Our lives are like a puzzle that’s made up of pieces or nuggets that come from our past. Some of those nuggets have resentment in them and others have likeable moments. Whatever the case, it’s easy to get mixed up and live unproductive lives wishing it would all come together and get along. Leo Rosten said it this way, "The purpose of life is not to be happy - but to (really) matter, to be productive, to be useful, to make a difference because you have lived." In short, our lives should be producing something that's bigger than us that will benefit others after we are gone.
3 Points to Productivity
1. Uncover – Often we are unable to see the total impact of our unproductive habits on the day-to-day grind. To uncover them we might need solitude, somewhere away from the normal routine. It might not be going away to a “no man’s land”, but possibly a mental detachment from the ordinary flow.
Uncover by analyzing what you think and do. Make a list of everything that you are involved in. Be critical about what you uncover, by asking yourself, on every point, what is promoting my goals and what is not? Allow your findings to motivate you to develop productive habits to replace the unproductive ones.
2. Drop – Our unproductive habits come from our enjoyment of the short term benefits. To really drop an unproductive habit we must be fully ready both mentally and emotionally. The more invested and committed we are the more apt we are to stay on course.
Find new emotional connections (habits) that build good feelings and productivity. Allow these new habits to replace the old unproductive habits. Make a full commitment to DROP the old, then start on the action steps to implement the new. When I personally deal with dropping old habits, I’ve noticed that I can't rest from doing the new habit. If I stop, I lose what I've picked up. I fight daily to remain on top. After years of being on top I noticed that issue had subsided some but still a very viable temptation that’s on the look out to make me unproductive. Be on guard!
3. Support – We can’t be productive by ourselves. We need support and accountability to continue having positive outcomes. Our support should give guidance and encouragement over obstacles and challenges.
Learn who has your best interest in mind and who will be able to be honest with your progress and challenges. Keep them close. Your association is who you will start to assimilate. Associate around productivity!
Summary – Uncover your actions, drop the ones that are weighing you down, and get the support to continue to make what you do productive. Guide your thoughts because they become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your destiny, which in turn becomes your reality. Think productive! Be productive!
An anonymous writer said, “If you give up at the first sign of struggle, you're really not ready to be successful.” I was in a class where the majority of the students complained about how hard the class was. They channeled their energy to finding all the reasons why they needed to drop the class instead of viewing the struggle as an opportunity to gain strength and be better.
We all dealt with some kind of struggles at some point in our lives, some that even make us want to quit. But, success (accomplishing a goal) comes from allowing the struggle to make us better and coming out victorious on the other side. There are some areas that require diligent attention to acheive this kind of success.
3 Areas of Struggle to Overcome
1. Self sabotaging – Our minds tend to be the number one down fall to our success. In our minds we tend to think negatively about ourselves first. We quickly label ourselves with thoughts of being unworthy, guilty, or discreditable. Our responses often include the “I can’t....” phrase. When sabotaging thoughts are allowed to dominate our views, they (struggles) become empowered and limit our chances for success.
Be diligent about believing in yourself! From the time you get up until the time you go to bed, be empowered with the thought of “I can...”. You may have limits and unknowns but be willing to learn and improve. Don’t be afraid to delegate and build a team of people that can help you be strong in your weak areas. You mind is your foundation don’t sabotage it with negativity.
2. Fear – “Holding on to fear is like holding on to fire…but worse. Fire will burn you and take your life but fear will slow your life down and drag it out making it last f-o-r-e-v-e-r.” (Angel Richards). Overcoming the struggle of fear is a big hindrance to being successful in life. Trying to operate in fear is like being stuck in the mud, a lot of spinning and noise but no movement. When stuck with fear, we don’t want to move forward and we can't go back because we are afraid of the unknown. We are just "fear stuck".
Fear is only pushed out with faith - a hope in something that can't be seen but believed is possible in time. Have faith in yourself that you can make it. Take risks! Believe that there is a master plan for your life. Be willing to fail but don’t fail to get back up and try again. Remember, “Nothing beats a failure but a try.” That's diligently overcoming the struggle of fear with successful faith.
3. Un-productiveness – What we do daily builds the life we live. Some of our habits keep us forever struggling to be productive. Steve Maraboli said it best, “We all make mistakes, have struggles, and even regret things in our past. But you are not your mistakes, you are not your struggles, and you are here NOW with the power to shape your day and your future.” The unproductiveness that we may have generated from our past struggles can be changed to being productive.
Implementing these simple daily habits can help you avoid some major life struggles. Avoid overspending which leads to financial struggles. Stray from overeating which leads to struggles with health and low self-esteem. Convert lying, which leads to struggles with trust, to telling the truth. Prevent some struggles in relationships by not cheating and sleeping around. Cut out excessive partying and staying up late because they can lead to struggles in life and on the job. Run from quitting and giving up because it leads to struggles with being successful. Evade wasting time because it leads to struggling with achieving goals. Be diligent about making your life productive over common struggles.
