HELL YES vs. NO

Hell Yes vs NO

I feel like this post is the most important post I’ve written this year!

Every day, we’re bombarded to make decisions on varying levels of commitment.  Every day, we purchase goods and services. What I learned is every day we waste tremendous amounts of energy and money on the trivial many vs selecting the vital few.

I’m going to paint the concept of HELL YES vs. NO to you in a few different ways.

  1. Time Commitments
  2. Consumption Habits
  3. Talent Investment

Let us start with a simple introduction on what I’m getting at before we jump into the aforementioned scenarios.  The choice of HELL YES vs. NO should feel exactly how it reads.  Say, “HELL YES” out loud.  Do it.  Right now. As if you were excited about something so much you jumped off the couch. Feels good doesn’t it?!?

Alternatively, say the word “NO” with a strong conviction.  Like asking me if I like the Iowa State Cyclones.  No! Not now, not ever.

Here’s the rub. Until a couple years ago, i.e. before I read Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, very few of my answers or decisions lived in either of these two polar opposite responses.  I was wasting away in the middle. Over committed with mediocre energy on too many things.

If the feeling of saying YES, isn’t 95% or higher. It’s a NO.

If you really want to put to use the ideas I share on this blog, you’re going to have to get very comfortable saying no. No, no, no.  It’s time to get unreasonable with your time and your commitments.  Unreasonable? Why? The reason why is an answer you already know.

If you only have 100% to give, would you rather give it to 3-4 things, or spread it out over 10?  Why then, do so many commit to doing 10 things (extremely mediocre mind you) when they should be saying NO.  In today’s society, if we’re not “busy” we must be lazy.  Wrong answer. It’s window dressing for a false sense of over-involvement equalling progress.  Unfocused action only leads to one thing FAST.  Burnout.

Busy = I lack the ability to prioritize and select the vital few…so I do it all.

Conversely, feel the alternative.  Say, “HELL YES” again out loud. Think about how much more you’ll deliver in a scenario with this amount of passion, focus and creativity. You’ll absolutely crush it, and I’m willing to bet you’ll be happier as a result. Happy because you’re 100% invested.  Happy because you’re not overwhelmed worrying about 10 other things.  Happy because you’ll make huge progress because you have nothing else in your peripheral begging for your focus.

Secondly, let us explore the world of “HELL YES vs. NO” in our consumption habits.  This one is really interesting to me.  A couple years ago i started following Ramit Sethi after reading his book I Will Teach You To Be Rich over a couple flights.  I then started following his blog: I Will Teach You To Be Rich.  He wrote something that really caught my attention about spending.

He makes the wonderful argument about spending lavishly on a vital few things we really want and bring us tremendous joy.

It could be an expensive pair of jeans, or premium shoes for someone.  For another person, it is great meals at posh restaurants because that brings them the most joy. For another, it was all about great travel experiences.  Point is, in each scenario, dialing back on many mediocre purchases, lead to tremendous happiness when big purchases were HELL YES purchases.

My HELL YES, looks very different than yours.  That’s ok!  That’s the point.  Find out what is most important to you and spend there.  But, don’t forget to dial back on all the other pieces that don’t bring you joy.  Save on the trivial, to splurge on the tremendous.

Lastly, let us take a look at talent investment in terms of skill set and time investment. I’ve written about this before and I want to reinforce it with the context provided in this post.

Find the two or three WORLD CLASS talents you have, and go all-in (HELL YES) on them.

Everything else must take a back seat. Remember, 95% commitment or more is a HELL YES.  Everything else is a NO.  When you get to a point where you’re spending most of your day on world class talents, you win.  You’re happy  You’re 10x more likely to gain new opportunities, establish great relationships, and I promise you…you’ll feel better.  You will smile bigger and hug longer.

ACTION ITEM: When met with an opportunity for a decision. Make sure you’re answer passes the HELL YES vs. NO test. No hurt feelings, just a cold hard reality check and understand the consequences if you don’t.  Your success and happiness awaits!!!

Go Get It!

What you should know about Essentialism

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Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

More?  Or Less?

More is a thing we’re all in pursuit of, even if we don’t know what “thing” it is.  Just have more of it.  More, more, more! It’s exhausting to pursue more.  It never ends.

Ask someone close to you what they’d like to have more of? You won’t get a short answer.  Think about all the more you could have in your life right now if you could just achieve it.  More:

  • house or houses
  • clothes
  • shoes
  • money, lots more money
  • car(s)
  • furniture
  • jewelry
  • STUFF

If immediately you believe you will be reading about giving away your life savings, living like a hermit, and wearing terrycloth clothing you’re wrong. Essentialism is a framework for choice.

Instead what about considering less? Doesn’t sound very sexy does it?

Okay, I agree and I like things that sound sexy and simple.  So, let me rephrase it the way Greg McKeown did in his book: Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less.  Less, but better!

Less, but better!

Welcome to the essentialism lifestyle. The pursuit of “less, but better” in our lives. More focus, on fewer activities, for a return magnitudes higher than the simple pursuit of more for more.  It’s not about living in a 400 square foot apartment and giving away all we’ve ever owned.  Its about discipline in following and achieving our dreams by using the power of choice (elimination) and focus (dreams).

If I could recommend five books to anyone, this book is for sure on the list. I devoured it the first time I read it, so I’m going back for a second course to make sure I didn’t leave too much meat on the bone.

I associate the essentialist set of beliefs with another leader I follow a great deal online Gary Vaynerchuk.   Gary is obsessed in focusing his efforts on the two or three things he’s really great at.  These two or three “world-class” talents can provide him the greatest return (in magnitudes of order) compared to investing his time in the 95% of shit (his words) he sucks at.

Here’s another very strong correlation i found from author and successful blogger Ramit Sethi’s, I Will Teach You To Be Rich blog. The title of his recent post 2015 The Year of More.  After you’re done reading this piece, circle back and digest what Ramit is saying.

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Here are seven of my favorite points I distilled from the book:

  1. Essentialists ask this question every day, multiple times per day.  “Is this the very most important thing I could be doing with my time or resources RIGHT NOW?
  2. “Only once you give yourself permission to STOP trying to do it all, can you make your highest contribution toward what really matters
  3. Evaluate the “trivial many” vs. the “vital few” – in all aspect of our life and finances
  4. From Jack Dorsey (founder of Twitter), “There are a thousand things we could be doing, buy only one or two are important”
  5. Nonessentialists = Yes to all.  Pleasers of anything and everything.
  6. Decision fatigue.  More choices = lower quality of choices.  I found this really interesting as I just read a Fast Company piece titled, “Always Wear The Same Suit”  about decision making and wardrobe choices for President Barack Obama.  He subscribes to this productivity hack.
  7. The invisible art form.  EDIT.   We should always be editing down our schedules, focuses, goals, and lifestyle.  Like a great producer taking a film from five hours to three.  Or a publisher taking a great book and simplifying it from 600 pages to a well distilled 250.  Edit, edit, edit!

I don’t want to ruin it for those who would like to consume all the book has to offer, but I do really suggest you think about how the power of choice and elimination could better impact your life.

ACTION ITEM:  I really want you to read this book.  If you don’t choose to read this book, slow down and read my seven favorite points.  They will substantially impact your life and the way you look at how your invest your time.