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Painting Yourself into a Corner

Posted By: Randy GageAugust 17, 2011

In English, “painting yourself into a corner,” is a colloquial expression for putting yourself into a position with no ready escape.  However it can also be used in a positive sense as well.  In fact, I often do this to myself to give myself that extra edge, to ensure I get something done.

Whether it’s writing a book, planning a new album, or creating a new speech, I often use this approach.  I will set an unrealistic goal.  Then I make it public so I am accountable, and put myself in a position where it has to be done.  As a result, my unrealistic goals turn into realistic ones and I am dramatically more productive.

So what about you?  What do you need to paint yourself in the corner with?

-RG

 

23 comments on “Painting Yourself into a Corner”

  1. Seth Godin put it this wa in his post this past Monday:

    Make big promises.

    Burn your boats.

    Set yourself up in a place where you have few options and the stakes are high.

    Focused energy and serious intent will push you to do your best work. You have nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. (Better than the alternative).

  2. I do it almost the same way. When I know there´s a big task to do and there´s group work to do I announce all of my stupid ideas. Most of them seem pretty unreal and people call me something like a dreamer but that gives me the additional push I need to make those ideas come reality.
    It also is kind of satisfactioning to see the faces of the other people when you show them that YOU have done what they thought wasn´t possible.

    You´re only as big as you´re dreams are^^

  3. I plan an "event" and tell/invite lots of people way before I'm ready, that way it has to get done and motivates me to be creative. I tend to procrastinate otherwise.
    I am starting to use accountability partners a lot more for things that like writing, singing, creating.

  4. 1. Set clear and very specific objectives.

    2. Set a deadline for when the objective must be completed.

    3. Take your original deadline and cut it in HALF!

    Of course, this is a little more difficult to do when you KNOW you're going to cut in half whatever deadline it is you've set.

    The point is, we have a real problem with overestimating how much time it will take to complete just about any task we set out to do.

    Just look at some of the "headline" negotiations we've seen this summer. Amazing how they suddenly agree to terms RIGHT before the deadline, isn't it?

    I highly doubt the final results would be much different at all if they had cut their original deadlines down by 50% or more.

  5. The Day The Earth Stood Still has an argument where the Alien ( Keanu Reeves) has to be persuaded in not destroying the Earth. The professor said a greatly potent and very relevant thing that resonates well with this post-

    ' Its when we are actually brought to the brink that we change. The precipice often forces us to turnaround things and achieve higher'

    We either break apart or do our best when we are up against the wall. I think that separates the men from the boys ( pardon the gender bias).

    Randy's suggestion to regularly put ourselves in such situation is a great way. I am writing my first book currently and untill I made it public I didn't sense the urgency and accountability. Now, people ask how's it going all the time.

    Hersh

  6. I'm painting myself into a corner to be in a Love-relationship.   I'm signing up for a Love-course in January with one of my great teachers that keeps expanding in this field. By then I've qualified within the first part of my meditation teacher-training in November. With the I CHING related thuth there's this willingness of mine to embark on the motion of the slower train to the center, where the outer levels must propel to follow.

    Love and Rrspect - Pierre Leyssac, cph

  7. I act similar - i do speak out loud to friends what I am up to next, what my plans are - so I get the urge to really do it. What ever it is! It´s setting up some pressure I need from the outside, it is part of my old self-leadership "program". I don´t do it always, but sometimes with big things.
    --> Your method of how to approach to "so called" unrealistic goals to turn them into realistic ones is quite impressive! A good corner to start from - enjoy!

  8. Finally accomplishing the building, implementing of a business or idea that generates significant revenue within the next year in parallel to starting a new Job.

  9. Yes, am 'painting myself into a corner' with no contingency plans but have activities in connection to the 'end'. Reserve judgement for now and we will know the results soon and very soon. Maybe have to 'bleed' in between but I know I will enjoy the process. Our 'shape cell' pastor said that he asked the Lord for 'thick skin' and a 'soft heart' not the reverse when he first went into the ministry.

    So good that you put pressure on yourself and accomplish the commitment. Like what you mentioned,it has to do with accountability also.

  10. That's an interesting strategy for sure. It seems I need to paint myself into a corner in getting our founding investor presentation totally dialed in which means lots of work and seeking help too.

    I'm going to set a goal to get it done by Aug. 31st!

    Thanks Randy!

  11. There I am. In the corner. The situation: determine the next 'step' wherer one doesn't wreck the progress yet moves forward. Since discovering meme based behavior, I catch myself thinking "how'd I get here? What was I thinking? Invariably either my perspective or philosophy will kick in, cue clarity of mind, allowing for a prosperous energy to guide me towed the most positive results. Performing under pressure forces you to accept an outcome whether or not it's exactly where you wanted to go. Here we are. We are here. All good.

  12. Hi Randy,

    I take breaks every hour, on the hour.

    I watch my feelings. I watch to see if I'm on course, or if I'm straying, based on how I feel.

    In a way, the Universe is my accountability partner, for my feelings are the built in guidance system the Universe blesses us with.

    Thanks for sharing.

    RB

  13. This reminds me of in Think and Grow Rich when he gives the 6 steps to turn desire into riches. The third step is to establish a definite date. That creates a sense of urgency. when I need to get a class planned or an event created, I put the event on my calendar and start marketing that date...now I can not change it and I have to get on it.

