Monday, January 30, 2017

COMMIT: 20 Ways to Win

Happy New Year! Perhaps you’ve made a resolution…or two…or three…to make 2017 a year of change for you. Fine. Good first step.

Even more important: get committed, really committed, the message of a recent, highly acclaimed book by Linda Formichelli,

One Woman’s Story

Linda Formichelli two decades ago wanted to become a professional writer and break free of working in the corporate cubicle. Baby steps might have sufficed, but she found that she and her family had to commit to this goal big-time. She changed careers, moved from New Hampshire to North Carolina, economized on time and money, wrote articles, editor queries, and cover letters non-stop, homeschooled their son…all to fulfilled her personal commitment to become a prosperous freelance writer. It worked.

Giant Steps, Not Baby Steps

Though we are advised to eat the elephant one bite at time and take that journey of a thousand miles one step at a time and heat that frog slowly, Ms. Formichelli disagrees: sometimes, baby steps will NOT get you where you want to go. Giant dreams require giant steps.

Committing works four ways: explosively quick results; boosted motivation: success feeding upon success; victories that energize you.

20 Ways to Win

Here are this author’s 20 tactics (her words, my explanations):

“Embrace discomfort.” If it’s comfortable, you aren’t stretching enough.

“Clear the decks.” Abandon lesser projects and concerns.

“Make it non--optional.” If it is really worth doing, then you MUST do it.

“Connect your goal to a larger purpose.” Why are you doing this, really?

“Go big or go home.” Half-measures won’t win.

“Check in with yourself.” Is this what you really want?

“Put some skin in the game.” The more you risk, the greater your motivation to succeed.

“Read 10 or more books on the subject.” You’ll nearly be an expert.

“Overwhelm your goals with sheer numbers.” Barely enough is likely to be insufficient. Recall “shock and awe” attack. Nothing succeeds like excess?

“Make a list of 100 ideas.” Don’t settle for listing 10. Some of the next 90 are likely to be gems.

“Do a 30-day challenge.” We can endure almost anything for a month.

“Fill every spare moment.” Be like those ladies who knit while doing something else, almost anything else.

“Deliberately move faster.” You can accelerate if you decide to.

“Surf your way to success.” The Web can be your friend.

“Measure everything.” Management gurus advise: if it isn’t measured, it doesn’t get done.

“Hire help.” Not all tasks are suitable as do-it-yourself projects.

 “Divide and conquer.” Utilize specialization and division of labor.

“Crowdsourcing.” The ultimate in getting outside involvement.

“Gear up.” You can’t do something with nothing. Buy the essentials, at least. Investment enhances motivation.

“Make space.” You’ll need elbow room or even a whole room. Find space at home or perhaps rent it.

“Let the competition spur you on.” If Mr. X. or Ms. Y. can do it, so can you, right?


Ms. Fornichelli gives the encouraging example of her family’s migration south and her successful freelance writing career, requiring the family’s whole-hearted commitment. She gives the counter-example of their unsuccessful effort to keep their cats from destroying their furniture, an effort marked by half-measures and failure. (Cats rule!)

In my own case, I rescued my college sweetheart from a difficult situation, changed location, jobs, and career, downshifted my living arrangements and my other expenses, and was blessed with the marriage that I had always hoped for.

The Bottom Line for Top Performance

“Faint heart never won fair lady” the adage goes. Whether in love or war or career, one must commit fully to achieve great outcomes.

What have you done wholeheartedly and succeeded at? What do you want to commit to for 2017?                                                                                        
Please join the conversation.
Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph.D., is a former Harvard science professor. He still publishes, and he helps others write and publish their books via his business website, His life's central theme has been his half-century romance with his wife, Tina Su Cooper, now quadriplegic for over a decade due to multiple sclerosis, receiving 24/7 nursing care at home, as discussed at their website here.


Published in somewhat different form at

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