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Doing the Daily Speel

13Jan 2008

As one of my friends often says, “Life is daily.” And this is the time of year that proves the point. Mid-January, February, and March is the time of year where we often have to just “gut it out” on a daily basis. The holidays are over, most vacations are done, and now is the time to get stuff done. This is true for students, in work, in physical fitness, and all parts of our lives.

Another friend of mine has observed and commented that some people are good at the daily discipline of life, others do well in making major life decisions, while few people seem to perform well in both arenas. What does it take to do well in daily life?

I know a guy who seems to have mastered daily life. Although he is a real-life guy, we’ll call him Jerry. Jerry is a fairly bright guy, but not stellar. In college, he had to work harder than most of his peers and did so, obtaining predominately B’s, with some C’s, at a tough private college. He graduated with a degree in humanities, and later obtained a master’s degree in International Studies.

Jerry also was a decent athlete, but sort of short and stocky. He built his body up through daily discipline — running (even in subzero weather) and weightlifting regularly. He played high school football, did intramurals in college, and then continued to maintain his physical fitness through his 20’s, 30’s and 40’s. In fact, he pushed himself and successfully completed Rangers training in the Army on his first try (which is highly unusual).

In his career, Jerry did what he was supposed to (and really, beyond what was expected) on a day-to-day basis. He demonstrated personal discipline, integrity, and service to others — and as a result, he was repeatedly promoted and given more and more responsibility. Over time (in fact, several years), Jerry moved up within his organization — in fact, to become the top assistant for the general who was in charge of all NATO troops in Europe. He was invited to attend the training program for generals but declined to do so, in order to focus more on his family.

Since that point in time, Jerry has been actively involved in the lives of his children, started a business, and also is a spiritual leader within his community. Although not excessively financially wealthy, he provides for his family and has a solid marriage.

If you were to meet Jerry, you would say he is a friendly guy, and would strike you as “solid”. He is not necessarily charismatic or flashy, and many looking from the outside would not view him as excessively “successful” in the terms many define as “success” (financial wealth, fame, career advancement).

But to me, Jerry is a model. He is a man whom I want to emulate my life after — he has mastered the daily grind in multiple areas of his life.

So, for you (and for me), the question is: Where in our lives do we need to be faithful to do the daily speel? Schoolwork? Those work responsibilities which are not fun but are core to the success of your position? Physical exercise? Time with family members? Limiting financial spending and increasing saving?

So take a minute or two. Maybe review those New Year’s Resolutions you made. And determine where you want to demonstrate consistent daily discipline, which will serve as a building block for your future success. Just like Jerry.

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