Notes - How to avoid commitment traps

October 3, 2020

  1. Beware of the endowment effect
    • the endowment effect: our tendency to undervalue things that aren’t ours and to overvalue things because we already own them.
  2. Pretend you don’t own it yet

  3. Get over the fear of waste

  4. Admit failure to begin success

  5. Stop trying to force a fit

  6. Get a neutral second opinion

  7. Be aware of the status quo bias
    • The tendency to continue doing something simply because we have always done it is sometimes called the status quo bias.
  8. Apply zero-based budgeting
    • zero-based budgeting: instead of trying to budget your time on the basis of existing commitments, assume that all bets are off. All previous commitments are gone. Then begin from scratch, asking which you would add today.
  9. Stop making casual commitments

  10. From now on, pause before you speak

  11. Get over the fear of missing out

  12. To fight this fear, run a reverse pilot
    • In a reverse pilot, you test whether removing an initiative or activity will have any negative consequences.


These notes are from the book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown (Chapter #12)


These notes might be very contextual if you haven’t read the book.

Tags: checklist essentialist self-help

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