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Boring is Fun

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal

Hey friends,

Occasionally I come across a blog post, book chapter or podcast episode that makes something click in my brain and I think 'damn that's really good'.

This week, I stumbled across such a post by James Stuber called 'Master Boring Fundamentals - Boring is Fun'. There were two key ideas from this article for me.

1 - Boring Fundamentals

For any endeavor, there are a set of basic skills needed to build a strong foundation. These are the boring fundamentals:
Sleeping 8 hours a night, exercising consistently, eating your vegetables.
Meditating, reading books, writing for yourself and for your peers.
Domain specific fundamentals, like drilling guitar chords, or calculus.
Even when we know they are good for us, even when we know they will advance our goals, we avoid taking the steps needed.
We don’t do the boring fundamentals because, well, they’re boring. Repetitive actions done day after day are not a recipe for excitement. There’s a disconnect between the future positive result and the present slog. Progress often plateaus, and only arrives in unpredictable bursts.

2 - Different Types of Fun

I used to think there was only one type of fun: pure hedonism. In my head everything else we do to survive–work, school, chores–was very clearly notfun. Ski enthusiast Tim Peck shows us that there are actually two types of fun:
Type 1 Fun: Pure fun, untarnished by setbacks
Type 2 Fun: Suffering now; fun after the fact, in retrospect
Type 2 fun is the most satisfying type of fun, because it was accompanied by a challenge. There’s something wholesome and addicting about this type of fun. If you want to get good at boring fundamentals, Type 2 fun is the one to chase.

These are just some snippets from the post - I'd highly highly recommend reading the whole thing (and if you like it, there's even a Part 2).

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I've sort of had these two concepts floating somewhere in my mind for the past few years, but reading the phrases boring fundamentals and Type 2 Fun made me think 'omg that's exactly what it is'.

It really is just the boring fundamentals that make good things happen. And if we can hack our brains into enjoying the boring fundamentals, then we're well on our way to success (however we choose to define it).

Have a great week!

Ali


This week's podcast episode

Not Overthinking | 022 - Birds, Supersonic Jets, Internet Businesses and Trophy Hunting | Episode 22

Taimur and Ali feature as guests on the Episode Party podcast. Along with hosts Jack and Freddie, we discuss an episode of (1) The Casual Birder, (2) Indie Hackers, (3) Should This Exist, and (4) Radiolab. We share our thoughts on each of these episodes, and discuss some of the ways in which they changed our thinking.

Stuff I enjoyed this week

1 - Podcast - Ed Zschau — The Polymath Professor Who Changed My Life

"Entrepreneurship isn't about starting companies. Entrepreneurship is an approach to life." — Ed Zschau Ed Zschau is the Interim President of Sierra Nevada College, and he brings to the college 17 years of leading technology companies.

2 - Article - How to Get Lucky: Maximizing Exposure to Life Changing Serendipity - Nat Eliason

In any situation where a single event can create massive good luck, you simply need to maximize your exposure to possible good luck situations and wait for one to come along.

3 - Podcast - 19 lessons learned from a decade of travel – Rolf Potts

Really solid episode of Rolf's podcast Deviate. Some super interesting takes about making friends and finding romance while travelling.

Kindle Highlight of the Week

The goal in any sport is to finish with the best score, but it would be ridiculous to spend the whole game staring at the scoreboard. The only way to actually win is to get better each day. In the words of three-time Super Bowl winner Bill Walsh, “The score takes care of itself.” The same is true for other areas of life. If you want better results, then forget about setting goals. Focus on your system instead.

From Atomic Habits by James Clear. Resurfaced via Readwise.

This week's video

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Ali Abdaal

Junior doctor, YouTuber, web designer, aspiring musician. Trying out this blogging thing.