The Power of Practicality

“Do what works best for you.” We have all heard this old adage a million times, yet many of us fail to do just this. Even the most independent and driven of individuals can find themselves sabotaging or prolonging the fulfillment of goals as a result of not abiding by this simple yet imperative philosophy.

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Getting to know yourself, and knowing what does and doesn’t work for you as an individual, is absolutely key to being successful at anything in life. In order to truly know a person you must also trust that person—this applies directly to getting to know yourself as well. You must trust yourself and your intuition. This is imperative to not only feeling good, but also to being able to make the right choices under pressure without having to think twice.

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This philosophy of “doing what works best for you” can be applied to an obvious example—the friend we all have who allows partying to interfere with his or her ability to stay on track—but for those of us who already “have it together,” it can get a bit more complicated.

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For the ambitious individual, it is often natural to be fixated with goals and the process which will lead to their fulfillment. While this drive and determination is important to attaining these goals, it can also create an overload, or a preoccupation with doing too much at once. The most recognizable model is the highly competitive, professional athlete. The insane drive to succeed at any cost is necessary to the competitor’s success, but a logical approach to this relentless work ethic must be taken as well.

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In a high paced, intense schedule it is easy to get stressed out. On top of the countless hours spent in the gym, on the road, and competing, many athletes have obligations outside of their chosen careers—obligations like family, financial stability, education, work, etc. It is very easy to see how this lifestyle can become a grind. It is likely that many of you can relate.

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Professional athletes are not the only people out there with hectic schedules, and they’re certainly not the only ones stressed out about them. If you’re finding yourself a little stressed, that’s normal. But being stressed momentarily should not make you generally unhappy or anxious. It is very important to let yourself off the hook and breathe once in a while. Take a minute to assess what you are doing, and figure out what is working and what is not. When you stop and take this breathe, ask yourself a few simple questions:

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What are my goals?

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Why are these my goals?

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What is the most practical means for me to reach these goals?

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By doing _____ will it truly help me fulfill my goal of ____?

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Whatever you answered for question one, we should all answer question two with one simple word: happiness. While you may not have phrased it that exact way, at the root of every goal is the desire for accomplishment, and we are all happy when we are accomplished. This also applies to questions three and four—part of working hard for a goal is knowing that some things are going to suck along the way, but you should still genuinely love what you are doing and be happy to get up and do it every morning.

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If you answered either “I think so,” or “no” to question four, then _____ should be immediately assessed and either adjusted or omitted from your routine or schedule. Do what works best for you as an individual, and discard the rest. Simplify. Your life is already complicated, so why further complicate it by wasting your time on things that aren’t working for you?

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If you truly know and trust yourself, this should all come easy. However, following your intuition does not mean that trial and error is non-existent. We are not perfect creatures, and no matter how skilled or intelligent we become, we are still capable of making mistakes, taking on too much, and getting off schedule. Making mistakes is okay. Not only are mistakes okay, but trial and error are absolutely indispensable components to our improvement as human beings. Feel free to try new things. We should always be expanding and adapting our minds. If these new things work for you, great! Embrace them as new tools on your belt. If they don’t, then discard them and continue doing what works.

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By no means does “doing what works best for you” mean “just stick to what you know,” but keep in mind the power of practicality. Make choices that will actually help you as an individual, and keep you happy while making them: this will allow you to reach your specific goals and feel great on the road towards them. After all, the journey there is over half the fun. We should all love what we do and if we don’t, then we need to make the changes and adjustments necessary so that we can. Life is beautiful thing, and we should enjoy it each and every day.

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