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One true thing is worth thousand mediocre ones


"One true thing is worth thousand mediocre ones."
- Umair Haque

My mom often tells me a story from when I was a kid. I don't remember it, of course. Maybe I was two or three years old when it happened. Apparently, I was taken to a toy store and asked what I wanted. And I thought for a while, before saying, "Can you buy me the entire store?"

Even today, I often take that line of thought. Back then, I probably didn't realise that money would be a constraint, so I was happy to, one, having as many toys as I could see, and two, defer the choice of what toy I most wanted to play with. If I took home everything on offer, I could always make that decision at a later point. Today, I know my constraints, so I won't ask for the whole store. But I'd still happily pick as many things as possible within the constraint (my budget). So would most of us.

Once the constraint is eased, or the budget is replenished, I will go back to expand the collection that I have already. While I tend to do this with things, I tend to do this with my time as well. There are only so many things I can do with my time. But, when some of that time is freed up, I immediately find other things to fill it with. 

So, what I'm really seeking here seems to be a sense of endlessness. And endless quantity of things to have and things to do that I'm moving towards. But the thing with endless is that it is, well, endless. Which means I can keep going and I will continue to be as far away from the end as I was when I started off. 

By going after endless, I'm simply spreading myself thin. 

But then, a few years ago, I was shown another kind of endless that I could go after. The endless immersion in the same thing. It doesn't mean buying more and more of the same thing, nor does it mean doing the same thing again and again. It is taking the same thing to the next level and then the next. Because how good you can be at something is also endless. The joy you derive out of something is also endless, although there are only a few such things.

It is like a true love trumping a hundred mediocre relationships or a true breakthrough (the zero to one as Peter Thiel put it) trumping a hundred mediocre achievements or a true passion trumping a hundred goals for hacking growth. 

The more spheres of life that I can expand this approach to, the closer I am to endlessness. Because, the endlessness will then be within me and in what I bring to the table and not what I seek.

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