Spend 10 minutes a day doing something fun or no minutes a day?
These seem like obvious trick questions right? Maybe, maybe not…
I was walking back to my car from a dinner event in downtownPhiladelphialast night when I was approached by a (what I assume was) homeless woman who said, “Can I get some change for a sandwich?”
I’ll admit that when downtown I often have the default response of saying “sorry” and walking on. This time, perhaps inspired by the lingering “holiday good cheer,” I reached into my pocket, pulled out some change, and reached out to give it to her. It wasn’t much, but it was the change I had.
She looks at the 3 coins in my outstretched hand and says, “I need enough for a sandwich.”
Am I seriously being negotiated with? By someone asking for change??
I look at her and say, “This is what I have. Do you want it?”
She looks back at me and simply says, “I need enough for a sandwich.”
It was late and cold, and I wasn’t going to go digging around for more, so I said, “sorry,” and walked on.
I have no idea if she ever got her sandwich…
Beware of fixating on the “perfect” solution!
Yes, it would have been great for her if I had given her $5 for a sandwich. But by fixating only on that response she ended up with nothing. My change, combined with the change of a few other people would have given her enough for what she wanted.
It’s easy for the rest of us to fall into similar traps in our own lives and businesses:
Getting so focused on landing the “big client” that we ignore the low hanging fruit that can generate cash and connections
Committing so strongly to taking “massive action” – like working out for 2 hours a day – that when schedules and situations don’t give us the luxury of following through, we do nothing and resolve to “do better tomorrow”
Being so obsessed with acquiring an ideal job/gift/house/mate/etc. that we become unable to see the wonderful aspects of the job/gift/house/mate/etc. that we do have.
There are certainly instances where you are better off doing nothing than doing the wrong thing.
However, in many cases, we would all be better served letting go of the ideal perfect cases and remembering that doing or getting something is usually better than doing or getting nothing.
As fellow speaker Scott “Q.” Marcus says in the below TEDx video, “It makes a lot more sense to get up right now and walk a block than to swear I’m going to run a mile and sleep in tomorrow.”
No if you’ll excuse me, I have to go make myself a sandwich…
P.S. Hey, if you like this post, why don’t you share the love and click the Facebook “Like” button at the top of this page…?
By Avish Parashar. As the world's only Motivational Improviser, Avish uses techniques from the world of improv comedy to engage, entertain, and educate audiences on ideas around change, creativity, and motivation.
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