No I will not excuse you. And you should not try to excuse you either. I don’t want to hear your excuses. Because they tell me you are trapped in a view point that the world controls your destiny.
However, the world does push you. And those pushes can explain some of the choices you make. You can explain your decisions. And that I want to hear. But these are explanations, not excuses.
The explanations say you are in charge and you allowed this thing to influence you. It was your choice. Your fault. You own it. And that’s okay.
The explanation tells me what you are susceptible to. Certain forces are harder for you to resist. So you must understand them that you might better prepare, exert more effort, and not let them dictate your choices.
For you are still in control. You own the choice. And while there are explanations that help you understand your choices, there are no more excuses.
Of all the times in my life I’ve had to choose between compassion, punishment, anger, or indifference I’ve never afterwards regretted choosing compassion.
What does it take for you to hit the wall, for exhaustion to overwhelm you? Are you naturally blessed with energy reserves? Or do you crash early and often?
What if there is nothing natural about it? What if it isn’t a blessing?
In fact, it is very much a choice.
Energy is a choice.
It is a lifestyle choice. Exercise. Eat well. Do work you enjoy. Practice gratitude. Be altruistic. All of these lifestyle choices contribute to your energy.
It is also a momentary choice. In sports this is called a second wind or an extra gear or a will to win or wanting it more. All of these terms describe a choice that players make to ignore or fight through the pain to increase their effort at the moment when most others begin to flail.
How about you? What choices are you making?
Even with a Don’t Do list you’ll still have too much to do.
One of the great differentiators in how well people succeed, perform, and stress or relax themselves is how effectively they choose what to fail to do.
You make this choice every day. You skim some emails, delete others without reading, and take your time with still others.
You choose to attend meetings or not. To read a book that develops your skills or not. To reach out to people who will build your network or not.
You have been given more tasks and responsibilities than you can possibly perform.
So what will you choose to fail to do?
I received the following email:
I have no choices right now. I hate my job. I am overloaded. There are fewer people doing the same amount of work and no one is getting any bonus or any appreciation. I can’t risk leaving my job or showing dissatisfaction. How am I supposed to handle the rule-changes that have happened in the last two years and show no signs of letting up?
There is no simple answer, but there are two factors that can make the situation easier. These factors are perspective and choice.
If your expectations of what work should be like were forged during a booming economy, it is time to revise them. Sadly, one of the keys to happiness is indeed – low expectations.
You have a lousy job, but you have a job. You aren’t getting a bonus, but you have a salary. Your home may be losing value on paper, but you have a home. Be thankful.
Gratitude gives you energy to feel better about yourself and perform more effectively in your work and your relationships. Seeking out those aspects of life (and work) that you can be thankful for is more than just a feel good triviality. Focusing on gratitude on a daily basis has been shown to lead to better sleep and physical health and higher goal achievement.
We need this in tough times more than ever.
[Tomorrow I will address choice.]
When I created my hero movie around the launch of Be the Hero, my video guy repeatedly told me, “A confused mind says, ‘No.'”
At the end of the movie we wanted to make some offer to those who watched. I wanted to offer choices: buy the book, take the quiz, sign up for tips, visit the site.
It was too much. Maybe some people would have clicked through. But many would have experienced choice paralysis which Barry Schwartz describes here along with many other problems with offering too many choices.
So contrary to what we might believe about always wanting more choices, there is great value in limiting the choices you offer.
BTW, did you click on any of the links above?
What if I hadn’t given you any of those choices and instead said you just absolutely must click this one? Well? Did you?
I’m in Hawaii for a speech at a charity event and everywhere I go people are saying aloha. This is a word that means more than just hello. It conveys peace, compassion, and friendliness.
I recently said, “Hi. How ya doing?” to a toll booth operator. He responded with a big grin and what I perceived to be a completely sincere, “Sensational!” It offered an incredibly unexpected burst of positive energy. Clearly it wasn’t the first time he had given that response.
One of my heroes is Marshall Goldsmith. I saw him speak in 2003 and he explained that he signs off every speech, every email, and every correspondence with, “Life is good.”
Tomorrow I’m going to write about the importance of the common phrases in your lexicon, but today I’m curious just to know what they are. I invite you to respond to this post and tell me. If you can’t think of any – no worries. Incidentally, “no worries” is one of my common phrases. What’s yours?