In a few introductory words, in the beginning was… No, you don’t need an introduction. The title says it all. Here we go.
gives places gifts.
More often than not, rather than putting stuff on a silver platter and handing, life places its gifts in the same platter - and waits for us to claim them.
A friend told me recently “le pouvoir ne se transmet pas. Il s'arrache” [Power is not handed, it’s taken]. Maybe it’s being dramatic, or overly serious, but it’s applicable day-to-day. Even the gifts of life are taken. Maybe in not as dramatic a fashion as my friend proposes that power should be taken, but the gifts of life need to be taken anyway. They’re often only handed as far down as people are willing to stretch to receive.
This concept of gifts of life is similar to a line of credit in a bank account. While unclaimed, it remains available. Only now it’s placed in several banks which have to be found. And you don’t have to pay back later. It waits that you find one, and then the next, and the next. But you need to make a move first. To search and reach for it. It won’t come to you. You have to go for it.
“The universe doesn’t conspire against you, but it doesn’t go out of its way to line up all the pins either.” - Tim Ferriss
2. What you want to do least, do first.
On a daily basis, and for several people, there is that task that you push forward in the morning to do after coffee when you’ll be sparked up, then forward to after lunch or after your big meeting when you are more settled, then to the next day as it’s late during the day, you are worn out and only then will you be more concentrated. Only, the next day it pops up again on your agenda and the cycle is repeated. The trick to discard of such tasks is to Eat the frog. Yes. Eat. The. Frog.
Put the task you want to do least, at the top of your to do list. You’ll have to do it anyways, so why not now, and be done with it? The feeling of achievement after successfully carrying it out will serve as vital fuel and positive energy for the rest of your day.
“Eat a live frog first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day” - Mark Twain
3. Bored, lazy, unimaginative. A fine line? Or no line?
Every once - and often twice - in a while, there’s that feeling of lack of what to do, as you’ve apparently finished all you had and/or just don’t want to take on the next task yet till the time is ‘right’. Meantime, you are bored? Uninspired? No lazy.
The often unintended tendency is to use words like bored, uninspired, unmotivated to describe the state of being at the time. Employing these words tends to push the responsibility from yourself and make it seem like something the environment or nature is doing to you. They are meant to, and do give out the message, and give you the consolation that these circumstances are caused by external factors. e.g. You say the day is boring, to make it seem it’s the conditions of the day causing it, whereas, it comes from inside. You are responsible for the lack of imagination and creativity that comes from within you, and is dissipated to the innocent ‘day’ that you then term 'boring’ . And from that lack, comes the perceived boredom. Don’t be fooled. It’s not from outside in. It’s the other way round.
Instead of getting upset about it, find a cause to fight for that’ll bring the best out of you. According to Tim Ferriss, author of three #1 NYT/WSJ bestsellers, The 4-Hour Workweek/Body/Chef, boredom is the opposite of happiness.
This is not to say you can’t take breaks or have moments of time for yourself. Far from that. By all means, take time-outs, disconnect. Stop, breathe, refresh, restart.
"A lack of energy comes when we have taken on less that we are capable of.“ - Anonymous.
"Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.” - Oscar Wilde.
4. The easiest way to get happiness is to give happiness.
Not like we were utterly serious prior to now - but on a less serious note, laughter is contagious. If you want some, cause some. Simply appreciate something about the next person you meet. Their shoes, smile, hair, tie, anything. It makes them happy. More often than not, you’ll get a bonus smile flashed at you. Then you are caused to smile back and in turn you get the happy feeling. So since it’s not so easy - very often, and for many people - to cause yourself to be happy instantly, cause someone else to be, and benefit from the contagious effect. It’s that easy. It’s not being insincere, but rather putting the fact that most people don’t get tired of compliments to great use, and being more generous with the compliments. Cause a smile, a laugh, a pinch of happiness and get paid back in your very coins.
