This chapter is about achieving. Achieving is an attitude. Achievers do a number of things that non-achievers refuse to do. Non-achievers generally want something for nothing. They’re greedy; they want the benefits of success without doing the required work.
Achievers are willing to pay the price of success. The full price – no discounts up front! Achieving is like starting a fire on a cold winter’s day. If you want heat, you must first put wood into the fireplace. The winner gathers wood, lights the fire, and receives the heat he seeks. The loser, on the other hand, stands in front of the fireplace and says, “Give me heat first, then I’ll give you wood.” The non-achiever refuses to pay the price up front, and in the end, he is still cold.
The one characteristic that all non-achievers and failures share is an inability to delay gratification. They want things NOW! They refuse to invest their time, energy, and money in the present in order to realize a future payoff. Yet, this is the way that all of nature works. First, the seed must be planted. Later, you harvest the crop.
Achievers have goals and formulate a plan in order to achieve their goals. Goals represent the measure of our possibilities, the gauge of our progress, the test of our fitness for success. The outstanding leaders of every age have been those who set up their own goals and then consistently exceeded them. Within all of us there are dynamos of energy that we may not know we possess until an emergency arises.
Then, we are surprised to find that we are able to put forth double or even triple the amount of energy normally expended, which causes us to realize that we have much more to offer than we originally believed.
Non-achievers have no specific goals. Instead, they daydream about winning the lottery or inheriting a fortune.
We choose to be either an achiever or a non-achiever. Each of us has a success mechanism and a failure mechanism. If we choose to activate our success mechanism, our failure mechanism automatically goes off.
That is why it is so important to start thinking SUCCESS. It is essential that you give yourself the green light to move ahead since no mind can embrace a new idea until it rejects the alternative.
Quite simply, it is impossible to think success and failure at the same time. Therefore, you should develop and faithfully follow a plan for your own success. Know your objectives. Have a timetable. Select your methods. And prepare to make certain sacrifices.
All success starts with belief. If you are going to achieve success consistently, you must see yourself as a winner. Your self-image must be that of a winner. Winning is not a matter of good fortune or good luck.
It is a mental attitude. The winner does what is necessary in order to guarantee a successful outcome.
A winner thinks for himself. He does not accept other people’s opinions as fact until he has validated the information for himself. Incidentally,
your job as a winner is to judge for yourself whether the thoughts and ideas you are studying in this book are true, and are of benefit to you.
Put them to the test! Compare them to other ideas and methods you have used in the past. It is through the process of thinking for yourself that you will begin doing for yourself.
Doing is the opposite of procrastination, a term that conjures up different images for each of us. Perhaps you imagine a procrastinator to be a person who lies under a large shade tree reading a book when he should actually be mowing the lawn. That is one kind of procrastinator, but there are also many others. They are to be found in every walk of life, in every profession, in every culture and environment.
Procrastinators may differ in age, size, and appearance, but they will all have certain things in common. As non-achievers they tend to follow the same pattern of avoidance.
At the outset, the procrastinator is extremely hopeful. Believing he has learned from past mistakes, he is reasonably confident that he will never again fall into the same old trap. He vows to get an early start and is determined to do his work in a systematic and timely fashion. But when faced with the “right now” of it, he somehow finds it difficult or impossible to begin. Even so, he is determined to get started – eventually.
Operating without any kind of plan, the procrastinator soon realizes that this time is really no different from all those other times. At this stage, he begins to feel anxious and confused.
As time goes on, the procrastinator is inclined to give himself various ultimatums. “I must start soon!” is at the heart of everything he is telling himself, but since the deadline is still not at hand, he continues to delude himself into thinking he is a doer and not just a dreamer.
One day, when he is finally forced to accept the possibility that he may never get started, he is overpowered by a dreadful sense of foreboding. He becomes mentally paralyzed as a number of highly unpleasant thoughts begin to buzz around in his brain. Among them is the ugly suspicion that there may be something seriously wrong with him. “It’s me! There’s something wrong with ME!” he begins muttering to himself.
At this point, our frustrated procrastinator is quick to convince himself that he is lacking some basic or fundamental quality that other people possess: self-discipline, intelligence, courage – or luck! After all, most people do not have these problems! He is now convinced that he is totally alone.
In the final stage of his dilemma, he must face up to the fact that he has only two choices – he can either get started, or else he can throw in the towel. By this time, the procrastinator’s focus is no longer on how well the job can be done, but on whether it can be done at all. Beyond this point, it is easy to predict what will follow. “Never again!”
The procrastinator says, vowing to do things differently the next time. Once you have become caught up in this self-defeating cycle, your failure mechanism is hard at work. Success is no longer a possibility unless you begin to realize what success really is. Success is a voyage to a planned destination. It is not a matter of good luck. Success happens when opportunity meets preparation, and opportunity is always at hand for the achiever.
