A lot of people think they can only be considered a success when they achieve their goals. That is not even close to true. Being someone who loves the process is just as important as achieving your goals. You can set a great example in several ways. Let us take a look at a few of them.
First is your ability to stay focused and moving forward. Some people call this ‘drive’ some people call it ‘persistence’. Whatever you call it, managing to go through the process day after day can inspire others to do the same. A lot of individuals I know have a hard time staying focused, especially when they are not seeing results. Seeing someone who continues to put the work in despite the results not being visible right away is inspiring. Think of that person who is struggling to get in shape, but still shows up at the gym every day. Personally, I find those people inspiring.
Another way to be a masterpiece while you are a work in progress is to show how you handle adversity. Everyone can be smiling and positive when the chips are going their way, but when the wheels fall off and things start going downhill that is when a person’s true character is revealed. Someone who can handle obstacles while staying calm, motivated and positive is a masterpiece!
Lastly, do not give up. It was Babe Ruth, the famous baseball player who said, “You just can’t beat the person who never gives up.” If Babe Ruth would have given up every time he struck out, he would not be the masterpiece of professional baseball that he is now. Believe in yourself. Not only will you be a masterpiece, but you may inspire others to do the same.
Fear not. This is not a loaded cannon nor would I advise sticking your head in the wrong end of a cannon. Just a goofy picture Margie took of me while we were visiting The House on the Rock. Some days can feel just like this for many of us though. Recently on my Facebook page Fall in Love with Life I shared a story of my attempts to share my food reviews on a page dedicated to the Milwaukee food scene. To me it seemed like a good fit. In the description it even mentioned that reviews were encouraged. An hour later I checked back to see if anyone had even seen it. That is when I felt like the picture above.
Yes, people had indeed seen it and even offered their own version of feedback on it. These enlightening comments ranged anywhere from the inquiring, “Why is this s**t on here?” to the critiquing, “You think you’re a good writer you will never win a Pulitzer!” to the very confusing, “Get a f**king life! Go back to Illinois!” This was confusing because I am not from, nor have I ever lived in the state of Illinois. My post was not about a restaurant in Illinois either.
The point is, I took a beating. When I put my face in my cell phone screen I felt like I was sticking it in the mouth of that cannon. I say this to let you know even if what should be benign situations we all can end up taking a beating. People can spend valuable energy on just making others, which can often include you, miserable. Why that is we may never know. Much like the gentleman with the Illinois comment for me, often times they seem to come out of nowhere and make little to no sense.
The reason I am sharing all of this with you today is to remind us all how important it is to have a stress reduction plan for when those moments do come. As you can see, they can come when you least expect it. In my seminars I tell people the time to learn to swim is on the shore, not while the boat is sinking. In other words, do not wait until your life feels like the picture above. Begin this moment to make stress reduction a priority. Find things that bring you joy. Whether that means making a list of movies that make you smile, or songs that you like listening to. Find constructive ways to get out of stress. That might be a hard workout in the gym or a relaxing walk in nature.
Luckily I had a great night that night at the movies with Margie followed by a nice walk in the neighborhood. Two things that always bring a smile to my face. I recommend you begin to get your list of things together today. If you have a day where you feel life is beating you down make sure to use them. Keep moving forward. As Babe Ruth said, “You just can’t beat the person who never gives up.”
I speak with people often on a variety of subjects. Sometimes people ask me about living a more positive and rewarding life. On occasion people ask me about my relationship and how they can also have a fabulous one. I also hear from people after my seminars and people who have read my book A Happy Life for Busy People here is something I hear a lot, “Neil I have tried to achieve this goal, but it didn’t work” I then asked them how many different things they have tried. Usually they look at me slightly confused and give me an answer ranging from one to three. I then share with them a fact I find truly amazing. Edison had tried over 10,000 different items to make a filament for a light bulb. When asked if he was upset by failing so many times he replied “I just learned 10,000 ways to not make a light bulb” I am not sure to many of us would try 10,000 times to make the perfect cake or a tasty dinner.
