Sunday, August 15, 2010

Feet of Clay and the Three Fool Rule

Good morning

“And the beat goes on………………………..”

Some practical advice:

I have some advice for you. You know how you beat yourself up sometimes because of the lingering little things you continue to do that impede your success and productivity. I’m talking about the little things – the way you procrastinate and put things off; the time you waste for seemingly no reason at all; your inability to manage your time really productively – to focus on the important stuff; the seemingly incomprehensible inability to say “no” and the consequence of repeatedly getting sucked into some meeting or conversation, into doing something that you know up front is a waste of your time – that you really don’t want to do – and there you are, once again, bogged down in something that you promised yourself you wouldn’t ever be doing again. Sometimes you just can’t believe you are still stuck with some of these bad little habits, and you wonder “What is wrong with me, anyway. Why do I keep doing this?” You resolve to change, and try, but predictably fall back into the same patterns. You look around and other people don’t seem to have this same problem; other people seem to be able to get their act together; other people seem to be able to get more out of themselves each day. And here you are, stuck with the same negative attitudes you’ve been stuck with for years.

Here’s a little secret: Everybody is the same as you are. Everybody mismanages their time and gets frustrated with themselves because they don’t seem to be able to change. Oh yes, there might be some stellar individuals somewhere out there who are paragons of virtue in this regard – people who aren’t hampered by these little human frailties; productive, focused, really together people. But I’ve met a lot of people in my life – many highly successful, at the top of their game, the seemingly “best” and “brightest” of the lot, but I’ve never met one who didn’t have the same problem of putting off things, who didn’t waste precious time, who avoided the same trap of not being able to manage their time more effectively. We’re all the same. Everyone of us.

So I have two pieces of advice to help you. First, don’t beat yourself up. It’s a waste of time. Instead fix one small thing. Say “no” instead of yes the next time you are asked to get involved with something you have absolutely zero interest in doing. Resolve not to procrastinate on just one of the items on your daily “to do list”. Don’t try to reform the totality of yourself all at once. It won’t work.

The Three Fool Rule:

And here’s the second piece of advice: Every day each of us end up talking to people we don’t want to talk to. People who waste our time and have nothing to say -- needy people who want something from us and offer nothing in return; people who push our buttons; people who sort of suck the life out of you in meandering conversation just to hear themselves pontificate; people who are negative and always tell you why something won’t work. People who waste your time. You know who I am talking about.

I don’t think anyone is required to talk to more than three of these fools in any given day. Really. That’s plenty. So The Three Fool Rule simply states that after you have talked to the third fool on any given day, you have done your duty and from that point on – you don’t have to talk to any more fools – at least not today. Don’t take their calls, don’t have a meeting with them, just ignore them – or at least put them off until tomorrow. Don't worry - as sure as the sun rises in the morning, they will be back.  As you well know, they are not easily discouraged.  Not surprisingly, often times you can get the third fool out of the way by mid-morning, and then you can have the rest of the day free from the burden of having to squander your most precious asset – your time.  Not to mention your psyche self-esteem.

Now I know lots of people will read this and think: “What a stupid thing to say. How pretentious, even patronizing. How elitist.”  But try it, and I promise you, you will feel better.  And please note that I fully understand that for many people, I am one of the fools to get by.  We all are.

And here’s something else to ponder. Once again Brain Pickings offers some food for thought. This one on the very nature of “happiness” itself.

Anyway, Have a great week.

Don’t Quit.