to get your attention and they make billions of dollars doing it. So let’s acknowledge that. So you can be better.

And you said it Nikki, like when you're working on your most important work, if you've done the work, say, this is the most important thing I can accomplish today, and my today is connected to my tomorrows. And I have that clarity. Then you can just do it then. If you have a two-hour block, a one-hour block that you're going to focus on this really high ROI work, try not to multitask then and start there, and maybe you can grow from there. But it really does have a significant cost to your productivity. And it's important to acknowledge that.

And it's the more that you're having to switch your focus, there's always going to be a period of time where you have to reorient yourself on what you're focused on and kind of get yourself situated and back into the groove or back in a flow state. And sometimes if you're doing really creative work and you're in a really good headspace, just the smallest distraction takes you out of that space. And I'm sure we can all relate to never coming back. Right. And that at any aggregate over time is a significant amount of productivity loss. So I think the big things for me is just recognize it's easy to get distracted. When you're clear on your most important work and you're doing that, do your best not to multitask because for sure you're not going to be as productive.

Nikki Miller:

For sure. And ultimately, we constantly on this podcast talk about focusing on the most important thing. And one of the principles that you've heard us talk about in order to do that, especially when you're protecting that time clock is building a bunker. And this is the thing that allows you to prevent yourself from multitasking.

What we mean by this is that you have to know thyself, and you have to know the world that we live in today. Chris, you said it best. Like these companies know how to distract us. The world is not designed for our success. And we constantly have things that are pulling our attention. I have to put my phone away because I know that if that thing buzzes, I am like Pavlov's dog, I am going to pick it up and I'm going to look at it. And it's probably going to be something that wasn't worth looking at, but it will distract me. I'm going to make sure that my email isn't going off when I'm trying to do this, because if it is, and if it does, I'm going to get distracted.

So we have to know the world that we live in, and we have to know what we need to prevent in order to ensure that we can actually focus. We have to make sure that we're setting ourselves up for success because ultimately, every minute that you check that phone or check that email that you take away from what matters most, it adds up. And it might not feel like it in the moment, but over time you could have gotten that most important thing done so much faster. And ultimately, people think that they are spending and there's been study after study about this and inside The ONE Thing and beyond the people feel like they're actually getting more done when in reality they're not. It's taking them far longer to do what matters most because they're not staying focused on one task at a time.

Chris Dixon:

Yeah. You said something before, I think it's important maybe to draw a distinction because there is like intentional multitasking and then there's like unintentional distractions that would cause you to multitask.

And if you are intentionally multitasking, like, hey, I've got to, I've got my Slack up and I'm responding over here and I've got my project document over here and I'm kind of bouncing back and forth frequently, that's your intending to multitask. And you want to watch out for that because you're definitely going to pay a toll for that.

The other is you talked about a bunker, like build your bunker, your environment that you're in. Like, we also say sweep for minds. Like what are the things that unintentionally could go off or blow up that you weren't expecting that could take you off track? And I think that's a really big thing to consider too. It's distinctly different. Like, hey, how do I shut down my notifications? Close the browsers? Like what's the one thing that's most likely to blow up in my time block to distract me and cause me to multitask or task switch that I wasn't anticipating. So I think those are two different strategies, but both equally important.

Nikki Miller:

And the next lie, Chris, is I think the one that probably gets misunderstood or perhaps misused the most, I'll see if you agree, which is a disciplined life is a lie. And I think often when people hear this the first time, they have one of two reactions. Either number one, they're like, yes, I knew it. I don't have to be disciplined, I can be whimsical. I'm good. No, that's not what it means.

And the other side is someone who is highly disciplined, who says there's absolutely no way people who are super successful are disciplined. And I always like to differentiate that this lie is not about being disciplined or undisciplined. It's about being disciplined where it matters. And what Gary and Jay say in the book is that success is actually a very short race, fueled by discipline that's just long enough for a habit to kick in.