CONSISTENT PROGRESS – THE TRUE MASTER OF SUCCESS
Most people confuse achievement with success. The reason for this is that they tend to forget that success is a journey, not a destination.
Whatever you consider to be a worthy goal or ideal is what defines success for you. Once you understand the principle of success, you can rise to any level of achievement you choose. But the first thing you must do is to make the decision to be successful.
Part of learning to be a success is avoiding the influence of failure. We are all-familiar with the old saying: Misery loves company. Unfortunately, it is much worse than that! Misery absolutely requires company. A non- achiever feels good about himself when he surrounds himself with other non-achievers. Successful people, on the other hand, have the opposite view. They believe in success. In yours. In theirs. In everybody’s! There is something inspiring and downright contagious about their attitude.
Henry Ford was a simple entrepreneur when the first became friends with Thomas Edison. The example that Edison provided through his attitudes and work habits caused Henry Ford to formulate plans and goals for his inventions. The man Ford had chosen, as his friend was one who would later encourage, inspire, and assist him in attaining his goals.
In choosing your own friends and associates, bear in mind that when you spend your time with people who are negative, your attitudes, and ultimately your success, will suffer. But when you surround yourself with achievers, you will never have to face difficulties alone. You can always ask for, expect, and receive encouragement and support. And you will always have someone who will be ready to celebrate your victories rather than rain on you parade.
How good are you at envisioning success? I strongly urge you never to place any restrictions upon your imagination or desires. As long as you do not restrain them, they will never restrain you.
A reporter once asked Conrad Hilton, the great hotel entrepreneur, if he intended to help others be successful now that he had become a success himself. Hilton immediately took issue with the manner in which the question was worded. “Nonsense!” he said. “I was a success when I worked as a clerk in a rooming house. I knew then that I would build a chain of hotels.”
The real starting point is desire. The more you want to be an achiever, the greater your chance of becoming one. Thoughts have power! At every stage in your life, what you have or don’t have can be directly attributed to the pattern of your thinking.
It is useless to say that you will never get what you want, because you ALWAYS do. Just as a lion receives the experiences of a lion, simply because it is a lion, so you receive the experiences of the person you are. And the person you are the sum total of all your thoughts and beliefs up until now.
If you use your imagination, you can possess whatever you want at this very moment. Just think of that! You have but to visualize it, to believe in it, in order to bring it into being. If this sounds too good to be true, you might wish to check another source, a much higher source. The Scriptures tell us: Therefore I say unto you, whatever things you so desire, when you pray, believe that you have receive them, and your shall have them.
This powerful message is one of the most often quoted. Why do you suppose this is true? Could it possibly have anything to do with the incredible feeling this passage gives you regarding your own potential?
Of course it does! We have God-given talents that constantly seek expression. We have a mission in life that we are yearning to fulfill. This inner quality, this inherent purpose is deeply touched when we follow our dreams.
There is something inside you urging you on, giving you no opportunity to abandon your dreams. Occasionally you may be tempted. During periods of self-doubt, it may seem best to give up. Yet you never quite do. Time and time again, you come back to that deeply buried dream, that small inner voice that continues to prod you onward.
The good news is that the instant you really want success, it starts coming into your life. The more you think about success, the more you create it. If you concentrate on things that can keep you from your desires, you actually create your own obstacles. In each case, you set forces into motion that shape and guide your destiny.
A non-achiever mentality believes that there is only so much success to go around, that it is somehow rationed. But the truth is, success is like love. The more you have, the more you have to give. The more you give, the more you have to give, and the more you get to keep.
One of the little known secrets of success is that you can change your beliefs through your actions are readily as you can change your actions through your beliefs. Your beliefs are what guide your actions. It is almost impossible to act in opposition to your beliefs. For example, if you believe that you are a loser your subconscious will find a way for you to lose. If you believe you are a winner your subconscious will find a way for you to win.
How does a winner activate his success mechanism? The answer is simple. First, you must make a commitment to the thing you wish to accomplish. Second, you should learn all you can from those who have already achieved success in whatever it is that you wish to accomplish. You will find that these people are willing help you achieve the same success if you ask them for their help.
Have you ever considered taking a successful person to lunch? Can you think of a better way, a less expensive way, to avail yourself of that person’s professional expertise? Consulting fees normally range from one hundred to five hundred dollars per hour. Are you beginning to see the rationale here? Taking a successful person to lunch is one of the best investments you can possibly make. I have rarely met a successful person who wasn’t happy to share his or her ideas with someone who was interested in how he or she became successful. In fact, successful people take great pride in helping others.
Lao-Tzu once said: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” The achiever takes that step. Achievers have the ability to focus on a larger goal, which they generally accomplish through a series of smaller goals.
MAKING THE IMPOSSIBLE POSSIBLE
Unconsciously, we tend to classify things as either possible or impossible. Achievers are those who dare to tackle the impossible, and who KEEP tackling it again and again.
