The Cost of Doing Nothing

When we’re faced with a decision to make, we usually spend time analyzing the pros and cons. Research tells us that we’re more motivated by fear of pain, loss and the downside of things than the benefits or positive reasons do something.

When a group of CEOs, executives and advisors and I talked about this in a recent conversation, someone shared another option: the idea that, instead of doing something, we do nothing.

Rarely do we analyze what would happen.

Quick Context

So, here’s a simple question to consider for a situation you’re in:

If I do nothing, what’s it going to be like in five years?

The answer quickly gives you context. Will there be a serious impact, or none?

Taking it further, if you’re still unsure, ask:

What would be the best-case scenario? How likely is that?

What would be the worst-case scenario? How likely is that?

These questions are good for any situation: decisions about key employees, customer investments or finances, health and relationships.

So, instead of just looking at the pros and cons, consider what could happen if you made no decision at all. Could be interesting!

The Challenge

  • Instead of just thinking about the positives or negatives about doing something, think about the magnitude of not doing anything.

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