When it comes to learning, the expiration date of what you learn matters.
Learn what’s going to stay relevant 50 years from now. Not what's going to expire in a month.
Ground yourself in timeless ideas, concepts, and stories.
“If you absolutely can’t tolerate critics, then don’t do anything new or interesting.” — Jeff Bezos
Ambition requires risk. You have to develop elephant skin and tune out the noise.
At a certain level, you have to be able to rely on your own thinking and intuition. To date that, you have to be very good at listening to your inner scorecard and ignoring what’s on anyone else’s.
"One of the key disciplines for building a great organization is to recognize that it's never a single event. It's a cumulative process. There's no big bang, no big breakthrough, no big aha. Rather, it's like pushing a giant heavy flywheel."
Sustained progress is like a chain reaction that just runs in a loop. Jim Collins thinks of it as a flywheel and wrote an except (and exceptionally short) book on it called Turning The Flywheel.
If you haven't read it, this YouTube playlist is a great place to start.
Pressure bursts the pipe.
Momentum has a quality all its own and it’s extremely powerful.
Once you’ve built it, don’t let up—sustain your pace. Breakthroughs come from a lethal combination of intensity AND endurance.
Here’s a simple question to ask next time you find yourself feeling frustrated by your progress toward a goal:
How am I making this harder than it needs to be?
It’s a great way to gut check yourself and ensure there’s no other details you can’t simplify, focus, or edit out completely.
Making sustainable progress is hard enough. Start by not making it any harder than it needs to be.
Until next week,
Daniel Scrivner (00:00.77)
Hi, this is Daniel Scrivner here with a brand new episode of Friday Five. Now this is something completely new that I'm trying this week. So for a long time I've been collecting quotes, ideas, questions to ponder. And by a long time, I mean at this point, probably a decade or more. And I'm finally at the point where I'm ready to start pulling all of this together into, I feel like I've got a very fascinating body of work. And I'm finally starting, you know, ready to pull this together into a weekly newsletter.
And so that newsletter is called Friday 5 and effectively every single week I'm going to share just five ideas, quotes, questions and more to ponder over the weekend. From my own standpoint, this is kind of like, you know, the prompts that I would give myself the little reminders I want to give myself each week. And for everyone else, it's something I'm excited to share with you and I hope that you find it as valuable as I have. And so in addition to the newsletter, which you can sign up for at danielscrivner.com/friday-five.
Or you could go to outlieracademy.com and just sign up for a newsletter there. Those are both perfectly fine ways to be able to sign up. So what I'm going to do is in addition to the email newsletter, I'm also going to record a short episode each week, just speaking about elaborating on a little bit the ideas that are in this week's newsletter. I hope that it's going to be about five minutes in length. That's what I'm going to try to shoot for. So with that, let's go ahead and jump in. So again, where I'm starting off this week is with a thought.
And that thought is that when it comes to learning the expiration date of what you learn matters. You want to learn what's going to stay relevant 50 years from now, not what's going to expire in a month. And you want to ground yourself in timeless ideas, concepts and stories. So what does this mean quickly? Well, I think what it means really at the end of the day is, you know, there are constantly, and typically this is unconscious. We're not thinking about this, but there are constantly, you know, with the content that we're taking in, everything has a duration of usefulness. What do I mean by that?
I mean, as an example, if I'm going and reading something on New York Times, Washington Post, any news site, highly unlikely that that's going to be relevant even six months, maybe even a month from when I'm reading it. But instead I'm reading something like a founder's biography or I'm reading someone that studied a field and they're distilling down all the things that they've learned into a hundred pages. That is something that especially if it's a founder that survived the test of time, meaning they founded the business, they've proven to be successful.
Daniel Scrivner (02:22.378)
it is highly likely that the ideas in that book are going to be very durable. And so again, just try to be conscious of what you're taking in and try to consciously push yourself to make sure that you're taking in as much as like high, as high a percentage as possible of timeless or just durable ideas. That's number one. Number two is a quote. Now there's a lot of fantastic quotes from Jeff Bezos. One of my favorites is if you absolutely can't tolerate critics, then don't do anything new or interesting.
And the reason that I like this quote is it's just a phenomenal reminder that ambition requires risk, that you have to develop elephant skin and you have to tune out the noise. And at a certain level, you have to trust your own thinking and intuition, and you can only listen to what your inner scorecard is telling you. Now, you know, something like the inner scorecard is a concept that I've heard for a long time. And, you know, I think it's, it's a wonderful metaphor of effectively saying there's always two ways we can kind of judge our own progress. We can look externally for feedback that we're getting from others.
