When we work to develop new skills or habits, we must always ask ourselves: do these skills naturally complement each other, or are they at cross purposes?
For example: I want to exercise more AND sleep more / better.
For most of us, these goals will pull in the same direction. When I exercise regularly, I’m more tired at the end of the day, which leads to me sleeping better (and often more), which means I have more energy the next day and often feel more ready to exercise again.
Versus: I really need more time to relax, so I’m going to watch at least an hour of TV to unwind AND I’m also really tired and need to sleep more / better.
While both late-night TV-watching and sleep both appear to be in the ‘relaxing’ category, personally I find them to cut in opposite directions. I sleep neither more nor better in the rare phases when I’m regularly watching TV at night. (best example: when traveling for work).
Here are a few common AND/OR choices you might face:
Be 100% responsive to email [AND / OR] do deep strategic work.
Focus heavily on external sales / fundraising [AND / OR] clarify our strategic priorities.
Bump up our social media activity [AND / OR] get closer to our customers.
Push hard for this deadline [AND / OR] get closer as a team
Never take a day off [AND / OR] be as productive as possible
Schedule meetings 5 days a week [AND / OR] be in charge of my time
Do outrageous things for our customers [AND / OR] ensure our profitability
Always be efficient [AND / OR] be present for those around me
Promote what we have to offer [AND / OR] promote what our peers have to offer
They say the true mark of intelligence is the ability to hold two seemingly opposing thoughts at the same time.
Perhaps the true mark of someone who is on a growth path is the ability to make seemingly contradictory goals complementary, while also discovering and eliminating the goals that are in true conflict with each other.