Inputs: The real key to changing your life

I think we all tend to look at ourselves and see things we want to change.

For you it might be:

A bad habit to break. A good habit to form. A new approach to something. A new outlook. A new perspective. A new behavior. A new endeavor. A new path. A new way to respond. A new commitment.

For companies it might be:

A new product. A new market. A new message. A new objective. Bigger market share. Better market penetration. Broader market appeal. Better operational efficiency. Higher profit margins.

For families it might be:

More discipline. More fun. Stronger relationships. More education. Better use of free time. More responsibilities. Better sharing. Happier atmosphere. Better grades.

Whatever it is you want to change, whatever it is you want the system (you, work, family, or whatever) to do differently, most often the place you start is by trying to change the output directly. But this usually fails, because the output of a system is usually a product of its inputs.

So if you really want to change the output, start by changing the inputs.

We’ve often heard the definition of insanity: doing what you always do and expecting a different result.

Sounds obvious, but when it comes right down to applying it in our lives, we forget about it. We struggle to change something, and when that fails, we become frustrated, discouraged, and even give up.

Sometimes, though, it’s the approach that matters more. A long jumper doesn’t increase distance just at the takeoff line. Distance increase is a product of a lot of things, some of which have to be worked on independently. How strong the arms are, the speed of the approach, getting the timing right, the footing, fast-twitch muscle focus, confidence, etc.

If you want to increase your long jump distance, you have to focus on your inputs.

Whatever it is you’ve been struggling to change, perhaps you should shift your focus to your inputs.

Often the output side of the equation bears a striking resemblance to the input side of the equation. They’re directly proportional. You can’t create an increase in one without changing the other.

Sometimes those inputs just need a bit of tweaking. Sometimes they need a wholesale overhaul.

Whatever you want to change, remember, it’s the inputs that matter.

-Rusty

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