Balancing Your Life

June 1, 1999
Hard work, a necessity for success, is of no value when directed towards the wrong activity. It`s a matter of understanding the difference between activity (being busy) and achievement (being productive).

How to be more intentional,

think more clearly,

do more consistently,

and have what really matters.

Hard work vs. good habits

Dick Biggs

Hard work, a necessity for success, is of no value when directed towards the wrong activity. It`s a matter of understanding the difference between activity (being busy) and achievement (being productive).

You must develop a core of good habits in order for smart work to precede hard work. It`s the reason a smart carpenter measures twice before cutting once. Or why an experienced mechanic does a computer analysis before working on a car.

Discipline - the ability to change bad habits into good habits - is what ensures that hard work is directed toward worthwhile achievement. Discipline makes it possible to have more good habits than bad ones.

An abundance of bad habits can keep you from reaching your full potential and mark you as unreliable. A quantity of good habits is your "bee line" to true success and happiness. It`s a matter of mastering your good habits or being mastered by your bad habits.

Albert Gray, a Prudential Insurance Co. executive, was a man who understood the value of discipline in forming good habits. In l940, he delivered The Common Denominator Of Success speech to the Million Dollar Round Table agents attending their convention in Philadelphia.

According to Mr. Gray, "... the secret of success of every person who has ever been successful lies in the fact that he or she formed the habit of doing things that failures don`t like to do." He claimed there`s no difference between what failures don`t like to do and what successful people don`t like to do. The difference? Successful people discipline themselves to do what they don`t like to do to get what they really want out of life.

For example, if you don`t form the conscious, good habit of setting your alarm clock before going to bed, the unconscious bad habit is that you could oversleep and miss an important business appointment. As Mr. Gray states: "Every single qualification for success is acquired through habit. People form habits and habits form futures."

When I first read this speech in l974, it changed my life and I`ve carried it with me ever since. If you`d like to have a copy, contact the National Association of Life Underwriters (NALU) at 1922 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20006; (202) 331-6086.

Dick Biggs is president of Biggs Optimal Living Dynamics. An inspirational speaker, he is the author of If Life Is a Balancing Act, Why Am I So Darn Clumsy? For more information about Mr. Biggs, call (770) 886-3035. His Web site is http://biggspeaks.home.mindspring. com.

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