What You Actually Own

So, let’s begin with my personal definition of “own.” For me “own” means it’s mine and it can’t be taken from me. I don’t owe a dime on my house but there are a bunch of ways I could lose it. I have in my possession lots of cool stuff that could be stolen, lost, destroyed or otherwise taken from me. Even if you say l “own” that stuff it’s at best temporary.

 

No matter how much “stuff” you may claim to own you’re not going to leave this world with very much and there is nothing you can do to change that. 

 

But there are two things in this world I absolutely own and so do you.

 

The first is my self-respect. 

 

Eleanor Roosevelt, the diplomat and former First Lady said,  “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” 

 

What an incredibly insightful statement. I first heard that in High School and boy did it come in handy. I went to a Military High School and the military staff worked overtime to try and make us feel inferior. That was back in the day when the concept of “you have to tear them down before you can build them up” was very much in vogue. They had the tearing down part totally mastered. 

 

But very few people really know me well enough for their opinion of me to matter. I’d bet that’s very much the case with you as well. So don’t let people who have not lived your life “help” you to determine your self-worth. They have no idea what you have overcome or are living with right now. Their opinion is just that, an opinion. It’s an opinion formed without many of the facts required to be accurate so put no more value in it than it deserves.

 

Always put a ton more value on the SELF part of self-respect and then be honest with yourself.  Never cut yourself more “slack” than you would someone else. You darn well know the difference between right and wrong and if it’s wrong for someone else it’s highly likely that it’s wrong for you too. 

 

The second thing that I absolutely, positively own, as do you, is the right to choose my own attitude. No one, regardless of their position, title, or importance in my life can take that from me…or you.

 

There are no circumstances, no problems, and no situations in life that can steal that right from you. 

 

In his amazing book, “Man’s Search for Meaning,” Viktor Frankl describes the ability to choose one’s own attitude as the last of the human freedoms and the only one that can never be taken from us. 

 

By the way, Viktor Frankl survived the Holocaust and in those horrible days he held on to the ability to choose his attitude so be careful when saying that your own circumstances make it impossible. You truly can choose your attitude no matter what!

 

Living an honest life while trying to make a difference in this world will make it easier to keep your self-respect when some around you would like to destroy it. Maintaining a healthy self-respect will make it far easier to choose a positive attitude. The two go hand-in-hand.


Healthy self-respect and a positive attitude are choices, they are choices you own and always will. Never forget that, not even for a second!


Who is Influencing You?

My last post concerned your level of influence with the people you lead. This post is about who is influencing you.

You are shaped and influenced by the experiences of your life and the people you share them with.

If you have ever responded to someone by saying, “I had never thought of it like that,” then you have been influenced by that person. If you’ve ever changed your thinking to match someone else’s then you have been seriously influenced by them.

I don’t think I’m going to like how this sounds but here’s the thing….if you want to be more successful then don’t hang around with less successful people. It’s a sad reality that you just can’t afford some of the people who may be in your life.

You, your life and your level of success are very likely the average of the five people you spend the majority of your time with. Many things and many people can bring you down but they need a whole lot of help from you to keep you down. Don’t help other people keep you down, stay away from those who do not have your best interests in mind. 

Now, there is an argument to be made that you help less successful people by hanging out with them. That may be true…IF your influence on them is greater than their influence on you. In every relationship you are involved in you had best be very honest with yourself about who is the greater influence. The other person’s negative influence may be more powerful than your positive influence, especially if your own success and self-confidence is a bit immature.

The key to determining who is influencing you is to realize that most everyone you interact with is influencing you to some extent. There are virtually no neutral human interactions. Every interaction causes you to feel better about yourself and your circumstances or it causes you to feel worse. 

You are a product of your environment, there is just no escaping that fact. If you want to be more positive and successful then place yourself in a successful and positive environment. You may need to leave some people behind but it’s not likely that they were true friends anyway.

It’s a hard but true fact.

The Nattering Nabobs of Negativism

The iPhone just turned 10. Happy Birthday iPhone! 

Lots of people, actually lots and lots of people, who supposedly are experts, or were experts, on technology kind of stuff said the iPhone wouldn’t see one year much less ten. 

There were a wide variety of reasons including touch screens don’t work, multi-use gadgets will NEVER be popular, and of course it fills a need that doesn’t exist. 

Until the articles starting showing up recently in conjunction with Apple’s big anniversary I had forgotten just how negative many people were about the new technology. Some of the experts just clearly didn’t have the vision of a Steve Jobs and some I think didn’t like Apple. Some were just negative about anything new. 

Some people are just negative period. 

So be careful when sharing your plans and ideas with others. Apple had the courage of their convictions to press on with the unheard of idea. Many of us do not. We are too easily talked out of doing what we believe in by negative people who see our success as a threat to their negative views. 

If we succeed at doing something that they could have done but choose not to do then they think that makes them look bad. Negative people would prefer we fail because that supports their tormented view of life. 

The heck with them! 

Do not let negative people talk you out of trying to improve. Whether it’s improving the world, improving your workplace or even and perhaps most importantly, improving yourself. 

Most of what we take for granted today the nattering nabobs of negativism at one time said couldn’t be done. Negative people think in terms of “can’t” while positive people, who also happen to be the most successful people, think in terms of “can.” 

You can, you can, you can and don’t ever let anyone tell you anything different!

