Top 3 Distractions in Your Day

You start the day with a plan.  You have meetings scheduled, you have your list of goals and key action items that you must complete, and you are ready to go.  You are ready to meet the day with excitement and enthusiasm believing that today is going to be your most productive day ever.  As the day progresses, the only certainty seems to be the meetings that are in your calendar taking place but the outcome of the meetings have left much to be desired.  Your list of goals and must do items, are fighting for your time and attention to even get started and by the end of the day, you are left either having to work later than required because now you are trying to get those important goals and must do items done.  By the time you leave work, you are tired and exhausted and rather confused with what happened.  The huge gap between what you had imagined and planned out at the start of the day and the reality of the day collides.

So, what happened?  I am sure that you are able to fill in the blank with the distractions that took place during the 8-hour day.  Some common examples that you would have encountered are:

1.  Meetings that took up more time than was scheduled either because there was wasteful time of either waiting for people or people not prepared for the meeting.  In between, distractions such as left-field topics were introduced and that took up precious meeting discussion time.  The meeting had no clear agenda and no clear follow-up or action items as a result.

2.  Something “urgent” dropped on your desk by your manager or your direct report.  Something that you need to get done because it has been dropped to you.  These “urgent” items that were dropped on your lap, now takes up all the time that you had initially planned for to complete your important task.  Now in the midst of doing this seemingly urgent task, you are kicking yourself and wondering why you did not push back or negotiate a different timeline.  Maybe you should have asked yourself another good question “Am I the best person to do this now?”

3.  The simple lunch catch-up took way more time than you had planned for.  Why?  You were listening to a friend or colleague telling you that she is having a bad day.  Trying to be the good friend that you are, you have now taken on more than you had bargained for.  Oh well, you are a friend after all, so you are doing your part.  However, now you are way behind not just on your planned action items but also the “urgent” items that were dropped on your lap.  While you are present listening to your friend, you are distracted with all your thoughts of what you need to do and to be honest, not doing a great job listening to your friend either.

The list can go on and I am sure that you can relate to all of them or some of them.  The reality is that most of our planned-out schedule looks great on Outlook with all the categories colour coded.  Afterall, who does not like seeing a beautifully colour coordinated calendar.  I sure do.  I am sure you can tell that my calendar looks amazing, Pinterest worthy to be sure.

The question remains, what are these distractions and what can I do to reduce them?  To solve any challenge, we first need to identify what these distractions are or what categories they would fall under.   What are the causes of distractions?

So let’s break it down.

What are the top 3 causes of distractions?

  1. Not setting boundaries. 
  2. Not being able to say No.
  3. Trying to please others.  Taking on more than you need to.

What can you do to reduce distractions?

  1. Set up your work boundaries.  That’s right, you will need to set up your work boundaries.  This applies to your non-negotiable times where it could be your block of time that you have set aside to complete your key actions items or task that is related to your goals.  The non-negotiable times could be for:  planning, thinking, analysing, reviewing.  Block out time in your calendar and make it known that during this block of time you are not to be disturb unless the world is collapsing type reasons. 
  • Know when to say No or to negotiate the outcome and timing.  There are situations where you will just have to say “No” to someone’s request because someone else’s urgent does not need to be your urgent.  Yes, you might be disappointing that person but you have your own set of accountabilities that you need to achieve.  The other approach is to negotiate for a different timeline if you need to take on someone else’s urgent.  Be realistic and do not commit to other people’s urgent because there are consequences to that action.  Remember, time is the most valuable resource that you are not able to get more off so think about it carefully.  What you trade off doing someone else’s urgent takes time from your important which over time will turn into urgent too.
  • Don’t try to please everyone.  You cannot please everyone.  You will never be able to make everyone around happy all the time.  You will need to acknowledge that when you say “No” to someone’s request for help, you will feel bad because you want to help but something is usually urgent because it was overlooked to begin with.  The most common reason any item was overlooked lies in either the person didn’t want to do it to begin with or there was no time to get it done. The cycle of pain sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

I always remember what one of my managers told me once, “You are not here to win the popularity contest.  You are here to do your job.”  The reality is that for the most part, to do your work well, you will have to say no to some people.  Not because you are not nice or helpful but because you have your set of responsibilities and if you don’t do your part, then someone else will have to take the consequences for that.  Work today is so intertwine and collaborative in nature that if one person fails to deliver his or her portion, the impact is not just on one person but the entire team or project.

