Saturday, July 7, 2007

Evolution Example: What I Learned the Past 30 Days

Well, I'm been away from the blog for a while (my last post was over a month ago). During this time, I found myself straying from my "Laws of Evolution". It was funny since I have invested quite a bit in researching and articulating these laws. I believe in them implicitly. They work, provided that you can maintain the discipline and commitment necessary to follow through on them.

And there, in a nutshell, was my problem the last month. Too little discipline. Not enough commitment. Too much immediate gratification. Too much reaction. Not enough planning. Too much "need" for approval. Not enough forgiveness. Too much judgment.

So a few days ago, I received a comment to Law #5: Be Impeccable With Your Appearance. In the comment, dreamer asked if I follow my own advice? Well, to be honest. Yes, I really do. But unfortunately, not always. The considerations of life inevitably have a way to interrupt what you want and sometimes when this happens, commitment and discipline is not enough. Sometimes, you have to stick your finger in the dam and wait. Other times, you choose to ignore what has worked for you. You get in ruts, so to speak; like the one I was in this past month.

I was recently served divorce papers from my wife (her attorney sent them to my attorney), and while I was relieved that we had reached another milestone, the act of reading the papers and seeing this brought up emotions in me that I had not felt in a while. Remorse. Regret. Anger. Resentment. Guilt. Each of these emotions added up to a healthy dose of self-pity that had me doubting myself, my worth, and power. This was evident to me more and more in my day-to-day activities as well. I stopped going to the gym regularly; my workouts were inconsistent. My motivation was waning towards work and personal events. I began to respect my diet less, and would not practice discipline when eating (I work to and believe in eating healthy). I would procrastinate; satisfying my need for immediate gratification first. I started smoking again (after not smoking since March / 2007).

Then, one day, a great thing happened. I woke up, and just felt tired of being sub-par. While I was in a rut, I was at least disciplined enough to recognize it for what it was: something I did have control over. I could change this; I just needed to maintain my discipline, focus, and commitment. Rather than beat myself up over this or judge myself harshly, I recognized this time in my life for what it was. A hiccup: nothing more, nothing less. There was nothing to feel guilty about; nothing to beat-myself-up over. We're fallible, after all; this cannot be ignored.

I've started working out regularly again. I'm prioritizing the things in my life. I'm back to blogging (which I love and missed), and I am working to eliminate the need for immediate gratification in my life. I've quit smoking yet again. Every day, I try and build a little more positive momentum and energy than I had the previous one. Does it work all the time? Of course not. But the more I practice it, the more it does work. The laws do have value. Like with anything, it just takes a few key things to make them pay off for you. So when you find yourself in a rut and cannot seem to over come it, remember:

  • Clearly define your expectations. Expectations count; they matter. When you live up to them you feel great; when you don't events can be perceived as a failure. If you want to change your life and break out of a rut, start by doing little things differently. Little things are much more manageable than large events, and the momentum you build with each individual success story will improve your confidence and ability to do more.

  • Plan out your accomplishments. Remember, measurement is empowering and is the best way to identify if you are doing what is important to you. That being said, plan out a list of daily / weekly accomplishments you would like to execute on, and track what gets done. You cannot complete what you do not know or plan.

  • Be congruent. Congruence means that your actions are aligned with your goals (ex. if you want to stop smoking, you'll stop buying cigarettes; if you want to lose weight, you'll eat better and exercise). Every day, you should check for congruence in your life. If you have it, then you are on your way to accomplishing your goals. If not, then you should reconsider their priority.

  • Reserve judgment. While it is important to measure your progress and be critical of it, do not make the mistake of blaming yourself or holding yourself in low esteem because of a lack of personal progress. Nothing good comes of this. Absolutely nothing. Instead of passing judgment on yourself, take a moment to learn from your life events and apply that knowledge to further yourself.
Now I know this is much easier to talk about than it is to practice every day. Sometimes, all we can do is react. It is important to recognize, however, that we do have choices. We all have options; and how we perform in life (both personally and professionally) is tied to directly to the choices we make. Our relationships, our careers, and our growth is tied to this. So, do not take this for granted. Remember: not doing anything is a choice, and one that rarely gets us what we want.

1 comment:

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