In a team setting, the analogy of a chain is often used. If the team is only as good as its weakest link, then it is your job to not be the weak link. In addition, you are also responsible for helping the weak links become stronger. This obviously helps the team.
A chain is no stronger than its weakest link, and life is after all a chain.
This chain analogy is applicable to more than teams. It also holds true on the individual level. If your life is a chain, what are your weak links? In what areas do you have opportunity to become stronger?
Look at your social, professional, and personal life and identify areas that can be improved. If the enemy, both the real and imagined enemies, is looking to exploit your weaknesses, then you should be identifying these areas and securing your defenses.
I have identified several weaknesses in my own life. Some of these, I have known about for some time and have been actively trying to fortify them. Other areas, such as financial investments, are known weaknesses that I have been hesitant to address. Last week, this weakness made itself known when I realized my knowledge and understanding in this area was insufficient. Not wanting to be solely reliant on the advice of the “experts.” I decided to take a deep dive into this subject and become more knowledgeable. I may never become an expert, but at least I will have a better understanding of where to put my money.
What is my goal? Identify the weak links and strengthen them. Why? Because life is after all is a chain.
In the beginning, we acquired resources. This was done for our survival. Food, water, and shelter. Once the basics were covered, we acquired resources for the survival of our offspring. That was the way, way back in the day.
We weren’t materialist back then, we were survivalists. But the times changed. We began acquiring resources for the sake of having them. We acquired them for the status, the power, and the comfort. All this stuff, just because we could. And not even one ounce of it can we take with us into our next lives.
The greatest use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.
If we go back to the beginning, life began as covering the basic needs. Then, it became about ensuring the survival of future generations. If you have your basics covered, how are you now spending your life? Is it only for you, or is it for something that will provide value to the ones who will be here after you are gone?
Have you ever heard the statement that we only use 10% of our brain? I am not a neurologist, but I imagine we use a lot more. How much goes into automatic functions to keep us alive? How much is used for storage of things that we have no idea about? How much do we even really know about the brain?
The question we should be asking isn’t how much of our brains do we use, but rather…How much more can we use? What are our upper limits? Is it even safe if we exceed those limits?
I may have been in an over-caffeinated state, but once I thought my head was going to explode with too much information. That was a long time ago, and there is no doubt that I have learned much more since then. As a matter of fact, I think I am learning something new every day. And this is just information. I can’t imagine the new motor skills being picked up or the additional muscle memory which has to be stored somewhere other than in the muscles only.
If I even try to contemplate the things I haven’t done, I am overwhelmed. There is a creativity side that is still in its infancy, and has yet to be fully cultivated. The opportunity for growth in that area is enormous, if I let it grow.
Compared with what we ought to be, we are only half awake. We are making use of only a small part of our physical and mental resources. Stating the thing broadly, the human individual thus lives far within his limits. He possesses powers of various sorts which he habitually fails to use. –William James
I haven’t untapped my full power, but I am trying to go beyond where I was at yesterday. The best thing I can do is remove the self-limiting governor that is preventing me from realizing my full potential. All I can do is try, and maybe along the way become a full-fledged renaissance man fully awake.
It takes a bit of courage to step beyond the comfortable. By not pushing the boundaries of our mind, we are allowing a modicum of comfort. It is an easy path to remain sedentary, whether that is physically or mentally. But, we are never too old to learn something new, if we choose to continue learning.
How many times have you gone into a project half-hearted? Maybe it was one that you took over and didn’t totally own it, or it was one put onto your plate but didn’t really want. It was those types of projects I have always had trouble staying motivated on. Often, they were not completed as well as they could have been.
But what happens when you find a project that you are really passionate about? Notice how it gets the A-1 treatment it deserves?
Are there areas in our life where we can generate more care for something? Maybe we can learn to really care about getting better at listening, learning, or being present in the moment? Maybe it is our health, our families, and our friends. Maybe, just maybe, it is something that is sitting on the back-burner of your mind, and you have yet to make it a priority.
Think about the end-results you want in life. Which ones are the ones that will haunt you if you never get around to completing it? Don’t make them a “one day in the future,” but rather make them something you work on today! Make them your priorities. Raise the level of passion you have toward that goal, and then, go get it.
If you care enough for a result, you will most certainly attain it. –William James
Begin to be now what you will be hereafter. -William James
You may not physically be your future self now, but you can be mentally. To be healthier tomorrow, you have to make healthier decisions today.
The Virtue of Faith
There are things out there that we cannot see, but we know it is there. Not only do we accept these truths, but we rely upon them with confidence. Our faith goes beyond our belief in God. It extends to our country, our families, and our friends.
I sat in the meeting and listened to the guy who took it upon himself to drive the meeting. As he has done before, he spoke with much self-importance. He had all the answers and he wanted to demonstrate this whether it was true or not. Who does this guy think he is. We all make the same money, work on the same project, yet he is the self-appointed leader?
To be important seems to be the driver behind this guy’s motivation. I might not like his approach, but don’t I have this same desire to be important? Not only do I want to be important, I want to be viewed as important. Of course, it is an ego thing and one that I need to deal with personally. But it is something that we all desire: to matter. And as the great psychologist and philosopher William James once said, “The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.”
I am quick to judge another person’s desire for importance. But here I am, the same. Wouldn’t it be better for me add value to the meeting, rather than obsess about this nonsense? Why not listen and contribute when the time is right? If all desire appreciation, why not make an ally of this team member and show my appreciation for his work?
Marcus Aurelius asked the question: Does it make any difference to you if other people blame you for doing what is right? It is a good question and one we should consider. It shouldn’t make a difference, and yet I would most likely be offended. But Aurelius’ question and can also be looked at from another perspective: Who am I to blame someone else for doing what they think is right? I wouldn’t want it done to me. What gives me the right to do it to someone else?
I am going to be attending that meeting again today. As I sit there I need to consider the following:
When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself. –Wayne Dyer
Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most. -Buddha
It is a new day. Today we start at Point A and begin the journey to Point B. It should be easy to figure out what our Point A is. It is where we are right here, right now. You have to make an honest assessment of your Point A. It does you no good to pretend your starting point is somewhere else. Be truthful. This is your Point A. The great thing about Point A is that it starts over every day. So what if it is the same place as it was yesterday. We can’t go back and do it over. The do-over starts today.
This new day is too dear, with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on the yesterdays. -Ralph Waldo Emerson
It doesn’t matter where you are coming from. All that matters is where you are going. -Brian Tracey
What is your Point B? Can you see it up ahead? Hopefully we all have a dream destination that we are headed toward. Hopefully we all have a Point B. Take a moment and think about this place. Close your eyes and visualize what it would be like to occupy this point. Imagine your dream as reality.
It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting. –Paulo Coelho
The journey from where you are right now to where you are going is not always easy. Some, never looking to the left or the right, will trudge along always making progress. Others get distracted by what’s around them and never even realize they deviated from the path. And then there is another group that never leaves Point A. Which group are you in? If you are not in the first, it is okay. You can be there. Once again, today is a new day. Do it differently. Do it better.