Ambivalence. It’s a big word with even bigger meaning. Surely you’ve felt it before. It’s that feeling of internal conflict that you sense when you have mixed emotions about a decision — or indecision. It’s that gut-wrenching feeling when you don’t follow your gut instinct — even though you know you should.
There are many reasons why you might experience ambivalence — the simultaneous and contradictory attitudes or feelings toward an object, person, or action — and tuning into this dysergy can pay huge dividends toward achieving our most important goals and priorities.
To better understand this, you simply need to take a page out of the great Zig Ziglar’s book and ask yourself the following question:
Will what I’m about to do bring me closer to or take me further away from my goals?
This crucial question helps you do two key things. First, you’ll need to honestly and clearly establish your most important goal and priorities. In other words, you need to know what’s truly important to you. Secondly, it will help you objectively assess whether your current actions, attitudes, and behaviors align with that.
In the end, EVERY decision (or indecision, which is actually a decision in and of itself) has an opportunity cost. If you do one thing, you’re not doing something else, and vice versa. You can literally apply this question to every aspect of your life — your health, your relationships, your work, your family, you name it. Take for example…
- Does buying clothes you don’t need (with money you don’t have) helping you get out of debt? Probably not.
- Does taking a walk after dinner (instead of plopping down on the couch) help you lose those 10 pesky pounds? Probably so.
- Does checking your email every 5 minutes help you get started on that presentation, blog post, or project that you’ve been holding off? Probably not.
- Does thumbing through Facebook (instead of getting on the floor and playing with your child) enhance your relationship with your family? Nope.
- Does going to bed 30 minutes earlier allow you to get up 15 – 30 minutes earlier (before chaos sets in) so you can work on your top priority? Yep.
- Does lifting others up with genuine compliments (instead of gossiping behind their backs) help you become a more positive person? Absolutely.
- Does practicing gratitude (instead of focusing on what you don’t have) help put you in a better mood and give you more energy? Without a doubt.
I think you get the picture. Next time you’re feeling that sense of internal conflict, take the one-question survey: Is this behavior, activity, or attitude bringing me closer to or further from the person I want to be?