One afternoon I came to pick my 3 year old son up from school.
He was so chuffed because he had just completed a drawing.
It was a collage of different colour ‘scribbles’.
I asked him 'what is it?'
'It’s a car!'
I wanted to pick it up to appreciate it more and he said...
‘Wait I’m not finished, I’m not finished!’ and darted back to the box of crayons and grabbed a bright yellow crayon.
He returned and then drew a bright line through the middle of the page and handed it to me and said…
‘I’m finished now’!
Just that one bright line!
Simple but effective!
‘Bright lines’ is an awesome term also written about by Baumeister and Tierney…
About Bright Lines
“…These are clear, simple, unambiguous rules. You can’t help but notice when you cross a bright line. If you promise yourself to drink or smoke “moderately,” that’s not a bright line. It’s a fuzzy boundary with no obvious point at which you go from moderation to excess. Because the transition is so gradual and your mind is so adept at overlooking your own peccadilloes, you may fail to notice when you’ve gone too far. So you can’t be sure you’re always going to follow the rule to drink moderately. In contrast, zero tolerance is a bright line: total abstinence with no exceptions anytime. It’s not practical for all self-control problems—a dieter cannot stop eating all food—but it works well in many situations. Once you’re committed to following a bright-line rule, your present self can feel confident that your future self will observe it, too. “
Recently I described this principle as road markings. A road without markings wll invariably lead to a lot of confusion.
Having clarity on what to do and when to do it (bright lines) means you can grab that yellow crayon and through the ‘scribbles’ bright line it.
Is there a bright line you’d like to introduce into something important for you?
For e.g. on this day at this time I do this...
What is it?