Do What Works and Stop Doing What Doesn't
By Michael Angier
Success is simple. Just be clear about what you want and go after it. That and a few million details and you've got it made.
Let's assume that you already know what you want in your life and what it would take to make you feel successful.
But how do you make that happen?
It takes a clear and impassioned focus on your dreams and constant and diligent attention to what you do, how you do it and ways in which you can do it better. Sounds simple, doesn't it?
It is, but it's not easy.
I remember a conversation I had with a friend awhile back about reaching a financial goal. I was undecided about which of many projects I should focus on--which one should get my limited time and energies. He looked at me very calmly and said,"Follow the money."
I thought, "That's good advice."
It made total sense. It was a goal that involved finances, so why not go for the projects that produced the most money. It was simple. It was right on. And I wasn't seeing it because I'd lost my perspective. I was too involved in “busyness” instead of paying attention to business. I was caught up in the thick of thin things.
It's not uncommon. It's easy to confuse activity with accomplishment. Unless we're really paying attention, we can be very busy doing the wrong things. As we dig our hole deeper and wider, we often find out later that we've been digging in the wrong place.
What was right yesterday, what worked last year, what was innovative a month ago may very well be obsolete today. If you can't pick your head up and survey the landscape once in awhile, you're going to get beaten by a competitor who does.
Our most valuable commodities are time, energy and knowledge. How we apply these is critical to our success.
Make a list of everything you do and what your intended results are from those efforts. You'll find the 80/20 Rule alive and well. About twenty percent of your efforts will be producing eighty percent of your positive results. Look for ways to reduce or eliminate the other eighty percent and do more of the twenty.
Some things we do produce no results at all. We just keep doing them because we've always done them and didn't really question their usefulness.
Question everything! If you had to justify your investment of time and energy to a boss or a board of directors, could you? Are you sure?
You wouldn't invest money unless it was giving you a return. Why should your time and energy be any different?
Persistence is a great virtue, but it must be balanced with the ability to see a better plan and put it into action. Learn to cut your losses.
We're not entering the Information Age. We are already in it. It's not enough to work hard. We have to work SMART. Being a good steward means making good use of the talents and resources we've been given. It requires thinking. It requires close attention.
It's up to us--and only us--to be consistently analyzing our actions and the results they produce. Do it, dump it or change it.
Do what works and stop doing what doesn't.
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