June 14, 2023




The Top Idea in Your Mind, Growth Through Discomfort, & More

At a glance

Good Morning. Welcome to all the new readers of Faster Than Normal who have joined us since last week!

Here’s what we’ll cover today:

Mental Model: The Top Idea in Your Mind.

Insight: Growth Through Discomfort.

Quote: Untold Narratives.

Question: Emotional Expeditions.

Visual: A Summary of Meditation.


| The Journal That Talks Back

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| Mental Model

The Top Idea in Your Mind

Paul Graham, the co-founder of Y Combinator and an influential writer, introduced a thought-provoking concept called "The Top Idea in Your Mind" in one of his essays. The idea is simple yet powerful: the topic that occupies your thoughts while you're in the shower or during moments of idle reflection is the strongest indicator of your priorities and focus.

According to Graham, "The Top Idea in Your Mind" is like the background app that runs in your brain, consuming resources and shaping your actions. If this top idea isn't aligned with what you truly want to focus on or achieve, it may be a sign that you need to change something in your life.

Let's consider an example:

Imagine you're an aspiring entrepreneur with a passion for creating a sustainable fashion brand. However, during your shower thoughts, you find yourself constantly worrying about the never-ending tasks at your day job instead of thinking about strategies to grow your brand. This misalignment between your top idea and your true passion might be an indication that your focus isn't where it should be.

To ensure your top idea is aligned with your priorities, try the following exercise:

  1. Identify your current "Top Idea in Your Mind" – What occupies your thoughts during idle moments or when your mind wanders?

  2. Reflect on your goals and passions – Are they in line with your top idea? If not, what do you truly want to focus on?

  3. Make necessary changes – If there's a disconnect between your top idea and your goals, take actionable steps to realign your focus.

As the renowned management consultant Peter Drucker once said, "There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all." By becoming more aware of your top idea and making adjustments when needed, you can ensure that your focus and energy are directed towards what truly matters to you.

| Insight

Embrace discomfort to grow.

Challenge: Identify a situation that makes you uncomfortable and write a plan for facing it head-on.

Example: If you're afraid of public speaking, sign up for a local event or workshop to practice in a supportive environment.

| Quote

Yaa Gyasi, a novelist, on the importance of understanding our past:

"We believe the one who has the power. He is the one who gets to write the story. So when you study history, you must always ask yourself, whose story am I missing? Whose voice was suppressed so that this voice could come forth?"

| Question

What surprising things and new areas might I discover if I explore my emotions and feelings more deeply?

A Visual I Enjoyed

Have a wonderful Wednesday, all.

Until next time,


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