Monday, October 8, 2012

The Success Secret of Boring Dressers

President Barak Obama's suits come exclusively in two colors: blue and black. Dr. Cornell West of Princeton perpetually wears the same black suit, white shirt, and black shoes. Mark Zuckerberg's wardrobe consists almost exclusively of grey t-shirts. And you can hardly say "black turtleneck" with Steve Jobs popping up in your mind.

Who cares about the awful fashion sense of these men? You should, because it demonstrates a strong principle of successful decision making.

Take Steve Jobs, Apple's late-CEO: how many decisions do you think he had to make in a day? Anecdotally, I would guess…a lot. Further, what do you think was the significance of those decisions? Considering his reputation as being very (some would say overly) involved with the development of Apple products and their design factoring prominently into their success, you could assume that his decisions were very important. The lesson here is that successful people making significant decisions find a way to remove extraneous or unimportant decisions from their lives. The decisions that they reduce to the simple ones (i.e. what to wear that day) allow the more time to focus on the big, important decisions.

Options are all around us, and it's easy to become overwhelmed. Go to a discount store and marvel over how many different kinds of shampoo, spaghetti sauce, or pens there are. Go online and you can spend hours if not days shopping for a dress or a shirt. This isn't to say that clothing or shampoo isn't important, but does it deserve the time that you are giving it?

Reflect on your career: what decisions have you been avoiding because you have been wrapped up in the "small" ones. Reflect on your life: what decisions are you spending significant amounts of time on that, quite frankly, do not need all of that time? Find your own areas of improvement and make a commitment to change, and write about it in the comments below.

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