Life is a marathon, not a sprint. Trite this may be, but true. You must train for a long run, not a dash. Aspiring entrepreneurs commonly make this mistake. They plan months ahead when their window should be years. Of course, such lengthy preparations will have to be recalibrated frequently.
Not long ago a dental hygienist cleaned my teeth. During our rather one-sided conversation, she told me plaque is an invisible film on the teeth. If allowed to remain it turns into tartar after 24 to 48 hours. Long-term it will destroy the teeth. She knows the plaque is there if teeth are not smooth. To be effective removing it, she hones her tools after every cleaning since the heat that sterilizes them dulls them. Oral health requires a decades-long plan executed from several times a day to one or twice a year.
Every day you accumulate plaque: on your teeth, in your arteries, but also in your mind and spirit. If not removed in a day or two it calcifies. Left unchecked for months and years it can destroy you. You must remove it, frequently and thoroughly. Here is how:
- Work on developing the ability to detect when plaque is accumulating. How do you feel at peak performance? What are the circumstances at such times? What tasks cause the everyday buildup? Which situations cause unusual or rapid accumulation?
- Build into your day tasks to minimize the buildup. For your teeth this is easy. Consider prevention against mental and spiritual plaque. A proper amount of sleep is a start. Would a short, daily walk help? Can a bike ride with your children clear cobwebs from your mind? Will a quiet cup of coffee while reading a book for 20 minutes before going home after work suffice? Be intentional about what you do.
- Create a plan triggered by special situations. If you are approaching a crazy busy time at work, plan now for what you will do after it is over. Looking forward to a vacation or other activity will reduce the impact of the work and heal the damage.
- Periodically change your response. While systemized sterilizing and sharpening of dental tools is best, a human being acclimates to routine reducing its effectiveness.
General George S. Patton planned meticulously knowing that once a battle started opportunities would arise that required changes to the plan. By constantly keeping an eye on the long view while stressing daily conditioning during training, his soldiers were fit to take advantage of favorable circumstances.
Question - How will you prevent getting into a mental or spiritual rut?
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