Shipping stores live and die by three questions.
These three questions judge every package through the door. The answers determine the degree of difficulty of a package’s destiny and assign a cost accordingly.
I think these questions provide an equally interesting litmus test for us.
What if we put each opportunity we encounter through the same scrutiny?
How big is this particular opportunity? What’s the absolute maximum expected upside? What’s the worst downside?
How fast can I achieve return from this opportunity? How long will it take to make this reality?
How far must I go to unlock this opportunity? To what lengths will this opportunity take me? How far away from being ready for it am I, today?
An Agile Model
I love the simplicity of this mental model. It’s not some robust, lengthy analysis. It’s a quick easy gut-check.
For huge opportunities, do more due diligence if necessary. Small opportunities shouldn’t require much more than this. This model provides a quick, yet sturdy enough checklist to get to “No” more efficiently.
Maybe the most valuable application of this regards the middle-of-the-road-size opportunities.
Medium-sized opportunities can be costly, but not exactly for obvious reasons. For me, the cost usually comes in the form of wasted resources evaluating what to do.
Medium-sized opportunities eat away precious time and mental energy. I say avoid them at all costs.
As Derek Sivers once said, “If you’re not saying “HELL YEAH!” about something, say “no”.
Give it a shot this week.