The Big Questions
The individual who has time only for gossip and slander is too busy for success.
Each of us has a finite amount of time, energy, and money; you must choose for yourself how you will spend them. If you elect to squander your resources by demeaning others in an attempt to advance your own interests, you will soon find that so much of your time and energy has been spent on gossip and slander that you have little time left for yourself. If you deal in malicious information, you’ll rarely be trusted. As the saying goes, “Those who talk about others to us will talk about us to others.”
Opportunity often knocks — only to find no one in.
The world is filled with unfortunate souls who didn’t hear opportunity’s knock at the door because they were down at the convenience store buying lottery tickets. They have never learned that, as Branch Rickey, general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1942–50, once observed, “Luck is the residue of design.” You will be surprised how much your luck will improve when you make sure you are prepared to take advantage of opportunities. How many times have you had a great idea that you failed to act upon, only to discover later that someone used the same idea to start a business, get a promotion, or find a better job? Resolve now to get into action when you have a good idea. Don’t wait for something to happen — make it happen!
The greatest cure known is work.
Emotions are sometimes strange, volatile, and unpredictable. They do not always respond to logic and reason. They do, however, respond to action. If you have occasional feelings of loneliness, discouragement, or discontentment, the best way to kill such negative emotions is to work them to death. Almost nothing is as bad as it first seems, and there’s nothing like a hard day’s work to put everything in proper perspective. When you begin to feel negative emotions, dwelling on your misfortunes only makes you feel worse. Do your best to put them out of your mind and think about more positive, constructive things. Physical labor can help. Choose a task that doesn’t require a great deal of concentration, and then focus on accomplishing the task at hand.
You are either honest or dishonest. There can be no compromise between the two.
Officials who deal with fraud and theft say they are often amazed at the small amounts of money some people will steal. Some people will sell their integrity for a pittance. To those individuals, dishonest behavior is not an occasional occurrence — it is a way of life. Those who lie about insignificant things or steal trivial amounts of money will develop the habit of lying and stealing. As you look back on your own behavior, can you do so with pride in the knowledge that you have always been honest? If you cannot, perhaps it is time to think about the times when you chose dishonest behavior. Why did you do it? Was it worth it? Wouldn’t the consequences of being honest and truthful have been far better in those circumstances? Learn from your mistakes and vow that from this day forward you will always be honest.
This is a fine world for the person who knows precisely what he or she expects from life and is busy getting it.
We are happiest when we are striving to achieve a goal. When we achieve one goal, it’s a natural human tendency to set another, usually bigger, one. W. Clement Stone calls it inspirational dissatisfaction — the letdown one experiences after a goal has been achieved and before the next step toward a new one has been taken. When you begin to experience that nagging feeling, it’s time to get into action! Make sure you have a long-range plan in place so that when one short-term goal has been achieved, there is a natural progression toward the next.
It isn’t defeat, but rather your mental attitude toward it, that whips you.
There are many things in life that you cannot control, but you can always control your attitude toward them. Defeat is never permanent unless you allow it to be so. When you have a positive attitude, you will recognize failure for the impostor that it is and realize that it is really a learning experience, a valuable lesson that will help you succeed with the next attempt. Ask yourself: What could I have done differently that would have altered the outcome? What can I do in the future to minimize problems and mistakes? What did I learn from this experience that I can put to good use next time? If you approach obstacles and setbacks with a positive attitude, you will be surprised how quickly you can turn defeat into victory.
It’s mighty easy to justify dishonesty if you make your living from it
The subconscious mind makes no moral judgments. If you tell yourself something over and over, your subconscious mind will eventually accept even the most blatant lie as fact. Those whose lives and careers have been destroyed by dishonest behavior began the process of self-destruction when they convinced themselves that one slight infraction of the rules wouldn’t matter. When you sell yourself on an idea, make sure the idea is positive, beneficial to you, and harmless to others. Just as negative thoughts and deeds return to their originator, so do positive ones. When you practice honest, ethical behavior, you set in motion a force for good that will return to you many times over.
If you have sound character, you will find that you generally do not worry about your reputation.
Thomas Jefferson once said that a majority is one man with the courage of his convictions. If you have the courage that comes from the sincere conviction that you are a person of sound character, an honest, dependable, kind, and caring person, you will never have to worry about what others think of you. If you know in your own heart that you are a good and decent person, you can meet life’s challenges head-on and without fear of what others think.
