It was a YES that got you reading this newsletter. You said a “YES” to open my email or click the link that directed your browser to this webpage. Likewise, there is a “YES” to every decision you take. But why do we say a lot of YESes?
To focus our energy towards something productive requires an understanding of why we say yes. I believe there are three simple reasons why we say yes.
We presume that we would slow down in the rat race.
We make a mistake of thinking that growth happens when you win the race – the so-called rat race. A yes does not mean one step closer to winning the race, and a no does not mean standing still in the race. We assume that yes is our only way forward because of “COMPARISON.”
“My friend is going for extra classes, I too must go” or “No one in my circle are planting trees or visiting orphanages, should I do it?”. But let me tell you my friend, “Growth is always absolute, never relative.”
Comparing ourselves with others is a reason why we tend to say a lot of yeses, and in the end, we get overburdened with work.
We like to have a plate full of goodies.
We hoard our plates with food from the buffet counter! Have you noticed people even walk back to their tables with plates filled with food on each hand? There can not be a better analogy for the yeses we fill ourselves with. We do this because we are LAZY or we MACHO UP cause we like telling others we can do a lot.
In the book “Deep Work”, Cal Newport says that such mentalities are why people are never able to do deep work; people get superficial in our work and do not become “experts”. Our brains can do deep focused work, only when we approach the tasks one by one. To become an expert, you now know what to do.
We think we have nothing else to do.
This is how your opportunity costs* go skyrocketing. Your yes to getting up late, or yes to skipping exercise, yes to x, y and z, should never be at the pretence that you have nothing else to do. When we suddenly find a pocket of time, we say yes to many easy things, and never really something worthwhile that will help us in the long run. Our mental immunity kicks in, and we incur a huge opportunity cost.
When you have nothing to do, maybe start off with a hobby, learning a musical instrument, start a new book, or meditate for a while. Make a list of activities that you think will help you in the long run.
Yeses happen for a reason. There can never be a good yes or a bad yes, but when you do say an yes, you need to step aside, think why you are saying it, analyse if it will help you, and then dive in. It is all about focusing your energy on the best use of your time.
This article is continuation of the paradox of choices
*Opportunity cost is a term used in economics/management sciences. It is the cost that is occurred to you when you do not do something because of performing the current action. For example, a movie on a Sunday afternoon could be at the cost of not reading a book.