Set Higher Standards by Ravi

Ramblings from a 30-something ultra-marathoning yogi with a day job.

Posts Tagged ‘Goals

Happiness is a Choice

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Sometimes it is an easy choice.

Sometimes it is a hard choice.

Either way, it is a choice.

Written by Ravi Raman

January 3, 2012 at 8:01 pm

Posted in Personal Development

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How to Transform Your Life

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Transforming your life does not require massive action or big goals. It requires steady and methodical progress.

If you have set big and lofty goals for the new year, that is ok. Just remember that it is the daily actions that will slowly but inevitably create the big change you are looking for.

Just like interest in a bank account, the small things compound per time. Losing just an ounce a day of body weight will completely remake your physique over the course of a year. Saving an extra $100 a week will amount to big long term savings over the course of a few decades (invested well, it could pay for a child’s college education!). Meditating for just 10 minutes a day can dramatically improve your ability to focus on everything else you do and give you emotional calm and poise when dealing with other people.

Instead of fretting over having to radically shift your daily routine, focus on the small things you can do consistently. Those are the things that will make all the difference. The hard part is focusing on the long term impact of your decisions, and not getting caught up on the need to see massive shorter term progress. Most people will give up on the early part of the curve in the diagram below. Sticking with it is key!

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Written by Ravi Raman

January 2, 2012 at 3:30 pm

Posted in Goal Setting, Personal Development

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Know what you don't want

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As you start setting your intentions and aspirations for the new year, don’t fret if you can’t pinpoint the exact things that you want to do, places you want to visit, people you want to meet or other experiences you want to have. Try as best you can to make your intention something that is empowering and motivating for you, and back it up with a few specific actions you can take to realize that intention in the world (e.g. goals).

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Then recognize that there are a lot of things going on out there in the world, and you might not be able to pinpoint the exact experiences you want to have and goals you want to achieve in the coming year…yet.

For me, I create a list of intentions for every new year, and a few goals that substantiate each one. For example, one intention I have this year is to Embody My True Personal Power and Vitality, and one goal in line with this is to compete in a off-road trail running race this year (distance isn’t important). That said, I don’t at this point have all my specific goals nailed down, and that is ok. I know that as the days move on I’ll have a clearer idea of the specific goals I want….goals that are lined up with my intentions for the year.

However, this year I am also going to try something new….I am going to spend a little (not a ton, but some) time doing is identifying a list of things I don’t want to experience this year! I am motivated to do this after reading this little quote by Steve Jobs:

Steve Jobs

“I’m as proud of what we don’t do as I am of what we do.”

It got me thinking. I think many people, especially those who are motivated to grow personally and professionally, often get oversubscribed with doing things…and this makes it tough to 1) really focus on the things that matter and 2) take advantage of ad-hoc fun experiences that pop up from time to time.

For example, just a few days ago, a friend asked me if I wanted to go to go snowshoeing for a few days….staying in a “Yurt” near Mt. Rainier. Apparently, someone in the group fell sick and a spot opened up. With 24 hours notice, I was able to take advantage of this since I hadn’t booked my weekend full of random stuff to do. It ended up being one of the most fun experiences I’ve had in a long time.

So after you’ve spent time setting your intentions and creating your vision board, think about a few things you are willing to cut-back on or totally cut-out. Do so and you might just end up creating the free time and space to really achieve those lofty goals, and have a ton of fun in the process.

Written by Ravi Raman

January 3, 2010 at 7:33 pm

Talent and Skill

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If you’ve watched this video from my last post, you probably picked up on this theme. It’s a clue into one of life’s great mysteries. Success depends on both talent and skill. They are similar but radically different at the same time. One is a gift you have been given. The other is completely up to you.

Incredible Talent + Years of Acquired Skill

Talent is something that you acquire due to your genes, upbringing, experiences as a child, etc. You have them or you don’t. Maybe your father took you out on the golf course since the age of 5, or enrolled you in swim lessons as a pre-schooler, or you had that piano sitting in your living room in the house you grew up in, maybe you happened to be very tall, maybe you have incredible hand-eye coordination, maybe you have a photographic memory, etc.

Skill is something you acquire by working hard day after day. The most talented person in the world will get schooled by a hard-worker if they don’t train hard and focus (as an example,  watch the movie “Tyson,” I just did and it is quite good). I think we all know examples of people who seemed to cruise through school without studying….only to hit a wall in college or in the workforce when skating buy doesn’t cut it. Without skill a talented person will have no way of illustrating their craft in the world – they will lack the physical and intellectual capability to live up to their potential.

