We all get caught up riding the waves of life.
Sometimes the waves are 100ft tall and slam into us like a bus. Other times the waves are gone and peace and calm settles on the beach of our lives. But what if I told you both the 100ft waves and the calm could both be unhealthy distractions? Yes both of them.
Something that dawned on me recently. I work hard to improve something about myself. Maybe it's my communication skills. Maybe it's working out to get healthier. Maybe it's pushing myself to spend more and more time drawing. Or even better it's me trying to spend more time talking to The Lord. But through all that a different part of my life starts to unravel. Why is that?
Well in part it's because the world is out to get ya. Honestly. And while you're working on one area of your life, there's a good chance your guard has dropped in another area allowing it to falter.
For instance I was doing really good at drawing, but then my work out routine broke down. Or I try to get organized but then the reality of currently being alone starts to infect my thought life. Leaving me in negative emotional places filled with doubt and then the enemy starts trying to pry the door of temptation open.
Have you ever started to get traction or improve in one area, only to realize later that you lost ground in another area of your life? Perhaps one you had really thought you had cemented down?
It occurred to me. What if it's all just a nasty game being played. What if the solution, the path out to success is actually slowly raising up each area of our life. Instead of dedicated drilling focus on one aspect, we slowly raise up each area.
It's kind of an amalgamation of the books I have been reading. Like "Atomic Habits", "Rhinoceros Success", and others.
Now don't get me wrong, this process would make things take longer. But as I have come to understand, if you truly want to be successful and impactful in profound ways. You have to shore up all the sides of your life and your character. And that takes time!
But now that just leaves us at the question. Seems that question is becoming a cornerstone of my life...
How do you do it?
All the words above don't do anyone, including myself, any good if I don't talk about How do you do it!?
Sadly the answer is one of life's and The Lord's answers that I am running headlong into a lot lately. It's not one of my favorites that's for sure. But it's the answer, the right answer, and the best answer.
Do the work.
Yup. Simple concept. Tough to do. We have to do the work of paying attention to our lives. It's kinda like how Dave Ramsey talks about personal finance. If you just start paying attention to where your money is going, you can change your financial future. And with this it's much the same. Pay attention to how you are doing each day with all your important areas.
Don't just focus on "Did I work out today". Yes ask yourself that! But then follow up afterwards with the rest of your life:
- "Did I keep my integrity today?"
- "Did I avoid that temptation today?"
- "Did I keep my focus and not get distracted by entertainment?"
- "Did I make progress on that project?"
- "Did I get my To Do list done today?"
Pay attention to each one. As long as you are not drifting backwards that's a huge success! Because you have improved or kept it all in good shape for another day! That's a huge success then! No backsliding is success!
Now if you backslide in one or more areas, that's fine. Focus on those a tad more tomorrow and shore those up again. Or prepare for the next time you know you're going to be tested in those areas again.
Honestly this is a new concept for me. I have spent more than a decade intensely focusing on one aspect of my character or another. And then switching to intensely focus on the next one to fix. Time will tell the tale if it's a wise path. But in today's world of quick fixes, shortcuts, and generally shallow thinking. Perhaps a wide net of focus with slow and gradual improvement is a good counter to the world's gravity.