The Art of Work by Jeff Goins

Jeff Goins is a lifestyle entrepreneur who turned his love of writing into a lucrative online coaching and consulting business, along with publishing a number of books.  I actually won this book in a contest during one of his annual blog traffic challenges.

The book’s subtitle is “A Proven Path To Discovering What You Were Meant To Do”.  It discusses finding your vocation and gives some ideas to help you figure out what you should be focusing on in your life.

The discussion on doing the work resonates with me.  Quit making excuses and just get down to it.

  • “One way of knowing our gifting,” Jody told me, “is when something that seems easy to us doesn’t seem easy to others.”
  • Frankl learned there are three things that give meaning to life: first, a project; second, a significant relationship; and third, a redemptive view of suffering.
  • Most people waste the best years of their life waiting for an adventure to come to them instead of going out and finding one.
  • You have to imagine your own death. When your time comes, what will you regret not doing? What will you wish you had more time to do, and what will have seemed trivial?
  • A vocation is not something you try; it’s someone you become.
  • The risk of not committing is greater than the cost of making the wrong choice. Because when you fail, you learn. Failure is a friend dressed up like an enemy.
  • Practice is essential not only to achieve excellence but to clarify the call itself.
  • Every place you go, every person you meet, every job you have is a chance to gain greater clarity in your self-education.
  • The worst way to get a mentor is to go find one. The best way is to see the one that’s already there. Rarely do you find all the elements of an apprenticeship in one place. But if you look in the right places and are careful to pay attention, you will find them. Apprenticeship, then, isn’t a class you take or a mentor you meet—it’s a choice you make.
  • Always do more than is required of you. —GEORGE S. PATTON
  • Excellence, then, is a matter of practice, not talent. In an era of human history in which we prize comfort above nearly every other virtue, we have overlooked an important truth: comfort never leads to excellence.
  • There are three requirements for deliberate practice, according to Ericsson and his team of researchers. First, the practice requires a context: time and energy from the individual as well as trainers, teaching materials, and facilities in which to train.
  • Second, the activity must not be “inherently motivating.” It has to be something you wouldn’t naturally enjoy doing.15 Think of it this way: if the practice is enjoyable, then you aren’t growing.
  • Third, the activity cannot be done a very long time without leading to exhaustion. You must take yourself beyond what you think is possible, to the utter limits of your ability. If you aren’t pushing yourself to the point of sheer exhaustion, you’re not trying hard enough.
  • If you can do something when it’s not fun, even when you’re exhausted and bored and want to give up, then it just might be your calling.
  • What you must do is keep moving. Don’t stand still. Don’t squander your time, holding out for someone else to give you permission to start. It won’t happen that way. No one is going to give you a map.
  • As Robert Greene wrote in his book Mastery, “Repeated failure will toughen your spirit and show you with absolute clarity how things must be done.”
  • Hanging out in coffee shops and talking about one day being a writer or an activist or an entrepreneur is just about the worst thing you can do. It feels like work but is in fact destructive to the real work of realizing your dream. So what do you do? Stop talking and start doing. Don’t dream of being a writer—begin writing.
  • The future belongs to those who learn more skills and combine them in creative ways. —ROBERT GREENE
  • So if fame and fortune aren’t the secrets to happiness, what is? It’s a mental state he calls “flow.” Flow is the intersection of what you are good at and what challenges you—where difficulty and competency meet. When your competency exceeds the difficulty of a task, you are bored. And when the difficulty exceeds your competency, you are anxious.
  • Every day you and I face a choice: to either pursue our authentic selves or a shadow of the real thing.
  • Life is not a support system for your work; your work is a support system for your life. Every person faces the ultimate insufficiency of their work. Every worker knows the limits of their labor. And every person who is called understands that there is danger in such a compulsion; the work can consume you if you let it.

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