Stop Using the Number 7

About a year ago, I discovered The Art of Manliness podcast and like many podcasts, I only listen to the episodes that sound interesting. Recently, the podcast interviewed Tim Ferriss. I bought Ferriss’ book, Tools of Titans awhile back and I thought it was quite good. More on this book in some other blog post. This interview had a couple of things that stood out to me but the main one was this:

When making decisions on things, rank them on a scale from 1–10. The catch is that you can’t use the number 7.

Now stop. Think about all the times someone has asked you to rank something on a 1–10 basis. Maybe it’s a movie or a book. How many times did you give something a 7?

It took me all of about 1 minute to know that that’s something I do all the time.

An 8 (or higher) is an excellent number. Those get saved for the best things.

A 6 (or lower) is not good. That’s worse than average, at least in my mind.

So 7 becomes this place where you know it’s not great but it’s not bad. To me, it’s purgatory and that’s no place you want to be. (We all remember the tv show Lost and the backlash about its purgatorial ending.)

I’m all in on this concept. I haven’t tried it yet but I’m going to start immediately whenever I need to make a decision.

Here is the point in the podcast where Ferriss explains why this concept is valuable.

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