Do you want to be successful? I’m pretty sure I know the answer, but do you know this? Sure success is about doing a lot of work, but success is also about what you don’t do.
Apples and Oranges
Apple has become one of the most successful companies of all time. What sets it apart may surprise you.
Sure, apple creates amazing products, provides strong integration of those products, and is second to none in making them desirable. What Apple really excels at, however, is doing nothing.
Many years ago, when talking about the success of Apple, Steve Jobs, the co-founder of the tech titan said this: “I’m as proud of what we don’t do as I am of what we do.”
He considered avoiding the wrong things as important as doing the right things. Focus is about putting our effort into the things that have the best chance at improving our future. Steve Jobs demonstrated that it’s not only about what you do, but success is also about what you don’t do.
That’s true not only in choosing tasks, but in physical effort.
Another thing Steve Jobs was known for was simple meditation. Part of his process was not only doing the work, but finding time to contemplate ideas and solutions.
When I prepared for my first self-hosted seminar, one of the most important things I did was visualize the event each day. I had printed out my slides with notes and would take them to the gym with me.
As I ran on the treadmill, I would not only practice the presentation, but would visualize the room, audience, and delivery. This visualization helped me not only root out things that didn’t work, but helped me find better ways to share content including adding props and other engaging delivery methods.
I found that success is also about what you don’t do. Sometimes sitting back and picturing it all is the best way to move forward.
Saved by Procrastination
In fact, with my most recent project, Zombie Goals, so much of it has been determined by taking a step back and imagining.
A few weeks ago I talked about how my productivity had slipped. Why? Was I lazy? No. I was simply doing too much. I forgot that success is also about what you don’t do.
Luckily, procrastination saved the day! Procrastination is a great tool to let us know that we’re doing something wrong. When I started to procrastinate I started to evaluate what I was working on. After I found the problem, I was able to adjust and get back on track. Sometimes you have to do less to do more.
Enjoy Success, Even When not Doing Anything
To continue to be successful, you need to remember that success is also about what you don’t do. This applies to the tasks you choose, as well as when to focus on physical effort versus when to take time to do some mental evaluation and inventory.
Sometimes success is about simply taking a break and not doing anything. Sometimes the best way to imagine solutions is to free our brain from all our problems.
Take a break. It might be the most productive thing you do.