29 Nov The one quality that will change your whole life
I didn’t have a cellphone in high school. I didn’t know how to Google search. I didn’t have a Kindle or iPad. There was no video chatting or text messaging, and my siblings and I competed for the one desktop computer we had at home (to get on ICQ with our crushes).
The access to information just 15 years ago was far more scarce than it is today… and imagine what it was like way back in the day when scribes would create the only few copies of a book?!
Today, on the other hand, we have everything because of the internet. We can get phDs online and sign up for a myriad of web courses. We can read Wikipedia until the cows come home, and there are very entertaining videos in our Facebook feeds to fill every remaining hour of our lives.
The truth is, the internet has given us all of the knowledge and communication we need to get ahead that people from past generations could have only wished for, and yet because there is so much stuff, we’re distracted from leveraging it.
This is why I believe the single most important quality we can develop to create success in the future (and now!) is DISCIPLINE. Today, more than any other time, it’s about saying no to certain things so we can say yes to that which we choose to focus on. As Abraham Joshua Heschel said in Between God and Man, “…we must be able to say no to ourselves in the name of a higher yes.”
What seems to be happening in this age of information overload is that we’re slower to act on our own ideas because we’re too busy consuming everyone else’s. One of my favourite business leaders, Gary Vaynerchuk, says, “The only reason I give all my shit away for free is because I know there’s only a couple of you that are actually going to do it.” He’s looking for the people who will rise above the distractions.
If we can discipline ourselves to not be so distracted by all of what the internet has brought us, we have a platform that’s bigger than ever to share what we are creating. This opportunity is astounding!!! We don’t have to wait for anyone to pick us, we get to pick ourselves. Do you hear me?! You get to pick yourself to make whatever impact you want to make on the world, and you’re only a click away from having your voice be heard.
Seth Godin, author of 18 New York Times bestselling books, says, “The internet has given anyone with something to say the freedom to say it. It has given us the freedom to connect, the freedom to be generous, and the freedom to make a difference. And we (all of us) refuse to use this freedom to the fullest, because we can’t bear to live with the internal narrative it would create – the narrative of responsibility and risk and failure.”
So, if you combine the idea that the internet is as much of a distraction as it is an opportunity, then all that’s left is to be disciplined around our use of it. Of course, we can consume, but we must consume intelligently. Of course we can even escape from the pressures of life by watching cute puppy videos, but we must do so with discipline.
Every year I take a month off of social media to reset my mind, which is a discipline I choose to practice to make sure I don’t let it distract me as much as I’ve seen it do so. I also create clear goals and deadlines for those goals, so I can align my actions with the vision I have of my future rather than an impulsion to click on a puppy video. As I create more of my business online, I know the demand for self-discipline will be even higher.
So, what about you? What is one thing you can do to create discipline around your relationship with the internet so that you maximize your use of it rather than see it distract you from all that you have to offer us? AND! What’s stopping you from leveraging it to have your voice be heard (remember, there’s no one in the world like you!)?