Living by a code ensures simplicity along your path. You’ll always know what your foundation is and what to rely on. Ultimately, it serves several purposes, one of the most powerful being the ability to cure a behavior pattern we’re all guilty of: indecision.
Indecision costs us more than we can ever imagine. This alarming cost includes time, energy, resources, stress, and the constant wasted bandwidth of overthinking. As we move forward with our dreams, we’re already overwhelmed with logic, reasoning, and trying to figure out “how.”
Barry Schwartz, psychologist and author of The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less (Schwartz 2016), studied the correlation between endless choices and happiness. He concludes that indecision may be making us miserable, saying:
“Unfortunately, the proliferation of choice in our lives robs us of the opportunity to decide for ourselves just how important any given decision is.”
Let’s take a vegan at a restaurant. When the menu arrives, they’ve already discounted 80% of the potential options. As they go through the menu, they don’t even consider the plates with meat. It’s as if they don’t exist. They simply zone in on the choices in line with their underlying code.
This makes their life easy—no back and forth between dishes. There’s no overanalyzing and spending their precious energy on best- or worst-case scenarios. Vegan eating, then, is simply an example of having a strict code in life to guide us. Without this foundational principle, we’ll crumble. Inherently, the process involves challenging moments, breakthroughs, and everything in between. If we expect these to happen, they won’t divert us, and we’ll keep sharpening our sword every single day.
Tools to master
Focus requires high amounts of attention and, without tracking, we’ll get lost. Ask the average American how productive they feel, and they’ll grossly overestimate. The truth is, the average American is productive for two to three hours a day (Crawford 2013).
Yes, you read that right. It’s a disaster out there. Between coffee breaks, countless check-ins, interruptions, and open work space, we’re laughably terrible at productivity. While an argument can be made that the reason for this is our disconnection from work, the truth is much more complex.
You and I are in the process of rewiring our brains, constantly seeking the next dopamine stimulus—and we’re paying a heavy price. The resources section of this book is packed with all the tools I’ve used to sharpen my sword of focus. They’ve also been proven with countless others. Below, I’ll highlight the most relevant you can start using now to become a master of focus, productivity, and your own version of deep work.
Remember, at the end of the day, these are simply tools. They won’t do the work for you or turn off your favorite TV show in the background. They’ll work, if you work them.
You can truly become an expert in nearly anything in a few years, if you focus and embrace the code. An emerging technology can be yours to master, if you’re willing to put in the work. This foundation will keep you grounded, focused, and excited to continue to sharpen your mindset and skills on your journey.
This is an extract from Tommy Baker's The 1% Rule published by Archangel Ink