How To Turn Fence Sitting Into A Pulsing Electric Kick In The Ass
I love bold directives that force Russian-roulette-like emotional intensity to own the decision in the moment. So many of us sit on fences, pretending we can put off decisions, and ignore the massive drain this has on our lives.
Sure, you show up and put the time in because that's the kind of person you are. You see commitments through. But slogging away on a project because you haven't made a definitive decision? That's death by a thousand paper cuts. Over-commitment is the sure-fire way to keep yourself from doing work that matters.
Here's the problem; so many decisions can sit in limbo without having an immediate consequence (or reward). We assume that if we don't say yes, or no, there's no real downside. In some cases, it comes down to hoping the decision is made for us so we can avoid the pain of choosing.
But if you find yourself in exactly the same place you are a year from now, is that a good thing or bad thing in your eyes? We all want to become better people. More in touch with who we are, with our loved ones and with our creative capacity to grow.
If there's an ideal life you want, making definitive decisions is inescapable.
Derek Sivers’ life is an example of what definitive decision making looks like in practice. He's one of those people who makes it impossible to capture their essence in a simple job title like orthodontist or accountant. He describes himself as being a musician, producer, circus performer, entrepreneur, TED speaker and book publisher.
His story of starting, building and selling CD Baby, the largest online distributor of independent music in the world, serves as a beacon to business for good.
He sold CD Baby for $22 million and donated the bulk of it to an organization he created called The Independent Musicians Charitable Trust, which will fund music education after he passes away.
He lovingly distilled his experience with CD Baby into 40 beautiful little lessons that can be digested in an hour or two in his book Anything you want.
I have a simple directive I apply to my life and business that comes from one of these lessons. It's given me a massive return on my time, money and energy.
Sivers puts it bluntly: No "yes." Either "HELL YEAH!" or "no."
Picture it like waiting at a bus stop while travelling. A bus pulls up, but you have no idea where it's heading. What's your first question to the bus driver? "Where are you going?" Every decision you make is tied to a destination.
Every yes you commit to doing without thinking of the destination creates a bigger gap between the life you desire (where you want to go) and the life you have (where you are).
This re-frame turns the fence sitting into a pulsing electric kick in the ass. Sometimes we need that little jolt of electricity to remind us that everything has a cost.
There's no denying that we're all busy. Sivers is persuading us to see that saying yes to less is the way out. As he sees it, "When you say no to most things, you leave room in your life to really throw yourself completely into that rare thing that makes you say 'HELL YEAH!'"