Achieving Without Assistants, Part 2

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Last updated on February 5th, 2024 at 10:39 pm

Day 2 of Niya’s series!

The second logo for Casey Palmer, Canadian Dad

Words with Friends and the importance of keeping them.

This post isn’t about iPhone Scrabble. I’m not about to give you strategies, tips and tricks to boost your score, have your friends curse you as you wipe the Scrabble board with them, or generally make you a better Scrabble player. Frankly, I’m a terrible Scrabble player because I don’t play strategically, so I’m the last person who should be giving advice.

No, this is about words in a different sense. It’s about those promises that you make, those things you commit to, those words that become your bond. At its core, this is about integrity. To clarify, I don’t mean integrity in any sort of moral sense. If that’s what you want it to mean, that’s perfectly fine. Integrity in this case, however, is about consistency. It’s about deciding what you’re going to stand for when it comes to your actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations, and outcomes—and then actually standing for it. This means not making promises you aren’t going to keep, both to yourself and others. These are differences from promises you intend to break. These are the ones that you didn’t realize you didn’t have the time, resources, skills etc to keep. Essentially, do what you say you were going to do when you said you were going to do it. Stick to that plan. Scary as it sounds, commit.

It’s so much easier to say these things than it is to do them. We spend so much time talking that words have ceased to hold real meaning – which is why being your word and maintaining your integrity is so important. Life gets really interesting when you get a sense of which promises you keep, and which ones are easier to break than others. I’m known for serially breaking the promises I make to myself but very rarely breaking my commitments to other people. It probably says a lot about me. Think about your pattern when it comes to keeping your word. What does it say about you?

When you learn to only make promises that you can keep, and about how far you can push the bounds of the reality you know, in order to keep the more unreasonable promises you want to make, you’ll find yourself in a life that’s more feasible. Not overcommitting (i.e. Yes, I’ll proofread your paper even though I have 5 other priority items that actually matter), or being guilted into things (i.e. Yes, I’ll spend the weekend with your parents because I love you even though I’d rather be doing anything else), or agreeing because social convention dictates you should (i.e., Of course, I’ll volunteer for your fundraiser, even though I’m working on 6 others, because if I say no, I’ll look like a terrible human being) means you can stick to the plan you created.

What does integrity have to with making an impossible-seeming life workable without an assistant? If you only make promises you can keep, you’ll have a much easier time remembering them. Also, knowing which promises you can keep means you have to have a pretty good handle on your time and resources, which means you’re aware enough not to need an assistant.

So keep your word. It’s vital for the next part of how to achieve really mind-blowing things without an assistant: Networks and the importance of mobilizing them.



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