One Hard Problem, Many Easy Problems

I am not sure if there is a great word to describe this topic, so I will instead dedicate a (small) essay to trying to explain my thesis.

In life, you encounter many problems. Whether you are a student or an investment banker or a doctor or a startup founder, you will be faced with obstacles and it will be your job to try and figure out what to do. I am very interested in how to think about the prioritization of problems.

My thesis is that most people tend to over-prioritize the easy to think about problems and under-prioritize the hard to think about, actually important problems. Put another way, we all tend to procrastinate making the important difficult decisions and occupy our time with easy not influential tasks.

This exists across all levels of your life.

Professionally, you may put off the hard stuff until you are absolutely forced to do it.

Personally, you may avoid having the super candid conversation with that friend or even yourself…until it maybe even too late.

Procrastination, in this context, is unique in that it means you will always find small tasks to occupy your time whilst avoiding the few things that really matter. You can, especially in 2019, always find enough distractions to keep you busy.

Ruthless “prioritizers” are experts at cutting these things out so they can tackle the challenges that really matter.