Inspired by The Born to Win Seminar
There's an old saying that “by the mile it's a trial, and by the inch it's a cinch.”
The reason the saying is old is because it's good;
it's valid. If it were not, it would be dead and buried. For 24 years of my adult life, by choice, I weighed well over 200 pounds. I say “by choice” because I have never “accidentally” eaten anything. So when I choose to eat too much, I have chosen to weigh too much. Every choice has an end result.
Twenty-two years ago I decided to do something about my weight and physical condition, so I got on an exercise and sensible eating program. Until then, my idea of exercise was to fill the tub, take a bath, pull the plug and fight the current — and I know you’ll agree that’s not much of an exercise program! It took me 10 months to lose the 37 pounds I needed to lose. During that period of time I also wrote my first book, See You at the Top
. It is 384 pages long and was the eighth best-selling hardback of the ’80s. It also became a bestseller for Nightingale-Conant!
Let’s explore what I just said. Losing 37 pounds in 10 months meant that I lost an average of 1.9 ounces per day. Writing a 384-page book in 10 months meant that I wrote an average of 1 1/4 pages per day. You raise positive kids in a negative world, build a beautiful relationship with your mate, become a top-performing student, a world-class salesperson, or a top executive or educator not by a few mammoth leaps but by the daily, disciplined application of doing something every day to reach your objectives in life.
The Power of Choices
The choice is yours. Question: Do you believe there is something you can do specifically in the next seven days that would make your personal, family, and business life worse? Chances are good you did a double take on that one and rhetorically responded, “What does he mean, ‘make it worse’?” Okay, next question: Do you honestly believe there is something you can do in the next seven days that would make your personal, family, and business life better
? Chances are astronomical that you answered “yes” to that one. With that in mind, let me pause for a moment and ask you, Do you believe the choice is yours, and do you believe that every choice has an end result?
Now, let’s think it through as I make the observation that if you were serious with your answers, you just made a profound statement. Here’s what you said: “I don’t care how good or bad my past has been; I don’t care how good or bad my circumstances are at this moment. There is something I can specifically do right now that will make my future either better or worse, and the choice is mine.” That thought is truly profound. Think about it. You
can do something about your
future. To dramatically improve your odds of making it better, you must accept that responsibility. Two-time Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Barbara Tuchman said that America’s number one need is “people who accept responsibilities.”
Cheerful, Upbeat People Reproduce Cheerful, Upbeat People
One thing you can almost always choose to do is have a cheerful, upbeat attitude. You get back what you send out. I am a very “up” person, and people frequently ask me how I maintain my enthusiasm. I do several things, including reading an average of three hours each day for the past 26 years. One of the fun things I do is to give people my special greeting. Whether it’s eight o’clock in the morning or eight o’clock at night, I always try to greet others before they have a chance to speak to me.
My greeting is always the same, whether I’m in Auckland, New Zealand, or Augusta, Maine. I use an enthusiastic “Good morning!” Interestingly enough, 85% of those who respond will respond by saying “Good morning” — even if it’s eight o’clock at night. Many of them cut it short before they finish the word morning
, and then say, “It’s not morning!” And I respond, “Then, why did you say, ‘Good morning’?” They tell me it’s because I said “Good morning.”
The point I make is significant. If you go out in life looking for friends, they’re hard to find; but if you go out in life to be a friend, you will find them everywhere. What you send out is exactly what you get back. You send out a “Good morning,” and in most cases you’ll get back a “Good morning.” Send out a cheerful, positive greeting, and most of the time you will get back a cheerful, positive greeting. It’s also true that if you send out a negative greeting, you will, in most cases, get back a negative greeting.
Staying Up, Up, Up in a Down, Down World
There are tremendous benefits in greeting people with an enthusiastic “Good morning!,” even when it’s 8:00 p.m. The reason is simple: The best way for me to feel upbeat and optimistic is for me to make an effort to make others feel upbeat and optimistic. Admittedly, on rare occasions, I get back a less than chipper reply, but from my perspective that’s their problem and not mine. For each stinking-thinking reply I get, I get back a hundred positive ones. The other reason I say “Good morning” is that I always believe the best part of the day is still in front of me. As far as I’m concerned, the use of the word morning
When someone beats me to the draw and says something like, “Good morning. How are you?” I always respond in one of two ways. I will either say, “Better than good, and that’s an understatement,” or “Super good, but I’m getting better!” Almost without exception after an interchange like that the other person is smiling. When I cause someone else to smile, I leave them slightly better than I found them, which makes me feel better.
Phase two of this approach to life is what I say when I part company with an individual.
Instead of the usual “Have a good day,” I say, “I’ll see you over the top!,” which also brings a smile. Just in case you’re wondering if that is the “real world,” my answer is, “You bet it is!” One of the interesting psychological truths is that logic will not change an emotion, but action will. This approach is initiating a physical action, which will, in fact, make me feel better while also making the other person feel better. This validates the concept that you can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.
Stay Disciplined in your Approach
In today’s social climate, many people look with disfavor on the word discipline
because they simply do not understand that discipline
means “to instruct or educate, to inform the mind, to prepare by instructing in correct principles and habits.” No one who achieves greatness does so without discipline. Sybil Stanton, in her beautiful book The Twenty-Five Hour Woman
, accurately states that “discipline is not on your back, needling you with imperatives; it is at your side, nudging you with incentives.” It’s true that when you discipline yourself to do the things you need to do, when you need to do them, the day’s going to come when you can do the things you want to do, when you want to do them. It’s also true that life is tough, but when you are tough on yourself, life will be infinitely easier on you.
Today many people want to be free to do as they please, but consider this: If you take the train off the tracks, it’s free — but it can’t go anywhere. Take the steering wheel out of the automobile, and it’s under the control of no one, but it is useless. The reality is that until the sailor disciplines himself to be obedient to the compass, he will have to stay within sight of shore. However, once he is obedient to that compass, he can go anywhere in the world the sailboat will take him. Yes, discipline is the missing ingredient that will make the difference in your life. Discipline yourself today so you can have a better life tomorrow.
Give this approach an honest trial, and I’ll SEE YOU AT THE TOP!
is known as America’s Motivator. He is best known for his inspirational messages of hope through his 28 books and numerous audio and video recordings, among them the legendary Born to Win Seminar