Practice Makes Perfect – DSST Part 5

Getting back to Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff… and It’s All Small Stuff by Richard Carlson, the next big rock is about becoming what you practice.  We know that practice is the best way to create good habits and perform better.

At the end of the day, there is no magic pill for learning how to live more stress free and find success. It takes hard work, focus, discipline and practice.  Each book, podcast, interview, etc are saying similar things.  For me, the value of reading the different versions or perspectives is the repetition in different formats, the various stories that may resonate when we are in different moods or the words that we understand better.  In a way, I believe this is the value of my blog, looking to find ways to use my stories to inspire and enable you to fulfill your goals.

A picture is worth a thousand words

I will never forget a picture we had in our basement that I would see each day I went to get ready.  It was literally a picture that simply had 1,000 words on it.  The reason that it touches a funny bone for me is the fact that I recall a professional debate I had with a boss years ago.  I was very good at putting my point of view together in a PowerPoint presentation or lengthy word document with lots of words.  He kept asking me to simply create a picture that told the story.  He was trying to coach me on the idea that one picture could get across the message I was trying to articulate.  However, I was not a visual person.  To me, I needed the words.  We seemed to be at a cross roads.

The greatest lesson that I took away from that was that people learn in different ways.  Things stick due to multiple factors, like circumstantial things; time of day, amount of sleep you got, frame of mind, etc. or how they absorb information; visually or verbally, or even how they take feedback; demonstrate what you are doing wrong or highlight the right way to do it.  Now I do try and put a picture together, with the words available as backup.

In my professional career, my team would often hear me share the following advice for sharing information.

  • You need to tell people something 7 times before it will start to stick
  • People absorb things differently in different format – video, writing, storytelling, being hit over the head with a baseball bat, pictures, you name it. No two people are the same.
  • Even if you are telling a story, you might need to tell it in the 1st person and then again in the 3rd person for it to make an ‘ah-ha’ moment for others.

As I continue to read, listen to podcasts, talk to people and ask their perspectives, I keep hearing the same underlying message just shared in different ways.  It is very reassuring, because it means that I don’t have a ton to learn, but rather there is a huge opportunity to hear it in different ways so that a different element might stick and help drive my personal transformation.

13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do

For example, I was listening to Christoph Lochhead’s podcast, Legends and Losers with guest Amy Morin this week.  Amy was the author of  13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do.  She had written this list years ago during a particularly difficult period in her life and it had gone viral.  According to Amy, mentally strong people have healthy habits. They manage their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in ways that set them up for success in life. Check out these things that mentally strong people don’t do so that you too can become more mentally strong.

  • 1 – They Don’t Waste Time Feeling Sorry for Themselves

Mentally strong people don’t sit around feeling sorry about their circumstances or how others have treated them. Instead, they take responsibility for their role in life and understand that life isn’t always easy or fair.

  • 2 – They Don’t Give Away Their Power

They don’t allow others to control them, and they don’t give someone else power over them. They don’t say things like, “My boss makes me feel bad,” because they understand that they are in control over their own emotions and they have a choice in how they respond.

  • 3 – They Don’t Shy Away from Change

Mentally strong people don’t try to avoid change. Instead, they welcome positive change and are willing to be flexible. They understand that change is inevitable and believe in their abilities to adapt.

  • 4 – They Don’t Waste Energy on Things They Can’t Control

You won’t hear a mentally strong person complaining over lost luggage or traffic jams. Instead, they focus on what they can control in their lives. They recognize that sometimes, the only thing they can control is their attitude.

  • 5 – They Don’t Worry About Pleasing Everyone

Mentally strong people recognize that they don’t need to please everyone all the time. They’re not afraid to say no or speak up when necessary. They strive to be kind and fair, but can handle other people being upset if they didn’t make them happy.

  • 6 – They Don’t Fear Taking Calculated Risks

They don’t take reckless or foolish risks, but don’t mind taking calculated risks. Mentally strong people spend time weighing the risks and benefits before making a big decision, and they’re fully informed of the potential downsides before they take action.

  •  7 – They Don’t Dwell on the Past

Mentally strong people don’t waste time dwelling on the past and wishing things could be different. They acknowledge their past and can say what they’ve learned from it. However, they don’t constantly relive bad experiences or fantasize about the glory days. Instead, they live for the present and plan for the future.

  • 8 – They Don’t Make the Same Mistakes Over and Over

They accept responsibility for their behavior and learn from their past mistakes. As a result, they don’t keep repeating those mistakes over and over. Instead, they move on and make better decisions in the future.

