Idea #37: Save time with the Yin and Yang-Method

by Van Bo Le-Mentzel

This method is influenced by Confucius and Bruce Lee.
It is clear that our lives are situated in a permanent field of tension between two poles: plus and minus, day and night, supply and demand, giving and taking, and so forth. Followers of Confucius speak of yin and yang, marketing experts of push and pull. A company “pushes” a product on the market. In order to be able to increase the quality of the product, the company conducts a survey and pulls information from the market. These are two steps that usually occur separately. The push-and-pull strategy ultimately has the goal of selling more products. With pull, one creates demand.
For example, the Job Center in Germany (a cooperative relationship between the local welfare office and the employment agency) pushes money into households, and Hartz IV welfare recipients attempt to pull as much money as possible from the government. The world thus consists of “push-and-pull types.” Drivers of change are push types. Preservers of the status quo are pull types. What is your case? When are you a push type, and when a pull type?
The quite conscious use of yin-and-yang and/or push-and-pull techniques helps me to nearly double my time. How does this work? An allegory from martial arts helps us to understand:
Let’s take a boxer and an aikido fighter.
What differentiates the two of them? Both have mastered techniques for attack and defense. One might also say: push and pull.
The boxer raises his hands in order to prevent a punch in the face (pull) to then strike back with a counterpunch (push). These are two steps that follow quickly one after the other. In the case of the aikido fighter, this technique also exists. Only with one decisive difference: the aikido fighter has learned to perform attack and defense techniques in one step. In doing so, he uses the energy and weight of the attacker and redirects them into an attack. In the case of the aikido fighter, attack and defense are in fact only one step: push and pull in one movement. He saves time and energy! Everything that the boxer has to do in two arduous steps, the aikido fighter does in one. He gains time that he can then use lavishly for Japanese tea ceremonies. This has always fascinated me in the case of martial-arts fighters such as Bruce Lee. Although Bruce Lee is not a Japanese aikido fighter, nor does he drink tea, he was thin as a rake and nonetheless able to beat giants such as Chuck Norris. That’s impressive!
Everyone Can Use the Yin-and-Yang Method.
Let’s take the Hartz IV Möbel building plans, that I publish on www.hartzivmoebel.com. I send the building plans out into the world (push). In order to optimize my building plans, I have to ask experts for advice (pull), and in order to measure the media resonance, even commission a press-cutting service to collect the clippings (pull). In order to motivate myself again, I had to hire a motivation coach (pull). These are four steps. In such a case, companies would commission four experts, pay budgets four times, and stipulate a time frame four times. I do all of this in one step. I differ in this respect from other open-source activists who simply offer their DIY plans for download without any controls. I quite deliberately do not do so.
And this is how it works: everyone who would like to have the building plan first has to answer some questions in an online form. In it, I ask what the motivation of the person ordering is (pull), in which newspaper they read about the building plan (pull), and oblige them to send me a story and photos (pull). There is also a free comment field (in which people generally commend me me) (pull). It’s about giving and taking. And with only one online form (push), I have pulled four times. By means of this form, which incidentally the Australian Tammo Winkler from the Crowd programmed for me with Google Docs, an open-source software, I receive compliments every single day (pull). At this point, I would also like to give my heartfelt thanks to Tammo for the wonderful work (push; giving compliments is, by the way, also one of the push techniques). This motivates me! And that is much better than any remuneration in the world! People who do not want to participate do not receive the building plans. I don’t want to give anything away and also don’t want to have anything handed to me. That differentiates me from a do-gooder or a supplicant. I am a Karma capitalist.
Yin and Yang in Everyday Working Life
Here is another example: in everyday working life, working hours and education training are two fundamentally separate states. One either goes to work (push) or one goes to education training (pull). Most people also separate work (push) from relaxation (pull). I admit that in many cases work is also simply only work. But let’s attempt to apply the yin-and-yang technique here. It’s sometimes the subtle details that make the difference.
For instance, I go to meetings with customers or presentations at which I am expected to provide content for people’s benefit (push) with basically the following attitude. I do not think: how can I “push” my content onto my listeners most impressively, but I instead think: what are the three things that I can now learn from the customers or the audience (pull)? I have learned so much from my customers and the crowd. For example, a customer brought me to the website www.ted.com. And it cost me neither time nor money. I receive a fee (pull) for my presentations and workshops and education training for free at the same time. And all of this in one step without any extra effort. Cool, don’t you think?
Try it out. What is push in your private or working life, what is pull? And how can you link the two of them so that you can do them in one step? This saves time. That is why I often need half as much time for the same things as other people. If an example springs to your mind, then be sure to write it on my pinboard at www.facebook.com/buildmorebuyless 
(oops, a pull technique already crept in here again . . .)
This text was published in the book “Hartz IV Moebel.com” (Hatje Cantz, 2012) and was written with the help of my crowd.

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