What have you done today to move you closer to your dreams? Are you expecting to wake up one morning and suddenly do everything to achieve your dream in just that one day?
Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do.” Success is a daily habit. It’s the little things you do everyday that will get you to your destination.
cultivate a habit of reading.
A friend and motivational speaker, Felix Banda, told me last week how he remembers me reading a book called “how to become a millionaire” when I was at the University of Zambia in my first or second year of studies. That was over 10 years ago.
He pointed out that it may seem to some, that I suddenly got up one day and decided to start writing these articles, but he realized that it started all the way back there. His point was that it has been a process and not a sudden occurrence.
I had actually forgotten about having read that and similar books, but when he mentioned it, I remembered how the literature I read has had such an impact on me and has affected my life in a positive way. Some of the principles I learnt rubbed off on me so well they became a part of my thoughts to such a point that I eventually accepted those thoughts as my own.
It is the habit of reading that has contributed to a change in my thinking. Had I not started reading those books then, I would still be stuck in whatever thought pattern I had. My horizons would still be restricted.
put first things first.
Stephen Covey, in his inspiring and life changing book “the 7 habits of highly effective people” asks the question: “what one thing could you do (you are not doing now) that if you did on a regular basis, would make a tremendous positive difference in your personal life?” It does not have to be a huge thing. Neither does it have to be something that requires a huge investment of time, energy or resources on your part. It just has to be something that you can do consistently.
You will discover that you will eventually be doing more of that one thing than you could have thought possible when you started. Over time, it will make a huge difference. Stephen Covey further adds that “it’s usually not the dramatic, the visible, the once-in-a-lifetime, up-by-the-bootstraps effort that brings enduring success. Empowerment comes from learning how to use this great endowment in the decisions we make everyday.”
He called this habit “putting first things first.” I like that name because often we do not put first things first. We put things which matter most at the mercy of things which matter least.
We subordinate our dreams for our jobs, our bosses, our friends, our parents and a whole lot of other people and activities. We should instead place our hopes and dreams as the most important thing everyday.
The time management matrix.
One guide that will help you decide whether something should take up your time or not is the time management matrix. In this matrix, which may be drawn as a quadrant, there are basically four groups of activities. There are those things that are urgent and not important; those that are urgent and important; those that are not urgent and not important and those that are not urgent and important.
Most people spend their time doing things that are neither urgent nor important. One thing that immediately comes to mind is the person that spends every bit of his free time at the bar hanging out with the guys and just having a good time. I would not be very mistaken to say that such a person is not only drinking their income away, but also their dreams.
Television is another not urgent and not important activity which, unfortunately, most of us spend a lot of our most productive time on. It is amazing how television sets in most homes are perpetually on and people are fixed on them like zombies, watching everything that is dished out to them! TVs have invaded our lives and crippled our dreams.
Do the important things.
What we need to do is concentrate on the things that are most important. The hard part is that these are usually the things that are not urgent. Yet they are things that will make the biggest difference to our lives.
Why not turn off the television set tonight and read an inspiring book? Why not take a quiet moment to sit down and write down what you want to do with the rest of your life? Why not spend some time with your kids rather than with the guys at the bar? Why not take a few minutes to read the Bible today?
It ain’t always fun.
As you can see, the important things are usually not the most fun or exciting things to do. However, they must be done. There is a price to be paid for attaining greatness and at times that means doing things we don’t necessarily enjoy or want to do.
But you must do those things because you realize that your future depends on it. Think about this: if you only had to do the things that are fun and exciting at work would you get anything done? No. But you do it anyway, for the sake of that paycheck at the month-end. Why then, won’t you do the things that matter most for your own life?
If you have not done anything today to get you closer to your dreams you are not a dreamer, you are a wisher. Wake up and do something about it or watch the dreamers take hold of their dreams, one little step each day.
In the words of Jim Rohn, “Motivation is what gets you started. Habits is what keeps you going,” Develop the habit of putting first things first today. Work on your dreams each and every day.