Last week I began a short two-part series about contributing factors to my success as well as my failures. This is part two of that series and below I will highlight practices that have resulted in personal failure from my perspective. I hope you can learn something from my mistakes and maybe take some time to self reflect as well. Cheers!
Always present yourself in a manner suitable to meet someone new. I dress slovenly on Mondays because I sit in an office and work on a computer. However, what happens if a representative of a company I’d like to work for comes in to visit the dean in the office I work at? It’s happened more than once and I continue to fall back on bad habits. If only I would’ve taken the extra half hour to clean up before leaving my apartment, who knows how many more connections and opportunities I could have had in my academic career?
Forgetting to leave time for myself. I used to have hobbies that included running, lifting weights, biking, and swimming. I took on so much in school that I left no time to pursue these activities. Needless to say, I “let myself go” and caution others to leave time to take care of themselves before caring for the masses. “When asked “What thing about humanity surprises you the most?”, the Dalai Lama answered:
“Man…. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”
Falling into a routine.
Spending time on the wrong things. I spent a lot of my time early on at NIU trying to make other people happy. I took myself out of my way to offer an extra hand, brain, and set of eyes to people and more often than not, I was left with minimal if any reciprocation. You have to understand that like in the stock market, there are certain investments you don’t make because there is little to no ROI. Although you’re not losing your life savings in the stock exchange of life, you’re investing your time in these people and projects. Time, as I understand it, is the most important thing you can give; unlike money, you can’t get it back. Make sure you’re spending your time on the right people and projects otherwise you’ll find that frustration, stress, and confusion may find its way into your heart…and believe me, no one needs that.
Being busy. There’s a friend of mine at the college of business who never refrained from challenging me to be better. Regardless of the conversation, this individual always made me feel like what I was doing wasn’t good enough and although this sounds depressing, I welcomed the motivation. If I had a surplus of free time, he’d ask why I wasn’t busy. If I was busy, he’d tell me that there was a difference between being busy and being productive. Really think about that for a second……go ahead, take your time.
Being busy vs. Being productive. How profound and self explanatory. I’ll leave it at that and let you make of it what you will.
Again, these are just a few points that I can recall from my experience at NIU. Now we’ll ask you…what has contributed to you failing and what could you do better? Leave your input in the comments below! 2.0out