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Draw a line December 1, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in work/life.
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When making a decision, you can get there in two ways:

  1. You can define what you want.
  2. OR

  3. You can define what you don’t want.

Now, those two things are not the same, and one is far more limiting than the other. Take a look at the two, odds are your natural reaction will be the same as everyone else’s. It’s unfortunate for us, but human nature is to go with the first option and be blinded by what we want, as opposed to what we don’t want.

Look at this image:

Decisions decisions...

Here we have a visualisation – say the circle is the entire range of possibility. In the one on the left  we’ve nailed down exactly what we want, which is shown by being coloured in. In the one on the right however, we’ve nailed down exactly what we don’t want and filled that space in. In the first diagram, the remaining space may as well not exist, because we don’t consider it. In the second, while what we want takes up slightly more space, what is left over is nothing less than a far larger opportunity for success.

The next time you’re working through an issue, a brief, a life-changing decision, try focussing instead on what you’re not willing to accept, decide what you’re not willing to compromise on.

Draw a line, and then revel in the opportunity left over. You might be surprised.

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Comments»

1. Daniel Oyston - December 1, 2008

Dave, not sure I agree … surely, assuming that “What I Want” can be found then that is what I should not compromise on and ensure that I get it?

Granted I might take the second circle approach if it is found that what I want can’t be delivered and I need to compromise.

I do like the “have a think about it from another angle” approach though … always good to give it a shake and make sure that you aren’t just going down the same old road again just cause it is there.

2. David Gillespie - December 1, 2008

Hey Dan – agreed, absolutely, if what you want is right in front of you, grab it with both hands and run with it! I was more so thinking about – and I did a lousy job of articulating this – times when decisions aren’t so easy. In those times deciding what you’re not willing to back down on is, I find, a great way to distill my thoughts down to the bare stuff that really matters, versus the nonsense I love to complicate almost any situation with! :)

On to the really important question though – who is Taylor Swift and how is this post possibly related to him/her/them/it on tour?

3. Daniel Oyston - December 2, 2008

yeah I agree then! If you can’t necessarily articulate what you want then start at the other end!

Mmmm, what I want is a beer … what I don;t want is a non-alcoholic beverage!


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