Sunday, April 15, 2007

From the home office

Thanks to Carolyn Foote for tagging me with this meme:
List the top 5 to 10 things that you do almost every day that help you
to be successful. They can be anything at all, but they have to be
things that you do at least 4 or 5 times every week. Anything less than
that may be a hobby that helps you out, but we are after the real day
in and day out habits that help you to be successful.

This is momentous; one because this is my first opportunity to have been tagged by someone, which shows that there are definitely people out there at least hearing what I am saying (a very cool feeling); and two because my wife and I often talk about what we need to do to become the people we promised each other we'd be when we made the big decision to create a life together. So, without further ado, here is my short list:

1. When discussing something, realize that I might know what the "last word" might be, but be brave enough and wise enough not to say it.

2. Read much more than I write.

3. Earn your showers: this sounds foul, but it refers to the fact that there must be some part of a day that is dedicated to physical activity.

4. Get down on my hands and knees and play whatever my two-year old tells me to.

5. Smile when I am not expected to.

6. Make light of stressful situations at work, because it does not have to define us.

7. Make lists, and complete them religiously.

8. Play with new ideas.

9. Set aside time that is dedicated to making me a better member of my family.

10. Booby Traps (and I thank Charles Youngs for this one). Build pleasurable experiences into my days. Naps, ice cream, etc. can be planned for as well as spontaneous.

Those that I tag follow below.
Success is a interesting word, and Carolyn phrases it perfectly when she says that implying that its opposite is failure is a sketchy thing. Success to me is such a personal decision, meaning that when you decide to be a success and when you decide that you are a success, depends solely on your readiness and your definitions. External definitions of success place such undue stress on us, but are often what derail us as we move through life. Have you ever reached a measurable level of success and felt unfulfilled? For me, it was receiving my master's degree. When I finished it, I remember feeling that nothing had really changed, that, yes, I had worked hard to achieve this, but it wasn't as momentous to me as it was to say, my mother.

What I had in mind at the time, and still today, involves much more than that. I had decided that my success depended less on that degree, and more on my actions after that degree.


Carolyn Foote said...


I really identified with your comment about how our society places external definitions of success on people that cause stress. It seems high school students now face so much of that stress, and I worry that it will make it harder for them to identify what their internal voices are.

Thanks for participating!

Patrick Higgins said...

What's great about that is that your post was really the inspiration for that thought. I looked at how expectations of success often lead to a feeling of failure, when in actuality, our perspective of success might actually be off-kilter.

Bing Miller said...

Patrick, thanks for including me on this meme. It's quite an interesting question and I don't know if I properly addressed it, but it certainly got me thinking. I, too, liked your comment about society placing external definitions of success on people. When that happens, it seems like it shifts the ownership (and pride and responsibility too, I guess) of a person's so-called success away from the person. No one likes to feel out of control of their life. On the other hand, there needs to be some outside benchmarks or guidelines for people to help them learn when they are successful. A great topic and I look forward to seeing what other people contribute.

Thanks again for including me.

ceyo said...

Thanks for adding booby trapping your day for joy to your list! I am inspired by your "earn your showers" idea, too!