Because you clicked on this article.
How much of your day do you waste? What does this question even mean? Is eating food a waste of time? Well, you have to. But you could also be learning Japanese or quantum physics. Okay, so you’re studying physics or whatever else, are you still wasting your time? Also depends, does doing this thing accelerate your life in an ordered direction towards your end goal? Do you have an end goal? Is that the right end goal? Do you care? Okay, so doing the thing your doing fits all these criteria; what if you’re not doing it correctly? What if you’re not doing it as well as you could be if you were doing it differently? Are you still wasting your time? You’re being productive, but not as productive as a temporary hypothetical version of yourself is; are you wasting time? Is asking these questions wasting your time?
The internet is filled to brim with stimuli. Always expanding, never contracting. A blessing and a curse. Among this horde of information are self-improvement videos. Titles such as “What does Elon Musk eat for breakfast?” or “How to be the next Warren Buffett”. Or even less blatant, “What is the best music for working?”, or “How to plan your work week”.
I heavily suggest that you go into your youtube browser history and look at all the videos you’ve watched in the past day, week, and month. How many of them do you remember? Even if you recognize the video, do you remember its contents? Really remember it? And you applied it to your life? Doubtful.
You may give yourself the excuse that you’re watching a video for motivation, for “inspiration”. This is a lie. You are watching videos like “What does Elon Musk eat for breakfast?” because it feels like your being productive, when in actuality, you may as well be staring at a wall. Scratch that, staring at a wall is harder. When you clicked on this video, you were feeling all the dopamine of being actually productive, while actually doing nothing. Videos like this are not productive. Self-help books are not productive (sometimes they are if you’re real messed up from something in your life, but you might find that your actually fine and are using “self-help” as a safety blanket) They are the illusion of productivity.
What does Elon Musk musk eat for breakfast? He certainly doesn’t consume inspirational quotes for breakfast (you get what I mean). When asked to give words of inspiration for owning a business to business students, Musk said if you need inspiration, don’t own a business. Okay, but what does he eat for breakfast?
Musk said he either eats nothing or like a candy bar for breakfast. Candy? I’m going to level with you; I know you feel insulted because I’ve been using the 2nd person throughout this entire article in order to exercise a point. I’ve figured this out through the great scientific mechanism called “trial and error”. I went through a brief period where I was addicted to Business Insider articles about stuff like that. I realized that those articles really supplied no sustenance to my life. I, like you most likely, saw articles like that and thought if I read it some of Elon’s magic juice would rub off on me. That is clearly wrong.
Musk eats candy for breakfast. Well, eating a “ketogenic diet” to become more productive is clearly wrong. Time to eat candy for breakfast like Elon! Right?
The reason Musk and other magnates are so successful is because they don’t even think about anything else except their craft. Every decision that you make consumes mental energy. What to eat, when to sleep, when to wake up, when to work out, etc… These hyper-efficient people all do one of two things for such decisions. They either, A, completely neglect that part of their life (i.e. candy for breakfast), or they, B, follow such a rigid schedule in that area of life that they don’t have to think about it (i.e. Steve Jobs strict vegetarian diet, or going to the gym at 6:00A.M. everyday no matter what). It’s not the candy for breakfast or the lack of animal products that makes these people how they are, it’s the decisions that they make, or lack thereof, and the way they make them.
Thinking in this manner is difficult. Eat whatever you want all the time? Great, have fun dealing with the health consequences. And that’s exactly what these magnates do. You’re going to follow an extremely strict diet to avoid having to think about food? Well, you’ll have to be in a position where late night pizza isn’t even tempting, because it’s not an option. That takes a special breed. A diet for most people is hard to maintain. Hence “most people” are average by definition. And guess what, you’re probably most people. “That’s ‘other’ people”, you think. You are “other people” to other people.
Action is how you fight mediocrity. Not another Business Insider article about Warren Buffett’s parenting technique. Not engaging in the illusion of action.
Now, being mediocre is totally fine. Elon Musk lives a largely unenjoyable life. It’s certainly not for everybody. It’s extremely stressful, he doesn’t sleep very much, and at his peaks, he works 100 hours per week. There are 168 hours in a week. Subtract 8 Hours of sleep per day and you get 112 hours per week. That’s 12 hours per week of not working or sleeping. Like I said not for everybody. And if it’s not for you, that’s certainly no reason to beat yourself up about it.
So, learn to curb your anxiety about efficiency and re-direct it. If you seek hyper-efficiency, not worrying about efficiency AT ALL will certainly land you nowhere. Even if you only can only work for 4 hours instead of the 8 you said you were going to, redirect your anxiety so that you can better spend those 4 hours you work. Musk works 100 hours a week, and they’re also quality hours. You can’t sit at your laptop in a coffee shop for 16 hours every day doing very little and expect results. Make the effort.
Ironically, this article is the very thing that this article is advising you to stay away from. So, don’t click on this next time? Or do if you want to be happy. But if you’re trying to become the next Steve Jobs or whatever, it’s best to ditch the “WWED?” (What Would Elon Do?) bumper sticker.