So the idea is that a disciplined life is a lie in the sense that we can't always be disciplined. We'll get to willpower next, but often our willpower is low, or it's something that we haven't built a habit around yet and it requires extra discipline. Or like I said, our willpower is low. We don't have the discipline in order to do that thing. And that's not because you, the person, are not disciplined. It's because you haven't built a habit around it. Think for yourself of any habit that you've built. At a certain point, that wasn't a habit for you. You had to have discipline in order to create it, but then it became a habitual part of your life.

And the example I always use here is brushing your teeth. Like at some point your mom and dad had to tell you, or whomever raised you had to like tell you every day, you got to brush your teeth, Chris. Like your teeth are going to fall out. They're going to threaten you, like they had to me. And they're going to say you have to brush your teeth, but now no one is telling me to do that every day. It's just a part of my schedule. If it's not a part of your schedule, that's probably a different podcast that we're going to have to address it, but that’s just a part of my schedule at this point, right? And yet at a certain point of my life, it required a select period of discipline until it became something habitual.

So I think people often misinterpret this one is that I can either be undisciplined or I always have to be disciplined. And what we're saying is that it's somewhere in the middle where you use selected periods of discipline to create habits that are going to move you forward.

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Chris Dixon:

Discipline is important. There's no two ways about that. I mean it's something that, to your point though, it becomes like leverage. Like use discipline as leverage that you can form habits that require less discipline so you can form new habits, stack them over time, and then you begin to build this behavioral shift. If you rely solely on discipline, I'm concerned, or I would be concerned that you have enough things you could build over time or stack on top of each other. You can't be disciplined enough to do all of this.

So what you're trying to do is like you said, sprints of discipline to form habits, to generate or drive new behaviors to start to become or make a transition or transform the type of person that you are overall so that you are in a place that you can actually achieve the goals that you set out to, because if you, we talk about this all the time, but if you think about the goal is the what you want to accomplish, then you have to understand that on the other side of that is this person you're trying to develop so that you can earn the right to achieve those goals.

That's habit formation. Use discipline like leverage to build habits so that you can start to transform into this type of person. I think I know, like you mentioned earlier, I even had early on kind of a reaction to the discipline concept. It's like, well, we're not diminishing discipline. Discipline has placed an important role but use it to your advantage.

Nikki Miller:

Right. And this goes back to what we always say in The ONE Thing that success is about doing the right thing, not doing everything right. It's not about being disciplined in everything. It's about being disciplined in the places that matter and the places that are going to drive you forward.

And this is also from my perspective, Chris, very liberating in a sense, because it allows me to release myself from having to monitor everything.

I love the sort of clarification of this lie, because in my head, if I always have to be disciplined, that sounds like an awful life to me. Like, I don't want to have to be disciplined all day, every day.

And this allows me to not have to monitor all of the things, to be disciplined all the time, but rather to give myself the freedom to be disciplined where it matters and to not be disciplined where it doesn't matter and only to use that sort of short sprint of discipline to make sure that the habits that I'm creating and maintaining are the ones that are driving me forward in the areas that matter to me.

Chris Dixon:

Well said.

Nikki Miller:

Shall we go on to willpower?

Chris Dixon:

Yeah. Well, it's so interesting because discipline and willpower are so connected. And I think it's such a great setup because when you're talking about discipline, you have a limited amount of willpower and it's not always available. Hence the lie that willpower is always on will call and it's not.

Nikki Miller:

And ultimately, the threat I want to pull through here is that when someone's leaning into the uncovering the truth within these lies, rather I should say -- I was going to say at first, Chris, when someone's leaning into these lies, but that doesn't sound right. When someone's leaning into uncovering the truth of these lies, what they often realize is that in their quest to build habits, there's a period of time that it's really hard. That's the discipline period.

