Fragments from imaginary dialogues
“Make the day a work of art, today and forever.“
“But I don’t have the autonomy to do that yet.“
“The ultimate Artistry is living your masterpiece days regardless of external conditions.“
“Imbue the day with Meaning.
Create a beautiful context for the day, a beautiful content, and a beautiful structure.
In terms of context, have a meaningful Quest you strive every single day towards.“
“You mean like a goal?“
“More like an ideal. Something you can’t possibly reach, but guides your every action.
As Tal Ben-Shahar beautifully put it in The Pursuit of Perfect,
Our ideals are more like ‘guiding stars’ than ‘distant shores.’
Or in the words of Leonardo da Vinci,
Fix your course to a star […]
If you don’t have one, make it your Quest to find it.
In terms of content, there’s a question I love from Alan Watts:
What would you like to do if money was no object? How would you really enjoy spending your life?
This question is worth thinking deeply about, and making central to your life until you discover.“
“Yes. A practical way of approaching it is by playing the little game I call ‘No day without… [<link; short length]’
What are the essential things that every single one of your masterpiece days must contain for you?
There’s a beautiful practice I know from Tim Ferris:
Before you go to bed, write down one thing that if you accomplished tomorrow, would make that entire day a win.
He said it in the context of a to-do list, however I’ve expanded it in scope.
For me, doing all the things on my ‘No day without…‘ list makes the day a win.“
“What if time does not allow you to fit all of them in?“
“You don’t find time for important things. You make time.
In this particular case, doing them is non-negociable and I prioritize them over anything else.
However, for a system to be antifragile, it needs to be flexible. Flexibility in this case is given by the amount of time I allocate each. That is, they expand or contract based on the time I have available.
In terms of structure, masterpiece days must strike a balance between structure and flexibility. A beautiful idea I know from Brian Johnson is that of ‘bookends‘. The idea is that we have most control over the beginning and end parts of a day. These are the AM and PM bookends.
Treat your bookends as something precious, for they form the bedrock of the day. Optimize them to perfection, and seek to make the most of them every single day.“