DECISION FATIGUE

Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life;
everyone must carry out a concrete assignment that demands fulfillment.
Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated.”
~
Viktor E. Frankl

What’s your One Thing?

Your Magnificent Obsession?

What are you here to accomplish?

In the words of Frankl, what’s your “assignment that demands fulfillment?”

Do you know exactly what it is? Are you fully committed to its complete achievement?

The way you answer these questions not only determines your propensity to a level of mastery… they determine your quality of life, your energy, as well as your fulfillment.

The masses are addicted to complexity
while the master is committed to simplicity.

Mastery comes from knowing your unique genius and then developing and leveraging it fully in the service of mankind.

Your innate abilities are your unique genius and gifts; and genius comes from deliberate practice and mastery of the unique gifts you’ve been given. So that obviously presupposes that you foremost know what those abilities are. I call this process of knowing “beginning at the beginning.”

Find your unique Genius,
Develop it to a level of Mastery,
And then Contribute your Greatness to the World.wallpaper-2145825

So let’s explore simplicity and minimalism.

Recent studies in willpower show that your willpower is limited. Even the most willful individual has a finite amount of will. Masters understand this fact, either consciously or unconsciously, and therefore design their life accordingly.

When you study the lives of the masters, those who achieve Ultimate Performance in their lives, it invariably proves that these individuals are minimalists.

These individuals have developed rituals and practices that often appear bizarre, or even as neurosis, to the masses. Yet masters don’t care what others think.

Not that they don’t care for others mind you, they often really do. It’s just that typically a master cares more for world class work, mastery of their craft, and achieving Ultimate Performance.

Laughter, ridicule, and/or lack of understanding are a masters’ reinforcement
that he’s changing the world.

This is why I’ve mentioned repeatedly that you must find your “Magnificent Obsession” your “One Thing,” and that you must become in the words of Peter Drucker a “Monomaniac on a mission.”

When I personally coach individuals, one of the questions I ask in our very first meeting is “Describe a typical day to me in detail.” Their answer speaks volumes about their level of mastery. Or their lack thereof.

A large portion of them describe their day in broad general terms.

Mounds of research, as well as my own exhaustive personal experience, prove that the more masterful one becomes, the more they follow a specific daily system and routine. Why? Two straightforward and inarguable reasons:

  • Efficiency
  • Effectiveness

A study conducted of the wealthiest people in the world, and published by Now Sourcing, proves that 84% of these Ultimate Performers follow a daily routine. Every single day! <Habits of the Wealthy>

If you leave your day and destiny up to chance,
There’s no chance you’ll master it.

Your body, as well as your unconscious mind (UCM) thrives on routine.

I get up at the same time every single day and I do the exact same things without even thinking about them. This takes no decision making power whatsoever.

I won’t describe my morning between 4AM and 6:30AM, (which is the time at which I go to the gym), but suffice to say that it’s automatic, habituated and nearly identical every single day.

These habits and others are developed to a level of what psychology calls “automaticity.”

Automaticity locks in when things happen without you ever thinking about them.

Habituating your low leveraged activities instantly gives you more energy to perform your high-leveraged and valuable tasks.

There’s an extreme amount of power in a strict routine like this. To say that you get a lot accomplished is an enormous understatement. But maybe more importantly, going back to willpower, once something is habituated you don’t have to think about it. At all!

Again, automaticity.

This is the power of your amazing unconscious mind.

When was the last time you thought about how to brush your teeth or tie your shoes? There was a time in your childhood when these things took extreme focus.

I can make my alkaline drink first thing, even on the days when I haven’t gotten my traditional 6 hours of sleep. Without even thinking about it!

… one 8 oz. glass of filtered water, one tablespoon of organic apple cider vinegar, two pinches of sea salt, cayenne pepper, one tablespoon of organic lemon juice…

You get the idea.

Your UCM runs your body.

Dr. Joseph Murphy’s research suggested it takes 21 days to develop a new habit. More recent research at the University of London suggests that it takes 66 days.

Which is more accurate?

Who knows?

But rest assured that somewhere between 21 days and 66 days you will have to use willpower (which remember is finite), to lock in the new behavior. After that is when the true magic begins. For after that time, the new behavior is locked in and concretized as a habit.

How does this impact Ultimate Performance?

You see as a simple example, because my UCM is programmed to make my morning drink every single morning first thing (as well as many other things), as stated previously, I don’t ever have to even think about doing these habituated things.

