Options are not free. Having multiple choices is not free. In fact, it can be extremely expensive.
Keeping options can tax you in at least three ways:
- Financially. You literally have to use resources (money, time, people) to keep the option open.
- Mentally. You continually think about it.
- Emotionally. You make experience feelings that hold you back, or rob you of motivation.
The longer you wait to make a decision, the longer you pay tax. Deciding kills options.
Consider Hernán Cortés. He was a Spanish Conquistador and is famous for leading the expedition that caused the fall of the Aztec Empire.
Cortés is also famously misquoted for three words, “Burn the Boats”. He actually just order the boats that carried his crew of 600 men be scuttled upon landing. There was no burning.
But the relevance is this. “Burning the boats” left the men with only two options. Making decisions eliminates options. Going home was no longer an option. The men only had: Fight and live to one day go home, or die.
Financially, they didn’t have to leave assets (men with weapons) behind to guard the ships.
Mentally, the men were no longer able to think about surrender. There were no ships to take them home if they dropped arms and ran.
Emotionally, the men couldn’t be disheartened about the fighting. There was no doubt about why they were fighting. It was the only way they would see their family again.
I’m not in love with this example, but I hope it illustrates the point. Good leaders make decisions.
I’d love to hear your stories about how making a decision improved your life.
- Keeping options open can make a lot of sense
- Don’t assume keeping those options open is free. You’re paying with at least one currency
- It’s not a decision until you’ve killed an option.