Thinking 1,000 Squares at a Time

I think about life and work on a scale from zero to ten.

A zero would be the worst possible, and a ten would be better than we can imagine.

If you get excellent at solving problems, things will eventually top out around a seven or an eight.

That’s because problems have a bounded impact. We solve them, breathe a sigh of relief, and move on.A much better way to create is to stop looking at problems at all.

I often have clients create from scratch by writing their ideal day for me as a one-pager.When do you wake up? What do you eat for breakfast? What are you obsessed with? Who do you spend your day with? What contributions are you making?

Dreaming this big can feel impossible at the beginning.

That’s because most of us have so much scar tissue from the times we have dreamed and failed that we become uncomfortable dreaming at all.

But if you persist, you’ll find that creating from scratch is a much more effective way to get what you want in life than solving problems.

If solving a problem were looking ahead one square on a checkers-board, designing from scratch might be looking ahead 1,000 squares.

When you think ahead 1,000 squares, the minor one-square problems that bother you today will disappear.

Even if you never make it 1,000 squares from where you are now, that’s OK.

When your actions become aligned with big moves, they have a much higher chance of producing big results than if they stay aligned with thinking small.