I had a dream recently. I was sitting down with a famous guru, and we were playing chess. I moved one chess piece, and then, he moved one, and we kept on playing over years it seemed. Time stood still at times, and then it rapidly moved at others. But when I woke up, I felt like my subconscious was trying to tell me something really important. It was so interesting to me, as my life right now is exactly about this lesson that my dream was trying to give me…
“Build momentum in your life and business by moving one tiny chess piece forward every single day.”
I have spent so much time in my past life doing exactly the opposite. I would get really gung-ho about a new endeavour that I had decided to take on, like rollerblading or Aikido. I would be so excited, and enthusiastic for a month or two months. Then, I would get tired of maintaining such a fiery enthusiasm, so I would die down. I would stop doing the item entirely and a few months later, my equipment would be gathering dust in the corner of my overcrowded room.
The pattern was so common in my life that I wondered how I didn’t get sick of repeating it over and over again. Of course, a lot of my patterns were so invisible to me, that someone on the outside had to point it out to me, by saying, ‘Boom, you are so inconsistent! You say you are going to do something and you are excited about it for a few days. Then, you give it up, just when it starts getting hard.’
Thank You For The Lightning Flash, Friend
Thank God for that comment. In case, I was going to be deaf to that first person, the universe decided to hammer me down with two more instances of the same commentary in a succession of days. Wow, even though my self-esteem was pummelled into the snowy ground, I was aware all of a sudden of this horrible pattern that had dictated much of my life.
I decided then and there to stop. I would focus on 2-3 items maximum and then I would concentrate on doing them to the best of my ability for a minimum of a year, if not more.
Slowly, but surely, I read a bunch of books on the subject that enhanced my understanding on consistency that I have shared below:
- Compound Effect by Darren Hardy
- The One Thing by Gary Keller
- Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod
- Mini Habits by Stephen Guise
They taught me that the game is lengthy and the road is hard. Getting all gung-ho about something early on, isn’t going to be useful over the long haul.
Move Your Chess Pieces Every Single Day
Whatever area of your life you want to prosper in, it might be your business or health or meditation, focus on it, and figure out what is that one small thing you can do it for it every day. Something small, and something repeatable. Something that will cause great gains exponentially over time.
Think about it, and then schedule it as a non-negotiable into your calendar, preferably in the mornings when you are fresh and alert.
For example, one of my things is to be an author. So I write a 1000 words every morning as soon as I finish with my morning routine of journaling, and meditation. It is a small enough task for me to do that I am able to do it every day without fail and without much effort. And it is a big enough task that over time, it causes me to finish novels at an exponential rate. You might not think a 1000 words is a lot, but writing them everyday, I can finish an average sized novel of 50,000 words in 50 days or about 2 months.
I transferred this idea into everything else I want to accomplish. I figure out what is the smallest chess piece I can move every day and then I move it. It is a non-negotiable part of my day. I could miss everything else, but I cannot miss moving my chess pieces.
Do Not Negotiate With Yourself – 100% Committment
One of the miserable things that I did in the past was negotiate with myself. I would tell myself, ‘You are working so hard. You can take a day off. It won’t be a big deal, would it?’
The fact of the matter is that even if it isn’t a big deal today, over the long term, missing that one day matters. Not to me, the outer self, but to my inner, deeper self. That deeper self is watching all that I do every day and it is taking notes on it. When I commit a 100%, and I don’t negotiate with myself, I am able to become stronger, and grow indestructible trust in myself.
If I dilly-dally and am always changing my mind, my respect for myself decreases and I feel like I can’t trust my own word. Notwithstanding the fact that everyone else around me doesn’t trust me either.
I don’t want to be that person anymore. I want to be able to trust that if I say I am going to do something, I do it. I am committed to what I do, despite my mood, feelings, emotions, or exhaustion levels. I said I would do it, so I do it, unless I am on my deathbed. That is the only excuse I give myself.
The Only Person We Have To Answer To Is Ourselves
I am not doing all of this for outside accolades. The reality of the matter is that all I do every day is because I want to grow in my own esteem. I want to be able to look at myself in the mirror, and look myself in the eye and be proud of the person I am becoming or the person I am.
In the past, I was ashamed to be who I was. I couldn’t even look myself in the mirror. My eyes would dart here and there in conversations with others. Because I didn’t trust myself and thus, neither did they. I wanted to prove myself, but I didn’t have the self-efficacy, or the mental strength to do so.
Over time, chess piece by chess piece, I have built up both. But it took time, effort, energy, and the commitment over time to do so.
Remember that, we are not competing with anyone outside of ourselves, but only a previous version of ourselves. I am competing with myself a few hours back, a few days back, a few years back. I want to be better in every single moment, moving forward little by little. That’s all that matters.
Let’s keep on moving our chess pieces forward and building that momentum that is going to change our lives for the better. So we can be proud of the person we have become.