A Distinction That Changes Everything
Following a conversation yesterday I’ve woken up today with a renewed fascination for distinctions.
The more distinctions you have around something, the more understanding, power, creativity and influence you can have.
Think of it this way, I’m a super keen amateur road cyclist and I geek out on the technology of bikes. I can get excited about whether I have a 50/34 or 53/39 compact chainring setup. That might be complete gobbledegook to you, and it would have been to me 5 years ago. But now I understand the distinction. The more distinctions I gain around bike technology, the more effective I can be at choosing the right bike, the right setup and the right accessories for a great day out.
I’m not really into knitting. My distinctions are limited to realising that the size of the needles is probably important, and that wool comes in all different colours and thicknesses. No doubt there are many other variables in knitting and I have no clue what they are, let alone any distinctions around them. I have zero distinctions around different types of stitches!
The power of a distinction is that it can really shift your way of seeing things in a permanent way. When you learn a distinction at just the right moment, it can change your world.
The earliest distinction I can remember around personal development and leadership is from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey (an excellent book, even if it sounds cheesy!). He makes a double distinction between Important and Unimportant work, and Urgent and Non-Urgent work. The counter-intuitive message being that the most effective people spend the majority of their time on Important, Non-Urgent work.
I read that distinction some 20+ years ago and I mentally reference it almost daily. If I see my Urgent work building up, it’s a warning sign to tell me to slow down, step back and see the bigger picture. Then focus in on some Important, Non-Urgent work first.
What’s one distinction that changed everything for you?
This article is part of 100 Days of Creation, my challenge to myself to write 100 articles in 140 days, each taking no longer than 30 minutes to write and publish.