Balancing Act: The Newsletter (No. 173, January 2014 )
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Heading into still another new year, I'm astounded by the transient nature or most people's happiness. They'll drink and be merry for a night, but then return to their own self-imposed rat race.
If you don't enjoy getting up in the morning, attending to business, enjoying your life, surrounded by loved ones and a happy environment, then why not change your life? It's completely within our power. I've known many people who marry, cohabitate, divorce, move, change careers, change their business, alter their appearance, and change their beliefs (usually not at one time, but you get the point). They take control of their destiny.
One of the leading causes of stress is the belief that you have no idea what will happen tomorrow AND you have no influence over it in any case. Every day becomes a game of roulette, and in the long run everyone loses at roulette. But if you take steps to control your life, to improve it, and to enjoy it without guilt or fear, you are no longer playing a game. You are building your future.
I find most people who whine about their status and create themselves as victims to have neither the skills nor the energy to do anything about it. What fuel they do have is burned in the furnace of complaint and despair. It becomes a way of life and, when joined in commiseration by other victims, it becomes addictive. "They" are beating us down, it's not us, it's "them."
There is no "them." There was no one else on the grassy knoll. There is no prehistoric reptile swimming around in Loch Ness. There are no aliens kept embalmed by the government in Area 51. Pogo was right (We have met the enemy and he is us).
My best suggestion to everyone is to enter 2014 with the understanding and vitality that you create your own future, you are the primary influence on your own destiny, and the choices you make every day will determine how well you surpass your goals or how far short of them you fall.
That's what the truth was in 2013, and will be in 2015.
The human condition: Persistence
A great many people I coach become adept at doing the right thing, yet they don’t enjoy immediate results. They ask what else they should do, or they often abandon doing the right thing.
The point, I've learned, is that you have to do the right thing consistently. The secret of advertising is repetition—one ad seldom achieves the desired results. Some people do the right thing repeatedly before they see any results. That applies to submitting a book proposal, auditioning for an acting role, attempting to pass the Bar Exam, or trying to convince an executive to hire you.
Many years ago I read of an experiment where someone typed up the entirety of A Tale of Two Cities but changed the author's name from Dickens to his own. It was rejected by every acquisitions editor to whom it was submitted. I've accepted things after earlier rejection, and wish I had rejected things after earlier acceptance!
We're dealing with human judgment, timing, unknown variables, and the vagaries on any new day. We can't declare our techniques inept and ourselves incompetent over a single setback or series of rejections. We must persevere.
My best-selling book (of 55) is Million Dollar Consulting, still on the shelves continually through 22 years and four editions. It had been originally rejected 15 times by almost every major publisher before it wound up at McGraw-Hill and an editor who thought that, with some change of focus, it could be a hit.
This is an age of instant gratification, of vanity publishing at will on social media, and of cacophonous claims of startling success by others that can never be validated. We are impatient and anxious, eager for instant success just as we have instant communications.
Alas, it doesn't work that way. You have to persevere. In fact, the worst thing to happen to many people is an immediate success which sets the wrong expectations for all that is to follow. Because what follows is never that easy.
BRAND NEW INTERNATIONALLY
We checked into a hotel we had never before visited, and I noticed a very expensive looking soap on the sink. I washed my hands but could not get any lather and suds. I was wondering if it were some kind of high-end, high tech, latherless soap. So I tried again, rubbing vigorously, but with no suds at all.
My wife walked in to use the mirror. "Try taking off the transparent wrapping," she said.
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