Recently, I read Seth Godin’s blog “I get it“. His premise was too often, we essentially skim info but we don’t allow ourselves to immerse and be transformed by it. He suggests, “The best experiences and the biggest ideas don’t fit into a category. They change it. They don’t get filed away, they transform us.”

To some extent I agree with this. However, the problem is, there are a lot more choices to evaluate. A few decades ago, choices were relatively limited. As such, you could immerse yourself in it and allow it to change you without much discernment needed. Today, the options for choices seem endless. (It doesn’t help that marketers try to infinitely expand your awareness of those choices either.) As such, almost for survival reasons, we need to quickly evaluate and file away (as Godin articulates) for possible future reconsideration.

I do agree that we need to allow ourselves to dig deep into a few things, to be immersed so that it does help us be transformed. However, a couple of suggestions:

  1. Don’t just jump at the first offer across your desk. Because so many people are trying to vie for your attention, quick evaluation (the 140 character variety) of whether that offer should be considered is helpful.
  2. Don’t keep waiting for the “perfect thing” to come across your table. This is where the paralysis sets in because we keep thinking that the “better option” might come down the road. There will always be a better option sooner or later. But to wait indefinitely keeps you going nowhere.

So how do you decide? Fundamentally, it’s knowing where you want to go in the first place. That will help to decide what to throw away, file away or jump into right away.

  • throw away: It has little to no connection for you and really isn’t worth giving a second thought to.
  • file away: This has the potential to be something you immerse yourself into but you may not have time to properly evaluate it. You put this on “hold” to reconsider. (BTW, make sure you actually do make time to go back and look at this category periodically to either throw away or jump into right away.)
  • jump into right away: These are offers which are in line with your direction and values. If you were to start immersing, now is the time to take this offer.

As you get better at evaluation (i.e. just keep doing it over and over again), you’ll be able to discern better what you need to immerse yourself in and what to pass over. (And if you make a mistake, and you will, quickly evaluate what didn’t turn out as you expected, see what changes you may need to make, and just move on.)

Looking at all the options offered in your inbox right now, what do you need to throw away, file away or jump into right away?