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The line between impossible and huge effort possible goals?

Question from a reader -

Hi! Interested to hear your thoughts about this: where do you draw the line between impossible and huge-effort-possible goals?

First, I'll be honest. I don't have a perfect neat answer for this that's epiphany generating... I'm going to try to work through it on paper, and I appreciate feedback from everyone in the comments if you have related ideas.

Let's get started. First and foremost, I can't say this enough - study history! If you don't study history, you don't know what's possible. Period. You need to study history if you want to know what's possible.

Here's some good people to brush up on. Now, most people's reaction is, "I couldn't do that! He did so much!" But trace their steps, these men often came from humble origins and suffered much. Don't say "Wow." Ask, "How?" How did they do it?

Good Ratchet, Bad Ratchet

What do most people do as soon as they achieve something?

If they're lucky, they enjoy the success for a week or two. Maybe even a couple months.

Then they ratchet their goals up higher, start judging themselves on this new level of not-quite-there yet, and are mentally back to square one.

This isn't all bad. While it causes some neurosis, it's a huge driver of progress. Humans are always unsatisfied and keep wanting more. They get it, and then want more. So we keep improving and building things.

The problem, though, comes when you ratchet your goals up in an optimistic way, and then get demoralized from getting back to the hustle. You have a record-breaking performance that you're not quite on the level to consistently do, but you ratchet your goals up to there and there alone.

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