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Many of us are familiar with the idiom “You can’t have your cake and eat it too.”

But, is it really true? Well, apparently not – both in your business and personal life.


One of the big ideas in the business best-seller Blue Ocean Strategy is the concept of “Value Innovation”, which is about creating a quantum leap in value for your buyers, by concurrently reduce costs and increasing your value offering. This may mean a short-term increase in investment, but it creates a new, uncontested market space, which quickly becomes viable once economies of scale kicks in.  So, if you were taught to choose between low cost or differentiation strategy, think again… because the most successful companies choose to pursue low cost and differentiation strategies.
Blue Ocean strategy_value innovationLikewise, in Built to Last, Collins & Porras also found that “Visionary Companies” stand out before they refuse to take an “either-or” approach in business. We are talking about visionary companies Disney and HP, which are at least 50 years old, are widely admired as market leaders and did 15 times as well as others in the stock market.

Because they refuse to take an “either-or” approach of balance / compromise, they manage to excel at both extremes of what may otherwise appear to be mutually-exclusive options e.g. pursuing profits AND purpose, being conservative AND bold, focusing on both ideological control AND autonomy….


The same patterns continue in our personal lives. In Secrets of the Millionaire Mind, T. Harv Eker points out that one of the important differences between those who are rich and successful (vs those who are poor and unsuccessful) is this – “Rich people think ‘both’. Poor people think ‘either/ or’.

Secrets of the Millionaire Mind_weathfile#12

Rich and successful people (we’re referring to those who built their own successes rather than inherit them) are where they are because they believe they can have the cake and eat it e.g. be rich and happy, be successful in both career and family.

Rich people see the world as abundant, and adopt the “nothing is impossible” approach. This automatically removes limiting beliefs and artificial boundaries, to allow them to aim for and achieve more in life.


What philosophy do you adopt in your life and business?  Do you believe “you can’t have the best of both worlds”, or do you believe “if there’s a will, there’s a way”?

The next time you find yourself at a major crossroad, rather than force yourself to choose between one or the other, try asking yourself “how can I achieve both?” After all, others have done it….why not you?

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