Monthly Meditations: August 2019 Issue

Monthly Meditations is a series that I started in order to catalogue my thoughts on various subjects. I write and share these with somewhat of a consistent schedule on LinkedIn. I decided that it would be a good idea to put all of these thoughts in one place. That way, you don’t have to consume more information on social media (hats off to you), and you can catch up in one sitting over a nice cup of coffee. I try to encourage engagement and discussions on these topics, so feel free to comment on LinkedIn, in these monthly entries, or reach out to me personally. Enjoy!

Outcomes don’t lead to outcomes. The right processes and behaviours do.

Your goal is a compass, but your feet move you forward. Look to your goal for guidance and inspiration. But focus on your actions and developing the right skills to progress.

Shift your awareness towards:
- Your strengths
- What’s in your control
- What you CAN do today
- The one or two vital behaviours that lead to the outcome

Getting caught up in the dream doesn’t get you to the dream. Only action does.

All humans are motivated. But motivated to do what?

Is it short-term reward at the expense of long-term gain?

Anything worthwhile is going to take awareness, effort, and time. Whether that’s in nutrition, exercise, relationships, or business. If we’re looking for a shortcut, we’re missing the point.

If it doesn’t challenge us, it doesn’t change us.

That means that things won’t get easier, but things only get more rewarding. You may be exhausted after the run, but you’ll have a great sense of pride and accomplishment. 

We only regret not doing the thing, or quitting too soon.

“What’s dangerous is not to evolve.” - Jeff Bezos

Bringing clarity to your problems takes the power away from them.

Break your problems down into their tangible properties.

We often create a lot of extra unease and anxiety by keeping our problems vague. Shining the light on what they are really made of helps us to start finding solutions.

“I have so many emails” becomes, “I really have 10 emails which will take only about 15 minutes to get to.”

“I don’t have time to cook breakfast” becomes, “I actually have 10 minutes every morning to make something quick and easy.”

“My days are too sporadic to make exercise consistent in my daily routine,” becomes, “It’s actually my evenings that are crazy. In the morning, and lunch hour I have a lot more flexibility.”

Whatever your problems are, highlight them for what they really are so you can take ownership over them.

Don’t be an “I Know” person. Just be the person.

This applies to any endeavour.

“I know” shuts up our Beginner’s Mind, and allows the ego to feel safe.

It deflects the issue at hand to something different - something other than what’s in our direct control. We fall for the Self-serving Bias. It can’t be us. It has to be something else, right?

What’s odd is that we voice our concerns and seek advice, yet our first response to any help is, “I know.” Beginner’s Mind is the antithesis to I Know.

We view everything with fresh, curious eyes. We take action. We are consistent. We do. There are no preconceived notions. Everything is a lesson, and an opportunity for growth. We stretch our circle of competency.

Standardize before you optimize.

Put your “I knows” to the side, take action, gather feedback, and watch yourself grow faster than you imagined.

Food for thought: Eat what you want, just make it yourself at home.

An observed marketing tactic: Create an anxiety. Then create the solution.

This aids a feeling and belief we have, and helps create an implicit confirmation of our values. “Hey, I am busy. I am important. I shouldn’t have to worry about this.”

Let’s take cooking for example. Cooking should not be viewed as all-or-nothing. That is to say, we uberly skip dishes or we eat amazingly crafted meals made by elite chefs. Or we just watch the skills on tv.

We can all cook.

Challenge for you this weekend: Cook a meal for a friend(s) or family.

“Tell me what you value and I might believe you. But show me your calendar and your bank statement, and I’ll show you what you really value.” - Peter Drucker

“Don’t knock it ‘til you try it.”

We overvalue what we can lose while undervaluing what we may gain.

Daniel Gilbert is a psychologist who studies happiness, and has concluded that we are awful at predicting our own likes and dislikes.

He has shown that people predict they would be much happier with an extra $30,000 in income each year, rather than from adding in a 30 minute walk each day.

But his results from his research actually showed that people don’t gain as much happiness from the added income than from what the daily walks provides.

What gives?

The point I see is not that added exercise is more beneficial to our mental and emotional health than money is. Rather, it is that we need to learn through experience.

Being inherently bad predictors is tough enough. But to add in over-rationalizing tendencies, and make snap judgements on potential future outcomes doesn’t help the cause either.

Take the leap. Try novel things. Make moments. We are designed to experience.

Thank you for reading my article. I hope you found it helpful or at least thought-provoking. If this post did help you, consider sharing it with someone you think it would help too.