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The Concept of a Flywheel

The Concept of a Flywheel
By Ali Abdaal • Issue #74 • View online
Hey friends,
I came across the concept of a Flywheel this week. I read about it on a post called ‘The Flywheel of Wealth’ on the wonderful personal finance blog Get Rich Slowly
A flywheel is a mechanical device designed to efficiently store rotational energy. Well, that’s how an engineer would describe a flywheel. I majored in English. To me, a flywheel is a wheel that’s really hard to get started. Once it gets going, however, it’s really hard to stop.
Whenever we’re starting anything (a blog, a business, a YouTube channel, investing, new healthy habits) the initial work doesn’t lead to much movement. We post a few videos or publish a few blog posts, with only our grandparents as our audience. After a few weeks of this, it’s tempting to think ‘what’s the point’ and quit. 
But it’s the people who continue to push the flywheel who gain momentum over time. I remember in the first few months of starting my YouTube channel, I’d refresh the app 50 times a day and when the subscriber count would increment by 1 (from 85 to 86) I’d be overjoyed. On some days, I wouldn’t see any growth at all, but I knew (from years consuming of self-improvement books and podcasts) that I had to keep going. 
A friend came over for dinner a few days ago. We were discussing entrepreneurship etc, and he was considering starting a blog to share his experiences of being a part-time DJ whilst in medical school. His main concern was “I don’t want to put in a lot of work if it’s not going to go anywhere”. When he said that, my eyes lit up, and I told him about this flywheel thing that I’d recently read about. I explained that at the start, he’d be putting in a tonne of work and would have absolutely nothing to show for it. But over time, and with consistent effort, the flywheel would start to turn and would change his life. 
I’m not sure he was fully convinced, but I was very pleased because now this flywheel thing is part of my vocabulary, and so functions as a nice mental model and a reminder to be patient and consistent in everything we do.
Have a great week! 
PS: I’m trying to be more active on LinkedIn these days. If you fancy sending me a connection request, I’ll accept it :) Whatever that means.

This week's podcast
025 - What do we want from this podcast? | Not Overthinking
Stuff I enjoyed this week
1 - Drink - I’ve recently started making Peppermint Tea a part of my night-time routine. Especially now that the weather is getting a little chillier, it’s a nice relaxing beverage to take into bed while reading on my Kindle until sleep takes hold.
2 - Podcast - I really enjoyed this 82-minute episode of Gary Vaynerchuk’s podcast. It’s the audio from a keynote that he gave in Australia where he talks about creativity, entrepreneurship and other interesting things.
3 - Podcast - I was very excited to listen to Tim Ferriss’ interview with David Allen. I’ve referenced David several times in these newsletters - he’s the author of Getting Things Done, the bible for productivity nerds. If you’re feeling at all overwhelmed by the amount of stuff you have to juggle around in your head, it’s definitely worth a listen.
Kindle Highlight of the Week
There’s a secret that real writers know that wannabe writers don’t, and the secret is this: It’s not the writing part that’s hard. What’s hard is sitting down to write. What keeps us from sitting down is Resistance.
From The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. Resurfaced with Readwise.
This week's video
Oxford & Cambridge University Graduates give Life Advice - Q&A with my Brother
Oxford & Cambridge University Graduates give Life Advice - Q&A with my Brother
Did you enjoy this issue?
Ali Abdaal

I’m Ali, a junior doctor, YouTuber and podcaster from Cambridge, UK. Every Sunday I write an email newsletter with some thoughts, life lessons and interesting articles I discovered on the internet that week.

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Ali Abdaal, Cambridge, UK.