In our first and second articles on success, we said that neither the pursuit of money nor greatness was sufficient to sustain the necessary tenacious perseverance to be successful. In the third article, we concluded that It takes an obligation, a sense of necessity that you have to do something, that you cannot NOT do it. Now we will look at the “habit necessity” of obligation that you MUST create for yourself to drive your success.
Necessity Drives Performance!
Sure, some sense of purpose, intention, desire, motivation, or even inspiration may contribute to performance but in the end, it’s extraordinary necessity that wins the day! The strongest source of necessity is internal habits of thoughts and actions. You may have heard it before. Habits of thoughts and actions compel one to keep doing what they have the habit of doing.
For example, if you learned that hard work is the honorable, successful, thing to do, then your thought, your belief that it is the way, will compel you to get up each day and work hard. As you develop the habit of hard work, that will be the way you do things and you will “just do it,” Nike’s slogan, the sports clothing company.
Competence drive performance! Take a look at your current habits. I’ll bet you are “successful” at doing them. Can you be better? Sure. Underlying all successful habits is competence.
Competence, itself, is a driver of performance. Competence compels one to do it well, do it right. Look at your competencies. Don’t you have the habit of performing in those areas to a minimum standard? Of course you do. You just cannot do below standard work or perform poorly in an area that you know you could do better. For me, while practicing my basketball shooting, I have to make the last shot I take, BEFORE I give myself permission to stop shooting and leave the court. I am compelled to do it. That is the minimum standard of performance for me in that one area of competence.
What Are YOUR Competencies and Habits?
Take a moment to think about them. Consider areas in your interpersonal communications, time management, organizational habits, health and eating, exercise and play, money management and savings, personal development and growth, professional development, personal hygiene habits, taking care of living things (plants, animals, and people), friends and networking. Make your own list. In what habits do you feel “compelled” to successfully perform?
Once you identify your habits, use them to further your success. Include your habits in setting your own performance objectives. If interviewing for a job, highlight your habits of success as strengths. When talking about yourself, stress a key success habit you have and how you love to “just do it.”
How Do You Develop a NEW Habit?
Let’s say you want to lose weight. What is the challenge? Of course, it’s overcoming habits that are in the way: habits of thinking (I always have desert and coffee), habits of eating (big portions and fast eating), habits of doing (waiting to exercise as a last option). You name it. That is why it is “so hard” to lose weight. It requires you to overcome “old” habits and to replace them with “new” habits. And, how do you do THAT?
You may not like to hear this but it is the truth of what it takes to develop new habits. It is not some simple gimmick or easy thing. Here it is. It requires a commitment. That means you have to “decide”. To decide is to cutoff the alternative. (Latin decidere ‘determine,’ from de- ‘off’ + caedere ‘cut’) A commitment is based in a decision, a cutting off or killing alternative options.
Will you do that? Will you “decide” to take a new path, to develop a new habit? If you do not DECIDE, you will waiver and in so doing your “old” habits will keep root and continue to plague you and eventually defeat you. This is your first key decision and commitment to developing a new habit. Face yourself in the mirror and ask yourself if you are willing to cut, kill the alternative habit. If you are willing, then the next step is to just do it – DECIDE, make the commitment.
Forget the excuses, the explanations, the stories you have. They just help you avoid deciding on a new habit. That is all they do and you can always find them and use them to defend your position to stay stuck in old habits. Forget them. Decide. Just do it.
In our next article, we will discuss what to do to make your new commitment take root and develop into a new success habit. We will also discuss complementary aspects of internal drivers of necessity, required for high performance.