Archive for October, 2013

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Muhammad Ali ran 6 miles in heavy boots at 5.30am every morning. Cold, hot, rain or snow, he ran.

Steven King, possibly the worlds most successful writer, writes ten pages of notes a day. Every day. Even holidays.

Thomas Edison had a nap every day …. for 3 hours!

Richard Branson has a habit of starting before he is ready.

Bill Gates’ mantra is, “When you find a good idea act on it right away.”

Success in any field is all about regularly carried out habits.

Habits that take place on a regular basis. Every day or at least every second day. The point is the regularity. You see, brilliance doesn’t occur over night. It gradually grows under your feet. It develops so slowly that the change is imperceptible. It develops into a block of concrete that can withstand change and turmoil. Habits are the DNA that brilliance is made of.

But what about happiness? Does this apply to our emotional well-being? I argue that it does. Regular habits reward us in more ways than just financial profit. It buoys our self esteem and lifts our spirits. You see, every time we carry out a habit, we honour a promise we made to ourself. The return on our investment is a raised self perception.

If this is true, what kind of habits are we talking about? This is where our topic gets really interesting. Interesting because it is simple. The answer is right under your feet. The habits that you should adopt now are the ones that you are capable of. Just do what you can. Regularly.

Olympic runners train their minds and bodies every day. They concentrate on what they are capable of which is regularity and small improvements. You are capable of exactly the same thing. Regularity and small improvements.

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 This is a quote from Seth Godin from his book, “The Icarus Deception“.
We all have habits. Seth Godin points out that we can choose which ones we will keep and which ones are to be left behind. He talks about the fact that we are all capable of being brilliant. The proof is that we have performed brilliant feats in the past. He states that, “All that’s left is to figure out how to create habits so you can do it more often.”Commitment to your commitmentHow many New Year’s Eve resolutions have disappeared by the end of January? Most of them. The resolution is not the issue. The commitment to the resolution is the missing ingredient.

So how do we keep ourselves accountable?

Here are 4 ways:

1 Tell someone you are doing it. The embarrassment we will suffer upon failure will prompt us to continue.

2 Like-minded individuals. Surrounding yourself with others who have made the same promise helps. It may be a regular group meeting, and app, or even a phone call every week to say, “Well, did you do it?”

3 Do it first. As soon as you get up. What ever the promise is, get it over and done with. A famous question in sales is, “How do you eat a frog?” First thing in the morning is the answer. Otherwise you think about the (unpleasant) task all day.

4 Constant reminders. Screen savers, laminated photos in the shower, a picture in the car or even an elastic band around the wrist. Side tracking yourself with other urgencies is the opponent who is keen to see your goals drown in a sea of ‘busyness’ Don’t fall for it.

I took my kids to Thailand a few years ago. Two weeks before leaving it was needle time. We were called into the nurses’ station and we were asked, “Who’s first?”

“Me,” was the instant answer from my 13 year old son. He knew. The more you think about it, the worse it gets.

Do it now.

Announce it in our comments section below.

I dare you.

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The photo below is of a Syrian refugee carrying mattresses to his family.

UNHCR

I paid for those mattresses. All this without even leaving home (thanks to UNHCR)

But what a massive problem the world has. 45.2 million refugees. More than the total population of Australia.

On the road.

Walking away from their home.

Often with just the clothes on their back.

So why do I mention this? Buying mattresses for someone across the world doesn’t really make a difference to my day … or my finances. But it did make a big difference to him and his family. And knowing this, it made a big difference to me. So it seems that contributing to the lives of others lifts our life even higher.

Take Mother Theresa for example. I don’t think she had time to be depressed. Being surrounded by people who were dying means you look more realistically at your own life. You realise things ain’t that bad.

So for those of us in a busy but relatively comfortable life, how do we achieve the feeling of helping someone live theirs?

We commit.

We step forward before we think too much.

We leave the plane and trust the parachute.

Skydive

Where to focus? How do you find somewhere to make your mark? This process takes time. Sometimes it happens when you are far from home. Sometimes in a chance conversation with a stranger.

It starts with a distant nagging voice deep inside of you. A need to do something. But this urge usually gets drowned out by what we think is logic.

“But will I really make a difference?”

“I don’t have the time.”

“The money won’t get there.”

“The world isn’t going to change if I do or don’t do anything.”

True. The world isn’t going to change. But YOUR world will. As I look at the picture of the father carrying the mattresses my world changes. I’m happier. I’m calmer. I’m more settled in the inside. Problem for you is that the mattresses in the photo have already been purchased. His family sleeps on them now. But that doesn’t mean the work is done. It just means there has to be something else you can do. And be proud of. Pride isn’t bad. It drives action and saves lives.

Do something little … now.

I believe the road to success is littered with the dead bodies of people who tried to do too much too soon.

Sustained effort over a long period is the key.