Will It Make the Boat Go Faster?

A few weeks ago I came across an article that completely transformed my thinking. The piece is titled This One Question Will Make Every Decision In Your Life Easier, and you can find it on Medium.com. The article profiles the British rowing team at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. They started out as a mediocre team, but once they started asking themselves “Will it make the boat go faster?” they completely turned themselves around and wound up taking home the gold.

You see, every decision they made, from the way they practiced to the food they ate was proceeded by the question, “Will it make the boat go faster?” If what they were about to do did not directly contribute to the speed of the boat, they changed their course of action. 

Ever since reading that piece, the first thing I ask myself in the morning is “How am I going to make my boat go faster?” For the British rowing team, their motivation for going faster was an Olympic gold. For me, it is growing a business. Everyday, I see businesses making decisions that don’t actually affect the speed of their boats. They invest in splashy marketing campaigns, fancy office spaces and large expense reports when they really should be focusing on customer conversions. When I ask myself “Will it make the boat go faster?” what I’m really asking is, “Is this going to help me grow?” If the answer is “potentially,” “eventually,” or “I think so,” I ditch that plan and choose a path that is proven. 

There is no point in following a path that might yield good results. If you want success, then make your decisions wisely, and make sure that every decision is in service to your larger goal.

Everyone out there is rowing a boat, and everyone’s boat looks different. For some, making the boat go faster may mean finding business success. For others, it’s improving a relationship…or losing weight…or finishing a degree…or any other myriad of things people try to accomplish every day.

If you want success, figure out what a gold medal looks like for you, and then start making decisions in a way that will help you get there.