Seventy-Nine (79)

Quality of life… that elusive little slice of heaven we’re all pining for.

I’ve heard it said that taking the easy road gets progressively harder, while taking the hard road gets progressively easier.

I’ve been finding this to be true in my own life.

Enduring the varying quality of life levels during these journeys is the hardest part of all however. The perpetual ups and downs… Perseverance can be a real prick, you know? Things will always ebb, and things will always flow. But, if your quality of life is currently compromised through choices you’ve made, you only have yourself to blame.

Your getting there (in most cases), and staying there, are definitely choices. Letting others convince you otherwise is only choking your chances at real, lasting change. Choose something else; make a shiFt; go down a different road. No amount of money, prestige, power, pill, or any other temporary pleasure is worth a chronic lack of life quality.

Tick Tock.

Stay tuned-in…

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The Hard Way

the-hard-way-vertical

  • Pointing fingers and shirking responsibility.
  • Defensiveness.
  • Denial.
  • Avoidance.
  • Resisting change.
  • Being self-centered vs. selfless.
  • Taking vs. giving.
  • Telling vs. listening.
  • Condescension.
  • Intolerance.
  • Arrogance.
  • Insensitivity.

These are the paths of least resistance. The easier things to do. The most predictable ways to behave. The ways most choose to take. These are the easy ways…

Why? You already know. Because it’s less painful. It’s less work. It requires less effort. But the easy way only works for the short-term. And the long-term consequences are much more painful.

So common is the choice to avoid the hard way.

The hard way is the road less travelled. Those who have the courage to choose this way, lead the way and end up way ahead.

It’s a small population that most think they’re included in, but few actually are in reality. It’s a group that only those committed and capable of beating down their own self-deception and biases can truly be a part of. All are invited and welcome, but only a few elect to do the work necessary for inclusion.

It’s one of the most slippery slopes there is. Ask most about the “hard way” and you’ll usually get proud and puffed-up replies that strongly confirm that of course they’re part of this rare group. In many cases, the mere questioning of this will often be met with the aforementioned defensiveness and condescension which is evidence of the opposite.

Recently I sat across the table from a trusted female colleague who was telling me in her words “what was what” about me and some recent personal issues I chose to share with her. The leveling of my pride, and willingness to endure (yes, at times it required great endurance), the litany of hard truths she was sharing with me was anything but easy.

The difficulty wasn’t that I disagreed with what she was saying; the difficulty was my acceptance that she was right.

Much of what she was objectively sharing with me was spot-on. It was the truth, and at times, very hard to hear. But I chose to listen, and to truly consider her perspective and point-of-view. Since then, I’ve thought a lot about what she said, and this experience continues to contribute positively to my life as I work at initiating changes in my behavior that influence better outcomes for me, and anyone I interact with in my life personally and professionally.

This is an example of the hard way. It was hard to sit there and listen to someone point out where you’re fucked up. It was hard to not get defensive or even offended at times. It was hard not to deflect responsibility. It was hard to entertain my blind spots (we all have them). It was hard not to deny, rationalize, and justify some of my behavior in an attempt to assuage the pain and make myself feel better. It was all hard… very hard.

The shiFt:

It’s this type of willingness to be challenged and to learn that’s vital to producing individual growth. Real growth often comes with pain and a price. It’s about seeking differences instead of only similarities. It’s got to be more than just lip-service, and sound bytes. As I’ve always told my son: “saying and doing are two completely different things.” A lot of well-intentioned people are quick to say the right things, and give good speeches, but quit when it comes to actually doing what they say.

Evidence is in one’s behavior, not their banter.

Stay tuned-in…


 

Go Your Own Way

This short video is of Malcolm Gladwell (The Tipping Point, Outliers) discussing the band Fleetwood Mac’s story as an illustration of the – often – very long time it takes to truly become great at something. The comment below it prompted my reponse that follows:

“I don’t doubt he is correct about the time it takes to achieve greatness. To me this isn’t a big breakthrough. The hard part for most people is finding that special thing to put their energy into. Why aren’t more authors and thinkers pointing out this aspect of success?, identifying one’s callingbecause it’s only natural to devote energy to something when you believe it is really worthwhile. This is what I believe separates the top 5% from the rest (finding their niche) which isn’t easy!”  – coreydmont, YouTube comment

As a writer, observer and participant, here is my take:

Finding your niche… discovering your destiny… uncovering your calling… this is the hardest part of being “successful.”

