1 Simple Question To Make Any Decision In Your Life Easy

Keir Wotherspoon
4 min readOct 17, 2021

The British rowing team sucked for a really long time. They had not won a medal since 1912. Then in the 2000 just before the Sydney Olympics they implemented on single strategy and because of that, ended up winning gold.

It was one simple question, each team member asked themselves before making a decision that helped them overcome failure and finally win after enduring 80 years of pain.

That question…

Will it make the boat go faster?

The idea was to eliminate distractions or other non-productive interruptions that could, potentially, harm the bigger goal…. making the boat go faster.

By creating a filter, they could quickly gage whether a decision was taking them closer or father away from adding a jet engine to their stalling windcatcher.

Will this donut make the boat go faster?

Will this late night make the boat go faster?

If I skip the party, will it make the boat go faster?

This is what is known in the psychology world as implementation intentions. It’s a self-regulatory strategy of an “if-then plan” — if (action), then (outcome).

If I eat this donut, (then) my energy is going to suck

(No, it won’t make the boat go faster)

If I stay up late tonight, (then) my sleep will be compromised, and my performance will suck

(No, it won’t make the boat go faster)

If I skip the party tonight, (then) I can go to bed early and I will feel rested and energised tomorrow

(Yes, it will make the boat go faster)

It sounds obvious, and it kinda is, but this filtering process requires discipline. More importantly it requires sacrifice.

Tim Grover (performance coach to Michael Jordan & Kobe Bryant) once quoted:

“You should crave the end result so bad that the hard work becomes irrelevant”

The legendary Steve R Covey has a similar quote:

“In order to have something you want you must be willing to pay the price”

Whatever it is you are working towards is going to requires a sacrifice to some degree:

Building and growing a successful business is going to demand a lot of time, money, and energy especially in the early stages. You will make mistakes (many mistakes), get frustrated (a lot) and you will feel like giving up (on more days than not).

The dream of 9am starts and 3pm finishes can only be lived out by sacrificing the prior years to this long-term dream lifestyle vision. The early years are going to require weekend sacrifices, long late-nights, and early mornings starts… It is what it is.

These are the years no-one sees by the way. You see it all the time with ‘overnight’ success stories. Girl goes to bed a ‘nobody’ and wakes up a ‘success story’

Like a magical little fairy came down through the night and sprinkled special little magic fairy dust and made all the success happen.

What people didn’t see was the years of sacrifice, the painful rejections and the daily motivational self-pep talks just to get out of bed on a morning, yet still she kept going, until eventually becoming an overnight success.

The truth is, to get what you want out of life you have to go through some extremely challenging and gut-wrenching anxious moments. Times where you think, can I even do this? It’s a necessary process.

You will have to say No more than you say Yes, because every decision you make will have an impact on your end goal. The kind of impact it has is down to the decisions you make.

And by the way, yes you can do this if you want it enough. Just don’t think for a second it will be an easy ride, it won’t. But nothing in life that is worth doing is easy, so you might as well be free and choose your problem and then you can work hard to solve it.

So, the question remains:

What do you want?

What is the price?

Are you willing to pay the price?

If you know what you want and you are willing to pay the price, using this filter will help make your decisions quickly and avoid derailment and the mother of all productivity sucks… procrastination.

The more sacrifices you are willing to make now the quicker your dream will become a reality. The trouble is most people swim around in their struggles for years because their decisions are not aligned with their future goals, or their future self.

It’s kinda like one step forward, two steps back.

What those decisions are is down to you. Only you can decide what price you are willing to pay. I spent years sacrificing my family to build a gym until one day I came to the realisation I was no longer willing to pay that price.

My family are the centre of my vision and future, so every decision I make now includes their welfare and happiness as well as my own ambitions in life. Your circumstances could be completely different, but this filter approach will absolutely keep you on track.

And when you are met face to face at the crossroads of a decision, ask yourself:

Will it make the boat go faster?

Thanks for reading



If you are a health coach or personal trainer and want help with getting clients into your business, and creating a freedom-focused lifestyle, check out my FREE training here

Note: Article was inspired by Benjamin Hardy PhD.



Keir Wotherspoon

Top Writer in Health | Performance Consultant & Writer • Defeat Burnout & Win Back 10-15hrs per week >>> www.keirwotherspoon.me