‘Eat that frog’

Napoleon Hill once said: “There is one quality that one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants and a burning desire to achieve it.”

This is a wonderful time to be alive. There have never been more possibilities and opportunities for you to achieve more of your goals than exist today. As perhaps never before in human history, you are actually drowning in options. In fact, there are so many good things you can do that your ability to decide among them may be the critical determinant of what you accomplish in life.

If you are like most people to­day, you are overwhelmed with too much to do and too little time. As you struggle to get caught up, new tasks and responsibilities just keep rolling in, like the tides. Because of this, you will never be able to do everything you have to do. You will never be caught up. You will always be behind in some of your tasks and responsibilities, and probably in many of them.

For this reason, and perhaps more than ever before, your ability to select your most important task at each moment, and then to start on that task and get it done both quickly and well, will probably have more of an impact on your success than any other quality or skill you can develop.

An average person who develops the habit of setting clear priori­ties and getting important tasks completed quickly will run circles around a genius who talks a lot and makes wonderful plans but gets very little done.

It has been said for many years that if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that is probably the worst thing that is go­ing to happen to you all day long.

Your “frog” is your biggest, most important task, the one you are most likely to procrastinate on if you do not do something about it now. It is also the one task that can have the greatest positive impact on your life and results at the moment.

It has also been said, “If you have to eat two frogs, eat the ugliest one first.” This is another way of saying that if you have two important tasks before you, start with the biggest, hardest, and most important task first. Discipline yourself to begin immediately and then to persist until the task is complete before you go on to something else.

Think of it as a “test.” Treat it like a personal challenge. Resist the temptation to start with the easier task. Continually remind yourself that one of the most important decisions you make each day is your choice of what you will do immediately and what you will do later, if you do it at all. Here is one final observation: “If you have to eat a live frog, it does not pay to sit and look at it for very long.”

The key to reaching high levels of performance and productivity is for you to develop the lifelong habit of tackling your major task first thing each morning. You must develop the routine of “eating your frog” before you do anything else and without taking too much time to think about it.

In study after study of men and women who get paid more and promoted faster, the quality of “action orientation” stands out as the most observable and consistent behaviour they demonstrate in ev­erything they do. Successful, effec­tive people are those who launch directly into their major tasks and then discipline themselves to work steadily and single-mindedly until those tasks are complete.

In our world, and especially in our business world, you are paid and promoted for getting specific, measurable results. You are paid for making a valuable contribution and, especially, for making the con­tribution that is expected of you.

“Failure to execute” is one of the biggest problems in organisa­tions today. Many people confuse activity with accomplishment. They talk continually, hold endless meetings, and make wonderful plans, but in the final analysis, no one does the job and gets the results required.

Fully 95 per cent of your success in life and work will be deter­mined by the kinds of habits that you develop over time. The habit of setting priorities, overcoming procrastination, and getting on with your most important task is a mental and physical skill. As such, this habit is learnable through practice and repetition, over and over again, until it locks into your subconscious mind and becomes a permanent part of your behaviour. Once it becomes a habit, it be­comes both automatic and easy to do. You are designed mentally and emotionally in such a way that task completion gives you a positive feeling. It makes you happy. It makes you feel like a winner.

Whenever you complete a task of any size or importance, you feel a surge of energy, enthusiasm, and self-esteem. The more important the completed task, the hap­pier, more confident, and more powerful you feel about yourself and your world. The completion of an import­ant task triggers the release of endorphins in your brain. These endor­phins give you a nat­ural “high.” The endorphin rush that follows successful completion of any task makes you feel more creative and confident.

Brian Tracy offers one of the most important of the so-called secrets of success. It is that you can actually develop a “positive addiction” to endorphins and to the feeling of enhanced clarity, confidence, and competence that they trigger. When you develop this “addiction,” almost without thinking you begin to organise your life in such a way that you are continually starting and complet­ing ever more important tasks and projects. You actually become addicted, in a very positive sense, to success and contribution.

One of the keys to your living a wonderful life, having a successful career, and feeling terrific about yourself is for you to develop the habit of starting and finishing important jobs. At that point, this behavior will take on a power of its own and you will find it easier to complete important tasks than not to complete them.

Practice is the key to mastering any skill. Fortunately, your mind is like a muscle. It grows stronger and more capable with use. With practice, you can learn any behavior or develop any habit that you consider either desirable or necessary.

You need three key qualities to develop the habits of focus and concentration, which are all learn­able. They are decision, discipline, and determination. First, make a decision to develop the habit of task completion. Second, discipline yourself to practice the principles you are about to learn over and over until you master them; and finally, back everything you do with determination until the habit is locked in and becomes a perma­nent part of your personality.

There is a special way that you can accelerate your progress toward becoming the highly pro­ductive, effective, efficient person that you want to be. It consists of your thinking continually about the rewards and benefits of being an action oriented, fast moving, focused person. See yourself as the kind of person who gets important jobs done quickly and well on a consistent basis.

Your mental picture of your­self has a powerful effect on your behaviour. Visualise yourself as the person you intend to be in the fu­ture. Your self-image, the way you see yourself on the inside, largely determines your performance on the outside. As Jim Cathcart says, “The person you see is the person you will be.”

You have a virtually unlimited capability to learn and develop new skills, habits, and abilities. When you train yourself, through repe­tition and practice, to overcome procrastination and get your most important tasks completed quickly, you will move yourself onto the fast track in your life.

“What you do speaks so loud I cannot hear what you say.” Be a doer; and in the process you will do more to teach others and to bring fulfillment into your life than all the words in the dictionary could ever convey.


Show More
Back to top button