“The plane leaves on Monday. It’s only Friday. So why are you already packing?” That was a question my son used to ask me whenever I prepared for my business travel (2 or 3 years ago before I stopped doing that). I’d respond by telling him that I started packing early so that if I remembered something later on, I could always pack it. Being somebody who usually packed his backpack to school while the school bus is honking from the street, he probably thinks that was the most ridiculous idea.
But, then I was amazed last week when he made a startling statement that I remember it even today. I was helping him with his math homework, and we were sitting on the floor with his advanced algebra book sprawled out in front of us. We were working on an odd-numbered problem and the answer was a fraction — 2/7ths. My son exclaimed, “Oh! The weekend syndrome!” I asked, “What?” He said, “You know, as you always say; how 2 parts of 7, defines who we are, the teenagers!”
Let me explain… As humans, we usually have to have something to look forward to in order to get us through the days, and more often than not, that something we look forward to is usually the weekend. We push ourselves through the week to get to the weekend. We push ourselves to the point where we have become 2/7ths people, only really living 2 days out of the 7 in a week.
Sure, blood is moving through our veins and yeah, oxygen is flowing through our lungs in those 5 weekdays as it is on those 2 weekend days, but it is not the same. We are not the same. In those five days, are we really living or are we living on auto-pilot?
Things can be different, though. We can look forward to those 5 weekdays just like we do the weekend, and thereby become 7/7ths people. And thereby become whole. Daily life can be a lot more interesting and meaningful if we take risks, shed our fear of failure, chase our dreams, and spend more time with one another. If we just do that, we will find ourselves becoming more invested in the Here and Now instead of looking at the clock and counting down time.
One way we can move closer to becoming 7/7th people is by taking risks in our daily lives, whether big or small, personal or professional. So take a risk. Say hi to that person in the hallway instead of making brief eye contact then choosing to glance away until you pass each other. We have all done it. In the moment, you are thinking: “Will he say hi?” — “Should I initiate?” — “Will it be awkward if I don’t?” Just say it. Human beings are creatures of emotion, attachment, and attention and you hold the power to make someone’s day. And if worse comes to worst, remember that awkward is nothing but a state of mind.
Take a risk. Next time you are sitting in a meeting and something doesn’t make sense, ask a question. Who cares if people think it’s dumb? Who really cares? Because in a few weeks or even in a few moments, they will forget and you will have learned the material. More importantly, the best way to move ahead is to focus on asking the questions along the way. It sometimes amounts to placing more importance on the question than the answer. Something as simple as asking yourself what you are really looking for is often missed, but it becomes evident how important it is when you realize that once you have a very clear idea about what question is, the answer is often just sitting there waiting for you.
Becoming 7/7ths is not only about taking risks, but also about confronting the natural human fear of failure. The world has spoken and has decided to mark failure as something only associated with the lowest of the low in society, the rejects, and the losers.
But when we see successful people in life, we see what’s close to a finished product. We don’t see the process, we don’t see the countless shots the stud basketball player missed or the numerous soufflés the chef messed up before getting it just right.
Really, when you think about it, failure in life is inevitable. It is going to happen unless of course you live your life so carefully that you very well may have never lived at all. And if that is the case, then you have already failed.
Failure will teach you things that you can learn no place else. You may find that you have a great work ethic, a strong will, an extra gear, and a network of friends who love you. Really, how else will you know yourself or the strength of your friendships until both have been tested by adversity? That is why we cannot fear failure. We must risk failure in order to live. And it is in these moments of risk that the greatest memories are made, that life takes on a greater meaning. If you take a moment to think about your own defining memories, I bet more than a few of them would be about how you conquered your fears or did something daring and courageous together with your best friends. We hold the power to make more of those memories.
We also hold the power to turn our dreams into reality, which is another part of achieving 7/7ths. Some of us may know what we want to do in life, and even those people may find a new inspiration along the way. But, for the many of us still trying to figure out what we want to do, just give it time, and you’ll find your dream or maybe it’ll find you. And when you find that dream, you gotta get after it, protect it, and dare to be idealistic. Just like with failure, though, society has turned us against that word — idealism. But make no mistake about it; we desperately need more idealistic thinkers in the world today. At the heart of every great goal is idealism, and at the heart of every leader, every risk taker, every go-getter, is the ability to change our definition of what idealistic is.
Moreover, your dreams and goals take on a whole new meaning if you have someone to share them with, which brings me to my next point: being 7/7ths is about being together. The purpose of life is to live a fulfilling one and to spend time with loved ones. Because in life, what we are about is being in the moment and making the moments count. And we make the moments count by enjoying one another’s company, by sharing our stories, laughs, goals, aspirations, and memories with one another. In the end, life is about the big and small things. My hope is that we become 7/7th people.
Are you going to take that one small step now?
To many, success seems to come suddenly. When you observe others and what they have achieved you usually don’t appreciate what it has taken for them to get where they are. Ultimately, in failing to do this you also fail to learn what it would take for you to attain the same level of achievement and success.
But, if you take the time to truly think about it, you will find that success is usually only a small step away. Yet despite that it eludes most people. It is always so near and yet so far.
The journey of a thousand miles…
takes small steps to success all along that hike. Together, they add up to hundreds of thousands of small steps. But we might have chosen not to take the first step. We might have stopped at any point along the way. That would have meant that we would not have gotten to our destination.
There are also obstacles along the way. But with each small step they are overcome.
There are frustrations, fears and uncertainties. But with each small step they are crushed.
There is hardship and danger, but with each small step and focus on the desired destination it is conquered. Success is no mystery.
It takes only one small step to succeed.
So, have you taken that one step today?
Dr Surya M Ganduri, PhD. PMP. is the Founder & President of eMBC, Inc., an international firm specializing in strategic and executive leadership development processes that Help People Succeed in an Evolving World. Dr Surya has over 28 years of business experience in management consulting, leadership development, executive coaching, process improvements, organizational development and youth leadership. For more information visit www.eMBCinc.com or contact eMBC, Inc., directly at (630) 445-1321.