Ask yourself:

What are your greatest distractions? 

What can you do today to reduce or eliminate them?

What small simple steps can I take now?

Thank you for taking the time to read my article.  I hope that you have learned at least one thing that you are able to apply into your everyday life.  Let’s step into the everyday with purpose.  As always, please subscribe, follow and share this podcast with your friends.  Take care and step into the everyday with purpose. 

3 Things to Let Go Off

We live in a world where we are conditioned to acquire, accumulate and hold on to things.  Why?  If we don’t hold on to things, then we will be without it.  If we are without it, our lives would inadvertently be terrible.  We learn to keep, store away some extras for the just in case moments, save for the rainy day and over time, we find it hard to let of things that we have accumulated.

Holding on to things is just one form of “hoarding”.  We not only hold on to tangible things, but we also have the tendency to hold on to the intangible.  We hold on to intangible things like memories both good and bad, experiences and learnings that shape and guide us, successes and failures and the list goes on.  There are many things that we should hold on to especially those things that are special, powerful, positive, life empowering, life changing lessons and the like.  There are also many toxic and destructive things that we hold on to that will over time lead you down a path that is self-destructive and self-sabotaging.

The things that you should learn to let go off are:

1.  Destructive or Toxic thoughts and emotions.

2. Past actions and regrets

3. Things that you are not able to hold on anyway.

Let’s break it down.

Destructive or Toxic Thoughts and Emotions

Anger, resentment, bitterness, unforgiveness and hatred.  Yes, the dreaded toxic thoughts and emotions.  We know that they are bad for you and yet, find it so difficult to let go off and to move on from them.  Why is that?

It is a complex issue that does not have any very good answer or a magic bullet that is able to solve it.  It is one where therapist, psychologist, and counsellor deals with every day with their patients. 

I am not going to pretend to know the answer.  The issues are complex, and the solution could be just as complex.  However, at the end of any solution is the need to let go.  The “how-to” let go, is where the complexities come in.  The key is in choice.  It is a choice to let go.  You have to start the process of letting go with a choice.  A choice to let go.  A choice to forgive.  A choice to move forward.  A choice to focus on something better.  A choice to replace the toxic thoughts with life-empowering thoughts.  A choice needs to be made.

You are the only one who is able to make that choice.  Choose life or death.  That is literally the choice that you are making in this area.

Past actions or regrets

For most of us, there is always one thing or another that we wish that we could have done differently.  For some, the choices that we made in the past were regrettable and that is the baggage that we are carrying.  We are carrying the baggage of the past with us everyday and if that weight is not heavy enough, we will add on to it.

We can’t change the past.  There is nothing that you can do today or tomorrow that will change what you did in the past.  The choice that you are making to continue to hold on to the past, and not just holding onto to the past, you are adding to the past regrets, will not only hold you back but prevents you from ever moving forward.

The only thing that you and I can do is to change our today and tomorrow.  You are able to change your today when you choose to let go of the past, stop carrying the baggage of the past actions and regrets, let it go, and only then can you see and choose the future that you want to have.

You can only carry one thing at a time, either your past or your future.  You cannot do both.  Let go of the past to embrace the future.  This too starts with a choice.  The choice here is to forgive yourself.  To be kind to yourself.  To be your own cheer squad especially when you don’t have one at the moment.

Things that you cannot hold on anyway..

Have you encountered this situation when you decide to use something that you have not used for a long time like a watch, only to realise that it does not work anymore?  You would only encounter that problem if you had more than one watch.  The “extras” that you have are those that because of neglect and lack of use, will spoil or rust or degrade faster than the things that you are constantly using regardless of how expensive or cheap the things are.

It is the excesses of life that will usually fade, rust, degrade and spoil.  For example, milk that you drink everyday will not reach its expiry or sour because you would have consumed it before then.  It is the food that is tucked at the back of the fridge that will spoil.  It is the excess that causes the waste.  It is the reality of things.  Nothing last forever, nor should they. 

An important lesson that I was taught a long time ago was this, if your hands are closed and holding tightly onto something that you believe is good, you will never be able to receive something even better because closed hands are not able to take in anything else  or more.  To hold on to things with an open hand allows you to enjoy the present, with what you have and then, when the time comes, the next even better thing because your hands are open and ready to receive.

Do not hold on to the things that are destructive, toxic and negative, your past actions and regrets and things that you cannot hold on to anyway, no matter how hard you try.

