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When more is better

I was listening to James Altucher's podcast earlier today, where he interviews Jocko Willink, an ex-navy SEAL with the US Navy. 

One of the things that Jocko Willink talks about is the advantage you can have by waking up or showing up earlier than those you are competing with. He talks about how if the enemy wakes up at 5 and you wake up at 4:55, you have a five minute head start on them. And goes on to draw parallels to the workplace to say someone showing up at 7 to work has an unbeatable advantage over someone that shows up at 9. 

I don't buy this line of thought at all. 

While this is sound tactical advice, it is very poor strategic advice. Someone might be able to show up earlier and put in the extra hours for a day, a week, a month. But putting in extra hours isn't a sustainable advantage. If you're consistently putting in one or two hours more than your peers at something, you're putting in one or two hours less than them at something else. 

Everybody has the same twenty four hours to put in. 

Moreover, this is very easy to replicate by someone else. What if the ones you're competing with also start putting in extra hours? Would you put in an additional two hours? Where does this escalation of effort stop? 

From a strategic standpoint, more is better only when you can define a point beyond which more is not better. 

'More is better' is not a lasting strategy. 

Similarly, more is not always better when it comes to goals or the things we want as well. 

All of this, however is in quantity - number of hours, amount of money, things we have, etc. 

There is a case when 'more is better' is a lasting strategy. And that is in quality. The quality of our work, the quality of our interactions, the quality of our attitude. 

These are things we can always do better on.

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