A mistake repeated is a decision
Repeated day after day, a mistake, an error in judgement, a misdirected choice are the tools of disaster.
Want to really mess up? Keep trying what’s not working. Ignore the flashing warning lights. Keep denying you’re headed in the wrong direction.
Read more books
Even if you think you have mastery over your world. Read.
Gather more knowledge. Gain perspective. Find out what you’re missing. Read for the simple pleasure of creating curiosity and challenging your mind. See your world through different eyes.
Visit a bookstore. Visit Amazon. Visit your local library. Get focused. Get excited. Get your head in a book, and let it change your life.
Build. Don’t maintain.
Never be satisfied to just hold on – you’re always advancing. Status quo is death. If you’re not moving forward, you’re falling behind.
Success has a downside if you’re not careful. You can get a little fatter and a little happier; a bit bloated and lazier. You can lose the hunger to become more. You can diminish the drive that keeps you from becoming stagnant.
Stay hungry, stay scrappy, stay relevant. There’s a lot more to do.
Don’t believe the lie
The big lie we tell ourselves is that our good work will be rewarded. The big lie we were told growing up is that life is generally fair, that doing good is sooner or later rewarded with good. The truth: Maybe, maybe not.
A deeper truth: Do your good work for you. Accept the intrinsic reward of doing what you love, what pleases, energizes and propels you forward. Accept the inner reward of getting better and becoming greater in some way – every day. You cannot predict, control or base your self-worth on how others respond or react to what you do.
You can accept feedback. You can accept no response, which is feedback too. You can use it to critically consider what, if any, changes you want to pursue as you move forward. But resist doing your good work with an expectation of an external reward. The real reward is inside.
Don’t believe the lie – you’ll sleep better tonight, and live better tomorrow.
Screwing up doesn’t define you
So much has been written about failing. Fail early and often, the pundits, the writers of self-help books and chronicles of achievement tell us. But real failure is painful and expensive – often devastating. I think what they are talking about are mistakes, and not full-blown, wretched, miserable, humiliating failure.
I think what the experts are telling us is to learn the ability to adapt, to change, to make lots of course corrections on the journey. To keep moving forward, to embrace challenge, to assume risk; all the time becoming smarter and more capable by constantly learning from all the missteps and misdirection that show up.
The ability to learn and adapt is far more important than the desire to be perfect. Failure sucks, but mistakes can be amazing.
It’s found between your ears
The good you feel is less about where you are, and who you’re with, and what you’re doing, The good you feel starts inside your head when you get engaged with your world.
Get outside yourself. Become part of something larger than you. Find your greater energy in the act of connecting.
Circumstance doesn’t make you happy. You do. You do when you engage.
Breakthroughs start as crazy ideas
The day before something became a breakthrough, it was considered a crazy idea.
Today you may conceive of something that can positively change the whole trajectory of your career and life. But not if you let the inner censor control your thoughts and actions.
The censor fosters fear. It works overtime to hold you back from achieving brilliantly high levels of performance. The censor resists anything that presents risk and change. It whispers limiting beliefs disguised as common sense and conventional wisdom.
Whatever your mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve. Maybe today it’s time to get crazy.
Growth only occurs inside uncertainty
You want something certain? Try death and taxes. Everything else is uncertain and chaotic. Unless, of course, you put your head in the sand and refuse to step out of a small world – carefully constructed to ensure you stay safe while the rest of the world keeps changing.
Those who excel learn to thrive in the midst of change, uncertainty, and a lot of chaos. They grow, and attract what they need to grow some more. They take the time to figure it out, and just step forward to embrace opportunity cloaked within that chaos and uncertainty.
But if you like living with your head in the sand, in fear of change and uncertainty, within the false comfort of day after day sameness – go ahead. Death and taxes will catch up with you in due time.
The future you get is what you expected
Know your head, and what’s going on inside. Every day you fill it with all kinds of thoughts and self-talk. Every day – if you’re not careful – you can lapse into default mode, misdirect your intentions, and start yourself on the wrong journey.
Every day, you create intentions. Every day, you create expectations. Every day, their fulfillment starts to show up. The danger is that it’s so easy to be thoughtless, to not think critically about what you really want. And every day, if you’re not careful, the wrong stuff can show up in your life.
Get your intentions out of default mode. Work harder on your critical thinking. Start to expect what you truly desire.
Write love letters
Not just today, but every day. Write those love letters for yourself, and then dare to share with others.
Magic happens when the hand, head and heart connect. The act of putting pen to paper is caring enough about you and the world around you, that you choose to have something to say. Whether a daily journal entry, a key thought or narrative captured, or a fuller expression of your feelings – writing is a palpable sign of love.
We all have the drive to write. The drive to describe and create order. The drive to get a sense of control of our daily experiences.
Remember the joy you felt when you first learned to write? Get that joy back in your daily life. Share that joy. Bypass the mental censor that tries to tell you what you write is not worthy, or good, or important enough. Keep writing and you’ll find it is.