Category Archives: Decision Making

Making decisions is hard. But not making them is even harder. When you learn how to make decisions quickly, effectively, and in the face of uncertain information, you stay fast. The secret to getting ahead is getting started: the secret to getting started lies in the art of decision making.

Never Choose Seven

Right now I’m in the middle of Tribe of Mentors, a book by Tim Ferriss that is better than I expected.

(I’m on a bit of a Tim Ferriss kick right now. It’s not that I haven’t admired his work; it’s that I think his work has increasingly gotten better and better, and he’s now operating at a level that has eliminated much of the ego that came with The Four Hour Work Week. In short, it’s great.)

In the book, he distills his top eleven questions he’s found to work best on his podcast, and shares his notes on how the art of asking great questions gets you better connection, conversation, and insight.

Then, he shares the answers from dozens of well-known people, including Esther Perel, Maria Sharapova, Jason Fried, Kevin Kelly, and more. Perhaps my favorite part about the book is that each interview is itself an isolated essay worth pondering, which makes it easy to read serially. It’s like a mini-essay for each day that I read on my subway commute or in line at the coffee shop.

Today, what’s sticking with me is Kyle Maynard’s note about hiring as a CEO. In the answer, he talks about how a well-known CEO shared with Kyle his philosophy on hiring. He insisted that employees rank new candidates on a 1-10 scale, with one stipulation: they couldn’t choose 7 as an answer.

He goes on to share how this mindset shift helped him rethink decisions he was making in his everyday life. How many things in your life—like invitations to events, job opportunities, places to live, vacations—would you rate as a 7?

A 7 is an easy answer, because it’s comfortable. It’s familiar. You’re saying it’s good enough, not offensive, will do the job.

Forcing yourself to choose a 6 or an 8, however, means you have to decide whether or not you’re opting out of making a decision. It makes you evaluate: is this really good enough right now? Do I feel strongly enough to rank it as an 8? Or would I actually consider this closer to a 6?

If it’s a 6, then it’s clear you’d skip it.

And if it’s truly an 8, then, you’ve also made the decision.

For me, this has stuck in my brain for weeks.

Never choose seven.

Why I Tracked Every Book I Read in 2017

This year, I decided to track all of the books I read to see what was making it’s way into my mind. As part of my year of devotion and paying more attention to where I spend my mental energy, I kept a running list of all of the books I read. I also tracked theRead the article

How Do You Decide What Book to Read Next?

If I could read every (good) book ever made, I would. But, time has a way of limiting us, and I want quality over quantity. Recently I stumbled on a great way of choosing which book to read next. Here’s how it works.Read the article

Eliminate the Thinking

One of my goals is to find a way to minimize the amount of thinking I have to do about any particular subject. My brain is really addicted to thinking. It’s one of its favorite things to do. But there’s a certain amount of useless thinking that happens about things that don’t need as muchRead the article

Why Saying “No” Is A Kindness

I invited two dear friends to join a book club with me. I think their reactions were remarkable. The first said, “No thanks,” directly. “Business books are so oversaturated in my life right now. I’m only reading fiction,” he said. “I can’t read another business book right now.” Done. Clear. Easy. Being direct is aRead the article

The Power of Saying Things Out Loud

The power of saying what you want out loud continues to astound me. It was January 1, this year. I was setting goals. I outlined what I wanted to do this quarter — take singing lessons, finish the first draft of my book, a few more things. Being in New York has been challenging atRead the article

Why quitting is perfectly okay.

It’s always the same story for me: I start a project, a class, an idea, or a story. I eagerly rush in, align my pencils, lay out my notebooks, and make delirious plans in my calendar. That first day, ideas and dreams pour out of me. Then four days pass. I waver, tired. My calendarRead the article

How to Practice Saying No

I walked into the restaurant and something didn’t feel right. The prices were too high, the waiter a little stuffy and dismissive, the air a little cold. I can’t tell you exactly what it was, but I do know that my body was decidedly uncomfortable. While none of the particulars was enough to make a fuss—shouldRead the article

Why I Say No to Meeting People for Coffee

If you struggle with balancing your time and wondering when and how to meet people for lunch or coffee, read on. Sometimes (and a lot of the time, actually) I have to say no–and here’s part of the reason why. Ever say yes to something and wish you hadn’t? Or get stuck in a situationRead the article

Everyone starts somewhere.

Even the master yogi took a first class. To become anything, you have to begin. Start somewhere, take a tiny step. Something is better than nothing. Everyone starts somewhere.