The Pilot, Plane and Engineer

The Pilot, Plane and Engineer

This post was originally published in my email newsletter, Sunday Stories.

I came across a useful mental model of thinking about self-improvement this week from Ali Abdaal . Many times, I think to myself “Why am I wasting time listening to all these productivity hacks and life advice when I can just do it?”. Of course, I can’t “Just Do It” because of my laziness but here is another way of thinking about it.

Let’s imagine life in three modes. The Pilot, Plane and Engineer

When you are the Pilot, you are planning the trip and destination. (Goal Setting and Planning your future)
When you are the Engineer, you are making the engine more optimized. (Learning new productivity hacks and life advice)
When you are the Plane, you are flying through the air and actually doing something (Actually doing the work that you are supposed to do)

When you are the pilot all the time, you are setting goals without a means to get there.

When you are the engineer all the time, you are just optimizing for nothing.

When you are the plane all the time, you are mindless going somewhere with an inefficient engine which might cause you to crash.

Thus you should be the Engineer 10% of the time. The Pilot 10% of the time and the Plane 80% of the time.

This is something that really resonated with me this week and made me cut down on the time I spend being an engineer and pilot. Hope you find this useful!