Archive for February, 2011|Monthly archive page

Success Is Not Calculated, It’s Earned

Success is not a bunch of numbers written next to a dollar sign or some mathematical formula that’s tabulated together so other people can see what you’ve done.  Sometimes success is defined with these tangible things but true success is intangible.  It’s a feeling.  A sense of right.  It’s the feeling you get when you have a dream, you follow that dream and then you achieve that dream.  It’s about being able to sit back and say, “this is what my life is supposed to be.”  It’s about not making reasons for why you aren’t doing what you wish you were doing.  It’s about not being jealous or envious of what others have, because you are living your dream, day in and day out.

Success is not always glorious.  Most of the time it’s hard work.  It’s sacrifice.  It’s things that no one else wants to do.  But that is why they’re not successful.  Separate yourself from those who are not willing to reach their potential.  To achieve this you will need drive.  You need passion.  You need willpower.  You need heart.  You need mental focus.  You need strength of every kind.  But what you don’t need is a calculator.

Tomorrow’s success is earned through today’s actions.  Take action.

Happy Wednesday!



Are You Mentally Resilient?

In order to be mentally resilient you need to be able to take situations with negative input and produce positive output.  The ability to do this is all based on how you react, respond and recover from these situations.  At the foundation of these three R’s is your attitude.  Without a positive attitude what you do with the three R’s is useless.  Once you get your attitude right then you can move on to building your mental resiliency.

First step: how do you react?

Reacting is about gathering information, processing it and then reacting mentally.  This is where your attitude is important.  If you have a negative attitude then the first reaction is probably going to be “woe is me!”  And let me tell you, no one is going to feel sorry for you, unless they have a negative attitude too.  But that’s not the kind of company you want to be spending your precious time with.  If you, on the other hand, have a positive attitude then you set yourself up to be able to react in a positive way.  Now your thought process is, “I can deal with this.  I can overcome this.  How can I make this better?”  Those are words that move you forward, not keep you in the same place feeling sorry for yourself.

Second step: how do you respond?

Your response will be dictated by how you reacted internally to the situation.  This will be based on many factors including your attitude, mindset and what your past experiences have been.  Responding can be empowering – if you have the right attitude.  It means you have taken the time to mentally react – you thought the situation through and now you are prepared to give a thoughtful and purposeful response.  Again, your attitude is important.  Your attitude that created your reaction directly impacts how you will respond.  If your attitude is bad you may respond with things like, “I’m doing the best I can.  I’m just doing what I was told.  I didn’t have enough time.”, or some other excuse-based response.  Alternatively, if you have the right attitude, you will avoid such defeating excuses and will instead have the character to be in control of your own emotions, think quickly on your feet, and come up with something that is forward moving rather than self-defeating.

Third step: how do you recover?

Recovery is about learning from what you experienced so you can lay the groundwork for the next reaction.  It prepares you and makes you more mentally resilient.  Isn’t that the old adage, what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger?  Yes, once you experience something and get past it, it doesn’t seem as daunting the second time around.  You can also think of this as reflection.  Recovery is about reflecting on the situation – what happened and how you handled it.  Recovery is the time during which who you are comes face-to-face with who you want to become.  This is when you have the opportunity to adjust the sails to keep yourself headed in the right direction.  In a direction filled with self-esteem, self-reliance, self-confidence and mental strength and resiliency.

Your reactions lay the groundwork for how you respond, which paves the way for how you can recover to prepare yourself for the next challenge.  These challenges may come in the form of a friend, a sibling, a parent, a child, a coworker or a spouse.  But next time you are challenged, welcome it, because now you have the recipe to overcome it and emerge on the other side with a great life lesson and improved mental resiliency.

Happy Wednesday!


Recognizing Your Opportunity Costs

Every decision you make forces you to pass up one opportunity to pursue another opportunity.  The opportunity you pass up is the opportunity cost of choosing the other opportunity.  There will rarely be a case where you don’t have to sacrifice one thing to get another.  That’s where you have to weigh the opportunity costs and make a choice.  For instance, is a sure thing worth more than getting a shot at achieving your dreams?  Or is getting that chance, even if you don’t achieve it, worth more?  Whether you consciously recognize this decision-making process or not, you are doing it every-time you make a decision.

So how do you guarantee you make the right decisions?

