“It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.” – John Wooden
John Wooden is best known for his history as Coach of UCLA basketball. This quote relates to a part of his coaching philosophy. If you’d like to learn more, you can visit his official website at http://www.coachwooden.com/
Each of us has habits. Each of us follows a certain ritual each day. We get up. We go to work. We conduct that work. We go home. We go to bed.
What is important are the things we do in between all these mandated activities. What do you do with your time? Do you watch TV? Do you play video games? Do you read? Do you write? Do you learn?
It’s interesting when you look at your efforts over a given period. I looked at my blog this morning like I always do. Since Daily Rambling’s creation, I have posted more than 500 posts. I spend about 20-30 minutes on my daily postings. That 20-30 minutes doesn’t seem like much but when you add that 20-30 minutes up over 2 years you arrive at a pretty big number.
If you examine your life like John Wooden would do with the teams he’s coached over the years you will begin to realize how important these small contributions are over time. This is the crux of this quote. Small things turn into big things. This is one of my key learnings over the years as I have studied success, productivity, accomplishment, and all the rest. I learned that habits are important, but rituals are more important to a person’s overall success. Rituals are habits packaged up together in a synchronous and synergistic way to gain maximum advantage.
My rituals take on context. I write in chunks of time. I read in chunks of time. I exercise in chunks of time. I pursue my learning in chunks of time. I plan in chunks of time. These rituals are important because they literally guide your day. You get up, you make your bed, you brush your teeth, you eat.
If you work, you have rituals as well. You get up at a certain time, you clean up your room, you wash up, you eat, and you head out the door. When you get to work you fire up your workstation or do whatever your work requires. There are hidden rituals that occur all day long despite your awareness of them.
The impetus of my topic today is on actively and purposefully documenting your personal rituals to begin gaining an awareness of what you do every day so you can find out what you can change to achieve those things that are outside of work. Do you want to exercise? Find a place in your calendar and make the time. What will you add to that exercise ritual? Packing your gym bag, putting it in your trunk so you can workout before or after work? What type of exercises will you do? What gym or park will you go to?
If you’ve never exercised before, you may want to start small. Maybe you buy a second-hand workout bench and some used dumbbells. Maybe you find a used stair-stepper or treadmill that someone wants to get rid of. Whatever you choose, create a ritual that you can commit to. Maybe you’re like me and must do your first workout routine in the morning before anything else. Maybe you’re comfortable doing it on the way home from work. Regardless of what you choose to do, try it out for a bit. Does it work, or do you need to change it? If you need to change it–do it.
You can create rituals for hobbies you’d like to pursue, exercise programs, sitting down and getting on with writing the book you’ve always wanted to write, or any number of things.
My rituals surround a few topic areas. These topic areas are writing (blog, book, school work), exercise (aerobic, weight lifting, sleep, supplementation, tracking my food), reading (nonfiction and fiction), and learning (helping my wife with her degree program, Coursera, Hillsdale College, and others), and spiritual pursuits (praying and spiritual reading daily).
You have the freedom to pursue whatever you are interested in. You can pursue whatever drives you from day-to-day. Make some choices. It’s ok to watch Netflix (I do). It’s ok to watch your favorite sports teams when they appear. Just keep it in balance. Find the areas of your life that you believe need some work, write down a plan, get it on your calendar, and execute. Start small and grow the ritual as you see fit. After a while, you may decide that the price a certain goal or activity is too much for you right now. Put it to the side and continue with the others you have selected and are willing to pay the price for. You can always go back to one of these things should you decide to.
Little things add up to big things. 20 minutes of exercise a day, reading a chapter a day, writing a few paragraphs for your book each day, spending 15 minutes on a video course each day are all actions that are very doable and will deliver huge results over time. I wish all of you well on your life’s journey and hope you achieve what you want to in this lifetime.
Until next time…