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’.
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 not fun. 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.
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).