Live a life with hands open wide, appreciate what you have and be ready to receive even better things to come.

Thank you for taking the time to read my article.  I hope that you have learned at least one thing that you are able to apply into your everyday life.  Let’s step into the everyday with purpose.  As always, please subscribe, follow and share this podcast with your friends.  Take care and step into the everyday with purpose. 

3 Meaningless Ideas in the Pursuits of Happiness

Happiness is not to be pursued.   Happiness cannot be bought, acquired or accumulated.   It is to be received out of a grateful state of mind.

We all have the desire to be happy.  After all, no one wants to be unhappy that’s for sure.  If you were to do a search on google on the word happy or happiness, you will discover over 1 billion searches.  Even if you are not one of those 1 billion who have searched for happiness on Google, you are certainly wanting to be happy. 

Happiness is a state of well-being that comprises of living a good life, one with a sense of meaning and deep contentment according to psychologytoday.com.  We have all heard about the health benefits of happiness such as longer life span, improvements in your physical health and higher quality of life.

As a result of happiness being a desired state, we naturally want it and in order to acquire it, we pursue it like we pursue most things, we work at it.  We believe that we are able to work for it, earn it through some means and because it is good for us, we want to accumulate and hold on to this state of happiness.

The pursuit of happiness at the core is a myth and a lie.  Mainly because of the belief that happiness is something to be pursued or could be bought or acquired or accumulated.  It is to be received and enjoyed every moment not because of what you have or the situation around you.  You are to receive it because there is always something to be thankful for.

The 3 biggest lies are:

1.  When, Then, I Will Be…

2.  I don’t deserve, or I am not worthy to be happy because of ….

3.  Everything around me, the happenings around me must be perfect first…

Let’s break it down.

WHEN, Then, I will be..

“When” is a word that describes a timeframe.  A certain point of time, or a certain event is to take place somewhere in the future.  It is future or forward looking.  It implies 2 things. Not now and a later time.  It implies that you are not here yet, therefore Not Now, for you to enjoy the moment.  Not Now, hold on, you shouldn’t because it is not time yet.  You have not achieved a certain milestone or target.  You have not arrived, or you do not deserve it now.

When I have earned $1million dollars, then, I will be happy is a very common goal that people have.  The lie here is that the $1million dollars is able to give you happiness.  We all know that with arbitrary goals, the goals will change once we reach it.  I am sure that you have made some of the when, then, I will be goals.

The most common ones are:

  • When I am rich (whatever rich means to you), then I will be happy and satisfied or will retire.
  • When I am married to Mr Right, then I will be happy for the rest of my life.
  • When I get this job or make this deal or achieve this target, then I will be happy and will enjoy my life.
  • When everything around me is perfect then I will be perfectly happy.

I doubt that any of those examples would be of a surprise to you.  What might surprise you is that you have said it before.  You will also know that as soon as you have achieved those desired “states”, you will then come up with another “state” for you to work towards.

“When, Then, I will be” is great to help us to continue to strive to be better, to grow and develop but it should not come with a price tag that says “happiness”.  If happiness had a price tag, then we could assume that the richest people in the world, would be the happiest.  However, we know from studies after studies that financial riches do not necessarily give the highest happiness index. 

You do not deserve to be happy because of…. Past, mistakes, imperfections.

The 2nd biggest lie is the “toxic mindset” or a long-held belief that says, “you do not deserve happiness or you are not worthy of happiness because of (fill in the blank).”  It could be because of your past, mistakes or actions, things you have done or things that were done to you that causes you to belief that you are worthy or undeserving of happiness.

We often confuse identity with actions.  This causes a lot of challenges with how we view self-worth and how we handle shame.  The mindset that causes this is deep rooted shame which then manifests itself into self-defeating and self-sabotaging thoughts and behaviour.

Dr. Brene Brown, describes shame as a focus on self, guilt is a focus on behaviour.  Shame is “I am bad.”  Guilt is “I did something bad.”  To illustrate this, if you did something wrong, you now need to apologise for it, what would your self-talk be?  Guilt would say “I am sorry.  I made a mistake.”  Shame would say “I am sorry.  I am a mistake.”

If you believe that you are a mistake, you will naturally then believe that you do not deserve or are not worthy to be happy.  To break free from this stronghold is to embrace your vulnerabilities and imperfections and acknowledge that you are not your vulnerabilities. 

Everything Around, the happenings, must be perfect before I can be happy.

It’s a strange quest that we have with perfection.  Maybe it started young with fairy tales of the perfect prince charming, the perfect wedding, the perfect house, the perfect job and the list goes on.  Along side the quest for happiness is the quest for perfection.  If our quest for perfection is not on ourselves it is certainly with the people around us.

Before you think that you are not a perfectionist, let’s just say that you don’t have to be a perfectionist to have this mindset.  Have you ever thought, if only that person was perfect, then… or if only that piece of work was perfect then…

Perfection is a state just like happiness is a lie or a myth.  Simply put, how can anything that we do be perfect when the people doing them which includes you and I, are not perfect.  We will never be perfect because we do not really know what perfection looks like.  The benchmark for perfection is different for each of us but if there is such a thing as perfect, then there would a universal model for perfect that we could all follow and become.

The reality is that your state of happiness is not and should not be dependent on the happenings around you.  You will not have the perfect job, the perfect car, the perfect spouse, the perfect children and the list goes on.  Therefore, if you are tying your happiness to achieving any one of those perfect situations, you will never be happy.

What can you do today to receive happiness?

The simple answer is to not do any of those 3 things again.  However, like most things, it is never that simple especially when the challenge is with your mindset.  The deep and long held belief even though you know is destructive or self-sabotaging, takes time and intentional effort to replace and remove.

You can take steps to start enjoying your life and to give yourself permission and access to happiness right where you are at, this every moment.

1.  Give yourself permission to be happy.  Think of just one thing that you are grateful for and allow yourself to be happy with that.  It could be as simple as “I am healthy.” Think of that one thing that you are grateful for and choose to be happy.

2. Everyone deserves and are worthy of happiness for no other reason than you are special. 

3. Good enough is good enough.  Perfection is over-rated and certainly a myth.  Your best effort could be good enough in another person’s perspective, but your best is good enough.  Celebrate your work, your effort because you can only control what you do and not what other people think or how they would respond.  Focus on your controllable or your input goals e.g. your work, project, writings, business plans.  You cannot control the outcome or the uncontrollable.  Even though we might believe that we can and to a certain extent you can but for the most part, we can’t control the outcome.

Let me summarise the 3 biggest lies in the pursuit of happiness and they are:

1. The “When, Then, I will be.”

2. You do not deserve or are unworthy to be happy.

3.  Everything must be perfect before I can be happy.

Happiness is a state that you can experience right now when you give yourself permission to, recognising that you deserve and are worthy of it and good enough is good enough.

Thank you for taking the time to read my article.  I hope that you have learned at least one thing that you are able to apply into your everyday life.  As always, please subscribe, like, follow and share this blog with your friends.  Take care and step into the everyday with purpose. 

The 3 Mindsets that Prevents You from Satisfaction.

One of the more elusive state that we are all searching for is the sense of satisfaction.  True and deep satisfaction with ourselves, who we are and where we are in “life”.  It is like the quest for the hidden secret treasure of life.  Are you on that quest? 

If you are not sure whether you fall into the “never-satisfied” category, ask yourself the following:

  • Are you satisfied with your life at this very moment?
  • You are satisfied until you find yourself desiring what your friends have?
  • Do you have the “if or when I am this then I will be satisfied” voice playing in your head?
  • Do you find yourself envious of someone else’s success or things?

You may be falling victim to one or all three of these mindset traps. 

The 3 mindset traps are:  

1.  Comparison.

2.  Compromise.

3.  Critical.

These 3 Cs will kill any hope of being satisfied and prevents you from enjoying the life that you have, right now.  Let’s break each one down.

The Comparison Mindset:  The What I Have or Don’t Have.

The comparison mindset shows up in the perspective of “The grass is always greener on the other side.”  In another words, the comparison mindset basically says that “I am only going to be satisfied if I am better than everyone else.”  The pressure that it puts on you is enormous because your feelings of satisfaction is dependent on what other people do or have.  The variety of things that you are able to compare spans from the tangible things such as house, car, phones and so on, to the intangible such as the “perfect” family, the Instagram worthy moments and so on.  Literally anything that can be compared with, the comparison mindset is onto it.

