Isn’t it funny how the mind works? I remember when I was in grade school and instead of attempting to master math, I spent the most productive hours convincing myself that math was “too hard” and that it “made no sense” and that it was “stupid to do.”
I really convinced myself of that. Imagine that? I discovered years later that I could totally get my mind to buy into something. Today, it makes me take inventory of my life experiences to see what else I have talked myself into.
Some of us have talked ourselves into marriage. Some of us had to convince ourselves that the things are parents did were not wrong, it was just the way they expressed their love. Some of us had to convince ourselves that we are worthless and have no value. Still others have convinced themselves that they are the problem and not the other person. Some are convinced that their spiritual leader must be right, or he wouldn’t be a spiritual leader. All of this convincing causes us to live in pain – whether emotional, spiritual, mental or physical – we’re hurting … real bad!
It seems we have forgotten the simple lessons when someone is trying to sell us something. If it sounds too good to be true, it is. If it takes some convincing, then it was probably the wrong thing. There is always a reason why we have our reservations. But it seems we have a soft spot for ourselves. We want to believe that we care enough about ourselves to never lead US astray.
Unfortunately we do it often.
I can convince myself to love, hate, fight, hold a grudge, spend money, be comfortable with being wrong, gossip, mistreat people and settle. There is no end to what I can convince my mind to do.
Did you catch what I just said?
All of us have the ability to convince ourselves of anything. What if we were to convince ourselves to seek positive change, be honest with ourselves and those around us. What if we convinced ourselves to save money, love one another, glorify God or even resist the devil.
We need to take a self inventory of what we believe and how we came to believe it. Were we convinced by someone or self? Is what we believe true? To search ourselves and answer these questions is another way we can be free.
We could totally eliminate the words “I can’t” from our lives.
Then what would our reality be? What would it be like for us to exercise this over ourselves for the betterment of self. Is it too late for a situation or circumstance to be effected by this? Will we let fear stop us from doing what the rest of our being already knew to do?
Let’s not waste our minds on “I can’t.”
Every time I watch any of the Rocky series, I always seem to get caught up in the outcome. Saying I get caught up is an understatement. I even get quite emotional. The reason is because I can really relate. I haven’t boxed in years and I’m not talking about relating to boxing. I’m talking about being able to relate to struggle.
Of all the things that have been written about determination, I like this quote the best: “Four short words sum up what has lifted most successful individuals above the crowd: a little bit more. They did all that was expected of them and a little bit more.” Now I’m not sure who said this quote or where I originally read it, but it has been something that I often think about or focus on during difficult times.
I believe all successful people would at some point credit self determination as a catalyst to their success. Success of course is relative to what you want out of live and your decision to get it. We have to decide to be successful.
I don’t intend to make success seem like rocket science. I believe everyone is living the life they planned. I realize that this may be hard for some to take, but whether you planned to succeed or didn’t make a plan at all, your life is following a course. You determine whether it’s good or bad.
Determination is defined as the act of deciding definitely and firmly. Former President Abe Lincoln said, “Determine that the thing can and shall be done, and then we shall find the way.”
If you haven’t heard it before, let me tell you that whoever you are and it doesn’t matter where you are from, success is yours. All you have to do is first decide that you want it. Once you firmly decide to want something, this is the key to doing everything. I’ve often said that the only thing different between someone who has succeeded and someone who has failed is the fact that the successful one believed they could be successful. That’s it. Not education, not who they knew, not anything else but belief.
So I gotta ask you. What do you believe?
Let me explain.
An example of a resume that makes me laugh is one that I know is full of fluff. You know the type: The housewife who calls herself a domestic engineer or the receptionist who calls herself a communication specialist. Resumes that make me cry are the ones where you know the person didn’t use “spell check” and you see that the person is trying real hard, but too many errors spell trouble. Resumes that make me angry are the ones which are just an outright lie. This is beyond fluff. This is the idiot who thinks that you won’t contact the previous employers so they say they did things in the job responsibilities that don’t match the pay grade. The point of all of this is how we see ourselves.
Some people are the type that can “make it happen!” There are others who just simply “watch it happen!” and still others who wonder “what happen?” Of these three, which are you?
Are you the person who is working a dead end job with no room for advancement? Not only that, but if there was room for advancement, you don’t have any skills to advance. Does your resume look like a smorgasbord of jobs that don’t connect? There is nothing wrong with being this way if it’s working for you. If it’s not, it’s probably because you are the person who wonders “what happen?”
