Output requires input.
The more input, the more output.
Pour water in a cup and eventually it will overflow.
Output follows input naturally.
But we are a culture obsessed entirely with output. We look at numbers. We analyze sales. We count heads. We tally wins.
Focusing exclusively on output can lead us down rabbit trails and away from, ironically, further output. For the secret of output is input.
It’s not enough to run harder. You must also rest more and eat better. You must put into your body at least as much as you are hoping to get out. You can obsess over the stopwatch all you want, but without proper rest and fuel, you will not get faster.
Input takes courage. You must forsake obvious progress for real progress. You must forsake short-term advances and instead, retreat. You must step away and sharpen the saw. You must read. You must reflect. You must seek wise counsel. You must leave white space in your schedule.
You will feel idle when you do this. You will be tempted to think you’re wasting time. You will feel lazy. But as anyone who has overdone it knows, trying harder won’t cut it. Trying harder won’t get you where you really want to go. Sometimes the only way forward is the way back.
Focus on input. And the output will take care of itself.