The Scenario: You are in a situation where people’s emotions are running high, but it falls on your shoulders to make the right decision. So which do you rely on to guide your critical decision: LOGIC or STRATEGY?
LOGIC is based on the truth of things.
Insight: Choosing to rely on LOGIC is to follow the reasonable path of what should be, which may not in fact accurately represent the reality of your present circumstances.
STRATEGY is based on using what you have.
Insight: Choosing to rely on STRATEGY means doing your best with what actually is, regardless of any value-judgment you may feel inclined to make.
The Takeaway: If you try to apply & execute plans based on logic in an environment where no logic is present – where logic is not perceived by all concerned as relevant – your plans will fail. And don’t even bother trying to “dial back” on or “soften” your logic inputs, as doing so will only magnify the vulnerability of your position.
Remember this truth: Whereas true “reasoning” is based on rational evaluation & judgment, the fact remains that what most people commonly refer to as “reasoning” is based on emotional evaluation & judgment. Therefore, to deal with people successfully, I recommend you abandon LOGIC and rely instead on STRATEGY. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.
The Scenario: Undertaking an assessment of your present life, your attention comes to rest – along with mixed feelings – upon what you’ve done to bring you this far and become what you are.
Feeling REGRET is looking back on what is done & gone, and feeling guilt or shame or self-pity.
Insight: When you choose to REGRET, you end up stuck blaming yourself for your past mistakes rather than learning from them, and then applying those lessons to your present. You are effectively turning your back on progress and opportunities.
Taking RESPONSIBILITY is looking at how you’ve come to your present circumstances, and figuring out how to apply the lessons learned.
Insight: When you choose to take RESPONSIBILITY, looking backwards is not on the menu. You’ve admitted that you alone are responsible for where you are, how you’ve gotten here, and how you’ve become what you are now. And you are willing to work with what you’ve got.
The Takeaway: Ask yourself if you would be better served by asking yourself “What can I be doing RIGHT NOW to make myself and my future BETTER?”, or by looking to the past and lamenting what could have been. When you develop within yourself an intimate understanding of the difference between RESPONSIBILITY and REGRET, you can ensure that you remain always facing forward – a place of endless possibilities.
The Scenario: You find yourself challenged to make a decision or a choice that you really don’t feel ready to commit to. How do you respond?
STUBBORNNESS is standing your ground when you’re no longer really paying attention to what’s underneath your feet.
Insight: The energy source of STUBBORNNESS is simply defiance. It can be defiance of your own fear(s), your own regrets, someone else’s opinion, or even your material circumstances. And while STUBBORNNESS may feel useful, all it really amounts to is empty calories.
DETERMINATION is exercising your will forward to achieve a target objective or outcome.
Insight: The energy source of DETERMINATION is an ideal or vision of achievement. So DETERMINATION is clean & strong, and a great place to operate from.
The Takeaway: This is really about how you choose to respond to challenges. So just keep in mind that clinging to STUBBORNNESS tends to spiral your confidence downwards, whereas the conscious effort of DETERMINATION cultivates real personal power – and results!
Reacting fearfully only blurs the distinction between STUBBORNNESS and DETERMINATION, so give this some thought at every opportunity. The choice is always yours to make.
The Scenario: You’re called upon to perform some examination & determination of your circumstances. What’s the best approach?
DIAGNOSIS involves determining the nature of a problem from the symptoms presented.
Insight: The output of DIAGNOSIS is data, which tends to be static. Ascertained by looking at signs & symptoms, DIAGNOSIS illustrates the nature of the problem under consideration.
ANALYSIS involves determining the elements or components of a complex thing.
Insight: The output of ANALYSIS is information, which is by nature more dynamic than simple data. This output is derived from investigating not only the constituent parts of a whole but also their relations in making up that whole.
The Takeaway: If your goal is to challenge assumptions, ANALYSIS is likely to be more useful to you; the more dynamic output can offer forward impetus for your investigation. But if you are looking to simply describe what you’re dealing with, DIAGNOSIS is probably a more useful approach to start with.
