The Doorknob Principle

Before you open another door, follow this three-step process: Stop. Pause. Enter. It might take an extra 10 seconds, but doing this will help you become more conscious of your objectives and help you connect with your spouse, children, boss, mother-in-law, or whomever.

I took the Zimbardo Time Perspective Inventory — an online quiz to determine where you spend your mental time (past, present or future) — and my score for “future time perspective” was off the charts.

Future oriented folks make more money, are more hopeful, make the best of failure, and simply, get the job done. But there’s also a dark side. According to Zimbardo, future-focused folks sacrifice family, friends, and sex for success. Apparently we are so driven for a better future, we fail to recognize and appreciate the present. And that’s where the doorknob principle comes in.

If you find yourself focused on the past or the future and want to “live in the moment” a little more, the next time you come home, don’t just automatically open the door. First cleanse your head of all of the extraneous thoughts and baggage. Do this by consciously clearing your head. Forget about the traffic jam you were just in, the angry customer who couldn’t be pacified, how your son was a horror all day, or what you’re going to say at tomorrow’s meeting. Pause and focus on the doorknob. What color is it? It is wood or metal? Does it feel cold? By examining the doorknob you’ll help flush out the mental noise.

Now focus on who is on the other side of the door. It is your spouse? Your children? Whoever is on the other side of that door is probably one of the most important people in your life. Think about what they mean to you. With your heard cleared, open the door and enter. Make it a point to properly greet whoever is inside. For a great example of this, check out Jim Fannin’s video of the 90 Second Rule:

This simple three-step process is effective because it forces you to experience the now and become conscious of your intentions. It works just as well at the office as it does at home. Instead of rushing in to talk to your boss or a co-worker, first clear your head. I can’t think of a better way to spend 30 seconds a day of my other 8 hours.

1 comment for “The Doorknob Principle

  1. July 26, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    Great point! The 90 sec. rule is very real, I have experience this same effects in my personal life and I can attest to it, it works to take the time to build up a relationship with people we have not seen for a while.

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