What Am I?

The following riddle is by an author unknown. See if you can solve it before the answer is revealed at the end. This work is a piece of genius.

I am your constant companion,
I am your greatest helper or heaviest burden.
I will push you onward or drag you down to failure.
I am completely at your command.
Half the things you do might just as well turn over to me
and I will be able to do them quickly and correctly.

I am easily managed –
you must merely be firm with me.
Show me exactly how you want something done
and after a few lessons, I will do it automatically.
I am the servant of all great people;
and alas, of all failures as well.
Those who are great,
I have made great.
Those who are failures,
I have made failures.

I am not a machine,
though I work with all the precision of a machine
plus the intelligence of a human.
You may run me for a profit or run me for ruin –
it makes no difference to me.

Take me,
train me,
be firm with me,
And I will place the world at your feet.
Be easy with me,
and I will destroy you.



Gretchen Rubin

After much prodding from my wife Nora I completed Gretchen Rubin’s book Better Than Before. I thought it was good, and I walked away with a healthy respect for Gretchen’s passion for constructive habits. Of course, I agree 100% that the habit is one of the most powerful tools we have to optimize all areas of our life. If we are going to be successful in our quest to be “self-optimized” we are going to need to master habit formation.


In her book Better Than Before Gretchen Ruben explains that habit formation does not require repetition, constant will power, or self control. She says that it requires a choice. Make the choice once and then stick with it. Then you can stop deciding/wrestling each time the Reminder / Stimulus / Temptation comes along. You have already made the choice. Easy. No will power required. Habit formed.

Where I Am in This?

I’d say in terms of habit formation I am a solid C+. I have been a solid B+ in the past but I lost a lot of my routines when I was knocked off my horse by some tough life stuff. It has been a lot harder than I ever thought getting back in the saddle again, though thanks to Jamie, I am at least getting to the gym again.

For a while I was using a app (iOS) called Balanced that is designed to build habits. It is an excellent app and it really helped me back in my B+ days. Balanced is nothing more than a checklist that resets. So you can set habitual tasks to do every day, every 3 days, every week, etc. You make the decision, keep it up, check it off, and presto – habit formed.

This worked well for me in the past and I want to restore that discipline.

The habits I want to form are:

– Pray 10 minutes each morning
– Meditate 10 minutes each morning
– Clean 10 minutes each morning
– Read (or listen to audio version) of Scripture 10 minutes every morning
– Hit the Gym 3 days a week
– Drink at least 3 large glasses of water daily
– Journal Daily
– Make it through each day without consuming sweets
– Bed by 10 PM

That last one is so important. I find that if I do not get enough sleep I am setting myself up for failure. Gretchen Rubin reinforces this her book Better than Before. She emphasizes the importance of setting a bed time and sticking to it. Since Jamie and I are hitting the gym at 5:30 AM I need that beauty sleep!

I am going to go back to using the Balanced app and I am going to build these habits. I’ll let you know how it goes!

Steps Forward:

  • Goal Oriented: + (establishing goals)
  • Effectiveness: + (positive habit formation)

See what positive habits you can establish today!

– Rich

22 thoughts on “What Am I?

  1. Howdy this is kinda of off topic but I was wanting to know if
    blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML.
    I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding knowledge so I
    wanted to get advice from someone with experience.
    Any help would be enormously appreciated!

    1. Hi Elouise,

      I encourage you in your efforts to start a blog. I think you will find it very rewarding. I use WordPress which requires no knowledge of HTML. The package provides templates and everything you need to get started. You can start your blog on WordPress.com for free or you can host it with a hosting company (I use GoDaddy because their support is excellent.) I wish you much luck.

      All the best, Rich

  2. I’m really inspired with your writing talents and
    also with the layout in your blog. Is this a paid subject matter or did you customize it your self?

    Anyway keep up the nice high quality writing, it’s rare to look a great weblog like this one today..

  3. Hello, I think your site might be having browser compatibility
    issues. When I look at your website in Safari, it
    looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping.
    I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, awesome blog!

  4. I absolutely love your site.. Pleasant colors & theme.
    Did you create this website yourself? Please reply back as
    I’m trying to create my very own blog and would love to learn where you
    got this from or what the theme is named. Thanks!

  5. Hello, i just planned to drop that you a line to say that we totally enjoyed this certain post from yours,
    I have subscribed to your Feed and have completely skimmed many of your articles or blog
    posts before and enjoyed every little bit of them.

  6. Thanks for the sensible critique. Me and my neighbor were just preparing to do some research on this. We got a grab a book from our area library but I think I learned more from this post. I’m very glad to see such great info being shared freely out there.

  7. Have you ever considered writing an e-book or guest authoring
    on other sites? I have a blog based on the same topics you discuss and would love to have you share some stories/information. I know my
    visitors would value your work. If you are even remotely interested, feel free
    to shoot me an e-mail.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *