For many top business leaders, the path to success isn’t defined by what other people think about their work or their social status. If we start to base our sense of self-worth on the opinions of others, we’ll be sure to burn ourselves out fast.
Here are just a few reasons why incremental but sustained daily improvement can lead to profound life and career satisfaction, and why finding joy in our work is perhaps more important than ever.
Focused Practice Leads to Better Outcomes in the Long-Term
While society tends to celebrate the idea of innate genius or aristocratic ability, the truth is that many researchers have found that truly great work is most often produced by normal people who can put in regular and sustained practice on a particular skill-set.
According to these researchers, we can achieve our goals through our own efforts rather than through some vaguely-defined concept of innate intelligence. How well we are doing on any given task is subjective to many things: who is performing the task? What are their skills? Are they experience?
Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
Focusing on exterior results rather than on small daily improvements will often take away the incentives we have for learning new skills. Because exterior results tend are based on competition with others, we will be endlessly judging ourselves relative to the performance of people who have been practising a particular skill longer or more effectively than we have.
The comparisons that are important to avoid are the ones that can make us feel bad or inferior to others. Comparing ourselves to colleagues will not only lead to intense self-criticism, but it will also take away the joy we feel in making slow but steady progress.
Understand and Maintain Balance
A work-life balance means different things to different people depending on what they prioritise and what stage of their life they’re in. Understanding your priorities is the first step to improving the balance. Once you know what most important to you the is you will be able to take steps in making changes.
There are many ways that you can keep on top of your work-life balance. For example, try not to over-commit yourself, delegate tasks when you can, stick to plans and focus on the most important tasks. Try not to take work home with you unless you absolutely need to, either.
Finding Passion in Your Work
In the end, however, focusing on daily improvement is all about finding passion in your day-to-day work life. By striving to improve your skillset each day, you’ll develop a love of learning and a passion for your work. When your effort is its own reward, in other words, you may find more personal life satisfaction than you ever thought would be possible. And it certainly beats the stress and expense of keeping up with other people all the time!
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