Does it make you money, or does it make you happy?

Listen, I anticipate that as I continue to work on writing with regularity there will be a few "do-as-I-say, not-as-I-do" type articles - like this one. In all likelihood I'll be metaphorically showing my belly a lot, calling out my weaknesses then telling you to do something that I am notoriously bad at doing myself.

That doesn't mean this is bad advice however, or that somehow I'm not the best person to give it to you. While I don't always practice what I preach - sometimes I'm lazy or cop out - I'm a pro in a lot of respects and people often ask my advice. Seriously, they do. In my experience it seems that we too often fall short on the fundamentals in business and in life so I think its important to spend a little time hitting topics that seem simple on their face but are commonly mishandled. Hence, today's topic…

Don't bite off more than you can chew.

By a show of hands, how many of you have heard that one? Take a look around - OK OK hands down. For being one of the most commonly espoused tidbits of practical advice many of us have received - as illustrated by that show of hands - why is it you suppose that so many of us do exactly that? There are many reasons, but I think it generally boils down to impulse control. Or put another way, lack of discipline.

I will speak for myself here but I know in my life and my many stabs at business over the years I have often been too quick to leap into new projects, chase down exciting ideas, explore new directions and often with very little or no thought paid to the plan. Its a "chase that bunny into the briar patch" scenario where you - or I in this example - are the fox with the thorns in your ass, left bunnyless.

One way to avoid that prickly backside however is to be selective about the quality and quantity of projects you take on and focus your attention on only the best ideas. According to the charismatic and notoriously handsome Gary Vaynerchuk, "its better to triple-down on one thing rather than being half-pregnant on nine." Great and visually evocative advice.

To that end, maybe the best criterion I've heard for breaking this down this process and simplifying the way we choose candidate projects comes from Adam Carolla, host of the worlds most downloaded podcast, the aptly named Adam Carolla Show. When deciding where to invest his own resources - financial, emotional or otherwise - he asks "does it make you money, or does it make you happy?" While I might not be the first to advocate for jumping into business strictly for the money, simply because that isn't usually the best reason. For happiness? Why not?

Taken on its face, that seemingly simple phrase can be employed in considering just about any business venture or other commitment that might come down the pike. Further it can be applied to virtually any decision you have to make, making it super easy to separate the wheat from the chaff. Now, there might be some emotional nuance or other factors not taken into account by such a succinct phrase. Most will agree however that largely the sentiment works and can make an effective filter when applied to ones decision making.

When it comes to choosing a business or an idea to pursue there is obviously a lot to consider and many factors to bear in mind. Carolla's suggestion will weed out the bulk, but the myriad of related topics are each articles unto themselves - patience, overcommitment, self-discipline, time management, identifying strengths/weaknesses, decision making, etc. We will address each of those fundamental subjects another time, but in the meantime check out this clip of Adam, ahem, Mr. Carolla dropping knowledge:

[Adam Carolla Video]

Crypto-penny for your thoughts?

Is decision making tough for you? Are you notoriously overcommitted? I would love to hear your thoughts and insights. Please comment below and share what you have learned or techniques you employ that have made significant positive impact in your life or business.