And if you've read The ONE Thing, then you know, that studies show that it takes 66 days to actually form a habit. So we use the 66 day challenge. If you want to learn more about it, you can go to the1thing.com and download a calendar. But we use the 66 day challenge in order to build those habits. And the reason that this is so important, the reason you have to use that discipline in order to be able to build the habit is because willpower is not always on will call.

And willpower at the end of the day has a battery life, right? I always think about willpower as sort of the battery life of my phone, that as I go through the day and as the battery life of my phone gets lower, so too does my willpower battery. In other words, when you get tired and when you're, whether it's physically tired or I'm tired or a little bit of both, as the day goes on, you're less likely to make the right decision when given the choice if you haven't built the habit around it. That's why building the right habits and having discipline for periods of time until you've built them is so important.

And the example I always give here, Chris, is I don't know about you, but I'm not a big breakfast eater. I don't love eating breakfast. I bet some people on this call are like me too. I don't like eating breakfast either. I never have been. So often I'll leave the house and I've just had a cup of coffee or whatever. And any nutritionist who's listening to this is like losing their mind and that's okay. And often, I'll leave the house and I haven't had breakfast yet because I just don't want it. I don't like eating breakfast in the morning.

But the problem with that is that when you're a busy person, if you don't eat breakfast, it can sometimes happen that you get to the end of the day, and you haven't had anything to eat. And it's like four or five o'clock and you're wondering why you're grumpy and you're wondering why you're short tempered. And it's because you haven't eaten anything.

And then my question to people, when I'm giving this example is always, what do you reach for when it's four or five o'clock and you haven't eaten all day? Do you reach for the healthy option? Do you reach for the salad? Do you reach for the chicken and veggies? And they're like, absolutely not. What do you reach for? You reach for, I want the pizza or the fast food or the, whatever is not the right health decision for me.

And this is just the example of if we don't have -- if we haven't built a bunker, we don't have the discipline to create a habit, we're usually not going to make the right decision, the hard decision when our willpower is low. That's just human nature.

Chris Dixon:

Maybe this visual helps. I try to look at my calendar like it's heat map. And in other words, like it's color coded based on like where my willpower will be the strongest relative to the thing that I'm trying to do, because I think that's important too, because it's not always just about that your mornings are best. Because in general, I say I would think that that's true, but I've gotten a lot of feedback over the years that some people do their best creative work at night, for example, right? And it’s just something about that's where they can focus, and it just works for them.

So I think it's important to mention that too, that your willpower might be relative to what you're focused on. Generally speaking, earlier in the day, the better, but there's exceptions. So I kind of look at my calendar like it's heat map. Like green means areas where I have the most willpower, in red or yellow then red being where you have the least and try to visualize that as you're putting your most important time blocks in because you kind of just look at your calendar like all your blocks are weighted equally.

Like you'll feel like I'm just going to move this here because I had this come up and all of a sudden now your most important works at 6 P.M. on a Friday. Most likely, and for most people, that's not a great time to put important work, right? So think about that because where you put this work really matters and where you're going to be most likely to honor your time block, not multitask, do really quality work relative to the type of work that you're doing.

Nikki Miller:

And here's what -- I love that visual, by the way. Thank you for that. You've never explained that to me before. I'm going to use that. That's really smart. So thank you for that. We're both learning today or we're all learning today for those that are listening to this too. So that's awesome. And yet, what I want to go back to something you just said, because I think that this leads into the discipline lie as well where people hear that phrasing and they're like, oh yes, I don't have to live a disciplined life. No, no, no.

There are a few people who do actually do better work toward the end of the day, but they are absolutely the exception, not the rule. And so often, we've been coaching people before where they're like, yes, that's totally me. I am the person who does better work at the end of the day and to which we will say, you got to prove it. Because 99 percent of people are going to do their best work in the morning when their willpower is highest.

And by the way, I'm saying that there are absolutely people who do actually do better work in the evening. And yet, we're going to often push for it, you've got to prove it. So if you are saying that you can't work out in the morning and you can only do it at the end of the day, and yet your results show that if you keep it at the end of the day, that 9 times out of 10, you don't do it, you’re going to be hard pressed to convince us that that's the right timing for you.

