Four “nothing” habits that can change everything

by | March 3, 2014

The story is told of a sparrow and a dove perched on a branch in the winter.

“Tell me the weight of a snowflake,” the sparrow asked the dove.

“Nothing more than nothing,” the dove answered.

“In that case I must tell you a marvelous story,” the sparrow said.

“I sat on a fir branch close to the trunk when it began to snow. Not heavily, not in a raging blizzard. No, just like in a dream, without any violence at all.

“Since I didn’t have anything better to do, I counted the snowflakes settling on the twigs and needles of my branch. Their number was exactly 3,471,952. When the next snowflake dropped onto the branch — nothing more than nothing, as you say — the branch broke off.”

Having said that, the sparrow flew away.

The dove, since Noah’s time an authority on peace, thought about the story for a while. Finally, she said to herself, “Perhaps there is only one person’s voice lacking for peace to come to the world.”

Like snowflakes accumulating on that branch, your life does not change, your greatness is not unleashed by monumental actions, but by small, daily habits.

Here are four specific habits whose value will accumulate in your life like “nothing more than nothing” until, after years of steady discipline, will break your limitations and emerge as greatness:

1. Read

Reading the best books immerses you in the thoughts of the best thinkers, saturates you with the courage of the greatest souls.

Whatever you put into your mind emerges as behavior. You can’t read C.S. Lewis without grasping for heaven. You can’t read Viktor Frankl and not exercise your power to choose more wisely. You can’t read Rabbi Daniel Lapin without changing how you think about and spend money.

Every great book read is a snowflake falling on the ceiling of your limitations. Read one per week for five years and watch that ceiling crack.

2. Meditate

You are not your body; you have a body. You are not your mind; you have a mind. You are the “I Am” that observes the thoughts in your mind.

Your mind is a fabulous servant but a horrible master. It tends toward negative thinking and is plagued by fear, doubt, and worry. It holds you captive to your emotions.

To access your greatness you must transcend the negative-thinking mind. Mindful meditation is the single most powerful tool for doing so.

Sit still in a quiet solitude and meditate for just ten minutes a day and watch the snowflakes fall…

3. Change your morning routine

Leadership expert John Maxwell said,

“You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.”

The most important thing you can change in this regard is your morning routine.

Make it a habit to get up an hour or even a half hour earlier than usual. Start your day with a prayer of thanksgiving. Meditate. Read. Exercise.

Do that every day for three years and you’ll feel branches of limitations snapping in your life.

4. Follow spiritual promptings

Call them whatever you’d like. Hunches. Intuitions. Sparks of inspiration. Whispers of conscience.

You feel them. Do you follow them?

You once had the thought to write a book. Have you written it yet? Something told you to stop when you saw that car on the side of the road with its flashers on. Did you stop?

The more quickly, courageously, and zealously you follow those promptings, the more of them you receive. The more you receive and follow, the faster your acceleration to greatness. Conversely, the less you follow these, the less you receive, the more you stay stuck.

Like the weight of one snowflake, the impact of any action taken one time is “nothing more than nothing.” But the impact of wise, daily actions cultivated into habits and lived for years is enough to break your limitations and change everything.

(For more tools to break through your limitations and get closer to your purpose, click here to download my free toolkit now.)

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