Start with small, deliberate, correct actions.
We all want more; and we want it yesterday. It doesn’t make us greedy or selfish, or even bad people. To a large degree this need for immediate consumption and gratification comes from societal lessons and messaging that has been shoved down our throat since we’ve been kids. The “you can have it all” mentality is great, except there is a huge piece missing. “You can have it all” IF you are willing to do the daily work necessary to earn “it”, whatever that is for you, every single day of the week. Many of us have been led to believe that what we see on social media, tv, YouTube, and print is ALL real. We ignore those amazing men and women of our past that blazed the trail by doing the daily work to achieve the dream.
If we as individuals want to achieve greatness in anything we do; we must CONSUME less and PRODUCE more. The average American spends over 4 hours everyday on their cell phone; CONSUMING!!!!!!! What are we consuming that requires almost 5 hours of our time everyday. Take a fraction of that time and use it to PRODUCE!!!!! Produce what? Whatever the F@C! You want.
Do the next right thing! Before we go out and change the world, it’s essential we take our own inventory first. We must start with small, deliberate, correct actions. These actions become habits, and these habits create new neurological data that change who we are, how we think; and ultimately, how we act. People use many different approaches to this simple, yet powerful mindset. For some, it is simply making their bed everyday. Others start their day on their knees so God can have the first word. Some stretch, others read. What you do is not as important as THAT you do. When we create the blueprint for our day around small, deliberate, correct, positive actions; the rest of our day is more likely to align that way as well.
Doing the next right thing isn’t about being perfect. It certainly isn’t about judging others. It is about creating personal accountability that aligns with your attitudes, beliefs, and actions. An old therapist of mine solidified this for me many years ago when he said “Johnny, you are too damn quick to react. You have to remove the emotion before you make a decision.” It made sense to me but I had no idea how to do that. We are emotional beings and we have zero control over our thoughts and feelings. We do have control over our reactions to those feelings. Rather than confuse me with psychological concepts; he told me to PAUSE. That’s it, just PAUSE before I respond. All of us learned in school that every stimulus is followed by a response. The old therapist took out a sticky note, and on it he wrote:
stimulus- PAUSE- response
Since that day, I have similar sticky notes written almost everywhere I can access them. This small, deliberate, correct action has saved me countless times during my professional and personal life. I am still extremely emotional and passionate about life; I am just much more leveled in my response to those feelings that are beyond my control. stimulus- PAUSE- response
Do what works for YOU!
In the spirit of less Consumption and more Production, you have to figure out what small, deliberate, correct actions work best for you. Some people love morning meditation, I don’t. That doesn’t mean there isn’t value in it; there just isn’t value in it for me. When we are intentional about our time; we are more likely to produce actions that are aligned with our goals, not the goals of those we see elsewhere.
The only way to find out what works for you is to try different approaches with the same intended result in mind; growth! This is where “quitting” sometimes prevents people from trying new things. You go out and try something a friend or therapist recommended; and for you, it worked for shit. This is where we often “quit”. We convince ourselves that because “it” didn’t work, neither do we, and we are just doomed to be where we are. STOP THAT SHIT.
Mindset matters and how we frame these experiences becomes part of our story. Instead of convincing yourself you “quit”; how about reframing in a way that keeps you moving forward. It would sound like this if you were talking to yourself: “That approach didn’t work for me, I’m going to try this for the next 7 days instead. If that doesn’t work, I’m going to try something else until I find what works best for me.”
Does the above statement sound like someone who is a quitter? Not to me. This is an example of someone who is determined, committed, and humble enough to understand we don’t get what we want. We get what we earn; one small, deliberate, correct action at a time.