Deciding what to pursue — and simply as importantly, what to not pursue — is likely one of the hardest selections you may make.
That is why Steve Jobs believed within the energy of claiming no, a lot in order that Jobs requested then Apple head of design Jony Ive the identical query nearly each day: “What number of instances did you say no as we speak?” To Jobs, saying no created focus. He did not see being “busy” as a proxy for output, or seriousness, or productiveness.
That is why, when requested to explain what units profitable individuals aside, Warren Buffett mentioned, “The distinction between profitable individuals and actually profitable individuals is that actually profitable individuals say no to nearly all the things.”
Downside is, generally you do must say sure. So how will you resolve when an concept or purpose actually is value pursuing?
Ask your self, “Is that this trombone oil?”
In The Trip of a Lifetime, Bob Iger’s wonderful ebook about his 20-year profession as Disney CEO, Iger describes a lesson he realized from his longtime boss, Dan Burke:
I am unable to recall precisely what it was in response to, however in one in every of our conversations about some initiative I used to be contemplating, Dan handed me a observe that learn: “Keep away from moving into the enterprise of producing trombone oil. It’s possible you’ll develop into the best trombone-oil producer on the earth, however in the long run, the world solely shoppers a number of quarts of trombone oil a 12 months.”
He was telling me to not put money into initiatives that might sap the assets of my firm and me and never give a lot again.
… I nonetheless have that piece of paper in my desk, often pulling it out after I speak to Disney executives about what initiatives to pursue and the place to place their vitality.
Earlier than you say sure to an concept… earlier than you resolve to place time and vitality and assets into the pursuit of a purpose… be sure that the return is greater than value it. That return could also be monetary. Or philanthropic. Or private.
In spite of everything, you get to outline “success.”
However since your effort, vitality, and assets are finite — since any money and time you place into one undertaking cannot be put into one other undertaking — make the end result will greater than match enter.
As a result of if it would not… you are manufacturing trombone oil.