4 Ways To Put The Least Amount Of Life Effort In For The Max Amount Of Benefits

These mental models will help you put in a limited amount of effort — but bag in unlimited benefits.

successful man overlooking city view fizkes / Shutterstock

If you’re someone who believes that hard work is the only way to achieve great things in life, I want you to read the next sentence very carefully.

While hard work is a prerequisite to many benefits in life, hard work does not scale. A simple reason for this fact is that there are only 24 hours in a day.

If you’re already working very hard, you’re not going to change your life by working harder — that’s because the benefits you get from hard work are proportionate.


Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want you to stop working harder. However, with this article, I want to share with you some mental models that can help you bag disproportionate benefits in life.

These mental models will help you put in a limited amount of effort — but possibly bag in unlimited benefits.


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Here are 4 ways to put the least amount of life effort in for the max amount of benefits:

1. Hitch your wagon to a star

Let me tell you a story of a friend I had in college.

She carried a bit of surplus fat, felt ugly, and lacked self-esteem as a result. As far as I knew, she never set foot in the gym.

Then, as luck would have it, she started dating a guy who was a fitness freak. This guy would never miss a gym session, rarely ate junk food, and was highly disciplined.

After starting to date him, because she wanted to spend time with him, she started to go to the gym with him. He taught him how to lift and how to be disciplined.


All of his energy, knowledge, and work ethic rubbed off on her. And soon, she became a gym freak herself.

Fast forward to today, they’ve broken up. But the energy that rubbed off on her — stuck to her. She’s still a gym freak — and continues to kick a** and lift heavy in the gym.

Now, I’m guessing that she didn’t start dating this guy with the purpose of becoming a gym freak. She started dating him — for the purpose of dating him. However, she unintentionally absorbed all of his energy, knowledge, and discipline and ended up changing her life.

What if you could do something like this intentionally?

Here’s what it would look like:


Let’s say I go to the gym and I see a guy who kicks butt in there every day.

I want to be like him as well. So I have two options:

  • I could work hard. I would have to be disciplined and go to the gym every day on my own. I would have to research so that I could get better at lifting. I would make a lot of mistakes and will have to learn from them and improve. And I would have to keep doing this every day, again and again, until I get to where he is. That’s a lot of effort!
  • Or, I could just convince him to let me work out with him. All that takes is a five-minute conversation at max. Then, I would go to the gym every day because I’d feel ashamed saying no to him. In the gym, he’d correct all my mistakes — that would have been obscure to me. As I befriend him, I would passively absorb all of the wisdom and experience he’s gained through the years. By being his friend, I would also gain access to the organized knowledge of all the research he must have done through the years.

Now, in the second scenario, the only major step I took was to convince him to let me work out with him. That’s all! Everything else that happened later was technically a domino effect.

That’s what hitching your wagon to a star is. 


Find a star — a person who’s great at what they do — and somehow connect yourself to them. That’s all it takes.

Once you’re in their aura, a lot of their energy, discipline, knowledge, wisdom, networks and opportunities will rub off on you. All because you somehow managed to get in their aura.

Yes, you would have to take some effort as well. However, it’ll be much less than if you tried to do everything on your own.

A couple of things you need to do to be able to pull this off:

  • Learn communication skills to help you connect with people better.
  • And develop yourself at least a little so that people don’t mind saying yes to you.

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2. Raise your opportunity preparedness

In life, I’ve realized that extraordinary opportunities — ones that can catapult your life to a completely different level — present themselves to you out of nowhere.

The only thing is, you have to be prepared to be able to bet on them.

Let me tell you an example.

A year ago, I was approached by a C-level executive of a major organization to freelance content for them. Their organization wrote medically relevant content for doctors and pharmacological companies. And because I’m a doctor — and a writer — I was a good fit for them.

We talked and started working together after signing a contract. However, when we started working on the first piece, I realized — and that executive did too — that I wasn’t a skilled enough writer to pull it off.


He politely let me know that he didn’t require my services any longer, and that was the end of it.

However, I often think about how great of an opportunity that was. It could have helped me in so many ways.

  • It would have opened the door for me to work with more C-level executives.
  • I would have had the experience of writing relevant medical content for a few major pharma companies, and I could have leveraged that experience to approach other companies to offer my services at a premium.
  • I could have added this work experience to my resume, and that would have helped me get admitted to great research-oriented colleges to advance my medical career.

In short, it was an opportunity of a lifetime — and it could have morphed into other extraordinary opportunities. If only I was prepared.

That’s when I understood the concept of opportunity preparedness — and learned how to raise mine to high levels.


You see, we’re all looking for that one job, that one life partner, or that big break — but you gotta ask yourself: are you prepared to maximize that opportunity when it finally comes along?

Opportunities are not gifts. They aren’t anything in and of themselves. They just hold potential. They require your contribution to convert them into true advancement.

That contribution can be anything. Examples:

  • Time. Imagine that you’re invited to a 10-day business retreat by an extraordinary individual you meet at an event. Do you have enough goodwill with your boss — or enough ‘leaves’ collected — that he or she lets you go without you losing your job?
  • Money. Imagine that your friends have a crazy business idea. Do you have enough money saved to bring that idea to fruition?
  • Skill. Imagine that you’re offered a work opportunity of a lifetime — like I was. But are you skilled enough to make the most of it?

Opportunity preparedness is a massive concept and it has infinite factors. It can comprise factors as concrete as time, money or skill — or it can be abstract ideas such as conversational skills, courage, emotional intelligence, etc.


You have to figure out how to raise your own. Because if you do and one day an opportunity comes your way that you’re prepared to give your all to — your whole life will change.

3. Play multiple money games that have no ceilings

I’m a doctor, and when I was younger, I used to believe that doctors make a lot of money.

However, in recent years, I’ve come to realize that while doctors can make decent money, there’s a ceiling to how much they can earn. That’s because there’s a limit to how much I can charge patients — and how many patients I can see in a day.

Of course, being a doctor is about much more than just making money. It’s about helping society, having greater fulfillment, and more. And I mean no disrespect for those factors. However, I’m just pointing out that, money-wise, it’s a game with a ceiling.


I’m also a digital writer, and money-wise, it’s a game with no ceilings.

In fact, any form of content production on the internet is a game with no ceilings. If you make quality YouTube videos, and in a year or two start to gather millions of views, you can make lots of money.

There’s really no ceiling to how much money you can make as a digital content creator because there are billions of people on the internet.

There are other money games with no ceilings.

Such as starting a business. Of course, starting a business isn’t easy. However, it has no ceilings.

You can start small — and then scale your business using technology, manpower, machinery, money, etc. As you scale, your income scales. No ceilings!


If starting a business isn’t your thing, another way to play a game with no ceilings is to own a small equity in someone else’s business.

For instance, if you invest some money and buy a 5 percent equity in someone else’s business, your income grows as they scale their business. No ceilings again.

The thing about playing games with no ceilings is that while the beginnings in such games may be humble, and growth may be frustratingly slow, these games yield massive and disproportionate results in the long term.

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4. Use experiments to skip the line

Tim Ferris has a list of favorite questions that changed his life.


One of these questions was, "What if I did the opposite for 48 hours?" Here’s how it helped him:

In 2000, Tim Ferris had a sales job selling mass data storage solutions to CEOs and CTOs. For the first few months, he followed the conventional approach to sales. He made sales calls from 9 AM to 5 PM, every day — and that didn’t lead to the results he wanted.

Then, one day, he realize that the gatekeepers who kept him from the decision makers — CEOs and CTOs — also worked from 9 to 5. And so he asked himself —


"What if I did the opposite of all other sales guys for just 48 hours?"

He dedicated two days to making sales calls only from 7 to 8:30 AM and 6 to 7:30 PM. For the rest of the day, he focused on cold emails.

And it yielded extraordinary results.

He was able to increase his sales simply because the executives picked up the phone directly in those time windows.

If you think about it, his results increased significantly. But his effort didn’t increase that much — if at all. He just tried a different approach.

That’s what experiments can do for you. They can help you bag in disproportionate benefits in life without increasing your input.

In Skip The Line, James Altucher lays down five principles that make up a good experiment. Let’s see how Tim Ferris’s example hit all the boxes.

  1. It’s easy to set up and do. Tim’s experiment was very easy to do. He just had to change the timing of his calls. That’s it. This rule is important because it allows you to conduct many experiments in life.
  2. There’s little downside. Tim’s example cost him nothing — just a couple of days of extra work. Even if it failed, it wouldn’t have negatively impacted his life. This rule is important because if the downside is low, you wouldn’t hesitate to conduct experiments — and it again allows you to conduct many experiments.
  3. There’s a huge potential upside. In Tim’s case, the possible upside was that his sales would increase by a lot. And they did! There’s no point in conducting an experiment without upsides.
  4. It’s never been done before. Tim’s experiment wasn’t done by other sales guys. And it wasn’t done by him either.
  5. You’re learning something. Tim’s experiment must have taught him how to talk to high levels executives. And that’s an amazing skill to develop.

The important thing to understand about experiments is that most of your experiments will fail. And that’s okay. In fact, it might even be desirable in the big picture because if you’re failing, that’s a sign that you’re trying new things.

Also, understand that you don’t need all of your experiments to succeed anyway.

If the experiments you conduct in life have huge potential upsides, then you only need a few of them to succeed to change the trajectory of your life.

These four mental models can help you bag disproportionately excessive benefits in life:

  1. Hitch your wagon to a star.
  2. Work on yourself so that you’re prepared to bet on the opportunities that’ll come your way in the future.
  3. Play multiple money games with no ceilings.
  4. Use experiments to skip the line and get ahead.

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Akshad Singi, M.D. has been published in Better Humans, Mind Cafe, and more.