Patience is not about waiting, it’s the ability to maintain a positive outlook while working consistently for what you believe in.
Have you ever told yourself that you’re going to make something happen and then nothing happened? All details aside, it’s because you didn’t have the right habits in place — the little things you do every day that build up to something bigger. Your habits truly make or break you. Because in all walks of life you become what you habitually do. You will never make progress or change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret to your success is always found in your daily habits and routines.
In other words, regardless of your unique life situation or how you personally define success, you can’t become an overnight success. You become successful over time from all the little things you do one day at a time.
Failure occurs in the same way. All your little daily failures (that you don’t learn and grow from) come together and cause you to fail…
- You fail to check the books.
- You fail to make the calls.
- You fail to listen to your customers.
- You fail to innovate.
- You fail to do what must be done.
And then one day you wake up and your business has failed. It was all the little things you did or didn’t do along the way — your daily habits — not just one big catastrophic event.
Let this be your wake-up call.
YOUR LIFE IS YOUR BUSINESS!
YOUR HABITS ARE YOUR BUSINESS!
So today, let’s discuss some super-common daily habits Marc and I have seen plaguing dozens of our course students and conference attendees over the past decade — little things many people do over and over again that waste nearly all their time:
1. Change nothing and expect different results.
There’s a saying that the definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Take this to heart. If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting. Oftentimes the only difference between a successful person and a person who makes little progress is not one’s superior abilities, but the courage that one has to bet on their ideas, to take calculated risks, and to take steady steps forward.
Truly, some people sit and wait for the magic beans to arrive while the rest of us just get up and get to work.
2. Keep waiting and waiting for the right time.
Even when we have productive intentions, too many of us waste so much of our time waiting for ideal paths to appear. But they never do of course, because we forget that paths are made by walking, not waiting. So stop waiting today…
Think of today as the beginning — the conception of a new life. The next nine months are all yours. You can do with them as you please. Make them count! Because a new person is born in nine months. The only question is: Who do you want that person to be? Now is the time to decide.
And no, you shouldn’t feel more confident before you take the next step. Taking the next step is what builds your confidence and fuels your inner and outer growth.
3. Believe good things come easy.
A goal is a point of achievement that requires effort and sacrifice. There are no esteemed goals worth participating in that don’t require some level of effort and sacrifice. Marc’s 90-year-old grandmother once told us, “Decades from now when you’re getting closer to the end, you will not remember the days that were easy, you will cherish the moments when you rose above your difficulties and conquered challenges of magnitude. You will dream of the strength you found within yourself that allowed you to achieve what once seemed impossible.”
So don’t just do what’s easy today, do what you’re capable of. Astound yourself with your own abilities. And as you struggle forward, remember, it’s far better to be exhausted from little bits of effort and learning than to be tired of doing absolutely nothing. Effort is never wasted, even when it leads to disappointing results. For it always makes you stronger and more experienced in the long run.
4. Refuse to accept necessary risks.
Living is about learning as you go. Living is risky business. Every decision, every interaction, every step, every time you get out of bed in the morning, you take a small risk. To truly live is to know you’re getting up and taking that risk, and to trust yourself to take it. To not get out of bed, clutching to illusions of safety, is to die slowly without ever having truly lived…
Think about it. If you ignore your instincts and let shallow feelings of uncertainty constantly stop you, you will never know anything for sure, and in many ways this un-knowing will be worse than finding out your instincts were wrong. Because if you were wrong, you could make adjustments and carry on with your life, without always looking back and wondering what might have been.
5. Make the rejections of yesterday the focal point of today.
Be okay with walking away when the time comes. Rejection teaches us how to reject what’s not right for our well-being. It won’t always be easy, but some chapters in our lives have to close without closure. There’s no point in losing yourself by trying to fix what’s meant to stay broken.
All too often we let the rejections of our past dictate every move we make thereafter. We literally do not know ourselves to be any better than what some opinionated person or isolated circumstance once told us was true. Of course, this old rejection doesn’t mean we aren’t good enough — it means the other person or circumstance failed to align with what we had to offer at the time. It means we have more time now to improve our thing, to build upon our ideas, to perfect our craft, and to indulge deeper into the work that moves us. And that’s exactly what YOU need to do, starting now.
6. Refuse to take responsibility.
You aren’t responsible for everything that happened to you, but you need to be responsible for undoing the thinking and behavioral patterns these outcomes created within you. Blaming the past for a limiting mindset today doesn’t fix it. Change your response to what you remember, and step forward again with grace.