The scariest part of the economy collapse is the idea of old jobs vanishing and a person not being able to compete in the new job market. I remember in the ‘90s when the Willow Run plant closed in Ypsilanti, Mich., and many of the people there were out of work and could not find any jobs which paid the same as the plant. These were good folks who spent the last 18 – 20 years of their lives taking care of their families and putting their kids through school. They paid their bills on time and enjoyed a nice middle class income. Once the plant closed there was nothing. These folks had a high school education and with overtime made upwards of 70K. The only jobs available for them in the small town of Ypsilanti paid from six to eight dollars per hour. They were then stuck wondering what happen.
Those that “watch it happen” tend to be lazy. These are your run-of-the-mill, satisfied where I am, don’t want to break a sweat type people who are still looking for a short cut to success. These people clearly have the ability to be better, but won’t. Why you ask? Any number of reasons: scared of failure, scared of success, low self-worth, arrogant or lazy. I remember when I used to manage market research companies and I had an employee who had the right stuff to become a supervisor. This woman was a single parent and a very hard worker. The increase would have been an extra $7,680 per year for her. She said she didn’t want the extra responsibility. Go figure.
Then, of course, there is the category that everyone thinks they are in. We live in a society where not everyone can “make it happen”. There are many failures at the bottom of this group as those “watching” made an attempt or two to crossover this threshold. Balance is the key to success here. Anyone who has reached the right level of balance in their life has mastered this task of “making it happen.”
What I mean by balance is fulfilling the right amount of quality with quantity. The right amount of drive with humility; skill with education and patience with love – this category houses all of your visionaries. This group did not need motivation – it was built from within. They didn’t need to be reinforced, complimented or validated. These folks are not conceited; they’re as good as they say they are.
So I ask again, which one are you? And if you’re not satisfied with the outcome, change.
The movie Kung Fu Panda was on cable recently. It’s interesting how you can sit and watch some movies over and over again. This was a very cute movie – but I won’t give you a synopsis of it here.
However, I will share with you the gold nugget buried in this movie it’s one that many struggling adults also need to hear. “There is no secret ingredient” is the key to unlocking the next level for whatever stage you are at in life.
Some of us are simply “surviving” and are just thankful that we’re able to make ends meet – at least, most of the time.
Others have reached the stage called “contentment.” We are just continuing to do what we are doing because life is easy and it makes sense for us at this stage. We know we haven’t reached our full potential – but hey, we’re happy.
Some of us have reached the level where we actually begin to know that we are worth something. We may have thought we have some worth before, but situations and circumstances have happened to us – and we’ve seen some victories. Now we think we have it all figured out.
But this is where the frustration begins.
At this level, we begin to assess where we are in life – and we see that we have the potential to be farther along than we are now. We’re frustrated because we want our current job to make that happen for us, but it doesn’t happen. We feel trapped because we have bills to pay and a family to support. We can’t just keep jumping around from job to job — we need stability!
But at the same, we’re not sure we can handle the pressures that achieving the next level may bring. Oh, we talk tough when we’re angry—like when something happens on the job that makes us want to pack up and leave. But deep down, we know we can’t – because we’re trapped. The next stage is comfortable – which is just another form of contentment. After that comes (finally!) success – the real deal!
So how do we reach success? What’s the secret? In the movie, we learn that the secret is: THERE IS NO SECRET! It is YOU!
To succeed in anything, we must first believe we can do it. We can have all the skill, ability, talent, gifts – even a great smile – but the magic doesn’t start until we believe we can do it.
Problems are like math. There is a process to them. No matter how difficult the problem, the process of solving them remains the same. If you can multiply 2×2, then you understand the process and can multiply 13,658 x 27,498. One takes a little more time than the other, but the process is still the same.
If we were to take this approach to surmounting the obstacles we encounter in our lives, we would gain the confidence we need to tackle bigger problems.
Then – before we know it – we can handle anything life throws at us!
Case in point: Michael Jordan was probably one of the greatest basketball players ever to compete in the NBA. He always wanted to take the last shot and he thrived on high pressure situations. He would often hit the winning shot during the last few seconds of the game – devastating the hopes and confidence of the other team.
We always hear about the end result – how he hit the game winning shot. But what we don’t hear about is why. The answer is always clouded with statements like, “Wow! He’s just the greatest!” and “Gosh, how can he do that?” and “Oh my! Did you see that shot!?!”
If we could hit the slow-motion button just as Jordan is dribbling down the court to take the shot – and ask him WHY he is taking that shot, he would say, “Because I know I can make it.”
I’ll never forget that last shot in Hoosiers when the movie’s character, Jimmy, is in the huddle. The coach calls a play that shocks the team. He proposes using Jimmy as a decoy so someone else can take the last shot. Seeing the looks of dismay on the players’ faces, the coach frantically asks the team “What’s wrong?” Jimmy looks at him and says what the rest of the team was thinking.
“I’ll make it,” he said.
I still get chills thinking about that line.
I’ve made a few of those shots – both on and off the court. I hope you take away from this article the secret to the secret ingredient: YOU!