So ultimately just challenge yourself. If you're saying, oh, I've gotten freedom to not do the most important thing in the morning. I'm totally a night worker or a night worker outer or a night focus person, whatever story we're telling ourselves, just challenge yourself. Am I actually doing what matters most when I get to the end of the day? And if you are, then that very well may be true, but I would offer that it's important to get an accountability partner in order to make sure that you're not saying that you are that person and not executing what's most important.

Chris Dixon:

Yeah, great. Thanks for clarifying that. I think it's a good point. And don't want to give anybody an easy out and help them justify sticking those time blocks at the end of the day.

Nikki Miller:

This is just my self-talk, Chris. I'm just telling everyone the self-talk that comes up when I hear these lies. I'm like, awesome. I don't have to do it in the morning. And yet, if I'm not doing it, I have to do it in the morning.

Chris Dixon:

Yeah, that's fair. That's fair. If I wake up some mornings and I'm supposed to run and it's like, 25 degrees outside, I'm like the evening's looking promising. This is going to be a better time for me.

Nikki Miller:

Today, I am an evening runner.

Chris Dixon:

Yeah, exactly. Right. But this is I think a really important point when it comes to willpower that you just, you have to recognize it's not always available to you. And if you identify what your most important work is, put it in the times that you're most likely to have your clearest head, your most energy and you set yourself up for success.

Nikki Miller:

The next lie is a lie of a balanced life. And I would offer that this one probably has the most controversy around it in the sense that I think it's something a lot of people strive for. And then feel a bit lied to or shortchanged when they find out that it's very much a lie. And every time I explain it, and we explain it in trainings, it's something that we get a lot of light bulbs around because I think a lot of people over time have heard the phrase, Chris, you just got to be more balanced. You need to find more balance in your life. And yet it's such a lie because the idea of balance, if you can visualize it in your head, the idea of balance is that everything matters equally, that everything is given equal attention, equal weight, and everything is weighted and matters equally.

And the fact of the matter is it just doesn't. Balance is just a lie. Everything absolutely does not matter equally. And if you try to achieve balance, you're probably going to make yourself crazy. So the goal, what we talk about in The ONE Thing isn't to achieve balance, but rather this idea of counterbalance. And then the question is, do we go short, what we call short, or do we go long? And in our personal lives, we go short. In other words, we have to make peace with the fact that extraordinary results require us to go out of balance.

And here's what it might look like in your personal life. We're going to focus our time and energy and intention around, whether it's our significant other or our friends or our kids or our extended family, whatever that looks like, I'm going to make the time count when I have it. For example, for me personally, when I'm with my daughter, if I didn't work and stayed home during the day, I might have more time in terms of a chronological time with her. But I would offer that she gets more attention and focus energy with me because I am so intentional about the time that we have, because I know that I work during the day. And so therefore, I don't get the extended time with her that I would if I was home. So I make an effort, a concerted effort to make sure that the time that we do spend counts, right?

And the explanation I always give to people here is if you leave for a couple days for a work trip, right, you go out of town for a few days for a work trip, when you get home, your relationship, whether it's with your significant other or your family, will probably look very similar to as it did when you left. But if you leave for a year and come back, well, that relationship is probably going to look a little bit different.

So in other words, in our personal life, we have to go short. And in our business life and our professional life, we have to go long. And what we mean by that is that extraordinary results require us to go out of balance for long periods of time. In other words, we have to focus on what matters most, what's going to drive results for a long period of time in order to get to those results. Success very rarely happens in the short.

Chris Dixon:

If you're trying to achieve this elusive work life, perfect balance and harmony, it's an unrealistic, unachievable goal that you have. It's in the short term, like you said, to have perfect harmony and balance, it's just not something you can do. And I think what the difference of the distinction here that's so important is that it's okay, be intentional if you're going to go out of balance and recognize that you're doing it on purpose for the longer play.