And you know, that's very unreliable. It depends, you know, they're not us. They don't actually know much of the context behind what we're doing. But so they're trying to make a judgment call with, you know, effectively very little context. Or we can trust our own intuition. And I think, you know, you want to be able to trust your own intuition. But to do that, you need to be able to put in the work. And so what I love about this idea, you know, that you, if you, if you
If you can't tolerate critics, then you don't, then don't do anything new or interesting is just this idea that it's all about tuning in. And it's about knowing why you're doing it and having that conviction internally and making sure that you're anchoring there as often as possible. It's a powerful reminder. Number three this week is actually a short video and the video is actually kind of cringe-worthy. It's basically I think two minute video that somebody grabbed from an unknown Jim Collins talk. So Jim Collins is
probably most famously known as being the author of Good to Great. He's actually here where I live, where I work during the week in Boulder, Colorado. But this is actually this video is about a separate book that he wrote and it's fascinating. So this is one of my favorite books. It's called Turning the Flywheel. And what's fascinating about it is, you know, so Jim Collins is known for writing The Good to Great. This book is an addendum, meaning, you know, you don't get it with the book, you have to order it separately.
Daniel Scrivner (04:35.818)
And so most people have never heard of it. In fact, I don't think I've ever, maybe one person I've suggested this book to had come across it. It's only 37 pages. I mean, this book could be a long blog post, but it's one of the best mental models, one of the best tools I've ever come across in terms of just understanding how stuff works.
And so here's a quote from the video. And again, you're going to want to go to the website. If you want to go look at the newsletter, you can find that at outlieracademy.com slash 165. This is episode 165. Here's a quote from Jim Collins. One of the key disciplines for building a great organization is to recognize that it's never a single event. It's a cumulative process. There's no big bang, no big breakthrough, no big aha. Rather, it's like pushing a giant flywheel.
And so I think, you know, the reason I like this quote is I think it's a great realistic reminder of what it's actually like to build something. It is absolutely grueling and you are going to do a lot of it is far from sexy, far from interesting, far from fun. But you know, it also hints at this book. So Jim Collins idea is that progress can be reliably made when you know what your flywheel looks like. And so I won't give away too much of the book. I highly encourage you to read it.
But it's just a fascinating little meditation and also linked to in the newsletter a playlist. And so if you are interested, I encourage you to go and buy the book. I'll leave a link in the show notes. It's Turning the Flywheel by Jim Collins or go and go to the website, go to outlieracademy.com slash 165 and click on the video link. Then you can see the playlist. And this is just a little bit of reflection that I wrote. Sustained progress is like a chain reaction that just runs in a loop. It just keeps on going.
Jim Collins thinks of it as a flywheel and wrote an exceptional and exceptionally short book on it called turning the flywheel. If you haven't read it, this YouTube playlist is a great place to start. Last two ideas are very short. One is just a very simple, it's like a turn of the phrase that I come back to and is a good reminder and it's pressure bursts the pipe. And what's funny about that is that obviously sounds negative, but the context here is actually positive and what you know, so what do I mean by this? Why is this a useful hook?
Daniel Scrivner (06:44.138)
Well, it's a great reminder that when you've got momentum, it's actually exactly the time when you don't want to let up, you need to sustain your pace. You know, all of us, whenever we're trying to accomplish something effectively start from a standing stop and we have to build momentum over time. And once we've built that momentum, we've put in an enormous amount of work. It, you know, your first instinct is to say, Ooh, okay. Like I've got momentum. Now I'm going to take a breather and I'm going to catch my breath. And I think this is just a phenomenal.
reminder that actually you need to continue to push yourself and you need to make sure that when you have momentum, you don't let up. You know, another way I've heard this said is the goal is to get traction and never lose traction. So because it's very hard to get, you know, event momentum is very hard to get. And so when you have it, it's very important that you don't lean into your natural instinct to rest. And you continue to sustain your pace. You know, breakthroughs are forged by intensity and endurance, neither alone is enough.
And the last number five this week is a simple question. It's a simple question to ask next time you find yourself feeling frustrated by your progress towards a goal, which is how am I making this harder than it needs to be? And that may sound like the world's most stupid question, but I often find that this is a good gut check for myself. If I'm ever feeling frustrated, like I am trying something and I am not making progress, this question is a phenomenal, just, you know, invitation to effectively stop and reflect.
and think about other paths I could be taking. Think about ways I could automate or remove some of the really difficult work. Think about ways to narrow the scope. So it's just a way of, I think, refining this sense that, hey, one, be aware of how you're feeling, and if you're feeling frustrated, check in. And two, ask yourself these questions. You know, it's remarkable how often you'll have an answer just sitting there waiting to be called forth. So you have to start by not making things any harder than they need to be.
There's one more little Easter egg embedded in the newsletter. Again, you can find the full newsletter at outlieracademy.com/episode/167 and you can sign up for it and receive it every single week at danielscrivner.com/friday-five.