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The FFF Framework: How to Prioritize your Goals Instantly

I've GOT to tell you about this bear I just found out about.

Actually, make that a Polish Nazi-fighting bear.

His name was Wotjek (which apparently means "joyful warrior" in Polish), and he ruled. He also LOVED eating cigarettes.

Wotjek the bear

Wotjek was taken in by Polish troops during World War 2, and quickly became a Private in the Polish military (yes, with an official rank and paycheck) to circumvent the laws that prevented animals from being on the front lines.

He wasn't just any bear, though. He was a super smart bear. You see, Wotjek not only discovered a spy in a Polish military camp, but he also helped allied troops carry much-needed artillery shells to their respective place during a siege - all of his own volition.

After the war, he even helped Polish refugees by carrying logs and materials to help those who were displaced by all the fighting.

What a good bear!

While Wotjek was, in fact, a bear, he didn't have to be friendly to the Polish troops, or really even do much of anything. No one would have been surprised if he just slept all day. But, in his own bear way, he made his choice to be helpful to those around him.

And when it comes to our goals, especially new years resolutions, we have tons of choices of what we should be focusing on.

We often have so many goals that we create gigantic, unachievable lists… or maybe we don't set any goals at all, finding the whole process to be too daunting to even begin.

So let's cover a way to create and focus our goals ultra quickly.

Here's what we're going to cover!

Part 1: What the FFF Framework Is

Part 2: How to use it

Part 3: Extra considerations to take into account

Back in 2015, I had the honor of meeting Derek Sivers

Who, if you don't know, was the founder of CDBaby (which was basically the way every indie artist sold their music before iTunes), that sold his company for $22 Million and donated 100% of it.

Not only is he a great guy, he's also a modern day philosopher with a ton of fantastic advice on how to live a fulfilling life.

The wonderful Derek Sivers

Derek gave me this great goal-setting idea

Which is what the FFF Framework is built up out of. He didn't call it that, but we might as well add a fancy name, right?

This framework is outlined by three key desires: Fame, Freedom, and Fortune.

Most of us want all three in some way shape or form. But, before we dive into achieving any of those, let's cover what each of these can mean in depth.

The FFF Framework in all its glory

Fame can certainly mean filling auditoriums and winning Grammys

It can also mean having some small level of "domain fame." For example, maybe you walk into PAX and everyone will know who you are, or you're a Youtuber that never shows your face, but everyone knows your videos.

It could even mean having a small-but-dedicated following on a blog where you show people how to eat an entire chocolate orange in one sitting.

…That's my idea please do not steal™™™

Many people think that everyone who's famous is automatically rich, which could not be further from the truth. That's why Fortune has its own entirely different category.

Fortune is exactly what you think it is

It's optimizing for income.

For example, a musician might cater more towards building services for other musicians, say yes to more gigs, get sponsorship deals, work as a ghostwriter, start a company, have goals centered around building intellectual property, would take classes on negotiation skills, focus on a certain tier of clientele, etc. to maximize their income.

They may not be famous for what they do, but they'll certainly make a killing.

Think of it another way: We usually have no idea who does the low-level programming for the operating systems we use every day, but we can be certain that those people make a good amount of money.

Still, to some of us, fame and fortune aren't as appealing as having complete control over our time.

And that's where Freedom comes in

This is where we have more control over our time and days then either of the other two categories. We may not make as much money, and perhaps no one will know who we are, but our lives are far far less hectic than most other people's.

For example, I have plenty of friends who travel the world most of the year. They may not be living in luxury, but they also don't have many obligations that are tying them down, either. I'd say the vast majority of creatives I know skew towards the Freedom category more than anything else.

All of the above are, of course, just some examples. There are countless other ways to get to where you want.

The thing is, as Derek told me

Most of us focus on all three of these ideals at the same time, and thus get nowhere. When we're not optimizing for anything, our results tend to be less than satisfactory.

Instead, we need to focus on just one of these three categories and forget about the others (for a while, at least).

Most of us just stay in the middle, thus getting unsatisfactory results

So, this is how you can use the FFF Framework

Take the ideas of Fame, Freedom, and Fortune and choose ONE of those to focus on at a time.

Then, look at your goals and put aside the goals that don't fall into the category you choose. Just focus on the ones that fall into your category of choice. That'll likely make your list a TON shorter, and thus, more achievable.

