Ready, Set Change! The Value of Zero Based Thinking

Change is more than a choice. Change is a privilege. Think about that for a moment. What if you were not able to change where you are, what you know, who you know, what you do? The gift of choice (change) is the most fundamental freedom in any life.

Some changes are wholly visible and immediate. We recognize those. Other changes are more gradual and happen over time. Those are the changes we don’t always see. But it is those changes that can generate the greatest difference for us if we are mindful of them.  As we grow through life, we need to periodically look at the choices we made in the past to be certain that they are still the right ones for us.

Personal development expert and mentor Brian Tracy teaches this as zero based thinking.  At least once a year go through all of your commitments of resources (think time and money) and ask this simple question:  “Knowing what I know now, would I still choose to______?

If the answer is yes – then the commitment continues.  But if the answer is no, give yourself permission to end the commitment and to do it as quickly as possible.  Since I have adopted this practice, it has proven to be very empowering and has kept me from allowing myself to slide into patterns of investment that are no longer serving me.

This is not about deciding we were wrong. This is about giving ourselves permission to grow. That could be growth in knowledge, in skill or generally in life overall.  This has been very valuable to me in my personal development strategy.  Because my knowledge is growing everyday, I review the tools I use, classes I take, my professional associations and even the blogs that I follow and mailing lists I stay on at least quarterly.  Giving ourselves permission to adjust externally as we change internally is powerful.  By putting this into a routine practice, it becomes easier to do and allows you to expand your horizons to try new things knowing that if for any reason it does not make sense to continue, you have a framework already in place to help you make the change.

One of my favorite thoughts on this subject comes from George Bernard Shaw.  Here is his view: “The only man I know who behaves sensibly is my tailor; he takes my measurements anew each time he sees me. The rest go on with their old measurements and expect me to fit them.”

What a brilliant way to see this.  We keep changing and as a result, we need to be able to change the things (and perhaps people) in our life and business.

Thought leader Jim Rohn likens this to the difference between a human being and a goose.  A goose must fly in a certain direction at a certain time every year.  It cannot decide to stay north or south or to reverse the schedule.  It’s a goose.  But we are not geese.  We get to choose our direction.  More importantly, we get to change our direction.   He also references not just our person but our place.  If we do not like where we are, we should move.  After all, we’re not a tree.

Simple, practical views that all come back to zero based thinking.  We change and our world changes with us.  That means that decisions we made before that were perfectly logical and good at the time can be reversed without any sense or feeling of failure.  The key is basing it on knowing what we know now, and allowing the course to change.

Try doing a simple review of how you invest your time and money.  Look at each thing within your routine and go through the exercise.  You may find as I did that the exercise itself is powerful.  It gives us an opportunity to re-affirm commitments and to let go of what needs to be released.

Zero based thinking: A powerful tool for living today like you want tomorrow to be.

Ready. Set. Change!

Live well.


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