The #1 Productivity Killer

I’ve always been very very intrigued that why do 95% of CEOs fail to grow their business, 17% grow at a very slow pace, 48% get stuck on a break-even for a long time, 11% get into a debt trap and 19% go bankrupt.

As I was pondering about this I came across a book on The Inner Game of Golf by Tim Gallwey.

He’d written the first book on The Inner Game of Tennis.

The basic premise of his finding is that a person excels in his sport when his inner game is aligned with his outer game, and if there’s no alignment in the inner game and outer game, some of the most gifted of players who excel in the outer game but when it comes in to tournament conditions they falter and they fail because the inner game doesn’t support them.

How are we going to bring that alignment in the outer game and inner game? That’s the real question.

When you start working and meditating on what are the factors that will allow you to feel peaceful from inside, you can start doing that by working with the principle that David Allen discovered and he’s offered to us.

And he says, look, there is strategic value of clear space and the way he describes it is that if I’m walking on an alley and suddenly I find four ruffians coming at me and if at that point of time if my mind is cluttered with those 200 e-mails that are sitting in my inbox, then I don’t have clear space to figure out what’s the best way to weave myself out of the situation.

There is strategic value of clear space. Because clear space is your mind is peaceful and you are relaxed to deal with the situation on hand as opposed to being distracted by all these bits and bobs that are floating around, that you’re not able to give your all to the problem at hand, to the situation at hand.

You’re distracted and that distraction takes away your energy, makes you take survival level decisions.

And no wonder 48% of businesses hover on break-even for years together.

And they’ve achieved a cruising altitude and they continue, so it occurs to me like they are on survival mode. The moment they reach that survival mode, the compressor switches off, the thermostat switches off and they are not able to continue on that path.

Outer game and inner game and the way you work with the inner game is to surrender to clear space.

Now, when I got this insight, and I actually got this insight when I had the great opportunity of interviewing David Allen, and he said, this statement which I think will never ever go away from my consciousness.

He said that getting things done isn’t about getting things done. Getting things done is about ensuring that you have clear space so that you can focus on what you’re doing, and when you focus on what you’re doing, the probability of success starts to grow in whatever it is that you work.

When I got this, the next day I was taking a flight after the interview, and I was listening to the announcement and when they came to that part, just before we are about to take off, this air hostess in a very clear voice was saying that when the cabin pressure if it drops the oxygen mask will drop from the bulkhead. Please put on your mask first before you help others, even if it is your small child. And they show the visuals of that and that really hit me.

That this is what clear space is about.

If I put on the oxygen mask first, I will have clear space to attend to other people.

From that day onwards, every single time I take a flight and I take many flights, I call that my clear space training.

And I listen with great intent, with great focus, with great energy as if it’s the first time in my life I’m hearing this announcement that when the oxygen masks drop, please put on your mask first.

I even take videos of that moment and I share it with people I work with, just to keep reminding them that it’s about clear space, clear space, clear space, because when you start working on clear space, there is a direct correlation between your inner game and clear space.

If your inner game is settled, you have clear space.

If you don’t have clear space, your inner game is not settled.

This acts like a thermostat.

And as you start working on improving the quality and longevity of your clear space, the whole equation begins to tilt in your favor.

Video reference number: 022020