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Wisconsin Association Of School Councils

Educating, Engaging, and Empowering Young Leaders in Wisconsin


Leadership Standard: Productivity

January 15, 2023 12:00 PM | Anonymous

The Key to Reaching Your Goals: Eliminate “Nothing”

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. 

–Chinese proverb

The quote above is not news. It isn’t a new discovery, it’s not a reinterpretation of a hidden text, and it’s not even remotely novel or complex. Yet despite all of the things it is not, there is one thing we can definitively say that quote is: 

The truth. 

The WASC Leadership Standard for January was Productivity, establishing a benchmark that states students will demonstrate organizational skills, time management skills, and sets and evaluates personal goals. It’s a fitting topic as we enter the new year, as many people set new goals and resolutions for themselves. Yet studies have shown that over 67% of people give up on their "new year's resolution" by January 31st. Only 9% of people maintain their work all year long toward their annual promise to themselves. This is often due to the goal being too drastic a change, the goal was only done for the sake of creating a goal, or it was simply too hard. 

So how do you fix it?

Learn nothing 

Determine nothing 

Solve nothing 

Define what “nothing” means…then eliminate it.

The key to you getting back on track is understanding what "zero" means...and then eliminating it. Over 2,000 years ago the Mayans not only knew what zero meant, but truly understood what it was and how powerful it could be. Zero to them meant literally nothing; a void, a negative space, lacking all. For whatever reason, your commitment or the sheer size of your goal has become too much, and you've substituted action for 'zero'. A void, a negative space, lacking all. 

My advice is this: eliminate 'zero days'.

You don't have to achieve your entire goal in one day, but make SOME progress toward it, no matter how small. If your goal is to bench press your weight, start by doing 5 pushups. BOOM - not a zero day. Want to become a better leader? Read 3 pages of your favorite leadership author. Not a zero day. Even if that is all you do that day, it's 5 pushups or 3 pages closer to your goal than not doing anything at all. I think you'll find that taking small steps can lead to bigger steps and better habits. 

By eliminating 'zero days', you'll make constant progress toward something.

And that ain't nothing. 


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