Daily Dispatch

How a Navy Seal and Chinese Philosopher Can Help You Reach Your Goals

Lao-Tzu, a Chinese philosopher and writer, as well as the creator of Taoism said in his famous work ‘Tao Te Ching’ the following:

“If you want to go far in a decade, you have to go far each year. If you want to go far each year, you have to make sure that you do something significant each day.”

Many of the business and productivity books I have read state that high performers focus on the minutes, not the hours nor days. They focus only on maximizing their output in the next few minutes, which then compounds throughout the day. Working this way ensures that our mind is always present and devoted to our current ask, rather than an augment we had with our spouse earlier that morning, or what we’ll cook later for dinner. Progress always starts on the small scale, our day to day habits, routines, and actives. As Steve Jobs once said:

“In the first 30 years of your life, you make your habits. For the last 30 years of your life, your habits make you.”

I believe making daily progress towards your goals or projects to be the ‘secret’ ingredient many people are missing. One example of this could be this very blog. I write for 1 hour a day and publish it no matter what. Sounds easy right? After a week you’ve got 7 posts, a month 30, and a year 365. 365 posts averaging 500 words each adds up to 182,500. Keeping in mind that an average book is between 60,000 – 80,000 words, I’ve got the potential for three books, from just 1 years work, 1 hour a day at a time.

Jocko Willink mentioned this in a recent interview with Success Magazine. Jocko Willink is a retired United States Navy Seal, commander of Seal Team Three’s Task Unit Bruiser during the Battle of Ramadi. He has since founded a leadership consulting firm, wrote three best selling books and started the hit podcast ‘Jocko Podcast’.

His motto?

“Discipline equals freedom.”

Jocko writes for one hour a day, 1000 words a time, and after three months he’s got a book.

Whatever your goal is, break it down into daily targets. Once you’ve got your daily targets, you build habits around them and then protect your schedule with your life. This constant progress will also build momentum, much like a snowball rolling down a snow-covered hill, building up both speed and size the further it gets.

Jerry Seinfeld, most famous for playing himself in the sitcom Seinfeld has a productivity hack that I believe can help with this.

You’ll need a physical wall calendar and a red magic marker.

It goes like this: For every day, you work on your project or make some kind of progress towards your goals, you put a big red X over that day. After a few days, you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it, and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is not to break the chain.

“Don’t break the chain.”


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