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School's Out. Stop Cramming!

School’s out. Stop cramming!

The Daffodil Principle is one of the most important lessons to use, not just learn. My wife’s first graders could learn it, but that doesn't mean they'd use it. (Although some would – maybe more than many of my seniors, the master crammers.)

The Daffodil Principle teaches that what’s most important CAN’T be crammed. Losing weight, for instance. You can try cramming it – sit in the sauna for four hours and you’ll lose plenty of weight – but it won’t work. Not only is I not safe, it won’t last. It’s not real weight loss. The way to successfully lose weight is to use the Daffodil Principle: Shed a pound or two a week until you reach your goal.

What else can’t be crammed?

  • Sleep – Sleep experts agree that you can’t sleep four hours a night Sunday through Thursday, then make up for it by crashing 14 hours on Friday and Saturday night. You can’t store reserves of sleep.

  • Fitness – If you’re in lousy shape, you’re not going to get fit over the weekend. To complete a triathlon, add 50 pounds to your bench press or six inches to your vertical leap, it’s going to take many months of regular training.

  • Rehabilitation – Baby steps over time is the only way.

  • Learning to play an instrument, speak a language, or master a sports skill – Really learning anything takes time. Not weeks. Not months. Years. Decades.

  • A valuable collection – whether it’s furniture, art, coins, shoes, baseball cards, Beanie Babies or friends, it takes time to accumulate a compilation of precious items.

  • Really teaching anything – We teachers want our lessons to sink in immediately. Usually, they won’t.

  • Saving/Investing money – The surest road to wealth is dollar cost averaging. Invest money consistently, month after month, year after year and watch compound interest work its magic.

  • Building relationships – Whether romantic or platonic, meaningful relationships are forged during shared experiences – both good and bad – over time.

  • Planning and completing a project – Rushing won’t work. Details will be forgotten.

  • Building a house – Read The Three Little Pigs.

  • Earning trust – It won’t happen suddenly.

  • Change – Lasting change is usually gradual. In the short term, it’s barely perceptible. But, when you scan back over time, it’s obvious.

  • Earning respect – Sometimes it happens abruptly. But not usually.

  • Starting a business or non profit organization – Ask those who’ve successfully done it if it was an overnight success.

  • Parenting – You can’t ignore your kids for months, take them on a fun weekend outing, then ignore them for another month. Well, you can, but don’t call it parenting.

  • Achieving a goal – Reaching worthwhile ones are like earning a blackbelt. You advance one color at a time.

  • Writing a book – Write a half a page a day and in two years you have 365 pages.

  • Living a life – Wasting 75 years living mediocrely, then trying to tack on a few years of spectacular living near the end won’t work, will it?

It doesn’t do a bit of good to learn the Daffodil Principle unless you put it to use.

Are you?

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