The Scenario: Who isn’t consistently under pressure to complete tasks & projects? But you have a choice: You can PUSH THROUGH them to “Get them off your plate” or make the time to WORK THROUGH them to the best of your abilities.
WORK THROUGH is taking active control of the momentum of whatever you’re doing. This happens when you consciously make one decision after another, purposefully linking them together in a calculated series until you achieve your outcome.
Insight: Since choosing to WORK THROUGH involves consciously making repeated decisions, two very useful things tend to happen: (1) Each successive decision you make strengthens your ability to keep on making even better decisions as you move on. (2) Since you’re actively guiding your decisions, you’re very likely to achieve whatever effect or outcome you have in mind; you get done precisely what you wanted to get done.
PUSH THROUGH is rolling with the momentum of whatever activity you’re doing. You simply continue your efforts until some manner of conclusive “decision” is generated for you by circumstance.
Insight: Since choosing PUSH THROUGH involves avoiding proactive decisions, there is the real danger of ending up a victim of your circumstances. Should you let this happen, the quality of your outcome will reflect your choices, and you’ll have missed an opportunity to cultivate your potential.
The Takeaway: When you find yourself under the gun, take a moment to reconfirm your completion strategy: Will you WORK THROUGH by making decisions or will you PUSH THROUGH and accept the default outcome. Both options are usually available to you, so stay mindful that the choice is yours.
The Scenario: Circumstances call for you to exercise your Personal Authority – which is the most appropriate response strategy?
Using FORCE on yourself or others is akin to bulldozing around dirt in the expectation of digging a well and finding water.
Insight: The fuel of FORCE is often fear, which unfortunately constrains free and innovative thinking. So you will get an outcome, but perhaps not of the kind or quality that you expect. And since feelings of pressure & discomfort frequently accompany FORCE, you risk the types of outcomes one gets from being inflexible.
Applying DISCIPLINE to yourself or others is like making the calculated choice to dig a well where there’s water below.
Insight: The fuel of DISCIPLINE is motivation of success. So you’re likely to get the results you expected. Even if the task before you is tough or even unpleasant, when you are exercising the freedom to do or be your best under the circumstances, DISCIPLINE delivers results. And more to the point, it can foster an environment of creative freedom, innovative thinking and maneuverability.
The Takeaway: Keep in mind that the fundamental difference between FORCE and DISCIPLINE lies in their fuel; it really is a matter of choosing to rely on positive or negative emotion. So stay mindful of which fuel you are choosing and why, and you’ll know exactly what types of outcome to expect.
The Scenario: Being EFFECTIVE and being EFFICIENT – both deliver value, so which one is better to focus on?
Being EFFECTIVE means doing the right things in order to yield the best results.
Insight: Applying your skills to a chosen target with confidence in the outcome can make you EFFECTIVE. This is valuable because confidence in your choice of where & why you are applying your efforts will get you the results you’re looking for far more reliably than skill alone.
Being EFFICIENT means doing things right, with the least amount of wasted effort.
Insight: Possessing the right skills along with a high degree of competency can make you EFFICIENT. Keeping you on-track while optimizing resources, the value of EFFICIENCY is that it can get you from point A to point B via a straight line, which has some real power.
The Takeaway: So the $64,000 question remains: Which one – if either – is “better”?
Well, being EFFICIENT tends to be more popular because it seems easier to achieve, and the consequences of being inefficient are usually not as harsh as those of being ineffective.
That said, choosing to focus on being EFFECTIVE means you’re aiming your sights at the result, so you’re more likely to continually improve upon the means & methods that will get you there.
The bottom line? EFFECTIVE & EFFICIENT work best together; they’re both important and shouldn’t be considered mutually exclusive. The key is to judge at the outset which choice of focus will deliver the results you’re looking for under your particular set of circumstances. As Henry Ford said: Put all your eggs in one basket, but then watch that basket!