How will you Make Your Precious Life Count?
We began habits last week and we will continue with more habits to deal with our choices which in turn represents what your actions will be this week. Wednesday, we will look at making things happen when your motivation and energy deserts you. And on our final day on Friday we will review and look at some last tips in this series. Today begins a new giveaway that is one of my favourite tools to use. We are all familiar with a ‘to-do-list” and find that those can be helpful for us. I find this week’s giveaway tool to be equally important and it is a “Not-to-Do List” – click here to get yours! It is especially for people who want it all like me but don’t want to look at what they will leave out in order to put this new piece into their lives. I hope you find it one of your valuable tools too.
The story for today is actually a piece of research conducted by Dr. Sheena Iyengar from the Columbia Business School called “The Jam Experiment”. A grocery store in California set up 2 different displays to sell jam over 10 hours. At one time the display had six flavors to choose from while at other times, the display had 24 choices. They also had a $1 coupon available for anyone interested in buying a jar of jam. For the display with 24 choices of jam, 4 people bought out of 145 who came by (4%). The display with 6 choices had 104 people stopping by with 31 buying (31%). This experiment shows that customers presented with fewer choices are 10 times more likely to purchase compared with those who are shown many choices. We do have choice overload in our day and age and most of my clients would confirm that they live complicated lives while dealing with the many choices and pulls on their time. We want to take choice overload seriously as we consider our lives and living fully, we should not add more things in to become busier and paralyzed by choices.
Overwhelm and being busy is a choice. Some people wear it like a badge of importance or because everyone is doing it. It becomes addictive. You may choose busy because it is an easier choice in this life of many choices or as a way to avoid other choices beyond being busy. In order to use a “not-to-do list” we have to make tough choices rather then just react to the pull of the workplace or of the moment. As they say, it takes more courage to do less. No, I am not advocating a life of sloth and non productivity – that will not get us to living fully. I am, however, challenging you to look at your life and make sure that you are living out your values and those 3 words that are important to you. When looking at high performance we used to focus on production and time management as our highest priorities. Now because of the internet and our many choices, it is the ability to choose and to be present in each aspect of our life with full engagement that is important. It is our attention that has the highest value today. When you look at the habits that you are cultivating in your life do you look at your focus time and where it goes? Does that need to change?
Famous tenor Luciano Pavarotti has a story of long term attention focus and commitment that all of us need to live fully. “When I was a boy, my father, a baker, introduced me to the wonders of song,” he relates. “He urged me to work very hard to develop my voice. Arrigo Pola, a professional tenor in my hometown of Modena, Italy, took me on as a pupil. I also enrolled in a teachers college. On graduating, I asked my father, ‘Shall I be a teacher or a singer?’ “‘Luciano,” my father replied, “if you try to sit on two chairs, you will fall between them. For life, you must choose one chair.” “I chose one. It took seven years of study and frustration before I made my first professional appearance. It took another seven to reach the Metropolitan Opera. And now I think whether it’s laying bricks, writing a book—whatever we choose—we should give ourselves to it. Commitment, that’s the key. Choose one chair.” Good advice when faced with our many choices.
I have one more great practical strategy to deal with choices, overwhelm and busyness before I go today which I believe I originally heard from Tony Robbins. He is certainly one of the potentially busier guys in the world. He reports that his strategy is to write down all of his goals for the day – every single one on a very long list. He then goes through the list and picks the priorities for what he is aiming for in the day. He may have to do that several times in order to have a list that is doable and matches up with where he is wanting to go. Try this habit this week. Go forth and be wonderful! I will see you on Wednesday. Remember your “Not-to-Do list” freebie.