You get to choose. Stay solely within a zone of comfort and the familiar or consistently push a little outside. This sounds kind of familiar, most people forget consistency. Consistency has to occur for growth. If you, say, challenge yourself to run. On Monday you really, really push yourself, your lungs burn, you grasp for air, your legs feel like heave weights, but you do it. you finish, you feel great. If you repeat some version of this 3 maybe 4 times a week, you will get better, you will get stronger. However, if you do nothing until three months later, you start over. It’s pretty much the same with a musical instrument. A tip from Tony Polecastro1 to get progress is to connect your new “habit” to an existing habit for consistency. You get to choose, consistency and improve, or stay where you are for both expertise and adventure. No judgement.
This applies to skills and life experiences. What about relationships with friends and family? I was in Nashville Tennessee this week. Maybe it was New Year’s day when my brother and I spoke and he offhandedly mentioned he had a business trip to Nashville. “I will meet you there. I lived there for two years and I have friends still there.” My brother and I have not lived under the same roof in over 50 years, he’s logged more hours with his wonderful wife and family than he and I ever had. We have not seen each other in three years. In that time, we may have had maybe three hours of phone conversations maximum.
There is this ease of being and laughter every time we’re together. My friends from college.2 We’d not talked in over 25 years. Communication has been with the yearly holiday card and yet, the ease and depth of conversations, meals, and adventures was far beyond expectations. It went beyond a reunion and light conversation over a shared memory. How do I even explain it; metaphorically, it’s like a deep root system, dormant and underground until it springs to life with deep ties to the past while in the present.
Maybe that’s it. Things that are deeply rooted; built into our foundation are revived. However, to get that foundation takes a period of consistency. As you go about your week, consider your actions through the lens of, is this building a foundation or nurturing what is deeply rooted. Do you have a balance?
2Deep Roots – My college roommate, Kim, – the day to day and double perked coffee; my engineering cohort Mike, music, science and trivia; Eileen, IBM cohort, a UT alumni kick starting our new careers & the funniest adult in the room. One could say I met them all during pivotal times, but nah, these are special people near and dear to me.