And I love the glass and rubber ball analogy. I think that helps so much because you can look at the different areas of your life and just make sure you're clear. Like, okay, is this a glass ball or a rubber ball? And if I drop it, is it going to bounce back, and I can pick it back up? Or is it going to be scuffed or broken forever? And those are the ones that you don't want to swing wildly out of balance because the impact of it.

So just know, it's like, hey, these relationships over here, like I can't -- these have to stay solid right now. I just can't afford to swing that. But maybe, for example, it's like I'm just not going to dip too hard into the social sphere for a little while in my personal life because I just got too much going on with work and I'm pushing this goal forward, and that's okay. You're going to go out of balance a little bit there for a while, for a few weeks or a month, because you're just driving towards a bigger goal of this extraordinary life you want someday. And you can circle back to that and go back out and have dinners with your friends later.

But that's kind of an example of where you're not perfectly balanced with your kind of tertiary friend group, and you're perfectly balanced with how much you're doing at work. It's like, no, you're intentional. I'm just going to tip this over here for a little while. And then I can circle back when it's appropriate for you doing it on purpose.

Nikki Miller:

I love that phrase that you just said, which is on purpose. And ultimately, whenever we're talking about balance, that's what we go back to. It's intentionally going out of balance and then making decisions but depending upon whether it's a glass or rubber ball about whether or not we go short or whether or not we go long.

Because the truth is, Chris, when you act on priority, you're automatically going to go out of balance. There will always be things that are unmet when you're acting on what matters most for you in relation to your goals. So if you're giving more time to one thing over another, as you should, if that one thing is going to drive results more, then ultimately you're automatically by definition going to go out of balance. So you have to make peace with that before you start achieving those or questing to achieve those extraordinary results, or you're going to make yourself crazy because you'll constantly feel pulled back to doing what matters least if you try to give everything equal attention and time.

Or in your example, I think also everyone equal attention and time when not everyone -- I need to phrase it better, but not everyone matters equally in your own life, right? If we have a family, we might give them more attention and time than we would that sort of tertiary group of friends that you mentioned. We might give our best friends or inner circle more attention than our work acquaintances, which is totally appropriate. And ultimately, it's about being intentional, making decisions about what and who matters most in order for us to go in and out of balance with.

Chris Dixon:

Yeah. You can't say yes to everybody and everything. And if you try to, you're going to end up saying no to yourself or your goals.

Nikki Miller:

Yup. Perfectly said. This last lie, this feels weird to say this out loud. I'm saying a lot of things that feel odd coming out of my mouth today, Chris, but the last lie is by far my favorite. I think it's the most important one, especially for business owners to make peace with. And the last lie is the big is bad. And we deal with this often, especially with early entrepreneurs that we hear when we're coaching them or when we're working through their business plans at the goal setting retreat, they'll say, well, I don't want this to get too big.

And the truth of the matter is, Chris, no one really knows their ultimate ceiling. So by making a small goal, then you are therefore forced to make a small plan and you're almost assuredly going to achieve then small versus making a big goal that requires a big plan. And even if you don't make it, you'll still be further than you would have been on a small goal and therefore your small plan.

And I think what matters most here is I had an aha a few years ago as my sort of business in life started to get bigger. I thought to myself, Chris, I have the exact same amount of time and energy on this day as I did when I was first starting this business, as when I was first starting in my career. So if that's true, then what it says to me is that if everyone, if the great equalizer is time, if we all have the same amount of time, then ultimately it takes the same amount of time and energy to run a small business as it does to run a big one. So if that's true, should we just go blow up our life?

