“What advice seems obviously right, is relatively easy to follow, and is usually ignored?”

Hi there,

Sam Altman is a well-known figure in the startup scene. He used to be president of Y Combinator, which provides seed money to help startups, well, get started. Now he runs OpenAI.

Some time back, Sam tweeted this question:

He got hundreds of replies, and the answers won’t surprise you. (He asked for the “obviously right”, after all.) They’re the kind of thing we’ve all heard before, but seldom commit to doing.

Today I’m highlighting for you the tips that have the most to do with productivity and working smart. (There’s also loads of advice on relationships or running a business, so check out the thread if that interests you.)

My challenge to you? Pick one. And let it guide you in the week ahead:

  • Don’t run with your first idea (link)

  • Sleep on it (link)

  • Don’t eat till fullness. Exercise. Get a full night’s sleep. Call your parents. Put some money away for a rainy day. (link)

  • Everything takes longer than you estimate. Typically 2x longer. (link)

  • Don’t jump to conclusions (link)

  • Don’t be disturbed by anything outside of your control (link)

  • Underpromise and overdeliver (link)

  • The best way to produce good outcomes is dealing with reality the way it actually is versus what you want it to be (link)

  • Speak less than necessary i.e. listen more (link)

  • Eliminating blue light exposure 1-2 hours before bed (link)

  • Eat, sleep and wake up at ~same time daily (link)

  • Do fewer things better (link)

  • Play the long game (link)

  • Read read read (link)

  • If you want to get good at something, do it every day for 15 minutes not once a week for 2 hours (link)

  • Actually do things, especially thinking. e.g. If you really want to solve a problem, actually set everything aside for a few minutes and give yourself space to think about the problem. People say things like “we’ve been thinking about…” when they have not. (link)

  • Start with the hardest thing before doing anything else (link)

Even though none of the advice is particularly complicated – some of it’s even easy – it can also be easy to overlook or ignore. We can all use a reminder sometimes. That’s true for me in any case. Hope it helps you out today, too!

Have a good week,