State of Play: Decisionship

Things are getting a whole lot worse. So what we’re seeing is we saw unemployment figures get worse today even though they thought it would get better. So the figures announced today showed unemployment rose, 7.4% is the official figure. It was 7.1% at last count. And they thought it would get better because we came out of lockdown. Since they last counted, there’s more jobs available, businesses are starting up again, and yet unemployment is still going up. And obviously, we have that cliff coming up at the end of September and October where all the stimulus is going to run out. There’ll be different stimulus, but it’s not just going to roll over. It won’t be exactly the same package again. So we know it’s going to get worse before it gets better, we know we’ve just got to traverse through this.

So I thought we’d talk about some strategies for coping because it’s kind of a new now, it’s each man for himself. And the government will do what they can, but what they’ve kind of said now is, “Hey, businesses will have to fail, people who can’t afford their properties should think about selling them, people who are going out of business and need to streamline, you better reconsider. Probably don’t take up further JobKeeper packages because there’s other liabilities there like staff leave entitlements and super and all that sort of thing. So just think very carefully about whether you should keep your doors open, keep people on your payroll, shut down temporarily, pair right back to a one-man show or whatever.”

So they’re really telling us in what they’re not saying and in what they are saying to get ready and hunker down because not everyone can be saved. And we’ve known that all along, a lot of people are in a lot of pain right now. We’re seeing that through our legal team, through our debt management team, I’m hearing it anecdotally through professionals. Doctors are saying the level of depression is up, financial stress is massive. And what will make the difference for you as an individual is how well you can cope with uncertainty. No one can tell us for sure when this will end, how it will end, and that it’s going to get better and we’ll all live happily ever after. But we don’t have any guarantees anyway in life, so it is your perception that becomes your reality.

And if you read the newspapers and you follow what’s happening online, the perception is a very negative one. So we keep hearing, oh, this is happening in Victoria, record high cases today more than any other state ever, worst possible day, rising in New South Wales, will New South Wales be the same as Victoria? All that sort of stuff. Not to have scaremongering tactics just because that’s what sells newspapers, that’s what… There’s nothing to talk about if everything’s good. So, bad news sells basically. At the end of the day, shut out all the noise and think about you, your situation, because there really isn’t good or bad, all that’s happening is change. Yes, certainly there’s bad, there’s horrific things happening health-wise to people and there’s things happening financially, but at the end of the day, it’s change.

So it’s adapting to change that really matters. Have we ever had something where we look back and go, “Gee! That was horrible at the time, but I’m glad it happened.” Almost every person who survives a harrowing experience says, “I’m glad I had that and I wouldn’t trade it. It made me who I am.” So, we’ve been very fortunate, well, I feel very fortunate, where we’ve interviewed some big brands and some big, very wise people in our Ignite series over the past few weeks. So if you’ve tuned into those, I’ve spoken to Robert Kiyosaki, Garyvee, we had Brian Tracy, Dr. John Demartini. And I felt like, and it may have felt like that for you at home as well, I was getting a little private tutorial tapping into those sorts of brains.

So I’ve cherry picked bits of that with my own problem. So obviously, business in a time of flux, in a time of change, having to adapt, and change and times of crisis like this seems to also accentuate. It’s like you become a magnet for problems, problems, problems, more problems, and sometimes I just want to tap out and go, “Okay, cut. Can I have a do-over?” And I do. I literally will walk around the block to clear my head and say, “Okay, I’ve got to come back fresh,” because my mindset, I’m projecting negative energy and I’m attracting bad things. But, a few of the models that some of the experts gave us over the last few weeks have really served me well, so I thought I’d distill that.

The first one that I use, and I used this one just today which is why I’m telling you, is, Brian Tracy told us on Saturday, if I knew then as a model. So he was talking about… he didn’t call it this, but the sunk cost fallacy. The sunk cost fallacy is basically… and you may have had this. Have you ever bought, I don’t know, a burger and it’s horrible, you feel sick after the first bite, but you think, “I paid $10 for this so I’ve got to finish it.”? Or have you ever started watching a movie and you got 20 minutes in and it’s a really bad movie, but you think, “Well, I’m already 20 minutes in so I have to finish.”? The sunk cost fallacy says, “Well, I’ve already started so I have to see it through.”