Attend well to your character, and your reputation will look out for itself.
Most of us at one time or another have been misunderstood by those who are important to us. They thought we planned to take an action they disliked when in truth our intentions were to proceed in an entirely different direction. Such misunderstandings are usually quickly righted and life goes on. The same is true with character and reputation. If your reputation is for some reason misaligned with your character, it will soon quickly right itself when others discover for themselves that you are not at all the kind of person they had assumed you were. If your foundation is strong, you never need to be concerned about such misunderstandings. Others will learn soon enough what kind of person you really are. Spend your time and energy in constant self-inspection and self-improvement, building strong character, and you will never have to worry about what others think of you.
Count that day lost whose descending sun finds you with no good deeds done.
It is well known among those who make it a practice to help others that doing a service for another benefits the giver as much as — if not more than — the receiver. When you do a good deed for someone else, you become a better person. The positive effect that your good deed has upon you will endure long after it is forgotten by the recipient. Good deeds need not be large or costly. The greatest gifts are gifts of your time and yourself. A kind word or small courtesy will be remembered and appreciated.
Never tear down anything unless you are prepared to build something better in its place.
This rule applies to both individuals and things. It’s easy to criticize other people thoughtlessly for their shortcomings, and equally easy to find fault in their work or in situations that are not to your liking. It is far more difficult to be a builder of people and to create works of art, useful products, or profitable businesses. Make sure you are a builder, not a destroyer of people and things. When you criticize the actions or work of others — your children, your employees, or others for whom you are responsible — make sure your criticisms are positive and directed at the act, or the opportunity for improvement, not the individual. Include specific suggestions for their application and focus on the potential for success.
If you become discouraged, think of Helen Keller, who, though she was deaf and blind, inspired her more fortunate contemporaries through her books.
The life of Helen Keller is an outstanding example of the triumph of the human spirit over a physical handicap. Even today, decades after her death, her life stands as a beacon of hope for those who must constantly struggle just to perform routine tasks that most of us take for granted. Whenever you feel fate has been unkind to you, all you must do is look around you and you will begin to appreciate how fortunate you are. Make sure your life’s plan includes giving something back to the community without expecting anything in return. Giving time and effort, not just money, reinforces your connections to your community, provides you with concrete proof of the effectiveness of deliberate action, and reminds you of the inspiring power of determination in human endeavor.
Find out how to get production up, and it will drag you and a bigger paycheck along with it.
It’s common knowledge that the person who knows the most about how to improve the productivity of any job is the person who holds that job. Why is it, then, that we are often reluctant to offer suggestions for improvement? Perhaps we’ve seen too many layoffs and reorganizations to trust the cracker-barrel wisdom that our goal should be to work ourselves out of a job — so that we can move on to a bigger and better position. Nevertheless, the old wisdom is still sound. If you find a way to do things better, faster, or cheaper, you increase your value to your employer. You will be asked to participate in planning sessions and quality circles because you’ve demonstrated that you know how to make things work more efficiently. It’s inevitable that you will be promoted, because you will become one of those exceptional employees who are too valuable to lose.
Good intentions are useless until they are expressed in appropriate action.
Good intentions may be an appropriate starting point for achievement, but they will go nowhere unless you follow through with action. Many people confuse intentions with achievement; after all, it is the idea that is most important, they reason. In reality, the most mediocre idea acted upon is far more valuable than a flash of genius that resides only in your mind. Developing the habit of action may be difficult at first, but the more you practice it, the easier it becomes.
If you don’t know why you failed, you are no wiser than when you began.
There’s an old adage that those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. So it is with our failures. Unless we learn from our mistakes, we are likely to repeat them until we learn from such experiences and correct our course — or give up and accept temporary defeat as permanent failure. Every setback you encounter in life contains valuable information that, if you study it carefully, will eventually lead you to success. Without adversity, you would never develop wisdom, and without wisdom, success would be short-lived indeed. When you make a mistake, say, “That’s good! I’ve gotten that out of the way. I will never do that again.” You will no doubt make other mistakes, but they won’t bother you nearly as much when you treat them as learning experiences.
Those who will not take a chance seldom have one thrust upon them.