Knowing the what you should be pursuing has to precede the how you’re going to get there. Many people get this backwards.

A lot of well-intentioned and ambitious people exert tremendous amounts of time and effort pursuing undertakings that are wrong for them. They get so wrapped up in the doing that they don’t stop to consider if what they’re doing is what they should be doing.

The what you should be doing is that which exists at the intersection of your passion AND your talent. A calling must marry one’s interest as well as their skills. It’s that thing you do that few others can do as well or as uniquely as you do.

It’s not enough to just enjoy something; it’s not enough to be good at something… one’s true calling or destiny or life’s work HAS to contain both elements. A passion for – and a knack for – must co-exist. Passion PLUS talent produces the necessary perseverance required to turn your calling into a career.

Next, this calling has to be specific and focused. No one can be good at everything… nor should you try. One must specialize and then organize. Countless hours, days, months, and even years can be saved if you really stop and consider the “what” before the “how.”

Once you know that… then do that… for as long as it takes. Maybe even for 10,000 hours over the next ten years

Real “success” is enjoying the journey doing what you’re supposed to be doing… to “Go Your Own Way” – regardless of the outcome.

Stay tuned-in…


 

Action Over Apprehension

Think about this: Knowing how to run assumes you’re already walking.  In terms of success in life, many people think they’re running when in fact they’re barely walking; some aren’t even standing yet.

So how do you turn your passion into purpose; your desire into decision; your excitement into execution?  Action Over Apprehension… 

More than just a tag line, this is about the art of eating an elephant, one bite at a time.  Action is fear’s antidote.  It kills it, fast.  But there is a continuum that exists between preparation, perfection, and procrastination that’s important to recognize:

  • Preparation = the pre-polishing = the required foundation.
  • Perfection = the polishing = the necessary distinction.
  • Procrastination = the re-polishing = the debilitating destruction.

It’s important to objectively observe where you are at with any given project, assignment, or task at hand.  Don’t kid yourself.  Where are you really?  Are you researching and creating in the preparation stage; building the foundation?  Are you refining for excellence in the perfection stage; separating yourself out from the competition?  Or are you rehashing the preparation and controlling the perfection stages thus procrastinating your progress?  Your truthful assessment here will influence and affect your outcome.

“If everything seems under control you’re not going fast enough.” ~ Mario Andretti

Sometimes things happen gradually, but they do happen provided you do something first.  For example, I didn’t exactly set out to write my first book, The Musician’s Corner®…  I started by writing a weekly column of about 500 words each for a local newspaper.  In my mind, that was doable, but not an entire book…are you kidding me?  The same thing happened when one 60-second radio spot per week eventually turned into an entire audio CD program that I engineered, produced, and published.  This wasn’t exactly on the radar at first either.  I often think of the cold water in the swimming pool analogy… do you jump in, wade in, or opt out altogether?  You have to make the decision to turn negative debilitating energy into positive, dynamic energy.  You have to be “soldiers under command”… going into the fray, yet afraid.

Everyone gets scared and apprehensive at times, it’s normal.  But when you’re scared, uncertain, or not confident… those are the times that action is an absolute must.  Get up and DO something, anything.  “failing forward” is better than “stagnating still.”  Turn and run straight into the unknown by facing your fears.  By simply taking small action steps each day, you are systematically disassembling and deactivating the fear that is attempting to paralyze you in the first place.  This action builds on itself geometrically – eventually fueling you on to greater achievements and accomplishments than you ever thought possible.  If you have the courage to begin, you’ll have the courage to succeed.

“Some people take no mental exercise apart from jumping to conclusions.” ~ Harold Acton

Finally, you have to learn how to separate your intentions from your actions.  We measure ourselves by our intentions while everyone else measures us by our actions.  Nobody really cares what you’re going to do tomorrow; they want to know what you are doing today.  As the late Nascar great, Dale Earnhardt used to say:

“Don’t tell me what you’re gonna do; tell me what you did.”

At the end of the day, that’s all there is… Action Over Apprehension.

Stay tuned-in…

Please share and click HERE for info on my Communichology course.

Get my articles and exclusive content with science-based insights to shiFt your communication from adequate to ass-kicking!