The belief a decision can change the world is powerful.
William Kamkwamba from Kasungu in Africa and his family faced a hunger crisis in 2001.
All their crops were lost. So they ate one meal a day.
Things got so bad he had to drop out of school. No crops, no money. William took it upon himself to go to the library and look for a solution. A book on windmills gave him the answer.
He decided to spend his time building a windmill from spare parts he found at the junkyard.
People thought he was nuts.
Once the project was finished it powered a pump that took water from a well and distributed it to the crops. Food became abundant again. William’s optimism caught the attention of bloggers, reporters, and the US. He got invited to give a TED Talk.
People lost their minds.
Now William is one of the most notable leaders in the world when it comes to engineering, the environment, and renewable energy.
Many more windmills got built as a result.
He restored hope to the African people by making a decision that seemed unlikely to pay off. And he became the center of African folk tales forever. That’s the power of optimism when making a decision.
Here’s how to make decisions that change your life.
Make uphill decisions
Most people make easy decisions. They put off hard decisions.
Humans love to avoid pain and seek pleasure. Uphill decisions force you to override your pain avoidance and make a decision that’ll be better for you in the long run. Because hard choices, easy life. Easy choices, hard life.
If you want compound results you’ve got to be willing to experience short-term pain.
Unplug yourself from the outcome
Naval makes another brilliant point. Success in life hinges on how good your decisions are.
That all sounds great.
What’s left out, according to Naval, is your happiness will go to zero if you don’t have the ability to disconnect from the outcome.
Don’t let decisions destroy your happiness. What will be, will be. Take a breath. Life is too short to live in constant worry.
You can easily reverse most decisions
The default operating mode is to make decisions as if the outcome will last forever. This is our 200,000 year old monkey brain telling lies again.
You can make the opposite choice after the fact with most decisions.
Act as if decisions are reversible — because most are. That’s how you speed up decision-making and get results.
Get rewarded exponentially by making this decision type
Author Shane Parrish says the temptation is to make decisions where everyone agrees with you.
That’s what most 9–5 employees do.
This decision type pays linearly for results. Shane says when everyone agrees with you after the fact, the payday is exponential.
Making decisions where you look stupid in the moment is hard to do.
I feel that way about crypto. I decided to go all-in on my belief. Yet with prices crashing people think I’m stupid. But the last two crashes have paid me exponentially for my belief in this weird kind of internet money.
Better to get massive paydays than get linear results that throw your time down the drain until you’re old and crusty.
Nuke group decisions
In corporate life you get sucked into many group decisions.
No one wants to rock the boat so everyone just agrees with the consensus. Some even make a decision based on how they’ll look or whether they can kiss their boss’s ass.
Old school Jewish law can teach us a better way.
When defendants were found guilty by all judges in a trial, the verdict became ‘innocent.’ Group agreement became a red flag. It meant the trial stank of corruption or bad thinking.
Good ideas die when group decisions are made. Too many cooks in the kitchen.
There are no angelic decisions blessed by a higher power
Writer James Clear says all decisions have tradeoffs. He says better results usually call for bigger tradeoffs. The part I love most about this advice is the question James says we should focus on.
The question is not, “Do you want to be great at this?”
The question is, “What are you willing to give up in order to be great at this?”
American economist Thomas Sowell goes a step further: “There are no solutions in life, only tradeoffs.”
All decisions require you to give up something else. If you can stomach what has to get given up, you can go well beyond your potential.
People ask me how I became a prolific writer online. Answer: I gave up my job, time with family, and two days a week to do it. Make a decision where the sacrifice is worth it.
Choose decisions that make you come alive.
You’re probably three decisions away from the good life
Fitness expert Zach Pogrob says they’re big decisions though. And big decisions feel like climbing Mt Everest in your birthday suit.
The answer is to lean into discomfort. The greater the pain, the more you need this challenge to rip your face off.
Moments of discomfort destroy deathbed regrets.
“You should rarely judge a decision by its outcome”
The outcome of a decision isn’t the point. What matters is the learning you got with the decision you made.
Seek an education from execution.
Use this Tim Ferriss technique
In the last few months I’ve had to make important decisions about my unborn child, accountants, course ideas, and investments.
Podcaster Tim Ferriss taught me to ease the burden with a pros and cons list. When you see two columns full of upsides and downsides, your brain can make a decision faster.
The lies you tell yourself can’t hide.
Making bad decisions is something that all human beings share. The trick is to minimize their frequency — Alberto Garcia
Forget what the sheep think of your decision
It blows my mind when people make a decision based on how they’ll look or whether the outcome can lower their status.
Who cares what people think? Live your life. The good life is on the other side of making decisions for yourself.
In fact you want people to be moved by your decision. It means you did something bold that might just change the world.
Friend of Elon Musk and giant Twitter weirdo Tim Urban, made an illustration to demonstrate how much it doesn’t matter what the sheep think about your decisions.
Crush your fear of judgment by remembering most people are too busy or too glued to their phones to think about your life.
Now you’re free.
Not making a decision is a decision
The heaviest thing in the world to carry around isn’t iron or gold, it’s an unmade decision — Alex Hormozi
I’m guilty of this. I’ll happily sit around and fondle myself over Tony Robbins’ quotes than make a big decision.
Remember: procrastination is a decision.
Your life doesn’t change if you don’t make big, hard, tough decisions. Your rate of growth is in direct proportion to how many big decisions you make. Business leader Gary Vee reminds us there’s no time machine or future machine. The alternative of a decision will never be known to you.
Pick an option.
If it f*cks up you can always adjust as you go and iterate.
Now go make some big decisions and change your life in a year or less.