Success always involves risk. You must take a chance by investing your time, money, and effort. It pays to be thoughtful and deliberate in your analyses of opportunities, but don’t let timidity hold you back. Because you have worked hard to develop those things you must risk, it is natural for you to place a high value on them. But what good are they if you do not put them to use? You will recognize opportunity only to the extent that you are willing to consider risking your time, money, and effort. Being confident gives you the courage to face risk and act when opportunity arises. No one on earth is going to force success upon you; you will find it only to the degree that you actively seek it out.
Watch the one ahead of you, and you’ll learn why he is ahead. Then emulate him.
One of the surest ways to achieve success is to observe the actions of successful people, determine what principles they regularly employ, and then use them yourself. The principles of success, as Andrew Carnegie said, are definite, they are real, and they can be learned by anyone willing to take the time to study and apply them. If you are truly observant, you will find that you can learn something from almost everyone you meet. And it isn’t even necessary that you know them. You may choose great people who are no longer alive. The important thing is to study their lives, and then learn and apply in your own life the specific principles these people used to achieve greatness.
Remember, your mental limitations are of your own making.
For years, athletes attempted to run a mile in four minutes but it seemed to be a barrier that no one could overcome. Then on May 6, 1954, a British runner named Roger Gilbert Bannister ran a mile in 3:59.4 minutes to establish a world record. Soon afterward, other runners broke Bannister’s record. Too often, we accept conventional wisdom as fact. Make sure you set your goals high enough. Don’t settle for less because of limitations you place upon yourself. Most of us never really reach the level of achievement of which we are capable because we don’t challenge ourselves to do so. Perhaps Robert Browning said it best: “A man’s reach should exceed his grasp, / Or what’s a heaven for?”
Willpower is the outgrowth of definiteness of purpose expressed through persistent action, based on personal initiative.
Envious people sometimes attribute success primarily to luck. Nothing could be more wrong. As coach Darryl Royal once observed, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” Success occurs when you have a definite purpose for your life and you take the initiative to follow through with action. You may make mistakes occasionally — everyone does — but any action is far better than doing nothing.
Character is accurately reflected in one’s mental attitude.
Without a strong foundation built on positive character traits, success will not long endure. It is virtually impossible to fake good character. Phonies are quickly spotted because they haven’t the substance and determination to maintain the charade. Developing good character begins with a positive attitude. Your desire to be a good, decent, honest, considerate person must first take place in your mind. When you make the decision to become a person of character, you will also find that you are much more willing to do the right thing simply because it is the right thing to do.
If you don’t want your life to be “messed up,” don’t fool around with those who have messed up theirs.
It is a peculiarity of human relationships that it is virtually impossible for one individual to have a lasting positive influence upon members of a group of negative thinkers. Usually, it works the other way. You cannot maintain a positive, productive attitude if you spend all your time with negative people. Those who have wrecked their own lives (and usually blame their misfortune on others) are not the kind of people who will help you achieve success in your own life. Choose your friends and associates carefully, and refrain from complaints about your job, your company, or any individual. Spend your time with positive, ambitious people who have a plan for their lives. You will find that their optimism is infectious.
Human faults are like garden weeds. They grow without cultivation and soon take over the place if they aren’t thinned out.
Habits are formed so slowly that most of us don’t realize what is happening until the habits are too strongly entrenched to be broken. Seldom can one pattern of behavior be eliminated without replacing it with another. It has been said that nature abhors a vacuum and will always find something to fill a void. The best way to thin out the “weeds,” or faults in your character, is to identify those traits with which you are dissatisfied and replace them with their positive counterparts. If you have a tendency to lose your temper, for example, find a replacement for your anger. Neutralize it with a positive expression or affirmation, such as, “No one can make me angry unless I let them. I will not let anyone else control my emotions.”
Who told you it couldn’t be done, and what great achievements has he performed that qualified him to set up limitations for you?
You will find as you go through life that those who give advice most freely are precisely the individuals who are least qualified to do so. Busy, successful people don’t have an interest in telling you how to live your life. They are busy living their own. Failures or mediocre people have all the time in the world. They also delight in seeing you fail and are quick to say “I told you so” when you experience a temporary setback. If someone tells you that what you are attempting to achieve is impossible or not worth the effort, take a close look at them and what they have accomplished with their lives. The chances are good that you will find they haven’t done much. Successful people are optimistic people. They have the habit of success because they learned long ago to listen to themselves and not to those who would like to see them fail.
Quick promotions are not always the most enduring.