Simply put, you can’t.  You cannot expect to always make the right decisions.  Sometimes, what seems like the right decision may in fact be the wrong decision, or vice versa.  Nevertheless, what you need to do first is think long and hard about what it is that you actually want out of life.  You need a vision.  You can think about this in a number of ways but I would suggest thinking as big as possible.  If you could have your perfect life what would it look like and what would you need?  Where do you want to live?  How much money do you need?  Do you want to get married?  Do you want to have kids?  Do you want to travel?  Do you want to have flexible work hours?  Do you want to be financially independent?  Be as specific as possible but realize you can always change your mind later.  This may or may not be an easy exercise but it is an extremely important step in this process.  Once you’ve figured out what you want the rest of this process becomes pretty simple, relatively speaking.

Now that you have a vision for your life, you can recognize the opportunity cost of your decisions.  Every decision from here on out must must be weighed against that vision and must also get you closer to that vision, otherwise, it’s a waste of your time, energy and resources.  For instance, if you wanted to lose weight to become healthier and more energetic, do you think going out every night drinking and partying would get you closer to, or farther away from, that vision?  Obviously, it’s getting you farther away.  That’s a pretty simple example but illustrates the concept.  The opportunity cost of going out drinking and partying every night, is not being able to lose weight in order to have more energy and live a healthier lifestyle.

So that’s all it comes down to.  To minimize your opportunity cost plug your decisions into the sentence below.  Keep in mind that “cost” does not necessarily mean money but rather the measure of what you will be giving up.  This could be measured in dollars but does not have to be.

The Opportunity Cost Decision Making Question:

If I do X will this get me closer to, or farther away from, the vision for my life, Y?

If you ask that question and the answer is “no” then don’t think any further.  It doesn’t matter how good of an opportunity it may appear to be, if it doesn’t fit into your vision then it doesn’t matter and you shouldn’t do it.  In other words, the opportunity cost is high.  On the other hand, if the answer is “yes” then you should get started right away.  The opportunity cost is low, so the sooner you get going the better.  What most people often miss is making their every day decisions based on the path to their goals.  They expect that one day they will just achieve what they’ve always dreamed of achieving as long as they work hard.  Honestly, that is foolish and stupid.  You need to have a plan and you need to have a purpose.  Nobody just wakes up one day and achieves their life’s vision without first putting in the work and effort it takes to get there.  Once you have a vision you can then create a plan.  The important thing is that the plans you create must always be made with the end in mind.

This is no guarantee that your vision will come true if you operate this way.  But I can promise you it won’t if you don’t do this.  So this is your only option.  To know your vision.  To keep that vision in the top of your mind at all times.  And to make every decision in your life based on reaching that vision.  This will keep you with laser-beam focus and will assure you the best opportunity to achieve what you’ve set out to achieve.

Happy Wednesday!


A Special Kind Of Unique

“In my honest opinion, success is about making your life a special version of unique that fits who you are, not what other people want you to be.”

Do you ever think about why you do the things you do?  Is it because you think they will make you more successful?  What does achieving higher levels of financial success really give you in the bigger picture of your life?  What does having a bigger, nicer or more expensive house really do for you?  Does having a new car make you more successful?  What do all these possessions mean?  Do they mean you are more successful?  Who’s standards are all these things being measured against?  Are they yours?  Do these belongings create a special version of unique in your life?

Ultimately, you have the choice to say what success means to you, and what you need to do to achieve it.  At the end of the day, the only person you have to answer to is yourself.  So have you ever asked if you are happy with what you are doing today to become successful?  If you’re not, what do you think you could do differently?  How do you think you could change the path you are on, to lead you to a place where you’re more successful?  Maybe change jobs?  Change cities?  Get rid of material possessions?  Buy more material possessions?  Have more?  Have less?  Have you ever asked yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing?

Mark Cuban is the author of the quote that started this post.  He tells you what his definition of success is: he’s trying to make his life a special version of unique that fits who he is.  How he does that is by asking himself a simple question to determine whether or not he will do something.  That question is, “when I hopefully turn 90, and look back at my life, would I regret having done it, or not having done it?”

Pretty simple.  But it can make your decision-making process much easier when deciding whether something fits into your life’s journey to success.  If you think it’s something you will regret not having done then maybe you should do it.  And if you think you might regret doing it, then you should probably trust that feeling and not do it.  Remember, every decision you make will, in some way, effect where your life takes you.  And also remember that you attract to yourself that which you are.  Keep that in mind when making decisions on your journey to success.  If you choose to take short cuts and try to cheat your way to success you will find yourself with everyone else who took that same path.  And you will realize that road is filled with many empty rewards.  But, if you choose to live a life where you hold high standards and always strive to do your best you will attract to yourself people of the same caliber.  In that respect, you will be given the opportunity to live in a world where everyone around is always doing their best.  Those are the people you want to share your life and success with.  That is the world in which you should want to live.

Today is unique for all of us in that we will never live this day again, so when you’re 90 what will you remember about it?

Happy Wednesday!


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