  • 9 – They Don’t Resent Other People’s Success

Mentally strong people can appreciate and celebrate other people’s success in life. They don’t grow jealous or feel cheated when others surpass them. Instead, they recognize that success comes with hard work, and they are willing to work hard for their own chance at success.

  • 10 – They Don’t Give Up After the First Failure

They don’t view failure as a reason to give up. Instead, they use failure as an opportunity to grow and improve. They are willing to keep trying until they get it right.

  • 11 – They Don’t Fear Alone Time

Mentally strong people can tolerate being alone and they don’t fear silence. They aren’t afraid to be alone with their thoughts and they can use downtime to be productive. They enjoy their own company and aren’t dependent on others for companionship and entertainment all the time but instead can be happy alone.

  • 12 – They Don’t Feel the World Owes Them Anything

They don’t feel entitled to things in life. They weren’t born with a mentality that others would take care of them or that the world must give them something. Instead, they look for opportunities based on their own merits.

  • 13 – They Don’t Expect Immediate Results

Whether they are working on improving their health or getting a new business off the ground, mentally strong people don’t expect immediate results. Instead, they apply their skills and time to the best of their ability and understand that real change takes time

Holy cow, Batman. Guess what, nothing here on her list is too different from what I have been writing about for the past 3 months.  There really are only a core set of basic life lessons that can help us all be happier and accomplish more.  The key to all this is finding the way to practice and create the good habits.

Practice makes perfect

I once received advice from someone about habits and the necessity of working to change them.  Think about a tree and its roots.  A root takes time to be nurtured, to grow and become a key support system for the tree.  Now consider that some of these roots are good habits and some are bad.  If you have had a bad habit for a long time, i.e. dwelling in the past, obsessing about the future or having a bad self-image, that root is going to be large and massive.  You can’t just ignore it because it is part of the trees support system.  If you just chop out a bad root and don’t have a strong good root to take over, the tree can fall. You need to ensure you have developed some strong good habit roots to support you as you cut off the bad ones.  And once the good habits become the core support system, they will overcome the bad ones and be what you rely on going forward.

How do you create those strong, good roots then?  Practice. This is a no brainer when we are talking about sports, music, cooking, etc.  No one expects someone to walk onto the soccer field and suddenly score 5 goals, while defending the goal at the same time.  A winning athlete will typically practice hours each day to excel at their sport.  We all know that there are some naturally gifted people, but that number is minimal.  Ask any athlete, musician and successful business woman what their secret to success is and they will say hard work and practice.  Even in the business world, we start with a strong educational background and degrees.  We engage in different enablement sessions throughout our career. We may even spend money to go back to school to get an MBA or certificate or hire a professional coach to help us improve.

Why then, do we not do this for ourselves?  Why don’t we dedicate enough time for ourselves to practice these new skills?  Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff… and It’s All Small Stuff, Richard Carlson talks about, “Becoming what you practice”.  There were many items that I had grouped under this category.

Establishing your own routine

Each morning I begin my day with a series of activities to help me prepare for the day and help me develop the skills to better live in the present and not sweat the small stuff.  Richard talks about quieting the mind, getting up early, scheduling time for inner work, relax, set aside quiet time everyday, develop your own helping rituals.  Richard is not alone here. Amy talks about it in #11 and #13 above; Don’t Fear Alone Time and Don’t Expect Immediate Results.  Other people I have listened to talk about a Power Up and Power Down hour each day.  Whatever the routine, the bottom line is that people are investing in themselves to be mentally strong, happier and accomplished. This takes me back to one of my first blogs where I talked about, Is it ever ok to be Selfish.  This is the epitome of being selfish.  Once you are strong you will be in a better place to help others.

My motivation to get there was Hal Elrod’s The Miracle Morning approach.  He talks about Life S*A*V*E*R*S.  My husband and I have been getting up an hour earlier every day, Monday through Friday, to practice our Miracle morning.  We committed to doing it for 30 days.  Three months later we, it is now a key element of our lifestyle.  We even managed to train the dog we were watching to respect our 25 minutes of silence.  She would get very excited when my eyes opened after meditation and my earphones came off because then she knew it was time for exercise and she could join in.  Rather than changing our ways of doing things, we knew it was important to hold that sacred and have others (meaning the dog) work around us. (See Reprogramming your belief system for additional items I got from this book).

The hardest part of getting to this point is making the commitment and then creating the strong root that overtakes the bad habits, i.e. sleeping in, wallowing in self-pity, thinking other things are more important. Honestly though, the rewards are there.  Even our money tree is flourishing!

May this motivate you to define a personal routine to ensure you can focus and enable yourself to be happier and more successful.

There is no glory in practice, but without practice there is no glory… – Unknown

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *