This is a guest post by Mike St. Pierre. He blogs at The Daily Saint .
Let’s face it- deep down we all like a good martial arts movie. Good
guys take on 10-12 bad guys who stand around in a circle and wait to
jump right into the mix. Punches are thrown, powerful kicks send the
attackers flying and we keep watching and watching. It’s no wonder
that David Allen’s martial arts references strike a cord with many
The great Bruce Lee
once said "Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be
assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way round or
through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will
disclose themselves." It’s no wonder that Lee became an icon of
the martial arts, inspiring millions to sign up for classes in Kung Fu
and Karate, just to name a few.
What Lee and David Allen had in
common was an uncanny ability to adapt to their surroundings. For Lee,
it was through the martial arts. For Allen, it’s a "work thing". To
the ability that I can respond (not react) to the interruptions in my
day without losing my focus, I achieve what Allen calls a "mind like
water". Here are some practical apps:
- Start the day with a list: when you know what needs to be done, it’s easier to avoid sidetracking events during the day.
- Start the day with focus: asking, ‘what absolutely needs to get done today?’ is a crucial question.
- Start the day with drive: let’s face it, we feel
better when we are productive so why not aim for the 5 o’clock feel
goods and get stuff done in a timely fashion?
- Start the day with a flexible attitude: things may not turn out exactly as we would like so that famous saying comes in handy, "God grant me the
serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference."
To be productive is to prepare, adapt, focus, respond, return and do
again. If we do this, we will gradually get "into the zone" and
achieve, with more frequency, a mind like water. As Bruce Lee said,
"The more complicated and restricted the method, the less the
opportunity for expression of one’s original sense of freedom."