The third in my blog series on Passion, Art and Science hopefully provides you with a slightly different perspective on the Science of Living. There is so much obvious science around us there is no debating how important it is. However, as with skill development, technical application or process, our everyday living, if intentional, is very much a scientific process. That means we can change directions; change how we do things and change ourselves. And some of what we talk about, as with everything in life, though a science is also mixed with art and passion. They are inseparable.

There is science in areas you may not think of such as: Compassion, Communication, Courage, Initiative, Passion, Vision and Servanthood, all necessary leadership qualities. The science in each is the process of intentionally working toward each becoming a natural part of who you are and not just what you do.  Communication is an obvious quality that requires science and without the work to improve will be poor and less effective. If a leader of any sort and any place – home, office, school, team and more, communication is considered the number one success factor. And, it doesn’t come naturally in a highly effective package.  It takes work and development, whether written, verbal or through signing. Speaking and writing are one thing but listening to hear is yet another. Have you ever listened to a message without really hearing (understanding) it? Don’t feel alone. You can practice being a better listener using specific techniques such as looking the communicator in the eye and focusing on their words and expressions and nothing else, especially not what you want to say in response. That can come later.

Taking initiative may seem to be born more out of passion than science but if you think about it, taking initiative without conciseness could turn into an aimless walk about. Sometimes that is referred to as confusing effort with results.  Without the proper procedures in place, initiative could be a waste of time and energy. Therefore, positive initiative requires planning and execution to achieve the intended impact. Of course, some art may be required but don’t underestimate the need for a step by step process.

Compassion, Courage, Passion, Vision and Servanthood all require intent to be properly directed. After practicing each of these and in some cases using learned methods to reinforce the behavior each of these areas can grow into a more natural flow. Yet, I caution you, never stop working on each of these or you could lose bits and pieces of goodness and slip back to a more selfish, careless state, which is human nature.

Take passion as an example. If you don’t continuously think of living passionately as ‘Taking this life and loving it’, you could easily become discouraged by circumstances or how others treat you.  We don’t live in a perfect world, nor will we. Attitude is one of the few things we possess that we can control. Staying positive about your life regardless of your circumstances requires intentional thoughts, lest you can become cynical and negative.

Courage requires understanding that fear is a liar and that fear is only that. Fear can be healthy in some situations in a respectful way, such as respectful fear of jumping off a cliff. But being afraid of looking foolish or making mistakes or asking questions is unnecessary, yet we often allow it to encumber us. Having courage requires intention. We all get afraid so to overcome that we must step into the fear with disregard for its potential power over us.  When we do that, we realize that what fear was telling us is most often a lie and that creates a ‘momentum’ of courage. Practicing that over and over will build more and more courage.

Two areas that I stress during sales and leadership training are time management and life management.  Both require science. Without process, the art and passion of life and time management become disjointed and often without purpose. If you are a ‘workaholic’ you desperately need both. Downtime is important to get refreshed and recharged. And if you don’t manage your time it will manage you.  Have you ever felt overwhelmed by work and/or life? I have. The reason that happened to me was partly because I was just moving through life without balance work with leisure and rest and because my ‘To Do’ list kept growing and growing. I don’t have a To Do list anymore. What a relief! Yet I plan more and more effectively than I ever did.

Life balance is critical. It requires setting boundaries so that you can say ‘no’. No is not a four-letter word.  It may be difficult for some to accept but you will be the better for it in time. Trust that statement! Setting boundaries are important for many reasons but ultimately to provide you with better emotional and mental health and more time to have a good life balance. Maintaining good health is part of a balanced life approach. I have had stretches in life where work and family responsibilities dominated me.  That is an unhealthy combination. Find time for rest by letting go of old compelling habits that suck your time and life from you. There are many other ways that can help you with this undertaking, but you first must learn how to say no – to others and to yourself. Renewing your body and mind are very important.

Think of your life this way: you are in some current state but want to get to another place. The difference between the two is your gap. We all have one. Then, take steps to close the gap.  They need to be specific and measurable, attainable and profitable. That will help you make recognizable progress.

I will conclude by providing food for thought with six habits of successful people:

Work with enthusiasm and be thankful for the work
Find a role model or mentor you can learn from
Continuously sharpen your skills to help you fill your gap
Keep your word when making “thoughtful” commitments
Maintain a positive attitude because it is what you can control
Always do more than what is expected of you

All of these will take a plan, processes, procedures and intentional work. And all of them will help you be more successful at the Science of Living.