Before a pilot taxis down the runway and climbs the skies, he and the rest of the flight team go through a pre-flight checklist. A checklist consists of a plethora of things that a pilot checks off before taking flight. Switches, brakes, gears and the like are all checked every time. Checklists seem like a nuisance but they provide the stage for early detection of problems before taking flight. The cost of forgoing the checklist can be fatal.
As we prepare to take flight into the New Year, a checklist is something that we could all use to sustain us as we reach for our goals. A checklist is not the most attractive thing in the world but if we use it throughout the year we will discover that we have edged closer to reaching our destiny. It helps with the journey and ensures that we reach the destination without stalling midair. I would like to recommend five things to add to your 2018 checklist:
Focus: There is an experiment that I did in science class. It involved taking a magnifying glass and placing a paper directly underneath it with the sun rays pointing directly onto the glass. After adjusting the distance of the lens from the paper so that light passing through the lens is concentrated on one point on the paper, the paper was burnt by the converged sun rays. This is the principle of focus. When we expend most of our energy in the direction where we get the highest rate of return, we begin to make an impact similar to the lens in the paper. We fail to make a dent in anything because we are either spreading ourselves too thin by trying to do everything or we applying the best of what we have in the area that is bringing the least return.
Attitude: A bad attitude is like bad breath; it keeps people away from you. Attitude is centered on your outlook or bearings. It’s where you are pointing at any given time. It’s your perspective or the way you see things. It’s your position relative to your surroundings whether good or bad. Don’t mistake attitude for aptitude which is skill. Attitude does not improve your skill, change facts or replace competence. We can agree that the uncertainty of the year means that there are some things that may go wrong. We will experience some setbacks and will probably make some mistakes. Attitude plays a big role, especially in these circumstances. Will I develop a negative attitude because of negative surroundings? Will I maintain a positive attitude knowing that this set back could be a set up for something greater if I keep moving forward? Once you maintain a positive attitude then employ a constructive attitude. A constructive attitude doesn’t just see the best but chooses to do the best with what is available at the moment.
Insight: Data is the lowest level of content that carries little to no meaning. For example, if I provide you a sequence of numbers; 13, 15, and 19 we could say this is data. If I took the same sequence of numbers and added that they represent ages of children in a home, now the numbers are elevated to the second level of content which is information because they now have meaning to them. Insight, which is the third level occurs we use the information and harness it to propel us into a progressive posture. Using the data and information from the example we could propose that the parents could benefit from a device that pauses the Wi-Fi during dinner to keep the teenagers off social media and engage with each other instead. Insight is when we see what no one else sees and use it to do what no one else has done. Don’t just be an information gatherer, become an insight seeker. Convert what you know into something that will help move you forward.
Tenacity: If you have seen a dog bite onto something and refuse to let go, you have been exposed to tenacity. It is that decision to not let go or release your grip. It’s the decision to be free from debt no matter what it takes or how long it takes. It’s the choice to keep waking up, picking up that ax and cutting that tree until the day it falls down. It’s the refusal to quit on your dreams and goals until they happen. It’s the mix of determination, consistency, diligence, hope, and courage to see something worthwhile through to the end. It’s choosing to raise the children by giving your all even when you feel like you are making no progress. It’s getting knocked down, but getting back up to fight another day. It’s saying to yourself, “No excuse is a worthy crutch to use as a way to stop short on the promise of God.” It’s believing that every day I stick with it is a day closer to reaching it. It’s pressing upward to the mark even when everything else is trying to pull me down. It’s trusting that the God Who said it, is faithful to do it!
Help: You are only as effective as those who surround you. People will always be the biggest and best resource. To reach where we are going, we must have help or relationships. People who climb Mt. Everest go with a group to help with the climb. Do you know who energizes you and who empties you? My pastor always tells us to watch out for the fire fighters in life. These are people or things that aim to quench our passion. Rally around people who stoke the flames of passion in your life and greatly reduce those that stand by hydrants ready to put your passion out by infecting you with complaining, grumbling, ‘ the bare minimum’ approach to life, or settling for what’s less instead of reaching for God’s best. A pilot uses the gauges in the cock pit to determine how well the plane is doing. When something goes wrong the gauges inform him early enough to make an informed decision that could save the souls onboard. Don’t have people who only compliment you; connect with people who will challenge you, confront your inconsistences, and are interested in you becoming a better person. Find people who will tell you the truth even when it hurts. If your brain never sends pain signals to your hand when it touches a hot stove, you will end up with a burned hand. If you have no one to tell you what is painful but useful your decision making will suffer.
I mentioned five things but there are six. Can you find the last one? Here is a clue: If you take the first letter of the above five things, they spell it. When you get the answer pronounce it out loud and reply with it in the comments section of this post.
Keep on Keeping on!
Waiyaki M. Waiyaki
Discover Your Treasure
“Live by Design, Not by Default”