I have a hangover and I didn’t drink last night. (Or for the past several nights, come to think of it. I’m slipping!) But I have that uncomfortable feeling, a little queasy, a bit of a headache. Maybe it’s the nagging knowledge that I should have done something and didn’t. It’s the open loop.
The open loop is used to create interest. It sets out an expectation and makes the audience keep reading or listening to get the answer.
I’ve seen speakers use the open loop to keep audiences engaged: “There are four things that cause this. Number one is blah, blah, blah. Number 2 is blah, blah, blah. Number four is blah, blah, blah.”
“Wait, wait!” Cries the audience. “What’s number three?”
Number three is the open loop and the audience wants to know what it is so they can feel closure, so they feel like they have a complete set. Once they have all four items, they can move on to the next phase, but without that missing point, with an incomplete data set, they are distracted, can’t focus on the new stuff, have a slight nagging worry tugging at their brains and stomachs.
What are Your Open Loops?
Think about your unfinished projects. The dripping faucet. Every time you pass it you think, “I’ve got to fix that.” And you feel a little guilty. Taking the box to the donation center. It is maybe ten minutes out of your way. You could have dropped it off any number of times in the past few weeks. But there it sits, looking at you with a degree of reproach. (No. Seriously. It is STARING AT YOU!)
Or bigger things, like that book you’ve always wanted to write. You come across some notes you’ve made or see it on your goal list. It pops into your head on those days when you feel like you should be doing “more” (whatever THAT is) with your life.
We like to check tasks off our to-do lists. In fact, every one of us has added an already completed task to a list just for the pleasure of putting a big, lush check mark next to it. (Come on. I know it’s not just me.)
There is pleasure in completing projects. It’s not just the lifting of that nagging feeling. It’s the earned sense of accomplishment: “I set out to do this and I did it.” It’s keeping a promise to yourself.
As I write this, we are six months into the year. Most people broke their new year’s resolutions months ago. Instead of writing off those goals as just another set of promises you’ve broken, here’s what I propose.
Dig up your goal list from the beginning of the year or from last year. Maybe you have a bucket list.
Take a look at all those projects you wanted to get done. Then choose one. One thing. Do it Finish it. Cross it off the list.
The best thing about checking items off your life’s to-do list? It opens up the space and time for you to do even more fun stuff.
And if writing a book is on your list, I can show you how to get that book out of your head and published in the next 90 days. Let me know you’re interested in getting this DONE. Just shoot me a quick email: Barbara@BarbaraGrassey.com. I’ll send you a brief questionnaire and then we can set up a complimentary jump start conversation to discuss your book and goals.