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How To Move A Mountain

How To Move A Mountain


    We are heading into the time of year when we evaluate how we did with our goals during the past year and plan our new goals for the year to come. We reflect and look ahead all within a short span of time. When we do this, many of us will be disappointed because we have fallen short of our goals.

    Why is this?

    Is it because we didn’t do enough to make our goals a reality? Is it because we didn’t have a system in place to keep track of our progress?

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    Actually, the problem is that sometimes our goals are so big that they are like mountains — they end up being too overwhelming. These are the goals that we usually never achieve no matter how worthwhile they are.

    Here are some common examples to consider:

    The Lose Weight Mountain

    For a lot of people, losing weight is such a mountain. Many will make losing weight as one of their main New Year’s resolutions. Some will even join a gym and go with “full gusto” even if they haven’t exercised in years.

    Of course, many will end up quitting once February or March rolls around.

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    Many will go for those “lose weight fast” programs or go on extreme diets. These folks expect to lose a significant amount of weight within two weeks. Of course, results don’t happen like this. In the end, these desperate actions are abandoned and the person is left at where they originally began.

    The Make Money Mountain

    Another common mountain is to make money — fast. People still get suckered in easily by signing up to various “get rich quick” schemes as they are lured in by the reports of others who claim to be living the high life within weeks of starting. The tough economic times certainly have made many people even more gullible to such scams.

    Unfortunately, these people end up poorer after coughing up the initial funds to get into such moneymaking schemes. Quite often, friends are lost in the process as well if they were pressured to buy all sorts of supplements or other products as part of these systems — all designed to make money.

    Mountains: Chinese Proverb

    So just how do you move a mountain then?

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    Well, this brings us to an ancient Chinese proverb:

    “The man who moved a mountain was the one who began carrying away small stones.”

    The trick with very ambitious goals like losing weight or making lots of money is to take things in small steps slowly but on a regular basis, much like carrying away those small stones a bit at a time. When giant goals are broken down into small steps that can be handled easily, the results of all those small steps turn into giant goals being achieved over time.

    Once you realize that big goals are achieved bit by bit, you won’t be as gullible to buy into the claims of losing weight or making money quickly. Instead, you will take on logical, proven programs to get healthy or financially wealthy.

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    You will “carry away small stones” by exercising regularly at paces that are suitable for you and gradually increase intensity when you can handle it. You will slowly build your financial wealth with wise investing, saving or building of viable businesses over time.

    Conclusion

    So if you have ambitious goals, don’t make the mistake of trying to do everything at once hoping that you will succeed. It doesn’t work like that. If you have already abandoned such big goals, maybe revisit them — but with a new strategy.

    Don’t expect to rush through big goals. Instead, just start working towards them a little at a time but on a steady, regular basis so you still have forward momentum. Then in the future, you will be able to proudly look back and see what a big mountain you have moved.

    Feel free to share what big mountains you have moved in the past and which ones you plan to move in the future.

    (Photo credit: Alpamayo Peak in Cordilleras Mountain by Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on October 15, 2019

    Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

    Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

    Procrastination is very literally the opposite of productivity. To produce something is to pull it forward, while to procrastinate is to push it forward — to tomorrow, to next week, or ultimately to never.

    Procrastination fills us with shame — we curse ourselves for our laziness, our inability to focus on the task at hand, our tendency to be easily led into easier and more immediate gratifications. And with good reason: for the most part, time spent procrastinating is time spent not doing things that are, in some way or other, important to us.

    There is a positive side to procrastination, but it’s important not to confuse procrastination at its best with everyday garden-variety procrastination.

    Sometimes — sometimes! — procrastination gives us the time we need to sort through a thorny issue or to generate ideas. In those rare instances, we should embrace procrastination — even as we push it away the rest of the time.

    Why we procrastinate after all

    We procrastinate for a number of reasons, some better than others. One reason we procrastinate is that, while we know what we want to do, we need time to let the ideas “ferment” before we are ready to sit down and put them into action.

