Single Goal, Several Tactics

Single-mindedness is probably the least appreciated prerequisite for success.  If you aren’t definite in your purpose, you’ll flounder.

But purpose is different than process.  Getting all juiced up to be single-minded and definite takes work, and if achieved, it usually spills over from ends to means.  You get single-minded in your goal and tactics.  You decide exactly what you’re trying to achieve and exactly how to go about it.

If you’re right about the tactics, this is awesome.  You cut through the crap and speed past all the wanderers and experimenters.  But you’re almost never right about the tactics with enough precision to predetermine a course and stick to it.  There are too many unknowns.  If your definiteness is with the tactics and you’re off even by a hair, you’ll miss the mark entirely.

But being tactic-flexible tends to bleed into goal-flexibility, which gets you back to the double-minded wishy-washiness you’re trying to free yourself from.

You’ve got to have something you’re willing to die for.  But only one thing at a time.  One thing that’s your all-or-nothing purpose.  Everything else should be flexible.

Flexible doesn’t mean flimsy.  More like “strong opinions, weakly held“.  You filter and choose tactics and act as if they are true unless and until new information surfaces – information that you are actively searching for.  Indecision is a killer, so there’s got to be a clear pursuit of whatever tactics currently make the most sense while constantly observing and adjusting to new information and insight, ready to completely flip tactics without fear if better ones are clear.

All without changing that fixed, definite end goal.  The purpose remains permanent and singular, while a series of temporarily singular tactics get swapped and pursued in rapid succession.

This shit is really hard.  It takes a lot of work to master either of these – definite purpose and flexible tactics – and damn-near super-strength to do both without going insane.

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Isaac Morehouse is the founder and CEO of Praxis, an awesome startup apprenticeship program. He is dedicated to the relentless pursuit of freedom. He’s written some books, done some podcasting, and is always experimenting with self-directed living and learning. When he’s not with his wife and kids or building his company, he can be found smoking cigars, playing guitars, singing, reading, writing, getting angry watching sports teams from his home state of Michigan, or enjoying the beach.