Optimize for no regrets
“If you work hard enough you can do anything.” – Lady Gaga
When I was growing up, my mom took me to a lot of self-help seminars. It was the glory days of self-help with guys like Tony Robbins, Brian Tracy, and Eckhart Tolle all making names for themselves.
I have mixed feelings about them because I benefited – learning how to set goals, be persistence, and work hard) but there was also a lot of feel-good cheerleading that was harmful. In particular, this mantra that “If you set your mind to it you can achieve it” was really popular and completely false. In reality, there are things you’ll never be able to achieve no matter how hard you try, and not being realistic about that sets people up for serious disappointment and/or mental breakdowns. The right way to approach goals is to make sure you have no regrets.
Lady Gaga recently said on Jimmy Kimmel: “If you work hard enough you can do anything” about winning the Oscar for "A Star is Born.” No doubt she worked her face off and feels she achieved the impossible relative to where she started, but it takes more than hard work to be a famous singer or actress.
By focusing on putting in your best effort, then no matter what the outcome you’ll walk away with peace of mind. Right now, I can only put in three hours each weekday and twelve hours on the weekends towards my app. Technically I could do more (an extra hour in the morning, one less hour of sleep, etc.) but it would cost me my health and relationships which I’m not willing to sacrifice. This is all I can do right now. I'm well aware that this may not be enough but it's everything I’ve got, so whatever happens I'll be able to sleep at night. And that makes it easier to accept the outcome, even if it isn’t what I imagined.