The enemy of ultimate perseverance is distraction. If you could focus your mind on a single goal for a long period of time, the results would be staggering. Unfortunately, the brain isn’t naturally wired to shut out distractions and move ahead with a single task. If 25 years of practice to become a serene, single-minded and accomplished Zen master sounds too much work, the good news is that there are other simpler ways to help you achieve perseverance.
First, when you feel the urge to do something new but realize this activity won’t help you achieve your goals, write it down on a not-to-do list. Writing it down brings your brain into executive mode, which helps you let go of the thought so it will no longer distract you.
Second, create a never-do-to-make-a-living list. This is a list containing projects, activities or initiatives that might help you achieve your goals but isn’t the type of work you like to do. This list is a great tool to make quick, concise, and consistent decisions.
High on my never-do-to-make-a-living list is cold calling, or, approaching strangers by telephone hoping to create a business relationship. The activity of cold calling would make me miserable, even if it could somehow help me tremendously to achieve my goals. Since cold calling is on my never-do-to-make-a-living list, every time someone dangles a cold-calling opportunity in front of me, I can decline with a smile and without second thoughts.
After building the first Disney theme park within a year, a baffled journalist asked Walt Disney: “How did you do this in 366 days?” “Well,” said Disney, “we used all of them.” Which one of these two lists would create a laser-like focus for you and would make you unstoppable?
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