Therefore I conserve my willpower for grander less mundane decisions later in my day and life. Do you follow?

Quick quiz. What does Mark Zuckerberg wear when in public?

If you said a grey tee shirt, jeans and a hoodie, you’re correct.

If you didn’t, then you aren’t paying attention. For it’s always the same.

When asked in public if he, “only owns one shirt”, he laughed and replied:

“I really want to clear my life to make it so that I have to make as few decisions as possible about anything except how to best serve the community.”

What did Steve Jobs wear when he was in public?

If you answered turtle neck and jeans you’re paying attention.

Even decisions that seem trivial and mundane, even like what to eat for breakfast, can actually be exhausting over time; and will definitely burn up your willpower. Please read that again.

Research proves that we spend 18% of our lives showering, shaving, fixing our hair, doing our makeup, deciding what to eat and eating.

Eighteen percent of your entire life!

What’s the ROI on that investment of nearly 20% of your life?

And most wonder why they never accomplish even a fraction of what they deserve and are capable.

I eat the same breakfast every single day.

If you see me in my office, or on my videos, I wear the same shirt (I have several that are identical—in case you’re wondering).

I have an office shirt, a video shirt, a speaking suit, and a casual speaking outfit. Packing and preparing is a breeze. They take no thought at all. Therefore no willpower.

To develop mastery you must be committed to mastery above and beyond all else.

You see, when you burn up all your willpower on the trivial and mundane, you’ll have none left when it matters most. This is not theory. This is science.

Are you thinking?

Here’s the science.

There’s a powerful phenomenon in psychology called “decision fatigue,” when properly understood is a literal game changer.

Decision fatigue basically states what we’ve been discussing. There’s a finite amount of willpower. Even more importantly, research shows that we tend to make poor decisions after making a lot of decisions. Please read that again.

Your willpower and decision making muscles are much like your physical muscles in that when overused and spent, they don’t perform.

Muscle fatigue brings poor physical performance.

Willpower fatigue brings poor decision making, cognitive, and life performance.

Are you beginning to see why masters are minimalists?

Is it becoming clearer why I encourage you to find your One Thing?

If you attempt to be everybody’s everything you end up as everybody’s nothing.

One of the most powerful practices I get my personal Ultimate Performance Coaching clients into is what I call “The Master Protocol.”

Given what we’ve discussed here, I’m sure you can imagine what it may consist of.

It’s not easy.

It takes extreme discipline and willpower to habituate this protocol initially. But once locked into your unlimited UCM you literally set your productivity and creativity on fire!

“You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits. I’m trying to pare down deci
sions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.”
~ Barack Obama

Whether you like Obama or not is not the issue. Whether you agree with his decisions or not, is completely irrelevant. Nonetheless, it’s a pretty wise habit from a guy who’s in charge of making a lot of very critical and weighty decisions.

Think about it.

Are you addicted to the complexity of the masses?
Or are you committed to the simplicity of mastery?
What’s your One Thing?

If you attempt to be everybody’s everything you end up as everybody’s nothing. What do you choose?

It’s your move.

Stay Awake, Love Life, and Be Epic!

james-arthur-ray-signature

James

4 Responses

  1. I love a blog where it confirms I am on the right track with some things but I learn there is much much more I need to do, even as a Feng Shui Master with my teachings to others about simplifying there is room for improvement. Thank you again James, the decision to read your blog and respond was not difficult! Bless.

  2. Wow, very inspiring indeed James, thank you once more!
    They say Einstein had the same habit of wearing the same kind of clothes every day in order to avoid distracting his mind with petty decisions about what to wear every morning..
    With so many distractors nowadays that is becoming very difficult to do but, it is so important and worthy to implement in our lives. Thanks for the recipe as well!

    Once your mind is in auto-pilot with regular details, your mind will be free to focus completely on the things that matters most.

    A great lesson today. Thank you very much indeed!

  3. Another awesome topic/blog James. I've been spending more time investigating my personality type. What comes easy for me may not be easy for most people. My habitutal schedule enables me to do a lot without wasting much time deciding what to do now… The maid does the five hours a day of stuff I used to have to myself is no longer a luxury! The area I would like to see you take a stab at is 'recovery'. I tend to operate outside my comfort zone for long periods of time and before I added a similar amount of recovery to the equation I would produce results in spurts. INTJ can accomplish a ton given free rein to do so… burnout does not have to be part of the equation.

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