Deal with the worst thing first

Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of eighty and gradually approach eighteen.
Mark Twain

I’m currently reading a “self-help” book called “What’s Stopping You? — Why Smart People Don’t Always Reach Their Potential and How You Can” by Robert Kelsey. I love the subtitle which by no means states that the reader actually is smart. Judging from the first 30 pages, it should contain some helpful tips. Mostly because the author has digested a lot of self-help books and actually refers to psychologists and their findings (which usually are ignored by self-help authors).

In other words, the author has realized that many self-help books take the reader out for a ride without leaving him with anything in the long-term — and he looks at aspects that might be helpful.

One interesting tip was regarding todos — his advice is to deal with the worst thing first. He refers to other books that recommend a similar approach and yes, it makes sense. If you deal with the worst thing first on your todo list, then with the next worst thing, etc., your day improves as you knock off the things on your todo list. You will be inclined to do the things on the list as early and fast as possible in order to reach the pleasurable todos. If you would go the other way (starting with the best thing first), your day goes downhill and why would you hurry — you would only reach worse and worse todos.

Of course, this means that you must have pleasurable todos on your list and that you do not betray yourself and drop some tasks.

But it seems like a good tip and I’m curious what else is in the book.


  1. I really gotta go and work; but must add two observations about the frequent realities of doing the most pleasurable thing first::

    1. it stimulates creativity
    2. it doesn’t like to stop

    In order words, watch out for creativity taking you over, no matter how organized you are.

  2. Hoi Amadeus,

    sure you do not want to stop, because anything else is less pleasurable.

    Best regards


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