[This post was first published in October 2015]
The ability to decide. We do it all day many times. The choices we make will either be good or bad. Since we are human, we will make some of both repeatedly. Our hope is that we make a few more good ones than bad ones. Our choices in life will define us.
The ability to be active. To put in the effort. To be good or successful in anything takes a lot of effort. Everything. To be a good cook you have to cook a lot. Your business can only be successful if you put in the time. Our estimate of the amount of effort needed to do anything always falls way too short. Self-evaluating how much effort we exert is extremely difficult as we always believe we are working harder than we are.
All of us have time. We are given 24 hours each day equally. Where and how we spend our time is the secret weapon behind what we achieve. The challenge of time is in disciplining our focus while understanding our goals, to spend more time on things that will make a difference in both our lives and our organizations.
We all have free will. How we combine our choices, with how much we choose to be active, to how we spend our time each day leads to a map of our priorities. This combination is different for each of us. Our priorities quickly exclude things we don’t care about. Some people have priorities that fit their goals and responsibilities and others don’t. Life will ultimately tell us if we chose wisely. We don’t always understand this which then, makes us feel trapped.
The capacity to see. We take our eyes for granted. I’m not talking only about eyesight but more so about our senses. What we hear, feel touch, smell, and see make up a very powerful system to help us navigate through life. All of us severely underutilize this system. Seeing details, sensing differences, and understanding how we fit or don’t fit in, become so important in gaining traction to becoming more effective, successful, and helpful to others.
The more we struggle with seeing ourselves, the more feedback that hurts us becomes necessary to develop this capacity to truly see who we are and are not.
Many complain about their circumstance, the dissenters or doubters that make things difficult for them, or their lack of schooling, wealth, or privilege that keeps them from achieving what they had hoped. Or we become depressed because our life is stuck and going nowhere.
In the end, go back to these five simple, yet difficult, things and focus on doing more with each one so that you can begin to take the small steps needed, towards the tomorrow you have always hoped for, but that seemed so far away.