We all have 24 hours in a day, but without effective management of your time you’re not going to produce much in your 24 hours.
Which reminds me: Anything that regularly takes up your time must be regularly assessed with regards to how much of value it brings you. Take newsletters for example, we all subscribe to them but how much of value do they bring you. How much of real world,measurable,actionable, useful content do they grace your inbox with? Every 90 days I review the newsletters I’m subscribed to (never more than 5 at any given time). I suggest you do the same. If my newsletter isn’t contributing positively to your life, you shouldn’t be spending your valuable energy,attention and time on it. Use this assessment to filter every piece of information that finds its way to you.
Back to my main reason for writing to you today – I want to inform you about the 4 most common pathways to mediocrity…the top 4 ways you’re wasting your ability to turn your life around forever.
1. Sleeping too much
If you’re in a generally healthy state, sleeping for unnecessarily long periods of time could be a sign that you’re trying to avoid something. That you want to to delay waking up to your life for as long as possible. Sleeping is exceptionally important for your well-being, but sleeping too much is one way of draining your inner energies. It robs you of the courage and willpower required to craft a great life. Oversleeping dulls your passion to lead a full life. If sleep is providing you with an escape from everything that’s happening around you; it’s time to evaluate your life.
Trust me when I say this: Some of your best work will get done in the early hours of the morning. Cultivate the habit of rising early and working on your inner-self.
2. Talking too much
Anything you do requires some form of energy. Talking unnecessarily drains you of the energies you need to produce the work that will change your life forever. The thing about speaking though is that we don’t regard it as an activity, much less an energy-draining one. Which is why we’re content to do it anywhere and anytime. Over the course of a year, a person could waste literally hundreds of hours in gossip,backbiting and generally pointless arguments – now multiply that by a lifetime and you get an idea of how talking unnecessarily isn’t only a waste of time; it’s a waste of life.
Seekers of inner-peace have long espoused the virtues of taking a few minutes each day to remain completely silent. Start small, take 5 minutes each day to reflect over your words – What do you usually talk about? How much of it is actually required? How much of it will bring you happiness? Learn to embrace silence and in so doing you will be able to preserve your inner energies and devote them to crafting the best version of your life.
3. Not being selective about who you mix with
The company you keep dictates the person you become. An Arabic proverb states, “tell me who your friends are & I will tell you who you are”
We’re a species that thrives on connecting with and being of service to others. But interactions require energy. Valuable finite energy that you need to build the happiness you seek. If the purpose of an interaction with another human isn’t to help improve their life, your life or the lives of others, it is very likely an interaction that you can do without. I’m not advocating that you become anti-social; I’m saying choose your interactions wisely. Mix with individuals who will help you become a better person. Seek-out those who you can assist and make a contribution to their lives. Regularly schedule periods of time where you can be completely alone. These pockets of solitude are the pit-stops where you refuel,refocus and assess your progress on the journey of life.
4. Eating too much
Be acutely aware of what you’re eating and in what quantities. Be aware of the impact of your diet on your current and future health. Eating unnecessarily usually takes longer amounts of time (which is a finite resource). Your body then needs time and energy (also a finite resource) to digest the food. Which is why you feel lethargic and sleepy after a ‘heavy’ meal. This ineffective and unproductive distribution of energy and time is bound to rob you of your innate ability to improve your life.
Meaningful achievement starts with awareness and a mindful approach to life. Please, be aware of the factors that influence your health, relationships, happiness and life in general.
The 2 Pathways to Mediocrity
Doing anything meaningful requires courage. Actually it requires mountains of courage coupled with relentless dedication. Which is why most people find it easier to avoid the work that will bring them happiness than to actually commit to pursuing it.
But nobody’s going to come out and say, “I don’t want to actively participate in my own life”. We allow opinions & excuses to decide for us. This way it doesn’t look like we’re not committed. It doesn’t look like we’re ‘slacking on the job’.
Do you know why there isn’t anyone on Earth who isn’t familiar with either of these? Because they’re the cheapest ‘things’ on Earth. Everyone has them and almost everyone loves distributing them. The thing about opinions and excuses though, is that regardless of how many of them you dispense, they never get any less. And therein lies their allure.
They’ve become the drugs we use to try and silence silence the nagging voice of our conscience. The voice that says,”Get up and do something about your life. Build something that matters.”
Excuses give us something to do so that we don’t have to do anything meaningful.
When you make an excuse you’re actually saying, “I don’t have time to focus on my health or learn new skills because I’m using the energy I have to make excuses about why I can’t lead the life I want to.” Excuses are the new painkillers. They help placate the painful screams of a soul being destroyed slowly but surely. Give someone some sincere advice that will greatly help them progress and the chances are quite high that they’re going to respond with something that sounds like, “But you don’t know what I’m going through” or “It’s not as simple as you think”. Here’s the thing, NOBODY will ever know what you’re going through, they’re in their bodies and you’re in yours, they’re living their lives and you’re living yours – they’re not meant to know what you’re going through.
The battles you face are designed for you; they’re built to give you the greatest possible growth in every important area of your life. Making excuses is just a convenient way to avoid progress. Progress requires change and change is never palatable or welcomed…except by those who are intent on crafting lives that matter. The first step to building a life that matters is being brutally honest with yourself. If you’re worried about your health but your regular responses are,”I don’t have the time to eat healthy” or “I just feel too lazy to exercise” you’re not at all worried, because you’re choosing to divert your energies towards making excuses instead of towards what should be a goal for you. You can make excuses or you can make progress; just not both.
You can pay attention to your life’s work or you can pay attention to the opinions you come across. Everyone will have an opinion about you and your work.Regardless of what you do and how well you do it, there will always be someone who thinks that you’re not good enough. There will always be someone who looks at your work with disdain. Someone who believes that you’re just wasting your time. That it’s only a matter of time before you fail miserably and give up. In the beginning you might get defensive and try to explain your philosophy; try to get others to understand why you do your chosen work; why you believe so passionately and work with such dedication. Eventually, you give up and walk the unfulfilling pathway of mediocrity. You will have no energy or drive to approach your work with courage because all your energy was spent worrying about what others thought of you. You can pay attention to everyone’s opinion or you can do the work that matters; choose wisely.