Summary – “As I look back on my life, I realize that every time I thought I was being rejected from something good, I was actually being re-directed to something better.” (Steve Maraboli) Your struggles for good and better can make you stronger if you allow them to. Work to put your mind to "thinking the best about yourself", "overcoming fear", and "being productive" every day. You can overcome your struggles with diligent efforts.
Diligence is the constant, persistent effort of working hard to achieve a goal. But, a great danger arises when we are diligent in the wrong areas. Whichever direction we choose, can draw us closer to success or push us further from them.
3 Diligent Dangers to Avoid
1. Idleness – Continually doing nothing or avoiding work is a danger that will destroy any plan or goal. Being diligent to idleness is like putting your head in the sand when work needs to be done and expecting it to be done when you pull it out. It just doesn’t make sense.
Overcome this danger with the mindset of being engaged. When you are faced with a project or task, take it on wholeheartedly. Be one that owns it and finds ways to do it better. Things will not just happen on their own. If it has been given to you to do and cannot be delegated out, accept responsibility and act on it ASAP. Diligent efforts must be applied to reach any goal. Strive daily to move a little closer to your destiny by destroying idleness and procrastination with little steps of diligent effort.
2. Carelessness – Frequently doing things without thinking about the end goal or purpose usually derives from being careless or lazy. Being distracted by our feelings or other “possible urgent things” can sometimes cause us to lose focus of our goals. When we say words like, “I don’t care”, to things that really should matter can bring the detrimental results of care-less-ness to life.
Captivate careless thinking at the onset, to prevent worthless actions and behavior in the future. If you desire to be effective in all that you do, be diligent to be caring for the things that are foundational for your goal.
3. Ignorance – We all are ignorant about something. We do not know how to do it all. We constantly need to gain knowledge or information of how to do it or how to improve what we do. But willful ignorance is the decision to not want to improve one’s self. It is cutting off the ability to grow. It is detrimental to the success of any goal.
Be diligent to know what it takes to get you to the next level. Be willing to face your failures and learn from them. Fight ignorance with intelligence by applying what you learn and continuing to learn.
Summary – Dangers to your goals are all around. Some are inevitable but the ones you can control are idleness, carelessness, and ignorance. Be actively diligent about make yourself better and avoiding the dangers that are within yourself.
The difference between who you are and who you want to be, is what you (diligently) do.” say’s Bill Phillips. A few months back I was on a three day hiking trip. After day one, I had the pleasure of bringing up the rear of the group to help a young man that was struggling. To my dismay, he was wrestling with more than getting one foot in front of the other, he was struggling with being able to "do it". His comments were continually, “I’m trying, but it’s too hard." After several hours of his complaining, I replied with, “As long as you are not diligently putting one foot in front of the other in your mind and on the ground, you are not trying and will not reach the end.” If we are not diligent with each step we too, will not be successful in our lives.
3 DILIGENT ASPECTS
1. Constancy – If we want to get strong results this year, we must be willing to consistently overcome strong challenges. The hiker wanted to reach the goal but he didn’t want to overcome the constant struggle of the next step in his mind and on the ground.
Constantly carrying your load and doing what you might not feel like doing to reach your goals is a part of being diligent. Face your obstacles to overcome them. Don't be afraid to mess up and fail, but don't fail to get up, learn from it, and try again. Develop the constant “I can do it attitude” all the way. Pushing and pushing yourself to be better than who you were the moment before, is your way to success.
2. Meticulous – A great writer once said, “Winners actually do sweat the small stuff; because they know that getting the details right is the difference between success and failure.” So often it's easy to pass over the hard stuff to avoid conflict but passing a step can be detrimental to our long term success.
Be diligent about covering the right details. Decide what you are doing or have to do first. Then, comb through the details to aline yourself to the requirements. Next adjust your schedule and attitude to cover every detail. This is a skill that I constantly work on. You and I can and should be meticulous about the things that matter for success.
3. Hard work – David Bly said, “Striving for success without hard work is like trying to harvest where you haven’t planted.” We have become numb to the word "hard work", so much so, that we tend to turn the other way when we see it coming. Contrary to our feelings, it is almost impossible to really succeed without putting in some blood, sweat, and tears. I’m convinced that the faster we accept hard-work the quicker we can achieve any goal or task that we face.
How diligent are you in overcoming your fear of hard-work? Don't run from it. Welcome it, because behind the proper hard-work is the success you really desire. I say proper because you can work hard in the wrong direction and on the wrong thing which can get you in the wrong place. Know where you need to work hard and put in the proper effort there, so you can reap the harvest of success.
Summary – Diligence is the constant, persistent effort of working hard to achieve a goal. Meticulously applying the right details to the proper tasks will help you achieve success. Be diligent!