In life its very easy to get stuck in a rut. We often end up doing things not because we made a conscious decision to do them but rather because our parents did them and its a ritual. Some rituals are good, like flossing your teeth but some rituals are bad. Rituals become bad when they become so many that we don’t have time to do anything really important in life. The older you get, the more rituals you pick up. If you are not really, really careful, your rituals consume you and you end up “busy” all day but accomplish absolutely nothing!
Not only do needless rituals waste time but they waste money as well, lets look at some examples. The morning trip to Starbucks. By the time you get there, find parking, wait in line, and get back on the road it can easily be 20 or 30 minutes. Is that $5 cup of coffee really worth 20 minutes every day? Thats 120 hours a year, or three complete work weeks. Can you think of something more important you could do with those three weeks? I can!
QUESTION YOUR RITUALS!
Haircuts for guys are a great example, at least for me. If you want your hair short, why not just do it yourself? Over the 15 years I have cut my own hair I have saved $5000 and another 3 work weeks of time. Of course, selfie haircuts don’t work for everyone. If you are a model, then having perfect hair is your job and you need to seek out the best professional to do it for you.
Its really, really easy to get defensive here and say in a huff – “I HAVE to do XYZ”. You have to turn your defensive reaction off when looking at your rituals and ask yourself the following:
- would you die if you didn’t do this ritual?
- would your health suffer if you didn’t do this ritual?
- would you lose your job if you didn’t do this ritual?
- would it damage *important* interpersonal relationships if I didn’t do this ritual?
- would something explode, melt, or burn if I didn’t do this ritual?
- would I waste money if I didn’t do this ritual?
Try to think impartially about the consequences of not doing one of your rituals. Seriously, what is the worst thing that would happen if you didn’t vacuum under your bed every week?
The point is, every minute of every day, ask yourself, IS THIS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING I CAN BE DOING RIGHT NOW? The most important decision is the next one you will make:
- Grab that cup of coffee at Starbucks on the way to work at the job you hate or spend 20 minutes working on your resume to help find a better job?
- Read the morning paper or go for a jog?
- Watch TV after work to “unwind” or go to the gym and burn some stress of there?
A successful life is a series of very small, seemingly insignificant, good decisions that add up over the long haul to be positively life changing.
You get the idea!