The underlying issue with the comparison mindset is that you are not satisfied with what you have.  The idea is that you are defined by the things that you possess or accumulate.  For example, you see your friends buying a new car, now suddenly your car is not good enough.  Another friend just renovated her house and now your house looks old and run down.  You notice that everyone around you has the latest iPhone and your current phone just seems to not be working as well.  There is no limit to what the comparison mindset will find the faults in what you have or don’t have.

The antidote for the comparison mindset is the grateful mindset.  The grateful mindset basically says “I am grateful for everything that I do have, health, roof over my head, food on the table.  I am going to enjoy every moment and not waste any time on things that are not important.”

The grateful mindset shows up in people who are happy and satisfied with what they have and more importantly will celebrate and be happy for someone who has bought a new house or a new car or whatever else.  The grateful mindset helps you to celebrate with others their success.  The comparison mindset on the other hand holds you back and makes you envious and resentful of others.

Let’s practice the grateful mindset.  Look for all the things to be grateful and thankful for no matter how insignificant they may be to you.

The Compromise Mindset:  The Who I Am is not good enough.

The compromise mindset shows up in the perspective that says “I want to be so and so and therefore I will behave and act like that person, neglecting and compromising on who I am and my values and belief system.”

You want to be someone else.  You see someone and what you perceive as their success or strengths or achievements and you want to be just like that person.  Your desire to be like that person, basically blinds you to you, your unique skills, strengths, talents and contribution that only you can make.  You are trying to be someone that you are not meant to be.

I am sure that you have encountered this in the workplace.  You see someone who is more successful, and you want to be just like that person and have the same or better success.  However, you are not that person, you don’t possess his or her skills or talents, the behind-the-scenes hard work and effort that was put in to achieve the success that they are now enjoying.  Instead, you have decided that you will compromise who you are and your values systems to achieve that perceived success anyway you can.

You will never be truly satisfied if you have the compromise mindset. 

The antidote to the compromise mindset is the authentic mindset.  The authentic mindset says that “I am going to live my life authentically.  Authentic to who I am which are shaped and developed by my beliefs and values system, my strengths and weaknesses, my experiences and unique contribution that I will make on the people and work around me.”  The authentic mindset sets you free from trying to be someone else, and just focus on being the best you, you can be.  Always remember that the mark that you leave behind is special.  No one else can do the same. 

For example, research has shown that identical twins could have the same DNA but they are not the same person.  Their personality, strengths, weaknesses, talents and thoughts are different.  We should be embracing our uniqueness and live out authentic lives.

The Critical Mindset:  Nothing is perfect to me.

The critical mindset basically says, “Everyone and everything is not perfect based on my standard and judgement.”  This mindset focuses on finding faults, mistakes, errors and just about anything that does not meet your definition of “perfection”.  This critical mindset causes you to be critical of everything and everyone around you.  Afterall, you will find what you are looking for.  This shows up in constant complaints and grumblings, and criticism of people and situation around you.  There is always something to be critical about because nothing is perfect in your eyes.

However, perfection is a myth because we are not perfect no matter how hard we try.  It is hard to acknowledge that you are not perfect.  However, the truth is that you are not perfect.  No one is perfect.  If we were perfect, we would be like gods.  Clearly, we are not.  Therefore, acknowledge that perfection does not exist and free yourself from the bondage of perfectionism.  Trying to live up to a critical mindset is impossible. 

The antidote for the critical mindset is the grace mindset.  Grace?  What is that?  A simple definition of grace is to receive what you do not deserve.  We want to be treated with a certain level of grace because we are not perfect and therefore will make mistake and the great freedom that comes from being accepted for who we are and all the mistakes that we have and will make, is a great blessing.  It also takes the pressure off unrealistic expectations that you have placed on yourself. 

Are you feeling somewhat uncomfortable?  Good, because feeling uncomfortable helps to spur you to a better outcome.   Ask yourself:

  • What is your satisfaction level on a scale of 1 to 10?
  • Which one of these mindsets is holding you back the most?
  • What is your dominant mindset?  Comparison, Compromise, Critical?
  • Do you want to change your mindset in order to be satisfied and to enjoy your life?
  • What areas do you want to shift your mindset?

True satisfaction comes when we are comfortable with who we are, what we have or not have, and where your life journey at this very moment.  This does not mean that we are to be lazy or complacent.  We should always be aiming to be better, to continuously learn and grow and improve your skills and competencies, all within the awareness of who we are, what our unique identity and talents offer and the appreciation of every moment of our everyday.

