One foot can not stand in two boats. -Chinese Proverb
When people first hear this , most have the same reaction. “Of course,” they say, “who would ever think that the same foot can be in two places at the same time?”
Ironically, many of these same people continue to try putting one foot into two boats in their daily lives.
This simple saying has a couple very useful applications in today’s World; decision-making and multitasking. Each of these things has a very direct bearing on stress, leadership, and overall happiness. Let’s take a look at each one and find our how we can start this year with tools and habits for success.
First is decision-making. There are many people who stress over making a decision. In their mind they keep asking themselves one question, “what if I’m wrong?” This question grips them in a paralyzing state until either the opportunity has passed or the decision is made for them.
Decision making is a skill. Like any skill there are going to be successes and learning experiences, but it requires practice, thought, attention, and evaluation. You start with gathering information. In order to make a confident, informed decision you must have all the information available.
After you have the information, assemble your options. Whether there multiple options or only two, lay out specifically what each choice includes, along with any foundation that needs to be laid in order to implement that option. Part of the assembly process is weighing the ramifications of each decision and this is where most become frozen with the “what if”. (“What if” will be the subject of a later blog…) Power through the ‘what if’ and root your decision in the information you have available to you. (This is where you would seek counsel and opinions of those who have experience you can use. You don’t need to do this alone…)
Finally, make the choice. Be prepared to justify it. Stand up for it. In my business, I have much more respect for those who make a choice, even if I don’t agree, as long as it’s informed and thought out.
The second topic is multitasking. I firmly believe that ‘multitasking’ is a myth. It can’t be done. The human brain is not able to concentrate on more than one task at a time. One foot can not stand in two boats. Be aware of where your focus is and adjust if necessary. Maybe the email can wait two minutes for attention to be on a child, partner, client, or employee. I’ve never heard an argument start with, “You pay attention to me!”
Hopefully, this has given you something to think about today. Please leave comments or thoughts and share!