Not Your Typical Runner

Similarly, someone who lacks natural talent can overcome and excel through acquired skill. Look at Dean Karnazes, not a natural runner by body-type,  but boy can he run and run and run (for hundreds of miles at time)! Look at the numerous corporate leaders with learning disabilities (e.g. Billionaire Richard Branson has written about his dyslexia). Muggsy is another example, how someone who is 5′ 3″ can excel in the NBA is beyond me (and at that block 39 shots???!).

However, put the two together and you really have an explosive combo. What are you talented at? Are you willing to put the required effort in to really develop your skills in the area? How will your life, and the world, be different if you did so? Are you willing to do whatever it takes to cultivate your potential?

As the new year approaches, these questions are worth some thought.

Written by Ravi Raman

December 27, 2009 at 10:24 pm

Get Back in the Groove

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I have a tendency to go to extremes. I set clear and sometimes audacious goals, achieve them (at at least give it a good attempt) and then frequently fall off the bandwagon a bit as I succumb to what I call the “post-goal blues.” When I raced triathlons, I found this “disease” to be common amongst my racer friends.

We’d train hard all year for a big race, and then the day after – feel relieved that the event was over. No more worries about squeezing a workout in, dealing with soreness or dreading another track workout. A week later, we’d be enjoying our time off from training. A month later, we’d be scratching our heads while looking at our ever-growing bellies and wondering what the next big goal is gonna be – but feeling too unmotivated to actually come up with one. I experienced the “blues”big-time after my last Ironman – totally stopping any sort of training routine for over a year.

Time away from a purpose-driven and goal-driven life can be a good thing. It is like going on vacation and getting away from all the demands you might have at work or home. However, at some point, you need to get back in the groove and reconnect with those things that really motivate you long-term, even if those things might require a bit of work on your part (like getting in the gym, learning to speak that language, hitting the trails or writing that book you’ve been putting off, whatever it is!).

All athletes have an off-season, even folks like Lance Armstrong – 7-Time Tour de France champ – takes at least a month off at the end of each season, chowing down on burritos and drinking beer. Even in my place of work, our executives tend to check-out during the month of August, enjoying the summer time and relaxing while they can. The key, though, is not to let yourself take too much time off and fall off track.

I’ve written a lot about goal setting and vision boarding. One of the great things about vision boards is that they give you a visual reminder of what is important to you. They become super important at times when you feel yourself getting off track and taking things too easy. We all know the difference between taking a little break and just being lazy.

If you haven’t checked in on your new years resolutions (or as I like to call them, new years “intentions”) or looked at your goals sheet or vision board in a while. Now is the time. Take it out, dust it off and remind yourself what is important, and think about what you can do right now to make progress against those things that at one point were so incredibly important to you, and assuredly are now too.

(a 1-room cabin in the high in the Rocky Mountains, where I spent 5 days fasting and meditating in utter silence).

Better yet, if you have a chance to get away for a few days and check-in on your goals and new years intentions, that can be incredibly powerful. Find a cabin or a bed & breakfast that is away from the hustle of your current life, and just take time to reflect on what you achieved this year so far, and what you are looking forward to achieving during the rest of the year. Recommit to achieve those things that are most important to you. Get yourself back on track.

Written by Ravi Raman

July 12, 2009 at 7:27 pm

The Power of Purpose

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A path through the woods in the Cascade Mountains, Mt Si - near Seattle, WAThis weekend I got in my car, turned the key and did so with a purpose. I was taking a trip for the weekend. I didn’t just get in my car and start driving around aimlessly. I knew where I wanted to go (Portland, OR) and why I wanted to go there (to spend time with my family). I had a purpose. It might have been a straightforward one, but it was still a purpose.

Throughout our lives, we do things for reasons. Conscious or unconscious as those reasons may be. Lucky for all of us, it is simple for us to consciously direct our reasons for acting in a manner that provide us with a strong incentive, motivation and momentum for moving in an appropriate direction. This is the power of purpose.

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Written by Ravi Raman

December 14, 2008 at 8:15 pm

Randy Pausch Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams

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Randy Pausch, a long-time Professor at Carnegie Mellon recently passed away. This video. from his last lecture at the university a few month ago, is a powerful reminder of how precious every moment is in life. It’s well worth watching, a few times.

Written by Ravi Raman

July 27, 2008 at 12:03 am

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