#30 Doing v Accomplishing

The question is not intended to imply that you can accomplish great things without putting in the effort. And yet by focussing on doing we can miss the big picture and the opportunities that present themselves to jump ten steps ahead rather than slogging through the mud. It is about viewing everything through the lens of how do I achieve maximum output for minimum input?

I have found these two questions really helpful in this regard:

  • Can I accomplish something without doing anything?
  • Can I do something without accomplishing anything?

To me they really distinguish between the ideas of doing and accomplishing. My upbringing and much of my life experience has been around doing, so this is somewhere I have come from. In truth, there has always been a strong reflective component and a sense of bigger pictures and yet my first reflex used to be: What can we do about this?

Now it is more akin to Einstein’s proper question:

If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask…

Einstein is essentially inviting us to start thinking first about accomplishing and only later, much later perhaps, about doing.

If you would like to explore this theme in more depth, Episode 12 of my Time Academy Podcast might be a starting point.

Questions in the Image:

  • Can I accomplish something without doing anything?
  • Can I do something without accomplishing anything?

Want to Read More Around This Topic?

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown (link to Amazon.co.uk). This insightful book emphasises the value of focusing on essential activities and eliminating the non-essential, aligning with the above discussion of achieving maximum output with minimum input. It may serve as a humble guide for those looking to incorporate this principle into their daily practice.

Nurturing Curiosity – Daily Practice: This is part of the Nurturing Curiosity series of tools, insights and questions designed to help nurture curiosity as part of our daily practice. In point of fact, every interaction we have is an opportunity to question what we are observing and how we and others are seeing the world. Also remember that questions come in many forms throughout our day – a sense of frustration about not accomplishing what you want might offer these questions: What were you expecting? How is this helpful? What other emotion might replace frustration? How else might you accomplish what you want?

About Tom O’Leary

I coach, mentor and teach high performers to thrive by focusing on the choices we make.

In truth, our paths in life are paved by those choices. We can talk all day but to make our lot better we need to make the smartest decisions and then execute on them as best possible.

My view is that it is about slowing down to speed up. This means spending time being curious and contemplating what might be possible so that when we take action, we can bring all our energy and power to bear.

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