True Nobility

About two years ago, the acronym C.A.N.I. was presented to me. It was used rather seamlessly into the conversation, so naturally I zoned out of the conversation trying to figure out what it meant. After about a minute of intense thought and rudely ignoring my conversation, I asked the person what it meant.

He told me that it stood for Constant And Never-Ending Improvement, and what an outstanding idea it was. Once that acronym was implanted in my head, it almost always seems to resurface when I’m starting to get really comfortable with my life; some would even say complacent.

Constantly improving yourself from now until the end of time is a big commitment and will certainly take a lot of hard work, but I know for me that just being reminded of the idea inspires me to keep improving myself as a whole.

Ernest Hemingway said,

“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”

Something to think about during your day today. There is an incredible amount of stuff that I’m hoping to start doing, not only in my personal life but with this blog as well. I’ll keep people posted as to what will be happening, and while there are just a few people reading this blog right now, I really hope that we can start getting it growing very soon.

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The Refining Fire

Discipline is the refining fire by which talent becomes ability.

Roy L. Smith

How many times have you started to do something, started off really well, then over time began to either lose interest or forget about what you were doing almost entirely? If you’re anything like me (and probably the greater majority of the human population), then it can become a chore just convincing yourself to continue doing whatever it is that you were so jazzed about just a month ago.

Why is this? Why do we so quickly lose focus on what we were ecstatic about starting? I look at people who have enormous success in their life and notice one common denominator that they all share – DISCIPLINE.

They refuse to quit, no matter who much it may hurt or inconvenience them. They have the “succeed or die” mentality that gives them the drive to reach the very top of whatever it is that they’re doing. While I don’t think that it’s 100% necessary to always be thinking “If I don’t succeed, I will LITERALLY die,” I do believe that it can motivate you beyond what you could imagine.

Rather, I believe that there are 4 steps that you can take that will greatly increase your desire to persevere during the hard times, and have the discipline to continue.

  1. Begin With The End In Mind: When you have an end goal, something that you can strive for and work towards, then your journey will have a purpose. You won’t just be doing something just because it’s a spur of the moment thing. Instead, there will be a reason for doing it.
  2. Find Your Why: What is driving you? Why do you desire to succeed so badly? Is it because you’re in a tight spot financially? To be a great role model for your kids or the people around you? Do you simply want to have a better life than what you currently have? This is the driving force behind your success; this is your own personal “succeed or die”.
  3. What’s Your Passion: You know that exercise in school where your teachers asked you if you could do one thing for the rest of your life and not get paid a dime, what would it be? While I’m sure I butchered that analogy, I think you get where I’m going with this. What is something you absolutely love to do? Something that you can spend hours, upon hours, upon hours of time devoting your time to? This will make your journey to success all the more enjoyable, and it won’t seem like a chore when you’re putting in the time day in and day out.
  4. Discipline Yourself: This last step might seem obvious, but absolutely needs to be mentioned. The first 3 steps, in complete honesty, are a farce if you don’t make a daily effort to be disciplined to do whatever it is that you’re doing. Steps 1-3 help, but at the end of the day you have to make the conscious effort to, at times, force yourself to do something you don’t feel like doing. That’s how people like Michael Jordan are revered as the best at what they do. They never had a sick day. They practiced even when they “didn’t feel like it”. They made the hard choices to be great, and I’m willing to bet that not one of them looks back and says, “I wish I had taken that day off”.

Begin with the end in mind, Find your why, What’s your passion, and simply discipline yourself. Four steps that I have been blessed to have personally seen people do on a daily basis, and are HIGHLY successful because of it.

What do you think? Do you think there should be more steps to this list? Let me know what you think!

When To Look Back

As much as I can, I try to write in a journal that I keep. A journal that is talking about the events in my life at the moment and my thoughts and feelings. Every few months or so, I like to look back on the things that I wrote, and often times I find myself laughing. I look back and read these words and I think to myself, “Man, you sound like a 13 year old” or “Wow! What on earth was wrong with you?” On the other hand, there are times when I think, “Wow, you handled that pretty well!” or “Maybe you shouldn’t say that to her again.” The interesting thing is I think that doing this can be good thing. Looking back on your life and reflecting on where you were, and where you are now. Here are some reasons why I believe that looking back can be a good thing:

  1. Growth: How can you know if you’re growing if you don’t have a frame of reference? Looking back on past decisions and how you reacted, as opposed to how you might react presently can be a huge indication of personal growth.
  2. Insight: How many times have you reacted to a problem in the heat of the moment? Maybe you said something you didn’t mean, or reacted in a way that you wish you could take back. Looking back on these times can help provide you with a good idea of how to approach similar situations in the future.
  3. Accountability: There have been times in my own life where I have written down things that I need to get done, or would like to do in the future. Looking back and remembering these can encourage you to get back on the horse and finish what you started.

These are only a handful of advantages to looking back on your life. While there can be tremendous gain from doing so, be wary to not “dwell” on the past. Often times people can get stuck in a rut, depressed, angry, or bitter about things that have happened in their lives. You have an amazing ability to choose your attitude. Choose to look at those events not as a way to pull you down, but rather as a method to learn and grow from.