“The greatest threat to success is not failure but boredom.” James Clear
Last week I finished the book Atomic Habits and it was great. Of all of the great lessons throughout the entire book, the quote above is the one that hit me the hardest.
We often think of people who are successful as being super talented. We think of them having the extraordinary discipline to withstand the difficult. We look at success as the opposite of failure and all of those things might be true, but more than anything, what separates successful people from failure is their ability to withstand the boredom.
Let’s face it, a lot of the work we have to put in daily is boring. I’ve never met anyone who said with excitement in their voice “I get to respond to email today!” Successful people endure the tedious task of going through their inbox. Professional athletes don’t get excited about drilling fundamentals. The successful ones endure the mundane task of shooting free throw after free throw. Champion cattle showmen don’t dream about brushing hair until their arms ache. The best ones work hair day after day after day. People who achieve elite levels of success don’t get there in one blaze of glory. They get there by enduring all of the small, simple actions day in and day out that failures find too boring to do.
This is one reason why our current situation, Quarantine 2020 is so difficult right now for so many of us. Even those of us who are masters level at boring activities are finding it hard to stay focused and stay working when there doesn’t seem to be light at the end of our long, lonely, social distancing tunnel. We can be bored, but only for so long and we’re nearing our breaking point.
My solution to this problem is my accountability network. It consists of three people whom I check in with a couple of times a week. We vent our frustrations, encourage, and, when needed, strong kicks to the ass. It’s also my Facebook group where I post my food log and daily activity every night just to stay on track. For my kids, it’s been really fun to watch my oldest and my youngest hold one another accountable in the barn. Brushing starts as fun but when it’s the third time that day you’ve been in the barn working hair, all of the glory is worn off. This is when Jack pushes Kate and Kate pushes Jack but having a partner makes much easier to endure.
The greatest threat to success is not failure but boredom. It’s starting to get to you the way it has me, hit me up. We’re all in this together and I’ll be damn’ if I’m going to let the boredom win.