The problem with always trying to “make things work” is, well… it starts to feel like work — and who wants that? If we label the process as work from the outset we may be unknowingly hindering our enthusiasm and creativity to accomplish the goal.
I like to set goals and achieve them. Making progress simply feels good. But I can’t say the process has always worked in my favor. Sometimes I get so focused on achieving my goals that I physically and emotionally wear myself out. Recently I’ve thought a lot about why this happens and I’ve realized something simple, but yet very profound…
Unless you were born into your ideal life (highly improbable), then we know that we must keep moving to improve our circumstances and quality-of-life. Most of us like to label this “moving” as progress. However, let’s be specific… because it matters a lot here. Moving is not progress unless we are moving in the right direction…
There’s no mystery here. It’s simply a matter of the physics of time. There are only so many hours in a day and days in a year. Time is a standard metric for everyone (at least until time machines are invented).
But the greatest defining factor of productivity and fulfillment is how we spend the limited time we have. No, this is not a matter of living life in “top gear” 100% of the time; it’s a matter living life “engaged” as much as possible. Quite simply, this means maximizing time spent doing things that make you feel alive. It’s been said many times before: life is too short and too long to spend it doing too many things you don’t like to do.
How much time have you spent fixated on certain problems in life? If you’re human like me, it’s more than you’d care to admit. But I’ve noticed that when I get “hung up” or “stuck” on something it rarely has anything to do with “facts” or circumstances. Instead, it has everything to do with how I approach the problem.
The answer we need to hear (not always necessarily the one we’re seeking) is often very close — it merely responds to a different cue. That cue, is a different question…
Of course, this has nothing to do with a nighttime sleep-disorder. However, it does have everything to do with mental daytime vacancy. The number of people who mindlessly navigate through life is staggering — especially at work. The imaginary switch on their back is permanently lodged in the off position. Not surprisingly this stifles productivity, creativity, motivation, passion, happiness, and the list goes on.
Repeating behaviors, routines, assumptions, and processes is attractive because, well, it’s easy. But pressing the “repeat” each day is short-sighted. Eventually, our results taper off to a plateau (or decline), we overlook opportunities that can improve our life, and our creative muscles dystrophy.
No matter the circumstances, no matter the goal, the most important element in the equation of success is… you guessed it, YOU! This is not to say that the the greatest accomplishments are achieved single-handedly. Nor I am suggesting that the journey to success must be walked alone. In fact, I don’t believe either is an accurate description of success. Ever. …
Unless you live in an ivory tower, some chaos in life is inevitable. In a passing storm of chaos it is entirely possible to use the additional pressure to inspire resourcefulness and urgent action. In fact, the greatest leaders thrive under such circumstances. BUT no matter who you are, it’s impossible to live in chaos.
We may not be able to predict everything, but we can predict that there will always be uncertainty — and for that very reason, we should have a plan in place for that uncertainty. While we cannot control every aspect of life, there is almost always something that can be done to strengthen ourselves mentally, physically, and emotionally.
For the full benefit, rest must be devoid of effort. After all, effort is rest’s opposite by nature.
And so it should be treated as such.
Guilt is a powerful, but ugly emotion. Sure, it can contribute to decision-making some would equate with discipline, but personally, I believe there are far more productive paths to self-control.