“You know you’re getting old when you stoop to tie your shoelaces and wonder what else you can do while you’re down there.”
—George Burns, 20th Century comedian and actor
Image from New York Daily News
George Burns the actor, writer, singer, and perhaps most notably, comedian, was a bit of an expert on aging. He lived to be 100. His career spanned over 75 year in vaudeville, radio, and even film, where at the age of 79, he won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in the 1975 film, The Sunshine Boys.
Along with his comedic wit, George must have been an efficiency expert, looking to squeeze all the value out of his efforts, even along the short journey down to tie his shoes.
Where would a “work smarter, not harder” approach to your daily efforts make the biggest difference in the days, weeks, months, and years to come?
“You have been assigned this mountain to show others it can be moved.”
Image from Unsplash by Tommy Lisbin
Over the years, I’ve posted many times about climbing to the top of one’s personal and professional mountains, to reach the pinnacle of success.
Moving a mountain is a considerable twist on the subject. It implies that an immovable object or enormous barrier must be shifted, not simply climbed.
Where and on what mountainous project or endeavor is it time to dig in, one shovelful at a time, to pass freely to the other side?
How can and will your efforts demonstrate for others what may be possible for them if they were to dig into their own mountainous barriers?
Here is another post about moving mountains.
“It’s not enough that we do our best. Sometimes we have to do what’s required.”
—Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom 1940 – 1945
How do you define “Doing Your Best”?
Perhaps it involves working long hours, working till you’re exhausted, till you have nothing left in your physical, mental, or emotional tanks.
What if this best effort is still insufficient to produce the outcome you desire? What options, often hidden from view, are available to somehow find a way?
Churchill’s quote creates a provocative coaching question:
The openness of this question will likely have you inquire and explore efforts beyond your personal best to tap into people and resources previously not considered.
Where in your world is your personal best not enough to achieve a particular goal or outcome?
How would exploring what is actually required in this situation lead you to a solution previously hidden, or not considered?
“The time men spend in trying to impress others, they could spend in doing the things by which others would be impressed.”
—Frank Romer, History Professor
Image from Social Media Today
If we were to apply the 80/20 rule to today’s quote, it might go something like this:
“80 percent of the effort we put into impressing others creates 20 percent of the value we hope to produce.”
Although it seems pretty wasteful, many people put far too much effort in dressing for success than they should. Perhaps it is because these surface-only pursuits take less time and effort to make us look good. Unfortunately, they rarely produce the deep and significant outcomes we desire.
Consider shopping for a major purchase such as a home or a vehicle as a metaphor. Without a doubt, you would surely get a complete home inspection, or definitely look under the hood before making this kind of investment.
How can and will you flip the 80/20 rule to your benefit by taking more substantive actions to provide the valuable outcomes you desire, and likely impress others as a side benefit?
“When a dog runs at you, whistle for him.”
—Henry David Thoreau, 19th Century American essayist and historian
Image from Flickr by Andrew Blight
If you have ever swum in a river, rowed a boat, or hit a golf ball, you have experienced the concept of going with the flow, and the underlying phenomenon of momentum.
When we put forth our efforts in the same direction, we discover the synergy and compounding benefits of the forces of wind and current.
Where in either your personal or professional worlds are you in the flow of success, with the wind at your back, or going with the current?
What additional encouraging efforts can you apply to these situations to more fully realize extraordinary levels of achievement?
“In every triumph there’s a lot of Try.”
—Frank Tyger, late editorial cartoonist
One definition of the word triumph is, “being victorious in a noteworthy achievement, or a level of exultation and joy over generalized success.”
It is also associated with winning and prevailing in some significant challenge, gaining mastery, rejoicing, and celebration.
In 1965, there was an ad touting, “Put a tiger in your tank,” promising optimal acceleration and performance if you used Esso Gasoline. Trying is the proverbial tiger in your tank, to boost you to new levels of achievement.
Where and how can you take Frank Tyger’s coaching and put more “try” into your personal and professional efforts towards triumphs in your life?
“The future is purchased by the present.”
—Dr. Samuel Johnson, 18th Century English Poet
Image from specialneedsparenting.net
Evidence has shown that there is a high correlation between an individual’s ability to delay gratification, and their long-term level of achievement.
All one need do is examine masters in almost any endeavor to see the level of effort and amount of time it took for them to achieve what they desired. Some traded large pieces of their lives for a potential pot of gold at the end of the line. This can often be the case when people work tirelessly in vocations and careers they don’t enjoy.
Those who are attuned to their vision and value often find the courage to take bold actions. Their efforts in pursuing their dream becomes like compound interest on the daily investments they make.
How can you lead an even more fulfilling life by having your present professional and personal efforts be their own reward, and not just a means to a future you hope for some day?
“Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking.”
-W.B. Yeats, 20th Century Irish Poet
Image from Flickr by Hans Splinter
Life Below Zero is a TV series on the National Geographic Channel. It highlights individuals and families living fulfilling and successful lives near and north of the Arctic Circle in Alaska.
Throughout each episode the temperature is indicated in the lower left corner of the screen, which, as the show title indicates, is often well below zero degrees Fahrenheit.
One would guess that they would be bundled up every moment, but that is not the case. It is amazing to see how often they remove their hats, gloves, and layers of clothing, because they generate considerable body heat as they engage in daily activities such as gathering wood and securing food in this rugged part of the world.
Where in your personal or professional world is it time to make your own irons hot by striking out with even greater initiative and effort?