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Zero-Based Thinking: Principles For Making Better Life Decisions

Zero-based thinking

It gives us the rare opportunity to ask ourselves if there anything in our lives that we should do more of, less of, start or stop.

It is a decision thinking technique developed by Brian Tracy.

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Zero-Based Thinking: Principles For Making Better Life Decisions

Zero-Based Thinking: Principles For Making Better Life Decisions

https://medium.com/personal-growth/zero-based-thinking-principles-for-making-better-life-decisions-286c1d202b14

medium.com

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Key Ideas

Zero-based thinking

It gives us the rare opportunity to ask ourselves if there anything in our lives that we should do more of, less of, start or stop.

It is a decision thinking technique developed by Brian Tracy.

Difficult decisions

Difficult decisions are mostly about weighing the long and short term values. Making objective decisions is difficult because we are biased towards short-term rewards and pre-existing beliefs.

Optimal choices

Ask yourself, knowing what you know now, is there anything you are doing today that you wouldn't do again if you were able to?  

Be willing to stop doing what no longer works. Sometimes it is best to cut your losses and try something else. Be prepared to take risks and understand the potential failure that goes with a new course of action.

Question everything

Zero-based thinking opens up a world of possibilities that you might not otherwise consider. It helps you to think hard about your choices.

  • Applying ZBT to your budget: Carefully decide how you would like to spend or invest your money as if you are starting from scratch.
  • Applying ZBT to your schedule: What if you had no time commitments? How would you spend your time that you find enjoyable, exciting, and fulfilling?

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“Risky” behavior you should consider
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Optimizing life for fewer regrets

Most of us are afraid of messing thing up. But we rarely ask, “Would I regret that failure?” If the answer is “no,” then that is absolutely a risk you should pursue.

Sometimes, the right decision becomes crystal clear when put into these terms.

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Do some math

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Pair a good decision with a bad one

If you only allow yourself your vice while you’re simultaneously being virtuous,  you’ll spend more time doing things that are good for you and less time doing the “bad” things. 

The researchers call this “pre-bundling” and say it allows people to couple instantly gratifying activities (such as watching trashy TV) with a behavior that’s beneficial in the long term but requires willpower (like working out).

Take things one at a time

Next time you’re faced with a problem with many possible answers, pinpoint your end goals and then come up with a solution for each.

This is likely to lead to the generation of a diverse set of options covering multiple categories of solutions.