While many are unhappy with the position or circumstances in which the find themselves, one thing separates those who will rise above from those who will continue in mediocrity. While they may not like where they find themselves today, the successful are obsessed with where they are going tomorrow. Dwelling on your current circumstances will do nothing but drain valuable energy. Looking towards the future generates excitement and vigor. If you have a clear destination, set your eyes there. Obsess over that picture in your mind’s eye. Imagine yourself having already arrived. From this mindset, it is virtually impossible to get bogged down by your current context.
Another week has come and gone and you’re stuck still doing the same stuff you’ve always done. You dream of doing something different “someday”. You dream about moving up the corporate ladder, starting your own business, or moving to some exotic locale. Yet here you are, in the same place you were yesterday with no true hope of change on the horizon. It’s as if you are waiting for some magic carpet to come sweep you away and take you to the land of your dreams.
It’s amazing how much can be accomplished through a simple change of attitude. You can find hope for a dying relationship, resolve for a failing project, or new found excitement for a dead end job. It is within the power of each of us to rewrite our entire story with nothing more than a change in our attitude. What we experience depends largely on perspective and outlook. How we view our circumstances is infinitely more important than the circumstances themselves. I’ve read many times that simply standing up straight or walking a little faster will improve your mood. You know what? It actually works. All you did was change your posture or your gait, yet suddenly your entire mood has changed. It’s all about your attitude.
What is it that you want most in life? Who do you want to become? What do you want to acquire? Whom do you wish to help? So many people are afraid to answer these questions because they feel like they’ll never be able to achieve the things they most desire. The good news is that scores of people have proven otherwise. Circumstance and privilege can certainly play a part, but ultimately your own determination, discipline, and perseverance are the deciding factors as to whether or not you will achieve your dreams. At the end of the day, your success is up to you.
To reach your goals, you will need intense focus and dogged perseverance. That’s why it is paramount that you minimize the distractions in your life. I’m not suggesting that you disregard everything in your world except for your dreams. Maintaining balance is an essential ingredient to accomplishing your goals. What I’m referring to are those meaningless distractions that afflict you along your journey, those shiny objects that tempt you to take your eye off the prize. Email, social media, television, smart phones, games, and the internet constantly beckon us with their glowing screens. Unless we master these distractions, we are doomed to failure.
I have a friend who has more good ideas than anyone I have ever known. He’s a virtual idea machine. Every time we get together, he’s got several new ideas since the last time we met, many of which could lead to solid, viable businesses. He’s also very technically talented and has the acumen to bring his ideas to market. The problem is that because he has so many ideas, he ends up acting on none of them. Over the years he has pursued a few, only to abandon them when a bigger, better, more exciting idea pops into his head. Perhaps you know someone like my friend, or maybe you even are someone like my friend!
Jim Rohn once said, “For things to change, you have to change. For things to get better, you have to get better”. What are you doing to get better? What are you changing in your life? The well known definition of insanity put forth by twelve step programs is “Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” You can complain about the weather, your job, your health, and your life, but until you decide to change what you are doing, you will always get what you’re currently getting. This isn’t rocket science, but very few people are willing to do the hard work of change in order to make their lives better.
In the United States, the average American works five days and then takes two off. This gives you a tremendous opportunity to accomplish more and move ahead, simply by working one additional day. If you work six days as opposed to the typical American working five days, you will put in fifty more days of work each year than your competitors (assuming two weeks of vacation). Stretched over a decade, you will actually put in roughly an extra year and a half worth of work than the average person. What sort of advantage do you imagine that would give you in your business or life?
You don’t have to be a religious person to appreciate the beauty and wisdom of the Jewish Sabbath. Observant Jews do not work from sundown on Friday until sundown on Saturday, reserving the seventh day of the week for rest. It is the rhythm for which we were all created, so there is great value to be found in this practice. Our society is constantly moving at break-neck speed, and it is almost impossible to avoid getting caught in its wake. Unless we have an intentional discipline of rest, we will find ourselves both stressed and burned out.
Goal setters have a tendency to rigidly schedule their lives to the point of not having the flexibility to deal with the unexpected curves life will inevitably throw. I know I have been guilty of this many times. It is important to plan your time wisely so you can make certain you are accomplishing the important tasks in your life. It is just as important, however, to schedule in some time to breathe, to allow you to react to whatever life has hurled into your path. We need space to be able to reflect on what we are learning and discovering. A day booked solid for sixteen hours is a day that will more often than not just blow up in your face.