Most people who fail after receiving a promotion do so because they fail to rise to the challenges the new position offers. It is perfectly normal to feel a twinge of insecurity when you assume a new position — after all, you’ve never had this job before — but seldom do promotions come before you are ready for them. Now, it is a fact that the day you are promoted, you are not yet competent in that position. You were promoted into the position because of your potential, not because you were expected to perform flawlessly from the outset. Work to prove that your boss’s faith in you was justified. Make becoming as proficient as possible in your new job — in the shortest possible time — your number one priority.
A friend is one who knows all about you and still respects you.
A true friend is a priceless gift. When we reveal our hopes, our dreams, and our deepest secrets to others, and they still like and respect us, such people are to be cherished. All too often, the only reason others wish to spend time with us — to be our friends — is because of what they perceive we can do for them, not the other way around. A real friendship is reciprocal, one in which each friend benefits equally. You can earn the friendship of others by being the kind of person who deserves respect from friends. When others look up to you, it should make you even more conscious of the responsibility you have to treat them with the same respect you would like them to afford you.
If you are really great, you will let others discover this fact from your actions.
In the final analysis, all that really matters are your actions. You may talk a good story, but no matter how good you are at selling others on your capabilities, eventually you have to perform. It is true that people are generally forgiving and will overlook an occasional failure to deliver upon your promises. Ultimately, though, you must live up to your promises to others if you ever expect to make a lasting impression on them. Make it a habit to demonstrate your abilities before talking about them. Seldom is anything worthwhile achieved without the help of others, and nothing is ever achieved without some form of action. The road to failure and despair is littered with the dreams of those who failed to act upon them.
If you are sure you are right, you need not worry what the world thinks.
If you are ever to achieve noteworthy success in your life, you must be willing to stand apart from the crowd. Success is something that is achieved by the minority, not the majority, of people. You will also discover as you climb the ladder of success that there are many who, out of jealousy or envy, will belittle your achievements. Nevertheless, if you have the courage of your convictions, nothing can deter you from your course. You develop confidence in your beliefs by doing your own thinking and by constantly testing and revising your knowledge. Use W. Clement Stone’s R2A2 Principle to Recognize and Relate, Assimilate and Apply information from any field to help solve your problems and direct your thinking.
Friends must be grown to order — not taken for granted.
Your friends will be what you make them. If you are the kind of friend who freely gives of your time and always shows consideration for others, your friends will be generous and kind. If you are the kind of person who takes your friends for granted, neither giving nor expecting much in return, you will attract friends who exhibit the same qualities. In friendship, like attracts like. Assess your behavior occasionally to determine what kind of friend you are. Are you the kind of person you would like to have as a friend? Do you freely give more than you expect in return, or are you always asking and never giving? Do you take the time to stay in touch, to remember friends’ special occasions? When you become so consumed with your own interests that you forget about your friends, you are well on your way to becoming friendless.
Just what are you waiting for and why are you waiting?
Far too many people spend their entire lives waiting for that glorious day when the perfect opportunity presents itself to them. Too late, they realize that each day held opportunity for those who sought it out. If you have not formulated a plan for what you would like to accomplish in your life, don’t waste another minute. When you have Definiteness of Purpose fueled by a burning desire to reach your objectives, nothing can stand in your way. Don’t wait around waiting for life to happen to you. When you know what you want and how you expect to earn it, life will agree to your terms, not the other way around.
Your mind is the only thing you control exclusively. Don’t give it away too freely through useless arguments.
You may spend your time and your energy — both physical and mental — in pursuits that yield the greatest return on your investment, or you may fritter it away on activities that will never bear fruit. Since your mind is entirely your own domain, you may choose to use it to constructive ends, or you can waste mind power and time on useless arguments that go nowhere. There is a vast difference between a spirited intellectual debate and a petty argument. When you discuss concepts, your own knowledge is expanded through the interaction with another thinking person. When you allow yourself to be dragged into arguments about insignificant things, the result will be a dulling of both the mind and the spirit.
Boastfulness is generally an admission of an inferiority complex.
Really capable people don’t have to boast about their achievements; they let their actions speak for them. When you boast about your accomplishments, you are telling others that you are unsure of yourself and your value in the world. Baseball manager Tommy Lasorda once noted that there are those who watch things happen, those who wonder what happened, and those who make things happen. Strive to be one of those who make things happen. If you show others what you can do, they will respect you far more than if you had simply told them what you’d done. Anyone can quarrel with words, but actions speak for themselves.
