Life goals versus productivity systems

I recently came across an unbelievable quote that resonated hard with me. It stopped me in my tracks and I had to re-read it even though I instantly understood the implications of it.
We do not rise to the level of our goals but we fall to the level of our systems.
James Clear

It was by an author that I already admired for his amazing book "Atomic Habits".

I spend a lot of time thinking about both life goals and systems for managing goals so coming across this quote was important for me.

My day job is building a tool to help you achieve your goals in life and I built a tool to help you discover what those goals should be. I knew that the two were connected but never considered that these actually form the upper and lower bounds of our achievement in life. Most people do not go through the conscious effort of setting the upper bound. Setting their goals is a critical step. But after reading the quote it got me to thinking that the importance of this step is it gives you a frame of reference for what systems and habits that you need to implement in order to reach or even get close to that upper bound.

In reality, the only way that you can improve your life situation (excluding luck and undirected hard work) is by increasing the lower bound. Your systems.

A lot of people work on their systems by trying every productivity app that they can get their hands on. However, these bounds are not two dimensional. They are multi-dimensional and the systems need to have your upper bound goals in sight in order to have any chance of getting your closer to achieving them.

I am not trying to knock any other productivity app with this post. What I am trying to point out is that they need to work for you and keep you accountable and on track to reach your upper bound existence. The life that you really want to live.

In many ways, I feel that I had already figured out James Clear's quote in my own head. But I never had the elegance to verbalise or express it in such a succinct and beautiful way. The more I think about the quote the more that it explains what I am trying to do with my life and my business. Minimising the distance between these two bounds is actually the core goal of Angstrom. Setting goals backed by a system to help you achieve those goals.


If you combine James' quote with that of another favourite of mine by Stephen Covey it leads me to suggest a very simple plan for improving your life.

1) Start with the end in mind. Set your goals as vividly as you can.

2) Focus on building the systems and constantly work on improving those systems until the system drags you kicking and screaming closer to the goal.

I will continue building Angstrom in the hope that it provides a system that can help with the dragging.