In The Third Door by Alex Banayan, he used (said to be) Warren Buffett’s 5/25 strategy to help him decide which path to take when he was a crossroads that both went down (what seemed like) equally desirable paths.
The 5/25 strategy is simple in theory. Write down 25 things that you would want to accomplish in your lifetime. Circle the five most important.
The five become what you pursue. The remaining 20 are things you must avoid at all costs.
In theory, it’s simple. But in practice, it’s one of the hardest things to do.
It’s basically saying no to 20 other things that you love, that are important enough to have made the list.
Perhaps this is what it really means when people say that if you want to achieve your big goals in life, you have to be ruthless. Not ruthless with other people, but with yourself.
In writing, there’s a common saying: Kill your darlings.
It means you have to be brutal with the piece of work that you’ve just bled out. That no matter how hard you’ve worked on it, you have to be savage and cut out the parts that don’t elevate your piece of work enough.
That’s how you produce a masterpiece.