I think the beauty of infrastructure is that you figure out a way to acknowledge that everything can be difficult, and will be difficult at some point, especially if you’re trying to lose weight or quit smoking. I’m going to do what it takes to account for the times I’m going to fail at this, what happens when things fall apart. Infrastructure is a way to make something that will be difficult or inconvenient into something you may even look forward to doing.
– Merlin Mann
Merlin has been one of my favourite speakers on podcasts for a long time. This quote is from the latest episode of Back to Work, a good introductory episode for this podcast.
I don’t want to repeat his explanation of what he means by infrastructure in a daily life, but wanted to connect it to the ideas of James Clear in his book, Atomic Habits. I wrote about this book last year, which has left a lasting impression on me. In his book, one of the basic principles is you have to breakdown the procedure to prepare for a task into mini-actions that you can build into lasting habits. The mini-actions act like falling dominos so things flow smoothly and you get through the main task as easily as possible.
I like Merlin’s concept of infrastructure, because it frames all these habits into something larger, more important. The last six weeks have felt like a major reset for me in building towards something rather than standing at the bottom of the hill and asking why I can’t reach the top. I have been better at recognizing the blocks in my life and trying to build sustainable habits. It feels really good to be seeing progress with my level of fitness now and parts of my career. I am on the right track, I only need to keep pushing myself harder.
Now, my eyes are starting to look towards the next set of challenges that need to be solved and how best to conquer them.