We don’t have as much time as we think. How often do you get to 4:30 PM and wonder where your day went? Days spent in distraction and others’ obligations are unfulfilling. We have to focus and concentrate on what we want to accomplish. Where do we see ourselves going? What activities will truly matter in 6 months? What projects do we need to focus on now to get there? A salesman doesn’t have as much time as he thinks to get out there and sell. His day isn’t entirely spent selling, as much as he might want it to. He has other requirements and other necessities and duties to tend to as well. It can be hard to feel that you’re getting ahead when things slip through the cracks. Which, of course, is all the more reason to concentrate on what matters the most now. And what matters the most right now changes. It is cliche that time is our only non-renewable resource but we don’t give that enough attention or meaning when we waste it. We may be too light on ourselves when we do. We wouldn’t throw good money purposefully after bad (often), right? Why do we choose to waste time on things that we’ll never get back? We wouldn’t if we really thought about it, including our free time.
Block time. Which means we must block time for the activities and projects that matter the most to us. If we’re not disciplined and blocking time out for what truly matters to us, we’re just being flippant with our schedule and going at the headwinds of distraction. Why would you want to do this? What’s scheduled matters and has meaning. Otherwise, why would you schedule it? When you get really good, your schedule becomes blocks of discipline. These are the pockets of time where you need to be working and nowhere else. It is hard at first. It should be hard at first because it is a new discipline practice. And these new practices are always hard to stick to. But like any other discipline, once you get it down after a few weeks, you stick to it and are rewarded for it. Like a new exercise or food regimen, it is those first few weeks that are the most difficult. After that, it only gets better.
While it may sound weird, schedule time with friends and family. Meaningful relationships are one of the keys to a happy life. You must invest in them. They are not optional for a fulfilling life. The one who has the most meaningful relationships and invests in them ends up winning this game. Help people solve problems. Be there for them when they need you. Be reliable. Follow through. Do what you say you’re going to do. Note how these actions are the same in professional life as they are in personal. People who do these things are highly valued in all areas of their lives. Others want to hang around them and do things for them. They’re rare and valuable.
The trick is to never stop. Never quit. Even when it doesn’t feel like it is working, keep going. Try 12 things. Try 12 new things. See what sticks. Keep at it until something begins to work. Then, do more of that. We often try one thing, see that it doesn’t work, then say, “That doesn’t work for me,” and then quit. Nothing works the first time. Or, if it does, the results are often lackluster. This is why you have to keep at it. Doing the work-out the first time doesn’t seem to work. Waking up early one time certainly doesn’t feel like it is working. A marketing strategy may not work the first time you try it. It doesn’t mean it never will. You just have to tweak it somewhat and keep at it. Again, the easiest thing to do is try once and then quit. The hard thing to do is to persist and keep trying until you push through. Most people won’t persist to the breakthrough. Worse, they may persist for awhile but quit right before the big breakthrough. That’s the trouble with breaking through barriers — you never know when they’re coming. But you should know they are coming.
What’s worth fighting for? What will you defend to the end? What do you hold so dear that nothing would ever prevent you from letting it go or pursuing it? What do you cherish? For most of us, it is our families, our values, spirituality, and ideas that we cling onto strongly. It usually is nothing new. The things worth fighting for are the people and values we’ve had in place for a long time. We don’t (or shouldn’t) fight over trivial things that don’t matter in the long-run.
We pursue what we value. Why would we exhibit tenacity over something that didn’t matter to us? We wouldn’t. While we may be uncertain over the true, drilled-down, unconscious reasons why we do things, this doesn’t stop us from our pursuit.