“In baseball and in business, there are three types of people. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen, and those who wonder what happened.” – Tommy Lasorda, Hall of Fame baseball player and manager (1954-1956, player; 1976-1996, manager)
There is a lot to be said for committing the time and energy it takes to be an athlete. Many people grow up engaging in athletics at various levels. Whether or not they reach the highest levels of athletic competition is irrelevant because there are essential life lessons to be gained from participating in athletics.
While there is a multitude of arenas one can acquire important life lessons, athletics serve to challenge the physical and mental psyche of its participants. This doesn’t infer that only athletes understand physical and mental obstacles, but that athletes have the unique test of overseeing both, often simultaneously, and amidst other teammates and competitors.
Athletes undergo a lot of strenuous demands on the mind and body. This level of stress, assuming it is healthy, aids to benefit the athlete in other areas outside the sphere of competition. Essentially, what an athlete acquires in terms of knowledge, skills, and abilities coupled with what is amassed intangibly, arms the individual with “life” qualities that have the potential of contributing to enduring success in any field.Advertising
It’s important to remember that this list isn’t an attempt to generalize all athletes. It is merely a personal belief that athletics have a very positive effect on participants who take full advantage of them.
1. Athletes are disciplined and have strong work ethics.
Unless a particular athlete is blessed with raw, athleticism and talent, which equates to complete domination over the competition, athletes have to dedicate themselves to honing their crafts. It is also noteworthy that many of the greatest athletes possess immense natural ability which is complemented by an intense work ethic. And as the motivational quote states, “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”
Employers desire employees who are disciplined and know what it takes to work hard. Athletes possess both of these necessary qualities or they probably wouldn’t have become athletes in the first place.
2. Athletes know what it means to fail, persevere, and overcome adversity.
Anyone who participates in athletics will at some point encounter obstacles. Athletics are a great metaphor for life. There are ebbs and flows to an athlete’s performances and experiences on the field or court. This is similar to life.Advertising
An athlete will fail at one time or another during the scope of competition. At this point the athlete has only two options: give up or persevere. Most athletes will choose to work through and conquer the impediments before them so they can achieve the goals they have set for themselves. Athletics offer a unique opportunity for athletes to learn how to fail gracefully and persist patiently.
3. Athletes are goal-oriented.
While many athletes are involved in their sports simply for the “love of the sport,” there is often something else that motivates and inspires them. Athletes excel at setting goals, pursuing those goals through training and nutrition mediums, and eventually accomplishing their objectives. This skill is very useful in the workforce where setting goals is critical for any successful business.
4. Athletes usually know how to work as a member of a team.
I write usually here because not all athletes are involved in team sports. While the majority of athletes participate as members of a team there are some who perform sports that are individual in nature.
Given the large proportion of athletes who are involved in team sports it would behoove any employer who seeks willing and effective “team players” to hire athletes. Teamwork and learning how to be a competent teammate are ingrained into athletes’ psyches from the time they first engage in athletics.Advertising
5. Athletes know how to lead.
At some point during athletic competition an athlete has to be a leader. Whether this is vocally or through action, athletes acquire the necessary skills to lead.
Leading doesn’t merely occur during the heat of competitions; athletes lead by the way they train and take care of their bodies; they lead by the way they treat their teammates and coaches; and perhaps most importantly they lead by the way they represent themselves, their team, and their sports on and off the arena.
Not all athletes are charismatic or even desirable leaders, but somewhere inside they have acquired the capabilities to lead. Working with other people on a daily basis in pursuit of a common goal forces you to learn how to lead. In the end it is a matter of whether or not they are willing to use those abilities to the fullest.
6. Athletes know how to accept criticism.
At one point or another any athlete will receive criticism, constructive or otherwise, from a coach. If an athlete is unwilling to accept this criticism, than he or she is probably not going to last long in athletics.Advertising
Just like athletes learns how to accept failures and work through them, they must also learn how to accept criticism. Realizing that their coaches are looking out for their best interests makes accepting criticism more manageable.
Employers want employees who aren’t going to shut down every instance they are criticized. Athletes are often “thick-skinned” and able to handle critiques more fluidly.
7. Athletes know how to learn a new skill and utilize it.
One of the most important components of being a competent employee is the ability to learn a new skill and utilize it. All athletes must undergo some kind of skill development in order to sustain their athletic performances.
Athletes strive strenuously to hone their skills in order to make themselves the most complete asset for their specific sport. Equipped with voracious work ethics, and the desire to master their skills, many athletes ultimately breed themselves for success on and off the playing field. And many of the skills athletes whet will pale in comparison to the skills they learn in the workforce.Advertising
Featured photo credit: Kemba Walker via cdn-jpg.si.com
Last Updated on July 21, 2021
The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.
Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”
A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.
Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.
In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.
Table of Contents
From Creating Reminders to Building Habits
A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.
For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.
This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.
The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.
That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.
Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!
The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.
Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.
But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?
The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.
The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders
A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.
For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.
But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)
If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.
For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself) can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.
These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.
For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.
How to Make a Reminder Works for You
Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.
Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.
Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.
My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.
Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.
I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.
More on Building Habits
- 16 Everyday Habits of Highly Productive People
- How Long Does It Take to Break a Habit? Science Will Tell You
- How to Break Bad Habits: I Broke 3 Bad Habits in Less Than 2 Months
- How to Break a Habit and Hack the Habit Loop
Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com
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