Sometimes things happens in our lives and we have no idea as to how them came about. In most instances the things that come about in our lives as achievement were carefully set out goals with time dependent attachments. Achievement for all intents and purposes don’t come about as some fly by night success story. They take time, effort, dedication, sacrifice, planning and an unrelenting spirit.
Milestones are the way markers for these ultimate achievements. They are measurable subsets of goals which allow you a birds eye view of how far you have come, the things that you have done well and others that haven’t been done so well. They allow you to see how you can improve on the things you’ve done well and identify the things that can and should be improved and/or eliminated altogether.
So again I ask you like I did last week “What are your MILESTONES?” And maybe more importantly, "What is your NEXT MILESTONE?” Might it be a big exam, marriage, parenthood, graduation, a promotion at work? It might be one of those things, or it might not be. Doesn’t really matter what does matter is that you are headed for something great.
Last week it was pointed out to me that yes I told you the milestone it’s going to be a journey, a process, at times it won’t be easy and it will get difficult, but you have to be willing to make the sacrifices even in the face of pain and hurt to achieve. What was pointed out to me is that I didn’t give clear cut practical examples on some of the ways necessary to achieve these small intermediate goals otherwise known as the MILESTONE. So I’m going to lay out 5 of the top tools I use when ever it is I’m trying to achieve something.
You’ve Got To Submit To Systems.
So you say PJ what do you mean by submit to systems. Well there are rules and regulations for everything in life. When you drive on the road there are certain rules a regulation in place, a system. When we abide by this road traffic system with stop signs, traffic lights, speed limits, different types of line dividers in the road (some allow you to over take, others mean you are not to over take). This system is in place so that you can get from your point of origin to your point of destination without being a danger to you, other vehicles or pedestrians. So you need to submit to systems or chances are you will never achieve anything in life. And this really is the big daddy of them all everything else falls into this submitting to systems.
Distractions Be Gone
You have to, no doubt about it, have to shut the distractions in your life down. When ever you are trying to move up to another level in life whether it be academically, in your marriage, in your company, starting your own company, with God then you have to rid yourselves of distractions. The best way to do this is to write down all the things you waste valuable time on. Write them down one by one. Chances are it’s Facebook, TV, WhatsApp, On the phone just talking, Sleeping and a whole host of other things. I want you to write it down what ever it is and then I need you to SHUT IT DOWN. It doesn’t have to be forever, but it does have to happen if you are going to get the milestone done.
Not too many like this word. You have to give up to go up. You have to give up that which is already in your hands, you can literally already taste it, feel it, smell it. You have it already and you have to be able to give those things up. This also ties into getting rid of your distractions because it’s going to be a big sacrifice for most to rid themselves of their greatest distractions because you love them so much. It get’s hard. I kid you not I try to wake up every morning by 4:30am and last night as I was preparing to go to bed I put my phone down and it vibrated like 5 times straight. 5 messages and notifications came into my phone as soon as I put it down. And that’s the way it is and it’s going to be you will have to make many sacrifices on your journey to success milestone by milestone, goal by goal you will have to make them. And as soon as you decide to shut something down, your boy is going to call you and say I need to talk to you bro, things are terrible right now and I really need to talk to you. Your phone is going to ring like it’s never rang before, your favorite show (Empire, Scandal, How To Get Away With Murder, Game Of Thrones) is going to premiere in the middle of exams, your significant other, your family, your fiends they’ll be hurt because you don’t have time for them. They’ll tell you, you changed. The good thing is the ones that really care about you will come around.
You will have to leave things and people for a time sometimes and the possibility that those things or people might not be there when you get back is very real. Life is fickle and it is short, the sacrifice you have to make sometimes is to leave those things with the possibility of them being there when you get back being very real. This is something that I struggled with greatly and anyone can pass away from this world, but the older folks are more likely to. My grandparents mean the world to me. I love them both dearly when I am home I spend time with them, my grandpa he always tells stories and he is quite the historian and I love to hear the stories of family, and other happenings in the Bahamas and where ever else he went in the world and my grandma although she is ill now with a neurodegenerative disease, spending time with her is precious to me. The decision to leave them and others hurt, but I’m sure you can understand why I singled them out.
