Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit. — Aristotle
Every time we make a conscious decision in the present moment we change the path of our life. Our actions either bring us closer to our desires or away from them. And if we have no ambition at all, and do absolutely nothing, we will experience physical, emotional and spiritual entropy.
Studies show that the exceptional few, the overachievers, execute their daily lives with focus and determination. Successful people are proactive and deliberate in the present moment making good choices that take them to their goals incrementally.
When we make poor decisions, we have to correct mistakes and get back to the path towards success. String enough good choices together and it gets easier to continue along the desired path. This is the flywheel effect that comes from good, incremental decision making.
Keep reminding yourself that making good choices, however small and seemingly insignificant, will create confidence to continue approaching your goals.
LIFE is a continuous stream of choices that define what we become.
Living in the present moment is something we have to accept and embrace if we are going to become significant.
We can’t change the past and the future is yet to come so we can only control NOW, the present. Trevor Moawad http://www.MoawadConsultingGroup.com is a performance coach that has worked with some of the world’s top athletes. In his new book, “It takes what it takes”, he explains what differentiates the champions from merely the exceptional.
Elite performers focus on the NOW. The present. What specifically needs to be done next. The next drive, putt, play, etc. Not dwelling on the past but what needs to happen next, neither positive or negative because it doesn’t matter. What exactly needs to be done now to get to the desired result.
When Tiger Woods stands over a putt, his only focus is the decisions that need to be made in the present moment to make the current shot. He’s not thinking about any previous hits because he will analyze them later with his team. He can’t go back and correct any previous shots. String enough good decisions with execution and he will be in contention. That’s neutral thinking.
We should live our lives the same way. Our entire life is a continuous stream of present decisions. Our choices define us. We can beat ourselves up for poor behavior in the past but we can’t change what happened. We can only change what happens next. Neither positive thinking or negative thinking should cloud our thoughts on what we should do next. Live in the present moment and make good choices now.
Author David Nour (www.nourgroup.com) lives in Atlanta, GA and I had the privilege to hear him speak a few years ago at a Vistage summit. He has written extensively about the value of key relationships and the importance of investing in your private and public networks.
If “Time is Money” as Ben Franklin famously stated in the 1700’s then our relationships have value too because we spend time with our friends, family and work associates. I am working on an equation that depicts the value of our relationships. If there is a time value of money equation, why can’t there be a formula for placing a value on our investment in others? Reciprocity is the result of our investment. We get back what we put into our relationships.
Richard Koch (www.richardkoch.net), another favorite author of mine from Great Britain, calls our relationships a network of strong and weak links that connects us as individuals and “maps” the degrees of separation that define our social reach. In his book, “SuperConnect”, Koch explains how our strong and weak connections, reach beyond our core group of individuals that we are closest to.
Some relationships have a very small sphere of influence whereas some individuals in our network have massive reach. Koch calls these individuals superconnectors. The key ingredient that connects relationships and reciprocity seems to be our reputation. We are known by our reputation and associations. Guard both carefully my friends.
It has become abundantly clear that teachers and educators are Essential Workers during this recent pandemic. Seeing our students sheltering in place and parents scrambling to home school thousands of children has been eye opening for sure.
When I think back, there have been teachers and professors that have shaped my thinking and encouraged me to be more than I thought I was capable of.
Next week I’m going to see if I can’t find a few of these special people and say thanks. It might be hard because at 57, many of these folks might not even be with us anymore. I wish I had done this sooner. Let me challenge you to do this with me.
Being a lefthanded student in primary school during the sixties wasn’t easy. My mom attended teacher conferences where she had to insist that I be allowed to “write from the wrong side of the desk” and have my paper slanted differently from the other students. It didn’t click with me until much later (in college) that us lefties think very differently from righties. Being a good student was easy for me as long as I didn’t get distracted and daydream too often. What made school easy for me in the classroom was seeing information as “patterns” and looking at problems as “puzzles” rather than linear equations that most of my righthanded classmates used when solving problems. Using puzzles, patterns and predictions, I was able to be a good student with very little effort. Looking back now, I wish that I would have applied my mind to pursue loftier goals for myself but that is another story for another time.
We can use this mental mind technique today in our careers. When you see a problem, visualize a jigsaw puzzle where pieces can be moved around and put into different places until the solution appears. What makes this type of thinking really cool is that the puzzle can always be further tweaked and improved upon. Predictions change as better information comes into focus to be applied to the pieces. Parts of the puzzle may have absolute answers but the entire solution can become better when individual pieces or “components” are managed differently.
I encourage you to try this type of intuitive or “integrated” thinking when looking at solving a problem. Take a step back and visualize what you want the solution to be (prediction) and then work backward with the different components of the problem and arrange them in such a way that each “component” can be compartmentalized, segregated and solved independently before reassembling them into a complete puzzle. Drop me a note and let me know how it works out for you.
