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Rule #15. There are no Zero Days.
In Rule #13 I mentioned how the person you should be most competitive with is the person you were yesterday. That you should be striving, every day, to improve yourself. To do that, you have to do something every day to better yourself. Every. Single. Day.
Any day that you don’t make some forward movement is a Zero Day. Any day that you make no progress is a Zero Day. Any day that you don’t better yourself in some small way is a Zero Day.
Zero Days are bad. Zero days are missed chances and wasted opportunities.
There are perfectly reasonable times and reasons to sit and do nothing, or be unproductive. We all need recovery days. We need rest days. And by god, we deserve to enjoy the fruits of our labor. But that’s the thing; rest, recovery, and even celebration are all things that we need in our lives. Without them we become prone to exhaustion, injury, fatigue, and malaise. Time spent resting, recovering, and celebrating are not necessarily Zero Days if the time is well-earned.
But Zero Days love to pretend to be rest, recovery, and celebration. Some of us aren’t easily fooled, but if you’re like me you may have to keep a vigilant eye out for sneaky Zero Days. Ask yourself, “Do I really need a recovery day, or am I being lazy?” “Am I really tired or am I procrastinating?” If you find that you’ve earned it, by all means, rest up and hit it again tomorrow. If you haven’t, that’s a Zero Day trying to sneak up on you.
What’s so bad about a Zero Day? Well aside from the fact that Zero Days oppose Rule #3. (Start now, not later), one Zero Day tends to beget others. A Zero Day will try to turn into a Zero Week, A Zero Month, a Zero Year, and ultimately, a Zero Lifetime.
Don’t let that happen. Say no to the Zero Day. It’s actually incredibly simple; do something today that will make you better than you were yesterday. It doesn’t have to be a huge task; read a book, go for a run, take a class, work on a project, lift weights, put money in savings, go to yoga, just do something. Then tomorrow, do something that will make you better than who you are today.
And keep repeating that. Even little things will add up over time, and as you gain momentum you’ll add more and more effort without even realizing it.
Just remember, it all starts by committing to improving a little every day. So say no to Zero Days. Don’t let them get their hooks in you, because they want you to be a zero too! So keep getting better, stay committed, and remember that for an adventurer there are no Zero Days.
“Rules for Intrepid Living” is an ongoing weekly article that gives potential guidelines for how we can all live a bit more of an intrepid life.