Six Days to Save the World

2013 winds down in six days.

The yearly temptation to make resolutions will soon kick in. This is a good thing as the person who aims for nothing usually hits it (as someone wiser than I once said).

A few thoughts on resolutions:

You might be tempted not to make any this year because of the array of previous years where you did not keep to them. This would be a mistake. For one thing goal setting is beneficial even if you don’t achieve the goals. Goal-directed behaviour is infinitely better than the energy dissipation of purposeless action. Besides, this year might be the year you’ll get it right.

Consider also the size of your goals. Some might decide to downsize because they think perhaps their goals are too lofty and grandiose, or simply too distant to reach. They then decide on more humble aims. Some self-help books or articles may even advise this. This, I believe, is only done because people confuse vision with goals and short term goals with medium- to long-term goals.

By all means chop up your goals into manageable bits. Start with 20 push ups if you have to, but not with the intention of staying there. You have to have a vision, some grand, over-arching place you want to be. What you must then do is concentrate and think: how is this vision to be realised? What you should come up with is a plan which is essentially a series of goals that point to your vision.

None of this is revolutionary knowledge, yet we all trip over it all the time. It isn’t hard to see.

Success at most things can be achieved by a few simple principles applied diligently:

1. Set goals. 

Aim for something, anything, but preferably something you actually care about.

2. Delay gratification. 

Work comes first, then play. Apply yourself to activities that lead to your goals rather than away from them. Entertainment should come after you’ve done your drills for the day or practiced your forms or reached your preferred word count. The ability to postpone enjoyment has been positively correlated with success.

3. Work hard, work smart, work regularly.

This part is not negotiable. Many have let go of their dreams because they just can’t or won’t do the work. Success is hard; do the freaking work.

4. Get instruction.

You need a teacher, a coach, a sensei. This doesn’t have to be a flesh-and-blood mentor. It can be a book, a podcast, whatever. The knowledge of every single human endeavour is available now for pennies. Humanity has never had so much knowledge, but individuals have never been so ignorant (well, that’s probably not true, but it sounds cool 🙂 ).

Luck you say? Luck is undependable. I’ll accept it if it’s there, but I’ll take hard, diligent work over luck any day.

End of musings. Go enjoy the holidays and hug your loved ones.



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