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Carl Ficks

Pigs In A Blanket

Do you feel like you’re pushing the same damn huge rock up a hill every single day? 

(Only to have it roll back to the bottom while you’re not looking… and occasionally it rolls right over you and crushes you?)

Well, you’re not alone.

 In fact, way back when, the Greeks told the story of Sisyphus. It was his version of hell.

Today, you might feel like Sisyphus…a continuous cycle of rolling the metaphorical work or school boulder up the hill, only to have it roll back down.

All done while quarantining and social-distancing.

Now… none of us are mythical Greek figures (except perhaps in our own minds)…

But we do have to get through each week… somehow… without getting crushed by that damn boulder.

So how do you do it?

Admiral William McRaven, a retired four-star admiral who once commanded the U.S. Special Operations Command, gave the 2014 commencement speech at his alma mater, the University of Texas. Admiral McRaven shared 10 lessons with the graduates to help them change the world.

The first lesson: make your bed every single morning.

Why? Because if you get that small task done it will be easier to move on to the next small task.

Over the years, I have been asked many times “how the hell” I was able to run all the marathons in which I have competed and cycled all the centuries which I have ridden.

My response has always been the same. I look at the marathon as the “three 10’s.” A 10-miler, followed by a 10-miler, and then a 10k cherry on top.

When visualizing a century, the ride seems eminently more doable when I break it down into four marathon-distance small rides.

Once I make my bed the first time by running 10 or riding 26 miles, the other tasks will fall into place.

When explaining this to a friend, I told him “it’s easy – breaking the distance down is like pigs in a blanket – little bite size hot dogs that you won’t choke on when you pop them into your mouth.” 

Mark Devine, a NY Times bestselling author and former Navy SEAL, explains that one key to living an extraordinary life is to “keep things simple.”

Devine recently encouraged graduating college students to take the “simplest, smartest and smallest actions which will lead, incrementally, to mission success.”

Thoreau famously preached “simplicity, simplicity, simplicity.”

If you’re a distance runner, then a 10-miler is likely doable. If you can run 10, then you can run another 10. And once that second 10 is under your belt, the last 10 will be easy (and shorter).

The same is true in your business… and in your life.

One small task… and then the next.

Your mission in front of you today is to stay safe, stay healthy, get through the week, and help those in the community who now need it the most.

Mother Teresa said, “We can’t all do great things; but we can do small things with great love.”

Phone a friend. Donate to a food bank. Volunteer your time. Offer to shop for someone who cannot. Thank an essential worker.

A task completed.

Simple, smart and small actions leading to mission success, like popping a pig in a blanket in your mouth. Only far more satisfying (and healthier).

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