How did you do that thing?
I think we’ve all heard this old adage: “How you do one thing is how you do all things.” I’ve ruminated on this thought for some time now, years even at this point, and I’ve come to the conclusion that I agree. I think it’s also the case with most “aha” moments that once you come to a certain realization, you simultaneously come to grips with exactly how much work you actually have to do in order to meet this new ideal. This quote is the ultimate reminder.
How you do one thing has much to do with our own individual attitudes we project when faced with any task. The challenge comes into play when we are obligated to do certain tasks that we either don’t want to do, or even flat-out dislike. But they must be done. It’s these tasks and assignments and duties, in my opinion, that this quote is referring to. Because how much of a challenge is it to do things well that we like to do, want to do and that it was our idea to do? Usually not much at all.
But how do we control ourselves when faced with the challenge of completing those regular, mundane tasks? Well I think it comes down to two words we all know well: character and reputation. Character is routinely defined as what you do when no one is watching, and to me, how you treat people that you don’t have to treat well. Reputation is what others think of you, perceive you as and associate you with. In short, character is what you actually do, or in this case how you actually work, and reputation is what other people think you do. This is what it comes down to. What do you actually do versus what do you want to be known for. Believe it or not, many times there’s a direct correlation between these ideas. Only you know deep down if your performance is a result of maximum effort, and no one can prove or disprove your assertion on this. But through it all, what is the task worth to you?
I also relate individual performance on mundane tasks to one of my absolute favorite concepts to speak and write on, and that is the idea of practice. The thought, idea and notion that every single thing we each do each and every day is simply practice for bigger and better things is, to me, one of the greatest concepts for us to come to grips with and then master. Through this assertion, those who don’t take every task seriously, don’t actually value what they say they want in the future because they aren’t preparing for it now. We’ve all heard that the future belongs to those who prepare for it today. But the concept of practice is truly on par with helping to create the future as well. When I know I’m ready for something because I’ve prepared for it, a part of me then seeks out those opportunities to prove it. Conversely, if I’m not prepared, even the opportunity of a lifetime could be staring me in the face, and I will consciously or unconsciously avoid it because I know I’m not ready.
Lofty isn’t the word for a challenge such as this one. But if our goals aren’t lofty, what’s the point?
Sadiq Ali, MBA, is a speaker, trainer, professor, and author of Millionaire Manners: The Men’s (and Boy’s) Guide to Social Grace in the New Age and founder of Millionaire Manners Academy, a full service educational consulting and training organization that teaches life and career success through great personal and professional etiquette.