Chances are that you go to work, come home, eat a little unhealthy food, watch four or five hours of television, go to bed, don’t sleep well, and then get up tomorrow to do it all over again. You spend more than you make, exercise less than you should, and complain that there just isn’t enough time to get it all done. And you wonder why your life is the way it is.
Your life is the way it is because that’s exactly how you want it to be!
“How can you say that? I want to be happy, healthy, and rich.”
That is a lie. If you really wanted those things, you would have those things.
The truth is that you want those things, but you just don’t want them enough to do what it takes to get them. You aren’t willing to sacrifice your current lifestyle in order to get what you want, so you end up living with what you’ve got.
Do you have a written plan for every area of your life? Most people spend more time planning their day off than they do planning the rest of their lives.
What kind of house do you want to live in? What kind of car do you want to drive, how would you like to dress, what kind of restaurants do you want to eat at, and where would you like to vacation? Do you know what you want your blood pressure to be and how much you want to weigh? How much money do you want to have in the bank for savings and retirement? Do you even have a plan for your retirement or your child’s college fund or a medical emergency? My bet is you don’t have any of these things written down.
It is likely that these things are afterthoughts to you – things that happen after you have spent all of your money and watched your television shows – they are not your priorities.
Your time and money always follow your priorities. Look at how people spend their time and money, and you always know what is important to them.
Do this: Get a sheet of paper and write down exactly what you want your life to look like. Be detailed. Then focus on these things every day. Add to the list when you think of something. This is not goal setting – this is priority setting. Take action on your priorities, talk about your priorities, and spend your money and your time on your priorities. Then you really can be happy, healthy, and rich.
Is the glass half full or half empty? Who cares!
It doesn’t matter if the glass is half full or half empty. The only thing that matters is whether what’s in it quenches your thirst. In other words, does it work?
There are literally thousands of people spouting ridiculous platitudes that do nothing more than make you feel good for the moment and have very little lasting effect. They sound good, but they don’t work. Let me prove it to you. I’ll bet you’ve heard these lines:
“As long as you have a good, positive attitude, everything will be all right.” Sorry, but that is a lie. I’ve had a positive attitude my entire life and had plenty of garbage happen to me. So get a little negative. Get sick of the way things are so you will take action to change things. Get fed up; realize you deserve better and that you aren’t going to be satisfied with anything less than the best for yourself and your family. Remember: You have to get negative about your life before you can take positive action in your life.
“You can be whatever you want to be, do whatever you want to do, and have whatever you want to have.” What?! If you’re 5’8” and 42 years old, odds are you’re not going to make the next tryouts for the starting center for the San Antonio Spurs even if you love the game of basketball. A friend of mine has always wanted to be the starting goaltender for the Montreal Canadiens – well, he turns 52 next week and has finally realized that that ship has sailed. You can’t be whatever you want to be or do whatever you want to do. You can do what you have the talent for and are willing to dedicate the time and effort into becoming based on your innate potential. You can always do more than you think you can, but you can’t do anything. And you certainly can’t have whatever you want. You can have whatever you believe you deserve and whatever you take action toward achieving, utilizing your abilities, your thoughts, and your words.
“There are no problems, only opportunities.” I have problems. Period. I’ll bet you do too. And I find it insulting when someone tells me otherwise. Sometimes, there is no way to dress up the problem and call it an opportunity. Instead, face the problem. Acknowledge the problem for what it is. Then circle the wagons and tackle the problem head-on.
My point? Be careful what you buy into and act upon. When you hear something, make sure it makes good sense, and then try it. If it works, run with it. If it doesn’t work, dump it and run from it.
I want things to be different. I want people to be more successful, have more money, be healthier, raise better children, and have better results in every area of their lives. I actually believe that everyone wants those things for their own lives as well. Can you imagine anyone telling you that they don’t want more money, financial security, better health, more success, or better children? I certainly can’t imagine it. So if we all want those things, then why don’t more people experience those things?
People are messing up their lives by making silly decisions and doing silly things. I have decided it is time to bring the silliness of people out in the open and address it head-on. I am tired of people pussyfooting around the topic of stupid people, and my guess is you are, too. I find it laughable that society has become so politically correct that we can no longer call things what they are and have to make up ridiculous excuses for the fact that people are just being silly. It is time to deal with the things people do, figure out why they do them, and show them how they can stop doing them. Sound fair?
