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  • Writer's pictureGarth

Go, no go, and how to know the difference


Description & Discussion:

Magician David Blaine discusses his simple “go/no go” criteria for taking on new projects.

David Blaine describes his method for determining whether or not he should take on a project, and it’s incredibly simple. He decides, in terms of “yes” or “no” whether he would do the project for one dollar.

"The idea is if I'm offered a gig or something, if the answer is no, then I won't do it for any amount of money; and if the answer is yes, then I'll do it for whatever the deal is.”

-David Blaine

To be fair, we’re not David Blaine, and we rarely have the luxury of making major life and career decisions based on appeal alone. However, the bigger take away is that he has a system in place to ensure he is Authentic in everything he does. What’s particularly interesting to me is just how black and white it is. I recall being in BUDs and going through hell week hearing other students wonder out loud how they would make it through 5.5 days of being wet and cold and awake. They didn’t succeed. The students who succeeded simply made it to breakfast, then lunch, then dinner, then breakfast again. They had a simple rigid, criteria for whether or not they would perform. You see, even in BUDs, we realized that we don’t have to make it through the entire week. We just had to make it to the next meal. By having a clear and authentic “Why,” the “What” and the “How” nearly became irrelevant. By using this simple metric, he maintains his focus on the “why” of projects. “Would I do this for a dollar?” is his equivalent to “Can I make it to the next meal?”

Decision, Design, Discipline:

Reading this article actually made me realize that I haven’t done a great job of having a black and white “go /no go” criteria, and many of my life decisions would probably be a whole lot simpler if I did. The goal now is to develop one. Obviously, I probably won’t use the same metric for work that I use for my personal life, but the concept and establishment of a metric itself is important.

What are your criteria you use to make major life decisions? Could you simplify it?

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