“I believe that we learn by practice. Whether it means to learn to dance by practicing dancing or to learn to live by practicing living, the principles are the same. In each, it is the performance of a dedicated precise set of acts, physical or intellectual, from which comes shape of achievement, a sense of one’s being, a satisfaction of spirit. One becomes, in some area, an athlete of God. Practice means to perform, over and over again in the face of all obstacles, some act of vision, of faith, of desire. Practice is a means of inviting the perfection desired.”
― Martha Graham
Practicing isn’t always going to be fun, yet it is what leads to perfecting your craft, your work, your relationships, your communications, your community and your life.
What are you working on continually to get better at?
When you practice you grow. Practice invites you to greater challenges. Practice is the foundation of confidence and competence. By enhancing your abilities you increase your chances for new opportunities.
Practicing isn’t about being perfect it is about recognizing the imperfections and adjusting so the potential of an error is reduced in the future.
What do you want to get better at? What will it take? Will you do it?
“Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb.”
― Winston S. Churchill
Two steps forward?
Are your steps taking you in the direction you desire most?
Are you moving forward?
Ask yourself those questions and write down your answers. Don’t let the questions just reside in your mind for a moment take some time and contemplate the answer. A superficial glance at the questions and moving on or moving quickly to something else won’t bring you closer to your dreams.
Pause. Stop and really examine where your steps are leading you. Where are you really going? When will you get there? What obstacles are in the way?
If you’re like a lot of people pausing isn’t something that feels like progress. Pausing may feel like going backwards. That is only if you compare yourself to everyone else who is just going in some direction hoping to get somewhere. Most people don’t even know why they are doing what they are doing. It might just be that someone told them to do something and then they’ll find the answer they’re looking for. Maybe they won’t find anything but they will be busy. Are you one of those busy people? Pause. Think about what you are doing and why you are doing it. Take a deep breath and exhale. Think about where you are going?
Are you moving along the right path? Are you struggling to move forward? Are you stuck in the sand? Are you sliding backwards?
What are your answers?
“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.”
― Dalai Lama XIV
Did you find happiness today?
Do you know what happiness is?
What would make you happier?
A better job.
A better relationship.
A better purpose.
A better life.
A better car.
An easier job.
What is it for you? What would really make you happier?
What is stopping you from being happier?
Have you thought about what changes would need to be made to enable you to be happier?
If you have, then when will you start?
If not, when will you think about your own happiness.
Life is too short to be living in misery.
“Resilience is accepting your new reality, even if it’s less good than the one you had before. You can fight it, you can do nothing but scream about what you’ve lost, or you can accept that and try to put together something that’s good.”
― Elizabeth Edwards
What if you had lost your job, were recovering from a major medical issue, were without a place to call home and saddled with a ton of debt? How would you be feeling? It would probably feel pretty depressing. There are people who are facing all of those things at the same time and are still able to move forward.
The Wall Street Journal showcased Sheryl Sandberg’s journey through difficult times and Sheryl said this,
“The easy days ahead of you will be easy. It is the hard days—the times that challenge you to your very core—that will determine who you are,” Ms. Sandberg said. “You will be defined not just by what you achieve, but by how you survive.”
The path forward for Sheryl was in writing down what she was grateful for. Just a few things that made a positive difference in the day made a positive difference in her life.
It is of course far easier to blame others and become a victim in difficult times. It is easier to withdraw and seek the comfort of a variety of distractions in an attempt to have the emotional pain and stress go away. The problem is the pain doesn’t just go away by finding ways to ignore the pain. The pain goes away when the pain is confronted and challenged. The pain goes away when positive action is taken and when what can be appreciated about each day is really appreciated.
Are you facing challenging times? Are you suffering and wishing for a way out?
Emotional resilience through gratitude, taking time to pause and just breathe some deep breaths for a few minutes, to exercise and move is a way through difficult times.
Take the time to practice taking charge of your emotions. Your body will thank you and your mind will thank you.
“In life, everything is built. Have you thought about it. You built who you are, how you want to be perceived, you built your character, you chose to remain where you are, you are your own creator. You can choose to be something else. You are not what you were, you can be anything you choose to build.”
― Magnus Nwagu Amudi
Would you build a building without plans? Would you take a vacation without planning? Would you travel to a new destination without a map? Would you live your life without a plan or a destination?
Without plans a building would likely be built with the wrong dimensions and without thought about how the form and function would integrate and make sense to the occupants. Without plans a vacation becomes a stressful event – “what will happen next?”. Plans help organize and structure future outcomes. Plans create a sense of freedom and order in what will be built.
It seems that most people spend very little time in planning their lives and things tend to emerge in the moment. When things just happen in a free-form way many people find that it creates a lot of stress and unhappiness. A plan offers direction and the opportunity to realize what is important. Drifting through life means the experiences are just random happenings. What is your life like? A set of random occurrences or is it intentional and planned.
Examine your life and evaluate how you are doing in these areas. Rate each category from 1 to 10 in terms of your satisfaction in those areas. How are you doing? What do you want to do differently? What would make you happier?
- Financial goals
- Personal Growth
In any area that you aren’t satisfied think about ways to improve in that area. Create a plan with some goals and a date to reach that goal. Work on your goals a little bit each day. At the end of each week evaluate your progress. Ask yourself, “Am I doing better?” “Am I feeling better about this area?” “What do I need to do differently?”
“I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.”
― Leonardo da Vinci
Here’s the gap, you know what to do to live a better life and you decide that doing is too hard. Is it really?
You’ve heard the excuses and maybe you’ve made those same excuses yourself.
- I don’t have enough time.
- There is too much to do.
- I have to …
- I can’t …
- There is something more important right now.
- Tomorrow, I’ll do it tomorrow
I hear those excuses a lot. How do you make progress if you know what you want and still find excuses not to?
First, get really serious about what is important to you. Is spending another 30 minutes on Facebook really going to help you make improvements in your life? Is watching another TV show going to help you?
Some people are hoping something magical will occur that will allow them to do what they say they want without doing any work to realize that goal. If there are old habits that are just creating misery in your life then wouldn’t it be nice to take the time to change those old habits and create some new ones? Most people would say, yes I want new habits. Now, doing the work is the hard part and for some it just doesn’t get done.
If it is really important then it is really important to make the changes in your life so that you can focus on getting the results you want. It’s time to put the excuses away and put the energy into making positive change.
It’s “I know what I want to do … I just don’t do it” that stops people from getting the results they think or believe they want. It takes work to change a habit.
What’s your excuse?