Chris Dixon:

Absolutely. And there's so much programming in this lie and like what your experience and maybe how you were raised or there's just a lot of that that you have to unpack. And I think it's a healthy thing to do because to your point, you don't know what's possible for you unless you really try. And it's almost like you know you're in the realm of possibility if it feels like it's unachievable in a way, like there's a limit to that maybe where it becomes really discouraging for you. But trying to find that sweet spot of like this, I just don't know how we're going to do this because that's where growth's going to happen anyway, and kind of where you want to be. But to your point, I think it's challenging for people to see that. And the natural tendency is to kind of back away from it because it feels maybe unrealistic, or it feels like there's this lie that it's bad to think this big when really you have to kind of flip that.

And you said something before about like the same amount of time and energy. And forgive my running analogy here, but for you runners out there, hopefully you can relate, but when you're training for running, like it's not like over time, like it feels easier. You just go faster and further. And so as you train more and you get, I think this is true with your own development in this capacity too, you're going to use the same amount of time and energy. You're just going to get better and smarter and have a greater impact. And that eventually lead to bigger and greater possibilities.

Nikki Miller:

I mean, the truth of the matter is the only actions that become those springboard to succeeding big are those that are informed by big thinking to begin with. At the end of the day, we have to ask the big questions in order to come up with big answers. And I think the coolest part about coaching people, Chris, is that when they have someone on the other side, when we're coaching people inside The ONE Thing, I mean one of the greatest privileges that that we get is to witness as we ask someone a bigger question than they may have considered before. Because when we start thinking that way, it's really hard to stop thinking that way.

When you've trained yourself to think big and when you've trained yourself to answer big questions, it's really hard to stop thinking that way and to stop behaving that way. To your point, if you're a runner listening to this, we always come back to these analogies. We're going to get everybody who's listening to the podcast to be a runner just so they can understand, Chris.

But we always come back to these analogies because if you're a runner and you get used to running a certain speed, it almost hurts your body to run slower. Whatever your speed is as a runner, if you're 11 minute a mile runner or 5 minutes per mile runner, wherever you are, if you try to run slower than that, it's going to be difficult for you. You will actually get more tired. Your body will actually hurt more than if you run the speed that feels right to you.

So ultimately, if you learn how to ask big questions and to solve for big problems, you can't unlearn it. That is just the way that you wire your brain, and you start behaving that way in interaction with the goals that you've set out.

Chris Dixon:

Yeah. This is something that I really encourage people to push themselves and I think one of the greatest signals that you're starting to tap into an area where you want to spend some time and maybe like you said, formulate bigger questions is that it starts to feel uncomfortable. It starts to feel like you can't really imagine how you're going to get there because that's the possibility arc, right? We're moving past doable, past stretch into possibility. And you kind of know you're in possibility and you're asking big enough questions and seeking big enough answers because you don't have the answer and you got to go figure it out. And that's an important thing I think to aim for.

Nikki Miller:

Absolutely. So one more time, the lies that mislead and derail us. Number one, everything matters equally. It absolutely doesn't. Number two, multitasking is a lie. You quite simply can't do it. You can stop trying to prove to yourself that you can on the things that matter most. The next is a discipline life is a lie. It's about select periods of discipline in order to bridge the gap between that action and the habit that we're trying to create.

The next is that willpower is always on will call. It's not. So we can't rely only on willpower. It's about building the habits that are going to move us forward and doing the most important thing when we have the energy in order to do it. The next lie is a balanced life, the lie that everything matters equally. And the last that we just covered is that big is bad because we can only go so far with small plans.

Chris Dixon:

Yeah. Hopefully, this is really helpful for everyone. This is one of those things that even if you've heard these before, it's just good to revisit because they creep back in and it's something you have to continue to remind yourself of. Even talking through it today, I'm like, oh yeah, caught myself on a few things, and that's important. And hopefully, this is helpful for you guys out there to just remind yourself of some of these traps and the lies that you might be telling yourself subconsciously.

Nikki Miller:

Thanks so much for spending some time with us today. We hope that this was helpful. If you want to learn more about connecting with The ONE Thing, go to the1thing.com. That's the1thing.com. Want to learn more about coaching with us, you can connect to us there and we'll see everybody next time.


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