Where will you be ten years from now if you keep on going the way you are going?
Many people fail to realize that big success is the result of little successes achieved, often over a very long period of time. Truly successful people are long-term thinkers. They know that they must build upon each achievement and constantly learn new and better ways of doing things. A regular review of your progress is an essential part of goal-setting. A goal is little more than a wish unless it has a timetable for completion. Make sure your plan for your life includes short-, medium-, and long-term goals. Revise your goals as circumstances dictate, check them off when they are completed, and set new and bigger goals for yourself as you grow. And take time to reflect often to make sure you are on the right course — for you.
Making life “easy” for children usually makes life “hard” for them in adulthood.
Del Smith, the millionaire founder and chairman of Evergreen International Aviation, has often said, “Thank God I was born poor; I learned how to work.” Like many others who made it to the top on their own, Smith believes that the greatest gift that can be given to a child is to teach him or her the value of work. It is a gift that can never be lost or stolen. It’s a natural desire of parents to give their children material things they didn’t have as children. Such generosity, however, often deprives children of the greatest gift you can give them: confidence in their ability to take care of themselves. When you make life “hard” for your children by requiring them to learn the value of work, they will have a far greater likelihood of success as adults.
Constancy of purpose is the first principle of success.
It is critical to your success that you have a well-thought-out plan for your life and that you stick with it regardless of what others may say and the obstacles you encounter. There will always be fault-finders and those who attempt to persuade you that your goals aren’t worth the effort you put into achieving them. Those people will never go far, and they will be the first to ask for your help after you have passed them by. Virtually every successful person has considered giving up at some point in his or her struggle to reach the top. And many breakthroughs occurred soon after those same people rededicated themselves to their purpose. There is no known obstacle that cannot be overcome by a person who has constancy of purpose, a Positive Mental Attitude, and the discipline and willpower to succeed.
Unleashing the Power of Purpose: The Magical Mix of Character and Ambition
It's undeniable that honesty and hard work are like the cherry on top of a sundae - they're the commendable traits that make us stand out from the crowd. However, as essential as they are, they alone cannot guarantee the kind of extraordinary success that leaves people in awe. What's the secret ingredient that propels individuals to new heights? It's the fusion of character and a definitive purpose that sets the world ablaze.
Character, without a doubt, is the backbone of triumph and an indispensable quality of great leaders. But let's face it, even the most virtuous person can spin their wheels without a clear direction. When these noble souls intertwine their commendable character with a compelling purpose, something truly magical happens. Suddenly, their energy becomes a force to be reckoned with, capable of shaking mountains and inspiring awe in all who witness their journey. With purpose as their guiding light, they become unstoppable.
Picture this - a person of unwavering integrity, coupled with an unquenchable thirst for purpose. It's like a thunderstorm of excellence, brewing in the depths of their being. With every step they take, their character amplifies their actions, creating a symphony of success. The combination of a burning passion and remarkable character is a match made in heaven, capable of achieving the unimaginable.
So, what's the secret sauce that propels these extraordinary individuals to greatness? It's the alchemy of character and a major purpose. You see, character alone is like a beautiful painting hidden away in a dusty attic. It's only when we awaken our purpose, giving it the wings it deserves, that our character truly shines. It's the intersection of these two magnificent forces that transforms mere mortals into legends.
Think of it as a dazzling dance of ambition and virtue. When we unite our unwavering integrity with a clear purpose, the universe can't help but take notice. Suddenly, doors swing open, opportunities rain down, and success becomes an undeniable reality. The combination of an unshakable character and an inspiring purpose is a match made in heaven, capable of accomplishing the unimaginable.
So, my friend, let your character be the anchor that keeps you grounded, and let your purpose be the wind beneath your wings. Embrace the power of this formidable combination, for it holds the key to an awe-inspiring existence. Together, character and purpose will lead you to the summit of success, where legends are born and dreams come true.
What life advice do people not take seriously enough?
Every time you influence another person to do a better job, you benefit that person and you increase your own value.
Someone once said that no one can really motivate anyone else; all we can do is motivate ourselves and hope it catches on. You will probably never know how much you influence others with your behavior. When you always go the extra mile, you will influence those in your circle of friends and acquaintances, your family, your co-workers, and even your bosses to do more and better than they have done before. Your value to yourself and others is greatly enhanced by your ability to influence others to be happier, more productive people. There are no salary caps or career limits for those who lead others to great heights of success. Such people are simply too valuable.
