Tracking your progress is critical to your future success

Every now and again I kept hearing about a book titled ‘All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten’ by Robert Fulghum and at some point I looked up the quick summary of the book to see what it was all about. It was not until recently that the messages in the book came back to me, however not in the way I might have thought. It truly did remind me that almost everything I NEED to know, I learned in my younger years!

Having now progressed into the world of business ownership and recruiting business partners, a common objection to taking action I find arising in the people I meet, and in many instances myself as well, is that we don’t know enough, or we don’t know how to do it (‘it’ being whatever is the necessary action to take), or we don’t know how to live a balanced life, or we don’t know how to properly interact with people, etc. These things that we look to overcome – or many times completely shy away from to the detriment of our own personal progress and fulfillment – are things that, believe it or not, we have already overcome! Brian Tracy says that if you’ve had a tough childhood, you’re better off than someone who has had it easy. Why? Because time and time again you’ve bounced back; you faced tough times with friends, or parents, or curfew, or fitting in, and you’ve bounced back. You already have the tools for success.

Most of the fear and excuses the conscious part of our brain comes up with when we are trying something new evaporates immediately when we realize that at some point over the course of our life (mostly when we were kids) that we stood up to some great obstacle and overcame it. The time that we mustered up enough courage to talk to the boy/girl we had a crush on; the time that we didn’t know what was on the other side of the bushes, but we crawled through anyway; the time that we had to ask for help in spite of our pride. This list can go on and on, and soon we realize that the very fears and anxieties that paralyze us from taking action today are the same fears that we overcame as children or teenagers.

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If you can’t define it, or act upon it, forget it!

Upon revisiting Tim Ferriss’ 4-Hour Workweek, I came across a paragraph that piqued my interest in relation to eliminating distractions, thereby sharpening your focus. He says, “If you take just this point from this book, it will put you in the top 1% of performers in the world and keep most philosophical distress out of your life”. That’s a pretty bold statement to make, so let’s examine what he’s talking about shall we?

“If you can’t define it, or act upon it, forget it.”

There it is, that’s the statement. So how does this work out. Well let’s preface this exposition by acknowledging that far too many of us are worry warts, and as a result, we think about too many things that are outside of our sphere of influence. Agreed? Good. Ferriss explains that people ask questions – some positive, but mostly negative (because of our innate fear of loss) – however if an answer to the question(s) posed cannot be acted upon to improve things, then it should be ignored! And rightly so. Remember, many of us spend too much time negative questions like, “what if there’s traffic this evening?” or “what if the train is late tomorrow?” These are questions about topics that are outside of a person’s direct influence.

So what comes of worrying about it? Nothing. Chances are you will run into more of what you didn’t want. Have you ever experienced a time in your life when you bought a car, or got a wrist watch as a gift, or purchased a new pair of running shoes; and then all of a sudden, as if by magic, you started noticing how many other people have the same thing that you just received or purchased? You may not have ever wondered why that happens, but I know of at least one person who has wondered, and went out there to find the answer. He is one of my brain-mentors – John Assaraf – and he has found that there is a particular part of our brain called the Reticular Activating System (RAS) that increases the amount of attention paid to things that you are constantly thinking about.

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