Sunday, July 29, 2007

Giving Yourself The Best Chance Of A Good Life

I have been a student in the school of success for some time now. It’s been an interesting school. It’s a school that you never graduate from. You keep learning things everyday. There is something I have discovered. I don’t think it will be new to you, but please permit me to at least remind you. Here it is- The greatest and most persistent blockages to your progress in life usually come from a single source—yourself!

In the equation for success and progress in life, you are the most important factor. Let me share with you a few tips that will help you give yourself the best chance of a good life (I picked up most of these tips from books I have read and people I have listened to).

Make the time to work out what’s most important to you.

What’s so important you wouldn’t give it up, save in the most extreme circumstances? What feels like part of your deepest nature? What would really hurt you to have to abandon? All these are core values. The more you satisfy them, the more fulfilling your life will be. Only you can truly decide what a good life is for you. Other people will try to decide for you, but all they’re doing is pointing you towards their values, not your own. You may need to Ignore them.

Bet on continuous, incremental improvements, not sudden breakthroughs.

This is one of the biggest differences between Japanese and American ways of doing business. The Japanese tend to work away steadily at many small improvements, never making too much fuss about finding some huge leap forward. American businesses tend to favor the idea of sudden, dramatic breakthroughs. Breakthroughs are great when they happen, but depending on them is a high-risk strategy. A single breakthrough that fails or doesn’t come on time can set you back to square one. In life, as in business, lots of small steps often take you further than one or two huge leaps.
Spend as much of your time as you can doing things that need to be done.
Don’t worry too much what they are. Don’t worry about the order in which you do them. The old saying, “success breeds success,” is true. Most people spend far too much time thinking about what they’re going to do—then planning it out, allocating set priorities, and further polishing the plan—and far too little time doing things, even if they come in the “wrong” order. Don’t wait. Do at least something of what you need to do now. Then do some more. There’s no simpler or surer way to turn your dreams into tangible results.

Broaden your horizons.

Take an interest in something new. Try to meet different people. Explore something that you think isn’t interesting. Read challenging and stimulating books; that’s one of the very best (and cheapest) ways to spread your mental horizons wider. Travel as much as you to experience other cultures. Spend time with people who think very differently than you do. Dull, narrow-minded, parochial types are some of the most boring people that you can meet. Mostly they have boring, narrow lives and boring, conventional jobs too. Don’t join them.

Try out some unfamiliar options.

If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get the results you’ve always had—or worse, since circumstances change and yesterday’s sure thing is tomorrow’s disaster. Consider fresh possibilities. Let go of your prejudices. Try something unfamiliar. If you don’t like it, stop. At least you’ve learned something. If you do like it, do it some more. If you habitually focus on mostly short-term, practical things, try focusing on something long-term and visionary. Dream a little. If you’re the strategic type, always looking years ahead, try limiting your focus to today—or, better still, to this very moment. Live in the now for a while. See what you can discover.

Whatever the problem or topic is, never assume that you already know all the answers.

Nothing shuts down your mental faculties faster. Once of the very worst aspects of today’s macho styles of management is the way that they continually put pressure on people to be right first time, every time, and as quickly as possible. All that leads to is playing safe and sticking with what is already commonest and most well-known.

In place of every human being’s natural curiosity and love of exploration, we are left with timid, risk-averse people who choose the most obvious answer, even if it’s wrong. I’ve seen it described as “management by in-flight magazine,” which describes it very well. Nobody knows all the answers; nobody gets everything right first time. Anyone who claims to is either a fool or a liar—mostly likely both.

Cultivate an attitude of gratitude.

This is something that most people don’t do well. The live a life filled with complaints every single minute of the day. They complain about the weather, their boss, their customers and coworkers … just about anything! There is nothing that paralyses instincts faster. To progress in life, you need to develop a strong attitude of gratitude. You need to be grateful for small things. A wise man said this “If you are grateful, then you will be greatful”. What a counsel. Learn to count your blessings and not discount them (I recommend strongly that you read an earlier article I wrote on “Count your blessings, don’t discount them”).

You can from here get to anywhere you want to get to. Success is sold in the open market. Let anyone who is willing to pay the price go and buy!

See you at the top!


Anonymous said...

This is a must read for all those who long to live a good life. I am more than blessed. Thank you

most said...

Another great post. I particularly like the part about prefering continous incremental improvements above sudden breakthroughs. This is a contrast to our world of "instants" and "get it now"

otentik said...

great job, just like we live in a world of instant coffee,instant cash,instant miracle,instant God,instant everything, we might actually lose sense of the truth that it would have cost God nothing to create the whole world at once, but he took 6 good days. i think that afforded him the opportunity to work systemically and move with calculation,remember he created the corn before the hen,unlike the gods of the yorubas who they said created the hen before the corn,that's why they say the hen was eating something before the corn was created. what was it eating? no one has been able to tell me till now.Also that afforded him the opportunity to probably evaluate, broaden his horizon and eventually to appreciate everything and be grateful because it was said that God saw all he created to be good.If only we could be students of the most Successful - God Almighty. -

Fola' said...

Yeah, I also agree with the idea on broadening our horizon, we all need to remain informed and updated; and also the idea on trying something new. Being grateful cannot be underestimated, it usually encourages people to want to do more with you.


You are destined for the top of the topmost top! See you there!!