There are two main ways to fail: Not wanting enough AND wanting TOO much. As to the first, we all know better than we do, the issue is to what extent. When I share life management skills, I get a lot of “I already know that.” Yet even the most cursory examination of their daily routine reveals that they do not DO it on any consistent, regular, constant, habitual basis, consistency of purpose being the big “secret” of success.
Today’s focus is on “wanting too much.” Overenthusiasm can backfire, trying to do everything at once rarely works, and while big goals can fire up motivation, they can also fuel an immediacy addiction, excessive targeting of short-term benefits over greater but longer-term gains. I’m all for BHAGs (big, hairy, audacious goals); I’m also all for having the discipline to focus on the available steps right in front of you. Balance, balance, balance: it is the last of Scott Peck’s “4 Tools of Discipline” covered in the “Road Less Traveled” and I always thought the one that required the greatest wisdom.
An inordinate focus on the end result often comes at the expense of the here and now. I love to play racquetball, yet I rarely think of the final score during the game or of “winning” the game. Rather, my laser focus is on winning the current point. If I consistently do that, then I inevitably win. How well I play the next shot is what I have the most control over in the present moment so that is where I direct my attention and energies. John Wooden is famous for telling his players to concentrate on playing well, honing to a razor’s edge the ability to perform consistently at their highest level, not on winning per se. Over the long haul, it is the best process which achieves the greatest outcomes.
“Impatience for victory guarantees defeat.” – Louis XIV, aka The Sun King, 1638-1715
“What is destructive is impatience, haste, expecting too much too fast.” – May Sarto,1912-1995
“There are two cardinal sins from which all others spring: Impatience and Laziness.” – Franz Kafka, 1883-1924
“Impatience can cause wise people to do foolish things.” – Janette Oke, b. 1935, Canadian author of inspirational fiction often set in a pioneer era and centered on female protagonists
As always, I share what I most want and need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier