Crunching the Numbers: A Candid and Compelling Look at the Power of One

Ahh, the joys of spending time with family and friends.

Whether it's a holiday or happy hour, catching up, having a laugh, it’s always good to get together.

It’s always good to be in good company.

Of course this holds true not only in social circles.

Anytime you can surround yourself with like-minded people is time well spent.

Anytime you can compare notes, share stories or bounce around ideas it’s a good thing.

And never has this been easier to accomplish than today.

And nowhere does it seem more commonplace these days than in the ever flourishing industry of Personal Growth and Achievement.

Ever since the advent of the internet, online forums, virtual communities, even global networks aimed to help you live your best life have popped up like whack a moles, and we’re all cordially invited to join the party; to become card-holding members of the, “revolution.”

Now this should for all intents and purposes be viewed as a good thing, after all like they say, “there’s strength in numbers.”

Yet when it comes to your own personal growth and achievement, when it’s about your everyday hopes and dreams, you simply can’t dismiss the notion that the most powerful number of all is one.

And that one, that almighty and unstoppable one and only one ꟷ is you.

Make no mistake, moral support, constructive criticism, it can all go a long way in terms of helping you stay motivated. But in the grand scheme of things it’s but a small part of the overall equation.

An itsy-bitsy slice of the self-improvement pie.

Which, raises the question, once the convening flock has flown the coop. After the superhighway herd has hit the road, where do you find that motivational nudge?

"Be Your Own Guru"... Abhijit Naskar

So, have you ever studied for an exam for weeks or months on end, and in the end, nailed it?

Have you ever felt a strong desire to do something, continued to hammer away at it and in time got better at it?

Have you ever thought to yourself it couldn’t be done…and then did it?

I can't say I'm much of a runner, but I once heard it said that the best way to get motivated to run is by running.

Only stands to reason, right?

Again I’m not suggesting that we can’t benefit from a comforting pat on the back every now and then. I’m simply pointing out that once the love fest is over, once the hell yeahs and high fives have wrapped for the day, you my friend have got work to do.

And not just any work mind you, but work that you’ll likely find to be some of the most satisfying, and yes, motivating work you’ve ever had the privilege to do.

Naturally, as with anything worth doing, this illustrious work comes with a price, meaning that it will get lonely at times.

Nevertheless, rest assured…YOU’RE NOT ALONE

Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, is a delightful book in which Mason Currey illustrates the daily routines and rituals of some of the most interesting and prolific personalities of our time. And while each one has his or her own unique and sometimes rather eccentric methodology, what’s prevalent throughout is that the bulk of their work, oftentimes some of their very finest work, came about during a time of absolute solitude.

For example:

  • Pianist Igor Stravinsky worked on his compositions daily with or without inspiration, and to do so he required utter seclusion for the task, always closing all the windows, doors and shutters of his studio prior to beginning. “I’ve never been able to compose unless sure that no one could hear me.”
  • In the summer of 1930 the Faulkners purchased a large dilapidated family estate in Oxford Mississippi. William (future Nobel Prize winning novelist) liked to work in the library, and since the door to it had no lock he would actually remove the doorknob and bring it with him so to keep from being disturbed.
  • Albert Einstein enjoyed taking the time to go for long walks or gazing at the ceiling during the workweek so that he could listen to what was going on in his mind. “By spending some time in solitude I can reach deep within myself and focus on the thoughts in my head.”

A couple of additional examples not noted in the book are those of Kobe Bryant and Steven King.

As we all know Kobe’s talents on the basketball court were nothing short of astounding, what many don’t know however is that every day during practice, long after his teammates had hit the showers, Kobe would continue to work on his game.

“He’d practice by himself, sometimes without a ball,” says longtime teammate Shaquille O’Neal. “When he did start taking shots he’d count every single one and not stop until he hit 400.”

And get this, as a struggling young writer Steven King regularly wrote behind the closed doors of the laundry room. In their rented trailer no less.

All that being said, I for one sincerely hope you do have huddled in your corner those who you can turn to in times of need, those who both share and support your innermost ideals and ambitions.

At the same time, try not to lose sight of the fact that more so than anything else personal growth and achievement is about a personal commitment, one for which only you, aka Numero Uno, can ultimately be held accountable.

See ya soon, till then, keeep it up.

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