Here we are in February! 8% of the New Year is gone. Plenty of time has passed for you to have come up with a few failures regarding the resolutions or goals you made for 2019. How would you grade yourself in making the desired changes that will lead to goal accomplishment? How would you grade yourself in spotting the reasons why progress is not what it should be? Now that’s the question!
Gretchen Rubin’s book, Better Than Before, teaches, “The Strategy of Loophole Spotting.” An example of that would be thinking, “It doesn’t really matter if I go to the gym today, because it has been raining so hard.” Or, “I’m really too tired/had a tough day. I think I’ll skip going to the gym.” In both cases we have provided an out in our thinking to the commitment of working out at the gym.
But it is an out which has no true logic behind it. It is a loophole that we use to avoid action we know we must do if we are to accomplish our goal of looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger. 40 years ago. Of course, as an adult you can decide that you’ve been through too much either dodging mindless tasks or intense raindrops. No one can dictate what is best for you. But when the loophole becomes a constant companion to keep you from managing your goals, watch out!
Another strategy is that of “One Coin.” Rubin also speaks of this loophole which she claims to have learned from Erasmus’ In Praise of Folly, although I couldn’t find it there after careful searching. The argument is, “If ten coins are not enough to make a man rich, what if you add one coin? What if you add another? In the end, you will have to say that no one can be rich unless one coin can make him so.”
Translate that into actions. It is clear that only one instance of an action is next to meaningless. Yet when the single action is repeated, over time the sum of those actions is very meaningful. To focus on the emptiness of the one action rather than the gradual gathering of a “heap of coins,” is to find a loophole against our resolve.
Did you make a meaningful resolution? Then focus on gathering many small actions one at a time. Together they make a “heap of coins” and a rich person for having fulfilled your resolution and strengthened your resolve.
Have you ever expressed the One Coin loophole in this way? “I haven’t worked on that project for such a long time. There’s no point in working on it this morning.” One coin is nothing! Or the drunkard’s “One drink won’t make a difference,” when the resolution is no drinks at all. Or the student’s loophole of saying, “What difference does it make if I spend a few hours at the library or watching YouTube videos?” At the point of decision, the reasoning seems so true, so logical, it is impossible to reject the present emptiness for the future accomplishment.
It isn’t the meaninglessness of the single action. It is the gradual adding of many such single actions, one at a time, until they make a “heap of coins.”
Interested in a list of other loopholes? Rubin has come up with 10 categories of loopholes people typically invoke. Which are your favorites?
Interestingly, this is not an area where the technical expertise of Alliant will be of any help at all. We simply point out the thinking process so that in your personal application of technology to business you will not be put off the mark by faulty thinking.
Enjoy the video presentation. After you gather today’s heap!