Success is often attributed to developing certain habits. I think there is something to be said for developing traits that are replicable. That’s what we know as discipline.
There are a host of books that serve as guidelines for developing these routines designed to lead to successful outcomes. Here’s a recent one that comes to mind. Then there are the standards that have stood the test of time.
In my own life, certain rituals have evolved and have become ingrained. I rarely vary from them.
Getting up early is one of them. If I’m not up by 5:30 every morning, something’s certainly amiss. Many mornings, like Mondays and Fridays (my swim mornings), I’m up at 4:30, if not earlier. 5:00 a.m. is my preferred alarm clock setting.
Here’s someone who was an advocate for routines.
We are officially into 2016. It’s also that six-week block on the calendar when resolutions are both foremost and in danger of extinction.
How would you like to be extraordinary this year? Let’s start by looking at some definitions of the word.
- beyond what is usual, ordinary, regular, or established: extraordinary costs.
- exceptional in character, amount, extent, degree, etc.; noteworthy; remarkable:
Last Friday—officially, “New Year’s Day,” Mary and I participated in our first Lobster Dip. Basically, it was a dash across a portion of beach, running into the surf and then, plunging into ice-cold ocean water guaranteed to numb you from head-to-toe. It was also friggin’ exhilarating!
Miss Mary; keeping warm pre-dip.
Life is short. Why spend so much of it muddling along with the mundane?
My wife is exceptional (and extraordinary). It’s only taken me about 35 years to truly understand her qualities (I’m a slow-learner). Continue reading
Fashion dictates planning for the upcoming year on New Year’s Eve—that’s if your fashion sense tends towards procrastination. But, is the second week of November, especially a month dead set on maximizing the mildness of the season, the time to begin thinking about 2016?
If you’ve played the resolutions game with a fresh new calendar staring you in the face, then you know that the first six weeks of any new year is the duration of most people’s plan for success, and their implementation phase. How do I know this? Past experience. Also, I used to be a member of Planet Fitness in Auburn for a couple of years while working out of the CareerCenter on the other side of the river. I got to see firsthand that six-week spike played out with a flurry of new members crowding the gym during some New Year’s promotion. By the middle of February, however, people were falling by the wayside and by the end of the month, there was no more waiting for machines. Come March, it was the same old regulars grunting and sweating at 5:30 in the morning, another great anecdotal example that the wait-until-the-start-of-the-year approach has serious shortcomings.
In considering the past year, I now realize how often and mistakenly have characterized it as an unsuccessful year in my own perception. I’m now recognizing that this hasn’t been an accurate frame. A better way of looking at the past 11 months might be one of gaining valuable experience and some new perspective. The key to maintaining a success mindset involves building on a foundation set on these essential learnings.
Seeking out the signpost of success.
My mother, Saint Helen of Immaculata, had a saying that I heard ad infinitum growing up—that saying was, “haste makes waste.” I’m not sure where she picked that one up and I’m guessing it wasn’t one I imagined I’d come back to—but I did, especially after acquiring some life experience.
Quality takes time. There are other idioms like, “anything worth doing is worth doing well.” I remember that one being part of St. Helen’s repertoire, also.
I’m finding that the things that have acquired staying power in my own life are things that haven’t happened overnight. Writing, health awareness, cultivating skills that never go out of season, these things take time.
I’ve written about Malcolm Gladwell and his 10,000 hour rule. It’s about putting the time in and recognizing there’s a commitment to the long haul.
Unfortunately, much of our culture runs contrary to that. We want fast. We demand convenience. We’re impatient when we don’t win $1,000,000.00 in the lottery.
Success sometimes runs contrary to convenience.
It’s always easy to focus on yourself. I know, I know—your situation is important and you don’t have time to think of anyone but yourself, or to ask about how I’m doing.
I’m re-evaluating most of my relationships. I remember a friend of mine from years ago mentioning that the “masses are asses.” My recent experience would validate his assessment. However, I’m trying to give people the benefit of the doubt and maintain a positive view of my fellow humans. Continue reading
It’s easy to be a fount of optimism when everything is going well in your life. In our age of social media profiling, being a Pollyanna is a requirement if you want to be one of the cool kids. What about when things don’t go so well, or life becomes a struggle, or your health takes a turn for the worse? Continue reading
Every time that you think you have it figured out, the universe comes along and teaches you that there are a few more lessons and tricks to learn. Being content with the status quo doesn’t work anymore, if it ever did.
I became aware again this week about the overwhelming volume of negative messaging emanating from people fully immersed in a culture perpetuating the status quo. Government is an easy scapegoat here, and if they were the only institution with this problem, then we might simply dismiss them and their antagonistic talking points. Continue reading
Self-help and the great host of gurus plying their trade is never-ending. There is a book and a product for whatever ails ‘ya, or a magic talisman that can turn any losing streak around.
Life reduced to a series of mantras, aphorisms, or simplified down to a three-step plan of salvation helps offset the pain that’s never-ending and always nearby. Visualizing a different reality doesn’t mean that the problems won’t be there when you come back from some other spiritual plane. Continue reading
Let me make an observation. Excellence isn’t something that most of us strive for. It seems that good enough is close enough. Perfunctory is too often the norm. It infects our work culture, our politics, our interpersonal relations, and our communities.
We expect excellence from everybody else though, don’t we?
What if we chose to pursue excellence in our own lives? Would it make a difference? Continue reading