I’ve often wondered what life was like for people like Warren Buffet before they hit the proverbial jackpot. Did they ever sleep? Did they have time for family? Did they have a minute to take showers in the mornings? Did they eat regularly? Somehow, I doubt that our mentors of today were frenetic workaholics with absolutely no down time. But for some reason, whenever we hear their success stories, we never hear about the days that they overslept or the times that they were ready to give up.
Surely, Thomas Edison wasn’t break dancing to “Livin’ La Vida Loca” every time his light bulb experiment failed. He must have experienced frustration, anger, and stress; but I don’t hear that side of the story as often as I’ve heard that failure is a learning opportunity. I think it’s time for us to realize that we don’t need to stop being human in order to accomplish great things. I’m sure this list could be longer, but let’s start off with just these three:
1. Understand that Rest and Success are NOT Mutually Exclusive
No, you are not allowed to be lazy but you are allowed to rest. There is a definite difference between slothfulness and having a healthy sense of your physical limits. If you consistently stretch yourself beyond what your body can handle, you are simply increasing the percentage of your future wealth that will end up on pharmaceutical companies’ income statements. Do you know that there are hundreds of illnesses that can be prevented simply by resting when your body tells you to do so? It all boils down to avoiding the superman syndrome—you don’t have to say yes to everything, you don’t have to help everybody, and you don’t have to save the world. Do your best and don’t stress about the rest. After all, if you were to fall into a coma today, the earth will continue to revolve around the sun and your list of things to do will be just fine.
2. Don’t Stop to Smell the Roses…
….plant a couple instead. You probably know one or two people that are so “into themselves” that they never take the time to help anyone else. You also probably know how things end up for those people—they usually wind up miserable. The problem is that many of us are that person at one point or another. We all go through phases where all we want to think about is “me me me me me”. We think we have given away so much of ourselves that it is time to focus exclusively on what we want at the expense of everyone else. Well guess what? That’s not what the Gates and Ghandis did when they were paying their dues to society. Successful people know that knocking people down and pulling peoples’ hair is not the way to get to where you are going. It is imperative that you invest in other people otherwise nobody is ever going to see a reason to invest in you. I know it’s a bitter pill to swallow, but if you are feeling frustrated that your goals aren’t working out as fast as you would like, take a moment to look around you…it just might be the case that you have become so “into yourself” that you need to stop for a moment and plant a few roses.
3. Drive Your Mind…Don’t Let Your Mind Drive You
One of my favorite sayings of all time is by Sakichi Toyoda and it goes: “good thinking, good product”. Few aphorisms are as true and simple as this one. It is never okay to call yourself a “turd”, “stupid”, “slow”, “ugly” or any variation of these words. Once you realize that your thoughts manifest themselves in your life, you won’t even need me to remind you that you are smart, beautiful, confident, and talented. I always used to tell people that I was a professional at getting lost until the day i drove in the wrong direction for a good 10 minutes. On that day, I realized that my habit of getting lost was simply a self fulfilling prophecy. Every time I went out without a GPS, I told myself that I would get lost and so I always did. Life works the same way—if you tell yourself that you’re going to get lost in life, you probably will. If you tell yourself that you are going to come out on top, you probably will. It really is up to you to choose whether you want to win or lose.
Notice that not once have I explained what it means to be “successful” and there is a reason for that. It would be presumptuous of me to assume that I know what success means to all the different kinds of people that visit this site on a daily basis. However, the one thing I know for sure is that success is a journey and as we all experience more of life, the things that make us feel “successful” are constantly evolving and changing.
So instead of lying to you about what success should look like for you, I encourage you to apply these three nuggets of wisdom, take risks, stay balanced, learn from your mistakes and celebrate even the smallest milestones as you reach them. Until next time, stay motivated!