I am not sure when you are actually reading this, but as I sit here typing this post it is late on Christmas night. So, if you do happen to be reading this on Christmas, I wish you a Merry Christmas. If you happen to be a person who celebrates a different holiday, then I wish you a wonderful holiday season, and I wish everyone a happy and prosperous New Year.
This time of the year is notorious for inducing additional stress in our lives. We typically veer wildly from our normal routines and we are often subject to personal interactions that we would normally steer clean of in our daily lives. In spite of this, I find this time of the year fascinating, as I welcome the variety that comes with doing different things and interacting with friends and family that I normally don’t come across in my daily life.
And while yes, this can present stressful situations, there is typically something to be learned whenever we are in such a position. We typically find ourselves repeating the same routine each day: traveling on the same route, going to the same place and interacting with the same people. And while there is certainly some level of comfort in the repetition of our daily lives, going through the motions with as little mental input as possible, this repetition can easily morph into monotony.
The muscles in our body respond to stress, tearing themselves down and reassembling themselves in a stronger manner in preparation for the next stressor. If our muscles face the same monotonous levels of stress each day, are called upon to move and lift very similar amounts each day, they will reach a biological equilibrium, maintaining just enough strength to get us through our normal routine. If we are suddenly faced with an emergency situation, where an unusually large amount of strength and endurance are needed, we will be unprepared to meet the challenges that exceed our typical, repetitive level of exertion, and we will fail at the unusually difficult new task.
The same can be said for our mental abilities. If we always rely on skating by with minimum effort, and are not willing to put in the exercise necessary for growth, then we should expect minimal results. In order for our mental abilities, our intelligence, our interpersonal skills or our business acumen to advance, then we must be willing to do something other than what we already do every day. We must be willing to put in the extra work that is required to be one of the best.
Abraham Lincoln once said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” We must all remember that we are the only ones responsible for sharpening our axe. If we don’t take personal responsibility for bettering ourselves (reading a book, listening to a podcast, taking a course, etc.), then our axe will never be sharpened, and we will never be able to cut down that tree. Being better than average is a direct result of doing more than the average. As the New Year fast approaches, resolve to become a sharper version of yourself in the upcoming 12 months.
Good luck and do your best!
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