Jan 4, 2022
QUIT SLEEPWALKING THROUGH YOUR LIFE!!!!!!!!
Did that wake you up?
If it didn’t, please read and really try and digest this quote by Seneca, a Stoic philosopher:
“You are living as if destined to live forever; your own frailty never occurs to you; you don’t notice how much time has already passed, but squander it as though you had a full and overflowing supply — though all the while that very day which you are devoting to somebody or something may be your last. You act like mortals in all that you fear, and like immortals in all that you desire…
How late it is to begin really to live just when life must end! How stupid to forget our mortality, and put off sensible plans to our fiftieth and sixtieth years, aiming to begin life from a point at which few have arrived!”[*]
He said that some 2,000 years ago, but it still rings just as true today.
It also brings me perfectly to what I want to talk to you about today.
It is this concept of...waiting...for some future point in time to start making effort towards getting what we really want.
It is saying, “One day, I will ________.”
You fill in the blank with whatever you desire: change my career, go back to school, get started on that certificate I want, lose the twenty pounds. You name it.
What if you switched the order you’ve been saying those two words?
What if “one day” became “day one?”
Instead saying, “Day one: today I’m going to get up and go jogging.” “Day one: today I’m going to start that Udemy certificate and work on it for an hour instead of Facebook.” ETC!
The challenge I see with planning to start “in the future” to work towards getting something you want is...it may never come.
None of us are promised tomorrow, and if the words “one day” are common in your vernacular, I would have a serious heart-to-heart with yourself about the reality of time and how much of it you truly have.
What can you afford to keep putting off until the finite tomorrows are all gone?
The problem is that life is trying to let you know that you are putting off the changes you want to make, and if you can’t hear (aren’t paying attention) to the subtle ways it’s trying to speak to you, it will have to get louder.
Oprah Winfrey refers to this as “life’s whispers,” the universe throwing little pebbles at your heads to get your attention. [*]
When life has to get louder inorder to get our attention--now that’s when it has to start throwing bricks!
Which would you rather have hit you--a pebble or a brick?
Some of us don’t wake up until…
We get a shocking medical diagnosis or our spouse tells us they are leaving us or we get fired or we find out our kid is doing drugs or a pandemic hits and we are like, what in the?
What you don’t make time for today, you sure as hell-o will have to make time for tomorrow.
If tomorrow comes...
I had a friend growing up whose mom got cancer. She had a note that she put on the fridge, it said something to the effect of “Make time to be well today or you will need to make time to be sick tomorrow.”
Do you want to keep waking up on autopilot--EVERYDAY?!
“One day,” it hits you LIKE A BRICK TO THE HEAD?
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When the universe starts raining metaphorical bricks to get everyone on autopilots’ attention, you want to have ALREADY had your wake up call AND put an action plan in place.
I recently had a friend's daughter reach out and ask me to help her brainstorm ideas for her graduation speech. I told her, if I were you, I’d focus on the concept of “one day” versus “day one” when it comes to goal setting and working towards our dreams.
As kids, we all had people setting goals and deadlines for us. But as adults, bosses that are true mentors are rare, and if we don’t take the time to create a vision/goals for ourselves, and designate someone to be accountable to in reaching them, we will lack direction in our lives.
And sadly, we may wake up “one day” TOO LATE to course correct..
When it comes to getting what you want, you need to think about it like the monkey bars.
Remember on the playground as a kid you could be at one end and see everything ahead of you, which depending on your upper body strength could feel really overwhelming, but if you instead just focused on doing one bar at a time, you would find that the momentum would swing you forward till you eventually reached the end.
Just focus on the one thing.
What’s one thing you can do today? It doesn’t have to be huge! In fact, if it is huge, I’d tell you you are going about this all wrong.
Setting too big of an action to take...we all know what that leads to: our little (not so LITTLE), BIG friend named “Procrastination.”
There is a killer Ted Talk on this and if you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. Inside the mind of a master procrastinator by Tim Urban. He describes what happens to ALL OF US (because we all are guilty of procrastination) when a deadline starts approaching.
