The habit of doing more than is necessary can only be earned through practice. And the habit is priceless. -Seth Godin (source)
It’s easy to be lazy. It’s easy to do less, to do the bare minimum, or to do nothing. Seth Godin writes, in characteristically simple fashion, about doing the little extras because you can.
You can call it initiative, taking charge, going above and beyond. The fact is, those who do the extra, who work a little harder, who put in a little extra effort; they stand out.
This isn’t something that comes naturally either. Some people learn to do it early, through practice or good role models. Some people never learn to do it well. I’m learning the value of doing it now, but I wish I’d learned it early on.
And the weird thing is it still feels right, even if you don’t get credit, when you do it for the right reasons. This relates to the gratitude muscle, or abundance mindset.
Do a little extra. Try it. It’s small, subtle, secret, and feel surprisingly good.
“The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it’s definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it honestly, and tell it as best you can. I’m not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.” – Neil Gaiman (source)
This is number eight of Gaiman’s eight rules of writing. It is my favorite because of how well it applies to life. It reminds me of Donald Miller’s book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. If you look at life like a play, a story, a script, etc. you can identify characters, plot points, devices, themes and a whole bunch of other literary stuff.
Using this like a tool, it’s quite possible to “write” a good life. If I couldn’t buy into any other philosophy, I think this is the one that I’d be sold on every time. Be honest, be straightforward, tell the story the way it should be told. Think about how the story will be told later to help you decide what actions to take. Be earnest, and don’t worry about making mistakes.
Weed out the junk that just distracts from the real story being told.
You can find a way to get away with just about anything you want. That might sound like a license to just do anything, but it’s not. It’s a challenge to do what tells the best story. Think about the people through history who did whatever they wanted, and are looked at as fools or worse. Take that into consideration when you use your freedom to live your story.
See yourself as the storyteller; then become a master storyteller.