I’ve got my work Visa and I’ll dedicate a post to it on Wednesday (because it’s so important, duh) but for now I think it’s time we talk about what happened on Thursday.
It’s 2015 people, and you know what that means: New Year’s resolutions.
(Stay with me.)
I know you’re expecting a lame filler post where I talk about setting resolutions like “exercise more” or “read a volume of poetry sober” or “stop ignoring homeless people.”
I’m actually going to give you something better. I’m going to give you a couple of tips that will help you keep those resolutions. Or in other words, how to be “On Point” as the kids say.
(Not to be confused with “On Point’s” cousin, “On Fleek.”)
Now, I know you may be wondering why I of all people feel qualified to whip you into shape and to that I say three things:
- I’m the kind of person who’s really hard on themselves without being destructive.
- I’ve passed through a lot of rejection and failed a bunch in my short life, but always came away with a lesson.
- How dare you. This is my blog and my authority will not be questioned.
(Also, I’m up high as I write this. I’m really high up!)
So let’s crack into it, shall we? This is how to be “On Point,” starting with…
4) Keep It Simple, Stupid (K.I.S.S.)
People who are “On Point” (us Pointies, as we like to be called) know that you’ll get nowhere trying to be a hundred different things at once. We know better than to cram learning to play an instrument, spending more time with our families, learning Latin and Greek, trying to start a business, losing fifty pounds, and writing that memoir revealing “what happened in Vegas.”
(You got drunk, threw up, and then cried into your phone with a missing battery. No one cares.)
Rather, us Pointies know that there are only so many hours in a day and days in a year. Time is limited and must be treated as such. That is why we choose to focus our energies on just one thing at a time.
For example, if we realize we need to drop a couple pounds we recognize the need to CARVE OUT the time in our already busy schedule. For Pointies, we take the new direction seriously and are willing to dedicate the precious time to it.
Which brings me to…
3) Write a Daily Log
Ah, this is the coveted secret of the Pointies. Anyone’s who ever been “On Point” for more than a day has done so through continuous focus, and one of the ways to do that is to keep a log.
Not a journal. A journal is where you spill your guts about how your parents don’t understand you and sketches of your dream prom date.
(I was so handsome the girls fainted before they could ask me. True Story.)
But a log is just a list of stuff you’ve done that day. I originally came across this idea when I moved out to Las Vegas. I sat down and decided that I wanted to make the most of my time out there so I opened Microsoft Notebook and made a daily log of everything I did.
I used it to measure how much TV I was watching, how much work I was doing, and how often I was going out. This is a really important step, and a key to being “On Point” because people who are “Off Point” don’t do this.
They’re like a plastic bag blowing in the wind, drifting this way and that, with no control over their lives and emotions.
If the above sentence intrigues you (or offends you) I recommend checking out the book Awareness by Anthony DeMello. He talks about people who sleepwalk through their entire lives, including their graduations, marriages, jobs, even raising their kids, without realizing it.
Or not. It’s up to you.
(But you should.)
If you do decide to keep a daily log in hopes of accomplishing your New Year’s Resolution(s), be prepared for the long haul, because you’re going to have to…
2) Embrace a Long Term Mentality.
Simply put, Pointies live their lives in the future. Every time they take a job, sit down to eat, or schedule their day, they think “how will this affect me next week, next year, in five years?” and so on. They wonder “are my actions moving me closer or further away from my goal(s) / dream(s)?” I bring up the quote of Aristotle that is particularly “On Point” in this case.
(See what I did?)
There are two scientific reasons why the long term mentality is the bread and butter of the Pointy. Let’s touch on them briefly.
THE BREAD: It takes 66 days to implement a habit.
You can read a little bit about the science here, but in short, tests have been done to show that humans are creatures of habit and implementing a new habit is no walk in the park.
(“Park? I’m fine where I am, thanks.”)
However, if you want to make a change, we Pointies know we have to suffer through all the resistance the brain and body will throw at us during the grueling 2 months it takes the brain to rewire itself and LOCK DOWN the new habit into place. After that it becomes routine. Really. It becomes no different from brushing your teeth or shaving.
THE BUTTER: It takes 10,000 hours to mastery.
Malcolm Gladwell made a huge wave in pop psychology when he published the book Outliers: The Story of Success, wherein he states that the key to monster successes like the Beatles and Bill Gates was due to the fact that they spent 10,000 hours in the trenches honing their craft (or the equivalent of 3 hours a day for ten years).
I personally hated hearing this news at first, because I was young and wanted to be a published writer, but now that time has passed and I’ve watched myself improve over the years, I’ve accepted the advice for what it is, and realize that with practice, the success will come.
The book Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else by Geoff Calvin is also excellent, and it presents study after study of people who showed massive growth incorporating not just “practice” but “perfect practice” into their learning process. Check it out.
I know, I know. At this point you’re overwhelmed by the looming work ahead. Luckily, there’s a way to help alleviate the burden. And that is to make sure you…
1) Don’t Go It Alone.
Everything you see and hear around you is the result of people working together. The houses in your neighborhood were made by a team of contractors. The movie you enjoyed this weekend had a huge pool of temporary help behind it. And even though the last novel you read had just the author on the cover, the truth is that a small publishing staff helped bring it to life as well (check the acknowledgements section).
Pointies know this. We realize that like-minded people are the key to remaining “On Point.” As the Bible says “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” (Proverbs 27:17, KJV)
(Because “THOU SHALT KEEPETH ON POINT FOR ALL THINE DAYS” was cut for space.)
There have been studies showing that a group of people in a room will be more productive than someone sitting in isolation. Also, the reason why you see two horses side by side is because they will cover more distance and become less tired than if they are by themselves.
If Hollywood has taught us anything it’s that little good comes of doing things alone. Oh sure it may sound romantic to be a free spirit and just, like, go wherever you want, man. Like…just do you. Just do you! But the truth is that when you’re alone and conflict (inevitably) rises, the lone wolf quickly finds himself outgunned.
(There’s a reason this has become a meme, people.)
I went to go see the movie Wild yesterday and to save you $15 and prove my point here’s what the film is: a recovering drug addict tries to get her head right by hiking the 1,000 mile Pacific Crest Trail and the whole time you get the strong feeling she’s going to be raped (she doesn’t).
For two hours I was thinking “You couldn’t have just brought one friend on this trip? SO OFF POINT!” It also reminded me of James Franco in 127 Hours where his character thought it would be fun to go rock-climbing—alone.
(And we saw how that turned out.)
So if you want to keep your New Year’s resolutions and be “On Point” you now have my most basic of basic advice on how to get started. To review:
Keep It Simple
Write a Daily Log
Embrace a Long Term Mentality
Don’t Go It Alone.
That’s all for today. If you liked this post, leave a COMMENT below. If you think someone needs helping getting “On Point” then be sure to SHARE this post with them.
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See you Wednesday,
J. F. Seegitz