The Art of Strategic Avoidance

Personal Growth, Productivity | October 14th, 2019

I’ve never been one for the endless ‘how to be more productive’ articles that flood our newsfeeds. However, there is a notion that we need to embrace if we’re to grow more effective in life, or, help other people to become more effective in life.

Bruce Lee once said, “If you love life, don’t waste your time, for time is what your life is comprised of.”
Productivity is rarely an accident that happens without planning and much preparation. It is regularly the outcome of our dedication to personal excellence, thoughtful planning and concentrated effort.
If you’ve ever known anyone who is genuinely good at being productive in their efforts, you’ll likely find them to be a severely committed individual who avoids all the unnecessary things they neither want or need to be doing.
Productivity isn’t alchemy. It’s a discipline. Strategic avoidance is the art of eradicating the noise from our lives and cutting out all those who’ve already proven themselves to be an unhelpful distraction or a hindrance. Becoming a strategic avoider is like embracing a new superpower that equips us to become super productive.
Albert Einstein once said: 

“An intelligent person solves a problem whereas a wise person avoids it to begin with.”

– Albert Einstein
Sometimes the key to our productivity and personal effectiveness lives not in what we do, but instead, in what we don’t do and who we say ‘no’ to.
Those people who achieve extraordinary things with their lives tend to do so because they’ve decided to avoid all the non-essential items that distract their attention and dilutes their focus away from fulfilling the great deeds they aspire to.
Let me give you an example of what I mean;
We receive countless emails each day which we are under no obligation even to acknowledge. Sometimes people will phone us who we have no desire to even speak with. We don’t have to answer those calls.
Many people get checked in social media posts each day. Again, we are under no obligation to respond to these.
People require our guidance on various plans and initiatives that we aren’t passionate about. We are not bound to assist these people.
We receive phone calls from people who want to sell us things, promote their agendas, tell us their stories alongside an array of other reasons. Unless these reasons sync up with our objectives and intentions, these people CAN be left to proceed with their wants remaining unmet.
The point I am making, that regardless of what people believe they are entitled to from us, no-one is entitled to anything. Our freedom in life can often be gauged by the number of things we walk away from.
It’s essential to recognise that people we don’t know will only connect with us to access our time, money, focus and understanding. People we don’t know will never connect with us to philanthropically give us their time, money, attention or knowledge – despite how appealing their promises might be.
Achieving meaningful things in life depends on us saying “no” to many things that people want us to say “yes” to, and saying “yes” to many people and things that others have historically said “no” to.
When we say “yes” to acknowledging all the requests that enter our inbox, we consequentially say “no” to ourselves and our life pursuits or endeavours. So, let your “yes” mean yes, and “no” really mean no.
Sometimes, we must risk being regarded as indifferent, unhelpful and self-centred if we are to remain in the lane of pursuit and productivity.
Strategic avoidance is a purpose-driven, success-oriented and highly disciplined approach towards life. Becoming a strategic avoider authorises us to cut everything out of our life that isn’t going to play a role in elevating us from where we currently are to where we eventually want to be.
If you would like to become more productive in an area of your life today, what or who do you need to start strategically avoiding?

Kain Ramsay blog author

About the Author

Kain Ramsay is a social pioneer, entrepreneur and is admired among the world’s top masterminds in the field of applied psychology. Partnering with some of today’s most ardent social innovators, Kain supports aspiring entrepreneurs, coaches and social influencers as they master themselves, stretch their potential and enrich the world in their unique ways.