“You can achieve whatever you want, as long as you are willing to pay the price.”~Elvin Semrad
If you could do or be anything in the world, what would it be? For some people, it would be to be a famous singer, musician, film or television star, writer, or a high profile professional athlete. Others desire simpler things such as to get out of debt, retire early or own and operate a business. Whatever your lifelong dream is, it IS possible–no matter how remote that possibility is. How do I know? Because others have done it.Advertising
So what makes some people successful and others mediocre? Is it innate talent, education or just plain ole good luck? Is there some secret formula that some discover and others don’t? Could it be as simple as being in the right place, at the right time and knowing the right people? The answer to all of those questions is–yes. All of those elements are factors in determining your level of success. However, the two most important characteristics that ultimately determine success are a relentless abundance of ambition and a dogmatic, never quit, supercharged work ethic.
Ambition, simply defined is a strong desire to achieve a goal requiring determination and hard work. That’s it. So, the question isn’t what do you want? The true fundamental question pivotal to your success is: how bad do you want it? The latter question requires an answer, because ambition has a price…Advertising
We all understand work ethic. If you have ever accomplished anything worthwhile, you know what hard work is. Our work ethic is developed in our early experiences and interaction with work. There are several questions worth pondering that will highlight where you value system concerning work was derived. Were your efforts productive? Were they rewarded? Was laziness and laissez faire-ness rewarded? Were you pushed or coddled? Were you allowed to quit? Did you quit often?
The equation is simple: Ambition + Hard work = SuccessAdvertising
Ambition – Hard work = A Dream
Many people say they are ambitious–but are they really? Simply wanting something is not enough. True ambition is always coupled with hard work. They are conjoined twins that cannot be separated. Putting in the minimum amount of effort to achieve a satisfactory result is a behavior associated with people that have little or no ambition. Successful individuals take nothing for granted. They realize that it takes hard work and dogmatic commitment to their goals and they may have to put in extra hours or do things that may feel punishing to either their mind or body – quite often both.
We romanticize the dreamer who fantasizes about what could be. If you are not willing to work hard to achieve what you want, you are a dreamer; stay stay in bed.Advertising
Hard work – Ambition = Hamster in a wheel
Truth be told, most people fall into this category. They work hard, put in long hours, go the extra mile but continuously come up empty. Ambition (a strong desire for a specific thing) is the focus that allows you to aim your hard work at a specific target. We’ve all seen the hamster in the wheel. The tiny creature runs and runs, striving to reach an imaginary destination but the culmination of all of that expended energy and effort is exhaustion and being in the exact same place where it all began. Do you see yourself here?
Ambition + Hard work = Success
Find your passion and make it your life’s mission to achieve it. Truly successful people cultivate ambitious habits.Advertising
- They are goal oriented. Once they accomplish one goal, they immediately set another. They are always reaching. They do not, however, broadcast their goals. They are internally focused.
- They are relentless. They are laser focused and when they do get side-tracked they regroup and recommit to their path. Set backs are not failure to them–they are opportunities to grow. The are dissatisfied with mediocrity and avoid becoming complacent. They commit to the process and always follow through.
- They take risks. Chasing a dream is risky business. Ambition requires risks and involves a certain amount of failure. The risk of failure will cultivate courage if you continue to take those calculated leaps of faith.
- They believe in themselves. …even when know one else does. They are confident that they can accomplish their goal and know how to use their own unique gifts and talents to their advantage.
- They are positive. Success is a state of mind. In order to remain focused and keep driving toward your goal, your mind must be disciplined to remain optimistic in the face of disappointment, failures and the drudgery that accompanies ambition.
- The are strategic. Focusing on what is important, the ability to prioritize, the ability to conserve and expend the right amounts of energy and effort–in short, the ability to be strategic about your ambitions is extraordinarily important. This minimizes set backs and wasted time. Being strategic means that you squarely face where you are visualize, where you want to be and then draw a map connecting the two points.
There is a difference between a dreamer and a dream chaser. One stays in bed fantasizing about what could be and the other wakes up every morning and fills their ambition mug to the brim with focused hard work and diligence.
Last Updated on October 21, 2021
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.
Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:
- 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.
- Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.
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.
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.
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.
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.
More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination
- What Is Procrastination and How to Stop It (The Complete Guide)
- How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators
- 5 Types of Procrastination (And How To Fix Each of Them)
Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com