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Are You Serious?

Related pages: Charts & Checklists for Serious Dreamers

I met a man at a party.
He said "I'm writing a novel.”
I said "Oh really? Neither am I.”
― Peter Cook

Why You Aren't Serious

Make Serious Plans

Serious plans are simple plans. Don't Dunning-Kruger yourself into a corner.

Delivery demands discipline. Shipping is a skill. Serious plans are small plans:

When you decide to become serious, make a serious checklist. Your tasks should never depend on luck or other people. Take responsibility for your fate.

For grueling goals, plot your progress on a poster. Shipping is harder than starting. Aim for consistency, but assume your speed will grow slower. Never expect exponential momentum.

Make "milestone meetings" with friends, family, and stakeholders. Everybody loves demo days.

Decide your "do-or-die" dates. If you miss your deadline, abandon your project forever. No excuses. Serious people prevent problems. There is no bad luck -- only bad planning.

Make commitments. Create events and set appointments before you're ready. Embarassment is a strong disincentive. Beginners must book themselves creatively:

To be serious, work really hard. Give your best. Fight failure ferociously, but accept it graciously. Admit defeat quickly to embark on new ventures. Optimize for attempts.

Life is short. Be serious and make fun.

Oh, are you seriously trying to go out on your own and become self-employed? Are you being serious about it, or are you doing things that feel like they're working towards this goal but they aren't really… Hey guy, well you'll know every day if you haven't been serious enough because you're still coming in here [to] work.

This group looks like they're trying to achieve Objective X but if you were serious about it, what would you do? …Are the steps they're taking the steps that you would do if you were serious about [Objective X]?

You come across a person, and they're working on Thing Y, and they claim that they're very interested in and serious about Thing Y. But you judge that they're not actually doing the things that if you sat down and wrote them all down on a piece of paper, like "what is the most cost-effective-per-unit-time thing that you should be working on in order to do this?" They're not doing any of the things that are at the top of that list. They're doing all the things that are at the bottom of that list… Oh, well they're just not serious about that. … [They're] just acting as though this is a thing that [they're] very interested in fixing this problem…

— CGP Grey via Cortex