The brain, to start this off, is an exceptionally powerful tool. However, the brain is also a terribly stupid leader.
For all the innovation and creativity that the brain can produce, it is also lazy, paranoid and distractible. Because of the flawed nature of the brain it becomes essential to discipline the mind.
One such way is to put blinders on it. Much like I was saying in my post about web-blockers. Another such way is to put guide rails on it. As if to say, ‘Here is this track, chug along.’
One such time when the mind is the most sensitive to disctration and creativity is in the morning. After having been asleep for hours, playing in the dreamscape and the darkness of the night, the brain arises in the morning and it yearns for structure.
One such way to provide structure is to use a checklist.
However, there is a caveat. It has to be written by your hand, on paper with a pencil and the list has to be the first thing you grab when you wake up in the morning.
I know that this is a tall order for some, especially when considering that you will be following this checklist each morning. But there is power in this list like you would not believe.
The reason for this power is because each time you complete this list, you will evaluate the results and reflect on making improvements. That’s why you’ll put it down on paper.
But there are a couple of important things to consider when making and following this list:
No more than 14 items, and no less than 3
Each item must fit on one line, a single word is fine
Read the entire list before you start
Start by reading the first item, complete it, then move on
Only do one item at a time, in order, top to bottom
Once completed, stop and then reflect on the following
“What is one small way I can improve for next time?”
“How can I make that change quickly right now?”
In a very short while, you will have created a powerful tool for your personal growth and development that will set each day in order for your brain. And with each day you willl find that each small improvement will lead you to a profound implementation of the most powerful part of your day.
Now, will you get through this list everyday? No, you will not. Your children will decide to have melt downs, traffic will be jammed up, your favorite pairs of sneakers will be torn up by the dog. And when those unexpected things happen which they will, stop where you are in your list, ask your self to forgive those who tresspass, and commit to doing the list tomorrow. And if the disruption persists tomorrow, you know you have found an opportunity to iterate the list to overcome whatever it is that is disrupting you on your path to your ideal personal development and growth.
Take it from me when I say this, there will always be a bigger fish.
As cryptic as that sounds, consider ‘The Old Man and The Sea’. By the end of the book, the complete desecration of the huge fish that he brings in seems utterly tragic. And when I read that novel as a young man, I was rather touched by the ending. To this day, my father speaks of the tragedy of the fish with reverence.
But I got thinking this morning, wondering where I was going to travel to next after spending the month of February in Mexico. I kept asking myself, why bother going anywhere else in the world – its all just dirt, plants, water, and people under the sky anyway.
And while I sat there on the toilet, as I imagine Hemingway had when he thought up the start of that iconic novel, I realized that there will always be a bigger fish to pull in.
I just have to go back out to sea, throw in my line, and try again.