Jumping Stairs

Imagine you’re on a huge lake – I mean so huge you cannot see the other side! You are a few hundred yards out and rowing at a good pace. In a short while, as you continually check your progress, you begin to get frustrated. After all, you cannot tell if you’re making any progress because the finish line is not in sight. Eventually the heart and drive drops from your motivation and you stop rowing, because, heck, why keep rowing if it’s not producing any (noticeable) results?

Or try this. Stand at the bottom of a set of first floor steps and picture the next floor as your goal. Would you continually try to leap all the steps to get there? If you would, you’d be a heap on the floor in a short time. No progress and lots of bruises – physically and mentally. 

Simple as this sounds, many of us chase our goals only to end up as a heap at the bottom of the stairs. We try to do too much too fast. It seems like we’re always so anxious to get the result that we forget the steps necessary to get to the result.  Try this. Take a step. Then another. You’ll get there. Patience and consistency.

To win the match, you win the set; to win the set you win the game; to win the game you win the point. So let’s forget the match and win the next point. And then the next one.

The key is not in the progress, but in the small steps you control, which will eventually get you to the goal.

I’m guessing here, but it’s likely that the best way to live a good life is to strive to live a good life, one day at a time.

Which might be why Dr. Laura always used to end her show with, “Now, go take on the day!”

10 Speed Time Management

Okay, maybe I’m a little dated using a 10 speed bike reference…I think that’s more 1970’s, but give me this one. The metaphor works regardless!

Imagine getting on your 10 speed bike for a long bike ride. You start out in a low gear in order to gain momentum, then begin shifting through the gears as you gain speed, eventually reaching 10th gear at a strong clip. Of course you’ll adjust accordingly if you have hills; but if your ride is smooth, straight and relatively flat, you can remain in the higher gears most of the ride.

And if you do, you’ll be far more efficient with your time and energy. You’ll get more covered in less time, and likely enjoy the ride better as well.

Now, imagine there are hills, steep ones, and you’re in town, meaning lots of lights, cars, people and things that get in the way! You’re likely never in 10thgear, and if you are, it’s not for long. You’re likely starting, stopping, slowing and speeding up all the time, shifting constantly from low to mid, to low, and so on. And you’re exhausted, and you didn’t get very far.

That’s how life seems to be for so many of us today. Check your experience on the job or at home. How much uninterrupted time do you really have? And interruptions are not limited to outside influences.  We can choose to be our own interrupter at times, too. Either way, these distractions – people, smart phones, email, social media, TV, on and on – they show up with frightening consistency. They keep us in low gears, rarely allowing us to get to the most productive gear in life: 10th gear. That’s what we need, not always, but more often than not. And definitely for the big rocks in our life.

Certainly some distractions cannot be helped. Really though…most can.

So let’s make that happen. Pick a course that’s most suitable to getting and staying in 10th gear when it comes to those key parts of your life – that important project, a child’s attention, time with your spouse, prayer, fitness – all the big rocks. 

Search Engine Thinking

Have you ever wondered why, when you feel negative, anxious or perhaps like a failure at something, you continue to feel that way until something trips the cycle? It’s a lousy way to think. And it’s one we actually choose.

A credit to Darren Hardy for pointing this out in one of his daily podcasts called “Search Engine Thinking”.

With Google, just type in the word “negative” in the search box, and what will you get?  Google will automatically search for entries related to the word “negative,” and it will find over 551,000,000 hits in .54 seconds. Now try the word “anxious” and you’ll get 75,700,000 hits in .63 seconds.  How about the word “failure” – try 491,000,000 in .55 seconds.

Pretty exciting, isn’t it?

As Darren put it, our minds are like a “mental Google,” meaning that our thoughts immediately and automatically initiate search results to define, describe and support those original thoughts. We think we’re a failure, so our mind finds the necessary research to support that thought. And, by the way, it’s very good at this.

