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Staying on Top When Your World's Upside Down


Say Yes to what matters by saying No to what doesn’t

Tác giả: Joe Tye

“The fact that some choice is good doesn’t necessarily mean that more choice is better… As a culture, we are enamored of freedom, self-determination, and variety, and we are reluctant to give up any of our options. But clinging tenaciously to all the choices available to us contributes to bad decisions, to anxiety, stress, and dissatisfaction – even to clinical depression.”
Barry Schwartz: The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less

In today’s frenetic world we are overwhelmed with choices, options, and opportunities. Between computers, smart phones, TVs, shopping malls, restaurants and coffee shops, not to mention the day job, we can be endlessly occupied. Sometimes we try to do it all by multi-tasking, but researchers have now definitively shown that multi-tasking does not increase our productivity, it reduces it.

In the field of economics there is a concept called opportunity cost. This means that every dollar spent in one way cannot be spent anywhere else. A million dollars invested in building a new plant cannot also be invested in marketing new products. Opportunity cost forces choices.

The same principle applies to your time. One hour spent watching spent watching television cannot simultaneously be spent giving quality time to the kids or working or the Great American Novel. The principle of opportunity cost implies that the level of your success will be less defined by the number of things that you say “yes” to and more by the number of things that you say “no” to. I have a sign in my office that reads:

The one BIG YES requires lots of little NOs

The bigger your dream the more distractions, diversions, and detours you will need to say No to no matter how pleasant they seem at the time. This is especially true when you have the weight of an upside down world on your shoulders. You need to focus your time, emotional energy, financial resources, and your attention on that one BIG YES that will help you turn your world right side up again.

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