“Instead of working toward retirement, work toward your ideal lifestyle. There is usually a path to get there in a few years instead of a few decades” (James Clear, 28 Jan 2021)
I read this quote from James Clear and it got me thinking. I have a very busy job, working on a huge project hiring a global team. Sometimes it’s hard to work out what to do next, there is so much to do. Speed is of the essence. There are high expectations and it’s easy to lose track of what is important and tell the difference between what you can and can’t control.
It’s easy to be dragged down by people who think that nothing is ever good enough…
I was reflecting on all this and think my job is like a never ending and slightly weird game of pass the parcel where every day and every hour I have to unwrap another layer of the accountability parcel to find yet another seemingly unassailable challenge. It’s easy to be consumed by the little problems that really don’t matter, to focus on negativity. Then there are all the emails...I’m copied into everything that is going on! It’s all so confusing.
The James Clear quote resonated with a book a friend recently recommended to me - Useful Belief by Chris Helder. For me, the book was like pressing “restart” on a computer….a fresh outlook!
Useful Belief...the reviews. I read the review “useful belief turns the “be positive” industry upside down with a fresh and modern approach to achievement” and it piqued my interest. “Sometimes things in life are not positive. Sometimes bad things happen to good people”. Yes, I thought, 2020 was my worst ever year, after 2019 of course. “If you’ve had a nightmare year, the last thing you want to hear is “be positive!” Instead, you need an actual strategy to dig yourself out."
I read the book (actually I listened to it on Audible and recommend this to you too) and here are my “restart” post-it notes for January:
1. Focus on what is useful. Work out what you can and can’t control and focus on what is helpful. Rather than live life in past regrets look for opportunities of learning and ask, why did that happen and what did I learn from it. Accept whatever you are doing or experience you are having and find the best mindset to go with it. Focus on what is useful.
2. Be present. This is the best time to be doing my job, in my industry. It's where I am right now and what I am supposed to be doing.
3. Successful people see opportunities that unsuccessful people don’t. If you look for problems you will always find them and its unlikely you will see the opportunities because they will be way, way over there. Don’t be consumed by lowest common denominator thinking, the little problems really don’t matter. Energy is a decision - successfull people possess boundless energy and have made a decision to be like this.
4. Filter out the waste of time and don’t get sucked into things that don’t fit. Work out what activities are most useful to the success of your role, what time of day to focus on them and for how long - and recognise the activities that appear to be producing results but are not really having an impact.
What is the useful belief you can develop around the things you are doing today?
- Simon Clark