Throughout his book Considerations, author Colin Wright provides his audience with little pieces of advice from his observations about the world. His chapters are all short essays about a given subject ranging from branding, to personal development, to habits, and self awareness. What I really enjoy about each essay is that the insights and advice offered is not limited to just the topic being written about. His thesis and his interesting points can often be taken and applied to multiple areas of life.
In a short essay titled “Default to Action” Wright writes about how easy it is for us to hear about something interesting and plan to return to that interesting idea, but get distracted and never remember to look into it. He writes that our default when our interest is peaked should be to immediately act upon our interest and (in most cases) to dive deeper, finding more information. By acting in this way we avoid distracting cat videos and push ourselves to investigate and learn.
Towards the end of his essay is a brief section that I find to be an incredible idea for one to apply to life, relationships, and ones career, “One distinction between high-performers and those who tend to lurk around the middle or sub-average is that the former are willing to expend energy to pursue that which they’re not told to pursue…”
Recently at work I have been working to bring in more self awareness to my actions and habits with the hope of becoming better at what I do. Part of my goals is to stand out to have more opportunities in the future, and part of my goal is to simply do the best work possible. When I look back at my performance and daily routine, I see areas where my lack of a default to action has left me in the middle or average range as an employee.
A way that I have found to motivate myself in changing behavior is to examine the identity that I want to have. If I see myself as a high performer and want to be a standout, it is helpful to imagine that identity and consider my decisions and actions as they apply to the identity I want. If I want to be a high-performer my identity should contain the default to action personality explained by Wright. Eliminating distractions can often be outside of my control, but acting immediately rather than procrastinating is within my control and can push me towards the identity I want. With the goal being to achieve a specific identity I am not driving towards a promotion or good evaluation, but instead I am working on character and habits, knowing that the benefits and rewards will follow.
Wright’s book is a philosophy book, but like the quote above, many of the examples and pieces of advice offered can be used and applied throughout life. This quote also fits in with relationships, organization and stress management, and academic pursuits. By reading Wright’s book with an open mind, the opportunities to connect new dots abound.