I remember this Garfield poster hanging on my fifth-grade classroom wall. Garfield had books roped around his head and he was attempting to learn by osmosis—a concept for which I ached to be true. It was a joke of course because, you can’t learn by osmosis. Or can you?
First of all, do you remember the fifth-grade science concept of osmosis?
Technically: a process by which molecules of a solvent tend to pass through a semi-permeable membrane from a less concentrated solution into a more concentrated one, thus equalizing the concentrations on each side of the membrane.
Or, less technically: what is denser will fill what is less dense until both parts are of equal density.
Consider your goal (basically a goal is something you are learning to do, how to earn or how to become, right?). Now consider what forces are in a sense pulling you away from, or pulling you toward, your goal.
Are there people in your life that are naysayers, doubters, and Debbie-downers pulling you away from the achievement of your goal? Or are you surrounded by people who are cheerleaders, accountability partners, and challengers lifting you toward it?
Are you using the time in your car to listen to music and commercials which distract you from your plan? Or are you listening to motivational, educational and inspirational CDs and books?
Are you socializing too frequently without purpose? Or are you mentoring someone or being mentored?
Do you read books and magazines that are helping you reach your goal? Or do you solely read your Facebook newsfeed for hours on end and get sucked into the black hole of social media negativity?
Is your TV blaring from the moment you get home from work until the moment you go to bed? Or do you have partake in something like a Power Hour where you are actively and purposefully building momentum toward the achievement of your goal?
Hear me clearly that none of these things alone is bad: music, socializing with friends, fiction-reading, social media, etc.
Where we tend to run into problems, however, is when we let these time- and energy-sucking activities control us rather than controlling them. We can easily get sidetracked from our goals when we allow these things to creep into our lives like the proverbial frog slowly boiling to death as the pot of water heats up.We don’t even notice being distracted and ruined by them, it just happens a little more at a time.
In my five steps to goal achieving, step number four is to live intentionally (you can listen to the audio here). In doing this, we can use some of our vices as rewards, or we can insert these activities into our day in a controlled fashion. It’s not necessarily how you choose to do this, just that you do.
I like to tell people that the degree to which you lives intentionally is the degree to which you will achieve success.
If a person chooses to partake in time-wasting activities that slowly begin to control his precious time he risks losing his drive and determination. In choosing to be surrounded by success-draining individuals he forgoes the very creativity that inspired the goal in the first place and the energy to persistently attack it. In effect, he will have failed by osmosis.
However, if a person makes a concerted effort to be surrounded by other successful people, immerse himself in his goal, and live intentionally, he will effectively influence his success—through osmosis.
Garfield may have been missed the mark, albeit humorously, trying to tie books to his head. But he wasn’t so far off by suggesting that what we let surround us does indeed impact us—whether or not we notice it.
On that note, ask yourself if who and what you surround yourself with is helping to create the more successful you or is it stealing your goals from you bit by bit? Ask what else you could add to your day or week to increase success by osmosis?
[Author’s note: this is in no way to say that just by being surrounded by successful people and reading goal-related books one will become successful. Action is absolutely required. However, by doing the aforementioned activities, action becomes easier and more likely; creativity and motivation more freely flow.]