Breaking through pervasive negativity


It’s becoming apparent, slowly (surprise), that I deal with a lot of negative people every day. I’m willing to bet you see the same thing. Right now, I don’t have any hard data behind this observation, but I’m hoping you can help there. I’m going to make a statement and ask a follow-up question. All you need to do is give an honest answer. Sound good?

Do you see the negative in the positive?

The Statement

Do what makes sense.

The Question

What is the call to action in the statement above?

The Point

If you’re like most of the people I’ve “surveyed”, upon reading the imperative to “Do what makes sense”, you immediately think you’ve just been told to not do what doesn’t make sense. Or maybe to stop doing non-sensical things. Full disclosure: I often make the same mental leap. And that’s a shame.

It’s a shame that, in the face of indecision or even crisis, we fail to act with common sense. We fail out of fear of making a mistake, or of doing something that we won’t be able to justify to Monday morning quarterbacks. We fail because we are afraid of failure. Truly, that is a pity.

In the 21st century, more than at any point in history, we can see example after example of successful people and companies who fail. Failing fast is a badge of honor among the business and technical elite. Why, then, do we remain frozen with fear of failure?

The Challenge

I challenge everyone reading (and writing) this post to take a step out of fear’s shadow. The next time you are faced with a decision, take two simple steps:

  1. Identify what makes sense. Not what makes the most/best sense. Keep the litmus test simple by asking yourself “Could I explain the logic behind this decision in a sentence or two?”
  2. Do it. Now that you’ve identified what makes sense, follow through and act. If you want to get something “done”, you have to get something “started”. When you need a win, stop planning and start doing.

That’s it. A simple way to leave fear and negativity behind you, and make progress. Will you fail? Maybe. Will you succeed? I hope so! But, that’s not really the point. The point is, simply, to do what makes sense.

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