Marietta, GA – While Bryan is away, today’s article is written by a special contributor, Kasey Eister.
Perspective: a mental view or prospect to gain a broader perspective on the international scene (Merriam-Webster)
As the months go on and the world continues with the ramifications of a worldwide pandemic, people begin to settle into a normalcy with what has and is happening. We can wear masks, wash our hands, and social distance, but in the larger picture we must still wait out the virus. I have heard and seen countless individuals complain about the “new normal”, how this pandemic has destroyed all they have known. Yes, things are different, but does different always mean something bad? COVID-19 is bad, definitely, but what is has done to our world as we know it is not all evil.
Before the pandemic, our countries, cities, people, were known to never stop. We always had somewhere to be and something to do. All that was forced to a standstill when the virus went worldwide. Families are now spending more time together; nature is able to breathe from the lack of emissions with people having nowhere to go. Now, as some of the restrictions pertaining to the virus are lifting in certain areas, I urge people to remember what we have learned. Slow down. Breathe. Instead of seeing all that has gone wrong from your known life before COVID-19, see instead what you can learn from it instead. I hope for businesses to bring a better work-life balance into practice and for everyone to remember that all work is not always the answer.
Changing perspective can be difficult, but all it takes is a single thought that is expounded upon and put into practice.
Marietta, GA – While Bryan is away, today’s article is written by a special contributor, Kasey Eister.
“The only thing that is constant is change.” -Heraclitus
Our world is constantly changing. This has been a known fact for thousands of years and it has been taught that to survive in a changing world, one must adapt to the new standard. While some of this rings true, it is not always the case.
With LGBTQ+ rights rising more strongly in the past decade, the Black Lives Matter movement once more taking the front stage, and a controversial president at the head of America, things couldn’t be controversial. In order to “stay with the times” numerous people have disregarded their personal beliefs and morals in order to fit into a societal stigma in our changing world.
While those were just a few examples, they fit onto a larger scale. Most times it is personal, community based bias that convinces groups of people to disregard their personal morals to be on top of the change. It is important to remember one’s beliefs and morals so that despite change, one can still remain firm in what they know is right. There are always opportunities to learn, and perhaps one’s beliefs were not what was thought, but proper education and research is needed before following what the world dictates as correct.
Sometimes it’s difficult not to procrastinate. We get distracted, bored, or maybe frustrated. Maybe the first question to ask ourselves is whether or not the task which we are delaying is worthy of our precious time in the first place. Is it?
The second important question is when. Because if it’s worth doing at all, then it’s worth doing well. And if it’s worth doing well, why not begin working on it now. In the present. Don’t wait to do something the right way, the first time.
“If you ain’t growing, then you be dying” was a phrase I heard growing up by a wise daughter of a share cropper from Mississippi. I didn’t quite understand it at the time but later realized the wisdom from such a comment.
We need more Miss Lorettas in the world. She may have had very little formal education but her wisdom was immense. If we aren’t striving to become more productive and to contribute to our society (Village), we will become consumers of other people’s efforts.
We’ve heard that it takes a village and everyone in it plays a part but let’s make sure we are on the giving side of the equation and not the taking side. When too many people expect others to provide, the village becomes a ghetto.
Encourage everyone to contribute and give of their time, talents and treasure for the benefit of the village and it will come back to each of us in many different ways. Make the effort to make good choices and let every small decision stand on its own as an excellent one. You will be an extraordinary person.
We should all read Stephen Schwarzman’s (www.Blackstone.com) autobiography entitled, “What it Takes – Lessons in the Pursuit of Excellence”.
A brilliant read about why hard work, constant education and being process driven is so critical to our success. Wisdom is a process that incorporates knowledge and experience. Even when we feel that failure is insurmountable, the lessons learned during the process can be applied to future success.
Here is a quote from the book that sums up everything that I would like to say but he puts so much more eloquently than me. Schwarzman wrote this as a high school senior to his fellow students after he was crushed when waitlisted at Harvard, and accepting his second choice, Yale. He would later attend Harvard Business School for his MBA.
“I believe that education is a discipline. The object of this discipline is to learn how to think. Once we have mastered this we can use it learn a vocation, appreciate art, or read a book. Education simply enables us to appreciate the ever-changing drama fashioned of God’s own hand, life itself. Education continues when we leave the classroom. Our associations with friends, our participation in clubs all increase our store of knowledge. In fact, we never stop learning until we die. My fellow officers and I just hope that you will become aware of the purpose of education and follow its basic tenets, questioning and thinking, for the rest of your life.”
Stephen, I couldn’t agree with you more. Thank you for sharing your life’s experiences with us.