Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Post #4 - My Success Ideas-Responsibility

Well after a lengthy break I am back with another post. Today I am going to talk about the third pillar of success. If you have been reading along then you will know that the first pillar was "attitude" and that the second pillar was "decisions". Well I believe that the third necessary pillar to be successful in life is responsibility. What I mean by responsibility is not only being dependable in your day to day life, although that is certainly important,but more importantly I mean taking responsibility for your own life. I mean looking in the mirror and being totally honest with yourself. Too many people I believe blame the problems in their life on other people or on outside events. I believe that before we can become successful we need to learn that the only one we have to blame for things that aren't the way we would like them to be is OURSELVES. Until we learn that we can not move forward. We can not take the next step until we accept that the reason that we are where we are in life right now, right at this moment, is because of the decisions and the actions that we ourselves have taken. Nobody else is to blame! If you are not happy with some aspect of your life right now, be it financial, health , relationship, then it is because of you, no one else is to blame, it is all on you. It is not your employers fault for not paying you enough, it is not your girlfriends fault for dumping you, it is not your parents fault for not raising you correctly.....it is your fault. We need to accept this fact. If this seems a little harsh there is an important reason for this. For once we accept, and I mean truly accept that we are the reason why we are where we are at right now, then we can move forward. And here is the exciting part. Once you realize that it is all on you up to this point,then that also means that your future is also all on you! This means that no one else can determine your future for you!! This means that the decisions and the actions that you take from this moment forward are going to determine where you will be one month from now, one year from now and ultimately 5, 10 or 2o years from now. We shape our own future.We are all responsible for our own lives. If we make good decisions and have a good attitude and take positive actions then I can guarantee you that you are going to be better off in the future, but before we can do that, we have to accept responsibility for where we are right now. This is one of those things that is so easy to say but so hard to do. It is human nature to blame someone else or something else for our shortcomings, but this is a recipe for failure. You can't go through life blaming everyone else. I am trying to teach this to my kids right now but it is easier said than done. When I ask them why they are not doing as well as they could be in school they have a thousand excuses, but it is never their fault. I was the same, but as soon as I realized that I was responsible for my own life. For my health, my relationships, my finances, my career well then everything changed. It no longer mattered what the weather was, whether I had a supportive family or if the economy was good or bad because I was in control of my own life. I was no longer relying on anyone else, I was finally taking responsibility for my own life. I went back to school and upgraded my education, got my pilots license, met and married the woman of my dreams, bought a house, bought an apartment building etc etc. I have never looked back. I believe we all need to look in the mirror every so often and see how we are doing. How's your health and fitness? How's your relationship? How's your finances? If the answer to any of these questions is "not so good" then take responsibility. It is up to you and no one else. Accept that where you are is because of you and more importantly where you are going is also up to you. The past is over, it doesn't matter ! What matters is the future!!! So I encourage you to take responsibility for your future. If you don't know where to start that is o.k. I am going to share with you exactly what works for me.For now just realize that it is all up to you and that if you are willing to accept that responsibility then you are well on your way to a promising future.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Post #3 - My Success Ideas - Decisions