And really, when you look at it economically, from an economic rationalism point of view, I’ve already spent the $10 on the burger. Whether I eat it and feel sick or not, the sunk cost, the $10 is gone, that’s the rear view mirror. What I do now is what counts, whether I eat it or not doesn’t change what’s been spent. Similarly, when I get 20 minutes into a movie, I’ve already lost 20 minutes of my life, I’ll never ever get back on a movie I’m not enjoying. Do I sink another hour or so into it or do I cut my losses? The sunk cost fallacy says… and business owners, people are going to be facing this a lot right now, the sunk cost fallacy is, can I turn this around? It’s also called confirmation bias.

We tend to get very familiar with the status quo and we get what they call past the point of no return. That’s actually from the Air Force days where they’d go up and they’d reach a point with the amount of fuel in the plane that they can’t turn back and land where they came from. So past the point of no return means you’re totally committed to see something through. So do we ever get past the point of no return or is that confirmation bias or sunk cost fallacy? Confirmation bias means that we just want to confirm the status quo, we’re far more comfortable with what we know than change. So business owners will find and fall victim of that in recession and coming times, is that they’ll say, “No, no, no, we’ve come this far, so much has gone into this, we’ve already spent $200,000 to keep going, we’ve just got to find another $200,000.”

That’s what banks are saying. The guy from ANZ who came out on Friday and said, “You know what? Some of you may have to sell your property. Don’t dig yourself deeper and deeper into debt thinking things will get better or things sort of turn around.” So great test to see if you’re falling victim to the sunk cost fallacy or confirmation bias where you favor the reality and the status quo and you resist any change and you want to just confirm your own reality, to get out of your own head and your own biases, a good question to ask, Brian Tracy told us, is, “If I knew then.” So, if before I spent my $10 on the burger I knew it was going to taste this hideous and made me feel sick, would I have spent the $10?

If I knew that this movie was going to be so bad as I now know 20 minutes in before I bought it or downloaded on Netflix, would I have done so and spent the last 20 minutes doing this? He says if the answer to this question… If before I sunk another $200,000 into my business, if I knew that it would end up in this state and the 200,000, I may as well have put it in the middle of the table and got out a cigarette lighter and burned it. If I knew then what I know now, would I have made that decision? And if the answer is no, now with the information I have, the better information I have with the result of time and hindsight, with that information, if I had a time machine and went back in time, I would not have made that decision. If the answer is no, Brian Tracy said two more questions come up.

How can I get out? And how fast can I do it? So that’s the first model to be aware of in making decisions, because your brain in times of change like this is going to favor the status quo, confirmation bias, and it’s going to cling to the wreckage of, this is what I’ve always done, I’ve come this far, I’m past the point of no return. And that’s actually an economic fallacy. So to flip that, if I knew then what I now know, would I have made that same decision? If the answer is no, get out as fast as you can. Number two, and this is one that I like, what would someone X, let’s call them X, do? So most of us have role models, mentors, whatever, people who we love to be like, maybe Warren buffet, maybe Steve Jobs.

I hate to say this, and it’s not the… Well, let’s not even go there. But in my darkest days, I reached out and I read a book that kind of just changed my paradigm. I read by Donald Trump at the time, because he put himself in the Guinness Book of Records as the greatest ever financial turnaround. He wrote a book about it, he called it The Art of the Comeback. I don’t know why I was reading, I bought it in an op-shop. But in the GFC, he wrote about his days in the early 90s where he almost went bankrupt, he owed nearly a billion dollars and he turned it around and came back bigger and better. But at the point of rock bottom, he was talking about how he had to… because he had bankers all around the world and they said, “You’ve got to come in and we’ve got to get on the phones and we’ve got to have a meeting.”

In the US, it was like about 1:00 AM. So he didn’t have servants in his New York penthouse anymore, he’d had to let his driver go, he had no one and nothing, and it was the middle of winter and it was pouring rain, and he said he just had to get up at 1:00 AM and put his coat on and walk in the rain to the office to have this conference call. And he said that was a real low point, walking down empty streets in the rain thinking, “Gosh, what have I done with my life?” So, that kind of resonated with me. So, whenever something happened that was challenging or I just had to had a difficult conversation with someone that I didn’t want to have, I would always say to myself, “Okay, what would Donald Trump do here?”