Are you waiting for success to arrive, or are you going out to find where it is hiding?
The poet John Milton’s words, “They also serve who only stand and wait,” may be both profound and genuine, but the true riches of life are far more likely to accrue to those who actively go out and seek them. Seldom does success come marching in accompanied by a brass band in full regalia. More often, it’s achieved by those who labor long and hard. Take the initiative, and you will create your own opportunities. There is no substitute for action backed up by a well-thought-out plan.
Your own mental attitude is your real boss.
While your time and your labor may be subject to the demands of your employer and others, your mind is the one thing that cannot be controlled by anyone but you. The thoughts you think, your attitude toward your job, and what you are willing to give in exchange for the compensation you are paid are entirely up to you. It is up to you to determine whether you will be a slave to a negative attitude or the master of a positive one. Your attitude, your only master in life, is entirely within your control. When you control your attitude toward events, you control the eventual implication of those events.
Every brain is both a broadcasting station and a receiving station for the vibrations of thought.
Whatever the actual science of thought transmissions may be, it is true that if you wish to receive the power contained in the thoughts of others, you must condition your mind to receive those ideas. Listening helps condition your mind to receive valuable information contained in the thoughts of others. Set aside any preconceived notions you may have about the topic, and listen attentively and nonjudgmentally to what is being said. Focus on the information, not on the speaker. Try to identify key concepts behind the speaker’s words. Train your mind to identify and absorb information that others often miss because their “receivers” are not tuned to the proper frequency.
A quick decision usually denotes an alert mind.
Successful people are decisive. They don’t agonize over decisions and thereby miss out on a great opportunity. They gather the relevant information, discuss alternatives with advisers whose opinions they respect, and then make a decision and get on with it. Indecision creates the worst kind of paralysis and, left unattended, can permanently damage you and your organization. If you have trouble making decisions, remember that there are few decisions that are irreversible. If you later discover that you were wrong, correct your course and move on.
Most illness begins with a negative mind.
It’s been proven again and again. Hypochondriacs, people who are convinced that they are sick even though nothing is wrong with them, experience the exact symptoms of the actual illness. For them, the illness is just as real as if their bodies were ravaged by disease. It is also possible to make yourself ill through constant worry and fear of failure, because the mind constantly strives to turn into reality the things we think about most. Protect your mental health with the same care you give your physical body. Just as your body requires healthy, nourishing foods, and a balanced diet, so does your mind. Make sure you feed it plenty of positive thoughts.
Act on your own initiative, but be prepared to assume full responsibility for your acts.
One of the primary differences between those who achieve greatness in their lives and those who manage only to “get by” is that successful people learned early in life that they were responsible for their own actions. No other person can make you successful or keep you from achieving your goals. Taking the initiative means assuming a leadership role, a position that singles you out for praise — and for criticism. The good leader is the one who shares the credit for success with others and assumes full responsibility for failures or temporary setbacks. When you accept responsibility for your actions, you gain the respect of others and are well on the way to creating your own future.
Make someone smile today.
"People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel" – Maya Angelou
Your true age is determined by your mental attitude, not the years you have lived.
The American clergyman and author Tyrone Edwards said, “Age does not depend upon years, but upon temperament and health. Some men are born old, and some never grow so.” No doubt you’ve known teenagers who were old before their time and seventy-year-olds who had the temperament and enthusiasm of those discovering the wonders of life for the very first time. It is all a matter of attitude. As you grow and develop, make sure your experience is directed toward the acquisition of wisdom, not the acceptance of cynicism. If you find it difficult to keep an open mind because of previous experiences, remind yourself that you’re dealing with different people, that conditions have changed, or that because you are older and wiser, your chances of success are greater than in the past.
A closed mind stumbles over the blessings of life without recognizing them.
To the untrained eye, a geode looks pretty much like an ordinary rock. But a trained geologist knows that inside the geode there is a beautiful crystal lining. The story is the same for those who refuse to examine new possibilities because their minds are closed. Life’s greatest opportunities, like the geode, often come in ordinary packaging. Do not allow yourself to become such a creature of habit that you simply go through the motions and let life happen to you. Just taking a new route to work, putting together a jigsaw puzzle, reading a newspaper instead of watching television, or visiting a museum at lunchtime will stimulate your thought processes and may help you open your mind to new possibilities.
