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Want success? Embrace the mundane


The enemy to any success is almost always distractions. Lack of focus is my personal enemy. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone. Most people that lead businesses or projects are constantly faced with things that shake their attention from the goals. Staying focused is hard. There are too many new shiny objects begging for your attention. Especially in the fast moving tech sector we operate in. The tech media doesn’t help either. They’re constantly telling the mythology of the billion dollar startup. We all know the ubiquitous tempting headline “Basement duo launches industry killer”. It seems that everyone is creating the next disruptive technology except you.

For years I found myself jumping from one ‘big idea’ to the next. My early career path was adventurous and exciting but I wasn’t really creating much of anything. That was until I discovered the joy of boredom. Not exactly boredom but the joy of the daily tasks that are boring.

Each boring task is like a single footstep towards a massive goal. You may not like the grinding routine but it’ll get you there eventually. The story of how Amundsen beat Scott to the South Pole by plodding slowly instead of sprinting comes to mind. Success doesn’t arrive dressed up as a carnival with sexy celebrations. Success arrives every day dressed in drab colors and hiding in the shadows.

When the distractions come and the urge to be fast and furious comes along I say to myself, “Today’s a good day to be boring. Forget about the other guys. Some days you’re ahead and some days you’re not”.

Building a ritual around these boring tasks makes them more enjoyable and habitual. Even the idiots on Jersey Shore knew the value of the ritual.  GTL (short for gym, tan, laundry) was the guy’s routine everyday and they stuck to it regardless of the drama. The daily routines are my friend. In some perverse way the mundane is the path to getting things done.

Author Richard Banfield

As CEO, Richard leads Fresh Tilled Soil’s strategic vision. He’s a mentor at TechStars and BluePrintHealth, an advisor and lecturer at the Boston Startup School, and serves on the executive committees of TEDxBoston, the AdClub’s Edge Conference, and Boston Regional Entrepreneurship Week.

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