The 26-Yard Pool. The 25-Hour Day.
“Tilt the playing field.” That’s what my first boss, Larry, told me when I asked why some businesses and leaders are more successful than others. Larry explained how great companies changed the competitive landscape by stretching what people thought was possible.
He reminded me about Roger Bannister, who broke the 4-minute mile and immediately shifted runners’ thinking about what was possible.
This brings me to the 24-yard-long pool at my condo building in Austin. For those of you who swim, you know that a short-course pool is 25 yards long. So, every time I swim laps in Austin, I feel faster than normal because I finish a little more quickly. While this might give my ego a boost, I would become a faster swimmer in the long run if the architects had designed a 26-yard-long pool, in which case, I would try to swim my laps in the time intervals appropriate for a 25-yard pool. This little bit of extra length would train my muscles and mind to be a little stronger (and even more if no one tells me it’s a 26-yard pool).
I’m occasionally asked how I write a daily blog when I have so many other things going on. My answer is simple: “I’ve gifted myself an extra hour every day. I operate with a 25-hour day. This gives me an extra 15 days per year.” Let me translate that. I sleep about one hour less than the average person I know. To be honest, I wish I could sleep more, but I’ve learned to worry less about it and appreciate that it gives me an extra 365 hours of awake time per year. I wouldn’t recommend it for everyone, but it works for me.
The truth is, we each have to find our own creative life hacks.
Maybe you could commit to three-day weekends for the rest of your working life, so all your work has to fit into four days, and you can stretch your leisure time? Or maybe you could track how many steps you’re taking each day and then add to it each week by an average of 25 steps per day. Over the course of a year, you’ll be taking 1,300 more steps than you are today (Fitbit and other exercise experts suggest 10,000 steps a day to stay extra healthy).
How can you “tilt the playing field” by creating your own version of a 26-yard pool or a 25-hour day? How can you reimagine what’s possible?