10-10-10 — Decision Making, Suzy Welch, and the Challenge for All of Us

In my speech classes, I frequently show my students the locker room speech delivered by Al Pacino from the Oliver Stone movie, Any Given Sunday (watch it one youtube here — my apology for the language).  I think it includes the truest line I have ever heard:  “That’s what living is — the six inches in front of your face.”  There is no truer line.  Every decision flows from this question:  what do I put in the six inches in front of my face?  How do I respond to what is right in front of my face?  Pick any bad habit, or destructive behavior, and it is the result of putting the “wrong” thing in front of your face, and not putting/keeping the “right” thing in front of your face.

Start your own list:  do I answer this e-mail, or do I surf the web?  Do I meet with this person, read this book, go to this networking event?  Do we allocate our resources in this way, or that way?  Do I look at these numbers, hire this person?  The questions are always demanding an answer.  (Do we have/keep the right questions in front of us?)  The decisons are always waiting to be made.    We put information in front of our face, and then we tackle the important and hard decison making process.  What am I putting/keeping in front of my face?

I thought of this as I began reading the new book by Suzy Welch, 10-10-10:  A Life Transforming Idea.  Her premise is simple:  life works, or it doesn’t, based on the quality of our decisions.  The decisions we make lead to success and joy and fulfillment — or the other direction.  And then she adds this brilliant insight:  about each decision, think about how this will turn out in the next 10 minutes, then in 10 months, and then in 10 years.

Yes, this is ancient widsom, pointing to the immediate impact, and the mid-term impact, and the long-term impact.  But her formula, 10-10-10, is simple and tangible.  In other words, what do I put in front of my face, and what will be the impact of that decision — now, later, and much later?

I think this is a question worth asking any time, all times — and especially in these especially challenging economic times.

If you live near Dallas, I hope you can join us for the June First Friday Book Synospis, as I present my synopsis of this book, and help us think of this simple yet life-shaping formula — for business decisions, and all-of-life decisions.

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