I don’t do that anymore, but I will ask myself, if there’s someone that I admire, who’s courageous, who can have difficult conversations, who can manage a team of people, who can make really difficult decisions, who can take some arrows, I always say, “What would Warren Buffet do? What would Garyvee do? What would someone else do?” And then wearing that hat, you can go, “Okay, I’ll just pretend that I’m him and I’ll just do what he does or what he says.” And I borrow things from what I hear, what other people say their mantra is, their motto is of getting through things. So sometimes you can pretend to be someone else, like an actor or an actress. What would this person do? Okay, I’m going to play that role now and do what’s hard.

The third thing… and I’ve talked about this one before, I saw it on something on YouTube, but it’s just a great frame and great reference, and it’s to stop playing below the line. So, unfortunately, I find myself, and then, this means. So that’s the frame, let me explain it. So often we play below the line. And you may have seen me draw this before. There’s a certain line in the sand and below the line is often blame, excuses, we excuse, and we justify. This doesn’t serve anyone. It doesn’t change anything, it doesn’t move you towards a goal, it doesn’t change outcomes. Above the line is control and responsibility. But it’s really, really hard to get above the line, because when bad stuff happens, when we lose our job, when our business fails, when we get blindsided by sickness or just stuff we didn’t expect, life’s hard enough without an overlaying complexity or being hit by a runaway train.

So what will first happen when we can’t help this, we’ll go, “Why me? That’s so unfair. Why is everyone else doing well? It’s not my fault. It’s someone else’s fault. The government is ridiculous. Why isn’t someone else helping me?” All of this may be right. Obviously, no one asks for coronavirus, economies don’t want to contract, we don’t want people to lose their jobs, and everyone pities people here and no one would ever blame you, so there’s no reason to justify or excuse. But the question is, who really cares about what anyone else thinks. Look within, what do you want? Because your answer is within your outcomes and your results lie within you. What you do counts. What you do next, how you respond, that’s really the question to be asking.

And all of this is a response that’s going to put you in a tailspin, blaming, excusing, justifying, it’s you’re in a hiding to nothing, nothing will change. If you get above the line here, if you take control, because what you can control is how you respond, your response, your response ability. So how to quickly flip this and get above the line is this paradigm or this model, and I heard someone say once. Unfortunately, I find myself in the position where… Instead of saying, “It’s not fair I lost my job. It’s someone else’s fault I lost my job. It’s not just me that lost my job, 20 other people were made redundant or whatever,” still doesn’t change anything. So keep it passive. Unfortunately, I find myself in a position where… that’s a great starting point.

Have you ever heard someone who’s got… There’s actually a term for it, a psychological term. Have you heard of post-traumatic stress disorder, someone who can’t get over a stress that’s just destroyed them and has defined the rest of their life. There’s also post-traumatic embitterment disorder where someone is so embittered, they’re so fixated on an injustice or something that’s happened that it controls their whole life, it consumes them, and it means that really they don’t have the best life that they could have, they’re not being their best self or their true potential. And you may have heard this, you can use this model two to help other people.

So if you’ve got a friend in a bad place… I had a girlfriend going through a divorce. And so every time I saw it for like a year, she went through a post-traumatic embitterment disorder. And yes, it was true, it was right, she had been so wronged, it wasn’t fair, her life was hard, and to flip from… It wasn’t going to help her to just keep bitching and moaning about it and slowly she started to lose friends because people were like, “Oh, she’s just sucking the life out of me with negative energy even though it is a sad story.” So to empower yourself or to help someone else flip the switch and get above the line, don’t worry about the past and don’t look there, let’s start with today.

So unfortunately, right now, I find myself in a position where I’ve lost my job. And then the next thing, unfortunately, I find myself in a position where… That’s the starting point. It’s passive, it’s nothing to fault, we’re not going to blame, that’s the position we’re starting from, that’s where we find ourselves. If we were unconscious and we woke up, okay, this is the new beginning. Unfortunately, I find myself in a position where this means I need to… and then insert whatever it is. So unfortunately, I find my myself in a position where I’ve lost my job or my husband is left me, this means I need to start looking for a new job, start my own business, focus on me, focus on my future, whatever the case may be.

