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The AND Principle
If you have to pick between multiple things, and you're not sure which one to choose - pick both
Happy New Year!
It is Jan 2022 and you likely have some goals for this year. If you are still undecided on how many goals to pursue, I hope today's post helps you figure it out.
A couple of years ago, I was preparing for my MBA entrance exams while working a full-time, demanding job. After months of struggling to focus on the exam prep, I decided to quit my job and prepare full-time for the exams.
MBA entrance exams in India are competitive. The top 10 B-Schools have a total acceptance rate of <2% of all applicants.
I told my brother I was going to focus on ONLY one thing. Doing both was not possible.
My brother would have none of it.
By the end of our discussion, it was clear that I would be working AND preparing for the exam.
That is how I came across The AND Principle.
The AND Principle
We often face a choice on how to use our time and effort.
Do multiple things OR do only one thing?
These decisions need to be made time and again,
Work OR side-project?
Start a business OR work in a job?
Work hard OR exercise?
So, how do you choose?
People pick one or the other option based on a range of factors, or excuses.
But picking one over the other means sacrificing the other.
Forced sacrifice. Needless sacrifice.
Because in most cases, you can do BOTH
Replace the OR with AND
Start a business
ORAND work in a job.
Erase the option of OR and keep only the AND. You will be surprised by how much you can do.
"How am I supposed to do both?”
“I don't have enough
[ Insert excuse here ]"
Start with 15-30 mins each day with the skills, energy, and money you do have.
In my experience, I have found,
Doing 2 things at the same time is almost always possible.
Doing 3 things at the same time is hard but possible.
Doing 4 things at the same time will be too much.
Create magic with the AND principle
Polymaths are master practitioners of the AND principle.
They use the AND Principle to develop multiple ordinary skill-sets and weave them together to create a unique talent stack that sets them apart from everyone else.
“The idea of a talent stack is that you can combine ordinary skills until you have enough of the right kind to be extraordinary. You don’t have to be the best in the world at any one thing. All you need to succeed is to be good at a number of skills that fit well together.”
— Scott Adams
To be in the top 0.1% in a field is incredibly difficult.
You need EVERYTHING to go right for you if you want to be the best at something.
Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, Sachin Tendulkar are all legends in their fields. They were in the right place, at the right time, with the right team, backed up by their insatiable hunger and drive for success.
But it is far easier to be in the top 25% of 2-3 different skills and combine them to serve you.
The AND Principle is something that has served me well for many years.
If I have to pick between two things and I was interested in both, I did both
Guitar AND Piano
Photography AND Editing
Programming AND Strategy
Exercise AND Performing
Currently, I am still working full-time in an Investment Bank in Strategy and doing freelance editing on the side.
Life is short, and you are not getting any younger.
Pick the things you want and do all of them.
The simplest way to start is 15-30 mins a day. Stick with the ones that resonate, and drop the rest.
Stay safe and have a good weekend & an incredible 2022!
If you’re a visual thinker, you might prefer the Instagram version of this post more.