Creating a Win Everyday

I love filling up the dishwasher and turning it on; or (especially on vacations) take out the laundry from the dryer and fold it. I like making lists before going to the neighborhood Publix; lettuce, tomatoes, ice-cream sandwich and dishwasher liquid.  

However mundane and repetitive, this act of “checking off” on a list,  gives a sense of accomplishment – as if I have done something that day – that has an immediacy of impact. It makes me feel, at that moment,  as if I have won something. 

I realize that farmers/gardeners feel connected to the soil, especially when they see their harvest come home. As a child, I watched my mother plant a vegetable or flower garden and was mesmerized by her “magic” of growing something. The repetition of seeding or watering the garden/land and watching your crop grow on a daily basis – observing the flower and protecting it, as you protect your child.   

Most everything we do today, or take on as a project, are long-term from resulting in any consequence; a new product development initiative that may take years to gestate; a new geographic region to enter – that may not see results for years, or building a personal 401K plan that may take years to reach its desired objective.

That’s why we must create small wins in our lives, every day. Winning is important – for our psyche – for our mental well-being. We have to create opportunities to win. It doesn’t always need be something we love to do or something really large – to derive that mental satisfaction.

When I get to work, usually, there are a series of things to do – people to meet, proposals to approve. However, at the end of the day, after keeping this busy calendar, I still don’t necessarily feel as I have accomplished anything. 

That’s why, on a busy day, I try to make a simple checklist with no more than five things to do – of which at least 3 things are easy to do. Pay a credit-card bill online, or call so-and-so to resolve an issue, or to return a DVD to Blockbuster. 

This simple act of writing down, on a post-it note, and then, at the end of the day, checking the list off with a pen, gives me a tremendous sense of accomplishment – again, I feel emboldened by having finished something. Someone observing this activity from afar, this may seem trivial – but it helps me make through the day of all the really difficult things that I may have to do – the series of “no’s” that I may have to deliver to different constituents. 

There is enough negativity in the world – and counter-currents that dislodge you from your desired path – critics who believe they are helping you improve; you cannot always win on your large goals. Keeping that view in perspective, like a marathoner, one may want to consider orchestrating little victories that provide that adrenaline rush – those (hunter-gatherer) instincts a jolt of renewal through a mundane victory. So that when you lie on your bed that night – you don’t feel like you just wasted another day in your life. 

I realize that, not everyone likes discrete beginnings and ends. Some just like the journey – continuous and flowing – like a river.  Then there are others, who buy a lottery ticket every day, to try and create a “win”. I believe, in this river like journey, there needs to be check-posts – ports you can call and have a nourishing cup of coffee and start back on your long journey onwards to that ubiquitous sea. 

You have come far – and there is a long way to go. Celebrate where you have arrived. Tomorrow, the tides and wind will be different.

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8 thoughts on “Creating a Win Everyday

  1. Zain – well written

    I also think we should include a “stretch” goal fir each day which, when checked off, can be a bigger source of this sense of accomplishment

    PS – By providing feedback on your blog, I have met my stretch goal for today 🙂

    Waseem

    1. Thanks, Waseem for your comment. I agree, the 4th and 5th goal, in my mind should be goals that are a little bit more difficult to accomplish! Zain

  2. Hey zain , good writeup again. I now a days have a different view..it’s something what u mentioned …life is a flow of continuous things…discipline and attainments have a different meaning to me now it’s more centered around work ethics or may have been influenced by this…however I agree with the spirit in full as stated ..it’s pleasure from achieving little things that reinforces our going forward..

  3. Very true Zain ! Small wins pile up .. little drops … Periodically when things seem overwhelming doing little things very much gives us the “sense of accomplishment” as you write and also provides the confidence and momentum to keep going.
    “Journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” ….

    Also really liked the lines with which you ended your article. Keep going ! 🙂

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