Less Discussions, More Decisions

Many years ago in the early days of Close, my cofounders and I would go out for dinner once a week to discuss the business. These discussions were good, but oftentimes they were just that: discussions. At some point, Anthony said: “Let’s stop talking about all these different things and make a decision. What’s one thing we can decide right now?”

This was gamechanging for us, and in this episode, I share how I’m using a similar framework in my personal relationships and in my inner work.

[00:00:00] when a friend of mine or anybody, but in this case, a friend tells me. Before you started the podcast. It took a long time to get him to start the podcast. You know, you remember this? I had been telling him for years that he has to create content and is so talented, he should do it. And he always had some excuse. I’m not successful enough. Once I get this done, once I get that done. And then when he started, he was so inspired and excited about the results he was getting. People would share messages with him about that. He, that they enjoyed the latest episode or an episode would create business for somebody when he would interview somebody on his podcast. And then his friends would reach out to him or other people would reach out to him and ask to get an introduction to use the service or whatever that person was offering. And he was always so pumped about these results.

  I remember having conversations with him where he told me, now I’m never going to stop and you have to hold me accountable. No, no, you need to be my truth teller. Don’t let me go, let me, you know, get off the hook and all that. And I used to tell him, [00:01:00] he’s like, oh yeah, but not now.

Yeah. I used to tell him, dude, it’s not that easy because there were a couple of things that are happened in our friendship over the past number of use, where he told me I am doing X. And I told him, I think X is a really bad idea. I think this makes very little sense to me. Are you really sure? And it would defended via violently, and push really hard against it. And then it would turn out that let’s say X was a mistake and would come back to me and say, why didn’t you fight harder with me when I was doing it? You knew that this was bullshit. Why didn’t you tell me more, more forcefully. I remember you bringing it up, but you never brought it up again or you didn’t bring it up enough.

And I was telling him, I remember once, uh, we recorded the session with them and tell them. Dude, this is not my responsibility. And it is taxing to be fighting with you about these things. Like I’d rather have fun with you than fight with you every time you’re not listening anyways. So what is the point of me fighting with you every time [00:02:00] about this bullshit?

And I remember him smiling to see, yeah, you’re right. But you have to, with me, you have to be forceful. It would always say, and then when a thing, like this happens where, he starts and he tells me I’ll never stop. 

And, and then when he stops, I push and then he does exact, he falls into in my eyes and my soul into this trap that I saw coming and did, he told me I should warn him about, and once I want him, he ignores me and fights me.

That builds resentment in me because then any time we talk and the topic comes up, I honestly don’t know. I wouldn’t know what the fuck should I say? I don’t want to talk about this. I cannot like, and I’m in this. Usually it would be in this weird spot of, if I say something I’ll get upset because you’re not going to listen.

And so I won’t say anything, but by not saying anything, I also feel bad because I feel almost untruthful, And so I would always feel awkward.

 and today [00:03:00] the topic of the podcast came up, but then also, I mean, he brought it up and then he brought up his current life situation and the business and how it’s going and what he’s doing next and this, that, and the other and all these things.

And part of me wanted to bring this up. In an intellectual way and be telling him, I can’t remember all these conversations we had, remember what you told me, you wouldn’t do. Remember what you’ve just done. Here’s what you need to do next. Right. And kind of truck, try to get him to admit his fault and then change his waist.

Right. And then instead of doing that, I thought, I thought I really don’t want to have this conversation. It really doesn’t matter. But then we talked about ifs. He showed me some books that he bought about internal families. In German. I said, oh, these books are dope. I read them. And he had a, he had a moment of he’s like, oh, [00:04:00] we should talk about this on my podcast.

I’m like, yeah, we should really talk about this on the podcast. And then a couple of minutes later, he started talking about the podcast and some other stuff. And as it was debating internally, what to say, I thought what’s the point of having an argument or making a case to what to be told that I’m right.

And then for him to magically agree and change his ways, it makes no sense. And then I just told him, dude, you said we should talk about this on your podcast when it’s like, ah, I don’t know, maybe this, maybe that I’m like, let’s just talk next week about it. You know, I also had this idea to interview this person and I get to interview that.

And then he told me about all the people he wants to interview. And then I thought, oh, those are great ideas. You should interview them. And then he started telling me that it’s too much work to interview these people. He’s like, yeah. You know, it’s different with you with you. I can just take the raw recording because you’re good at it.

And we [00:05:00] usually giant well, and I can just publish it. But when I interview other people, I have to listen to it multiple times. I have to do a lot of editing. It’s just a lot of work. And then I thought again, wondering would then just record with you. See, there was a part of me that wanted to argue about that, but then I was like, okay, well, when are we going to record them?

I was like, let me not, not respond to me. It’s so much work with other people. Let me just focus from me. It’s not that much work with you. Like, so let’s, can we just record them? And he’s like, yeah, maybe not next week because I have this and this and that. And I’m like the week after six can, let’s see, blah, blah, blah.

And I don’t know if we’re going to record. or not, I think even the last recording, to be honest, that we’ve had, if I remember correctly, you didn’t publish. I don’t know why, but it was that whole exchange took four minutes. It was infinitely more fun to me to just offer, to [00:06:00] just offer the next step together.

Hey, let’s just take the step together. If it’s easy with me, let’s just do it. And instead of talking,  theoretically about why have you stopped doing it? It was so good. You should start doing it again. You need to do it. See you doing the thing. Instead of doing all that rehashing the past, just offer a step that would create momentum to get there, back into it, you know?

