Today I am thankful for taking time to think differently.
Buy the iPod or wait to buy a nicer iPod? That’s the question that Dominic was asking himself tonight that got me thinking about what I am thankful for today. At the Kid’s Cup Silent Auction I saw an iPod similar to, yet different from, the iPod Dominic has been saving up for. After thinking it over I put in my bid and won it. Once I got home I offered Dominic an opportunity… Buy this iPod for the same amount I got it for, or keep saving up for the other one (which will take some time) and I’ll have a different use for the iPod. I explained that the decision is his to make, and if he hands me the cash it is his to keep. As one can imagine he’s ready to buy it immediately because it is real, here and ready now. But…
I offered up some ideas for him in how to make his decision and told him that if he went through them he’d feel better about his decision, whichever decision it is. Some of those ideas include (special thanks to the Heath brothers and their excellent book Decisive):
- Start with “Why?” – Why do you want what you want? What are the reasons behind it? The better you know that the better decision you can make.
- Widen your possibilities – Write a list of 25 other things you could do with the same amount of money. The question isn’t “should I buy this or should I buy that?”, rather “What should I invest my resources in?”
- Reality test your decision – How can you test your idea in real life to help you see if the decision may be the right fit
- Attain distance – If your best friend asked for your advice on this decision, what would you tell them?
- Prepare to be wrong – What could go wrong? What are the top 2-3 factors that would make you think you were wrong?
As you can imagine, he was pretty overwhelmed by the process and would just like to buy it without thinking about it because that is the easy thing to do. Which brings me to why I am thankful for this today.
Today was Kid’s Cup and it was wildly successful, raising over $106,000 for a fantastic cause. Over the past 20 years it has raised over $1,500,000 to help bring relief and medical assistance to sick children and their families. Did you know that if two people hadn’t taken time to think differently this amount would have been significantly smaller, like $200,000. Still a big number, but not nearly as big as $1.5M. Mark and Sheryl Tasler donated $10,000 to a similar event over 20 years ago. After taking time to think differently they came up with a fantastic idea to use their same $10,000 investment in a way that helped to generate significantly more revenue for the same cause. It would have been very easy for Mark and Sheryl to keep giving the same, keeping status quo, and not take time to think. Thankfully, they did, and now Kid’s Cup has been incredibly successful and many more children and their families have been positively impacted.
And that’s the story I shared with Dominic tonight as he was struggling to think about what to do. As I told it I could see that he got it, and I’m hoping that it starts to sink in. Personally, I really don’t care what he does with this $100. He’s earned and saved it, it’s his money, and he can do what he wants with it. Whether or not he makes what he feels is the right decision the $100 seems like a pretty small price to pay for a life lesson that I’m hoping will stick with him. I hope he learns to not just take the first of two options because they are the first presented. I hope he learns to take time to think differently.