Well I am back again. Today I am going to share with you what I believe to be the second pillar, or second requirement that you must posses in order to be successful. If you have read my first two posts you will know that I believe that to be successful in life then there are four qualities you must work on before moving on to the specifics of success. In my last post I described these qualities as the pillars that provide the support for a building. It goes without saying that before you can build a tall building you need a strong base to support it. Well last post I told you that the first pillar was your "attitude"and how important it is that you have the right attitude. I believe the second pillar required for success is decisions or decision making. What do I mean by this? Well again I am drawing on what I have witnessed in my life up to this point, and time and again I have seen the importance of decision making in peoples life. Now I don't mean that you necessarily have to make the perfect decision every time, in fact you don't even have to make the right decision ( although that would certainly help), but you do have to make a decision and preferably a well thought out decision. I am not talking about decisions such as what to have for diner tonight, although that is a start and can certainly be important for your health, but instead I am talking about the bigger decisions we are faced with in life. Many people I come across in life are afraid of making decisions and instead wind up just drifting along trying to think as little as possible. In my experience these people end up ultimately unhappy with some or all of the aspects of their life. They are either overweight, broke, in an unfulfilling relationship or perhaps some combination of all of these and they have no idea why. Think for a moment how powerful a decision can be. Just one simple decision can change the course of your whole life ! I don't know about you but I find that exciting. If you were to make a decision tomorrow, a REAL decision not an "I'll try" or a"maybe", but if you were to make a decision tomorrow that you are going to be fit and healthy from this moment on, that you are going to watch what you eat and that you are going to follow a fitness plan ( don't worry as I will share my health and fitness plan with you in a later post) . If you were to genuinely make that decision tomorrow, well what kind of difference do you think that might make in your life. If you ate healthy foods and worked out on a regular basis and thus were full of energy and proud of the way you felt and looked then don't you think that would effect the rest of your life. Not just today, but five years from now, ten years from now even 20 years from now. Of course it would!! And it all started with a decision. Not a spur of the moment type, but a well thought out decision weighing the pros and cons of continuing on your current path or of committing to a new path. I cannot emphasize how important decisions can be and this is in just one area of your life that we are talking about. What if you were to make similar decisions for all the areas of your life? For your finances, your relationships and your career? What kind of a difference do you think those decisions might have on your life? I'll tell you - they would make a HUGE difference! When I was 19 years old I wanted to be a pilot but unfortunately my family couldn't afford the cost of flying school so I made a decision and I joined the military. Now before I could become a pilot I first had to become a military officer. Now a big part of being a military officer and being able to lead others is being able to make decisions. I remember that they would take us out into the field and they would put one of us in charge and then call over whoever was in charge and give them their "orders" . It usually involved some sort of task that had to be completed within a certain time frame. It may have been building a bridge over a creek or setting up camp for the night. At the time we all thought that we were being graded on the finished task. On how well the bridge or the camp looked and functioned when it was complete.When I look back now however I can see what it is that they really wanted to see. They wanted to see if we could make a decision and then follow it through. It may not have been the perfect solution to the tasks that were given,but those that gave it some thought, made a decision and then provided direction to complete their decision did well. Those that hummed and hawed and asked everyone else what they thought and then changed their minds numerous times did not make it through. I was fortunate to receive this training at a young age and was able to apply it to other areas of my life. This has proven to be invaluable in my life. What I am saying to you is that we have to consciously decide what it is we want in life and then have the discipline to follow through. Life is filled with decisions from what shall I have for breakfast to shall I buy a house or rent one? If we become aware of these decisions, and make good decisions more often than not and develop the discipline to follow through we are well on our way to becoming successful. If we choose the fruit and the oatmeal for breakfast more than we choose the bacon and eggs then the cumulative effect over a lifetime can be great. Decisions are a powerful tool, they can literally change your life in an instant, for better or for worse. If tomorrow you decide to be successful, not wish, not want but truly decide then I promise you your life will change for the better. Again I know it sounds simple, and again it is simple, the key is to make sure that you don't just float through life but that you actually take the time to sit down and make some real decisions. So again the second pillar is decisions and when you combine this with the first pillar, which was attitude, then you are well on your way. I believe the secrets to success are not really secrets at all but are just a matter of doing the simple things on a regular basis. So I encourage to sit down now and make some decisions....give it some thought and then decide what you want for your life, it really is one decision that could change your entire life. And if you do decide that you want to be successful and that you want to change certain areas of your life, then come back again, because next I will share with you the last two pillars of the base of success that we are building. After that I plan to I share with you what I do in each area of my life specifically that has helped me to become successful. Thanks for reading.....


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Post #2 -My Success Ideas - Attitude

Well as the title says here we go. This is my second in what I hope will eventually be a long series of posts.. What I want to do in this post is lay some groundwork. I have come to believe that in order to be successful in any area of your life there are certain qualities one must possess, or put another way, one must think and act in a certain way to be successful. Now I know you may be thinking that this is starting to sound a little wishy washy but if you think about it for a moment doesn't it make sense that if you want to be successful then you should act like successful people act. If you wanted to be a better golfer wouldn't you want to learn what Tiger Woods does and try and imitate him? If you wanted to be a better cook wouldn't you want learn from the best chefs in the world and try and use their recipes? This is exactly what I am suggesting here. I am simply saying that if you want to be successful - study success. Find out what successful people do and think.........and do and think that! Better yet, then find out what unsuccessful people do and think......and don't do and think that! Simple isn't it? Again, I know this sounds a little esoteric but don't worry because I am here to help. What I meant when I said earlier that I wanted to lay some "groundwork" is I want to share with you what I have learned from my study of success. Now I still encourage you to go out and start your own study of success, but I will now share with you four traits or attributes that I believe most successful people share and which I encourage you to start to work on acquiring, if you do not already possess them, or improving on if you are fortunate to already possess them to some extent. I like to think of these as four pillars or four legs. Just like a building or a table requires a strong base of support, I believe that any quest for lifelong success also requires a strong base.

