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Use leverage to multiply your output
Identify opportunities in work and life to maximize your goal outcomes.
Recently, I came across some interesting wisdom:
Beginners should focus on execution — getting the reps and putting in practice.
Intermediate folks focus on strategy — optimizing for certain outcomes by making intelligent decisions.
Experts focus on mindset — staying invested after consistently doing the right things.
Obviously, as you progress to the next stage, the prior one(s) serve as a baseline.
Here’s how it applies to someone who wants to get more fit:
Execution — work out consistently; don’t skip sessions.
Strategy — consider doing more efficient exercises and training smarter.
Mindset — once you’ve optimized your routine, keep doing it.
Here, we’ll examine how you can be more strategic in your life and career..
One way to do this is by identifying opportunities for leverage. Specifically, how you can use leverage to multiply your output and generate more productive outcomes.
“Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world."
🕹️ What is leverage?
In most contexts, leverage refers to increasing your output ratio.
Physics: mechanical leverage amplifies an input force to provide a greater output.
Finance: leverage allows you to increase the potential return of an investment from a fixed amount of capital.
Practically, leverage comes down to an equation of two variables: Input & Output.
Input is usually time, money or energy.
Output is the outcome you desire. It could be income, revenue, impact, eyeballs… you get the point.
Leverage is built on the notion that small, well-focused actions can sometimes produce significant, enduring improvements if they are applied in the right place. Tacking a difficult problem is often a matter of seeing where the high leverage lies.
… A leverage point is where a small difference can make a large difference. Leverage points provide kernel ides and procedures for formulating solutions. Identifying leverage points helps us: create new courses of action, develop increased awareness of those things that may cause a difficult before there are any obvious signs of trouble and figure out what is causing a difficult.
— Alan C. McLucas
💁🏻♂️ How can you apply this?
To increase leverage, you have two options:
Maximize output, holding input constant (e.g how can I maximize return on a $100 investment?)
Minimize input, holding output constant (e.g. what’s the least amount of effort I can put into a job to make $40,000 annually?)
Both are applicable to different scenarios:
A young entrepreneur may ask herself “What’s the most amount of money I can make by investing $100,000?”
In contrast, a father of two may ask himself “How can I spend the most time with my kids and minimize hours worked—while maintaining this quality of life?”
Applying leverage in a corporate job
As I progress through the early-mid stage of my career, I’ve been thinking about how I can be more strategic. And how I can pick smarter bets and be more intentional in my work—rather than brute-force delivering as much as I can.
For illustrative purposes, here’s how I would think about leverage in a corporate job setting if I wanted to maximize impact.
Inputs: Time and energy are my inputs. Holding this constant ensures I don’t burn out.
Outputs: ‘Impact’ is the output I optimize for. Obviously, this variable differs from company to company.
What ‘Output’ could mean at a corporation:
Cost savings impact
Adoption, Engagement, or Retention
User or Client Satisfaction
Views or Eyeballs
My goal could be to hold my input constant (e.g. work 55 hours a week, max) and maximize the outputs listed above.
Some tactics I’d think about:
Seek projects with large impact or potential impact — these may be projects that touch a lot of revenue or are a key priority for the company.
Identify areas of opportunity with large growth potential, perhaps a space with a validated need that has not been scoped out yet.
Work with high-performers. Pick managers, partners, and individuals who have highly leveraged skills that complement yours.
Ensure you have a pulse on priorities and trends in the company, so that you can identify areas to build momentum in.
Find leadership opportunities and build subject matter expertise in a niche that you believe in—and that nobody else is seeing.
All of these tactics optimize toward validated outputs, or potential future outputs.
Also, this list isn’t exhaustive. There are probably hundreds of other tactics you can incorporate.
Applying leverage in life
Let’s say that your personal goals revolve around developing new relationships, learning new things, and making people happy.
Examples of leveraged activities:
Social media — the ability to reach large audiences, build community, and connect new people.
Meeting new people (friends, business contacts, and so forth…) — each new person introduced to your network creates a multiplier effect.
Reading & learning — knowledge builds on itself and allows you to pair different concepts together (dot connecting) to create a compounding effect.
Writing online — putting insight in tangible form, and distributing to millions of people for free.
Creating music, playing an instrument — the potential to create joy for many. Playing an instrument for yourself vs a group takes a similar amount of effort.
Cooking — cooking for one vs. cooking for five takes a similar amount of effort.
This thought exercise can help you understand how to be more strategic in making highly leveraged decisions.
What are your goals?
What are the outputs that generate desired goal outcomes?
What are your inputs?
Find A Position of Leverage (Naval Ravikant) by Eric Jorgenson
Leverage as a Mental Model by Shane Parrish
📈 Chart of the week
Here’s a fun one: what is the keyword volume on Google Search for social media platforms over time?