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Having a Point is the Starting Point

Purpose precedes productivity.

Before you pour yourself into a bunch of hard work, form a coherent concept of what you want and get clear on why it matters to you.

As Simon Sinek says “start with why.”

“Why” is different from “what.”

“What” is about the thing you think you’re supposed to do. It’s about finding the right answers so you can do what you’re told.

“Why” is about the element that brings meaning to your activities. It’s answer that no one can tell you because you have to make it up.

Instead of obsessing over the illusion of a single correct choice, focus on what aligns with your priorities and principles.

And instead of hustling just to hustle, get clear on what you’re hustling towards and how that fits with your personal mission.

You don’t need to have all the answers before you begin, but you do need to know what the point of beginning is.

Knowing What to Do Is Secondary

Knowing what to do isn’t necessarily a better situation to be in. It could be a symptom that you’re too comfortable with the familiar, that you’ve organized your life around routines and relationships that don’t challenge you anymore. And if that’s the case, perhaps you’re better off seeking a situation where you don’t know what to do.

“I don’t know what to do” is a statement that deserves credit for its honesty, but it’s not an excuse for hiding.

Being a person of vision isn’t about having a clear set of guidelines and guarantees for every important scenario. It’s about being committed to your principles even if you’re unsure about where that leads or even if you’re unclear about how to make the proper adjustments.

Sometimes you get the luxury of finding an answer, but not always. Sometimes you have to step up and create your own road map.

The most rewarding decisions often come with a responsibility to improvise.

You’re Always Ready to Begin Where You Are

Photo by _willpower_

“Readiness” is nothing more than the combination of willingness, honesty, and deliberate practice.

It’s the willingness to step up and give your best effort even if it’s not equal to someone else’s best.

It’s the honesty to share what you have to offer without feeling the need to overpromise on a bunch of things you know you can’t deliver.

It’s the commitment to treating every performance as an opportunity to get feedback on how you can improve the quality of your practice.

Readiness is never absolute. At every moment, you’re ready for some things and unready for others. But you always have a level of readiness that you can act on.

When you do what you’re ready to do right now, you acquire experiences that make you ready to do the things that are out of your league.

Respecting current readiness expands future readiness.

The readiness to handle what happens in the middle comes from respecting your readiness to start at the beginning.

What’s Next?

Presumptuous negativity comes from the same source as Pollyanna positivity: A failure of imagination.

When our sense of possibility is diminished, we compensate by placing blind faith in our negative assumptions or by convincing ourselves that we need to make positive ones.

Instead of placing blind faith in your negative assumptions or forcing yourself to believe positive assumptions, try making zero assumptions.

It doesn’t matter if your conclusions are positive or negative if you’re jumping to them. The key is remembering not to jump at all.

Sometimes it’s simply enough to be open to what’s next.

The Permission to Go Small

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Take a brief moment and think about something that’s really interesting to you.

Be specific.

Instead of picking something general like “life”, think about some specific aspect of life that intrigues you.

Got an example?

Here’s the bad news and the good news about your example:

The bad news is that there are probably millions of people who think you picked an uninteresting answer.

The good news is that you don’t need any of those people to find your answering interesting in order to do interesting things that are inspired by that interest.

Run this exercise for your favorite movie, book, celebrity, or politician. If you do a little research, you’ll easily find millions of people who either feel hate or indifference towards any example you pick. That’s a comforting thing to know.  We have a lot more room than we think to be uninteresting and irrelevant to people.

“Making a difference” doesn’t have to mean “making a difference to the majority of people in the world.”

What would you create if you gave yourself permission to only satisfy a small audience?

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