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Simple steps to being more effective

CAVALIER AIR FORCE STATION, N.D. -- Our Air Force and the world seem to be in a constant state of commotion right now. Significant events are happening all around us at a rate that can cause even the strongest individuals to experience uncertainty. It's easy to get distracted from our primary objectives, so to that end I share with you seven steps that if followed, can help you be more effective and productive, with less anxiety.

The steps come from a remarkable author and former Army Air Corps pilot, Og Mandino, in his book, "The Spellbinder's Gift."

Step One: You are not a sheep. Never content yourself with just mindlessly going along with the flock. Control your own destiny. What others say and do should not shape who you are and can become. Separate yourself from the crowd.

Step Two: Live each day in a day-tight compartment. Live in today. The things that happened yesterday are in the past - there's nothing you can do about them. Tomorrow's challenges and issues will come soon enough. If you live in a day-tight compartment, you'll be more focused and effective.

Step Three: Go the extra mile at every opportunity. If you are willing to work longer, harder, and more intensely than anyone demands of you, you will succeed. Go the extra mile at every opportunity - you'll never regret it.

Step Four: Look for the seed of good in every adversity. Realize that for almost every adversity with which you may be faced, there is an equal or greater benefit. If our outlook is always one of defeat and pessimism, then we've lost before we even start. I firmly believe the adage that when one door closes, another opens - or maybe even a window through which we can squeeze. Look for the seed of good in every adversity.

Step Five: Never neglect the little things. I personally believe the adage that anything worth doing, it is worth doing well. No matter how small or trivial the task may seem. Who wants to be known as the person always submitting work that's good enough, or who always cuts corners, or doesn't care about the details? While we shouldn't sweat the small stuff, we should ensure we've at least reviewed it and made plans to counter it. Never neglect the little things.

Step Six: Never hide behind busy work. It takes just as much energy to fail as it does to succeed. We've all been given those projects that we simply have no interest in accomplishing for myriad reasons, but don't let it be an excuse. You could be missing out on meaningful challenges or opportunities that could change your life. Never hide behind busy work.

Step Seven: Don't let anyone rain on your parade. Life can be tough. Life isn't fair. But don't let that stop you from succeeding. The world is full of people who will always seek to pull you down to their level. In those moments, just smile and walk away. You don't have time to engage with these people. Shed the negative people and influences in your life and surround yourself with those who believe in you and your ability to succeed. Don't let anyone rain on your parade.

So let's review the steps: You are not a sheep. Live in today. Go the extra mile. Look for the good. Attention to detail. Tackle tough things. Carry an umbrella. ‎As you remember and practice these steps, you can be more effective and productive, with less anxiety.