11 April 2008

Think You Think Too Much?

Recently I’ve been re-reading The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz

I regularly return to this book and find it always gives me a good kick to make sure I don’t put any limits on the goals that I set for myself or for people that I work with.

This time, one section struck a new chord. Early in the book the author talks about how people limit their potential by falling into the trap of making excuses as to why they can’t achieve great things.
He refers to this as ‘the failure disease’. One of the common excuses people make is their health. ‘If only my health were better, then I’d really be able to succeed with everything…’

Schwartz counters this by making a simple point. There is something physically wrong with almost everyone. The perfect specimen of human life just doesn’t exist. He goes on to argue that the way to overcome health as an excuse is simply to refuse to talk about it. The logic being that if everyone sat around bemoaning their illnesses, no-one would ever get anything done. And on the other side of things, just look at those who are most successful in life – they speed on regardless of any injuries or ailments and they simply don’t let physical limitations register, never mind hold them back.

Most people these days, spend a lot of time thinking about how they feel, what mood they are in and how this affects what they're supposed to be doing at the time. A side effect of Oprah! I would encourage this – it’s my philosophy to keep an eye on your performance at all times and if it’s not as good as it could be, have a strategy handy to fix it immediately.

But David Schwartz’s advice in this section of his book made me think about challenging this occasionally. How about, for one day only we all refuse to think or talk about how we’re feeling? We don’t weigh up the pros and cons of what mood all our tasks will put us in, we just get on and do them. No more, ‘I don’t have the energy for gym tonight' or ‘I just can't be bothered to do that.’ No questions, no procrastination, no umming and ahhhing - just instant action. I wonder if we’d be more productive or less..?

Sorry Oprah.

Photograph by Christian et Cie (Flickr)

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