🍰 The Problem's Probably Just 1 Thing

One way I analyze and solve my issues.

Here’s something I ask myself when I feel stuck, lost, or unfocused:

If I was to give a simple answer to why “this,” whatever it is, isn’t working for me - what would that answer be?

Because when I ask myself what the problem is, over and over again, the answer usually involves “a lot of little things.” And look, even though there are many little things involved, they’re just noise, they’re not the real problem.

The actual problem is usually because of one thing, and sometimes it’s so obvious that it just hides in plain sight.

It’s the 80/20 principle restated.

A principle we all know but rarely ever explore beyond the surface. We say, “oh yeah, that sounds about right” and never revisit the concept or apply it to what matters.

Time and Happiness - it hits me here the most.

80% of my happiness comes from 20% of my time and energy - sadness is the same.

A few years ago, I had a horrible year full of anger and frustration. I could say it was many things, but really, 80% of my anger and frustration was because I was living with someone I wasn’t compatible with, but it doesn’t stop there.

  • 80% of the fulfillment I got out of traveling the world was not the delicious food, beautiful sites, or the culture - it was experiencing new things with interesting people.

  • 80% of the enjoyment I get from my hobbies comes from 20% of my activities.

You get the picture.

It’s usually not “complicated,” and the little collections of small things are probably not the main problem or the real solution.

It’s usually one thing that we need to get right before everything else falls in line.

Finding the one big thing.

We all know how it feels to be in the eye of the tornado. You can’t be in something and see the bigger picture. So we need to step out, but analogies aside, how do you do that in practice?

So for me, this is what’s worked. I started a weekly reflections page. It’s not the same as a daily journal or a page on gratitude, and look, you could do this every day, but I found that doing it every week helps me more.

I write about:

  • How I felt that that week.

  • What work I completed, what work I didn’t.

  • The wins and the losses and what I was prioritizing.

  • What goals and focuses I have for the following week, and why I have those goals.

I then look at my problems and losses for the week and ask myself that very same question at the top of this email.

If I was to give a simple answer to why this isn’t working for me - what would that answer be?

And I find that stepping out of my week, spending time for reflections independent of everything, gives me that escape from the tornado to examine it from the outside.

My issue last week was that I wasn’t producing enough content at the quality I wanted.

The answer to that problem, as per last Friday’s reflection, was, “I’m producing haphazardly. I don’t have a singular goal or focus.”

And now that I know, I’m one step closer to fixing it. Ask yourself this: What’s the simple answer to your issue?

What’s the 20% that’s at the core of your issue?

What’s the 20% that’s giving you the most benefit?


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Finally, here’s the deal, I send out one of these bad boys every week on Monday, and you seem to like it, which is everything for me.

These emails have become a place where I know that the people who think like me are reading, enjoying, and getting some value.

But these aren’t usually meaty topics. Most of my content is on Medium, and even then, I need to write for a broader audience that might not appreciate the art of self-improvement, lessons learned, and productivity.

I can’t write in-depth, engaging articles, and expect people to care over there. But directly to you, someone who cares, someone who’s specifically looking for this type of value - that’s a perfect fit.

Putting a dollar figure on this value means, at least for me, that everyone who’s supporting it and me, truly wants to improve.

Every week, in addition to these free posts,

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  • I’m going to share some things I usually wouldn’t.
    Personal experiences in real-time.

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Of course, a lot of the killer resources I find and create will hit your inbox too.

This week’s member post will be on my Procrastination Strategy - how I use a handful of tactics to tackle procrastination for effective work. Hope to see you around. 😎


🔗 Link Dump

We’re all over the place today, ladies and gents.


I hope you’re enjoying the emails because I genuinely love writing them.

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Questions? Hit me up at @sahkilic on everything, or leave a comment!