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Life/Books

Act Now on Marginal Challenges to Achieve New Goals in Life

by zxcvber 2020. 6. 24.

After returning to the society from the training center, I felt that my English skills weren't good as they were before. So a few days ago, I started to listen to TED talks on YouTube. Yesterday when I was playing MapleStory, I needed something to watch. I was planning to watch Netflix while I play the game in the first place, but I thought that TED talks would be much more helpful and beneficial.

These were the 4 talks I listened to while playing the game.

  1. The first 20 hours -- how to learn anything
  2. Life begins at the End of Your Comfort Zone
  3. How to Achieve Your Most Ambitious Goals
  4. How to stop screwing yourself over

After listening to the 4 talks, I only remembered the contents of the fourth talk. I learned the 5 second rule of ideas. When an idea comes to your mind, you lose it if you don't act on it within 5 seconds. This is because when you want something, you have to act now, or you won't be able to do it. You cannot wait until it feels like the right time to do or get what you want. The truth is, we will never feel like doing it. For example, losing weight, waking up early, and studying - these are some goals that people procrastinate and wait for the right time but the time never comes. So the important thing to realize is when an idea comes to mind, we should do it now.

When I woke up the next morning, I suddenly remembered what I heard from the 3rd talk. The speaker told us how he learnt Spanish while commuting. So I thought about how much time I wasted every workday on the road. It was about 3 hours, which accumulates up to 15 hours a week, 60 hours a month. Now I started to feel the problem here. When I commute, I always take a book with me, but I often don't read it and usually sleep or play on my phone. I thought this was a problem and I could use this time for myself. Quoting the first talk, I could use this 60 hours to learn 3 new skills, or to study some other topic. I had to act now, or I won't be able to do use this 60 extra hours every month.

Another thing the speaker mentioned is that marginal changes will help you achieve your life goals. When you want to finish a book, don't think about the whole book, break it down to chapters, paragraphs, sentences, or even words. Think about it. How do you start reading a book? First, we have to put our phones away, and pull out the book from the shelf. Then open the book and start by reading the first word. This is an example of a marginal change. It's not very hard to read the first word of a book. Once you have read the first word, it is even easier to read the next word, and the next word, and so on.

This accumulation of marginal changes will lead you to reading a sentence, a paragraph, a chapter, and finally a whole book. But you know, the hard part is the preparation for reading a book. It's hard to put our phones, games and TV away. To overcome this, don't think about the whole goal itself.  Break it down to smaller pieces that can be handled as marginal changes. For example, reading a book can be broken down to reading a sentence. Likewise, to achieve your life's most ambitious goals, first set a goal then break it down to marginal changes that can be actually doable.

From the second talk, I'm pretty sure everyone knows this, I was reminded that I need to get out of the comfort zone to learn something new and achieve new goals. But it shouldn't be too challenging, otherwise you will lose motivation and tire you out.

Overall, I decided that now is the time to face new challenges. Because my goal was to study English and get better at it, I broke down the goal into a smaller task I could handle: I will study English vocabulary when I commute, starting from today. Since this new challenge shouldn't be too hard, I pulled out a Korean-high school level English vocabulary book and decided to study it. This decision, a marginal change in my life, is sure to bring me new achievements and is sure to help me advance further in my studies. And here I am, writing this in my workplace, after reviewing and learning exactly 390 English words on the way here from home.

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