Shortcuts rob us of completion and mental toughness. I heard former Navy SEAL, Mark Divine, say that. I agree. It goes along with the idea of making our bed every day. My son tells me it does not make sense to make his bed because he is just going to get into it and mess it up again later. I believe he would feel so much better crawling into a neat bed. I love the look of a made bed and I like unwrapping it at night before climbing in. Leaving our bed a rumpled mess, seems like a shortcut to me. A shortcut that robs us of completion and a sense of pride.
Working through discomfort
Someone else said discomfort is fear and working through fear gets us to our highest potential. I have found finishing things even when it is arduous and uncomfortable makes me feel stronger and more confident. One example is deciding the night before that I am going to get up early and exercise the next day. When the alarm goes off, if I get up, get moving and do a whole workout, I feel so much better than if I reset the alarm and sleep longer. In the second scenario, I let myself down. I did not do what I said I was going to do. That feels bad. That’s lack of discipline.
Where else are we taking shortcuts?
If we take shortcuts like not making our bed or only making 75% of the client calls we said we would, where else in our lives are we not finishing?
Are we half-assing it in our relationships? Do we assume our partner knows we love them and appreciate all of the hard work they do around the house or do we make the effort to tell them? Do we pull the kids away from the TV and read to them at night or do we let them fall asleep in front of the TV and carry them up to bed, teeth unbrushed and quality time together gone? Seeing a family member cheat in their workout or do a household task halfway, makes me trust them a little less.
Do we go all week eating a clean healthy diet and then fall off the wagon on the weekend?
I see many high school kids do the bare minimum in school to get a decent grade. They rob themselves of learning. Learning will be essential in the real world.
For a few years, I took shortcuts that undermined the security of my family. I told my kids what to do but did not really help them know how to do it. I shortened reading time with them at night so I could get to my relax time sooner. I kept my relationship with my ex-husband very business-like instead of showing love and vulnerability. All of these easy paths, in the long run, hurt me and those I love.
I want to emphasize how much better and tougher we feel when we push through the discomfort and do not take shortcuts.
I do not want to sound off- the -charts anal. I believe in ‘good enough’ coupling, parenting and working sometimes. I am not advocating for perfection. I am advocating for our potential.
Pushing through that last quarter mile in our run. Staying up fifteen more minutes to say goodnight to our spouse. Reading two more pages in biology so we have a solid grasp on the latest topic. All of these advance our mental toughness and give us that awesome sense of, “I did it!”
Shortcuts affect us subconsciously
Shortcuts add up and subconsciously make us feel cheated and less capable. So the next time you are tempted to cut out early or cut corners, picture yourself feeling super strong and fulfilled if you work to completion.
Where are you taking shortcuts? How is that affecting your potential? How do you feel when you complete the work?