Failing with Abandon


Hey friends,

As I wrote about last week, with the help of my new accountability coach James, I set myself three goals. Here are the results as promised:

✅ Host a dinner party – This went really well. Had 15 people over on Saturday evening and cooked a Quorn bolognese with pasta. I’m aiming to do this whole dinner party thing every 1-2 weeks from now on. Even went out and bought a bunch of cooking gear lol.

➖ Draft chapter 5 of my book – I got to 50% (around 4,000 words), but then realised that I needed to tweak the book outline, so the goal wasn’t valid any more. Steven Pressfield discusses this in Nobody Wants to Read Your S**t: how with every book there are moments of asking yourself, “what the hell is this goddamn thing actually about”. The answer is to go back to basics, make sure you’ve got a logical + coherent argument in each section, and then get back to writing.

❌ Go to the gym Monday, Wednesday, Friday – I skipped my Monday session after a late night. I’ve realised that gym first thing in the morning doesn’t work for me… it’s not an enjoyable first activity, so I just procrastinate in bed. From now on I’ll switch to two days a week, and try to go more with my natural flow. Eg after my writing session on Wednesday I was really in the mood for a workout, so I went to the gym, and it was great. I know that “motivation is a myth” etc, but sometimes we just need to make things fun.

So I didn’t get everything done, but I’m still very happy with progress on all fronts. This reminds me of Nate Soares’ post about not ‘failing with abandon’: even if we stumble a little on one of our goals (like missing the Monday gym sesh), that’s no reason to “fail with abandon” by not going to the gym the other two days. 100% is great, but 80% is also pretty reasonable.

I can still choose to get as close as possible to my target. That can be hard to remember if you’re just focused on getting a big fat ✅ on your to-do list.

Honestly I’m slightly annoyed at how effective this accountability coaching is. Just having a call with a guy who asks me “so what are your goals for the week” shouldn’t work as well as it does. Which speaks to the whole weekly review thing being really really useful. I know I could do all this by myself – it’s just that I don’t.

Have a great week!

Ali xx

PS This week we launched Season Two of my podcast Deep Dive, which I’m super excited about. I kicked off by interviewing psychologist Dr Julie Smith about therapy, relationships, and how to lead a meaningful life.

PPSSomething exciting is coming soon…

🦸‍♂️ Superorganisers

I’ve recently been reading the Superorganisers newsletter, and it’s really good. About how various CEO’s, creators, and authors structure their lives (calendar apps, workflows, book recommendations). Published by Every, who host sick newsletters, podcasts and essays by people like Nat Eliason and Tiago Forte. You can check it out here 🔥

♥️ My Favourite Things

📚 Book – What Money Can’t Buy by Michael Sandel. Loads of interesting questions about what money can’t buy, and the things money shouldn’t be able to buy. Like, should you be able to buy someone’s kidney? Is it unethical to pay a homeless person to keep your place in a queue? His basic argument is that some things are more sacred than market forces would have you believe, and that things get morally icky when you bring money into the equation.

🎬 YouTube Video – The 8 Best Business Books You’ve Never Heard Of by Noah Kagan. This video came out a few months ago, and I got loads of good recommendations. Including…. 👇

📚 Book – The Road Less Stupid by Keith J Cunningham. How to dodge “the dumb tax” – ie not make stupid mistakes that cost you a lot of money. Especially good if you’re running a business for the first time and worried about being screwing things up lol 😅

🥘 Kitchen Equipment – Pretty happy with my new Le Creuset dutch ovens, as recommended by Tim Ferriss. Harry Potter edition: one red, one blue.

Sunday Snippets Ali Abdaal Newsletter

✍️ Quote of the Week

The wide world is all about you: you can fence yourselves in, but you cannot for ever fence it out.

From The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein. Resurfaced using Readwise.

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