Few days ago, my sister told me about a lady who announced on twitter that she was going to be one of the best writers to come out of Nigeria. An accomplished writer/celebrity responded to her tweet by saying:
Talk is cheap.
I recoiled when I heard that because I felt it was too harsh a statement for a budding writer.
It reminded me of the times I had written and declared my own life goals. My dream to become a topnotch screenwriter, how I wanted my short stories found in every household, how my blog would be a centre for believers seeking growth in different areas of their lives and how I hope to stand out in the pursuit of my writing career.
In many ways, I was not different from that lady with that great dream. But later that night as I thought about the words of that celebrity, It became clear that no matter how upset I might have been about her response, there was a truth in it that I couldn’t deny.
Talk is very cheap, trust me. I’ve done a lot of talking and it got me nowhere until I began to do something that I wish to share with you today.
Brethren, people do not just become successful by mere wishes. It is very easy to sit under a motivational speaker and get emotions stirred up.
After listening to some of them back on campus, I would leave the auditorium excited about making six figures, speaking excitedly to my roommates about my plans and what my future was going to be like but few days later, I’d be back to square zero, the excitement gone while I waited for the next speaker to show up.
It is one reason I stopped reading most of the self-help books we have around and focused on books that gave me practical ideas on how to move forward.
I do not for once believe daydreaming or talking passionately about your dreams is wrong. In fact, I think it is the very first step towards achieving your goals in life.
If you do not first believe that you can be the best among your peers or that you can excel in what you do, there may not be a drive to move towards seeing that happen.
It’s fine to talk about your dreams and remind yourself of your long term goals from time to time but it will all be mere talks if you stop right there.
How do you move from talking to seeing those dreams accomplished? How can you be more productive with your life and not end up in the crowd?
Do you know that even if you already sense what God’s plan for your life is, fulfilling it is not automatic if you don’t take a step forward. What’s that secret that’ll keep you on top of your game.
Create a system.
Oh yes. That’s the secret
These scriptures hit the message home.
If you are lazy, you will never get what you are after, but if you work hard, you will get a fortune. Proverbs 12:27.
Hardwork always pay off; mere talk puts no bread on the table Proverbs 14:23 (MSG)
A farmer too lazy to plow his fields at the right time will have nothing to harvest. Proverbs 20: 4 (GN)
Creating a system in your personal life is the key to productivity. What exactly is Ife-Grace saying? Let me draw from these personal examples.
There was a time I never brush at night. Once I brushed in the morning, that was all. Last year, I lost my first tooth. Because I took sugary things during the day, I was advised to brush at night. But I still wouldn’t do it. Until the second one was removed. I almost cried. That was when I started brushing every night. At first, I missed out on some days, but the days I remembered, even if I was already on my way to dreamland, I stood up from the bed and dragged myself to the bathroom. Now it has become part of me. I rarely go to bed without carrying out that routine.
A similar experience also occurred with my glasses. Before I got a job, my parents paid the bills for my visits to the eye clinic. I can’t count the number of times I have changed either my frame or the lens but I wasn’t really bothered until I had to start paying my own bills. Recently, I went to the hospital and had to pull out of my account a chunk of money. Pulling that kind of money out of my account was a big deal for me because at that time, I really needed to use that money for something else.
After that day, every time I return from work, the first thing I look for when I’m ready to take my glasses off, is my glass case. This was me who for eighteen years hardly remembered I had a glass case and sometimes, I’d find my glasses under the bed, behind the wardrobe, on the floor. I deliberately trained myself to be careful with my glasses. Now even when I am tempted to drop it on the table or on the bed, my brain reminds me, ‘glass case.’
No matter what you want to do in this life, once you can identify it and create a system around it, you are half way through it already.
There must be some form of routine in your life if you must see your dreams achieved. It doesn’t matter whether you are a creative or not. You can’t just act when you feel like or when you want to.
Let’s consider this for a moment. At the beginning of this year, we had plans laid out right? Our goals were on point and we talked so much about what we want to see happen this year. What month are we in? October. Can we point out to one or two things we have done that’s moving us towards our dream?
Or…are we waiting for that seven day program by one Pastor where we get to lift our hands and say Amen to prayers like, ‘Before the end of this year, all your desires will be met.’
Prayer has its place but you won’t get to the top by just praying. God’s supply is available, but if you do not take hold of it and run with it, sitting and talking about it will bring no result.
No matter how much a lazy person may want something, he will never get it, A hard worker will get everything he wants. Proverbs 13: 4 (GN)
A system is something you do repeatedly. It is a specific, consistent plan of action that’ll guarantee productivity in the long run. It’ll make your life’s purpose easier to accomplish and keep you away from distractions. It’ll keep you pressing forward towards your goal. It is the key to maintaining momentum. Our lives need some form of structure. We shouldn’t allow the day to own us. We control it.
Build your system gradually. You can train yourself to read at least a chapter of a book a day. You can decide to watch videos that’ll build your knowledge base in your career, at least once a week.
Look at your goals and break them down into daily activities you can do everyday.
Reflect on the hours you spend on social media and watching movies and cut those down if they are taking so much of your time.
Social media was one of my toughest challenges in building a system that I wanted to see for myself. I could go for hours without realizing I had spent almost the whole day scrolling down my newsfeed. Several times I had tried to reduce the hours I spent there until I realized that if I didn’t have activities to replace the free time, I’ll constantly be drawn back to it. Now that I have so much on my plate, it has become easier controlling my social media space.
Consistency is the tool for building a system. It may not work effectively the first few weeks or months but as you keep at it, It’ll become part of you.
This is the same process for developing your spiritual walk. Before now, It was a battle. I preferred spending more time with movies than with God’s Word. So I decided to build a system. For over a year now, I have spent my data downloading more of sermons. Almost every day, I listen to a sermon which causes my mind to build interest in spiritual things and drives me to have a personal time with the Word. You only become hungry for what interests you.
In practical terms, how do you build a system?
1. Get back on your drawing table. What are your dreams, your goals and aspiration? E.g, I want to build a devotional life, I want to get my fashion business established, I want to be a successful public speaker etc. Note them down again.
2. What system do you need to create? Jerry Jenkins, the author of Left Behind series with sales of more than 70 million copies said he wrote every day between 9p.m and 12 midnight. What processes are required to get you to the top of your field? The little details are what culminates to what we regard as big deals today.
3. Do your research. There are lots of Youtube videos and articles in your area of interest. You need knowledge of what your dreams entails to build a system.
4. Write down your short term goals and long term plans and break them into daily activites.
5. What do you need to cut down to get more time to meeting the goals? Social media, movies, unnecessary chats.
6. Remember to commit your plans to the Lord. The horse may be ready for the battle but safety only comes by the Lord.
Systems are not built in a day. They are created by continuous practice. Don’t be discouraged if the steps you are taking now do not seem to be having any visible effect. Seeds grow. Opportunities meets those who are prepared.
For in due season you shall reap your harvest if you faint not.