Day #630:Make tiny decisions

Big decisions are hard to make and hard to change. And once you make one, the tendency is to continue believing you made the right decision, even if you didn’t. You stop being objective. Once ego and pride are on the line, you can’t change your mind without looking bad. The desire to save face trumps the desire to make the right call.

And then there’s inertia too: The more steam you put into going in one direction, the harder it is to change course.

Instead, make choices that are small enough that they’re effectively temporary. When you make tiny decisions, you can’t make big mistakes. These small decisions mean you can afford to change. There’s no big penalty if you mess up—you just fix it.

Making tiny decisions doesn’t mean you can’t make big plans (guesses) or think big ideas. It just means you believe the best way to achieve those big things is one tiny decision at a time.The problem with big, hairy goals and grand accomplishments is they kill motivation. They set you up for failure.

Polar Explorer Ben Saunders said that during his solo North Pole expedition (31 marathons back-toback, 72 days alone) the “huge decision” was often so horrifically overwhelming to contemplate that his day-to-day decision-making rarely extended beyond “getting to that bit of ice a few yards in front of me.”

Attainable goals like that are the best ones to have—ones you can actually accomplish and build on. You get to say, “We nailed it. Done!” Then you get going on the next one. That’s a lot more satisfying than some pie-in-the-sky, fantasy goal you never meet.

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