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Thursday, March 12, 2009

What My Sideburns Have to Do With Your Success - Ding!

I need a haircut. I know, this is not a major life crisis. But it did get me thinking about success and the obstacles we let get in our way.

I'll admit it, I don't get my hair cut nearly frequently enough. I will look in the mirror and say, "I need a haircut," and then proceed to procrastinate six to eight weeks before making it to the barber.

When I do get around to making it to the barber (ok fine, sometimes it's a "hairdresser"), I always have to tell them to take my sideburns up a little. My sideburns always grow in!

The weird thing is that I shave regularly, so there is no reason for my sideburns to get longer between haircuts. I don't understand it! The only logical explanation is that my sideburns grow in faster than the rest of my hair, and millimeter by millimeter they encroach on my face until I look like Dylan McKay from 90210.

This would be fine if I wanted sideburns. But I don't. I do not want sideburns. I am not a sideburn guy. If I became a sideburn guy I'd have to completely change my entire lifestyle. Start slacking off and wearing flannel. That's not me.

So instead, I lose the battles to my sideburns and then have to call in help and have the barber take care of them for me.

So what do my sideburns have to do with your success?

Just like my sideburns slowly, almost imperceptibly, grow until they reach a ridiculous point, so too do obstacles in our lives. Quite often, the Dings in our lives are not huge events that come out of nowhere and punch us in the gut. Usually, a small series of little Dings, slowly, almost imperceptibly, grow until, before we even realize it, we are off course.

It isn't the heart attack, it's the thousands of Dings along the way that throw your diet and exercise plan off. For every person that goes through the big Ding off getting laid off, there are ten people who let little Dings keep them in jobs they don't like for ten, twenty, or thirty years. For every relationship that ends with one person thinking everything is great only to walk in on an affair, there are dozens that slowly, almost imperceptibly, drift away.

Preparing for the Dings of life isn't about having a contingency plan for when disaster hits. It's about making certain reactions automatic so that you deal with all the Dings in life properly, no matter how small, to help prevent the big Dings from happening.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go shave.

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