It takes you from blame, justification, excuses, all the below the line stuff to action, and action gets reaction. Stuff will start to happen. A law of physics, a body in motion stays in motion, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. So do something to move towards a goal to change. New experiences will come into your life if you just start the snowball, if you just start the momentum by doing something. This means I need to… will get you above the line because you’re responding. Remember, above the line is responsibility. You’re doing something and taking that action is going to start momentum and new things will happen, new opportunities will come. Just move out of the rut of going underwater below the line there.

Next thing, next great question to ask, there’s six of these, is this my task? So I read a book last year that was game changer for me and it was called The Courage To Be Disliked. And it was about how… and we all pack animals, our survival is linked to our ability to be part of the herd, to be liked. And if you outcast, if a herd casts you out, if you’re not accepted, then survival instinct is, “Oh my gosh, I’m in danger. I’m alone and afraid and I don’t have the pack to protect me.” So we intrinsically want to be part of a pack and we want to be liked. But what it tends to mean is we live our lives for other people. So remember, everyone has their own little monologue in their head, their own little story, their own little dialogue, and everyone is a star of their own show. They’re the center of their own universe.

If my life was a movie where I’m looking at it through my eyes, I’m looking out, so everybody else feels like they’re reacting to me. I’m the star of that story. And you’re the star of your story, so you are seeing from the inside out. If someone looks at you funny, you’re going to project onto that. Why did he look at me that way? Is my hair funny? Is something wrong with me? We’re all worried about me, me, me. So that’s just the law of nature, we’re the star of our own show. At the end of the day, everyone has responsibility for their own lives, for their own outcomes. You’ve seen parents who have those trust fund children, really, really entitled children, and we want to. If we love our children, we want to spoil them, we want to make those close to us happy, and we tend to want the best for other people.

But our version of their best, what’s right for them, isn’t there. So we can project looking out… From inside out, I can look at my son and say, “Why isn’t he doing this? Why isn’t he studying harder? Why didn’t he try better? Why didn’t he kick the goal at soccer?” Or whatever it is because that is my definition of success, that’s what I think would make him happy. But he has his own standards, he’s his own person, and what makes him happy is on him. So great way to avoid unhappiness is to ask yourself with everything you do, is this my task? So they talk about in that book separation of tasks. I found this so empowering. Other people’s tasks are not my problem. So, often, we tend to get so upset.

All the miseries in life according to this theory are caused by interpersonal relationship problems, how we interact with other people, someone else has wronged us, problems with the herd, because we have to interact with other humans in society. And so, is this my task really leads on to the next point, which is, is this within my control? So number five is telling the difference between what’s within our control and what isn’t, because if I’m going to get my stomach in knots about what’s going to happen come September? What’s going to happen the beginning of October? Oh my gosh! JobKeeper ends, is the government going to put a different stimulus package in place? They’re going to tell us on the 23rd of July. Oh my gosh! My whole world could be changed 23rd of July.

If I’m going to get ulcers over that, then it’s outside of my control. So I’m basically going into an enforced coma for a week, losing a week of my life, worrying about something that’s not going to change. And once we had worries like a rocking chair, you can go as hard as you want but you’re not going to get anywhere. And that’s exactly what a lot of people do when they don’t separate their tasks and realize what’s within their control. Is what my son does, thinks, achieves, is that within my control? At the end of the day, not really. I can make myself miserable, I can make him miserable, but at the end of the day… and I’m just using him as an example if he’s watching this, but I’m just choosing someone and often we try and project our wishes, our wants onto other people.

And often we try and please people, like to be part of the herd and the pack, we try and please people by giving them what they want. So if he goes and studies law at uni or does something that he thinks I want him to do and that doesn’t make him happy, then that’s a waste of a life. So we have to ask ourselves, “What’s within my control?” And that is your task. If it’s outside of your control, what someone thinks, how they act, what they do, that’s not your task. As Coco Chanel once said, “I don’t care what other people think about me. I don’t care if you don’t like me, I don’t think about you at all.” At the end of the day, we can’t please all the people all of the time. And I think that’s something that may have come out of this pandemic.

We have just a little bit more stopped caring what other people think. Not in a bad way, not in a selfish way, not that we get road rage and cut people off because we don’t care what they think, but in a way like, “Do I really need to keep up with the Joneses? Do I need to have new shoes, new bag?” It’s really redefined what essentials are and what’s really important. So, well, ask yourself, what am I worrying about? If I’m worrying about the markets and the economy and governments and policies and all of that, it’s not within my control anyway. Remember that AA serenity prayer, it says, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things that I can’t control, the courage to change the things that I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” That’s separation of tasks. This is not my task.

