Usually, when you take a look at people who are currently in a bad position, they feel like they cannot get out of, they complain. But what is complaining going to do about it? Sure, it feels good to share your misery with someone else who nods in a supportive way at your arguments. However, this is not going to change your situation. I must admit, it is a great feeling to just talk bad stuff about the things in your environment, blaming it all for your misfortune, I have done it myself as well. This was until I picked up a book by Jim Rohn, an entrepreneur and motivational speaker. He turned his life around at age 25 when he met a man who mentored him towards success.
Just as most people, and possibly you, are not satisfied with your current income and wish to have more financial freedom, or complete other more personal goals like losing 30 pounds. Sure, it might be easy to blame your empty bank account to outside factors such as high taxes and inflation, but is it really the fault of those factors? Let me share some lessons of success that Mr. Rohn has shared in his book as he set foot on the road towards personal development.
“Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines practiced every day. Failure is not a single cataclysmic event. You don’t fail overnight. Instead, failure is a few errors in judgment repeated every day.”
This brings me back to what I mentioned earlier, yes you can blame outside forces for your failures, but if you look back at your actions, really think back. Do you start to see that your procrastination and destructive behavior started a long time ago and accumulated over time? I had that same issue a few years ago before I started my university degree. Somehow, I thought, I couldn’t manage to get high grades at all, and it was the fault of too short deadlines or too strict teachers just having it out on me. I truly believed that nothing of it was my fault, I believed I was just a victim of an evil society. This was until I was confronted with another failure and I took a step back and started to reflect on my actual behavior. Where was it getting me? Where was I heading? It was that moment of self reflection where I realized that, all along, it was me, only me that was pushing myself into a direction where I would have a life of barely being able to pay taxes, in a small apartment, being a number behind a desk writing off the same documents day after day with zero responsibilities. I knew that if I wanted to be respected and successful, I needed to make some changes, and the first thing I needed to change were my bad routines. To create success, you need to start doing small endeavors on a daily basis. It’s these small successes that contribute to a big one. You might not think about it that way, but all the people you see on TV being successful, they practiced their skill 24/7 in private, and you only see their end product in public. Something they trained everyday, calling off parties, avoiding distractions, and solely focusing on their goal. This brings me to another life lesson Mr. Rohn gave us.
“We must all suffer one of two things: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret.”
If you read the quote correctly, Jim doesn’t give us a chance of things that might happen, no, it will happen. You have to make a choice, if you want to be successful, to get into a routine that will put you on the right track towards your goals. Sure, you don’t have to do this if you want to stay in your comfort zone, making a mediocre monthly salary, work 8 to 5, go home, drink some wine, watch your favorite show and the next day you repeat it all. But is this truly why you were born? To just consume, pay taxes, and die? I believe we all have dreams coming into our heads, ideas, inventions, but many people don’t act on them. Out of a fear for something, fear of failure, fear of responsibility, but realize that all the successful people out there, they have been through this process. Their success hasn’t been a golden staircase to heaven, if any, it was a rollercoaster making side trips through hell before it came back up. The only way for you to achieve success, is by creating your goal, setting daily tasks, and don’t look at the pile of work ahead of you, but take little pieces of it and do it day by day. Sure that Biology book might have 1275 pages, but you don’t have to do it overnight! Just read 10 pages and in 6 months you have read the whole book at a steady pace. Success doesn’t come overnight, it’s a long process.
“You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight”
You see it happen everyday, people running to the ticket office to buy a lottery ticket, clutching it in their hands hoping to win that 15 million. If you just so happen to be that person with a 0.00001% chance to win it, I’m happy for you, but I still wouldn’t call you successful. You see, having a million dollars in your hands is a great feeling, but it will disappear within a few years and then what? Someone who has worked his way towards that million dollars, through learning, reading, and failure, should he or she lose that million, that person can make another million again because they have the skill to create value. Sure, the road is long and hard, but you simply can’t become rich in one day, if your destination is wanting to become rich then it simply won’t happen overnight, but you can change your direction in a single minute or even second. Like I did with my studies, I made a conscious change to get higher grades, and I still had to wait 3 months before that could actually happen, exam period was that far away. So I changed my direction, I removed my distractions and set up a to-do list with daily tasks to read chapters, make notes and mind-maps, and have a higher class attendance rate. I know it’s difficult, because you don’t see results right away, but you’re on the road to success, and that is already much more motivation then just looking at it from a distance.
“Either you run the day or the day runs you. Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.”
This brings me to one of his final lessons I want to share with you in this post. As I said before, success is based on a few simple things, habit/routine and motivation. When I changed my course, I suddenly had an immense pool of motivation, but the habit still needed to be built. Habit takes a while, neuro-scientists say that it takes about 3 to 4 weeks before your brain is able to adapt to a new way of working. So those first weeks are the tough ones, your old ways will try to take the upper hand. You’ll have an inner discussion with yourself, fighting your old destructive self. A friend calls you for a party, a new videogame comes out in your favorite series, you feel tired after 10 p.m., all these old habits will try to destroy the new you. The best way to combat these, just like quitting smoking, is to remove them from your vicinity. Get away from them so you won’t have to think about it and it’s out of your reach. Plan your day and stick to the tasks you need to complete every day. Just a warning, I know you are so motivated you want to try and combine things, but don’t. Make time to relax, and time to work, don’t study Math and watch your favorite TV show at the same time. If you still have Math to study during your relaxing time, it means you failed for that day. Take it as a lesson and make sure to do it in a better way tomorrow. Always reflect on why things go wrong, that is a trait of successful people, they analyze why this happened and always look inward. They do not blame outside forces for their failures but of the actions they undertook to get them there. And that is the final advice what I wanted to talk about that Jim gave us. There are many more lessons out there, but I thought these were the most confronting for you. Because change is not easy, talking about it is easy though, but actually doing it, that takes balls. Work, work work. Stop talking about it to your friends and family how great you are going to become, isolate yourself and start working. As Nikola Tesla once said “The best ideas come to man when he is alone.”