Flywheels vs. rabbit holes
Since becoming a solopreneur, I’ve become a fan of long-form podcasts. Especially interviews with groovy thinkers who meditate.
Along those lines, I’m hooked on The Tim Ferriss Show.
His niche is deconstructing the routines and tools of world-class performers—from investing, sports, business, art, etc.—to inspire listeners to become more effective and happier in their daily lives.
So, my podcast habit begs the question: When is listening—or, for that matter, writing this blog—a legitimate use of time, vs. a mere distraction?
My measure usually is this: If I gain a bit of wisdom, can share it with others, and in some way support my solo communications practice—then I’m on the right track.
Case in point: Ferriss’s Episode #361—Jim Collins — A Rare Interview with a Reclusive Polymath—inspired me to take a step back, and consider what habits and practices perpetuate my personal growth as well as my business model.
Collins, of course, is best known for Good to Great and Built to Last, plus other classics that codify greatness in business.
He has a new short work out, called Turning the Flywheel: A Monograph to Accompany Good to Great.
As Collins told Ferriss, “The flywheel is an underlying, compelling logic of momentum. It’s not a list of steps…Rather, there’s an inevitability built in. A drives B; B drives C; C drives D,” and so on.
And in the monograph he wrote: “Once you fully grasp how to create flywheel momentum in your particular circumstance…and apply that understanding with creativity and discipline, you get the power of strategic compounding.”
The flywheel works for companies. So, it also should work for you and me.
Provided we can identify our underlying, compelling logic. And apply it with creativity and discipline.
So, then. Here are the big questions.
First: What starts one’s flywheel turning?
And second: What actions follow so inevitably and instinctively that we become productively drawn in? As opposed to diverted or preoccupied. Or anxious. Or bumbling around in the darkness of the rabbit hole.
Here’s how my flywheel works. Maybe this can help, as you think through your own.
I notice something that brings me joy or causes me to wonder.
Once I’m curious, I’ll want to learn more.
Once I learn more, I’ll see a pattern.
Once the pattern makes sense, I’ll have to write about it.
Inevitably, if the work is well done, it will resonate and have some impact on the world.
It will attract feedback, paying assignments, and more ideas.
It will create perpetual motion.
And while the flywheel is turning, I can take a day off!