Still on Essentialism by Greg Mckeown… I like the idea of “if it isn’t a clear yes, then it’s a clear no.” It does help simplify and clarify making decisions. True enough, many tempting good opportunities do come our way and it can sometimes be difficult to discern and say no.
Having clear criteria to make selection decisions can help us pick and focus on what’s most important instead of making too many choices that result in spreading ourselves too thin and then missing the more desirable and important opportunities that may come later.
The key, according to Mckeown and TED speaker Derek Sivers in his piece “No more yes. It’s either HELL YEAH! or no.” as Mckeown mentions in his book Essentialism, is to use a simple technique for becoming more selective in the choices we make…that is, put the decision to an extreme test: if we feel total and utter conviction to do something, then we say yes. If not, then we say no. If the answer is not a definite yes, as Mckeown quotes another leader, then it should be a no. This does actually help. The bottom line is what’s most important to us.
When a tempting good opportunity comes, like an attractive project, if you don’t feel like it’s the right one for you, then it probably really isn’t. Sure, giving it more thought and reflection helps. And soon as you know in your mind and in your heart that it is not what your are looking for and not what you really want, then just let it go. This keeps you open and free for the right one when it comes along.
When the nagging thought that you might be wrong grips you, that you might be missing out on something great, why not sleep over it and revisit it the next morning? Well, just remember to let go sooner than later so that you don’t end up uselessly obsessing and wasting precious time over it.
Decide what criteria you are going to use to consider and accept the opportunity. Such criteria varies and depends on each person. Mckeown recommends you identify three minimum and three extreme criteria to evaluate the opportunity. When it passes these, then it’s a yes go ahead. He suggested that you write down at least three minimum criteria and three extreme criteria that the opportunity must pass. He also suggested, for instance, three possible questions to consider: What am I passionate about? What taps my talent? What meets a significant need in the world?
Had I learned to think and decide this way much much earlier in my life, I may have been able to make better decisions faster. It’s not too late to start now because, as the saying goes, today is the first day of the rest of my life.