Tuesday Treasure #12: total focus, story of flight, on breaks

Hello family!

This past week I ventured out into a cabin in the woods without any WiFi, cell service, or connection to other humans.

lot of people have asked how it went (overwhelmed with gratitude that so many people care!). But I want to put some space between the experience and writing about it.

So I thought the next best thing to do was to base this week’s Treasure on nuggets I discovered out there.

Let’s get to it.

The Biggest Takeaway From The Retreat…

The biggest takeaway overall from the trip in general was:

Complete and total focus is required for excellence.

One of the biggest changes I will make will be to…

  • Utilize 53 minutes deep work sessions
  • Use noise-canceling headphones and full-screen mode while writing
  • Keep my phone on Do Not Disturb when talking to friends and family

Can you commit to complete focus in any area? If you can, you will likely see growth.

What Is Excellence?

The insight above came directly from Chasing Excellence by Ben Bergeron. (Tuesday Treasure subscriber Madison Fischer recommended it, and I absolutely loved it.)

Ben makes the case that excellence is asking yourself:

“Is this what will get me closer to my goal?” and doing it… in every single moment.

We tend to think success is about raising the trophy, accomplishing the goal, or some external accolade.

But it’s about something entirely different.

Success is about the process.

The book does an excellent job of outlining the exact process that turned Mat Fraser and Katrín Davíðsdóttir into the 2016 CrossFit Champions.

You can read my notes on Chasing Excellence here.

The Story of Flight

Everyone expected Samuel Pierpont Langley to create the airplane.

The US government supported him. The New York Times followed him everywhere. He had an unlimited budget and the world’s brightest minds.

The world was rooting for him to figure out how to fly.

But he is listed on Google as an “astronomer,” not the creator of spaceflight.


Well, the Wright Brothers did it first.

They had no college education, no money, and The New York Times didn’t follow them around.

So why did they succeed but Langley failed?

The thinking is they were motivated by a greater purpose.

Langley thought creating the airplane was a way to gain fame and fortune. The Wright Brothers believed the spaceflight would revolutionize the world.

Eventually, the person or team with the greater “why” wins.

(Source: “How Great Leaders Inspire Action” by Simon Sinek)

On Taking A Break

When I came back from my retreat, I realized…

“Oh, it’s harder for me to write.”

This was surprising for some reason. But of course it was… I took almost an entire week off!

Then I remembered the old Michael Phelps quote…

“If you miss one day it takes you two days to get back to where you were.”

And I “missed” a whole week of writing. So it should hypothetically take me two weeks to get back to where I was.

Patience is the game.

Simply commit to the process and the results will come.

Limited Downside, High Upside

Antifragile by Nicholas Nassim Taleb makes the case that we should be looking to place bets that have limited downside and high upside.


One of those bets that I’m making is creating content.

Here’s the way I look at it: each piece of content – each tweet, each blog post, each newsletter – is a way for serendipity to occur… for new connections, opportunities, and knowledge.

For you, that could mean working out, meditating, or visualization. If it works for you, great. If it doesn’t, what’s the downside?

The more bets we can make that have limited downside and high upside, the better off we will be.

If you enjoyed this week’s Treasure, please drop a reply and let me know.

It would mean the world to me if you passed it along to a friend as well. If someone sent you this, you can sign up for the newsletter here.

As always, I look forward to reading and replying to your feedback. 🙂

To your success,


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