We can often get ourselves bogged down by the little things. We find ourselves debating small areas that have no real impact on our lives. We should not worry about these small things and instead focus on the key few areas that will bring the biggest return on investment – these are the big wins in life.
For example, deep down we all know how to get fit and healthy: eat less, move more, have some fruit and veg. But instead, we find ourselves debating the latest fad diet or which new ‘superfood’ is best for us. If you’re drinking beer every night and not moving from the sofa, a chia seed or goji berry is not going to save you. We waste time debating the minor details instead of doing the big things that will actually make a difference.
We become lost in the details. We’re bombarded every day by so much information and so many contradictory reports that it’s hard to know what to believe.
We have such a vast amount of information at our finger tips that we over-analyse and never end up making a decision. We become paralysed.
The French writer Voltaire said that we must never let perfect be the enemy of good. We will inevitably get to a stage where we have enough information to make a decision. It’s when we are here that we must block out the noise, make a decision and just get on with it.
The 80/20 Pareto principle also explains this well. It often takes 20% of your time time to complete 80% of a task, where as the last 20% of a task takes 80% of the effort. Should you really spend 80% more effort trying to get that last 20% completed or could you finish your new task and move on? Achieving 100% perfection may be impossible – is 80% good enough?
Ramit Sethi talks about this, saying that it’s better to focus on big wins, like learning how to negotiate a $10,000 salary increase or how to make money on the side, versus saving $2 a day cutting back on lattes.
Minutiae-focused people try to focus on everything, rarely prioritising and never getting anything done. Focus on the 5 big wins, rather than 50 little things.
Action beats inaction every-time. If you never apply for that job, then you have no chance of getting hired. Surely it’s better to submit a job application that’s 80% there than to not submit one at all?
You can sit around researching the best type of running shoe, planning out the optimum training programme or you can just get out there and run!
We can spend weeks analysing and researching for the best possible solution, but after a while it won’t get you much closer to your goal. You’re better off making a decision and just getting on with it. Yes it may not be 100% the best option, but it’s got to be better than not even starting at all.
What are the big wins in your life?
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