This last weekend my wife and I watched an older movie from 1996 called Multiplicity. In the movie, Doug Kinney, played by Michael Keaton, is a busy workaholic construction foreman struggling to make time for his family and his demanding job. When a scientist offers to clone him, Doug accepts the offer and spawns a slightly more macho version of himself. This clone becomes “work Doug,” (or Doug #2). Work Doug allows the real Doug to spend more time with his family, taking the kids to school, watching his son play football, or his daughter’s dance recital, as well as spending more quality time with his wife Laura.
This works great for a while, but later in the film, Doug decides he needs more time for himself, to go golfing, or attend the occasional ballgame, so he goes back to the scientist to create a second clone (Doug #3), so he will have someone to cover him at home as well at work. Now the real Doug can have time to spend for himself to go sailing or as he puts it, “time to think.”
If you haven’t seen the movie, I won’t ruin the plot for you, but watching this movie does make me wonder how much more I could achieve if I had a clone. I’m sure we all feel this way from time to time. What if I had a “work Ron” that could get into the office early and stay late, powering through the day to keep the business going.
If you read my article from a few weeks ago, you’ll know my wife Elaine had shoulder surgery and I’m having to help her shower and get dressed, drive her to physical therapy, do the grocery shopping and help cook dinner sometimes. At work, I’m spending several hours a day making phone calls to generate new business and then training agents on my team, plus putting out the occasional fire. I can’t even remember the last time I went golfing or did something for myself. It’s not that I’m complaining, but I can certainly identify with Michael Keaton’s character in the movie.
At one point in the movie, Doug is on Walt’s yacht and says, “My whole life actually flashed before my eyes. The funny part is . . . I wasn’t in it. I’ve got to get back into my life.” That quote made me think of a book my real estate team is reading called Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. The book by Greg McKeown discusses how essentialism isn’t about getting more done in less time. It’s about getting only the right things done. As my team reads through this book together, I’m beginning to realize how important is to be aware of what’s most important in my life and only focus on those few things versus trying to do everything.
At the end of the movie, that’s exactly what Doug Kinney does. He realizes he can’t do everything and that he’s not living the life he wanted to live, so he quits the demanding construction job and decides to open his own business so he will have more time for himself and his family. As Essentialism teaches, he learns how to say “no” so that he can say “yes” to the things that really matter.