It’s about saying Yes. But by saying yes, without realising it, you’ve already said no to the next thing. For once, walk the harder path. Say no more often. Choosing what to do is easy. Choosing what not to do is harder than it seems.
It’s all about choice
Even more so, it’s about the more difficult choice. Choosing to eliminate the things that seem important to you right now is difficult. So the easy way out is to choose to say yes.
But for every thing that you choose to say yes to, there are a handful of others that you will inevitably have to say no to . Trade-offs. You’re not realising it maybe, but by choosing what not to do, you’re getting rid of waste. You’ve decided those are not essential to you, so you’re not going to do them right now.
And this is where most people, and I feel quite often guilty of this as well, fail to recognise what’s most important. Those things you already said no to — stop thinking about them. Stop thinking when you could fit them in. They’re waste, remember?
Some time last year, I read a wonderful story on Warren Buffet’s 5 step process for prioritising. The gist of it is, after you pick the most important 25 things to you, eliminate the 20 that don’t make the top 5. Then stop focusing on them altogether. That’s your avoid at all cost list. I thought that was a good way to phrase it.
The most dangerous distractions are the things you’ve blindly said yes to.
I think there will always be some sort of regret for the things that you chose not to do. Those 20 things you’ve deemed inessential, that you’ve chosen to eliminate from your life will come back to haunt over and over again. It’s very easy to justify why they made the top 25 to begin with so it’s very easy to start saying yes to them all of a sudden.
How do we eliminate waste?
Stop. Breathe. Take stock of your life right now. Consider who you are and who you want to be. And then — there’s no easy way to say this — be ruthless!
Don’t blindly say yes and instead stop to consider what yes means for your already complicated busy life. We’re not trying to maximise your productivity or your happiness here, but rather keep you on track to being who you set out to be.
Be excellent at one thing or risk being mediocre at everything. Ask yourself, where can I make the biggest difference? And do that.
Focus on what matters and eliminate everything else!