2 Essentials for Health and Success
You are what you repeatedly do.
The 2 Essentials for health and success.
When I was growing up, I didn’t keep the best of company nor did I have very good habits. But who does when your young, dumb and full of energy? We fall into groups, trends and habits. I fell into the “too cool for school” crowd. Literally. I skipped school so much I almost didn’t graduate.
I developed some bad habits and hung around worse kids. My parents had to come to school and meet with the guidance counselor to see what it was going to take for me to graduate—from high school! I learned two good lessons but I didn’t realize until much later in life: your habits shape your life and so do your friends.
You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. – Jim Rohn
I believe Jim Rohn’s quote summarizes the point of this section best. I often see this in groups of people who spend a lot of time together. It is most obvious when you are the outsider looking in and not obvious at all when it is you who are “averaging out.”
As a leader in the military I had a unique perspective. I watched as soldiers entered the unit and saw their evolution as they began to adapt and “fit in.” Sometimes the change is so dramatic—group members even begin to look like one another—it’s impossible not to see this principle in action.
Of course I experienced the effect of this principle as well. When I graduated high school, I still spent a considerable amount of time with high school friends. I was in college but my core group of friends remained the same – and so did I.
As reflect back on the past, I see that we continued on the same meandering trajectory we had in high school. Half plans followed by half attempts left me (and them) with student loans, a procession of apartments, a full-time job, and no real way ahead.
It was completely of my own doing but the point is I didn’t even realize how much influence my peer group had. Even if I had wanted to make a monumental shift, I probably would not have. Fear – of ridicule, embarrassment, failure and of the unknown – kept me in my comfort zone of average.
So what changed for me? It doesn’t get much more radical than this: I joined the US Army and shipped off to basic training. That was a sure fire way to find a different group of people. And it worked (over time).
I found myself stagnating in my life’s progression. I knew something was wrong but I couldn’t quite verbalize it. I just knew I needed a change. So I dropped everything. This was the major life shift that changed my trajectory and finally broke my hypnosis of comfort and stagnation. It was not all immediate but I can track my upward progress in all aspects of my life to this decision.
Who Do You Spend Time With?
Who do you spend time with? Are the people you spend the most time with the kind of people you envision helping you achieve your dreams? Do they build you up and encourage even your most outlandish ideas? Or do they tell you to “be realistic” or to find security and be safe? To accept what comes. That life happens to you and that you just have to hang on for the ride? Do they talk about other people in negative ways or do they talk about ideas and plans for future success?
I won’t be easy to eliminate people from your life. It may be close friends or even family members. But you must get this part right if you want to permanently alter the course of your life and become exceptional. You must remove the negative and toxic people from your life. This may seem harsh and maybe it is, but it is necessary to grow and change into the person you need to be to accomplish your dreams.
DAILY HABITS AND ROUTINES
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. – Will Durant
Most of what we do is on autopilot. From the time we wake up to the time we go to sleep so much of our actions are habitual. Have you ever arrived home and not even remembered the entire drive? We all have.
Habit: A Great Ally and Great Enemy
Habit can be and is a great ally in our lives. It frees our minds of mundane repetitive tasks. Think of habit as automation. Once you have completed an act enough times your mind begins to operate without conscious thought which frees up your conscious mind to do other things.
On the other hand, habit can hinder our success. If we have developed unproductive habits then our minds are doing things without conscious thought. Imagine an automation tool working in the background on your computer but it was always working against you and sabotaging your progress.
That is what bad habits are. They work in the background of your mind sabotaging your success. Even when you give them conscious thought it’s rarely easy to change a habit, no matter how small.
Habit and routine work in tandem. Put a smattering of habits together and you have a routine. What is your routine like? Has it just developed over time without thought or have you crafted a routine that gets the most out of your day?
Becoming unreasonably positive is very desirable if you want to be great. To create that kind of positive mindset begins with crafting habits and routines to reinforce the positive and to clear out the old and negative. We can use habit and routine to our advantage but it’s not easy purging the old from our lives. Most things worth doing aren’t easy. In fact, it’s difficult enough that most experts suggest only changing one habit at a time because trying more than that will most likely end in failure.
There is at least one thing in each of our lives that we would like to stop or start doing. Some popular examples are going to the gym, eating healthier, stop smoking, watching less TV, and the list goes on. Perhaps you have just one habit you want to change. What better time than now?