Sam Radford

August 20, 2021

Owning our limitations

Shawn Blanc wrote about the ‘law of tradeoffs’ in his newsletter this week, saying:

In order to give your perpetual devotion to any one thing it will require the perpetual neglect of many other things. Focus requires tradeoffs.

He then added:

You can only focus on so many areas of life at a time. And you can only do focused, deep work for so many hours in the day. Instead of being ignorant to these limitations, embrace them. 

Most of us end up spinning more plates than we can manage because we remain blind – often wilfully! – to constraints on our ability to focus.

We keep convincing ourselves we can handle ‘one more thing’. And, for a while, we do manage (kinda), further ingraining our self-deception. Eventually, a plate comes crashing down though. Usually followed by another. And then another.

This could all be avoided if we were more honest with ourselves about the amount of things in our life we can be devoted to. 

It’s hard for some of us to say No. Either we’re people pleasers, or, particularly in a work environment, we don’t feel saying No is an option. 

But we have to make a stand and own the limitations of our focus and attention. It’ll be better for everyone in the long-term.


Got some thoughts on this? I’d love to hear from you – do hit reply or drop me a note.