Sebastian Marshall started a great discussion on the power of structural improvements.
What are Structural Improvements?
Sebastian: Stuff that improves things permanently after effort is made once.
Derek: Changes that require NO ONGOING MAINTENANCE.
It’s useful to note the difference between a structural improvement and a habit.
Here are some habits:
- Going to the gym – you need to keep going to see results.
- Calling your family every week – you need to keep calling.
- Taking cold showers – hurts every time.
True structural improvements require NO EFFORT TO MAINTAIN:
- Learning to type
- Blackout curtains in your room
- Reduce car insurance premium
- Move in with your family
It’s a bit grey. I’m counting as structural changes things that become truly automatic. Drinking coffee becomes automatic and you aren’t going to ‘fall off the wagon’ like going to the gym.
Habits take up some level of time and mind-share. It’s possible to regress. Structural improvements are much more permanent.
I’ve got ideas for structural improvements I’d like to make. Some are a bit wacky
- Learn to type. Might as well use Colemak
- Get a faster laptop
- Learn keyboard shortcuts
- Fix annoying laptop issues – like failed suspend actions, display quirks
- Improve speed reading
- Listen to audio at 2x speed
- Improve memory
- Develop higher intelligence
- Improve judgement, decision making
- Improve empathy, compassion
- Become a better listener
- Everyday mindfulness
- Live somewhere I love
- Reduce/eliminate commute time
- Associate with people who bring me joy
I’m committing to working on one structural improvement at at time at least. Right now – learning Colemak. I can’t believe I’ve gone so long with learning to type…