“WORDS ARE POWERFUL. THEY HAVE THE ABILITY TO CREATE A MOMENT AND THE STRENGTH TO DESTROY IT.”
– SUSAN GALE.
Words have the power to attract, love, and to hate. By listening to the right words we can see the things we have not seen before. Words can make that much of a difference. They can transform your life or somebody else’s.
There were times in my life when I wanted to give up, but then I would put on motivational video or listen to TED Talks about never giving up. It was because of their motivational speeches that I would feel inspired and motivated again. By listening to the powerful words, not only has my life changed, but I have also learned what a big difference someone can make to the lives of others, simply by saying something that resonates.
If you are unfamiliar with Reddit, it is an online social media community where users vote on content. Some Reddit users submit links to online content and vote on which links are important. In my opinion, one of the greatest aspects of Reddit is the AskReddit.
It is essentially a forum where a member of Reddit can post a question and the entire community can join in and give their opinion on the matter. Some are interesting, some are funny, and some are incredibly inspiring, like the one that you are going to read about in this article.
Some Redditors were asked the question, “What is something someone said that forever changed your way of thinking?”
Here are some of the top answers:
“When I was 38, I contemplated beginning a two-year Associates Degree in Radiography. I was talking to a friend and had almost talked myself out of doing it. I said ‘I’m too old to start that. I’ll be 40 when I get my degree.’ My friend said, ‘If you don’t do it, you’ll still be 40, but without the degree.’ I’m nearly 60 now, and that degree has been the difference between making a decent living, and struggling to get by.
“When I was young and having what I thought was a serious relationship talk with my first real SO, I told her that I just wanted to find the right person. Without missing a beat she said, ‘Everybody is looking for the right person, and nobody is trying to be the right person.’
That stopped me in my tracks.”
“My mom was dying. A friend told me, ‘You have your whole life to freak out about this– don’t do it in front of her.'”
“I was 13 years old, trying to teach my 6-year-old sister how to dive into a swimming pool from the side of the pool. It was taking quite a while as my sister was really nervous about it. We were at a big, public pool, and nearby there was a woman, about 75 years old, slowly swimming laps. Occasionally, she would stop and watch us. Finally, she swam over to us just when I was really putting the pressure on, trying to get my sister to try the dive, and my sister was shouting, ‘But I’m afraid!! I’m so afraid!!’ The old woman looked at my sister, raised her fist defiantly in the air, and said, ‘So be afraid! And then do it anyway!'”
“’It’s only embarrassing if you’re embarrassed.’ Changed my life forever.”
“I met a person who was in a wheelchair. He related a story about how a person once asked if it was difficult to be confined to a wheelchair. He responded, ‘I’m not confined to my wheelchair – I am liberated by it. If it wasn’t for my wheelchair, I would be bed-bound and never able to leave my room or house.'”
“’The person that you will spend the most time within your life is yourself, so try to make yourself as interesting as possible.’”
“Paraphrasing what another Redditor told someone, but it was basically, ‘Don’t be a dick to your dog. He’s a few years of your life, but you are all of his.'”
“‘Everyone you meet knows something you don’t.’ My grandfather told me this, and it’s been a good reminder that I am surrounded by teachers.”
“A good friend once told me, ‘You have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.'”
“’I’m not afraid of death. It’s the stake one puts up in order to play the game of life. – Jean Girraudoux.’ It is the only thing I’ve ever read that helped me deal with my own mortality.”
“‘People won’t remember the words you say, but how it made them feel.”
“’Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes but, when we look back everything is different… – C.S Lewis’.”
“‘Education is expensive, but no education is more expensive.’ Definitely took school more seriously after someone said that to me.”
“‘Next year, you’ll wish you had started today.'”
“In an episode of Louie, he tells one of his daughters, ‘The only time you should look in your neighbor’s bowl is to make sure he has enough.’ I’m sure Louis CK didn’t invent that on his own, but it was the first time I’d heard it, and it’s stuck with me.”
“’Do it to do it, not to have done it.’”
“’You are not required to set yourself on fire to keep other people warm.'”
“I rather live a life of ‘oh wells’ than ‘what ifs?’”
“A small thing, but vastly more important than it sounds:
I was sitting on a bus once, and we came to the railroad tracks. There were some cars sitting in between us and the next red light, so if a train came, we’d be stuck until it had passed. That was always a couple of annoying minutes.
Then the light turned green, and the bus went across the train tracks without having to wait for a train. Phew, crisis averted. Then, behind me, a mother said to her small child: ‘That was too bad, we didn’t get to see the train today.’
That was the perfect way to frame that. Why not enjoy what you get?”
Featured photo credit: First Descents via firstdescents.org
Last Updated on July 10, 2020
The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, 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.
Table of Contents
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