Here is the deal: We talk a good game. We say we want to do more, be more, and have more. Sadly, it stops right there for most. The talk is about as far as it goes. Of course, some will tell you that talk is all you need to change your life. They will tell you the secret is to get your thinking right and your self-talk right and repeat affirmations about what you want to have happen, and then your life will get on track and you will see amazing things start to happen. What a waste of time all of that is. Let’s get a few things straight: Hope is not a strategy for success. Positive thinking is not a wealth plan. Self-talk does not move you closer to success. Your rose-colored glasses and your positive-attitude smiley-face outlook aren’t going to do it either. It takes work. Good old-fashioned, roll-up-your sleeves and break-a-sweat W-O-R-K! That is what’s wrong with a lot of the fluff and advice that’s out there. Some people won’t tell you that it takes hard work to change your life. That’s also attributed to a lot of silliness. They talk about all the success they want in every area of their lives but don’t take the appropriate action to make sure they back up their words with the work it takes to make their words come to pass. The huge discrepancy between what we say and what we do.
Want examples? Easy!
Ask the average American if he or she wants to be healthier. Sure he or she does! Liar, liar pants on fire! The average American eats nearly twice the recommended number of calories daily. The average American is not physically active (60 percent of Americans, in fact). One point three billion Americans still smoke cigarettes, which will end life much earlier. Thirty-three billion dollars will be spent this year on weight-loss products and services. So do people really want to be healthier? Their words say yes, but their actions say no.
Want better children? Of course we all want better children! Really? Bull. A recent study said that the average American parent spends only 3.5 minutes per week in meaningful conversation with his or her children. Sure we want better kids, just not enough to talk to them. Want more examples? Twenty-five percent of teenage girls have an STD. Parents, where are you? Thirty percent of children between the ages of six and 19 are at risk of being obese. Who is buying that food? Fixing that food? Feeding their kids that food? Hello!
Want more money? Forty percent of us spend more than we earn. The average 50-year-old has less than $2,500 saved. Again, proof that we are silly!
I believe my point is made. So what do we do about it? Three simple things: Recognition, Education, and Application.
- Recognition. Figure out where you are being an idiot. That isn’t hard. Just look at your results. Good results are the result of good behavior. Bad results are the result of bad behavior. Change your behavior, and you will change your results—which means that you have to recognize that you are doing stupid things and that those things are giving you lousy results. At that point, you have to take responsibility for those actions. Don’t blame the economy, the government, your boss, or your parents. Your actions created your results. When you have completed this step (and not until you have completed this step), you will be ready to move forward.
- Education. This one is simple. Figure out what you need to know in order to stop doing stupid things. Chances are you already know and just aren’t doing it. But in some cases you may really need to gain some new information. Information has never been easier to get. Go to google.com and type in “How do I ___________?” Then fill in the blank with whatever you need to know, and you will find dozens of answers about how to do just about anything. Never say that you can’t succeed based on a lack of information; that is a weak excuse. Get the information you need.
- Application. A slightly more sophisticated word for WORK. You have to know where you are messing up, figure out what it takes to fix it, and then go to work on it. And this is where it all falls apart for most people. They aren’t willing to work. That is, until it is almost too late. When are people willing to stop smoking? When they are diagnosed with cancer or emphysema. When are people willing to lose weight? When they have a heart attack or find out they are diabetic. When it is almost too late to fix something, people get really interested in fixing things. Don’t make this mistake. Take action before it is too late. Make your mistake, figure out what you did wrong, learn from your mistake, and then take action as soon as you can so you won’t have to experience the pain of your mistake for any longer than you have to.
Simple enough? I think so. Success is always simple and never easy. It’s always hard and never complicated.
Here is the question: What should you do now? It’s not whether others should do this stuff. We would all say, “Of course they should!” It really comes down to the person staring back at you in the mirror. What should you do? Or better, “What can I do?” You can live a better life. You can have more money. Be a better manager. Be a more productive employee. Be a more involved parent. Be healthier. Have better relationships. You can do all of these things. But (and it’s a big but) only if you are willing to go to work. Change is hard. But it can be done when you decide to do whatever it takes to make it happen.