I found that so relieving to go, “You know what? It’s not my task. I can’t control that outcome.” What I can control is what I think, how I behave, what I do next. That’s within my control and that is my task because from the inside out as the hero of my own story, these are the things I can do, this is where I can be impactful. So if you’re worrying, if you’re fretting, if you’re spinning your wheels, a good thing to ask is, “Hang on a minute, is this within my control?” Because if it’s not, it will help make a decision. For example, if your business is failing, is it failing because you’re the flight center and travel is just gone through the floor and it doesn’t exist anymore? Is it because you’re in print media and that’s a thing of the past that went out with button up boots?

In the end, ask yourself, is it within my control? If it’s not within your control, it’s a fact, it’s not your task, it’s something that you can’t do with. If it is within your control, if the problem in the business is a key person or an employee who’s bad or whatever and it’s within your control to do something about it, then that is something that you can influence and that you can impact. And the final thing, when it comes down to decisionship, asking better questions. A great question to ask is… And ask more questions. Successful people ask questions. A great question to ask, most of us in troubled times we ask why, why did this happen to me? Why me? Why now? Why this? Not fair. A better question, flip the hat, is how.

Go from instead of problem-focused to solution-orientated. How can I achieve this? So the more questions you ask… As Albert Einstein said, “It’s not that I’m smarter than other people. It’s just that I stick with problems longer.” Embrace the problems. The problems are there to keep other people out. If you’re a problem solver, then you’re going to go far in life. Life is never a problem free and the bigger the problems and the greater your ability to solve them, the greater your success. Successful people are the people who were able to solve really big problems. So welcome the problems now, you can’t change them anyway. There’s no point in worrying about them. They’re not your task, they’re not within your control, but ask yourself, how can I achieve? How can I overcome this?

The more you think about it, the better the outcome will be, the more ideas you get, the more you… and I know this sounds ridiculous, but we talked about this the other day, the reticular activating system. The more you turn your brain on, the more you say, “How can I solve this? How can I solve this?” Confirmation bias is going to pull out articles in newspapers. You’ll be searching, some feed will pop up on Facebook, you may not have even noticed it if you didn’t have that question front and center. Put out the intention, how? How? How? How? You’ll be amazed the opportunities that will come to you. And tell us, tell us the opportunities, tell us the difference. I love talking about this sort of stuff and I love it when people engage.

So on this page, in the comments section, on our Facebook page, just share information of, “You know how you said, Dom, ask this question? I asked, how can I do this? You wouldn’t believe it, the next day I was talking to someone at a barbecue who knew someone who introduced me and went gangbusters.” If you keep those high-level models and frames in mind, the magic will happen. It’s all part of making better decisions. Most people right now, fight, flight, or freeze, in times of change they’ll do absolutely nothing. They’ll go into the fatal position, because that’s our instinct. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and we tend to want to maintain the status quo because anything else is uncertain and unknown and sometimes you’ve got to pass through what you know.

I think it was Christopher Columbus said, “You never see the new world if you don’t leave the shore.” So, in other words, we have to move forward, we have to embrace change. As Anthony Robbins said, “Your success will be directly proportional to the amount of uncertainty you can comfortably operate with.” So, in line with that, for those of you who may not have downloaded this, I am going to give you… and I’d normally charge for this, but I’m going to gift you today my decisionship course. I’ve done a little online course with this sort of stuff in it to guide you through making decisions through the process and have models and formulas and frameworks, will work better from scaffold, to be able to make the decisions you need to make as a catalyst to change for the better, to give you clarity where there’s currently confusion, to give you certainty to be able to step into the unknown to make those changes for the better.

So I’m going to put the link to download that into the description section as well as the comments section of this live stream. And don’t forget to share your stories, your experiences, your challenges, and we’ll watch this space to see this modeling and to see the magic you achieve. Don’t forget also, follow us on Facebook so you can get regular updates. Share this with your friends, family members, tag them in the comment section. And if you’re watching on YouTube, don’t forget to like, subscribe, and hit the bell so you can be notified every time we release new content. That’s it for today. We’ll talk at our 402 State of Play next Tuesday. Have a lovely weekend. Take care, stay safe, we’ll talk soon.

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