A few days ago, while having a fun conversation with a childhood friend, something interesting happened.
This conversation is an annual ritual where we catch up at the beginning of the year (sometimes during birthdays) just to discuss anything and everything that’s happened since the previous conversation.
Now, there’s always a portion of the convo devoted to how much we hoped to achieve at the onset of the year and how off we were in our attempts to meet those targets. This particular year however, in the course of our discussion, I realised two things – we’d both been having the same failed projects / missed targets for nearly a decade.
Secondly, this particular year, I had fewer missed targets on that list than he did.
Surprised, I pointed it out to him and he asked how I was able to do it. I said playfully, I guess my new year resolutions worked.
I’ve had time to think about what exactly I did different and I want to document it here.
We all know new year resolutions don’t work (right?). Because, let’s face it, if you were going to start, you would have already done so last year. So this is NOT a checklist of things you need to do to succeed in 2019. The internet has enough of those already.
In fact, if I’m being honest, listicles exhaust me.
I’ve read so many listicles, at some point, they all began to meld into one another. I mean, it becomes very confusing when you’re reading the 10th article on “19 ways to have a highly productive 2019”.
I figured out something in 2017, tested it throughout 2018 and it worked. Here it is:
At the core of every productivity hack are two fundamental virtues - diligence and curiosity.
We can explore a thousand and one ways to achieve more, to do more, to look, feel, think, speak and perform better but regardless of how you intend to go about it, these two virtues will determine just how successful you will be.
Diligence and Curiosity.
Diligence is basically hardwork. Despite the millions of apps available today, cutting edge tech and productivity hacks, there is no skipping the hard work requirement. Personal improvement takes time, commitment, resolve and focus.
Curiosity on the other hand is the continual desire to learn, to know more about a particular subject (not to be confused with that itch you have to keep scrolling on social media).
Diligence will help you master the right skills. Curiosity will lead you to the right information.
Skills + Information = Development.
On these two things, you can build a career and build it well.
In fact, on these two pillars, you can peg every personal development goal and experience impressive improvement across board be it in your relationships, health, finances, spiritual well being and so on.
Like I wrote days ago, I had a fabulous 2018.
One of the things I really wanted to do last year was pray more.
The thought kept bugging me all through the year but I kept procrastinating. It was in October that the realisation that, “Dude, you have just 3 months left this year. When are you going to pray?”
And that’s when I took a halt and revisited these principles – diligence and curiosity.
Curiosity – I (finally) began reading up on prayer, about people who did great things through prayer, about the significance of prayer in a believer’s life. I spent two weeks in really intense study and mediation. The activity fed with me with the right amount of inspiration and motivation to jumpstart my prayer project.
Diligence – Now that I was all fired up, I needed to plan my time. I sat down and looked at my day. I realised that in order to find the extra 2-3 hours needed for prayer, I needed to cut out social media. So I did. That provided me with the extra hours and (more importantly) mental and emotional energy I needed for my prayer target.
Then I got up and started to run with it.
The results have been outstanding.
This is a process that works. To be honest, I’m dazed at how effective it is.
I’ve used the same process to improve my writing, digital marketing and public speaking skills.
I’m using the same process to learn a new language and another new skill (this one is long overdue).
It’s really not complex.
If you’re a listicle kinda person, go ahead and pen down your goals for 2019. But remember, these two attributes will determine how successful you will be.
Photo Credit: Inc