How to Succeed at the Mundane (2 Thoughts)

Here is something I have been mulling over recently:

Successful people spend extended time in the mundane.

This idea came to me after a truly inspirational segment of a commencement speech given by Denzel Washington.  It was my biggest takeaway.

I believe Denzel could single handedly drive the coffee mug business with all the quotes he provides.  Check out this short video below.

(Video Posted by Goalcast via Youtube)

“Just because you’re doing a lot, it doesn’t mean you are getting a lot done.”

I thought this was a profound way for Denzel to address our lack of productivity.  I can go on Facebook and Instagram; or whatever app, game, time-waster thing, and feel that I am getting a lot done.  I can be on my phone, while also watching Netflix, and trick myself into thinking that I am accomplishing things that are meaningful to me.  I can be lulled into this way of thinking.

Connected to this idea, Denzel speaks about confusing movement with progress.  We are not necessarily being productive, or moving forward, just because our hands are busy or are minds are occupied.  We need to take intentional and tangible steps to meet our goals.

Social media often tricks us into thinking we are accomplishing much.  It is also a flood of “highs”.  We see our friends at a concert, or with their significant other, or hiking to a waterfall.  We are dismayed that our life is not full of all these “high” moments, as social media would lead us to believe.  Because of this, we are constantly seeking out these “highs” in our own life.

Successful people spend the most time in the mundane


Now, I don’t want you to think that we shouldn’t seek out adventure, or exhilarating experiences.  I’m only seeking to comment on the way we view the world when we view it through the photos, comments, and ideas put forth on social media.

And it’s not just social media.  We see actors and actresses walking down red carpets, authors signing book deals for millions of dollars, and athletes hitting the game winning shot.

We DON’T see the thousands of hours they spent in the MUNDANE to get there.  Sure, we all know these people work hard at what they do, but do we really think about it when we are constantly being fed the “high”moments of life through television and our phones.

Now, defining success is hard, but I will just leave it as the simple statement of: meeting your goals to achieve your dreams.

Don’t be fooled.  If you want to meet the challenging goals you have for yourself, you are going to have to live in the mundane.  You’re going to have to hunker down and plant your roots in the thick soil that is the mundane.  You’re going to have to shut out the world and live in that boring repetitive world.  That’s just what it takes.  It’s hard.  You’ll fail some days and others you’ll succeed.

Learning a language is hard and time consuming.  Writing a book is hard and time consuming.  Working on your marriage is hard and time consuming.

But as Denzel would say, “Hard work works. Working really hard is what successful people do.”

Don’t be fooled by the highs.  Successful people are in a sense the least glamorous, the least noteworthy, the least presentable.  They love what they do enough to root themselves in the mundane.  Dig your roots in the mundane, and don’t let yourself view the world through the oft tempting, but nonetheless harmful, rose colored lenses.


Let me hear from you!

Do you agree?  Do the distractions of social media, phone, andtv distract us from the mundane? How can we better plant ourselves there to meet our goals, whether they are career, personal, or relational goals?





One Reply to “How to Succeed at the Mundane (2 Thoughts)”

  1. Great perspective Ben (and Denzel ! ). I agree with comment that “hard work works” but would also like to comment that for me it is important to get in touch with and know my unique personality and giftedness and then work at GOALS and VALUES that compliment these. It is when I am being true to what is important in my deepest core (or heart) that I can look at the mundane tasks with a different perspective. G

    Liked by 1 person

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