5. If you never try, you’ll never know.
Often, very often, people live in fear of the unknown, doing principally what they already are used to. Each day becomes a cycle, with all too familiar and comfortable activities. As much as healthy routines can lead to the most productive of habits, wrongly chosen ones cans lead to inescapable unproductive 'safe’ habits that are your 'comfort zone’. How else can you experience and learn varied lessons and gain wider horizons than to try something different? A person who fails after having tried learns lessons the one who didn’t try cannot fathom.
“I’m an old man and have known many troubles, but most of them never happened” - Mark Twain
This legendary testament by Mark Twain sums it all up. Most often the things we fear and worry will go wrong don’t.
“Many a false step was made by standing still.” - Fortune Cookie
“There’s no difference between a pessimist who says 'Oh it’s hopeless so don’t bother doing anything’ or an optimist who says 'Don’t bother doing anything, it’s going to turn out fine’. Either way, nothing happens.” - Yvon Chouinard.
6. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
Try it. Instead of the pretty little sandwich with a few drops of caffeine and sugar you might be accustomed to having in the morning, eat heavy. Grab a full meal, with lots of proteins. It’s even suggested that a bigger breakfast may help you lose weight. That’s far from my point though. I rather recommend it for the long lasting energy and drive you’ll be kicking your day off with. And unlike a heavy dinner, a heavy breakfast won’t make you sleepy. You just woke up!
7. Detail is important. Only after basics though.
Every mention of the word detail brings the same thing to my mind each time - Apple. Whether it’s the phones on all their adverts fixed at 9:41 - for some clear cut historical reason - or the smart fan on new Mac laptops whose internal fan speed is automatically slowed when engaging voice dictation to better hear your voice, or any of the numerous quirks that show their insane attention to detail, Apple knows how to focus on detail. But permit me rant about those in a future article.
As much more essential as it is to do, than to do perfectly; when it comes down to finished products, attention to detail gives the edge.
You certainly wouldn’t create an online shop for example, and dive into worrying whether all the image slides are aligned, or measuring how long the average user spends on each page. It won’t matter if your site can’t provide the regular functions expected of an online shop. But once the basics are done, then the details make all the difference. Then all error messages being differently styled from warning messages has the effect. Then improving on the details gives it the edge. Not before then.
Not before the basics are done, do details make the difference.
I usually take breakfast at some cozy quiet cafeteria till recently, when I realized how much better it felt after a heavy than a regular breakfast. So I switched places to try out this place which sells heavier, more traditional breakfast. I placed my order, ate heavily, paid and left. Next morning I went in and sat down again. As I looked up to the woman to place my order, she smiled politely and said 'je connais’ [I know]. A few seconds later, she served me what I’d ordered the previous day.
Minor, right? But it swept me off my feet! Not that it’s important. Nor is it a big gesture, but definitely a smart one. You could say she just had to 'remember’ my order from the previous day. But it’s that detail that made the difference. More so, considering it had been my first time there when she decided to keep account of my food choice, and how many people I see walking in and out of the place; that was one hell of a way to make an impression. She makes breakfast. The cafeteria I retired from makes breakfast. But her attention to detail set her apart. It wouldn’t have, if her food was poorly cooked. But when both are well made and put together, that tiny detail sets her apart. Now I’m hooked up.
“The difference between good and great is in the detail.” Charles R. Swindoll.
Bonus: 1 & 1 makes a stronger 1
Compared to how many fields and how much skill there is out there, each human can only have a limited few. So can you. Even the most intellectually versatile or high IQ’d people only have a fraction of the skill set available. And it’s normal. Luckily, you don’t need to be a plumber to have your sink repaired, nor a butcher, to eat meat. Simply put, using a team (or outsourcing if you think you don’t need a team), you can tap into the varied skills that you need, but don’t need to take the time to learn. Get your skill set in check. Get people who compliment the chinks in your armor. Get moving. Take action. Focus on what you want to do and be good at it. Set radical goals. If you’re really setting a radical goal, you won’t know how to make it happen. That’s what makes it radical. If you have a pretty good idea how to complete a project, you are playing it safe. Safe isn’t inspiring