In a moment, I’m going to admit what’s been consistently behind my biggest failures — and hopefully help you recognize it if it’s holding you back, and either eliminate it or avoid it, by learning from my mistakes…
I hope I don’t embarrass myself too bad by the time we’re done here!
First, a tiny bit of housekeeping. Monday is the Labor Day holiday here in the US, and in Canada. I’ll be off doing family things. So if you’re missing Breakthrough Marketing Secrets on Monday, it’s because you’re supposed to be! We’ll resume our normal schedule Tuesday.
Okay, let’s get back to admitting my deepest, darkest secrets…
When it comes down to it, I’m friggin’ lazy…
There. I said it. Pretty much front and center.
And when I look back over the years, my biggest roadblock has been ME. My not wanting to do the work. Or, more accurately, not doing the work I know needs to be done, and that I actually want to do. Not getting off my butt and taking action. Even when I know I need to do it and want to have it done.
“Holy crap, Roy,” you might say, “Somehow you manage to put out a ton of content every day in Breakthrough Marketing Secrets, and you’re beating yourself up about not doing enough work?”
I’ve worked very hard to do Breakthrough Marketing Secrets every business day since April 14, 2014.
Some days, it’s all I’ve managed to get done.
Other times, I do a TON and can barely stop everything else I’m getting done to write this daily essay.
And when I do the work, I’m usually having the most success. When I don’t do the work — totally my fault — I’m struggle the most.
The tricky part is it’s usually not felt today. Not doing the work today is instant gratification and delayed consequences. That is, I get the benefit today, but suffer tomorrow for having not gotten my work done.
Compare that to doing the work. Doing the work today is instant consequences followed by delayed gratification. That is, you have to do the hard work of doing the work today. But you usually don’t see the financial rewards for a few days, weeks, even months.
What do we all want? Instant gratification and delayed gratification. We want the benefits of not working today, and the benefits of having worked tomorrow. We don’t want to suffer today or tomorrow.
I actually think this is a huge problem today in general…
And I think this is reflected on a societal level, as well as a personal one.
Take our huge debt problem today — personal and on a state level.
The levels of debt we have today — individually and through national debt — are unprecedented in times of peace.
We’ve all sought out instant gratification, delaying the consequences of having to pay for living high on the hog for a brighter future that is struggling to come. (And even when we’re good about it personally, we often vote for political candidates with a long history of deficit spending and running up the national debt.)
At its root, I think this comes from a very noble idea.
The idea is that each generation of parents hopes to give their children a better life than they had. It starts with industriousness and hard work, but the desire grows and exceeds even the hardest workers’ ability to fulfill it.
And so we find ways — through credit — to live a little nicer today. And we pay it back through tomorrow’s hard work.
The standards keep rising.
And so we turn to more and more credit. Ever-increasing standards of living. Made possible by more borrowing from the future, to live better in the now.
This expands and expands. And is made easier through political policies — because this is all happening on a mass scale.
Every crisis is met with credit becoming easier to come by, re-stabilizing the system by allowing credit to be repaid with credit — those future consequences being nudged into the next calendar year.
Instant gratification and delayed consequences are rewarded, over and over again. Until they become habit.
This is how we end up with a mass attitude and habit of laziness!
And here I’m knocking myself as much as anyone else. Don’t think I’m calling you lazy. Unless, of course, you are… 😉
It’s very easy in this environment to put off to tomorrow what should be done today. It’s nomalized. In fact, you’re sometimes criticized for NOT doing it! If you’re not “keeping up with the Joneses,” you’re the one who’s looked down on. Even if the Joneses are $500,000 in debt and on the brink of bankruptcy.
The more that life is made easy, the less able we become to handle when things go bad.
And that’s why it can start to feel so catastrophic when our train car starts shaking on the rails.
Forget getting derailed…
Even a shudder that makes our train car a bit too wobbly creates utter panic.
We cry out for help — for safety — for someone to do the work for us of bringing things back to normal.
And it seems like it’s going to end well until it doesn’t.
Eventually, we have to suck it up and deal with our problems on our own.
In case you haven’t noticed, I’m talking on two levels here…
There’s the national and global problem we’re facing right now of an economy fueled by debt that will become unsustainable the moment it gets tough to pay off old debt with new.
This is going to get really, really nasty.
In the last few weeks, the high-end housing market on the US West Coast (as well as Canada) is really struggling.
One of the world’s largest shippers declared bankruptcy yesterday.
Credit is tightening in Asia, and I’ve heard at least one really sharp real estate industry insider declare that we may be entering the next bust.
We managed to put off “doing the work” last time, but it may not work this time.
The same thing happens on a personal level.
Have a bad day, not so bad. Make it up the next day. If you don’t do the work every now and then, you can usually recover by working harder the next day.
But what happens when you refuse to do the work today, tomorrow, the next? For weeks?
Well, at some point you have to start catching up. Fast. Or the slap-back of all those unproductive days will come back to sting you.
I know I’m speaking in vague generalities, but that’s so that it will resonate with you on a deep, personal level…
How recently have you caught yourself not doing the work? Did it happen today? What do you need to do, that you’ve been putting off, that will move you forward in the long run?
It might be more painful to buckle down and do the work today. But if it’s something you’ve got to do, it’s something you’ve got to do.
You won’t get the results if you don’t do the work.
And if you’ve made it a habit of not doing the work (which I think is a widespread problem today, particularly among folks who grew up relatively well-off in first world countries), this is a habit you need to consciously fight, and fight, and fight until you’ve broken it.
You need to put systems in place to prevent yourself from slipping back into it.
You need to build structures around yourself and your work to make sure you’re actually facing each day head-on.
(Strictly speaking about the US government, we need to do this on a national level, too — even if it means some really rough years in our economy. Won’t happen — but we need it.)
Here’s my takeaway message…
The results you’ll get in the future will be directly proportional to the work you put in today. You can work hard, and you can work smart — ideally, both — but there’s no way to get around the fact that you have to do the work.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,
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