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The Right Thing
Scrolling through my notes on The $100 Start Up this morning, I stumbled across a quote that said something along the lines of All the bad days have something in common: You know the right thing to do but you let someone talk you out of doing it. That someone can be yourself.
The thing is, progressing forward with your goals is not a difficult thing to do. Small, consistent actions create massive results over the long term. Of course, people get disheartened at the lack of immediate results in the instant gratification era we live in, but there is more to it than that.
If you're not making progress on your goals, it is not because you do not know what you're supposed to be doing at each moment of each day, but it is because you're actively choosing to do something else.
Go Hard or Go Home
When you sit down at your desk with the intention of working on your business, how many days do you have moments of sole focus on innovation? I'm talking about the difference between working in your business and working on your business.
You see, working on the maintenance side of your business is highly important, but that does not inspire growth. Responding to emails, maintaining schedules and issuing deliveries are all the tasks that keep your business running smooth, but if your business is running too smoothly you can be sure that it isn't growing.
The point in this section of the article is that you should have time each morning purely focused on the growth of your business. Before you start anything else that could be considered maintaining it, you should work hard identifying the ways that you can increase your reach.
Of course, if you don't want to grow then you can stay in permanent maintenance mode. That isn't a safe place to be, though. If you're not growing, there will be other innovators in your niche that will be. If they displace enough of your customers, your business is not going to survive.
I’m Not In Business
It's important to think about this from the other side of the fence, though. I know not all of our goals are going to be business oriented, but that doesn't mean there isn't room for innovation.
All of our actions should be subject to constant reflection and feedback. It's the only way to grow and improve on a personal level. Before starting work on any of your personal goals, then, it is important that you take the time to analyse whether the actions your taking are moving you towards your goals in the most time and energy efficient ways.
I travel to university each day. I have identified that I don't learn all that well in huge lecture theatres, being lectured to for 50 minutes straight. I know that I have inefficient note taking strategies and I also know that I am not set up to concentrate for 50 minutes straight. For me, lectures are not a useful tool at the moment.
Where does that leave me then? I'm traveling in excess of four hours every day to sit in a dark room and passively watch some power point slides. The solution?
I have given myself permission to not attend every lecture (or every day) providing I am using the time constructively toward my educational goals. I have arranged group study sessions twice a week where my friends and I can share, conversationally, all the information that we are learning.
Basically, what I have done is make an attempt to transcend the culture-scape that suggests I will fail if I do not attend my lectures. I have attempted to create a learning schedule that meets my personal needs.
Each and every day we have choices that we must make. We inherently know the right decisions to those choices, but whether we choose to act on them is another thing entirely. To achieve success, you must have the mental fortitude to ignore those that force you into performing in alignment with the social norms and take the steps necessary to achieve your goals.
Remember, the only person that knows (or has the right to suggest) what the correct decision for you is, is you.