Let’s aim to replace the comparison with the grateful, the compromise with the authentic and the critical with the grace mindset.

Thank you for taking the time to read my article.  I hope that you have learned at least one thing that you are able to apply into your everyday life.  As always, please subscribe, follow and share this blog with your friends.  Take care and step into the everyday with purpose. 

Instant Robs You of 3 Key Attributes for Success

We live in a culture of instant.  Instagram, instant noodles, instant response, instant meals, and the list goes on.  We have forgotten what it feels like to wait. 

What drives the need for instant?  Are we so time poor that we need to milk every second of the day?  Do we truly achieve more if everything and everyone arounds us produces instant response and instant success?

I believe that there is a limit to what we can gain from instant.  Instant fame or success is a myth.  You might be the lucky winner of the lottery and therefore achieve instant financial millionaire status.  However, based on past winners of the lottery, studies have shown that they are more likely to be declared bankrupt within 3 to 5 years than the average American and it has also been shown that they are not necessarily happier or healthier.  Sadly, winning the lottery has made their lives worse instead of improving it.  One of the many reasons is that unless you have learned the discipline of managing money, you are not going to instantly have the skills to manage money.  Discipline and skills are only developed over time.  Discipline does not come instantly.

We want instant gratification, a habit that tries to short cut the short-term pain and immediately land at success or pleasure.  In another words, it is the pleasure principle that we aim to achieve.  This short cut mindset rarely produces long term gains or rewards.

What is the problem with instant?

The problem lies in what instant steals from you .  Instant steals from you the 3 key characteristic that are required for long term success.

The 3 key attributes are:

1.  Maturity

2.  Discipline

3.  Competencies or skills

Let’s explore each of them.

Instant Robs You of Maturity

You will lose out one of the most important characteristics that is valued and that is maturity.   Aging and Maturity is not the same thing.  We all age over time but not everyone matures with time.  Maturity is developed over time along with the wisdom to know how to manage and respond to challenging situations and people.  We are like fine wine.  Wine takes time to mature to develop a smooth, complex flavour profile, that enhances the drinking experience.  Time and the right cellaring conditions are required for that to take place.

We are very much like that.  We need time and the right conditions to mature with grace.  You need the function of time to help you smoothen the edges of your character and situations and experiences increases your wisdom to manage the complexities of life.  It is developed when we face various situations both good and challenging and when we learn how to manage or respond to each one.  Instant gratification robs you from that.

 The choices and decisions that you make today will have an impact on your tomorrow.

Some examples of maturity that you will miss out on are:

1. Maturity leads a person to be committed.  Commitment is a long-term attribute.  If someone can be committed, you know that the person is able to see through a project or work till the end regardless of the short-term challenges or pain.  That is the attribute that we want from people around us whether in the workplace or in families and friends.

2.  Maturity enables a person to make decisions, wisely.  Decisions that are based on their character and not short-term feelings or emotions.  Instant culture would dictate that we want to do something, and we want to do it now, which is primarily based on how we feel.  However, maturity will enable a person to decide not based on how they are feeling now but what they are willing to forgo in order to enjoy the benefits later.  For example, exercise, not many people enjoy the short-term pain and struggles of exercising, but they do it because they know that there is a benefit down the road.  You are not going to see those muscles appear after just one workout, but it will certain appear after consistent and constant exercise over a period of time.

3.  Maturity leads to reliability and dependability.  A matured person is one where people can rely on.  A person that is dependability.  Reliability and dependability are attributes that are developed over time.  No one becomes dependable in an instant.    It is over a period of time and through many different situations that we would consider someone to be reliable or dependable.

Why can’t maturity take place in an instant?

Learning takes place over a period of time.  Learning is not just about knowledge accumulation, but it is about how we process knowledge and then apply it.  Not just apply it but to be able to apply in a practical and responsible manner.  This requires discipline.

Instant robs you of the power of Discipline.

Discipline is like a muscle.  It takes time and resistance to develop.  Take exercise as an example.  You are not going to develop any muscles if there is no resistance and repetition.  Resistance comes in the form of challenges and going through the challenges and learning and adapting accordingly.  Repetition comes in the form of time and just facing different challenges along the way. 

Discipline helps you to stay the course, to persevere, to do what needs to take place, to enable you to grow.  Discipline in athletes is a great example.  An athlete does not just rely on their natural talent, but it is the discipline of hard work, the practice hours, the dedicated and sole focus on the prize of the finish line that makes one successful.  Without discipline, there is no long term, sustainable success.

Instant robs you of discipline because it stops you short from the long term and sustainable success.  The discipline muscle never gets to be developed because you stop when the resistance is hard or when the repetition becomes tiresome.

The example of winners of lottery tickets, instant millionaires, the lack of discipline with managing money causes them to be not just more miserable but to have a higher chance of declaring bankruptcy, is a result of both lack of discipline but also a lack of competencies to manage instant wealth.

Instant robs you of competencies and skills.

Skills or competencies can only be developed over time and through practice.  No one learns something instantly and becomes and expert.  Skills take time to learn and to develop.  Recently, I decided to learn how to solve the Rubik’s cube.  Yes, it can be solved.  I took almost 3 hours to learn the basic algorithm by watching YouTube.  Even after that 3 hours of learning, I had to spend even more time to practice or to put the algorithm into play.  It was not just the learning of the algorithm that mattered, but it was the hours after that to build up the skills necessary to solve the Rubik’s cube.

There is no way, anyone can master the skill of solving the Rubik’s cube instantly because it is fact that time and effort are required to develop competencies and skills.

Do not let instant rob you of further developing your competencies and skills.  Your worth in the workplace is largely dependent on your competencies and skills.  It is your competencies and skills, along with discipline and maturity that will not only enable you to be successful but to keep you successful.

Why are we short-changing ourselves with instant?

There are many reasons why we short-change ourselves with instant.  We have grown up in a world where everything we want is given to us instantly.  In fact, served to us as fast food, faster processors in computers or phones, all measured with just fast is the response time.  However, we are not like technology.  We are the consumers of technology and how we use technology should be the dictating factor of what is impactful and not the other way around.

There is a reason why babies take 9 months to gestate.   There is reason why older people are wiser.  There is a reason why true success and wealth comes from long term effort and not winning the lottery.

We want it now.  The expectation that whatever we want, we want it now and we get it, now.  When did this start?  How did we get to this point?  Everything seems out of control because we no longer have the right expectations and our mindsets have been altered and not in a good way. 

Take cooking as an example.  Sure we have instant noodles.  Yes its quick in 3 minutes and you have something eat.  Now think about the nutritional aspect of instant noodles.  Does it have any?  What would the impact be if you had instant noodles every day?  I have no doubt that your body will not be too happy with what you are consuming.  At some point, your body will let you know that the years of abuse is enough.

How to move to a matured mindset?

In order for us to change or to practice delayed gratification, we need to exercise discipline.  The discipline of saying NO and NOT NOW.  Those two concepts are key to stopping yourself from the desire to give up or to choose the perceived pleasure that you can gain now.  Tell yourself to wait by saying NOT NOW or NO to the instant gratification.  You will need to exercise the discipline muscles.  And like all muscles, you can develop it.  It can get stronger over time as you use it.  Imagine the discipline muscles as your biceps and triceps.  You will need to develop both and to do that is to use NO and NOT Now.  NO is like the way you train your biceps.  Say NO to what is perceived as the easy way, the short cuts, the instant gratification.  NOT NOW is the way you would train your triceps.  NOT NOW when you feel like giving up, when it feels hard and its painful.  NOT NOW says don’t give up.

Once you have started to train the discipline muscles, you can then work hand in hand with the following other steps:

  • Slow down:  Slow down the pace of your life.  Don’t fall in the rat race trap. 
  • Know the purpose:  Know the why to what you are doing.  So often we lose sight of what is our reasons are which leads us down a rabbit hole of doing too much and eventually burning out.
  • Keep it simple:  keep what is important, important.  Simplify your life and when you are focused you are able to accomplish a lot more than you thought possible.

Ask yourself:

  • Have I been taking the instant route?
  • What areas have I been stealing from maturity or discipline or skills?
  • What areas do I need to develop maturity, discipline and skills in?

Do not allow instant to steal from you the 3 key attributes of maturity, discipline and competencies that are required for long term success. “No” and “Not Now” are 2 key mindsets to have in order for you to go through the challenging times. Learn to slow down, be clear on your purpose and keep it simple as you journey on this road of maturity, discipline and skills.

Thank you for taking the time to read my article.  I hope that you have learned at least one thing that you are able to apply into your everyday life.  As always, please subscribe, follow and share this blog with your friends.  Take care and step into the everyday with purpose.