Friday, November 11, 2011
Baby Steps to Greatness: Start by Making Good Habits
|It's the things you do today that make-up your future|
My uncle once gave the most important tip in studying effectively: read and understand the book from cover to cover “literally”. Whether it’s the copyright’s page, the index, the table of contents, the edition, or just the testimonials, reading these can greatly help in assimilating the lessons the author wrote in his book. He told me this after quizzing me with what I was reading – an Engineering book which I was surprised to see he understood more even if his profession was lined up in political science (take note he just read it then and there). It was then that I saw what was wrong with my study habits (particularly my reading). I love to read and did very well in class; but I could have performed even better.
I have read so many books and finished these fast but after that meeting I realized I was just scanning them, not completely “reading” them. Since then I started reading books “from cover to cover”. I didn’t skip the acknowledgements, the foreword, the copyright’s page, even the so-called “least important details” on newspaper and magazine articles. It may be hard at first and may have been more time consuming, but after it I became more conscious with my reading choices even with purchasing books.
Just like not skipping the smallest and what most of us call “least important” details in books, making big changes in your life starts by giving importance even with the smallest decisions you make. For me, changing how I read books made me select the best reading materials and made my study habits more effective (I understood the lessons more). This also affected how I think about certain situation and how I analyze it—even people’s behaviors. It made me more observant which eventually led me to take an interest in the teaching and fall more in-love with writing.
When you want to make things happen you have to start by taking baby steps. There is no overnight success formula. You can’t lose a hundred pounds after a month (healthy weight lost that is), and you can’t accumulate wealth either that fast (even lottery winners know this since they have to make plans on spending their winnings wisely to be truly successful with it).
Darren Hardy discussed in his book, The Compound Effect, how habits can change your life dramatically. From getting a more fit body to your work performance, even in finding your potential partner in life; everything starts from the smallest and so-called least important decisions you make. If you want to lose weight you have to give yourself at least five minutes a day to exercising, even skipping deserts. If you don’t want to be late from work, you have to start going to bed earlier to complete that six hours of sleep. And if you want to attract the right partner for you, you have to accept your own short comings and start working on where to improve yourself to become the type your ideal partner would likely get attracted to. The things we practice become habits and in time these defines who we are.
Learn from our past.
Cherish the present.
Look forward to the future.
It takes 21 days of repeating an activity to make it a habit. Whether you’ll b be giving 30 minutes of your time to reading, switching from chocolates to fruits for your desert, or waking up 6 am every morning, making the right choices (no matter how simple they may be) and acting upon these will turn your life from where you are now to somewhere better.
Never neglect the simple things you do in life!
Photo taken by M. Halili