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Start where you are

Improving Systems and Habits

Scott Miker is the author of several books that describe how to use systems and habits to improve.  This free blog provides articles that to help understand the principles related to building systems.  

Start where you are

Scott Miker

With football season winding down I figured I would share 2 quotes from Vince Lombardi, one of the greatest football coaches of all time.  He has a lot of quotes and was known as a tough leader who demanded the best from his teams.

The first quote is “The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have.”

I love this quote because it gives a different way to measure success.  Some people use money, power, friendships, awards, material things etc. to judge their level of success.  But we all have different circumstances.

To me this can be seen when someone who has extreme success gets caught doing something unethical.  It might be that the star athlete used performance-enhancing drugs or the spiritual leader committed fraud.  The problem is that we tend to view extreme success in one area as overall success. 

To measure success by looking at what we do with what we have gives a different view of success and failure.  Suddenly someone that sacrifices for his or her family to provide for them are viewed much more positively and the selfish egomaniac businessperson that cut everyone down to get ahead is viewed negatively.  But without that perspective, it can be easily caught up in the “successful” businessperson versus the lowly family man. 

To me this simply shows that we shouldn’t spend all of our time judging.  We should instead take what we have and work hard to improve.  By doing this we can do more and more with what we are given. 

The best way to do this is by systematically approaching our goals and objectives.  By taking a systematic approach we look at the process and focus on improving the process.  This will then translate to results.

But if we only focus on results we can easily get sidetracked.  We may even cheat or take shortcuts in order to gain more of our measure of success. 

The next Vince Lombardi quote drives this point home.  He says, “The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field.”

So instead of committing to results based on some measure of success, instead focus on improving the process.  As long as you maintain this focus and commitment to excellence the quality of your life will improve. 

Take this insight and evaluate what you are currently doing.  What is ultimately driving you?  Is it a commitment to excellence and a desire to constantly improve?  Or is it something else that you feel is the ultimate measure of success?

The reason this is so powerful is because it allows you to take where you are right now and focus solely on improvement.  It can be difficult to improve at all if you are far away from your material goal and it can cause you to consider shortcuts if you are close to your goal and cheating can help you get their quicker. 

But if you simply start at where you are today and commit to excellence you can start to slowly improve.  By looking at your goals systematically you can have the insight to improve and grow without the distractions from others who will always try to use artificial measures to judge one’s success.