“Did you ever wonder why no one ever tries softer?”
—Lily Tomlin, American actress and comedian
Image from Unsplash by Max van den Oetelaar
If you keep up with books on personal and professional achievements, you will likely have seen an emphasis on deep work, drive, grit, leaning in, and discovering your strengths.
There is no question that hard work, persistence, the power of habit, and putting in those 10,000 hours is correlated with considerable progress and achievement.
What would trying softer look like?
How could this be an access point to a more successful and rewarding life?
Where would quieter behaviors and approaches to your relationships with yourself and others, and the general way you move through life, provide access to new personal and professional possibilities?
“Human nature is like water. It takes the shape of its container.”
—Wallace Stevens, 20th Century American Poet
Image from Unsplash by Delbert Pagayona
When I was a boy, one of my hobbies was maintaining a tropical fish tank with many varieties of brightly colored and various shaped species. In the early years, before they knew my level of commitment, my parents purchased a small set that included a ten-gallon tank.
As my interest grew, I graduated to more elaborate set-ups, which always involved a larger tank.
One thing I particularly enjoyed was that almost all fish species grew a bit larger in their expanded environments.
Examine some of the professional and personal containers in which you swim each day. How large is the container that supports your growth? Who are the individuals that influence your nature? What attitudes and behaviors do they exhibit?
“Success is not to be pursued. It is to be attracted by the person you become.”
—Jim Rohn, 20th Century American motivational speaker
Image from jimrohn.com
Jim Rohn, who passed away in 2009, was a personal development pioneer.
His over 6,000 seminars, countless books, tapes, learning programs and, of course inspirational quotes, have influenced millions.
Many of his wisest lessons were focused on our abilities to work on ourselves and contribute to others in our various communities.
One of his many students was a young, broke, down-and-out Tony Robbins, who has said many times that Rohn was the man who turned his life around. Tony, as we all know, has been working on himself for decades, and has paid forward similar lessons to millions.
What are the strategies, habits, and behaviors that help you continue your personal best journey?
What additional approaches can you incorporate in your days to both contribute to others and attract the success you desire?
“There is no sense in crying over spilt milk. Why bewail what is done and cannot be recalled?”
—Sophocles, 4th Century BC Greek Writer
Image from Unsplash by Daniela Diaz
Our delightful grandson Weston stayed with us recently to give his mom and dad a break, and give us a treat. He has a particularly robust appetite and often makes messes, as if many children were having a food fight.
With the latest and greatest in bottles and cups, the incidents of spilled milk have gone down considerably.
We all expect to deal with the messes made by young children, but how well do you deal with your own mistakes, or those of other grownups in your world?
How easy is it to accept these mishaps and move on rather than ruminating or beating yourself up?
Where and on what matters would a “Done is Done” approach to your day help you lead a calmer, more satisfying life?
“A lie never lives to be old.”
—Sophocles, ancient Greek tragedian
Image from Unsplash by Bahram Bayat
How well do you sleep at night? How much do you like who you see when you look in the mirror? To what degree do you keep secrets, fib a bit to spare someone’s feelings, or perhaps keep silent on one or more of your most important beliefs?
Such behaviors are becoming increasingly difficult to hide due to our gossip-starved, always on, hyper-connected world. The media actually keeps count of out-and-out lies, half truths, and perceptional sleight-of-hands many politicians and celebrities exhibit.
Beyond the idea that lies never live to be old, consider the actual aging caused by the insidious toxic effect for all of us when exposed.
Where in either your personal or professional life would greater truth set you and others free, so you can get a much better night’s sleep?
“The easier it is to do something, the harder it is to change the way you do it.”
—Steve Wozniak, Co-Founder of Apple, Inc.
Consider how easy it is to cross your arms, clasp your hands, and brush your teeth. You probably don’t need to think about these tasks because they occur habitually.
What about traits like hitting the snooze button, eating out of boredom, watching TV or using social media? In many situations, taking the fastest and easiest path is helpful, productive, or at least has no real negative consequences.
On the other hand, sometimes what is easy can have significant negative impact to the lives we profess to desire.
What automatic and easy behaviors do you practice that are limiting or preventing you from realizing your top priority goals? What disciplined effort and added support can and will you put in place to fulfill your commitments in these areas?
“Man did not weave the web of life – he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.”
—Greg Braden, NYT Best-Selling Author
Image from Unsplash by Robert Anasch
If you happen to enjoy history, consider exploring the history of our planet and how animals and plant life have evolved. Consider checking out fossil records and other scientific methods including carbon dating.
A surprising discovery for many is just how recently man – especially modern man – has been around.
Humans, because of our remarkable brains and our ability to coordinate and cooperate, have altered our world far more quickly and dramatically than all other creatures combined.
What positive and negative strand-pulling activities are you observing these days? How and in what ways can all of us contribute and strengthen the web of life to leave a positive and lasting legacy for all future generations and all creatures that share our beautiful world?
“If you are acting like a sheep, don’t blame the shepherd.”
—Eli Jaxon-Bear, American spiritual teacher and author
Image from Unsplash by Sam Carter
Throughout our lives, we have been taught we have to “go along to get along.” Fitting in, being one of the gang, and literally being “with it” has made us sheep in many of our communities.
Take a moment to identify all the personal, professional, and community-based groups that herd us together. Consider all the new digital communities that foster similar practices and beliefs.
Where does being a sheep actually work for you and serve your best interest? Where does it clearly not support your most genuine self?
In what areas of your life is it time to act like a lion versus a lamb?
What bold, courageous or simply contrarian thing will you say or do to say goodbye to these shepherds?