The Hedgehog Concept
When you take care of the most important activity first, it’s amazing how easy it is to find time to do all the other stuff…the little things that are such time-gobblers.
“The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.” Isaiah Berlin explored the fundamental distinction that exists between those who are fascinated by the infinite variety of things (foxes) and those who relate everything to a central, all-embracing system (hedgehogs).”
We must ask ourselves two questions…
Q1 | What am I pretending not to know?
Q2 | What would the person that I intend to become do next?
You know those videos that illustrate the importance of scheduling the big things in your life first, trying to visually prove that when you schedule the big stuff first, magically it all fits in? So for this BLOG, I’m jumping past the cleverly illustrated examples of how so many people start backwards…
…and fast-forwarding instead, to illustrating the importance of scheduling – and doing – the big things first, such as making family, faith and income producing activities the priority *imagine tennis balls being put into a tennis ball sleeve*…
Secondly, a visual explanation of how it makes so much more sense to follow the most important activity with the supporting or background details *now imagine pouring rice into the sleeve and watch it fill in the space between the tennis balls*…
Next, and time permitting, allow time for the ‘other’ stuff – the minutia – such as cleaning the house, scrolling your social media feed, updating your phone, organizing cupboards etc. *imagine sand being poured into the sleeve, wiggling its way in between the tennis balls and the rice*…
As a reward for working smarter, not harder, we can then add the ‘fruits of life’ as my friend Mark J. puts it…the fun stuff, the ‘us-time’ or ‘me-time’ that we crave *finally, imagine pouring water into the sleeve…over top of the tennis balls, the rice and the sand.*
Now, stand back and marvel at how beautifully it all fits in…So why then, do we all tend to fill our days with the sand first…???
On too many occasions, I’ve looked at my business as a reflection of myself – only to become frustrated at the fact that I’m not making the income I’d like to make, or more accurately…need to make. I get down on myself for not doing the simple tasks…the most important tasks, rather than filling my days with ‘busy work’…all the useless, time consuming, non income-producing activities, and for what? …for nothing except the ability to have an excuse to fall back on for my lack of progress in business.
It’s far easier to trick ourselves into believing we’re actually working…when in fact we are just pushing piles of stuff around on our desks, rarely accomplishing anything of value or importance.
Justifying the avoidance factor in business…and to an extent, in every day life as well, introspection has taught me that if I fear doing the activity that will bring me success – let’s say it’s telling people about my product/service despite KNOWING that I understand my product/service – upon analyzing said avoidance on a deeper level, I’ve realized that I don’t actually have a fear of sharing my business, but rather a fear of being rejected…a fear of people not taking my advice, a fear of putting myself out there and being shot down.
So this is what happens when we concentrate – the truth reveals itself. And it does truly set you free. If you’ll allow it – embrace it rather than reject it.
The avoidance on my part is not whether they do or don’t elect to become a customer, rather for some silly and strange reason, I place extreme personal success or failure based on if they deem my advice worthy or not. I’ve equated them not buying my product/service with them not valuing my opinion – instantly, I become reclusive and my desire to be recognized for creative expression gets all bent out of shape and so I simply stop asking because then I can’t possibly be rejected. Ridiculous, I know. This is nothing but fear, and everybody knows that nothing more than F.E.A.R. is simply False Evidence Appearing Real.
I was re-reading How to Win Friends and Influence Others yesterday and read a quote by Benjamin Franklin…
“I will speak ill of no man, and speak all the good I know of everybody.”
It takes self-control to be understanding and forgiving. Along this #LifeChanging journey of self-discovery, I began implementing the 7-day Mental Diet, making a habit of not judging others – which has helped me realize that when I was previously jumping to conclusions about people or situations, I was merely avoiding doing that very same work on myself.
When you can face your fears – which is often [sadly] ourselves – and overcome them, it is then that we discover our greatness on the other side!
I’ve begun recognizing my own self-sabotaging behaviours, and was recently introduced to a powerful resource, a book called Get off your But! by Sean Stephenson.
From the Inside Flap (via Amazon.ca):
“This book will show you how to move beyond your limitations and begin to experience and share your gifts at the highest level.. . . Read this book in its entirety, follow the lessons closely, and watch as your life transforms into a masterpiece filled with an abundance of bliss, passion, and gratitude.” —From the Foreword by Anthony Robbins
In addition to presenting Sean Stephenson’s unbelievable life story, Get Off Your “But,” offers anyone who needs to conquer fears and insecurities a hands-on guide for overcoming the forces of negativity and self-sabotage. Sean—a successful psychotherapist—shows what it takes to overcome the big bumps in the road, eliminate excuses, end insecurities, and ultimately stand up for happiness and success in life. As Sean explains, anyone can fall victim to the “Buts”:
“But” Fears (But what if I fail . . .)
“But” Insecurities (But I’m not good enough . . .)
“But” Excuses (But there’s no time . . .)
Get Off Your “But” offers a practical guide for putting fear behind you and building the inner resources to become self-confident at work and at home. It’s time to get off your “but” and start leading the life you dream.
Book reviews, as per Amazon.ca:
- “Sean is an amazing person with an important message.”
—President Bill Clinton
- “Sean Stephenson is the Yoda of personal development, with less pointy ears.”
—Jimmy Kimmel, host of ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live
- “As we struggle with inertia to become the best that we can be, Sean Stephenson’s book informs and inspires us to stand up and keep moving forward. Thank you, Sean, for your life, your work, and your abundant sharing.”
—Ken Blanchard, coauthor, The One Minute Manager
- “Sean Stephenson is a hero to me. When you read his book, he will be a hero to you as well. His moving stories about himself and others who have found the gifts in their pain will teach you so much about courage and, just as important, you will learn how to build your own sense of confidence when it comes to health, career, relationships, and more. Do yourself a favor read this book! ”
—Susan Jeffers, Ph.D., author, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway and Embracing Uncertainty