IIn this day and age, things are changing so rapidly and at a pace faster than any time in history that if you don’t keep up—or more importantly, stay ahead of the game, you will be left behind. You simply can’t stay still. Research suggests that the most successful people are always looking forward, anticipating, planning and guessing what will happen in the coming years. Staying head of the game in your career, business, sport, or any other important endeavor is determined by creating and implementing a success strategy that keeps you climbing upward. Without a solid strategy for success, you will inevitably slide down the hill of success. There is no in between; you are either climbing or sliding. Gravity simply takes over. If you merely hold on to what you have, you will succumb to the gravity of life and be pulled downward. If you wait passively for past success to save you from falling, your grip will eventually loosen and soon you are falling into an abyss. If fear paralyzes you from not investing, you fall financially; remaining stagnant educationally results in a loss of opportunity to advance in your career and
as an athlete, if you do not taking the time to engage in quality training and conditioning you will tumble into the world of the overweight, out of shape American.
Key to success
The key to success is having an understanding the landscape of your life and a clear map to realization.
So what should you do to avoid being trapped in this dangerous downward vortex that pulls you from your dreams? In this segment, I will share a factor to keep up from sliding down the slippery slope of mediocrity. Through my personal experiences and extensive research on the subject of success, I am going to share with you what I believe is at the core of success. You are not likely to succeed without following these ideas, but first, I am compelled to give you some background as to why I find these four factors so important. If you are reluctant to adopt these ideas, you will find it difficult to escape gravity’s pull. By adopting these concepts, you greatly increase your chance to receive promotions, form positive lasting relationships, earn more money, and realize the success you deserve. Your ability to focus on the right things at the right time is the key to success.
Make the Commitment
The first and most important step in this process is to make a commitment to whatever you plan to do and raise your expectations. When someone asked Michael Jordan, one of the greatest basketball players of all time, what was his secret to his success, he responded, “I asked more from myself than anyone could ever asked from me.” That’s the trick, asking more from yourself than anyone could ever ask from you. And here is where the real magic happens: once you’ve reached that goal, set the bar even higher and then continually and methodically raising expectations over time. It’s a bit like listening to a really good song on the radio. You naturally turn the volume up just a notch, listen for a while–and then next song is even better than the first one you just listened to, so you kick up the volume another notch or two and then your absolute favorite song comes on and you give the speakers all they can take. Now you are singing and shouting along with the artist, giving the best performance of your singing career! Then someone walks in the room and says, “Are you deaf, turn that down!” and you think, “what happened? Is it really that loud”? Over time, you became acclimated to the incremental increases in volume. If you would have turned it up all the way on the first shot, you would have recognized it was too loud and turned it down after you listened to your favorite song.
Only the Fittest Survive
To illustrate this in another way, consider Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection. Darwin’s theory of evolution says only the fittest survive. Darwin explains that each organism is naturally selected by its ability to adapt to its environment. The organism that is most fit for that environmental niche will ultimately survive, leaving the organisms that are not able to adapt to perish. Those organisms capable of adapting to the environment pass on their genes to future generations, thus evolving the species. For you to be the fittest and most adaptable, you must evolve, improve, and provide yourself with opportunities to increase your knowledge, skills, education, fitness and health. The human species adapts as most species do, with one caveat: humans have the consciousness of choice. A tree cannot uproot itself and move to a sunnier climate. The ability to make a choice is the most powerful attribute we have as a species. We have the ability to change our thoughts behaviors, routines, expectations and ultimately raise our standards to move ahead and to get what we want. You can say I am going to eat an apple today. I am going to walk around the block. I am going to associate myself with positive people. A tree cannot do that. A tree can only stand rooted firmly in the ground next to the other trees for the next hundred years or so whether it likes it or not. Since you’re not a tree you can uproot yourself, make a choice and get what you want.
Change Sucks But Necessary
Often, making choices comes with making changes, and changes can be fraught with pain and disappointment. That is why most people don’t actively engage in this process of self-improvement. Life is very much like strengthening a muscle. To build a muscle, the prerequisite is to first tear it down; you have to apply intense pressure, exertion, movement, heavy weights – simply put—you have to exercise that muscle until the muscle fibers tear down and when the fibers eventually break, the body goes to work to rebuild them. However, the body is not content with returning those fibers to their original strength. Rather, the body says, “I was just damaged. I can’t have this happen again. Let me prepare myself and increase muscle mass, so if this does happen again, I will be ready next time for the punishment.” The end result is a stronger, larger, more robust muscle. But the body does not stop there. The next time it experiences a tear down, it builds even more muscle fibers, which yields an even stronger, larger muscle; continually improving for the next time it experiences the stress and pressure. The person who does not adapt to the pressure of life weakens and gives up. The successful people are town down over and over, but each time return with even stronger resolve and spirit. They are the ones who accept nothing but the best of themselves.
Good Better Best
So why is it important to keep improving your skills, knowledge, and self? If you don’t, the gravity of life takes over, pulling you down, until eventually you fall off of the cliff, battered and beaten. You must defy gravity by using your free will to improve your current position. You must keep asking more of yourself, and a little later, ask even more. Ask yourself, how can I make this better? If you don’t keep asking, you are destined to fall behind, making the process of catching up more challenging and painful. To avoid this, simply ask yourself: How can I make this better? What can I do to make increase the quality? What can I do to increase the quantity? What aspects of my situation can I improve upon? Keep asking these questions every day and you are on course to increasing your expectations and in turn, a higher quality of life.
For example as you consider various aspects of your life, you may decide you need to start with improving you: your health, your nutrition, your fitness. Ask the question: How can I increase the quality of my health. Perhaps you need to lose 5, 10, 15, or 50 pounds or maybe lower your cholesterol, or maybe increase your energy or run a marathon. Whatever it is you have just done yourself a favor by simply deciding what you want to improve. When you ask the question: How can I make my nutrition better, answers will follow. Finally ask yourself, how do I make my exercise routine better? Once you get your health in order, think about your relationships and how to make them stronger. The relationship you have with your spouse, children, family members and friends is the cornerstone of a rich life. How about your finances and your business? How could you make those better? What about your investments? Last but not least, what about your spirituality? Do you need to make for time for yourself for self-exploration, self renewal, or to redefine your self- worth? While it is important to be physically and financially strong, it is just as crucial to focus on your spiritual well being to maintain balance in your life.
2 + 2 = 5
In the equation of life, physical strength+ financial security+ emotional stability + spiritual= well- being = success and happiness. Truly, the old adage does apply here: the whole is most certainly larger than the sum of its parts. Focus on each – and you will have more than you expected. You will find life’s gifts manifesting themselves to you in surprising wonderful ways!