The first of these pillars may be the most important of all and that is your "attitude". What I mean by attitude is the way you approach and look at things on a daily basis. Throughout my life I have found that you can have two people faced with the exact same situation and yet quite often they will see it in two totally different ways. One person will focus on all the negative facts and think of all the negative possibilities and will thus have a very unenjoyable experience. Now you can observe another person in the exact same situation and just by looking at things in a slightly different light it changes their whole perception of the experience. By focusing on what went right, as opposed to what went wrong, they may actually find the experience enjoyable, or if not enjoyable, then certainly not as unpleasant as the first person. It is the old question "Is the glass half full or half empty?" Now I know this sounds incredibly simplistic and it is simple, but throughout my life I have witnessed the incredible difference a positive attitude can have on not only a situation but also the effect it can have on those around you. As I mentioned in my introduction I work as an airline pilot for a major carrier. Now as I'm sure most of you know travelling by air can be a very stressful and frustrating situation. After thinking about it for many years I believe it has something to do with giving up control of your time and schedule and not having any input, but I will save that theory for another blog. The story I want to share with you is that I have worked and flown with many different pilots throughout my career and they have all come with their own unique attitude, but there was one fellow many years ago who had a profound effect on me. His name was Bill, and Bill was one of the most positive and optimistic people I have ever had the good fortune of meeting. Bill was different than most in that he always assumed that things would work out in the end. I can remember flying with Bill once and when we showed up in the flight planning room a snow storm was just starting to blow in. Now there were no delays yet, but it certainly appeared to me that there was a pretty good chance that we would be delayed and I expressed this opinion to Bill. Bill would have none it, although he admitted that we might get delayed he said that we were going to go straight to the airplane and do our best to get out on time. Well I had nothing to lose so I grabbed my bags and off we headed to the gate. I must admit I wasn't feeling too confident that we would get away on time but If Bill wanted to try...hey why not? Well we came up to the gate with our flight bags in tow and before even looking up at us the ticket agent working the flight says " well I guess there is no rush today, it doesn't look like you guys will be leaving on time ".Well again Bill would have none of it and he told the agent that we were planning an on time departure and that we were now going to go get the airplane ready and if she could get all the passengers on board because if possible we were going to try to leave early ! All the agent could say at this point was "really???" Bill went on to explain to her that at this point it was just a little snow (he was right as it had just started snowing) and that he was headed outside to talk to the ground crew to make sure that they would be ready to go early as well....and he did!! He went straight outside with a big "hello" to the ground crew, asked them how their day was going, and then went on to explain how we were trying to leave early and would appreciate any help from them. Well to make a long story short as flights all around us left late we actually left early!! It was as if Bill's positive attitude had rubbed off on everyone he came in contact with. He even had a name for it...he called it "positive energy". I flew with him for four days that time and everywhere we went Bill had me pass on estimates to the company saying that we were going to be arriving early. Well we didn't always arrive early, and sometimes we were even late, but since we were telling everyone that we were going to be early everyone was always ready and waiting for us. I was amazed at how smooth things went! I flew with Bill many times after that and it was always the same, he was always in a good mood, was always very encouraging, and was always very positive. He truly was apleasure to fly with. This was the first time I thought- hey maybe there is something to this "positive energy" stuff. Well I can tell you for a fact now that it works. I now believe 100 percent that if you go into a situation expecting it not to work out that those around you pick up on that energy and 9 times out of 10 things will not work out. However if you go in with positive thoughts and expecting a positive outcome the opposite is true. Your enthusiasm and optimism will rub off on others and you greatly increase your odds of things working in your favour. Since those days of flying with Bill I have adopted his positive energy attitude and have noticed a tremendous difference in my life, and I find that I am generally just a happier person! Now whenever I work with someone who starts down the "oooh man this is gonna be a long day" road I always tell my Bill story and say we are going to try and be early. Now I am the first to admit that this sounds overly simplistic, and I am not saying that you should ignore negative things in your life and just think positive, that is just hiding from your problems. What I am saying is that you should face your problems and when you start to hear those self doubts or those around you expressing their doubts try and think of the best possible outcome and strive for that. Sometimes all it takes is one person to break the negative cycle and turn things around in a more positive direction. But hey don't take my word for it....try it yourself. When you get up tomorrow tell yourself what a great day it is going to be today. Throughout your day as you tackle the challenges you face be optimistic that you can beat them. Try and send out some "positive energy" of your own!!!! Trust me it works. Now this post has gone on far longer than I had planned but I really wanted to stress the importance of a positive attitude and share with you the change it has had on my life. This is only one of the pillars that I spoke of earlier but I believe it is so very important. Believe me, trust me, what have you got to lose??? Try becoming a more positive person and you are well on your way to leading a more successful life.

If you enjoyed this post please come back tomorrow when I will share with you what I believe to be the second pillar in your base to building a successful life and please feel free to leave any comments you may have.