When you are faced with making a decision, ask yourself one question.
One of my favorite quotes and philosophies comes directly from a British rowing team that went almost 100 years without a gold medal. Then they turned it all around in the year 2000. They won gold in the Sydney Olympics based off a guiding philosophy that could be summed up in just one question:
Every single decision they made as individuals, was answered by that question. So when they were faced with, “Do I get up early or sleep in?”, “Should I go out to the bar?”, “Will I train today or wait till tomorrow?”–for each decision they asked, “Will it make the boat go faster?” If they could not answer yes to this question then they had their decision.
This is exactly what so many of us need to consider in our daily lives to help guide our decisions. Life is complex, so often we feel we need to have a complex answer to solve its problems. Many times we end up believing that many choices would be correct and so we take on all of them. This of course leads to nothing becoming a priority and we end up right back where we started.
Whether we should spend an extra hour at work, go home to family, or go to the gym is a tough choice. None of these choices are right or wrong it just depends on what supports your true mission or, in this case, question. If your question captures what’s most important to you, you can save time and energy with life’s endless decision points and choices.
In looking for one question that would work for me I found it was not as easy as it sounds. To ask the right question you have to actually know what you want. So set aside a good 12 uninterrupted hours for thought. What I want out of life is to be successful as a husband, father and business owner. The only way to accomplish these goals throughout my life is to be the best version of myself to rise to the occasion in all areas. So my questions is. “Will this make us better?”
For my friend he uses a more specific question to drive his decision “Does this make me my most fit by 40?”
He wants to be the most fit he have ever been by the time he is 40 years old. With that goal in mind, instead of asking “Do I want a second piece of pie?”, which will obviously come up over the next few months, he asks, “Does this make me my most fit by 40?” He will then put down the pie and be one step closer to what actually matters to him. Whether its deciding to add 15 minutes of treadmill or bike to his workout, how far away to park, or how to spend his weekends his question is his guide.
Everyone’s question can be different, and the simpler the better. Once you have your most important question in your mind–and use it throughout your day–your life will start to move in that direction. Take the time to choose wisely. Remember, these guys went 88 years without winning, until they asked themselves one question, which won them the gold! You never know what you might be capable of accomplishing.