When trying to promote my book or seminars I often think of this story. How much further would we be set back if Edison had given up? How much longer would we be without the light bulb? You may say “well that’s not me, I couldn’t do that”. I am hear to tell you that you used to do it. What do I mean by that? Let me ask you this, how may times as a baby did you fall before you learned to walk? Did you give up and say “this walking thing might not be for me” You see all of us begin life with a determination to succeed at our goals. If we didn’t there would be a lot of adults out there crawling around.
So how do we develop a determination to match Edison? I believe the answer is two-fold. First, develop a strong enough why. If the reason to succeed is important enough to you the how will be found. Second, remember if you as a baby didn’t give up, why would the adult. Is it because we have learned to accept failure? Is it because it is easier to give up? Perhaps we are just not as focused on what we stand to gain by our success or lose by our giving up.
I am going to leave you with one thought and a quote to take away from this. The biggest area I hear this in is relationships. People tell me they tried to make their partners happy or bring the passion back to their relationship, but it just ‘didn’t work’. I always ask, how many things did they try? Think of how important your goal is, what you stand to gain and what you stand to lose. Think of all you didn’t give up on when you were young. Reading, writing, learning your language. How would your life be different if you had just tried once we these things? Remember if you find yourself giving up, even determination is something you have to be determined to succeed at.
Here is the quote I promised you. It comes from the famous baseball player Babe Ruth
“You just can’t beat the person who won’t give up”
“You just can’t beat the person who never gives up”
When people ask me the secret to my ability to see the positive side of things and keep a bright outlook I offer them many of the secrets I employ. Most of which I have shared on this site. Still if there was one trait, one thing that has kept me on the right track despite outside circumstances it is this – I never give up – Everyday I see people who give up on a lot of things. Give up on a new idea they were trying. Give up on a new skill they are trying to learn. Give up on the dreams they were chasing. To the worst thing of all, giving up on life itself. No doubt there are days when we need to take a step back and catch our breath, or just recharge, but that is not giving up. Quite often most people stop digging their mines when they are mere inches from gold.
When we think of Babe Ruth what do we think of? Did you know ‘The Babe’ was a great pitcher as well? Most people associate Babe Ruth with hitting home runs and well they should. For quite some time he was the all-time leader in home runs. The home run is baseball’s equivalent to a personal victory in life. A home run does not always win the game, but sometimes it can. It always adds to the joy and confidence of the player hitting it, however. So how about you? How do you feel when you ‘hit a home run’ in life? Be it finishing the project at the office or scoring high on that term paper. Do you not find the things you do following you do with more confidence and enthusiasm? That is all well and good, but let’s face it in our game of life, we can’t all be home run hitters like the Babe Ruth, or can we? Let us look at the opposite side of the coin; striking out. When you strike out in life, you lose a job, you get in a fight with your spouse or luck just seems against you, How do you approach the things following that? If you are anything like most people your confidence is down, your enthusiasm may be lacking. Quite often approaching things with this state becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. By approaching life with a down-trodden attitude we often miss opportunities we would’ve seized with a more zealous approach. So what is the solution? How when we find ourselves in a ‘hitting slump’ can we still keep our attitude up? I think taking a new look at some facts may help us. Did you know every year he played Babe Ruth struck out more than he homered? It’s true. Look it up if you feel the need. Even in today’s game a .300 hitter is considered good. That means that they get a hit only 3 out of every 10 times they attempt. These are the guys getting paid top dollar. What is their secret? How come they do not give up after failing 70 percent of the time? The answer is simple and it is the secret I use to maintain a positive attitude and you can use to succeed in any avenue of life you are pursuing. The secret is this…They keep swinging. Quite often if we persist we demonstrate a faith in ourselves that gives us and everyone around us confidence. “Persistence is just another word for faith. If we didn’t have faith we wouldn’t persist” Said Earl Nightingale. So show some faith in yourself and persist, when you strike out at something in life and you feel like a failure, remember just to keep swinging!