Opportunity wastes no effort looking for the person who is wasting time through idleness or destructive action.
Opportunities somehow always seem to gravitate toward busy people who can hardly keep up with those they already have. Logically, it would seem that opportunities would make an effort to seek out individuals who have an abundance of time available, but instead opportunities appear for those who have goals and dreams and a plan for achieving them. We often think of opportunity as a living, moving thing, something that actively seeks out a willing recipient. In fact, the reverse is true. Opportunities are ideas or concepts that exist only in the minds of those who recognize them. When you have no goals or plans, opportunities mean nothing to you. They become opportunities only when you recognize them as ideas that you can implement to help you move toward your goal.
Failure seems to be nature’s plan for preparing us for great responsibilities.
If everything we attempted in life were achieved with a minimum of effort and came out exactly as planned, how little we would learn — and how boring life would be! And how arrogant we would become if we succeeded at everything we attempted. Failure allows us to develop the essential quality of humility. It is not easy — when you are the person experiencing failure — to accept it philosophically, serene in the knowledge that this is one of life’s great learning experiences. But it is. Nature’s ways are not always easily understood, but they are repetitive and therefore predictable. You can be absolutely certain that when you feel you are being most unfairly tested, you are being prepared for great achievement.
Don’t be satisfied with being good at your job. Be the best, and you’ll be indispensable.
Experts have consistently found that after a certain point, money ceases to be a motivator. Even though you may not yet have reached that point, if you are honest with yourself, you will probably find that money is only one of many considerations. When asked if they would continue doing what they do even though it didn’t pay well, most highly successful people reply, “Absolutely. I wouldn’t change a thing. I love what I’m doing.” One of the surest ways to climb the ladder of success is to choose a job that you would do even if you didn’t earn much at it. When you are working because you like what you do, the money will follow. You will become such a rare commodity that others will compete for your services — and pay you handsomely for them.
Trying to get without first giving is as fruitless as trying to reap without having sown.
The Bible states that we reap what we sow. The most fertile soil in the world is barren unless seeds have been properly planted, cultivated, and nurtured. The relationship between giving and getting is constant in everything you do. To succeed in any endeavor, you must first invest a generous portion of your time and talents if you expect ever to earn a return on your investment. You have to give before you get. It’s all a matter of attitude. You may occasionally be disappointed if you are not rewarded for your efforts, but if you demand payment for your services before you render them, you can expect a lifetime of disappointment and frustration. If you cheerfully do your best before asking for any compensation, you can expect a bountiful harvest of the greatest rewards life has to offer.
The end of the rainbow is reached only at the end of the second mile.
Christ’s admonition to the faithful in Matthew 5:41: “And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain,” was in response to the Roman custom of allowing officers to force others to carry their load for a mile. The purpose of the biblical principle, similar to the idea of turning the other cheek, was to make good come from evil. You can add goodness to goodness by rendering beyond what you are asked to do. When you truly believe that the habit of going the extra mile is the only acceptable way to conduct yourself in all your dealings with others, when you are driven by a burning desire to serve your fellow man, you will be rewarded both financially and personally.
The mind serves best which is used most.
Do you have a continuous improvement program for your most valuable asset-your mind? Make sure that you spend at least a half hour each day studying, thinking, and planning. Review your long-, intermediate-, and short-term goals, and measure your progress to date. Are you on schedule for their completion? Ask yourself, “What information do I not have that would help me achieve my goals?” Then gather the information you need and get into action.
Financial wealth is only one measure of success.
The truly happy and successful individual is the man or woman who is healthy, financially secure, challenged in his or her career, and is making a difference in the lives of others. It isn’t always easy to render service to others. The world is a cynical and dangerous place where others are likely to mistrust your motives. They can be convinced only by consistent, sustained, outstanding service that is enthusiastically and cheerfully offered. In time, even the most cynical individual will come to accept your willingness to go the extra mile if you are sincere in your offers of assistance and in the service you provide.
There isn’t much one can do for the individual who will not try to do something for himself.
One of the keys to success is Personal Initiative. Most people — including those who will play a key role in the level of success you achieve in your life — will not give you their full assistance and support unless you first take the initiative. If you see something that needs to be done, just do it. Wendy’s founder, Dave Thomas, says, “A little initiative will improve your luck nine days out of ten.”
