You can think of this as a follow up post from yesterday. In that post I argued that in a strategic environment, decision making trumps free thinking. You make progress from your decisions, not just from day dreaming.
Ok, so what do we do after we make a decision on where we want to go or who we want to be? There is a mental trick here that we all should use. That is to think backwards. You need to ask yourself this question, “What are the necessary and sufficient conditions to get there?” Once you identify these, you can start sorting them into steps back to where you are now. You have a road map that reduces the stress of having to make further decisions. Instead, you can focus on learning from what you do.
John Wooden understood this very well and was a genius at practicing it. That made him one of the most successful basketball coaches ever. He taught his teams using this method — not just how to be better basketball players, but how to better play the game of life. Here is a nice photo of John with one of his great players (from Gleanings)
Wooden’s teams shared the same goal — to be champions. So what were the necessary and sufficient conditions to get there? As a coach, Wooden walked this back a step at a time even to the point of teaching his players how to tie their shoe laces correctly. And it worked.
So start deciding who you want to be and then start thinking backwards. It works.