Over the last few years the trend of "positive thinking" and "the law of attraction" has been all the rage. Does a positive attitude really make a difference? Winston Churchill said "Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference." Thomas Jefferson went even further by saying "Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude." and perhaps one of my favorite quotes of all time "Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude." - Zig Ziglar
Having a positive attitude is well known to being an asset to
reaching success, but is that all we need? I feel that we have put an
lot of emphasis on having a positive attitude at all times
and feel if we can just be positive and believe enough, good things will
come to us. Well...you can believe and believe and believe and
visualize and visualize and visualize fancy cars, stacks of money, a
beautiful mate, successful anything you want, but unless you live at the
bottom of a really steep hill these things are not just going to fall on
you because you believe they will. There are two other things we need
that bring what we want into our life: a burning desire and taking
action. "Desire is the
starting point of all achievement, not a hope, not a wish,
but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything." - Napoleon
Hill. It is this desire that will move us to action "You don't have to
be great to get started, but you have to get started to be great." - Les Brown, "He who has begun is half done." Horace.
As stated above I do believe that the proper mental attitude is
essential for success, but I feel we have also been led to believe we
must always have a positive attitude and this to me is not correct. If we are
starring at huge credit card debt, a dead end job, and a life we did not
want for our selves simply being positive and falsely going through life with a big smile
on our face saying "life is grand" is
not the answer. We need to see our situation for what it is, a mess,
and recognize its time for a change. We need this desire Napoleon Hill
talks about as our starting point for achievement, but I feel we cannot
have this desire if we tell ourselves "life is grand" when in fact we are
60 days late in our bills. The sooner we acknowledge our situation for
what it really is the sooner we can instill a desire for change.
Nothing changes without action, if you want to change your life you
need to make changes in your life. "If we don't change, we don't grow. If we don't grow, we aren't really living".
- Gail Sheehy
What if we have the desire, we want to make a change and take action
but just don't feel the motivation to do so? Have you ever wanted to
start an exercise program or rather felt you needed to start an exercise
program? Many of us do at this time of year. If you waited to feel
inspired to exercise you may wait a lifetime, but once you actually
exercise you feel better and think "Why did I resist working out? I
know I always feel better afterwards." From this example we see that it was
actually action that let to motivation. "Take action even when you
don't know what to do" - Jack Canfield. “Action is the foundational key to all success.” - Pablo Picasso. A
wise friend once said “It’s only by starting to walk on the path that
you can know for sure if you have taken the correct path”. Taking
actions gets us moving, the first step is the most important. Newton’s
first law of Motion states: “A body in motion remains in motion unless
it is acted on by an external force. If the body is at rest it remains
at rest”. Once you get started it is easier to stay in motion, but the
most difficult part is that first movement. Once you are moving, define
exactly where you want to go and continue moving in that direction.
so what if we have a desire, we have a goal, we have a plan, we are
motivated but we are still not getting what we want. I see this a lot
especially with those wanting to start a business. They want it bad,
they have a good business plan, they know the plan, they rework the
plan, they refine their plan...rework the plan again and again...do you get where
I'm going with this? Paralysis of Analysis. This is when we think too
much about what we are going to do and never actually do it. "Take time
to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking
and go in". - Napoleon Bonaparte. Of course we take time developing a
plan of action but once we have this plan it is time to take action; there
will never be the perfect time. “Don't wait. The time will never be just
right.” - Napoleon Hill. The plan will never be perfect but action will
always beat inaction. Ernest Hemingway spoke of this when he said "Never
mistake motion for action." If we are going over and over in our head
what our plan is we are in motion, but until we do something we are not
taking action. I have had the privilege of helping many people start new
business, 43 people in the last few months. For some of them they have
taken action and jumped right in but for others they have shown
paralysis of analysis. We work together to set out the plan, they learn
the plan but they rework the plan again and again, they want to make
themselves a "master" before starting. Unfortunately while they are
spending time mastering the competition is out getting customers.
Customers that could have been theirs but they were not in the market
place yet because they were still in mastery mode. The only way you are
going to be a master is to get out there and do. The book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell suggest to be come a master at anything it takes 10,000 hours of doing to become a master of a skill.
"An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory." - Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Sure you may fail a few times along the way, you will fall, but you will
get back up and be better for it. "I've missed more than 9000 shots in my
career. I've lost almost 300
games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and
missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is
why I succeed."- Michael Jordan. What if Michael Jordan was afraid of
missing a shot so he decided to wait until his shot was perfect before
playing competitive basket ball?
Here are 7 ways to get started that have worked for me and hopefully will help you.
1. Don’t wait until conditions are perfect
– If you’re waiting to start until conditions are perfect, you probably
never will. There will always be something that isn’t quite right.
Either the timing is off, the market is down, or there’s too much
competition. In the real world there is no perfect time to start. You
have to take action and deal with problems as they arise.
2. Be a doer
- Practice doing things rather than thinking about them. Do you want to
start exercising? Do you have a great idea to start something? Do it
today. The longer an idea sits in your head without being acted on, the
weaker it becomes. After a few days the details gets hazy. After a week
it’s forgotten completely. By becoming a doer you’ll get more done and
stimulate new ideas in the process.
3. Remember that ideas alone don’t bring success
– Ideas are important, but they’re only valuable after they’ve been
implemented. One average idea that’s been put into action is more
valuable than a dozen brilliant ideas that you’re saving for “some other
day” or the “right opportunity”. If you have an idea the you really
believe in, do something about it. Unless you take action it will never
4. Use action to cure fear
– Have you ever noticed that the most difficult part of public speaking
is waiting for your turn to speak? Even professional speakers and
actors experience pre-performance anxiety. Once they get started the
fear disappears. Action is the best cure for fear. The most difficult
time to take action is the very first time. After the ball is rolling,
you’ll build confidence and things will keep getting easier. Kill fear
by taking action and build on that confidence.
5. Start your creative engine mechanically
– One of the biggest misconceptions about creative work is that it can
only be done when inspiration strikes. If you wait for inspiration to
slap you in the face, your work sessions will be few and far between.
Instead of waiting, start your creative motor mechanically. If you need
to write something, force yourself to sit down and write. Put pen to
paper. Brainstorm. Doodle. By moving your hands you’ll stimulate the
flow of ideas and inspire yourself.
6. Live in the present
- Focus on what you can do in the present moment. Don’t worry about
what you should have done last week or what you might be able to do
tomorrow. The only time you can affect is the present. If you speculate
too much about the past or the future you won’t get anything done.
Tomorrow or next week frequently turns into never.
7. Get down to business immediately
– It’s common practice for people to socialize and make small talk at
the beginning of meetings. The same is true for individual workers. How
often do you check email or facebook before doing any real work? (guilty
of this myself) These distractions will cost you serious time if you
don’t bypass them and get down to business immediately. By becoming
someone who gets to the point you’ll be more productive and people will
look to you as a leader.
Are you ready to take action? I hope you have found this to be helpful
and I look forward to hearing from you if it does. No matter where we
are at in life at this time there is more out there for us. My favorite
quote of all time is "what the mind can convince and believe it can
achieve"- Napolian Hill. Make a goal, believe in it and take action on