Imagine the barrage of decisions you have to make on a daily basis, from the colour of shirt you are going to wear to work to the breakfast you will have. From the route you take to work to which task on your to-do list to tackle first. Then things get real. Work decisions. Marketing decisions. Finally, congratulations, you have just reached the halfway mark of your day.
Consciously or unconsciously, you have no idea how many decisions you make each day. There have been some studies that have suggested that we make upwards of 35 000 decisions a day. But it is a difficult thing to measure properly.
The number doesn’t matter. What matters is that every decision you make, big or small, takes its toll on your willpower, ultimately affecting the quality of the decisions you make.
Willpower is directly related to your decision making ability, which makes sense. If you are on a diet, it is very easy to withstand the tempting smell of a fresh croissant coming out of the oven. Later that day, the rationalisations start flying, and your ability to resist a cupcake becomes pretty weak.
Let’s look at three ways you can bolster your willpower and make better, effective decisions.
1. Remove decisions where you can
It is well known that Steve Jobs wore the exact same outfit every day. Why? It removed a decision from his morning. He saved his willpower for more important decisions than what he should wear. The good news is that you do not need to be that extreme.
The lesson to learn from Steve is that habitual behaviours take less effort and will chip away less from your willpower.
Think about the areas of your life that you can turn into habits: Eating the same thing over and over for breakfast. Deciding on clothes you want to wear before you go to sleep.
The low hanging fruit will be to automate decisions around you diet, training, morning routine, and style.
2. Make big decisions early on
Your willpower will be strongest in the morning. Like a muscle, it is well rested. The more you use it the more it will fatigue. Make the first decisions in your day the important decisions.
If you develop a good morning routine and get to bed early, you will be energised, refreshed, and on top of the world when you finally tackle those decisions. Your thinking will be clear and concise.
To make this step even more effective, decide the day before which tasks and decisions are important for the next day.
We do not live in a perfect world. Sometimes you will have to make important decisions later in the day.
What do you do then?
3. Eat something
Your glucose levels can affect your willpower. In one study, they examined the factors that affected judges when deciding on parole hearings. The judges ruled favourably early in the mornings and after lunch when they had something to eat. However, late mornings, after making many decisions and not having eaten anything, their rulings were less favourable.
Your life is nothing but a series of decisions. You seamlessly move from one to the other. We hardly ever think of how we can optimise the decision making process. I hope this has demonstrated that there is a lot more happening behind the scenes the next time you choose whether or not to eat that cupcake.
How You Can Make Failing Part Of Your Growth Strategy
Here’s how you can make failing forward part of your growth strategy.
The concept of ‘fail forward’ basically means that it’s okay to fail as long as you learn from your mistakes. Once you shift your mindset regarding failure, it becomes an asset to your growth. What’s not to like about learning?
Here’s how you can make failing forward part of your growth strategy.
1. Take risks
If it’s okay to fail as long as you learn from it, then it’s okay to embrace the idea of taking more risks. Try new things and see if they’ll work. If they don’t, then at least you’ve tried and learnt.
2. Learn constantly
Failing and learning shouldn’t be one-offs or isolated incidents. They should weave together in a constant stream of learning that builds and rewards as we move forward. That way, we can improve and eventually succeed more often than we fail.
3. Search and reapply
Learn from each other’s mistakes. Marketing is a spectator sport — you can learn from watching each other’s brand activities — both the wins and losses.
4. Accept failure
This one is the hardest step. It’s not easy to fail. It’s not something we’re taught to do. It distracts us from our mission and it takes time away from being successful. Or does it? If you start failing forward daily, not only for yourself, but for your teams as well, you will create an environment where failing forward is accepted and embraced as part of a learning culture that seeks continuous improvement. That improvement includes actively learning from your individual and collective mistakes.
Listening To These 8 Audiobooks On Success Is A Better Use Of Your Long Commute
Commuting is mostly just unpaid work, unless you make an effort to learn something along the way.
Commutes are getting longer, and in some cities they’re up to two hours each way. I have a friend in Los Angeles who does this. He passes the time with audiobooks. Now that’s still a lot of time to be stuck in transit, but he doesn’t view it that way. He says it allows him plenty of time to feed his personal and professional goals.
I’ve spent years listening to literature in the car while commuting, but somewhere along the line I switched over to books on business and personal improvement. I mostly gravitated toward amazing people who built their success from scratch and who experienced tremendous hardship. It stands to reason that if you’re dealing with hardships like a long commute, it’s important to hear motivational words that can help you transcend the difficulties.
Here are eight audiobooks that will help grow your success, both personal and professional, on your next commute:
3 Questions To Guide You To Success In 2018
Most of the goals we set have some external component to it. Some component that we cannot control. Yet, we act like we can.
Goal setting as a concept makes perfect sense. At the most basic level you decide on the destination and then plot the way to get there. But as with many things, we like to overcomplicate that which should be simple.
Before you know it, you end up with 2 big goals in 15 different areas of your life and 100 micro goals that will help you reach your 30 big goals.
Complicating something simple. Some of the biggest obstacles to people in reaching their goals are:
- The overestimate the effort it will take to achieve those goals
- They want to go from 0-100km/h in the blink of an eye
- Life is dynamic and static goals often do not make sense
- They get so entrenched in the day to day running of things that goals get pushed aside.
What if instead of goals, we just focused on giving our best every day?
Of course, you still want to have an indication of where you are going.
But, if you are giving your 100% every day then you can forego the micro goals for a better way of calibrating your compass… using questions.
Related: Goal Setting Guide
I suggest you ask yourself these three questions regularly:
1. What does better look like?
The question at the heart of development and incremental improvement. This question allows you some creative space in which you can imagine a better future.
- What does better health look like?
- What does a better business look like?
- What does better customer service look like?
- What does better leadership look like?
By reflecting on this question, you materialise the gap between where you are and where you could be. Now, the only thing that is left is to align your daily actions with the better future you imagined.
2. What can I control?
Borrowed from Stoicism this question highlights the power of decision in your life. Epictetus said we should always be asking ourselves: “Is this something that is, or is not, in my control?”
Once you ask this of yourself regularly you will feel more in control of your life and more in control of your business.
Because your focus is solely on the things that you can influence. It restores the belief that you can actually impact the world around you in a meaningful way.
3. Was I impeccable with my actions today?
One inherent flaw with goal setting is that the goal setter often feels judged. As if we need more of that. In addition to the constant negative self-talk we have to endure we now have an additional source of judgement – whether we reached our goals or not.
As we discovered in question #2 We cannot control everything. Most of the goals we set have some external component to it. Some component that we cannot control. Yet, we act like we can.
So, instead of judging yourself, commit to giving your best every single day.
What I love most about these questions is that they provide a built-in layer of accountability. Use them every day.
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