Wed, 18 June 2014
Have you ever noticed that over the years, you tend to do pretty much the same things? What I mean is, if you’re a reader you remain one, if you’re a writer you tend to write, if you’re a procrastinator you tend to keep procrastinating, and so forth. The key to being productive, profitable, and happy is not in changing your nature. It's in learning to turn your nature to your advantage.
In this week's episode, I'll share some ideas on how to do just that.
Tip Of The Week
Essentialism by Greg McKeown. This book is a great clarifying breath of fresh air. In an age where we are continually sold the idea that more is better, McKeown recommends “the disciplined pursuit of less.” From the book:
There should be no such thing as a Christian who is perpetually unhappy.
Feature Segment: How To Be Productive, Profitable, and Happy
I think one of the real tricks of success is to simply recognize these things you tend to do, and then find ways to make these tendencies support your success. In fact, I think most people are miserable because they fail to do just that. Instead of working with their tendencies in order to succeed (almost effortlessly), they identify their tendencies as the problem and vow to change.
That, my friend, is called swimming against the river. And while you may get credit for working your tail off while doing it, you’re not going to make much progress relative to the shoreline.
Case in point: for the longest time I was worried about my information “addiction”.
Just this morning, I read an entire business book. Read part of a novel. Checked out a few hundred new items in Feedly. And later I will sort through some 200 emails waiting for me.
I have dozens of PDFs in my “To Read” folder on my Macbook Air. I have dozens more videos and audios to go through in my “To Listen” and “To Watch” folders.
And once upon a time I thought something was wrong with me because of this kind of behavior. So I struggled against it. I read books about it. I read articles about it. I listened to self-help material about it. Is anyone other than me seeing the irony yet?
One day I stumbled across an article by Dan Kennedy in which he detailed his working habits… and I was shocked to discover they were nearly identical to mine (at least when it came to info-consumption)! And Dan saw it not as a weakness to be changed… but rather as a strength to be nurtured.
That was life-changing for me.
It gave me a way to stop struggling against my natural tendencies, and to embrace the way God made me. That tendency to process large quantities of unrelated information allows me to form connections between ideas, concepts, and methods that I would not possess if I limited my information intake. So now I structure my work and my routine in such a way that my behavior in this regard in strengthened, reinforced, and nurtured — and then put to profitable use in my writing.
I look for ways to channel that stream of information so that it’s not wasted.
So what does this all mean to you?
In my experience, it means that if you find yourself fighting the same old battles (chronic lateness, procrastination, forgetfullness), you’ve probably unwittingly been holding yourself back by resisting your own gifts.
If you have trouble with authority, why work in a job when it’s clear you’d be happier as an entrepreneur?
If you are always late for appointments — why not just stop making appointments (Arnold Shwarzenneger reportedly refuses to make appointments with anyone, and he seems to be doing okay running the state of California).
And if you have tendencies that are frowned upon by others — for instance, sleeping during the day and staying up all night — why not look for a way to turn the tendency into an asset (for instance, by working via Internet with clients or companies in a different time zone… where suddenly YOU are the early riser!)?
Just because certain tendencies, behaviors and attitudes are not “acceptable” in one context does not mean those qualities are “bad”. It simply means — at least in my experience — you need to find a different context! And that decision — how you live your life — is (for most of us) entirely a choice.
(And to ward off the inevitable objections to my premise: yes, I recognize that there are behaviors and “tendencies” that are illegal, immoral, and unethical. That’s not what we’re talking about here, okay? Anything that falls into those three categories should be jettisoned from your life. ‘Nuff said on that.)
Now take a moment to think about this…
In what ways could your “limiting tendencies” become strengths?
How could your re-arrange your life to make it so?
If you can find positive, proactive ways to answer those questions, you just might find yourself more productive, profitable, and happy.
What To Do Now
Here are some steps you can take to put this week's episode content to work for you:
Get The Transcript
The transcript for this show will be available soon. Transcripts provided by SuccessTranscripts – a great solution if you need your podcast, sermon, speech, or other audio transcribed. Question: What natural tendency do you have that some view as a weakness or liability, but you have turned into a strength or asset? Click here to leave your comments.