You will have to sacrifice many other things as well. Sleep being a BIG one in the bunch. Many nights for weeks straight I went to bed at about 6am every morning, woke up at 11am and was right back at it until 6am the next morning. The thing about sacrifices is they pay off I got honors in all of my courses in 3rd year and missed distinction in 2 of those courses only by 1 point, I won’t lie it ate me up that it was just one point, but because of the preparation and sacrifice the success came.
This is so, so, SO important. I can’t emphasize this enough. Time is the only resource that is equally distributed to all. We have absolutely no excuse whatsoever to waste and squander time. The best way to do this is to create a routine. Because the less choices you have to make about what to do now ultimately leads to less time being wasted. The person who usually uses his time best is the person who usually comes out on top. So if you are efficient with you 86,400 seconds in a day chances are you already miles ahead of the traffic and just cruising after that. And when you add on to that waking up earlier in the morning you already have up to a 5 hour head start on everybody else. Think about it. I’ve read and listened to audiotapes and watched videos about some of the most successful people in the world. I’ve discovered that way wake up 3 or 3:30 every morning some of them. You know why because they watch the news at that time and think about it. If Oprah wakes up at 3 or 3:30 and the average Joe is waking up at 8 or 8:30 to get to work she already has a 5 hour head start on everybody else and that’s a significant part of the reason she is so successful compared to the large majority of everybody else.
In managing your time well you’ve got to plan your day, you need to have objectives with different levels of priority because there are only 24 hours in a day and sometimes you just won’t get everything done so you have to make sure that the things the MUST be done get done. So you have to have a plan and prioritize.
For those sacrifices you are going to have to make, you can still strike a balance. If you have a significant other, family or what ever it is that still demands some kind of attention then you have to give something. I recommend allowing for what ever your schedule permits for you to spend time with who ever or what ever it is. It might be an hour or 2 hours at a time maybe 2 or 3 times a week and the other times you just check in every day to make sure that everything is good.
You Must Evaluate Yourself Regularly
For years as I went through school I never evaluated and assessed what I did. And in a profession of life long learning I’ve had to reinvent my study methods in medical school many times over. I tried the read and just write method. It worked ok for me. Then I tried flow charts sometime in second year when I say all of my notes were flow charts, I mean ALL of my notes were flow charts. That worked a little better. Also I started getting in the habit of making sticky notes and putting them up on my wall in my dorm room. When ever I came into my room there would be random notes there on the wall on topic areas we had done that could jolt my memory bit and stimulate more long term memory formation. In third year I started writing all my notes out in my own words the way I understood it and I read widely from at least 3 or 4 books on the topic or other internet sources. These were all changes I was able to make after looking a what I had done, searching out ways to improve and dropping the ones that weren’t as efficient as possible. I also did past papers and the earlier and more regularly you do them provided you do it for the learning experience the better it is for you. My dad likes to say “Practice makes perfect, provided it’s perfect practice”, and I’d like to add on to that too, practice makes permanent whether it be good or bad you evaluation of what you are doing is paramount.
Call To Action and Summary
I encourage you and I challenge you to work towards bettering yourself so that afterwards you are able to help someone else along the way. Service to God and man is the greatest thing you can do. You have been destined for a purpose. Your life has meaning and it is your responsibility to live up to that purpose which is to share the gift that you have been given with the world in order to bless those around you and even those you will never actually meet. Let these 5 points be a guide to prepare you for the life you deserve. In order to do that, you must:
- Submit to systems
- Write them down and Shut them down (Distractions be gone)
- Manage your time well
- Evaluate yourself
A lot of these points overlap and you will see that. Most things in life you can’t always just separate them into nice small compartments. A lot of things are integrated and take time to get your machine oiled up and ready to move smoothly.
But what I do want you to remember is that when preparation meets opportunity then you would have achieved success.
See you at the top.
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