Are You Being Primed for Greatness or Mediocrity?
There is no such thing as “standing still” in life. People claim to simply be “coasting,” but this also is a fallacy invented to feed the pride of those who know that the way they are living is well below their potential. If you are happy “coasting” then it is not for me to say whether you are wrong or right in doing so, however, if you are going to make that choice then you should know the truth, and the truth is this; there is no standing still. There is only growth or death. The great Les Brown said that “many people die at 25 and don’t get buried until they are 65.”
Nature teaches this lesson the best. If you observe the trees in the forest, they are never in a fixed state. They are always either growing or dying. Nature knows that to stand still would be to die. The tree does not turn away the sun, or flee from water, because it knows that if it were to reject these life-giving necessities it would immediately begin to die. When we choose to “coast,” or settle for less than we know we could be, we are really choosing to die.
“Do you mean to say that I should not experience leisure in my life? Am I not entitled to a life of enjoyment?” Of course, we are meant to live pleasurable lives. We are entitled to all the joy, love, fulfillment and happiness that we can obtain for ourselves, however, we must be on constant guard against those heavy chains that start as simple decisions, and soon become strong habits that determine the true fulfillment we can experience.
It is my opinion that in every moment of our lives we are being primed for either greatness or mediocrity. Here’s what I mean; If you wake up in the morning and immediately hit the snooze button then you are priming yourself for mediocrity, because there is no such thing as standing still in life, so if you choose to sleep in then you are choosing to go backward. You may see this as a simple decision that plays no large role in your life, and that is probably true, but do not underestimate the power of small decisions. Over time your mind will start to like the idea of sleeping in, and so you will slowly program yourself to sleep in instead of getting up on time. This becomes a habit, and with more use, you are bound by the habit and must now exert great effort to break this chain. This principle can also be used to prime yourself for greatness. If you choose to not hit the snooze button and instead decide that you will get out of bed right away and use the morning to your advantage, you are priming yourself for greatness because you are building strong habits that are propelling your life forward.
Never underestimate the power of simple disciplines; they are the steppingstones that lead to the attainment of your desires. Every single discipline or habit that we nurture will either help or hinder our progress in life. Jeff Olson, the author of The Slight Edge, noted that “settling for less, giving up on the power of baby steps and embracing failure, soon becomes a habit.”
Look into the future with me and imagine that for the next 20 years you are going to eat a Snickers bar every day. 20 years from now that is 7,300 bars and over $10,000 spent on chocolate. Can you imagine how that might affect you in the long run? Even if you had a bar every second day, the effects would be very noticeable. Now imagine that every day you run one mile. Now after 20 years you’ve run 7,300 miles! Have a think about the compounding effects that a mile a day could have on your life!
Once again I would like to make it clear that our lives are here to be enjoyed, however I would stress the importance of being mindful of the habits, decisions, and disciplines that we take part in day to day. If you start to really look at your daily actions you will find that you are either falling backward or pushing forward. When you build your life around poor habits and negative choices you soon open your mind to the influence of pleasure and vice, which brings manufactured happiness in the very short term, but serious trouble in the long run. Choose good disciplines and habits every day and your life will be abundant with natural joy and growth, the kind that is truly lasting.
Practice mindfulness in this area, and soon you will experience the pure ecstasy that comes with knowing that you are being everything that you know you can be. If you find that your daily habits are priming you for a mediocre life, you should immediately begin the process of changing your habits. For some extra help in this area, see my blog post entitled “The Seven Ingredients to Highly Effective Life Change."