“The short game is putting off anything that seems hard for doing something that seems easy or fun. The short game offers visible and immediate benefits. The short game is seductive.” – Shane Parrish
“I hope we can all agree that the long run is made up of a bunch of short runs. That seems obvious. The surprising thing is that we live our short runs as if that isn’t true.” – Seth Godin
“Your outcomes are a lagging measure of your habits.” – James Clear
I was contemplating each of these quotes on their own merit the last few days as each appeared in my inbox or Twitter feed. It’s no accident that they resonate for me; after all I’ve chosen to follow the authors of each of them. But they say when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. I believe that to be true. And there’s a lesson in each of these quotes that’s hard to ignore. Daily, consistent action towards an objective.
James Clear would argue that the goal isn’t the point, the system is more important. And identifying yourself as someone who would take this daily action is ultimately the most critical part of the entire sequence. For example, I’m an athlete so of course I get up at 5 AM to work out. Or, I’m a successful salesperson so of course I make efficient use of my time, have a bias towards action and am highly knowledgeable about my products and each of the opportunities I’m working to close.
“Only mediocrity is sure of itself.” – Paulo Coelho
Mediocrity stems from not examining your life, your job, your process, your goals, your system and challenging yourself to improve in each. Demanding more of yourself is hard to do if you think everything is fine. We’re all guilty of getting comfortable in our own skin. After all, it worked yesterday, why not today too?
Ultimately every day is a small but meaningful part of the whole. At my age that lesson has become very clear. Recognizing the value in each day is earned through living. I remember hearing that throughout my life, but you don’t really know it without the cold intimacy of accumulated time.
“Life without a design is erratic.” – Seneca
This is an indictment on winging it. I’ve seen my own success in anything directly tied to how much I’ve structured action around a specific objective. We can’t all hit the lottery, but we can all determine our identity, establish long term objectives and break that down into daily tasks that get us there. As James Clear so eloquently puts it, we cast a vote for our own identity.
If I live to be 100, and that’s certainly the goal, then I’ve clearly rounded the mark and it’s shrinking into the distance behind me. Best to have clarity about where you’re going, set the sail and get to it. There’s a lot to do.