I am talking about our thoughts. This is what my entire blog is dedicated to. Our thoughts rule our lives from relationships to work. As knowledge workers we rely more on our critical thinking skills than anything else. Critical thinking is the only thing keeping us from becoming commoditized.
The problem with most people is that they think with their hopes or fears or wishes rather than their minds.
Years ago I recall reading a book called ‘Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff – And Its All Small Stuff’ by Richard Carlson. I was on a flight from Singapore to Chennai. It was a short easy to read book and I finished it in no time. As I reflected on its message about how everything we do and encounter is insignificant I felt a deep sense of relaxation and fell asleep. A rarity for me when I fly.
It was relaxing to be absolved of a sense of responsibility about trying to overreach yourself when you are told to not sweat the small stuff a.k.a details.
If you have read even a few self help books then you know this for a fact: There is a lot that gets said under the garb of peak performance, self help, personal productivity, psychology etc.
But one thing most authors agree and which research in psychology has confirmed is the enormous impact of self esteem on one’s life. The long and short of self esteem is that it is made up of three components: Self Ideals, Self Concept and Self Esteem.
Lets face it. To become successful at anything is hard, very hard.
Which is why success is so uncommon and the world bounds in “average”.
But why make “success” harder than it has to be.
In our journey to become a more successful employee, entrepreneur,
parent etc a majority of us trip ourselves on this common every day
What is it?
Let me start with a personal story.
When I first purchased the Wii game console I used to hook it up to my
TV in a very cumbersome manner. Cables running from the front of the
TV to the Wii and from there to the power outlet.When not used it lay
next to the TV boxed up but still in a conspicuous mess. Whenever we
needed to use it I had to open the box, get the Wii out, plug all the
cables in, etc. Now I am not a lazy guy but this task was so
unappealing the Wii remained practically brand new months into the
We rarely used the console. Not because we did not like playing with
it but because it was so darn inconvenient to open the box, remove the
console, connect it to the TV and power outlet and finally get it to
Note the key message:
We did not use it because it was inconvenient
The situation changed shortly after I purchased a new home theater receiver.
I connected the Wii to the TV through the receiver. Suddenly the messy
cables disappeared. The Wii was no longer packed away in a box when
not used. It remained connected all the time. What happened next was
like the difference between day and night. The Wii became a fixture in our lives.
Not only did we use the Wii more often. We also made more use of its
functionality. I now connected my Wii to my wireless receiver and got
to watch internet on my TV.
The wireless receiver had been there even before I purchased my Wii.
So was the TV. Yet the Wii was rarely used for almost an year.
We finally made good use of our investment in the various gadgets by
making one simple adjustment:
We made the Wii easy to use
Success is hard, very hard. But you could come in your own way and
make it worse by making our lives more inconvenient in areas that
matter. I am not talking about being disorganized. Before I hooked up
the Wii to my home theater receiver I was organized, it just was not a
convenient arrangement though.
Notice the leverage I got by making just the Wii more convenient to use.
I did not have to make the wireless receiver anymore convenient.
I did not have to make the TV any better. It was still the same 10 year old TV.
With two very active toddlers and a full time job I made it easy and
convenient to give my son his twice daily antibiotic medication for 10 days without missing
a single dose. How did I do it. I just placed measuring cups at
several places in the bedroom. On more than one occasion it was these
reminders that helped serve the dose.
Think about the goals in your life that could use more convenience.
One of my goals is to be physically fit. So I visit the fitness center
at my workplace. It is not a fancy one but the convenience of walking
to it from my desk sure beats anything else and is what helped me
become a regular fixture there.
Perhaps managing your finances is an important goal for you. You could
do what I had been doing, trying to remember to transfer whatever
money was left at the end of the month into a savings account. I
forgot to do this more often than I remembered. Fortunately my wife
had more common sense than I and suggested an automatic transfer. Now
I don’t miss a single month. It is done automatically for me. So
Take out your sheet of goals. If you don’t have one then write them
down. Then review your goals and think about how you can add
conveniences to your life so that you can finally accomplish your
goals. It could be setting up email reminders, disconnecting the
cable, putting your running shoes on the side of the bed you get off
every morning, and so on.
Don’t make achieving success harder than it has to be.
What leadership lessons could you possibly learn from a president widely underrated for a long time and perceived to be a ‘do nothing’ president who simply happened to ride the wave of economic prosperity. Well to begin with the perception itself.