What is keeping you?

That thing that’s keeping you from delivering on your promise – to yourself or to someone else. Is that an excuse or a reason?

People – ourselves included – have little tolerance for excuses. If we keep repeating them over and over again, they do not become more acceptable. They simply make the relationship more difficult.

Understand the difference and take a stand.

Fun fact: we tend to hide excuses, burying them inside long monologues or beyond a volatile interpretation of data. Reasons, on the other end, emerge whenever we need to strengthen a connection.

Creatures of inputs

You need to deploy a lot of strength to get rid of bad habits.

If you check your phone every five minutes, that’s a feeling of continuos anticipation of what you might learn.

If you read work emails in the evenings, that’s a feeling of commitment and importance and busyness.

If you eat a sweet snack four or five times a day, that’s a feeling of satisfaction and fullness.

Of course, tha aftermath of a bad habit is never as good as the moment that leads to it. But we are creatures of inputs, not creatures of outputs. We care about what comes before – the thoughts, the wondering, the emotions.

That’s why you need strength to get rid of a bad habit. Start with the phone, the emails, the snack, whatever you know will lead you there.

Half measures do not work in this case.

Master of time

I don’t have time for this.

It sounds a lot better when you say instead.

I have made a decision not to invest time in this.

That is a more honest thing to say. It also shows awareness and determination. It denotes you are in control of how you spend your day and it holds you responsible for the things your are not doing.

Time is not an entity we can control. What we do with it, instead, is something we can learn to master.

Legendary

You can’t start with great.

You might start with average, decent, ok. Or more often, you will start with poor, näive, ineffectual.

And that’s where you will have to continue from. One step after the next. From horrible to passable, from decent to respectable, from good to fantastic.

You can’t start with great.

You can, though, end with legendary.

Wealth of information

Herding information will eventually keep you from doing.

Articles, white papers, eBooks, webinars, podcasts, online classes, books, live and virtual events, tutorials are great resources, when they serve your higher purpose. But they can quickly become a self-serving treat: “just as our brains like empty calories from junk food, they can overvalue information that makes us feel good but may not be useful” (Assoc. Prof. Ming Hsu).

And clearly, the whole space (physical and mental) you occupy while you feed on information is space you cannot use otherwise. Is space you are taking away from focus, care, delivery.

There will be times in your digital life when you will be subscribed to plenty of newsletters, getting updates from a wealth of podcasts, consuming bottomless blogs, and recycling all of that in social media posts of doubt relevance.

Stop that now.

Find the bare minimum you need and bring the focus back to doing.

For your own sake.

In an information-rich world, the wealth of information means a dearth of something else: a scarcity of whatever it is that information consumes. What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it.

Herbert A. Simon