Chris Lakin

Lemons

You can squeeze every drop from one area of life, or you can get the 80/20 from multiple areas.

You’re given lemons. To make the most juice in the least time, you should only spend a few seconds squeezing each lemon. The majority of the juice will come out immediately, and then rest will come out in a trailing patter thereafter. 80% of the output for 20% of the input.

For every specific individual lemon, this seems inefficient, but in aggregate it’s the most effective strategy!

Optimizing for the whole often means deliberately not optimizing for the parts.

The output of squeezing the lemons of life follows marginal returns. So it’s best to get the minimum effective, maximally time-efficient amount from each, and then move on to the next.

You can come back later to get the trivial 20%, but ultimately every activity has opportunity costs: every lemon you get 95% from is four you got 0% from; every lemon you get 99% from is ten you got 0% from.

Thus, do not be a perfectionist: the perfectionist optimizes for one domain at the expense at all others.

Be an imperfectionist. The imperfectionist stands to get more total value than the perfectionist because life is not one lemon but thousands.

Squeeze individual lemons inefficiently to be efficient overall. Be an imperfectionist. Optimizing for the whole often means deliberately not optimizing for the parts.

Drawing © Ariana Dyer.


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Posted 2021 March 4.

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