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When we have to do something - a task, a project, a course, a job - there are two mindsets that we can approach it in. One has an over-emphasis on efficiency and the other has an over-emphasis on outcomes.

If you have tried learning anything new, you will be well acquainted with the concept of diminishing returns. While you can go from knowing nothing to knowing something passable in very little time, you need to progressively invest more and more time to improve your knowledge or skill further by smaller and smaller amounts.

When we approach something with an over-emphasis on efficiency, we quickly figure out how to reach a passable state so that we spend as little time as possible and still do a good enough job at what we are doing.

When we approach something with an over-emphasis on outcomes, we invest an inordinate amount of effort even to achieve those little gains that lie on the diminishing returns end of the curve.

Neither is good or bad in and of itself.

If you find yourself working in the first kind, then it is likely you will end up doing a lot of things fairly well but not be an expert at anything. And if you find yourself working in the latter kind, then you will likely end up achieving mastery in a few things while being ignorant at many others.

It is the same amount of time that we spend in both cases. It is simply a matter of how we do it.

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