Thursday, May 6, 2010

Under-Promise, Over-Perform


This is my brother Justin and me. We spent a couple of days together earlier in the week. He is ten years older than me and ten inches taller. He is the Chief Financial Officer of a bank. I'm not sure how much money he makes, but he didn't even blink when he paid for my turkey hoagie in Philly.

During our time together, he explained his philosophy of under-promising and over-performing: under-promise what you can do and then follow it up with an over-performance. Set the expectation lower than what you think you can deliver, and then when you deliver--WOW! LOOK AT YOU, OVER-ACHIEVER! (Plus, if you can't deliver, then no harm done because nobody expected you to.)

This was mind blowing for me. I run around promising exactly what I can do, sometimes more, creating arbitrary deadlines, and then working myself into a frenzy to meet them. Is anybody thrilled when I complete the task that I said I could and when? Um, no, but thanks for asking.

I think this is the beginning of a new era of success for me. From now on, I plan to do very little in every single aspect of my life. I will shower on only a semi-regular basis. I will only be a good parent on every other Tuesday. I will occasionally blog (when I'm not feeling fickle). I will rarely cook. I will never clean. I will gain a massive amount of weight in a short period of time. I will offend most of my friends, and alienate the others. I will frighten small children and animals. I will evoke pity from the elderly.

Prepare to be underwhelmed.

22 comments:

Kristina P. said...

I fully support you in this endeavor.

Miss M said...

it's totally underrated

Kelly S. said...

I totally get this. I never make any effort to make myself presentable during the week. We're talking sweats, holey T-shirts, no makeup. You remember. Then on Sunday, I'll pull out all the stops and people will be like wow, you look great today when actually I just look okay. It gives me quite a boost. (This does not work though when there are certain people who only see me at church come to my door in the middle of the week and I look like I described. They always ask if I'm sick.)

Kelly S. said...

PS Where did you get that fabulous shirt? I love it!

PPS It was great to see Christian last weekend. Alexander was thrilled!!

Christy said...

Very important life lesson. I'm still looking for a new years resolution maybe this is it!

Ginnie said...

Ha, welcome to my life ;)

Kim said...

I am vowing now to do the same.

Annie said...

It's a foolproof plan--you'll soon exceed everyone's expectations simply by rolling out of bed one morning. Sounds like your brother's got it all figured out. You don't get to be a bank CFO by being a dummy, after all.

Leslie said...

Sooo smart! I promise I will comment on your blog at least every decade! And, I'll brush my teeth at least once when i come visit!

Kami said...

My new motto! It's genius!

Becky said...

Oh how I wish I had a wise older brother who could teach me these things too! Thanks for sharing yours with us. :)

Mari said...

So great....I love this post!

MiaKatia said...

I have the under-promising part down. The over-performing part might be a little trickier ;)

Rachelle said...

this is ground breaking. i'm onboard. although i've already done the "gain a ridiculous amount of weight in a short period of time." dang it.

Suzie said...

Oh heck. I've been doing that for years!
People are astounded by my average performance all the time.
Love your shirt.
say hi to your brother frome me.

Sarah said...

Great philosophy - I feel people should do this with time too - when you call to say you are running late, say you will be there in 15 but get there in 10, that way people aren't annoyed when you say you will be there in 5 and it took you 10.

Leca said...

My husband swears by this practice. He does it to me all the time and I always fall for it. Me-- I'm an over-committing fool who can't say no to any task. It's a disease!

Angie said...

I'm looking forward to it :).

Donna said...

This has been my motto for years. The best advice I ever got was, "never do anything in the first year of your marriage that you don't intend to keep up for the rest of it." It worked so well, I expanded it to my entire life. My family throws a party when I happen to fold some laundry or scramble eggs for dinner.

Michelle said...

I am pretty sure "he didn't even blink when he paid for my turkey hoagie in Philly" is the best line EVER when speaking of someone's income.

Gooooo underwhelming!

Omgirl said...

Honestly, though, there is a good thought behind that philosophy. I too tend to promise the world and exaggerate or minimize so people will be pleased with the answer ("I'll be back in 20 minutes..."). And then I'm constantly running late and not meeting people's expectations. I like the idea of under-promising and over achiving!

tiburon said...

This might be the greatest life philosophy ever.

I am on it.

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