Wisdom//

Simplify to Amplify: Sometimes It Is Better to Have Fewer Choices

Stop fatiguing your brain with mundane decisions such as what to wear to work, allow it to focus on more important problems instead.

I am a huge fan of Robin Sharma, the world-renowned leadership expert. One of his podcasts that I have listened to time and again is “The 4 Interior Empires of History Makers” in which he teaches that there are four important inner dimensions to personal mastery and success: mindset, heartset, healthset and soulset. How you calibrate these four dimensions determine your creativity, productivity, prosperity and impact.

While it’s hard to prioritise one of these dimensions over the other, I strongly believe that ‘healthset’ comes first. Ironically, our own health is usually what we typically pay least attention to but without the energy and good health to pursue our ambitions, we will go nowhere.

There are many ways to get healthier and increase your reservoirs of energy: get more sleep, eat healthier, cut out alcohol and caffeine, commit to exercise every day are just a few that we read and hear about often. All of these may seem extremely difficult, especially if you are working in a high-pressure job in a high stress environment with high anxiety levels every day.

There is one unexpected way to increase your energy: simplify the choices you have to make.

We don’t realise how much we are overloading our brains every day with all the choices we make it process. Should I work out or not? What should I wear to work? What should I eat for breakfast? What should I focus on when I get to work in the morning? What should I pack for lunch? How should I spend the afternoon? Who should I meet in the evening? What should I read today? What should I eat for dinner?

I hope you are tired just reading these questions. Imagine your poor brain! Decision fatigue is extremely draining and can chip away at your energies. Cut down the number of these mundane decisions you have to make so that you can save your intellect and energy for the important decisions that determine your success at work and home.

Steve Jobs intuitively knew this secret to success. He wore the same outfit every day—a black turtleneck, jeans and sneakers. By doing so, he eliminated at least one important decision we struggle with every morning. We don’t know what else he did to simplify his life but this is one that is widely discussed.

Ready to simplify? There are so many little things you can do to create more routine in your life and automate some decisions. Choose a standard uniform for work or choose your five outfits on Sunday night. Wake up and go to bed at the same time every day. Create more routine in your schedule. Bring the same food for lunch every day. Create more predictability than more surprise.

This may somewhat reduce the excitement in your life but it will liberate you from the tyranny of choices which are a cognitive overload.

By creating more routine and simplifying everyday choice, you are putting energy and power back into your brain and body thereby increasing your chances of better decision making on the choices that truly matter.

Want to share your story of how you thrive? Write to us at editorial.india@thriveglobal.com

More on Thrive Global India:

Resist the Urge to Do Something Every Minute

Will You Thrive Or Survive in 2019? Four Micro-Steps to Redesign Your Life

 

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- Marcus Aurelius

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