Genuine Curiosity

Author Dwayne Melancon is always on the lookout for new things to learn. An ecclectic collection of postings on personal productivity, travel, good books, gadgets, leadership & management, and many other things.


Go to the extreme

I've recently "flashed back" to some advice that a friend of mine gave me about 10 or 12 years ago, and have been striving to apply it more lately. Basically, his advice was this:

"When you're trying to make a decision, force your feelings about the issue to one extreme or the other, and act on the decision with vigor."

This is a bit like the mantra "Go big or stay home" that was popular a few years back. Basically, this philosophy provides a sort of focusing tool, helping you get out of the middle ground and take a decisive postion on the matter at hand. For example:

  • Avoid ambivalence - decide whether you love or hate an idea before stating your opinion.
  • Don't take on a task half-heartedly - decide that you are going to attack it with all your abilities, or decide not to do it at all.
  • If you offer to help others - decide to give them your best, or don't offer your help.
  • If you love someone - love them no matter what and make sure they always know it.

These are just a few examples, and everyone's decisions and circumstances are different. However, according to my friend, these kinds of "extreme" stances will help you live a life of vivid color and meaning, rather than one painted in shades of gray.

Another aspect of this we discussed at great length: What if you decide you hate something? Should you attack it with great vengeance? Usually, no -- just get past it, move away from it, and don't let the things you hate take over your life.

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