My friend Scott in his HILARIOUS rendition of Heart Attack

In chemistry, there’s the idea of an activation cost. This is the threshold of energy you need to surpass to start a chemical reaction …

Life also has activation costs. There are many pursuits that require a minimum threshold of effort to make any improvement at all. Getting over that activation hurdle is often the hardest part.


I had a similar experience with activation costs in learning French. I spent nearly five months trying to learn French before I regularly started speaking it with natives. After five months, I was still self-conscious shopping in French. After only a few weeks of obsession, I gave a 15-minute live presentation.

The best language advice I got was from my friend, Benny Lewis, who said the first task is to stop speaking English. I wasn’t able to 

 you need to make it a priority.

The hardest part about making priorities is that you necessarily have to make something else less important.

Life doesn’t work that way. If a pursuit is extraordinary, it tends to have a high activation cost. That cost is obsession, which is possible only if you are not obsessed about everything else.

Telling yourself you should do something is easy. It’s fading all the other desires into the background to focus on one obsession that’s hard. That’s probably why most people never do it.