Monday, August 27, 2007

Success Secrets: Virtues of Omission

We’ve all heard of “sins of omission”…the “non-actions” that can hurt others by our not doing something. But how about “virtues of omission”. By virtues of omission, I mean those things we avoid, actions we cease to engage in, activities we cut off. These are the kinds of deeds that can make vast improvements in our lives, but are not good “conversation starters”…to say the least. In fact, I don’t think I have ever heard someone say “I switched from Tiffany’s to Costco so I can compound my retirement savings faster”. Or…”Guess what…I decided to skip my vacation to stay home and read”.

Yes, these are the kind of actions that just don’t say “Rich and Famous”, but could make enormous differences in our lives. Consider how our lived would be, on a cumulative basis if some of these “virtues of omission” were practiced:

Avoid alcohol and smoking
Avoid every cup of coffee over $1.00
Avoid staying up past 11pm
Stop drinking soda pop
Stop every expression of anger
Stop watching television
Stop all unnecessary subscriptions (premium cable, magazines you don’t read)
Stop gossiping
Stop criticizing
Stop defensive behaviors
Stop impulse buying
Stop blaming others
Stop self-pity
Turn off the lights when you’re not using them
Pay down your mortgage
Eat less sugar
Eat less white flour
Talk less.
Listen more.
Give less advice.
Eliminate a fallacy from your thinking
Take more advice
Choose a small, un-flashy car
Buy clothes that have no logos on them
Save and invest regularly
Read a book instead of going to a movie
Sit and think quietly for 15 minutes every morning

None of these items creates “visibility:, and none will cause the neighbors to gasp in awe. But think of he changes they could cause as the results accumulate over a lifetime. It takes courage to engage in these “virtues of omission, because the amount of external reinforcement (praise, compliments, etc) is virtually nil. The reinforcement as to come from within, and from self-review of our progress . It’s not impossible. It’s worth doing. But don’t expect any medals.


Anonymous said...

Interesting site, that you suggested in your email. If you could get this promoted in the media it seems it could be a big hit. Maybe Oprah, or some of the other media outlets like national and local A.M. news shows. Possibly also educational organization newsletters, etc. This includes info that educators like to use, also....Just some thoughts FYI

Anonymous said...

I like that the punchline wasn't: "Stop using 'stop'" or some such NewAge thing. I don't feel my chakras collapsing or the specter of negativity encroaching like an indelible stormcloud when the word 'stop' is prescribed.

All good guidance. Any intelligent mind would reflexively infer the affirmative flipside, no?