Talkin' with Trav: Commit yourself to a 'stop-doing list' this year

By Travis Hansen

For the Deseret News

Published: Thursday, Jan. 5 2012 8:00 a.m. MST

“Think of these three questions as a personal guidance mechanism,” writes Jim Collins, author of “Good to Great,” in a USA Today column.

1) What am I deeply passionate about?

2) What am I well suited to do? What do my individual talents lead me to do?

3) What makes economic sense? Can I afford to do it, and will it enrich my life and others' lives?

“As you navigate the twists and turns of a chaotic world, (these questions) act like a compass,” he writes. 

Like Collins suggests, I am continually asking myself, Am I on target? Do I need to make a slight adjustment in any direction?

“Take an inventory of your activities,” Collins advises. “What percentage of your time falls outside the three questions? If it is more than 50 percent, then the ‘stop-doing list’ might be your most important tool.”

The question becomes, will you accept good as good enough, or, like Jobs, do you have the courage to stop a product line of your own so you can instead focus on where your potential is greatest?

My experiences have led me to understand that those fortunate enough to find or create a practical combination of these three questions form the basis for a successful life’s work, complete with satisfaction, accomplishment and much happiness and joy.

Looking back, I now see Dave Rose as one of the few people I've known to lead a great life, while doing truly great work. His entire life is remarkably simple. His relationships, his home, his schedule all serve to create a simple frame for his life. I so admire him for this and believe it is in large part why he is so great.

Collins ends his article by saying, "A great piece of art is composed not just of what is in the final piece, but, equally important, what is not. It is the discipline to discard what does not fit — to cut out what might have already cost days or even years of effort — that distinguishes the truly exceptional artist and marks the ideal piece of work, be it a symphony, a novel, a painting, a company or, most important of all, a life."

Travis Hansen is a former BYU, NBA (Atlanta Hawks) and Euroleague basketball player. He co-founded the Little Heroes Foundation and is married with three children.

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