Take a moment to imagine where our society would be if we (people and businesses) allowed ourselves to believe we have no need for improvement.
If we settled for "good enough," instead of reaching for excellence.
If in the afterglow of great success, we adopted an attitude of "We've arrived!" and neglected to ask, "How can we improve and reach the next level?"
One of the most unique and powerful gifts we all have is the ability to better ourselves every day, in every way.
It is the ultimate opportunity to have the emotional, intellectual and physical faculties to identify and execute change. And it pays huge dividends, in both our personal and professional lives.
We can study a little every day, either by reading, listening to or watching something that will support us to make shifts in how we take care of ourselves and our future.
Even the smallest steps can quickly compound into vast improvements in:
- Who we are
- How we act
- How we react
- How we attract
The Japanese call it Kaizen … or “constant improvement.”
Jeff Olson wrote about it decades ago in The Slight Edge.
Darren Hardy wrote about it more recently in The Compound Effect.
Let's look at some areas of our lives where small daily improvements can add up to make huge differences over time:
What could be more important? Take care of your body; it is the only one you get. It could last well past 100 years of vitality and wellness.
Here are a few things we can do every day:
- Drop the sugar or salt you usually add to your food.
- Enjoy one less beer or one more helping of fiber or greens.
- Move away from white flour.
- Stop buying the things at the grocery store that do not support your health. If they are not in the kitchen, you are less likely to eat them.
- Rethink how you look at food: from a source of pleasure to a source of necessary fuel. Food is fuel, bad fuel causes engine failure ... good fuel wins races.
2. Drink more water. Put a gallon of water in the refrigerator and make it your goal to consume it every day.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Walk to the mailbox.
- Hire a personal trainer.
- Do something fun and physical every day.
4. Take time to relax … even 20 minutes a day can make a difference. Give yourself permission to lie in the hammock or take a quiet bath.
This is your ticket to freedom, fun, adventure, and contribution. Anyone can become wealthy. The level you need for freedom is different from others. Find your number. How much in assets and income do you want in order to live life to the fullest?
Then do the following every day:
1. Add value to YOU as a professional. It does not matter if you are a chicken chopper or a rocket scientist … add value to your income-earning self.
- Learn something new that has value to your clients or employer.
- Add a new skill.
- Develop a new distinction.
- Form a new habit.
- Offer more of your professional self than you have before, you will earn more every year.
2. Save more. Save more of what you spend money on now. Look for ways to get the same value for less money.
- Buy a three-year-old car versus brand new.
- Eat out once less each month.
- Exchange full cable services for the basic.
Anyone can figure out how to save $100 a month off just his or her existing expenses. One hundred dollars saved and invested over 30 years equals hundreds of thousands in wealth. Just $100 a month!
- Appreciating assets include real estate, home improvements, your professional value, stocks, and bonds.
- Depreciating assets include autos, entertainment, gifts and impulse purchases.
Just by shifting a few hundred dollars you will add hundreds of thousands to your net worth.
4. Build a royalty asset income. Even when built part time, this asset income adds significant wealth. Five hundred dollars a month in asset income is, in itself, “worth” $100,000. The added $500 a month you invest in real estate or stocks can be worth hundreds of thousands over time.
How You Act
- Are you kind?
- Are you compassionate?
- Are you generous?
- Do you give credit to others?
- Do you speak encouraging words?
- Do you speak about people's strengths to others?
- Do you work enthusiastically?
- Do you do what you say you will do?
- Do you tell your truth when it could be a contribution?
- Do you listen to empower others?
How you and I act creates our value in the world … to the people around us like family, friends, coworkers and clients. When we act with excellence, speak with excellence, listen with excellence, and behave as excellent as we can in the moment, we are valued, we are attractive, we are trusted and we are loved.
Do these things every day to improve how you act:
- Say something kind every day … then increase it to every hour.
- Do something kind every day. “Pay it forward.”
- Listen to someone … really listen to what they are saying, what they are not saying, what they really want to say, and how they feel. Listen to someone at a therapeutic level once a day.
2. Audit your conversations. Develop the habit of asking yourself after each statement:
- What was my motive in saying what I said and how I said it?
- Was it to contribute to the person, or to make myself look good?
- How do you feel about someone who speaks to make themselves look good, more important than you, or more “right” than you?
- Make a bold request that a friend or loved one stop speaking negatively about him or herself – battering their own poor self-esteem.
- Make a request that your spouse does something that you know will improve your love and relationship.
When bold requests are made out of the context of support and improvement, they are often the tipping point that leads a person to act with excellence.
How You React
If actions are those things we think about (however briefly) before doing them, then reactions are those things we do without thinking. They are our built-in boomerang, over which we may feel we have no control or personal responsibility. Most people react in negative and destructive ways.
We can develop new “reactions” by developing new interpretations and habits.
1. When someone speaks down to you, what do you think and how do you feel about it?
- What is your reaction?
- Do you feel they think you are smaller and less than them?
- Do you think they may be right?
- Do you react with anger and retaliation, or do you shut down?
- How would it change your reaction if, when someone spoke down to you, you “interpreted” that they, themselves, feel small and could really use a lift?
- This new interpretation gives you a perfect opportunity to engage in improving how you act (See steps 1-3 above).
2. When someone is late, do you think they disrespected you?
- How do you retaliate?
- What if instead, you interpreted their lateness as due to a life in overwhelm, a sick child, or someone being late for them?
- Do you see how that changes your reaction and gives another opportunity for steps 1-3 above?
3. When someone in authority tells you “no” or tells you to do something versus asking, how do you react?
- What if you interpreted that this leader is working on their path of developing compassionate leadership?
- That they have more responsibilities than they can handle and they need support?
- Again, see steps 1-3 above.
How do you achieve the epic accomplishment of walking around the world? One step at a time and with each step the next step is easier, wiser, stronger, faster.
How to you get fit? One bite at a time. How do you earn a million dollars … one conversation at a time.
I believe in you,
P.S. Comment below: Tell me what you thought as your read this blog? What questions do you have for me?