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24 Little Hours

by Jack Hojnar

An avid baseball fan and player, my youngest son brought to me a quote from some famous baseball player who said, "he never stopped working at his craft fearful that someone, somewhere was working hard to take his spot."

My son asked me what that meant and so I thought for a minute. But rather than pitch him a proverbial stereotype of hard work equaling success, we talked about perspective.

"How many days a week do you think you should work on hitting a baseball?"

"I don't know," he paused, "maybe three?"

"Ok, so then what does that mean?"

"I'll be practicing a lot?" he guessed.

We grabbed a calculator. Three times each week times 52 weeks equals 156 days of practice.

"Does 156 days sound like a like of practice?"

"Like a TON of practice."

"So do you believe you could practice one more day?"

"No way. Three days is already half the week."

So we did a bit more math. We considered adding just one more day dedicated to improving the way he plays the sport he loves. But we removed the emotion - the burden of adding another day - and focused instead on perspective.

One more day each week is equivalent to 52 more days each year, I noted. Or stated even more simply, almost two months.

"Would you want to give your opponent a two month head start?"

And the light went on. One extra day isn't one extra day. It's 52 days over the course of the year. It's a two month advantage on anything.

In this country we like to believe we work harder than every other country on the planet. For some, that ethos is not only admirable but representative of our way of life. Yet, studies have shown that we aren't the hardest working country.

And so are we really working hard or just spending considerable time where we work, going through the motions and calling it a day?

Every New Year, many people decide to take on complicated and obvious New Year's Resolutions. Losing weight is a big one. Fixing something is another (car, home improvement, and so on). Some even resolve to improve their career. Change is in the air this time of year and it's often followed quickly with failure. Yet, only 8% of people achieve New Year's Resolutions. Sometimes our goals appear too big and too grand when we actually sit down to do the work.

Four days is definitely more than three days and in the span of a busy week, that extra day can appear overwhelming.

But if you can visualize the future, if you can imagine the small producing the large then 12 months from now you will be able to see 2 more months of accomplishment, success or at least nearer your goal than if those 24 little hours were left resting and alone.

This year, if you resolve to do anything new, resolve this: do just a bit more than you normally do (this is not a suggestion to pound more cans of beer throughout the week ... and you know who you are). 

At work, at home, with colleagues and friends spend 5 more minutes listening to the opinion of others.

Take 5 more minutes to read an email before you send it.

Take 5 more minutes preparing for a meeting than you might normally do.

Dedicate one extra day each week - for as much time as you can make available - getting better at your craft or your job.

Minutes lead to hours, hours lead to days. Simple steps lead to great strides.

This New Year, break away from normal traditional resolutions and believe that a little extra is necessary so that no one takes your spot.