Of course this is true with positive words as well. So what’s the big deal? Google doesn’t care, but we do. What our mind plugs into the search results, we are emotionally tied to because they represent our experiences, or perceptions of them. You see how this is a problem. Think a thought and get a corresponding result, which supports that original thought, and, of course, elicits another thought...

The good news... We pick what gets entered.  We are the author; no thought gets in without our approval.  Whether conscious or unconscious, it’s still our choice. And more good news… Eventually, through habit formation, we can influence the result of what we search. Even the word “failure” can soon become a positive search experience when we recognize that every success is usually preceded by some failures.

Money, marriage, work, finances, health, weather - plenty to think about. Let’s make these positive searches in our “Mental Google”.

By the way, out of sheer curiosity, I just entered the word “success” in Google Search and I received 1 Billion, 99 million hits in .47 seconds! That’s more hits in less time than any of the others.  I like that result.

I Don't Care

Tim Ferriss: “Shaun, what are thinking when you are at the gate, seconds away from taking that gold medal run down the half pipe?”

Shaun White: “I don’t care.”

Those may not be the verbatim words in Tim’s PODcast transcript, but it’s how I remember the conversation going in this highly entertaining conversation between Tim Ferriss and Shaun White, the most decorated snowboarder in history.

What a lesson! I don’t care. All that time, money, and energy, and it all comes down to a few seconds and he doesn’t care! Really?! Well, yes.  

As he said, all the work had already been done. Equipment, training, diet, mental discipline…if he didn’t not have that ready by the time he got to the gate, what does it matter what he thinks?  Bottom line, he showed up prepared – mentally, physically, and strategically. Let the work show up now and have some fun!

It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you do the work up front, show up prepared and just let it all go – kind of trust, if you will, and have fun. What’s the worst that can happen? You lose, but still had fun doing it! But more than likely, you won’t lose.

Years ago I heard a great speaker who broke my paradigm of how I view “showtime” – not the Cable version, but “showtime” in terms of my time to win or lose. The presentation for sale. The big speech/talk. The championship match. Etc. Showtime! Well, this speaker shattered that paradigm – none of those are showtime. Showtime is what happens before the sale, before the speech, and before the big sports event. The event itself –that’s the fun time!

So yes, as long as I’ve done my homework, and I’ve shown up prepared – what happens next - I don’t care – because I trust what happened first.

Paradigms and Flat Tires

Years ago, our daughter Brittany, biked into town and back. Town for us is about 3 miles…so figure two ways and a little biking in town and you have about 7 miles total.  When she got back, Brittany was completed exhausted and at 16 or 17 years of age, my wife Amy and I both thought – yeash, she’s pretty out of shape! We didn’t share that with her, but were a little concerned. It should not have been that hard. Well, that’s the story we told ourselves because it’s the one we thought we had right.  We didn’t.

A week or two later my wife and younger daughter, Madison, went for a bike ride. Madi took Brittany’s bike. As they were trekking around the neighborhood with no hills,Madi was clearly huffing and puffing. Hmmmm.  It took a bit, but after getting home my wife and I realized the tire on this bike – the one both Brittany and Madi were using, was pretty flat. We never noticed while they were riding.

Have you ever tried to bike with any pace or power up a hill on a relatively flat tire? How about pushing through sand on your bike? Yeah…not very easy, no matter what shape you are in. What we thought were two out of shape teenagers turned out to be one very dysfunctional bike.  In fact, when I took it out and discovered the flat tire, I gained a new appreciation for Brittany having busted out 7 miles on this thing! From abysmal to highly impressive! What a paradigm shift!

I wonder what other, incorrect stories I’ve compiled on others, perhaps even myself, based on the wrong paradigm. 

Probably does make a lot of sense not to take everything at face value. Might do well to do some digging – to gain proper understanding, perspective and hopefully arrive at much more fair and accurate conclusions.

Could be some of the problem with some social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter….