Eric Papp ’06
Meet Eric on IrishCompass

In this busy world, most of us are conditioned to strive for improvement year after year. We look to case studies, popular books, or our competitors for the knowledge that might help us reach that next rung on the ladder. This can help, but often looking out is less effective than looking in. We can drown in that sea of information, and never implement the changes needed to take the next step. Or even worse: we fall into the trap of comparison, unrealistic expectations, and constant hurry.

Ideas are easy. Execution is everything. Andy Grove

My 3 S Approach — Silence, Subtract, and Simplify — is a process that allows us to reflect and plan our next move with greater intention. When implemented, we start to apply better thinking, rather than more effort.

In the first of this three-part series, let's look at the first S:

Silence: Turn off, Be Still, and Listen 

Most of us have our phones by us 24/7, and these devices are an excellent way for us to decrease our attention span, submit to impulsive behavior, think less, and worry more. And the lie that we use to justify this need for constant connection is what if something happens that I need to know immediately?? 

Right now, everything is being intentionally designed for distraction and addiction. Because that is where the money is. Tristan Harris   

How can we develop strategic thinking skills when we have the attention span of a goldfish? 

How can we clarify our top three priorities when every project is screaming for our attention? 

I'm not suggesting we strive to become monks or enter into a vow of silence; I'm talking about carving out some time in our day for quiet time and protecting that time. The temptation will be to fill it by browsing social media, buying something on Amazon, or checking email on our phones. With more practice, that temptation will slowly fade away.   

There are three methods by which to create silence. Pick one:

  1. Start leaving your phone in the other room. Sounds challenging, right? Try an hour and then keep building until you can fully concentrate on your work and not your latest text message or who might be calling you. FOMO is impacting our ability to do great work. 
  2. Carve out some thinking time. I prefer the beginning or the end of my day. I like to sit outside (sometimes with a glass of wine), do nothing, and stare into space. 
  3. Reflect on your identity and actions. Are my daily behaviors and habits aligned with my identity? 

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