When setting your goals for 2020

Think of them through the lens of one of these three. Which one do you want most out of all of them?

Then, for at least a year, forget about the goals that don't fall into your choice of Fame, Freedom, or Fortune.

You'll have a lot less to pursue, which will ultimately allow you to achieve infinitely more.

And yes, pursuing one category does cut off the other two

But that doesn't mean focusing on fame won't bring you freedom and fortune. It just means your goals aren't optimized for them, meaning any extra outcomes will be a happy accident.

Focus on one of the categories, and don't expect the other two to happen. They very well may, but don't count on it. That way, you'll be pleasantly surprised when you achieve some bonus results.

But that doesn't mean that you won't oscillate between these categories

For a handful of years, you might focus entirely on fame to bring notoriety to your name.

Once gigs start flowing in, maybe you'll focus on fortune by taking only high-paying gigs and negotiating well for them.

Then, maybe after that, you'll take a substantial amount of time off and have some freedom.

We'll change between these three all the time, but the idea is to stick with one for at least a year. The results we want will come much much faster when we're not trying to do everything at once.

Now, our goals will often include other people in them

So we must make sure the path we choose also works with our co-workers, spouses, kids, siblings, friends/families we support, etc.

Not everyone in our lives deserves to choose the direction of our goals, but some people may have more say than others. As we filter our goals out, it would be wise for us to keep that in mind.

Heads up though: no matter which one you choose

People will tell you you're wrong.

Focus on fame, and people will tell you that you're too self-centered. Focus on fortune, and you'll get a ton of backlash about how "money isn't everything," and focus on freedom, and everyone well tell you to "get a real job."

Just be ready for the incoming storm, even though your results are going to be stellar.

This can be a tough choice

So go with your tummy here. I have a business mentor who always tells me "your gut is only right 95% of the time." Most people I've shared this framework with often have an instant desire for one of the categories.

Go with that first impulse and see how it feels.

Just know that you don't need to max any of these out

Just because you're optimizing Fortune doesn't mean you have to become a trillionaire. Use your judgement with each of these - there's a lot of room to play.

The key is to optimize for one at a time, stop worrying about the other two, and watch the results come in way faster and with a ton less stress.

And yes, you can absolutely achieve all three of these

I've seen first hand the people who have all three. Their results almost always come from focusing on just one of these three aspects at a time, though.

For example, I have a friend who built a company (fortune), marketed the hell out of it (fame), and now has employees who will do a lot of the work for him when he travels and takes time off (freedom), so he's not totally tied down 24/7.

He focused on one of these at a time, and now he has all three.

"But Akash, you extra creamy jar of special edition Nutella," you say "I have so many goals that don't fit in any of these categories!"

That's totally to be expected! Not every goal we have will fit into every system or framework that we're presented with.

We might have some goals like "go skydiving," "get fit," or "finally fix the toilet" that don't need to fit into any category. Those goals are still worth pursuing.

Like any framework, this one isn't perfect, nor will it work for everybody. It's primarily suited to help us make better big-picture decisions, and prevent overwhelm from creeping into our lives.

So, let's recap what we covered

1. The FFF Framework is all about choosing between Fame, Freedom, or Fortune and filtering our goals through whichever lens we choose.

2. Focusing in on one aspect gives us much faster results than trying to get all 3 at once (which is what most of us try to do, myself included).

3. We WILL bounce between each of these categories - but the idea is that we will stick with one for a significant amount of time to see results quicker in that area.

4. We must make sure to consider the people who are relying on us when choosing where to optimize.

5. Wotjek is a very good bear.

Thankfully, we have a lot more choice in our lives than a WW2 army bear

Alas, that choice means that we have to make some tougher decisions. Fame, Freedom, and Fortune are things that most of us want to some degree. To obtain any of them, it would be smart to focus on one at a time.

When we do that, we don’t have to spend nearly as long wondering what goals we should pursue. Instead, we instantly know what falls in line with our current focus and what doesn't.

So, which are you going to focus on first?

Feel free to play and experiment, too! For some, this process is easy, and for others, it takes some deliberation.

See which goals (fame goals, freedom goals, or fortune goals) are more exciting for you after you write them all out, and start there.

Now, setting goals, sticking to them, and building our creative careers can be tough

Especially if we’re doing it all alone. That’s why I’ve created two free courses to help freelancers in the game industry find work, negotiate, and get paid for what they do. Just sign up for my newsletter to get instant access.


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