Today’s Fast Summary:
If someone were to tell you, “Make the call,” what call would you think of? This is your ‘one call.’ Parents, old friends, children, co-workers, and industry experts can be potential ‘one call’ recipients.
The ‘one call’ is an open loop or a mental commitment you’ve made. Open loops drain your mental energy and increase the task’s activation energy. The more open loops you have, the more subconscious stress you carry around.
Make your one call as soon as possible.
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The One Call Framework
Let’s say you’re scrolling through your phone. You’re reading an article, and suddenly, in the corner of your screen, the words, “Make the call,” appear where a pop-up used to be.
Most people, when confronted with this statement, think of a specific call they must make. When I first heard about this idea, originally introduced by Jeremy Giffon, a private markets investor, I immediately thought of my one call.
Giffon says this of the one-call framework, “If you tell anyone there's one call they should make, everyone immediately knows what that call is.”
Parents, old friends, children, co-workers, and industry experts can be potential ‘one call’ recipients. You’re likely thinking of yours right now.
What is the ‘One Call?’
The ‘one call’ is the call you thought about while reading the previous section. It’s the one that makes you feel uneasy and sick to your stomach.
According to Giffon, the ‘one call’ is “that thing that you immediately thought of and then felt bad about…or tried to push out of your head.”
Many people wait forty or fifty years and put off their one call. In many cases, the call will only last five or ten minutes.
The ‘one call’ is an open loop or a mental commitment you’ve made to yourself or someone else. Unlike a closed loop, an open loop is typically a task you’ve started, but haven’t finished.
Open loops can stem from professional or personal tasks: Books you promise yourself to read, cards you’ve been waiting to send, or pursuing opportunities you’ve been looking into are all open loops.
The issue with open loops is this: They drain your mental energy and increase the task’s activation energy. The more of these open loops we have, the more subconscious stress we tend to carry around.
Foregoing your ‘one call’ is a type of bad procrastination. And, as academic Mason Cooley says, “Procrastination makes easy things hard,” like a five-minute phone call.
Hence the importance of closing your open loops and limiting your cognitive load at any one time. Doing so means living a less-stressed life.
Making the one call has massive bidirectional returns. Make it.
Making Your ‘One Call’
It’s as simple as picking up the phone.
Your one call may require a little finesse. Giffon advises that “if you execute the hard conversation poorly, it can make things worse….[The goal is to] resolve something from it.”
Use these tips for navigating difficult conversations for more information about managing the one call tactfully.
In life, it’s always better to go ahead and have the difficult conversation you’ve been avoiding. As Jack Kornfield writes, “The trouble is that you think you have time.”
Examine the ‘one call’ framework and what you might gain from making your call. Start preparing yourself to make the one call you’ve been putting off. You’ll be glad you did.
Consider your one call and anything you stand to gain or lose from making it.
a. What is your one call? Write it down.
b. Create an old-fashioned pros and cons list in whatever format you’d like.
c. List the potential benefits (including closing the loop) to making the call.
d. Then, list the potential consequences you’d incur as a result of calling the person.
e. What about the other person? What positive or negative consequences might they experience during the call?
f. Decide whether making it is a good idea. Most often, it is.
Lower the activation energy.
a. Write out what you plan to say on the call. Or, make a bulleted list of topics or issues you’d like to cover.
b. Practice your ‘speech’ to the other person. Remember the hallmarks of active listening, and consider the other person’s reaction. Allow them time to ask questions, and ask questions of them.
c. Plan a time to make your ‘one call.’ Make necessary preparations, and ensure you’re in a time and space you feel comfortable in.
This advice will change your life. Make your one call as soon as possible.
I’d love to hear from you:
What is your ‘one call’?
When will you make your call?
Did you find the ‘one call’ inspiring?
Tweet at me (@_alexbrogan) or respond to this email — I’ll try to respond to everyone.
Have a wonderful Saturday, all.
Until next time,
Past performance is not indicative of future returns, Investing involves risk. See disclosures masterworks.com/cd