The Power of Accountability


Hey friends,

Accountability is a powerful thing. Making a commitment to doing something and then holding ourselves accountable to others is one of the most useful tools in our motivation and productivity arsenals.

Without accountability, there’s absolutely no way I would’ve written a mini blog post in the form of these email newsletters for the past 70 weeks. And without accountability there’s certainly no way I would be up at 1am (having just driven 2 hours to get home from a friends wedding, with work early the following morning and wanting nothing better than to sink into my bed and sleep) to write and send this email.

Accountability is also a core component of the online writing course that I enrolled in this week. It’s an 8-week programme that teaches students how to write and publish valuable content on the internet. There are 2 forms of accountability in the course. Firstly, it requires students to create their own weekly email newsletters to share our writing to. And secondly it brings students together in small groups to critique each other’s work. The course instructor David recognises that even though the cohort of students are paying a lot of money to take part, and are probably very motivated to improve our writing, we still need these accountability ‘hacks’ to force us to actually take action.

So if you’re trying to do anything that benefits from consistency (as most things do) and you’re struggling with finding the motivation to keep going, consider hacking your environment to increase your accountability. You could easily do that by tweeting updates, or starting your own free email newsletter to tell your mum about what you’re working on. It doesn’t matter how small-scale the accountability is – as long as it’s there it’ll work for you.

Just like it’s worked for me today when I really couldn’t be bothered to write this email, but now it’s done and I can finally sleep 😛

Have a great week!


This week’s podcast episode

023 – Is being negative ever acceptable? | Not Overthinking

In this episode, we discuss whether negativity is ever okay. Taimur discusses why he didn’t like an Ed Sheeran concert we attended, and we try and figure out whether expressing negative views about stuff / complaining about stuff is ever justified, and if so, to what extent. We invent an acronym NDA (neutral, dispassionate analysis) and Taimur comes up with Vibe Theory as a way of helping us make decisions about this stuff.

Stuff I enjoyed this week

1 – Podcast – I enjoyed Sam Harris’ discussion with Caitlin Flanagan (Journey into Wokeness) which touched on lots of topics that I’d encountered at university, and ended up throwing even more questions than I’d had before.

2 – Article – A really solid post from Khe at Rad Reads called ‘How to make work feel like play‘. The process vs outcome thing applies just as well to student life as it does to working life.

3 – Article – This post (Self-Education: Teach Yourself Anything with the Sandbox Method) does a good job of explaining how you can teach yourself literally anything by following a simple set of principles. I regularly get emails from viewers asking for advice on how to learn various things – this article is now the first thing I direct them to.

Kindle Highlight of the Week

What you appreciate appreciates. It’s true in our money culture, where a desirable house in a desirable neighbourhood appreciates in dollar value from year to year. It’s true in our personal relationships, where our appreciation of someone’s special qualities can make them bloom before our very eyes. It’s true in business, where a company’s commitment to its employees fosters pride and excellence in their work.

And this simple but powerful act we call appreciation expands the freedom, creativity, and ultimately the success we experience, particularly in our relationship with money. Appreciation is the beating heart of sufficiency.

From The Soul of Money by Lynne Twist. Resurfaced with Readwise.

This week’s video

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