He says that we all have in our minds two main characters: a ”Rational Decision Maker” who is trying to steer the ship of our decision making everyday, and a monkey who loves to distract us.
Guess what the monkey’s name is?
“Instant Gratification Monkey.”
There is really only one thing that can truly control Instant Gratification Monkey, and that’s “The Panic Monster.”
The Panic Monster is always asleep in our minds, that is, until a deadline starts approaching.
Then it’s like an alarm goes off by his bed! The Panic Monster wakes up fully alert so he can scare off the primate.
Only problem, if there isn’t a deadline…the Panic Monster never wakes up to chase off Instant Gratification Monkey!
What is the secret to not procrastinating away our time on this earth from working on the areas of our lives we so desperately want to improve...?
Here are the 5 Rules on “How to Stop Procrastinating” …according to Ryan Kay:
- ALWAYS start small. Get good at doing small.
When it comes to behavior and changing behavior, there is such a thing as creating momentum.
A large reason why a lot of New Year’s resolutions fail is because people set too large of an expectation for themselves right off the bat.
Starting small helps you create momentum (even if it is only a little bit). The reason this works is it gets you in some kind of motion TOWARDS your goal. This little bit of effort primes the pump to get you doing BIGGER and HARDER things as you naturally become more ready. Because you are already in motion!
In child psychology, if you want kids to do something hard, you have to prime them for it by doing smaller and easier things first. (We are all really just grown-up “big kids" when it comes to motivation…)
2. Set deadlines!
Be as realistic to your circumstances as you can, and tell somebody about the deadline.
3. Report back at regular intervals on your progress to someone--accountablilty.
4. Keep momentum!
If you fall off the train, get back on as soon as possible.
5. Use reward and punishment.
Our brains love reinforcement. Celebrate and treat yourself when you are making consistent effort and progress. No treats when you fall off the bandwagon!
Without swinging yourself into motion on the very first monkey bar, you are likely to remain stuck on one side of the playground for eternity. (thats kind of a long time. No thanks.)
Basic physics lesson here, an object in motion will stay in motion.
Newton's first law of motion: “An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.” [*]
When we wait around feeling like we don’t have the power to do the things we want, we are that “object at rest.” We are essentially saying to the universe, “One day I will…”
While you might come up with all the different crazy things that you need to do, that you need to check off a list inorder to get to your dream, the most important thing that you can focus on is just today, just to make this one decision when it comes to what you want.
Are you going to keep saying, “One day, I’ll go do this”? Or are you going to say that today is day one for my dream, for my goal?
Instead of getting mired down in all the excuses of things that you need to do before you actually DO ANYTHING.
What you need to do is pick one thing, the most likely action that will just get you moving.
The most important thing is just to grab that next monkey bar and pull yourself forward a step, to get active!
Because the number one predictor of success in life isn't genius. It isn't whether you have the biggest dreams or anything like that. It’s not if you're the smartest person or not. It is about how quickly you can get active!
Can you stay active, day after day after day? Getting 1% better each day, making 1% progress each day. Just making some type of progress that will put you in the position where you can be lucky. The truth about luck is it is more about being prepared.
Part of life is skill, and part of life is luck. If you want to be lucky--then get active, building the skills, prepare! But most importantly, get active towards something that will deliver you towards, or progress you, or create momentum towards, accomplishing even just the first step or the first part of your goal or dream.
That’s my two cents!
Try living towards your desires as if you are mortal (your time on this planet is finite) and leaning in towards your fears as if they can never truly hold you back.
“If you never try, you’ll never know what you are capable of”!
Steve Job says that the way he makes big choices in life is by asking himself one question in the mirror every morning. Perhaps reading his words will help you fully understand why YOU don’t have time to waste:
“When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: ‘If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right.’
“It made an impression on me. And since then, for the past 33 years, I've looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
“Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.
“Because almost everything--all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure--these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.
“Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.” [*]