A combination of your decisions and external factors for which you had no control brought you to where you are today. Negatively blaming someone else, or some past circumstance, will change nothing. Positively taking full responsibility for the next step on your path forward can change everything. Leave the unchangeable past behind you as you diligently give yourself to the present moment. In this moment is every possibility you seek. Take responsibility for it, and bring these possibilities to life.
7. Close your mind to new ideas and perspectives.
Remember that success in life does not depend on always being right. To make real progress you must let go of the assumption that you already have all the answers. Even as you grow wiser with age, you must remind yourself that an understanding is never absolutely final. What’s currently right could easily be wrong later. Thus, the most destructive illusion is a settled point of view.
So don’t stop learning! Don’t stop investing in yourself. Study. Read. Devour books. Engage with people, including those who think differently. Ask questions. Listen closely. And don’t just grow in knowledge. Be a person who gives back. Use what you’re learning to make a real and lasting difference. (Note: “The Good Morning Journal: Powerful Prompts and Reflections to Start Every Day” is a great tool for keeping yourself on track with this kind of fresh daily perspective.)
8. Let a few negative people continuously distract you.
Your mind is your private sanctuary; do not allow the negative beliefs of others to occupy it. Your skin is your barrier; do not allow others to get under it. Take good care of your personal boundaries and what you allow yourself to absorb from others.
Of course, there will inevitably be a few people in your life who will be critical of you regardless of what you do or how well you do it. If you say you want to be a dancer, they will discredit your taste in music. If you say you want to build a new business, they will give you a dozen reasons why it might not work. They somehow assume you don’t have what it takes, but they are dead wrong! Let that sink in…
It’s a lot easier to be negative than positive — a lot easier to be critical than correct. When you’re embarking on a new venture, instead of listening to the few critics that will try to distract you, spend time talking to one of the hundreds of people in this world who are willing to support your efforts and acknowledge your potential, respectfully. And go ahead and leave us a comment down at the bottom of this post if you think you can’t find one.
9. Hold tight to something that’s not real.
Remind yourself right now that not everything is meant to be. Sometimes you have to track the data, review the data, and seriously sit down with yourself and come to grips with the fact that you were wrong about it all along. It was just an illusion that never really was what you thought it was.
It’s one of the most difficult realizations to accept, to realize that you feel a sense of loss, even though you never really had what you thought you had in the first place. The key is knowing this, learning from it, letting go, and taking the next step forward. (Note: Marc and I discuss this in more detail in the Adversity and Growth chapters of “1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently”.)
10. Maintain rigid expectations every step of the way.
Simple things become complicated when you expect too much. Rigid expectations truly are a root cause of heartache. Don’t let them get the best of you. Every difficult life situation can be an excuse for hopelessness or an opportunity for personal growth, depending on what you choose to do with it. So start by choosing to let go of the expectations that aren’t serving you.
A mistake doesn’t hurt, expectation does. A rejection doesn’t hurt, expectation does. And so it goes…
Remember, the mind is your battleground. It’s the place where the fiercest conflict resides. It’s where half the things you feared would happen, never actually happened. It’s where your expectations get the best of you, and you fall victim to your own train of thought time and time again. So don’t lower your standards, but do remember that removing your rigid expectations in life is the best way to avoid being disappointed by everyone and everything you encounter.
Truth be told, one of the most important moments in life is the moment you finally find the courage to let go of what can’t be changed. Because, when you are no longer able to change a situation, you are challenged to change yourself — to grow beyond the unchangeable. And that changes everything…
An Exercise for Saving Time & Building Better Habits
If you feel a like you’ve wasted too much time on one or more of the points above, this quick actionable closing exercise is for YOU.
Choose any area in your life that you want to improve, and then:
- Write down the specific details about your current circumstances. (What’s bothering you? Where are you stuck? What do you want to change?)
- Write down your answer to this question: What are the daily habits that have contributed to your current circumstances? (Be honest with yourself. What are you doing regularly that actually contributes to the situation you’re in?)
- Write down a few specific details about the “better circumstances” you’d like to create for yourself. (What would make you happy? What does an improved situation look like for you?)
- Write down your answer to this question: What are the daily habits that will get you from where you are to where you want to be? (Think about it. What small, daily steps will help you gradually move forward from point A to point B?)
Now, it’s your turn…
Yes, it’s your turn to not fall back into your old patterns of living simply because they’re more comfortable and easier to access. It’s your turn to remember that you’re leaving certain habits and situations behind for a reason: to improve your life — because you can’t move forward if you keep going back. And, it’s undoubtedly your turn to reclaim your time and make it count going forward!
But before you go, please leave Marc and me a comment below and let us know what you think of this essay. Your feedback is important to us. 🙂
Which one of the points above resonated the most today?
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