Chairs, bears and the rule of three

Author:   |   Date: 17/02/2015   |   Categories: Decision Making,

I have long thought that Goldilocks was onto something. Well maybe not the record of break and enter, malicious damage and petty theft.

What I do admire is her ability to understand her environment, know what needed to be done and make a decision. Quickly.

When she was out in the woods and night was falling, she did not look for a wifi hotpot and spend hours online comparison shopping accommodation options on Trip Advisor. She went for the best choice available and then made a series of swift executive-level choices.

    Porridge – too hot, to cold, just right.

    Chair – too soft, too hard, bingo.

    Bed – too big, too small, perfect….. or at least as close as she was going to get at the time.

Inspired by her decisiveness I channelled my inner Goldilocks when I was chair shopping this week.

I went to one local store where I was shown three chairs – one too expensive, one too big for the space and one – just right. Right colour, right shape, right price. The whole process took less than an afternoon:  the chair was bought, picked up and assembled within two hours.

I could have spent many, many, more hours and checked out every store, every website and every option for the “perfect” chair. I could have put off the decision for weeks, comparing colours, shapes, prices and availability. I could have thought about it in my spare time, slept on it, worried about it.

Yes I could have found a “better” chair. However I also could have found myself with clients and nowhere for them to sit.

Now to be honest, I actually dreamed of having a classic wing chair when I set up my own space– but that would be too big for my little office. Then I preferred the more finished (and expensive) chair -   but it was way out of budget.  So we compromised, accessorised with a pillow or two, and I now have the perfect client chair (or close enough).

Do you see a theme here?

Sometimes it is better to limit your choices, bring focus, and move ahead.

In most of life it seems that we have endless choices before us – of residence, partners and jobs. Even if it does not feel like it right now, you do have lots of options once you think about it. In fact you may have so many choices you cannot see any clearly.

It is easy to overthink, get stuck on finding the ‘perfect’ solution or simply be overwhelmed.  

That is why I believe you should channel your inner Goldilocks and apply the rule of three

     What do you want to do this morning: get up, go back to sleep, lie in bed and think/read/meditate?

     What do you want to do today: work, play, relax?

     What do you want to do for dinner: cook, order in, go out?

     What do you want to do for the rest of your life:  well that’s a little bit more tricky but I still think the rule of three can apply.

For example, if you are in a current job that may have had its time, you could see three options – stay, leave, stay until you find something else.

   You choose to stay until you find something else – are you looking for fulltime, part-time or contract work?

   You choose contract work – will you work from home, in situ, combination of both?

   You choose to work only on site – will you travel a long way, not far, only down the road?

If you keep making steps down this path you will find yourself focusing your efforts on finding something that works for you. In this case: contract work, on site, no more than 30 minute commute from your front door. That might put a lot of options out of reach, but it will save you a lot of time and effort considering roles that have nothing to do with what you need right now.

Is that perfect for you? Well I don’t know but it will help you move from a situation you don’t like into something where you may feel more satisfied.

More importantly, by making these choices and acting on them, you are asserting your ability to create what you want with what you have in front of you. You move from being a victim of your circumstances to an agent of change.

Your life may not be ‘perfect’ – but then whose is? The difference is you are not waiting for the perfect life to appear. You have moved along your path, you have taken steps to create the life you want. 

Many of my clients talk of being stuck in “fog” of confusion, which limits their ability to commit to a plan of action and make the changes they want in their life.However if we just keep breaking down our choices into three distinct paths, we can move forward without getting stuck in confusion and doubt.

   By coming up with three options we challenge ourselves to move beyond the easy answer.

   By limiting ourselves to only three we have a clear decision to make, and permission to move ahead, without waiting for the perfect answer to appear.

   By approaching each decision with curiosity and an open heart, we can make another step on our path.

Let’s try living with the spirit of fun and adventure that inspired Goldilocks and other great adventurers in the first place. 


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