  14. HMMM.... And now gives me a understanding.... that I only missed some more things.... I feel the power...
    And now I remembered the time when I used to do it all the time ... I forgot about it...
    I thought it was too selfish and condescending to give such a targets ... I felt them so .. but I was not listen to them.

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  • 23 comments on “Painting Yourself into a Corner”

    1. Seth Godin put it this wa in his post this past Monday:

      Make big promises.

      Burn your boats.

      Set yourself up in a place where you have few options and the stakes are high.

      Focused energy and serious intent will push you to do your best work. You have nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. (Better than the alternative).

    2. I do it almost the same way. When I know there´s a big task to do and there´s group work to do I announce all of my stupid ideas. Most of them seem pretty unreal and people call me something like a dreamer but that gives me the additional push I need to make those ideas come reality.
      It also is kind of satisfactioning to see the faces of the other people when you show them that YOU have done what they thought wasn´t possible.

      You´re only as big as you´re dreams are^^

    3. I plan an "event" and tell/invite lots of people way before I'm ready, that way it has to get done and motivates me to be creative. I tend to procrastinate otherwise.
      I am starting to use accountability partners a lot more for things that like writing, singing, creating.

    4. 1. Set clear and very specific objectives.

      2. Set a deadline for when the objective must be completed.

      3. Take your original deadline and cut it in HALF!

      Of course, this is a little more difficult to do when you KNOW you're going to cut in half whatever deadline it is you've set.

      The point is, we have a real problem with overestimating how much time it will take to complete just about any task we set out to do.

      Just look at some of the "headline" negotiations we've seen this summer. Amazing how they suddenly agree to terms RIGHT before the deadline, isn't it?

      I highly doubt the final results would be much different at all if they had cut their original deadlines down by 50% or more.

    5. The Day The Earth Stood Still has an argument where the Alien ( Keanu Reeves) has to be persuaded in not destroying the Earth. The professor said a greatly potent and very relevant thing that resonates well with this post-

      ' Its when we are actually brought to the brink that we change. The precipice often forces us to turnaround things and achieve higher'

      We either break apart or do our best when we are up against the wall. I think that separates the men from the boys ( pardon the gender bias).

      Randy's suggestion to regularly put ourselves in such situation is a great way. I am writing my first book currently and untill I made it public I didn't sense the urgency and accountability. Now, people ask how's it going all the time.

      Hersh

    6. I'm painting myself into a corner to be in a Love-relationship.   I'm signing up for a Love-course in January with one of my great teachers that keeps expanding in this field. By then I've qualified within the first part of my meditation teacher-training in November. With the I CHING related thuth there's this willingness of mine to embark on the motion of the slower train to the center, where the outer levels must propel to follow.

      Love and Rrspect - Pierre Leyssac, cph

    7. I act similar - i do speak out loud to friends what I am up to next, what my plans are - so I get the urge to really do it. What ever it is! It´s setting up some pressure I need from the outside, it is part of my old self-leadership "program". I don´t do it always, but sometimes with big things.
      --> Your method of how to approach to "so called" unrealistic goals to turn them into realistic ones is quite impressive! A good corner to start from - enjoy!

    8. Finally accomplishing the building, implementing of a business or idea that generates significant revenue within the next year in parallel to starting a new Job.

    9. Yes, am 'painting myself into a corner' with no contingency plans but have activities in connection to the 'end'. Reserve judgement for now and we will know the results soon and very soon. Maybe have to 'bleed' in between but I know I will enjoy the process. Our 'shape cell' pastor said that he asked the Lord for 'thick skin' and a 'soft heart' not the reverse when he first went into the ministry.

      So good that you put pressure on yourself and accomplish the commitment. Like what you mentioned,it has to do with accountability also.

    10. That's an interesting strategy for sure. It seems I need to paint myself into a corner in getting our founding investor presentation totally dialed in which means lots of work and seeking help too.

      I'm going to set a goal to get it done by Aug. 31st!

      Thanks Randy!

    11. There I am. In the corner. The situation: determine the next 'step' wherer one doesn't wreck the progress yet moves forward. Since discovering meme based behavior, I catch myself thinking "how'd I get here? What was I thinking? Invariably either my perspective or philosophy will kick in, cue clarity of mind, allowing for a prosperous energy to guide me towed the most positive results. Performing under pressure forces you to accept an outcome whether or not it's exactly where you wanted to go. Here we are. We are here. All good.

    12. Hi Randy,

      I take breaks every hour, on the hour.

      I watch my feelings. I watch to see if I'm on course, or if I'm straying, based on how I feel.

      In a way, the Universe is my accountability partner, for my feelings are the built in guidance system the Universe blesses us with.

      Thanks for sharing.

      RB

    13. This reminds me of in Think and Grow Rich when he gives the 6 steps to turn desire into riches. The third step is to establish a definite date. That creates a sense of urgency. when I need to get a class planned or an event created, I put the event on my calendar and start marketing that date...now I can not change it and I have to get on it.

    14. HMMM.... And now gives me a understanding.... that I only missed some more things.... I feel the power...
      And now I remembered the time when I used to do it all the time ... I forgot about it...
      I thought it was too selfish and condescending to give such a targets ... I felt them so .. but I was not listen to them.

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