    Some might call this “creative faffing”; I call it, following copywriter Ray Del Savio’s lead, “concepting”.[1]

    Whatever you choose to call it, it’s the time spent dreaming up what you want to say or do, weighing ideas in your mind, following false leads and tearing off on mental wild goose chases, and generally thinking things through.

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    To the outside observer, concepting looks like… well, like nothing much at all. Maybe you’re leaning back in your chair, feet up, staring at the wall or ceiling, or laying in bed apparently dozing, or looking out over the skyline or feeding pigeons in the park or fiddling with the Japanese vinyl toys that stand watch over your desk.

    If ideas are the lifeblood of your work, you have to make time for concepting, and you have to overcome the sensation— often overpowering in our work-obsessed culture — that faffing, however creative, is not work.

    So, is procrastination bad?

    Yes it is.

    Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’re “concepting” when in fact you’re just not sure what you’re supposed to be doing.

    Spending an hour staring at the wall while thinking up the perfect tagline for a marketing campaign is creative faffing; staring at the wall for an hour because you don’t know how to come up with a tagline, or don’t know the product you’re marketing well enough to come up with one, is just wasting time.

    Lack of definition is perhaps the biggest friend of your procrastination demons. When we’re not sure what to do — whether because we haven’t planned thoroughly enough, we haven’t specified the scope of what we hope to accomplish in the immediate present, or we lack important information, skills, or resources to get the job done.

    It’s easy to get distracted or to trick ourselves into spinning our wheels doing nothing. It takes our mind off the uncomfortable sensation of failing to make progress on something important.

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    The answer to this is in planning and scheduling. Rather than giving yourself an unspecified length of time to perform an unspecified task (“Let’s see, I guess I’ll work on that spreadsheet for a while”) give yourself a limited amount of time to work on a clearly defined task (“Now I’ll enter the figures from last months sales report into the spreadsheet for an hour”).

    Giving yourself a deadline, even an artificial one, helps build a sense of urgency and also offers the promise of time to “screw around” later, once more important things are done.

    For larger projects, planning plays a huge role in whether or not you’ll spend too much time procrastinating to reach the end reasonably quickly.

    A good plan not only lists the steps you have to take to reach the end, but takes into account the resources, knowledge and inputs from other people you’re going to need to perform those steps.

    Instead of futzing around doing nothing because you don’t have last month’s sales report, getting the report should be a step in the project.

    Otherwise, you’ll spend time cooling your heels, justifying your lack of action as necessary: you aren’t wasting time because you want to, but because you have to.

    How bad procrastination can be

    Our mind can often trick us into procrastinating, often to the point that we don’t realize we’re procrastinating at all.

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    After all, we have lots and lots of things to do; if we’re working on something, aren’t we being productive – even if the one big thing we need to work on doesn’t get done?

    One way this plays out is that we scan our to-do list, skipping over the big challenging projects in favor of the short, easy projects. At the end of the day, we feel very productive: we’ve crossed twelve things off our list!

    That big project we didn’t work on gets put onto the next day’s list, and when the same thing happens, it gets moved forward again. And again.

    Big tasks often present us with the problem above – we aren’t sure what to do exactly, so we look for other ways to occupy ourselves.

    In many cases too, big tasks aren’t really tasks at all; they’re aggregates of many smaller tasks. If something’s sitting on your list for a long time, each day getting skipped over in favor of more immediately doable tasks, it’s probably not very well thought out.

    You’re actively resisting it because you don’t really know what it is. Try to break it down into a set of small tasks, something more like the tasks you are doing in place of the one big task you aren’t doing.

    More consequences of procrastination can be found in this article:

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    8 Dreadful Effects of Procrastination That Can Destroy Your Life

    Procrastination, a technical failure

    Procrastination is, more often than not, a sign of a technical failure, not a moral failure.

    It’s not because we’re bad people that we procrastinate. Most times, procrastination serves as a symptom of something more fundamentally wrong with the tasks we’ve set ourselves.

    It’s important to keep an eye on our procrastinating tendencies, to ask ourselves whenever we notice ourselves pushing things forward what it is about the task we’ve set ourselves that simply isn’t working for us.

    Featured photo credit: chuttersnap via unsplash.com

    Reference

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