Most of us would like to see things happen in our lives that bring about increase or promotion. We want better relationships and to be wiser with our finances. We want to use our time more effectively and be in good health. In short, we all want to prosper and live successful lives.
It is not so much having a goal or wanting to receive a reward that presents a problem. The challenge comes in accepting and receiving the laborious process that is involved in getting to that reward. Each day is about learning and growing. What you may need to know tomorrow can only be learned by the things you experience today. Let me give you a couple of examples.
I once heard an Academy Award winning Director state that the night he won his first Academy Award was exhilarating. His dream had finally come true. He stayed up late that night just staring at his trophy. He said now that he knew it was possible to win the award, he wanted to set his sights on another one! The next morning, he was back in the studio cutting away on film strips. He said he thought to himself, “Last night’s award was a great public experience, but this lonely studio is where the Academy Award is won!” I like that story because it accurately illustrates the process of doing hard work daily, rather than focusing on the reward and notoriety to follow. They go hand in hand.
Everyone I know wants to look good physically. There is nothing wrong with wanting to look nice. After all, none of us wants to be unattractive in our appearance. The challenge comes in being willing to do what it takes to achieve the result that we desire. When the “opportunity clock” goes off in the morning and it is still dark outside, not many of us are excited about getting up to exercise. The nice warm bed is calling for us to stay as long as possible. If we focus on having to get up, get dressed, and go work-out or take a walk, I can assure you that the result will never be achieved. But, if we focus our attention on “one day at a time”, or “for today only”, or just the daily process, we will have a whole new perspective. We will be more motivated if we just focus on the actual exercise process for today only rather than thinking about becoming healthier or getting in better physical condition in the future. One is a short-term event (the project you are working on today), the other is a long-term process (the expertise or success you develop along the way)!
I know this is true from personal experience. Several months ago, I started swimming every day. When I first started, I swam 3 laps and was exhausted! I kept focusing on each day’s workout rather than trying to accomplish a goal to feel healthier or trying to see how much weight I could lose. Last night I swam 40 laps and I feel great! As a result, I feel healthier, and I am also losing weight! I know the reward will come if I simply focus on the daily process.
In the game of golf there are 18 greens with a hole or “cup” at the end of each one. Can you imagine how discouraging it would be to play an entire game of golf if you could only hit the ball in the cup just one time at the end of the 18th hole? It would be overwhelming. Focusing on the process of each separate hole and developing your game along the way, gives the game of golf a different perspective. No one would enjoy playing without getting a little bit of reward along the way. That is why there are 18 cups…not just one!
I once read where Muhammed Ali said he HATED every workout he ever did from start to finish, but he did it anyway because he loved being the heavyweight Champion of the world. That is what I am talking about. Do the work, stick with the process and the reward will come.
The subject of this Tip forces us to change our perspective on work and reward. Both are important but they are very, very different. Personally, I enjoy work but if I did not have some kind of tangible reward along the way, like financial income or freedom of time, it would soon become very discouraging. I have found that when I adjust my thinking and look at the daily activity as part of the reward, it makes the process and challenge of getting where I want to go much easier.
Let me encourage you this week to change your “vision” and start seeing both the process AND the reward that you want to achieve at the end of the road. Then the process will somehow suddenly become less burdensome and the things you do to reach your goal will seem a little bit lighter. This is working for me, and I am sure it will work for you as well.
Tip: Focus on the process and the reward will come!
Reprinted with permission from the "Tip of the Week".
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