A good fisherman goes out of his way to bait his hook with what the fish prefer — which might not be a bad tip for those who wish to succeed in human relationships.
Just as in a conversation it’s a good idea to listen more than you talk, it is also wise in relationships to think about the well-being of others more than you think about your own wishes and desires. When you constantly strive to treat others in the same way you would like them to treat you, you become a person whom others like to be around, one who commands their respect, confidence, and loyalty. When you learn to manage emotions and your ego, and when you learn to always consider the needs and desires of others, it is inevitable that you will “bait your hook” with kindness and consideration and catch more friends than you can count.
The worst thing about worry is that it attracts a whole flock of relatives.
Worries, like sheep, seem to flock together. One worry leads to another, and soon you are overwhelmed with the potential for problems. When you allow yourself to play the “what if?” game — to speculate about additional problems that one potential problem might cause — worries multiply, each making the next seem worse. If you must play the “What if?” game, play it to win. Focus on solutions, not on the problems themselves and the additional problems they might create. However serious your worries may seem when they awaken you at midnight, if you analyze them carefully, you will find that every problem has a solution.
Sound character begins with keen self-respect.
No one really knows for sure how we develop self-respect, but the experts believe it begins at a very early age. Parents who show their children that they love them unconditionally — just because they are who they are — build a foundation of healthy self-respect that will sustain the children for the rest of their lives. From this foundation comes the moral and ethical structure known as character. Healthy self-respect should not be confused with egotism. An egotist loves himself for the most superficial of reasons, while a self-respecting person takes pride in qualities of character that he or she has worked hard to develop.
When adversity overtakes you, it pays to be thankful it was not worse instead of worrying over your misfortune.
There are few things in life that are as bad as they seem at first. Dealing with adversity begins with analyzing and accepting your situation for what it is. When you realize that things are not nearly as bad as they might have been, you have taken the first step toward working your way through the problem. It is a truism that you will never be asked to carry a heavier load than you can bear, but it sometimes helps you better appreciate that fact if you volunteer some of your time to help those who are less fortunate than you are.
Sound character is our greatest asset because it provides the power with which we may ride the emergencies of life instead of going down under them.
Without Positive Mental Attitude, life might be described as long periods of uncertainty punctuated by occasional emergencies that shake you to the very core of your being. The emergencies may be financial, personal, or health related, but each must be dealt with separately and swiftly. The surest way to deal with any crisis is to focus on solutions, not on the probable cause of the problem or who should be blamed for it. Conduct a quick damage assessment, take the time to think through the alternatives and their consequences, and then act to implement the best solution. If you deal with life’s emergencies as they occur — on your own terms — you will be a stronger, better person for having looked them in the eye and conquered them.
It doesn’t pay to look at others through a foggy mental attitude.
You must keep your mind sharply focused on your goals, and you must have a grounding philosophy that sustains you when the going is tough. When you apply the principles of success consistently until they become a part of you, no longer will you have to stop and think about what you should do in any given situation. Your positive response will be automatic. Make sure you spend time in reflection and study. Clearly establish your goals and develop a plan and timetable for their achievement. Read the works of motivational writers and the great philosophers, and use the knowledge you gain to develop your own code of conduct. Establish your own philosophy of success that you can stick with — day in and day out — regardless of what the rest of the world does.
Remember that the tone of your voice often conveys more accurately what is in your mind than do your words.
In a moment of conflict, a suggestion or compromise can salvage a threatened working relationship. A discouraged employee can be motivated again through a few carefully chosen words. In situations like these, a good manager is looking beyond an immediate situation and acting to preserve a future benefit. But if your voice betrays your own anger, fear, or despair, that emotion, not the wisdom you offer, will be what others remember. Those who rise to the top in any organization are those who have learned to control their emotions. When you have a leadership position, others will watch you closely for the signals you send. You must learn to manage yourself and all the ways in which you convey messages to others if you want to inspire them and demonstrate that you care about all the members of your team.
The only safe way to boast is by constructive actions.
It has been said that it’s not boasting if you can really do it. This may be true, but a far more persuasive argument is made when you do it first and talk about it later. Besides, good things that are said about you always carry more weight when they are said by someone other than yourself. When you find yourself tempted to wax eloquent about your achievements, force yourself to pause for a moment, take a deep breath, and ask someone else about their achievements.