4/22/21: A simple, functional mental framework that gets results

Sent 4/22/2021

This week's Think Better Newsletter looks at the power of functional mental frameworks.

The Idea

Just because something is true doesn't mean it's useful.

In fact, we often get better results when we believe something untrue that motivates us to do the right behaviors. 

I worked at Apple for about 7 years. I was in charge of iPhone reporting and my reports went directly to the CEO. Unfortunately, our systems often had issues that caused the reports to be delayed or the data to be republished. 

I had no control over these system issues, and I wasn't responsible for the systems themselves--that was IT--but I was nevertheless held accountable for the timeliness and accuracy of the reports.

When a report had an issue I couldn't just say, "I don't have control over that." That's because everyone at Apple is held to a standard of "accountability without control."

"Accountability without control" is what I call a functional framework. It's a way of operating that is useful for getting a better result. It may not be "true" or "fair," but it works.

Its counterpart is a factual framework, which can be useful for understanding the world or figuring out what's "true" or "fair." Yet while they may be more accurate, factual frameworks can often be less effective. In fact...you might cringe when you read this...in many situations, the facts don't matter at all.

Believing in a religion can make you a better person even if it can't be proven to be true.

Assuming you have more than enough talent to achieve your goals will make you work harder toward achieving them.

Stating, "Today's going to be a good day," each morning causes you to act in a way that makes it come true.

And holding yourself accountable for your results despite the parts you have no control over will make you a better athlete.

The System

The simplest, most useful functional framework I have is a six word sentence: "There's always something I can do."

You aren't responsible for what other people do, but there's always something you can do.

You can't ensure that every workout is ideal, but there's always something you can do.

You can't control every aspect of your health, but there's always something you can do.

Even when there's just nothing more you can do, there's always something you can do

If you want to get better results, it's up to you. There's always something you can do. 

The Question

You know that thing that's bothering you but it's not really your responsibility...what's something you can do?


Go Be More,

Bryan Green
Author of Make the Leap: Think Better, Train Better, Run Faster and the companion Think Better Workbook
Co-host of the Go Be More Podcast
Co-host of the Fueling the Pursuit Podcast

"The greatest day in your life and mine is when we take total responsibility for our attitudes. That is the day we truly grow up." -John C. Maxwell


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