I have since reflected on this idea and have seen the potential for translating this from the sports field and into the 'real world'. Each day we are asked to make many many decisions which impact on our journey and, for many of us, all we have to help guide the decision making is our judgement and maybe some gut feel. Add into this the concept of decision fatigue, where our ability to make decisions diminishes through the day, and we don't have a particularly strong system for guiding us through the complexity of modern life.
The solution that I have started playing with is to develop a set of 'first principles' for myself to act as a reference point to help guide my decision making. I have pulled these principles from my values and aims which I first started detailing through the Steve Peter's 'Stone of Life' exercise. For ease of understanding I have then converted these into questions which I can use to 'test' decisions. My personal 3 are:
- Will I learn from this?
- Can I add value to others through this?
- Will this keep me in motion?
Every time I have to make an important decision I can then turn to these questions. Say I am asked to attend a meeting and I am not immediately sure whether to go, I ask will I learn something by attending? Will attending help me to add value to others? Will attending aid my overall development and keep me moving forwards? If I can answer yes to one of those questions then I will attend. If not then I will make my apologies.
It is also worth noting here that the scoring you use to determine whether it is a yes or a no will depend on where you are at in your journey. As I am working my way up the ladder I am at a stage where I need to say yes to more things. Hence why the decision only needs to match with one of my principles to be approved. If you are at the top and need to limit your inputs then you may say that a decision needs to match all 3 to be approved. As Derek Sivers says "It should either be a f**k yeah or a No".
So try this for yourself. Decide what your first principles are. Who do you want to be? How do you want to live your life? Translate the answers to those into a few short questions and use those as your measuring stick whenever you are asked to do something. You will find that your decision making accuracy improves and you will also experience less decision fatigue as the narrowing of options means you expend less cognitive energy flip flopping between choices.
I'd love to hear your feedback so do drop a comment in below to let me know your experiences with this, or maybe even share what principles you have chosen.