About four years ago I decided to read 100 new books a year. I’ve kept up that habit until recently.
I stopped reading two new books a week because I forgot almost everything I learned more than a year earlier. And there’s no way you can remember even a quarter of a book you read three years ago.
I made this discovery this year when I started worrying about random things in my life. I thought, “Didn’t I deal with this issue years ago?”
And I was right, I’ve read a lot about worrying, I’ve coached people, and I even wrote a book about it. But I’m not a machine—I’m not immune to the challenges that we all face. No one is.
In a perfect world, everything is steady. You can make plans that actually come true 100% of the time. You can anticipate things in advance.
But as you and I both know, that’s not how life works.
In real life, a single random (and unexpected) event can suddenly screw up all your plans, goals, and good intentions to make a change. Think of…
- A family member who passes away.
- Getting pregnant.
- Getting into a car accident.
- A calamity at work that causes bankruptcy.
- Falling in love.
Unplanned events can disrupt everything. I’ve experienced that several times in my life. And there’s nothing you can do to prevent unexpected events.
Do you have plans, goals, ideals, or outcomes that you want to achieve? And do you get frustrated when things don’t go according to plan?
If so, I want to share a simple, yet powerful idea with you in this article.
I learned this from Jocko Willink’s book Discipline Equals Freedom. The idea is very simple. Jocko believes that complaining when things go wrong is useless.
Have you seen those articles with headlines that promise the impossible?
- “1000X your personal growth!”
- “Change your life in 10 seconds!”
- “Learn EVERYTHING in 1 hour!”
You and I both know that these types of claims are BS—it’s nothing more than cheap clickbait. But why are we still baited by these headlines?
We’re optimists! And there’s nothing wrong with that.
Look, we all know that there’s no such thing as 1,000% growth in a short period of time. We also know that we can’t finish a 300-page book in 30 minutes. Mastery doesn’t work that way. There are no shortcuts.
However, getting good at something is also not totally unattainable. Because like these above extreme claims, there is a counterculture that says it takes 10,000 hours (or more) to master a skill. As you might expect, I’m more on the side of that it takes longer to get good at something.
People who claim that setting goals are a bad thing are out of their minds. They probably set some goals in the past, failed, and never set a goal again.
I know there’s a lot of confusion about goals and systems these days. I’ve contributed to the confusion as well.
A lot of us share the idea that you either have a system or set goals.
But thinking “this or that” is not helpful because it limits our beliefs. I know this because I used to think that way too. But then, I learned that many things in life could be this and that.
So in this article, I’ll explain why goals and systems complement each other, and why I have both.
Are you currently in a good mood or a bad mood?
Now, let me ask you another question: How is your day? I bet that you’re having a bad day if you’re in a bad mood, and a good day if you’re in a good mood.
That’s obvious, right? But here’s the thing; since it has such a big impact on the quality of our lives, why aren’t we managing our mood better? Because let’s face it, we shouldn’t let a bad mood ruin our day.
And yet, I never hear people about managing their mood. We all assume that our mood is influenced by outside factors. Things that we do not control.
Do you struggle to finish your tasks? Are you always distracted by notifications, gossiping, or anything that’s random?
In that case, you and I are alike. Because focusing on a single thing is one of the hardest things at work.
There’s always something that interrupts you, right?
- Another person
- A call
- A meeting
- A false emergency
- Your cat
- A stranger’s cat
- News about last night’s NBA game
Sure, you can blame those things — but that’s weak. You and I both know that those things can’t interrupt you without your permission.