There are so many things you want to do. You want to be a scholar, an expert, an award-winning writer, designer, creator extraordinaire. You want to stage shows and sell out concerts. You want it all. Everybody wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die for it.
Am I wrong?
How are you going to say you want be an Olympic athlete and not sign up for the gym, or dream of being a world-class lyricist but not wanna know the first thing about instruments or harmony? It’s not enough to just wish for it. If you haven’t even written it down, don’t talk to me, you’re wasting my time and yours.
Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.
Write your goals so clearly that a 7-year-old could understand it. Know what you want so distinctly that you can cut someone with it. Edwin C. Barnes had a simple dream: to go into business with Thomas Edison. He didn’t even know the man nor have the means to reach him, but he blind baggaged his way to Jersey and got himself a menial job at Edison’s offices. Through hard work and consistent effort, Barnes finally entered into partnership with the great inventor, and went from being penniless to earning millions of dollars (a lot for that time).
So, how you are going to get there? I’m not talking about long-term, detailed plans. I’m talking about aggressive points, like who-do-I-gotta-kill sort of plans (of course, I am kidding, but you get the severity). Name three things you have to do to achieve your goals. Your plans should be jumping off the page and dragging you out the door at this point.
The part that sucks for everybody, including myself, is the consistency. The long-term execution, do-it-everyday-no-matter-what dedication. The little things you don’t account for like time constraints, impromptu plans, subzero motivation, ‘I’m tired’, it’s raining, it’s pouring, the whole sky is falling…
It is quite curious: naturally the life of a little insignificant thing is viewed with contempt, and is overlooked by all intelligent people; in return, the little insignificant thing sometimes takes revenge, for when a man goes mad it is almost always over some little insignificant thing.
Søren Kierkegaard, The Father of Existentialism.
I have not discovered the Holy Grail here, but what I have learned from The Power Of Habit by Charles Duhigg and The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy has nuclear-fissioned my productivity (highly recommended for big dreams-lazy types like me who wanna win an Oscar but don’t wanna sit down to write that script). Set yourself up to succeed by controlling for these ‘small things’. Smooooooooth out your daily journey. I’ll show you what I mean.
Jog at 6am every morning
Sleep by 10pm, turn off devices early and set an alarm (or two or three). Figure out the best time and route. Put out your jogging outfit, drink and snack where you can see them.
Set a time for writing (e.g. first thing in the morning) Set a goal (e.g. 3hrs a day). No disappearing into black holes of social media or YouTube until you complete your task.
Sounds simple, you said? So why aren’t you doing it? Don’t leave it up to the Norse gods to guide you because they don’t care. Nobody cares about your goals but you. Even accountability partners have their own demons to wrestle with so don’t rest your fate with them either. For me to write consistently, and accomplish tasks that are aligned with my goals, I break them into cue-routine-reward cycles.
Write for 3 hours
Endorphins, a tick on my to-do list, feeling like a verifiable master of the universe
Personal growth has to be intentional. You have to be organized. Do it consistently for a few weeks and it will shift to automatic. This really works, guys. You will be waking up before your alarm and driving to the gym before you realize it. Creating that art. Designing that life.
Every, single day.
Tako ni lako. Teddy Bukhala.