Um, and let’s see, maybe we’ll record. Maybe we won’t, but this whole little exchange with him brought up this bot. This, you know, there’s oftentimes a choice between let’s. I don’t know how to express this, but let’s discuss this again. Or let’s rehash the past, or let’s try to argue this out or let me get you to agree that I was always right.

Or let me convince you to agree to some decision you ought to make in the future. And instead of discussing these [00:07:00] things, you can just offer an action that would lead him down that path. Yeah, like offer the action versus having the discussion, right. Instead of sending, sitting at a bar with a friend and talking to them about, you need to be confident.

If you want to find a woman, you have to go up to a woman. Here’s how you go up to a woman. You have to say, you have to learn an opening line, or you have to learn how to be yourself. Look, here’s 10 women. Why don’t you make a decision now? Which one you want to talk to. And then instead of having a discussion, you could just look at your friend and go, Hey, I think, do you think this girl is Jude?

Yeah. All right, let’s go over and say, hi, you can just grab your friend and say, let’s go and say hi together. Right? Offer the action to help versus having the discussion where you want. ’em share all your wisdom and you want the other person to agree with you, and you want them to make decisions about the future.

And it gets all kind of an intellectual exchange. [00:08:00] Getting the person to do the thing that would solve all the problems, which is ultimately is you want them to take the action, whatever the action is, make the decision, take the action. And so you can help with the decision or with the action versus getting stuck in wanting to have the conversation. And the discussion is one of my favorite things of, 

um, co-founder meetings with Anthony and Tom is that many, many years ago at a co-founder dinner. When we used to do a dinner every week together, we still all lived in the bay area at one dinner. Anthony wants, like we were discussing things about the business or this problem, that problem, this opinion, that opinion, this idea, that idea.

And we were jumping from topic to topic and mostly we would just open a tab. Discuss all the worries and thoughts we have about it. And then it would [00:09:00] lead to the next topic where we just opened all the draws, all the problems. Then we just move on to the next topic. And most of the things we would say were things we had said before in Chad in an email and some exchange.

And I remember Anthony saying, all right, let’s stop talking about all these things. What decision are we going to make right now? Let’s just make a decision. I don’t care what decision let’s just make a decision. And then we sat there for a minute in silence. And I remember going, well, the easiest of all these topics was this topic.

Should we just do this? And he was like, Don, we’re just doing this, Tom, you, the green with it. Tom is like, yeah. All right, let’s do this. Okay. What else can we decide right now? And then went through, I think, two or three decisions where before we were in discussions, stuck in discussions. Right. And like ring of that also.

Yeah. Discussion. Yes. Um, and I [00:10:00] remember that ever since then, and we had, uh, you know, we hadn’t seen each other in one and a half years now, uh, since the whole pandemic thing happened. And then we spent a week in Utah together in park city. And every time we would start having, we didn’t have that many business discussions, we really spent the week just having fun and doing activities and being in nature and just being friends basically.

But anytime we would start a business discussion after a little while, either me or Anthony would bring up hi decisions. Can we make any decisions? How many decisions we made this week too. Can we make a third decision? Because decisions create clarity, right? They point to an action. Something has been decided.

Now we may progress. We checked off on something. This is discussions often. I mean, sometimes you need some amount of discussing and then contemplating, [00:11:00] but especially when it’s difficult topics, complicated topics where it’s not crystal clear or super, simply easy to point to what the right thing is. You just eventually have to, somebody just has to make a call.

They have to decide something. Even if the decision is, this is a topic that I feel we need to snooze. Look again in six months, let’s talk about this for the next six months. That is. But it’s this, the middle case, the case where we constantly think and talk about it, but we’re never feeling ready to make a decision around it.

It’s that, those things that just drag everything down and pollute everything. And I love that that’s something Anthony started and it became sort of a unspoken tradition when the three of us up together, inevitably, at some point somebody will go, what decisions can we make right now? What can we decide right now that we haven’t decided yet?

[00:12:00] And it always leads to good stuff. The discussions we have, it’s a very mixed bag. You know, sometimes they lead to good things, but many, many times we just kind of repeat and, you know, yeah. We just sort of go Merry, go round around something and don’t really end up anywhere. Um, and so in the same way today, instead of.

Discussing with Soufiane for the hundredth time, why he ought to keep publishing every week, why he ought to not stop creating content? Why there’s no excuse for stopping why I had told him. So, you know, the big finger, the waving finger in the AI. Didn’t I tell you, you would end up in this place now look at you in this place, you know, can I get my rights?

Can I get my, I told you, so instead of doing that [00:13:00] bullshit, I just went, can we do the recording? You know, let’s just do a recording about next week. Um, and it both, I think is more helpful and useful to the end goal that all parties have. Um, but also selfishly today, it was just more fun. It was so much better to just go, can we record next week then?

Start a whole speech about, I told you so and see where you are and all that bullshit.

What can we decide today? Right. Oh, with friends, what action can I help you take? Especially when we get angry with people, it’s because it’s something that feels easy to us that the other person is resisting, right? And oftentimes the other person will bring up all the reasons why it’s difficult. And then we bring up all the reasons why it isn’t this difficult instead of going back and forth and this like getting lost in this discussion.

Is it difficult? Is it not difficult? Just offer [00:14:00] to help with an action or to help make the decision. And the one next step, let’s just take a step to get all. And there again comes encouragement and the power of the beauty and magic of action, which is instead of being in our head. Let’s be in the world, let’s be in life and do something, right.

Let’s take a step that next step together. And then once we’ve taken a couple of steps, then the person might keep going on their own. And maybe not, maybe they’ll stop, but it still will be much better, a much better experience, more useful, more helpful, more valuable usually than the let’s have the same discussion for the hundredth time.

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