You are the most important project you will ever work on. Your achievement of success (ie., success as defined by YOU!), happiness, and fulfillment will mean more to you than anything else in life.
As they say in success seminars, YOU ARE YOUR MOST IMPORTANT INVESTMENT. They're trying to get your money, but that doesn't make the idea any less true.
|If someone gave you a million dollars today, would you know what to do with it? Would you know how to invest it? Would you know how to use it to increase your security and happiness?|
The results in your life all come back to YOU. If YOU aren't mentally and emotionally prepared to face challenges -- and let's face it, even winning a million dollars is a challenge -- then things are not going to turn out well for you. Lots of people have won money, only to lose it, squander it, or become miserable as a result of it. They weren't prepared for the challenge it presented.
How do you GET mentally and emotionally prepared for the good life?
You have to HELP YOURSELF. You can do this by learning the tricks of successful and happy people. You can also do this by experimenting with your own life. What makes you happy? What seems to "work" for you?
The critical thing here is to be honest with yourself. Remember what Mark Twain said, "Denial ain't just a river in Egypt." Honesty with yourself--self knowledge--has many advantages. You will be more comfortable with yourself. Your plans will work better because they will be based on reality. Your decisions will be clearer and better suited to make you happy. This honesty and self-examination is so important, in fact, that Socrates said that the unexamined life isn't even worth living.
[A little self-serving plug here: Take a philosophy course from a good teacher... Or, at least read a good introduction to philosophy. It should cover all the big questions, especially what constitutes a good life. In addition, look into the idea of critical thinking. It could revolutionize your view of the world!]
Don't let negative thinking become a habit. And remember, that's all it is -- a habit. You can change it. Zig Ziglar calls it "stinkin' thinkin'." Get rid of it! When you are thinking negatively you are setting yourself up for failure. In reality, you are PLANNING to fail because that is what you are focusing on. Is that what you want? Why are you putting up with it?
[Do you know how to train fleas? You place them in a jar and put the lid on the jar. They will jump up and hit the lid, jump up and hit the lid, jump up and hit the lid, over and over again... But sooner or later you can come back and take that lid off and not lose a single flea. They will only jump up to just below where the lid was. Your so-called friends and family can do the same thing to you. They can act as a lid, keeping you in the jar. Don't let them do this to you!]
"Choose to be with people who accept you as you are and who make you feel good about yourself when you're with them" (Whitaker 11). Spend you time with friends who ENCOURAGE your dreams and plans, not those who slap down your ideas to make themselves look better. These aren't friends.
Research studies have shown that "it takes 21 days for a behavior to become a habit. Start today, and three weeks from now, you'll have a new" life!! (Whitaker 10).
The same principle applies to your life. The first "to do" item on your list every day should be to improve YOURSELF. Exercise more, keep a thought journal, read a good book on an area you need to improve, take a class at night. DO SOMETHING for yourself.
|"Whatever you do, do it with all your might. Work at it, early and late, in season and out of season, not leaving a stone unturned, and never deferring for a single hour that which can be done just as well now" (P.T. Barnum, 1890).|
Here's another quote to further pound the point:
"..chance favours the mind that is prepared" (Pasteur).
|"We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all we need to make us really happy is something to be enthusiastic about" (Charles Kingsly).|
Henry Ford (1863-1947) said that "Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal." Even more important is that if you don't have goals, ALL you will see is obstacles. This does not make life more enjoyable.
Alan Kaye said, "The best way to predict the future is to invent it." This is exactly what you do with goals. Things don't "happen to you," instead you "make things happen." It's very exciting. Try it!
|"Art begins with craft, and there is not art until craft has been mastered" (Anthony Burgess).|
Winners do what losers aren't willing to do. It's as simple as that.
If you want something, and want it badly enough, you are going to have to do whatever it takes to achieve your goal. Just doing what you prefer doing won't cut it.
|"I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have." (Thomas Jefferson, 1743-1826)|
This is the real secret to success: hard work. And this is also the real secret to setting appropriate goals for yourself. You have to decide if doing whatever it takes--the cost--is worth the result.
A desire without the willingness to do whatever it takes is just a dream. The first step to finding out which it is for you is to develop a plan. That plan, if properly developed and researched, will tell you what it will take in terms of time, work, money, etc., to achieve that particular goal.
"Whenever I feel the need for exercise I go and lie down for half an hour until the feeling passes" (Will Rogers). This quote is the perfect example. Will Rogers had probably been told, like everyone else, that he ought to work at being physically fit. But to him, the cost was not worth the result.
Think about this. If you don't read books which help you change your life for the better, you might as well be illiterate. Do you think of yourself as not being able to read at all? If not, then why aren't you reading what's available out there to your life better?
Obviously, a list of books to improve YOUR life is going to vary a lot from a similar list for other people. Your challenges and what inspires you will not be the same as for me. However, since finding good books is often a challenge, I would like to suggest some titles. Take a look at these links:
Colby Glass, MLIS