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Posted on May 12, 2017

The Secret to Experiencing the Joy of Accomplishment

The Secret to Experiencing the Joy of Accomplishment

Experiencing the joy of accomplishment requires seeing something finished. This can relate to a personal goal, a professional goal, or seeing someone else accomplish a goal.

The desire to experience this sensation – and see others experience it – explains why

  • parents push their children to finish school (high school and college).
  • runners push themselves to finish a race.
  • publishers push their authors to finish writing a book.
  • employees stay late at work to finish an assignment.

On the surface, this almost seems too easy. When you start something, you simply need to finish it.

But for most people, starting something is not the problem. It’s the challenges that arise in the middle of doing something that can derail us, discourage us, degrade us, and often cause us not to finish.

To finish a task or project, there are many suggestions offered:

  • Make your plan and work your plan
  • Keep your eye on the goal
  • Create a to-do list the day before
  • Never give up
  • Stay focused
  • Remove distractions
  • Tackle your toughest tasks first
  • Take small steps
  • Budget your time and energy
  • Track your progress
  • Don’t strive for perfection
  • Celebrate milestones

All of these are sound advice. But there is one concept that can make the biggest difference:

Less talking. More doing.

This gets to the heart of a powerful quote from Benjamin Franklin, someone who accomplished more than most in life, which I referenced in a Values Quote a few years ago.

May this simple concept empower you to finish things and ultimately experience the joy of accomplishment!

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Today’s quote is from Benjamin Franklin, one of the most influential Founding Fathers of the United States. He was also an author, printer, scientist, inventor, political theorist, and much more.

A thoughtful quote from Franklin was:
“Well done is better than well said.”

As a man who accomplished much in his lifetime, he understood the value of accomplishment.

As a differentiating value, Accomplishment means successfully completed or brought to an end; or highly skilled.

Many of us like to start things. The question is: do we finish them?

Benjamin Franklin was a man who started many, many different things. Yes, he was clearly skilled and even gifted in different areas. But the reason his legacy lives on to today is because he completed what he started. He didn’t just talk about an idea. He followed through on it.

Just consider some of Franklin’s accomplishments:

  • Writing and publishing Poor Richard’s Almanack every year for 25 years (1733-1758).
  • Mapping the Gulf Stream in the Atlantic that enabled ships traveling between Great Britain and the United States to shave 2 weeks off their sailing time.
  • His invention of lightening rods that protects buildings from being struck with lightening.
  • Securing a critical military alliance with France in 1778, and negotiating the Treaty of Paris in 1783. He was the only one who could have accomplished that!
  • And not the least, near the end of his life, setting up 2 trusts for the cities of Philadelphia and Boston, designed to gather interest for 200 years. His original investments of $4,400 each turned into millions. That’s called extending your accomplishments well into the future.

So… if you want your life to make a difference, like Benjamin Franklin’s, don’t just talk about it. Embrace the value of accomplishment and let it be said “Well done.”

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“We are judged by what we finish, not by what we start.” – Anonymous

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