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Sound Bite Culture

Sound bites are sexy. They are attention grabbing. They are clear and succinct.

Trouble is? Our world isn’t.

Our world is complicated, our challenges multi-faceted and our solutions, they are shades of grey.

And although they have their place in marketing, they should not have a place in our decision making. We seriously undermine our ability to understand and appreciate the many facets of the truth when what we hold true is a sound bite.

Remember, the sexy sound bite doesn’t lead to the nuanced truth.

Closely related to the skill of self-management, energy management is the foundation on which we build our lives. Its extremely challenging to build a great life on a shoddy foundation.

I think of energy curation comes in four flavors:

  1. Physical Wellbeing
  2. Mental Fitness
  3. Drive / Desire
  4. Replenishment

A breakdown in any of these categories can kill productivity and even happiness.

I’ve been struggling with energy for a few years now, its been low and I’ve struggled to replenish even the small amount that I had.

I tried something new this weekend and its like I turned a on a light switch. I went from lethargic even after 8-12 hours of sleep… to waking up before the alarm, excited to get out of bed. If it holds up, I’ll share more about my experiences soon.

This drastic shift really helped to open my eyes about the importance of protecting and fighting for my life’s foundation. If you haven’t been feeling at your best, I highly recommend you do too.

To note — if you’re also feeling low energy, this article from Josh Kaufman might be useful for you. It’s not the solution that I came to, but it certainly gave me some motivation to fight.

Caring for your future self

One of the lessons I constantly find  myself relearning is how to prioritize — and care for — your future self.

This may mean choosing salad over lasagna so your future self doesn’t fall asleep while trying to hit a deadline.

It may look like caring for your body by going to the gym three days a week, like my 94 year old grandfather! (3 miles on the bike + 5 weight machines — he’s an inspiration!)

It may mean working before playing, so that you can be stress free and enjoy yourself fully. Or giving yourself enough time to actually accomplish your goals (rather than set them so lofty that you inevitably fail).

This lesson is really a framework for living: Value your future self as much as your current self.

Sounds simple, but its certainly not easy.

Practice Makes Perfect?

Despite what you’ve been told over the years, practice does not make perfect.

Practice makes permanent.

Practice entrenches what you are doing through repetition. If you’re practicing perfectly, then, yes, practice makes perfect, but that is rarely the way it goes.

We may practice a lazy swing, or practice procrastinating to the last moment, or practice doing just enough to get the A. In time, that becomes permanent, that becomes who you are.

I offer you (and myself) two powerful reminders:

from Aristotle:

We are what we repeatedly do.
Excellence therefore is not an act, but a habit.

and, from Archilochus:

We do not rise to the level of our expectations,
We fall to the level of our training.

Practice like you mean it, the way you practice will become who you are.