HomeNewsCommentariesDisplay

Quality of rituals determines quality of life

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. (AFNS) -- Over the last year I've been on a quest to identify and highlight simple success strategies that, if followed, will increase career success.

Where does one start on the path to becoming successful?

Some would say, "habits," but it goes farther than that. Habits are repeatable actions that we don't think about. Rituals are actions embedded with meaning. 

It's the quality of our rituals that determines the quality of our lives.

When our actions have turned into habits, we've forgotten their meaning. There's nothing wrong with this for good habits. But for bad ones, it's why we are stuck in those ruts. We don't reflect and don't realize that we need to change.

Rituals go a step beyond habits. They ask you to reflect. Is this a good habit? What does this habit mean to me? How will this make me a more effective as a leader? We can't just go through the motions. If we do, we stay in one place and the world passes us by.

Success is not guaranteed, but if you care about the quality of your rituals then your chances at success increase. 

I deliberately set and maintain three rituals to stay grounded in a hectic world.

1. I practice gratitude and maintain perspective. I start and end each day with thinking, "What am I most grateful for? What will challenge me today and how will I grow? What did I learn from what happened today? How can I notice what is right (rather than wrong) about a situation?" You can express it out loud, think it to yourself, or write it down in a journal.

2. I take care of my body. It does not matter how I am feeling or what the weather is doing outside. I make the time and exercise without excuse. I know days will be stressful and I plan for them. I will get extra sleep knowing that being well rested will provide me the mental edge I need for any challenge.

3. I take care of my mind. I read every day. I enjoy motivational books but stretch myself to read other types of nonfiction and fiction novels. It's relaxing and I'm able to see situations from multiple perspectives.

These rituals work for me and they may work for you, but it is better for you to decide your own rituals. Choose ones that work for you; choose ones with meaning for you. 

But know, in the end, you are not simply creating new habits.

In order to help you turn this commentary into your reality there are three steps you must first take to help you get clarity on your rituals, vehicles and game plan!

1. Your vision: You will need to identify your mission, purpose and passions. Take some time and answer the following questions. The answers may not come to you right away. Wrestle with them until you can answer each in one single true sentence.
- Mission: What is the most important thing that you want to achieve in your life?
- Purpose: Why is your mission important? Who will it affect?
- Passions: What are your passions and are they aligned with your purpose and mission? If not, how can you better align all three?

2. The vehicles: Next, brainstorm a list of all the "rituals" you can use to live your mission, purpose and passions on a daily basis. From this list, choose only three. Why three? You want to start out small but still have enough change in your life to see an effect.

3. The game plan: Decide on a plan to implement each one. It takes around 30 days for a new action to become habitual. Choose one of the rituals for your list and create a strategy to remind yourself to do it daily. One method, used by Jerry Seinfeld, is to put up a large wall calendar. Each day that you successfully do your daily ritual, put a red "X" on that day. Keep doing this with the goal of never breaking the chain of red "Xs." Once your chain is at least one month long, start implementing your next ritual.

Meaningful rituals, rooted in positive self-improvement are one of the key pillars of success. Upon the development and application of your vision, the vehicles and your game plan, you will develop the pathway to creating these new rituals, increasing the quality of your life. 

Engage

Facebook Twitter
#CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright will speak today at 10:15 A.M. EDT. Topic of discussion, "Connecting #Airmen to the Fight:… https://t.co/vRjN2YhZCd
RT @DeptofDefense: It’s a celebration! 🎉 Bring out the cake 🎂, blow out the candles & help us wish the @usairforce a happy 72nd birthday! O…
#USAF is heading into the #WildBlueYonder, making our wish a reality. Faster. Lethal. Ready. #THISIS72 #HBDUSAF https://t.co/1Ta5Qpkrzd
Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper is scheduled to address #Airmen at #ASC19. Tune in Live at… https://t.co/GYgfwa2dJa
The Family Resiliency panel @ASC19 discussed how #resiliency provides a balance to life using these components: Sur… https://t.co/4zJS70MeXE
RT @RobinRoberts: You know how proud I am of my father and his fellow #TuskegeeAirmen including Col. Charles McGee who attended a ceremony…
Blending resolute certainty with optimism and unsentimental assessments of the challenges ahead, .@GenDaveGoldfeinhttps://t.co/7D9y3IiLlj
RT @AirmanMagazine: CSAF @GenDaveGoldfein explains how the @usairforce would handle a global threat using agile Multi-Domain Command and Co…
.@GenDaveGoldfein details the 5 elements of a successful command tour. https://t.co/FHzdqd8g5y
.@GenDaveGoldfein speaks on developing leaders of outstanding character. The key to healthy squadron culture & mora… https://t.co/Mr6VZwUCgP
Dawn Goldfein speaks on reimbursement for re-licensure and professional certifications for #milspouses after PCS. https://t.co/gQ2OVP4sMD
.@CMSAF18: Leadership can make the difference in this fight. We must take this opportunity to listen & connect with… https://t.co/Vl9GHjbhH8
.@CMSAF18: We didn’t believe, 1 day is enough to solve the problem, nor do we believe the answer is at the Pentago… https://t.co/KjOfczrskS
.@CMSAF18: Suicide is a tough issue for us right now. @GenDaveGoldfein & I asked each of the commanders to do resil… https://t.co/Rckd8SLjzp
.@GenDaveGoldfein: We’re looking at how do we influence young women to see themselves and their future in the #USAFhttps://t.co/zBXwKiTnR3
.@ActingSecAF: We’ve heard you, and we’ve put a lot of emphasis on it, it’s not a one and done. The health and safe… https://t.co/PsXHoA9som
.@ActingSecAF: Once a quarter the service secretaries meet to go over what we feel contractors should be doing to f… https://t.co/VevQhjCMrh