In her book Grit: Why Passion and Resilience are the Secrets to Success, Angela Duckwoth quotes one of Warren Buffet’s advice.
She says the following:
Warren Buffett – the self-made multibillionaire whose personal wealth, acquired entirely within his own lifetime, is roughly twice the size of Harvard University’s endowment – reportedly gave his pilot a simple three-step process for prioritizing.
The story goes like this: Buffet turns to his faithful pilot and says that he must have dreams greater than flying Buffett around to where he needs to go. The pilot confesses that, yes, he does. And the Buffett takes him through three steps.
First, you write down a list of twenty-five career goals.
Second, you do some soul-searching and circle the five highest-priority goals. Just five.
Third, you take a good hard look at the twenty goals you didn’t circle. These you avoid at all costs. They’re what distract you; they eat away time and energy, taking your eye from the goals that matter more.
Time and energy are limited. We don’t have the whole time on this world to do everything.
If we are to succeed at something, we need to reduce our focus from twenty things and focus on less than five things and build our 10,000 hours as Malcolm Gladwell would say.
Any successful person has to decide what to do in part by deciding what not to do.
A “Not-to-do” list is as important as a “To-do” list.
You need one internal compass, not two, three, four, or five.
You want to be extremely good at one thing instead of being average at many things.