5 Brief Reflections for a Better Week

Keep the principles below in mind and try applying them in your life. They might just make it a bit better.

Passion is best when it’s tempered and harnessed; when it’s married with purpose and passion.

Throwing your all into something is a wonderful feeling. But it also comes with a sizable risk: that you get so swept up in your passion that you lose a bit of control. You can prevent this by coming back to the purpose of your passion, reflecting on it regularly, and proceeding thoughtfully from there.

To be your best, have a goal of being the best at getting better.

The problem with big goals — like being the best at something — is that you either achieve them or fail to. When you achieve them, it’s all too easy to become complacent. When you fail to achieve them, you might become sad, lose motivation, or even burn out. But if your goal is simply to keep getting better, you’ll stay in an upward spiral of progress. Abide by the 48-hour rule. Give yourself up to 48-hours to feel happy or sad about an external result, and then get back to getting better.

Own your attention. It determines the quality and enjoyment of your work — and your life.

This sounds simple but it’s becoming increasingly hard, especially with with the spread of technologies that are designed to encroach on it. Turn off push notifications. Disable your e-mail client when you are doing deep work. Make hard rules about tech-free meals and tech-free rooms in your house. Now I’m not a luddite — I love technology. But I also love the feeling of being fully present with whatever is occurring in real life, too. Be mindful of where you direct your attention. You literally have full control over this. Exert it.

Before you say “yes” to something new, answer the question, to what am I saying “no”?

It’s impossible to do everything at once. Although in some circles being busy is worn as a badge of honor, as a status symbol, I’d argue that being busy is one of the last things worth striving for. Pursue quality over quantity. Protect your time and energy and devote it to things that matter. And remember, the best thoughts often arise in the spaces between otherwise “busy” periods. Honor these spaces.

Those who act toughest on the outside are often weakest on the inside.

Especially with everything going on in the world right, take solace in the fact that true toughness — genuine inner-security — comes down to a lot more than machismo acts of strength. As a matter of fact, those who are strongest on the inside are OK with admitting their vulnerabilities. It’s actually because they take stock of where they are weak — and then work to improve those areas — that they remain strong.

The above thoughts are a sampling of those that came to me during the past week, based on my research, reporting, and writing in health and human performance. I also try to share them regularly when they arise. If you’d like these nuggets on a daily basis, just follow me on Twitter @Bstulberg.

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