An Honest way to determine “Net Positive” Equations
Are your equations net positive?
After feeling like a** for a few weeks, I conducted an audit on my time. How do certain people, activities or places feel to me? Do I walk away feeling energised & hopeful or bogged down & hopeless? Is the relationship, place or activity a net positive equation?
I learned the concept of a “net positive” equation from Ankur, who looks at things more from an ROI perspective than I ever will (which is why it’s great for me to have him as a co-founder). According to this, all things considered, is what you’re getting out of the particular equation, a net gain or a loss?
There will always be things that we don’t want to but have to do. Maybe it’s work you have to do, maybe it’s a relationship that’s draining you. The way I think about it is simply, on a macro perspective, is this something that’s adding to my life?
Maybe I need the job to pay bills. Is it worth the energy drain to suck it up & go with it? Or is it so draining that you’d rather give it up, learn to live with less & be happier? Is the bickering in a relationship causing you more stress than the joy & support it gives? From a zoomed out perspective, is it adding value to your life, or taking more than its giving?
Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom - Aristotle
Thinking about these is not easy & can sometimes feel very robotic, but essential. Without digging into the “why” of the actions that make up life, there will come a point where you might take impulsive decisions & while they have their place, there is some merit from actually thinking about the things that make up our lives.
To make this reflection simpler, I developed a framework that I practice whenever I feel a dissonance regarding something. It’s tougher to do with emotional decisions & for someone who’s life recently seems like a series of emotional decisions, its a big change.
But, here it is nonetheless :
- Identify the part of your life that’s causing friction.
- List everything about it that gives you joy, and everything that annoys you.
- On a scale of a month, mark all instances of the joyful parts & all the annoying parts.
- Look at where you stand.
- If it’s an emotional relationship, extend the time period to 3 months, maybe even 6.
- If it’s more or less balanced, you’re good. (you can’t expect anything to be perfect)
- If it’s tilting more to the negative side, your options are:
- Communicate whats bothering you & repeat the exercise depending on the conversation
- Cut ties
- If it’s more positive than negative, take it easy, include it in your daily gratitude practice & brew a coffee. :-)