Controlling Your Excitement Level

I have a tendency to jump head first on projects.

I read in the book Executive Toughness, in order to stay and remain tough, you have to control your “ideal arousal state”.

I know it sounds dirty, but in reality, it’s about excitement level.  When you are easily excited about things, this can be majorly distracting.

Imagine if you were trying to bake a cake.  Normally you would follow a very set course of actions, X cups of flour, Y cups of sugar, Z cups of water and so forth.  Then imagine as you are in the process of adding the ingredients, a friend runs by and tells you add in vanilla, as it would make it really special.  Being easily excited, you agree and add vanilla.  Then as you continue to mix your ingredients another friend comes by and says peanuts in cake are the secret to cake bliss.  You are again convinced, and proceed to drive to the store to find peanuts.  These interruptions go on and on as more friends spawn more side missions.  Before you know it, the cake doesn’t even fit in the oven anymore, and likely won’t bake properly.

The above is an extreme case of weak control of your excitement level, or “ideal arousal state”.  You jump from item to item, loosing track of what is really vital.  Abandoning the original plan as soon as something “better” comes along.

When we work on startups, “extra chefs” as I call them, will show up and tell you all sorts of great ideas.  The problem is often times though these ideas sound great, they end up distracting you from the main event.  The main recipe you were following for your business.

I’m not saying work in isolation, but I am saying keep in mind, ideas and advice are good even necessary sometimes.  Just keep your insides stable, be steady on what you yourself are trying to do.


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