Note to future self…

What things in your life are non-negotiable? What’s non-negotiable in your relationships? In your next job? In your next home?

A “Non-negotiable” is a very particular type of constraint. It can be used as a self-imposed measure for reducing your options when making a decision. It can also be used by other people to limit your own choices.

Something that’s non-negotiable can also be dangerous. Perhaps, we think we have a non-negotiable preference that we might actually be able to look past. This might be an opportunity to grow and expose yourself to a new environment.

In any case, thinking about what’s “non-negotiable” in our lives can reduce uncertainty, increase our focus and make sure we get things done.

Here are some ways we can think of non-negotionable aspects of our life:

Budget: I will dedicate XX% of my income towards housing because living in a comfortable place is something that matters to me.

Sleep: Being in bed by 11pm is non-negotiable to me because my health matters to me.

Family: Picking up my kids from school is non-negotiable. If I have to leave somewhere close to their school, go to fewer events, etc. then that’s ok.

Dating: I only want to date people that I consider to be “better” than the previous person I dated. These non-negotiable things can get controversial and even hard to define with any degree of accuracy.

It’s important to note that something that’s non-negotiable is non-negotiable 100% of the time. That’s what makes it so. If there are exceptions maybe it’s an opportunity to dig deeper and understand why is this the case. Maybe something (e.g exercising, dieting, dating, reading, etc) is not as high of a priority for you so you make exceptions to make things easier on. This is a sign that you might want to reevaluate your goals and expectations around that aspect of your life. For example, maybe you want to read 1 book per week but for you reading a page every day is NOT non-negotiable. You’re ok skipping it for whatever reason. Maybe this is a sign that you should either readjust your goal or fine a new mechanism that encourages you to read more.

Next steps In terms of what’s next, I am thinking about exploring a bit more the difference between “mandates” and things that are “non-negotiable”. In this case, I refer to mandates as a self-imposed idea to help ourselves or our teams achieve a goal. Broadly speaking these two concepts seem to overlap even though they tended to be used in different contexts.

That’s it. Now back to work…