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Formula for life

Earlier this week I somehow stumbled on an old (2012) Medium story by Ev Williams, called, Formula for Entrepreneurial Success. (Ev is the cofounder of Medium, Twitter, and Blogger. He basically invented blogging.)

His post includes 5 short recommendations, and is obviously aimed at entrepreneurs, but I think the lessons also apply more broadly to life in general. They resonated with me, so I thought they might also resonate with you.

So whether you’re starting a company, developing a new building, or just living life, here are Ev’s 5 points:

1. Work with amazing people. Don’t compromise on who you choose to found your company with and hire. Do not put up with ego-centric personalities or downer attitudes.

2. Take on big challenges. It’s pretty simple: Hard things are valuable; easy things are not so valuable. Reaching the mountaintop is rewarding because it is hard. If it was easy, everybody would do it.

3. Focus. Say no to most things: Features. People. Partnerships. “Coffees.” Projects. Only a few of them really matter. (Yes, it’s hard to know which.) Don’t get distracted.

4. Take care of yourself. When you don’t sleep, eat crap, don’t exercise, and are living off adrenaline for too long, your performance suffers. Your decisions suffer. Your company suffers.

5. Love those close to you. Failure of your company is not failure in life. Failure in your relationships is.

If I had to pick one of the items from this list, I’d say I struggle the most with focus. It’s not that I can’t focus and complete tasks, it’s that I’m the kind of person who wants to fill every second of the day with something meaningful. And when people email me wanting to go for coffee or help with something, I want to do it.

But unfortunately, time is a hugely valuable commodity and you have to be selective.

So surround yourself with amazing people. Don’t be afraid of big challenges and risks. Focus. Eat well and lift weights (my preference). And love the important people in your life.

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