Whether you’re driving a car, swinging a tennis racket or giving a presentation, if you’re not doing it correctly, the results won’t be as good as they can be. With poor technique you’ll have people blowing their horns at you, blaming you for losing the game or falling asleep in the audience. We’ve all been there, trying again and again to get something right and it just doesn’t get any better. PRACTICE that same behavior over and over and it becomes PERMANENT!

Question: What’s the definition of insanity?
Answer: Insanity is repeating the same action and expecting a different result.
If the shoe fits….

Those who see no need to change will change nothing. If you’re perfectly happy with how things are, believe there is no need to improve, are completely satisfied with your results, feel comfortable with the status quo and have only high praise for everything you do, read no further! You are clearly a perfect being and have no need for improvement.

As we proceed through life, we know when we could have done better or didn’t quite hit the mark or wish we’d scored higher or achieved more. For the vast majority of the population, the process of observation stops right there. It remains nothing more than an observation. The need for improvement may be recognized but it’s accepted. There is no motivation to excel, no examination for weakness, no move toward betterment.

Those are people who reside in a below-par place their entire life. They don’t question or challenge the status quo. They don’t dig into the situation to reveal areas in need of change. Instead of looking inward for self-improvement, they look at the results and take no responsibility. When this behavior is PRACTICED every day, it becomes their PERMANENT condition, habit, situation.

There is a small percentage of the population who also observe their performance but are not apathetic toward the results. They will take the next step to break the pattern and move up the ladder of success. Why some garner the motivation to make improvements, I cannot say. I do know however, how they go about it.

Their observations will be similar to the do-nothings: I wasn’t quite as good as I could have been, I didn’t prepare as well as I might have, I wish I could have been less nervous, I keep making the same mistakes. The difference is that this group is willing to face the challenge of moving forward. They are courageous enough to begin a process that rewards them for trying! They start looking at how and where their failings lie and find ways to make improvements. They take action to get better results!

What is the process? How does it work? It requires spending time to analyze what you’ve done and how you’ve done it. Examine the moving parts for flaws, weaknesses and errors. Develop remedies, better means, a new approach. Identify mentors and solicit their feedback. Raise the standards and MAKE SOME CHANGES! BREAK THE MOLD!

Unfortunately, most people don’t like change. However, in small doses, it can be very palatable. Change doesn’t have to be big. Making changes doesn’t mean you change EVERYTHING! If that’s the thought that is stopping you, it’s just your excuse to do nothing.

Let’s say you want to lose a few pounds, – who doesn’t want to lose a few pounds – but you have this terrible weakness for chocolate chip cookies! If you usually eat four cookies at a time, set yourself a limit of eating just two. Two cookies fewer is a small change but you just cut your cookie calories IN HALF! Stick to that for a week and it becomes easier. Your clothes start to fit better. You feel proud of yourself for exercising self-control. You made a small change and your life did not explode because of it. In fact, you’re feeling more accomplished and more confident. Lo and behold, change becomes a good thing!

You may feel good enough about a small change to think about a bigger one. Maybe your job is boring, you’ve always wanted to do something more interesting, maybe earn more money. But you can’t quit your job! It’s too risky, too dangerous. That idea is too big a change. It lets you pull back to continue your practice of discontent. You do nothing and become a PERMANENT fixture in your current position.

What if you were brave enough to say, “Life’s too short….” but you don’t quit your job – that would be too drastic! You take a more gradual approach. You can alert your friends to your intentions to make a change. Explain what you want and ask if they know of another situation that’s more to your liking. Do some informal networking – talk to people who are doing what you want to do. Eventually somebody’s going to present you with an opportunity or introduce you to someone who can. You then weigh the pros and cons, take a step out of the safety zone and into the realm of possibility. Make that change gradually. The experience will be satisfying, rewarding and certainly educational.

When you PRACTICE only caution and safety, your life becomes PERMANENTLY rooted.

When you PRACTICE change, even in small doses, your life becomes PERMANENTLY interesting.

Confront what you want to change. Experiment with different options. Seek trustworthy council. You are likely to enjoy the results. The PRACTICE of trading caution for a little adventure will become a PERMANENT part of a more rewarding life.

Whatever you choose, you have only yourself to thank for the results!