The more you surrender to doubt, the more greedy doubt becomes. Before very long, you will be unwilling to attempt anything that involves an element of risk. But if you try to accomplish something that is beyond you, you will increase your powers. Think about that! If you clearly
visualize your plans and dreams, you can be sure that your talents, time, and desires will come to your aid. If you use them fully, with confidence and determination, you are destined to achieve your goals.
Have you ever stopped to consider the actual situation whenever you insist to yourself that you WILL do something, no matter how difficult or seemingly impossible a task it might be?
The human will is an active, living force. In making an analysis of the attributes of successful people, it soon becomes apparent that the one prevailing characteristic seems to be an indomitable will. It is unfortunate that this term has acquired a somewhat negative connotation, particularly in the way it is used to describe a strong willed individual. If you have ever heard a parent refer to a child as “exceptionally strong willed,” you were undoubtedly listening to someone complain about a child’s propensity to demand his or her own way. And while there can be certainly be some problems connected with this kind of behavior, it is important to realize that there is also a mature way of exercising one’s will. Once we clearly understand this, it is doubtful that we will ever try to exercise our will in a cruel or selfish way. What we are really talking about here is the energy of determination. Without this energy, you will accomplish very little in life.
According to an ancient Chinese proverb: Great souls have wills; feeble ones have only wishes. How very true! Strong-willed people dare to do what others will not. They endeavor to accomplish what others will not even attempt. In short, they make the impossible possible!
When he as at the height of his career as America’s most famous magazine editor, George Horace Lorimer wrote a brief editorial for his Saturday Evening Post entitled “The Fairy Wand.” It reads as follows:
Most young men of ambition are in constant search of those who will help them on the road to success. Such aid is found in many ways and through many persons. It may come through friends, chance acquaintances, books, and formal education. It may take the form of wise advice, searching criticism, and disinterested appraisal of character. It may be free or bought and paid for. It may be amateur or professional. It may be found in the lives of great men, in casual anecdote, in textbook theory, in everyday experience, or in the observation of one’s associates.
But no outsider, no outside force can wave the wand that brings success. Fundamentally, it is not to be found in other persons, in books or lectures or even in observation. Deeds and not words are what put men on top. The successful man may gain help and inspiration from others…but he always blazes a trail of his own.
At this very moment, you are either seriously or casually committed to the idea of success. If you are totally committed and able to understand and consistently move in the direction of your personal goals, you are on your way to becoming an achiever.
Your future is up to you. Stop looking back. Look ahead. Assume total responsibility for where you are today and where you are going. Be willing to:
- Take positive action
- Define your objectives
- Give more than you take
- Learn from adversity
- Become involved
- Remain true to your goals
- Remain optimistic
- Be confident and enthusiastic
- Persist! Persist! Persist!
Fix your mind firmly upon anything at all – good or bad – and you will invariably attract it. Begin at the very moment to create a new ideal – an image of personal and financial success. Allow yourself to SEE it mentally. Accept it! Demand it! In so doing, you will be creating an entirely new mental attitude. USE it! Make very thought that comes into your mind work for you. The quality of your thought is the measure of your power. Think of the value of effort, not just success. You can’t always win, and you’ll never be perfect. But you can keep on doing your best.
Learn to separate what you do from who you are. Never confuse the two. What you do can fail, but who you are can never fail. You’ll undoubtedly make mistakes, but you’ll also learn from them and in the end you will reach your goal.
Scrap time is any time that would normally be wasted. It includes periods of waiting, driving, walking or jogging – or any time that you are occupied with a task that takes virtually no thought such as performing mundane chores. During such times, you may wish to daydream or listen to the radio, but you could also be doing something more meaningful, something that will assist you in achieving your long-range goals.
Instead of wasting your “scrap time”, why not start your own “Success University.” You can do this by:
- Listen to educational audio programs. There are many excellent audio programs available to help you motivate yourself. These are particularly good to listen to first thing in the morning, perhaps while you are getting dressed, or late at night, just before you go to bed.
Some part of every day should be devoted to motivating yourself in a positive way. Audio programs provide you with an excellent means of doing this!
- Read. While waiting, read books or magazines that will provide you with useful information. If you hate waiting in line or being put on hold after placing a call, you don’t need to just wait. You could also be doing something, even learning something, and in the process, pass the time more quickly.
Once you have learned how to salvage scrap time, you will discover “hidden” hours in the day. Scraps of time add up quickly. Just ten minutes per day is equal to one workweek per year.)
Achievers don’t waste idle moments! They know their time is valuable. For those earning $50,000 per year, twenty minutes of each working day is worth $2,043 annually. How would you feel about throwing away two thousand dollars each year? How you use your time represents deliberate choice. Use it wisely!
In life, you can move forward, move backward, or stand still. Through self-analysis, you can easily determine in which direction you are going. Remember that nothing is ever accomplished through self-deception – only through self-analysis