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7 Lessons My Baby Taught Me

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7 Lessons My Baby Taught Me

A couple of weekends ago, I had the privilege of watching my nine-month-old son. This may not seem like a big deal, however, this was the first weekend that he and I would spend together alone. As my wife walked out the door, she turned and assured me that all would be fine and we would have a great time.

I didn’t doubt her, but there was a lingering question in the back of my head asking, “Are you sure you know what you are doing?”

Admittedly, I didn’t. I knew that I had to change him, feed him, play with him, and give him a bath, but other than that, I didn’t know how I was going to entertain him for an entire weekend.

As he looked at me with uncertainty (and rightfully so), I took a deep breath and asked him what he wanted to do. To my amazement, he said nothing.

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Back to square one.

After a little back and forth, it suddenly dawned on me that I had a unique opportunity to undo everything that my wife had taught him and teach him the things that I wanted to teach him.

I could teach him how to use power tools, play football, learn how to play Xbox, and many other “cool” things.

Much to my chagrin, he had no desire to learn any of these.

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It took some time, but after the “feeling out” phase, we had a blast.

We played, sang, danced, read a few books, and napped together.

The most amazing part of the weekend was not all the things we did together (although those were amazing), but rather what he ended up teaching me. Here are 7 lessons my baby taught me.

1. Be Fearless

As I watched him stumble his way around things, I realized that he is relentless in his pursuit of walking. As with any new skill, learning can be a struggle. What makes his pursuit remarkable is that his struggling only forced him to work harder at it. At such a young age, he understands that his goals will not happen if he does not work at them.

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2. Challenge Authority

He has just about mastered this. While unable to construct words yet, he has become very proficient at vocalizing his displeasure. Too often, we are afraid to speak up for fear of judgment, rejection, or ridicule.  Much like him voicing his concerns, if you know there is a better way to do something, speak up.

3. Never Stop Learning

Watching him is the most amazing experience. He uses the senses that most take for granted (touch, taste, smell, hearing, and feeling) to learn and interpret his surroundings. He understands that to achieve his goals, he must be willing to learn in different ways.

4. Try New Things

He is constantly attempting new things to see what they are and how they work. Yes, he gets frustrated, as we all do, but he never gives up, which is something that we all need to do.

5. Unconditionally Love Those Around You

No matter the time, day, or moment, when he looks at me, I know his love is unconditional. He has not had the time to experience love in any other way and due to this, remains innocent. Love is the answer. There is a reason an entire decade was formed around it.

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6. Never Forget Who Matters Most

At the moment my wife walked back in, his eyes lit up. Go home tonight and show those closest to you the same display of affection.

7. Zero Prejudice

He willingly goes to anyone. For him, it does not matter who they are, where they came from, or what they do. In a time of such uncertainty, imagine what would happen if we all took a moment to experience life in this way.

Life has a funny way of teaching us, and on occasion, these lessons might come from the most unlikely of sources. For me, that source is my son. The moments that he and I share together and the lessons that he has taught me will be things that I will never forget.

Featured photo credit: www.pixabay.com via pixabay.com

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Joel a Scott

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Last Updated on October 21, 2021

How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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