How to Edge Closer to the Person You’re Destined to Become

If you’re serious about success, then you must improve your recovery.

John Cooper
May 1 · 6 min read

Recovery, and the need to recharge and reboot, is a constantly overlooked element of success and personal development.

Everyone wants to be successful.

You do, I do, hell, the whole world does.

You know that to retain optimal personal wellness, you need to stop the daily fuss of business and take time to really think, but you rarely do.

Instead, you fill your days with mundane tasks that keep you busy. When you are busy, you feel productive, but you really aren’t.

However, when all is said and done, you are really just wasting time.

You must take time to be quiet and decide what you want to do with your life and decide what success looks like for you.

Quit trying to compare yourself with everyone else’s success and determine what success is to you.

You must decide what you want your future self to look like!

Until then, you will always be chasing and never be happy.

I spent years chasing what I thought would make me happy; more money. Once I made it to $75,000 per year, I thought that I’d be happy, and all my problems would disappear.

I was dead wrong!

I poured my heart and soul into the company that I worked for from when I was 16 until I was 33.

That’s 17 years!

I moved up from fry cook all the way to an area supervisor managing multiple restaurants. It took me about 10 years to get to the $75K per year that I thought would bring me happiness.

I wasn’t happy. In fact, I was the most miserable I’d ever been. I missed out on a lot of my kid’s early development, and I hate that.

I was working so much and never took time to recover. I never took time to think and get clear on who I wanted to be.

I never stopped to ask myself if I was heading in the right direction.

What I realized, in the end, is that I spent so much time climbing the “mountain of success” only to realize that I was climbing the wrong, damn mountain.

I do not view climbing the wrong mountain as a waste, though. I actually got a lot stronger because of it. I grew a lot during the time that I spent working for this company and am the person I am because of it.

But not necessarily who I’d be if I could do it all again.

The biggest lesson that I learned is that you must take time to recover.

You must take time to stop and make sure you are on the right course, climbing the right mountain.

Abraham Lincoln said:

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax.”

Recovery is sharpening your ax so that you work more effectively. It’s also about gaining clarity about where you want to be to cut down the right tree.

Believe me; it’s a lot more efficient and easier to cut down a tree with a sharp ax than hacking away at it with a dull ax.

Just like sharpening an ax is a learned skill, you must learn the skill of recovering.

Here are some tips that I’ve learned over the last year or so on recovery.

These tips have helped me get clear on who I want to be and how I’m going to get there.

5 Steps to Recovery

Just like anything else, if you don’t schedule it, then it won’t happen.

I am committed to more recovery in my life for 2021.

To make sure this happens, I have a recurring reminder in my phone to schedule recovery time at least once every month.

I simply use the reminders app on my phone to do this.

True recovery is about being present.

I have been on two silent retreats in the past two years. At the retreat, we are asked to turn in our cell phones and not talk to each other for 15 hours. It’s a Christian retreat, so all we are asked to bring is our Bible and a journal.

I thought it would be difficult to sit in silence and not have my cell phone for that long. But what I learned from each time is that I spend way too much time on my phone and not enough time being present.

Since the first retreat, I hardly ever get on social media because I realized how much time I wasted scrolling through my feeds. In fact, it’s noted that, on average, Americans waste about 2–1/2 hours scrolling social media daily.

I enjoyed being unplugged so much that I am almost addicted to the freedom I feel from not wasting so much time on my phone.

Not to mention all of the time that I have to focus on things that actually matter. Like being present with my family and becoming my desired future self.

To recover, you must unplug and limit as many distractions as possible.

Take this time to recover and get clear on your goals and dreams. Do not use it to catch up on your emails or shop on Amazon.

Spend it reflecting on your wins for the last 90 days. Always spend time measuring the gain and not the gap, as Benjamin Hardy, PhD, explains in this article.

“If you’re growing but constantly measuring where you are against your ideal, you’ll never get there. This will lead you to always feeling dissatisfied with yourself, which isn’t helpful to your future goals and it robs you of the joy of the distance you’ve made.” — Benjamin Hardy

I use my journal to do this.

I will spend the first several minutes reflecting on my wins and accomplishments and writing them as bullets in my journal. This is very effective and really helps with confidence.

  • What you really want
  • Why you want it
  • What’s working
  • What’s not working
  • How to improve what is working
  • How to eliminate what’s not working

Take some time getting clear on your annual goals.

I call my annual goals my “Big 3”. I have 3 things that I’m focussing on this year, and you should too. To have more than 3 priorities is a waste of time. Here is how I track my “Big 3”:

Image from the author

I have been practicing meditation for about six months now.

I never thought I’d say that. I’ve always had a negative view of meditation, probably due to my upbringing.

But since starting meditating, I feel a lot more present, more self-aware, and less reactive. I can catch my thoughts and think them through before reacting.

Meditation does not have to be difficult. I share all about my experience and how I practice meditation here.

In Conclusion

You must make time to unplug and recover. If you don’t, you will never get out of the rut and determine which mountain you need to climb.

Even Bill Gates takes time each year to get away to unplug and think. I know how bad you want to get unstuck and start living!

You have the power to take action. Believe in yourself, look at your calendar, and find a few hours where you can get away.

Take action now!

Start by scheduling the time and then:

  • Get out of your normal routine and unplug
  • Measure your wins
  • Get clear on what you wan
  • Focus on what’s working and eliminating what’s not
  • Spend some time in quiet meditation and prayer

You’ve got this! I believe in you and know if I can do it, so can you.

Remember, if you are not improving as much as you would like to be, you are not spending enough time recovering.

By following the steps outlined above, you will be well on your way!

“The quality of your recovery reflects the quality of your life.”

— Benjamin Hardy, PhD

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John Cooper

Written by

A writer of personal development on a journey of becoming my desired future self. I want to help you on your journey. mrjohncooper.com

The Ascent

The Ascent is a community of storytellers documenting the journey to a happier and healthier way of living. Join thousands of others making the climb on one of the top publications on Medium.

John Cooper

Written by

A writer of personal development on a journey of becoming my desired future self. I want to help you on your journey. mrjohncooper.com

The Ascent

The Ascent is a community of storytellers documenting the journey to a happier and healthier way of living. Join thousands of others making the climb on one of the top publications on Medium.

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