I Can and You Can Too

Few things in life give me as much pleasure as doing something someone says I can’t do. Now, I’m not talking about breaking rules although I have been known to improve a few rules by doing something outside the guidelines. What I’m talking about is doing something that someone says I don’t have the ability, knowledge, or tenacity to do.

When someone says I can’t my first thought is I can if I decide I can. You can too!

The very first step in the journey to success is deciding that you will succeed…no matter what. Babe Ruth, the great American Baseball player said “It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.” You may not be the fastest to the finish line but perseverance, the ability to finish what you start is an absolute necessity when seeking success.

Do you know who won the 1968 Olympic Marathon in Mexico City? I don’t know either…but I do know who came in last. John Stephen Akhwari a Tanzanian runner cramped up during the race due to the high altitude of the city. At the 19 kilometer point during the 42 km race, there was jockeying for position between some runners and he was hit. He fell, badly injuring his knee and shoulder. But he continued running, finishing dead last among the 57 competitors who completed the race. The winner of the race finished in 2:20:26. John Stephen Akhwari finished in 3:25:27, when there were only a few thousand people left in the stadium, and the sun had already set. A television crew was sent out from the medal ceremony when word was received that there was one more runner about to finish.

As he finally crossed the finish line a cheer came from the small crowd. When interviewed later and asked why he continued running, he said, “My country did not send me 5,000 miles to start the race; they sent me 5,000 miles to finish the race.” In my book John Stephen Akhwari was a huge success that day. Anyone can start something but it takes a successful person to finish it.

When you think to yourself that “I can’t” you make it much less likely that you will. When you say “I can’t” out loud you make it virtually certain that you won’t. 

Some clever person once said “Success comes in cans…failure comes in “can’ts.” That’s almost too clever to write but the fact is, it’s true. Thinking you “can’t” is like giving yourself permission to fail, worse yet, it could even give you permission to not even try. 

Never let anyone tell you that you can’t succeed and never, never, tell that lie to yourself. 

Remember, winning doesn’t always mean coming in first and winning doesn’t always mean performing the best. Sometimes winning just means finishing what you started even when most everyone else believes you can’t. 

 

Negative Voices

Stephen Curry is a professional basketball player for the Golden State Warriors. He was recently selected as the 2016 Most Valuable Player of the National Basketball Association (NBA). With his selection he became the first player in NBA history to be selected unanimously for this very prestigious award. 

Most of his fellow professionals were effusive in their praise of his abilities and agreed with his selection for the award.

Most.

One fellow NBA player said that while Curry was unquestionably a great player whether or not he was of MVP caliber was a little more debatable. 

Curry’s response was …. nothing. He did tell one reporter that he had learned long ago to pay no attention to the negative voices all around him. He added that their only goal was to “mess” with his head. You kind of get the feeling that one trait contributing to Curry’s success is that he controls the thoughts that go into his brain.

Friends, colleagues, co-workers, and even family members will sometimes tell you that you cannot succeed. They will say “that” was tried years before and didn’t work. They will say “don’t reinvent the wheel” or “if it ain’t broke don’t fit it,” and even more negative type statements. Some may have your best interests in mind but many, even most, will not.

You need to be very careful when listening to those comments because you may start to believe them if you’re not.

There will always be people who think you can’t succeed but here is an absolute key to your success; make sure you’re never one of them. Do not, never ever, talk negatively about yourself to yourself. Never never never tell yourself that you cannot succeed.

Always, always, always believe in the incredible power of you!

It’s easy to focus on the negative because negativity can seem to be everywhere. It requires discipline to see what’s good. Virtually every problem brings with it an opportunity and successful people find that opportunity. Successful people know that just because something “ain’t broke” doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be broke and rebuilt…. better.

All that matters at the end of the day… well nothing really matters at the end of the day so long as you have another day to do better, to be better, and to appreciate all that you have received, both the bad you’ve learned from and the good you’ve been able to share.

There will always be negative voices trying to mess with your head, make sure you don’t add your own to the noise of negativism. When you control what goes into your brain then you also control what comes out.

That Will Never Work

Have you ever heard those words? I certainly have and I’ve heard them many times in countless meetings.

I’ve heard this idea will never work, I’ve heard that idea will never work, I’ve heard we tried that before, I’ve heard every variation of it’s just not going to work.

It’s amazing, just how many people know something won’t work. But I wonder how they know it won’t work? And if they know it won’t work then they must know how it will work. But they never seem to suggest how it will work, they just say it won’t work.

That’s a negative attitude. That’s a can’t work attitude. That’s a I’m not going to succeed mindset. That’s a I don’t get much done mindset. That is most certainly not the mindset of successful people.

I’ve heard it said that success comes in cans and failure comes in can’ts.

As you go through this week check yourself, check your words and check your attitude. See how many times you say can’t vs how many times you say can. When you hear an idea that you think won’t work don’t say it can’t work, say it CAN work if we  _________.

Don’t allow yourself to say something won’t work unless you’re willing to say how it will work. If you don’t know how to make something work then don’t say that it can’t. Maybe you should consider holding on to the negative thought until you can back it up with something positive.

When you continuously say that ideas won’t work, without saying how they can work, people may begin to think that you have a negative attitude. They may just be right!

Think about it…

 

The Attitude of Success

Very few things, perhaps nothing, will have more impact on your opportunity for success than your attitude.

There are many many things in life we cannot control. So many people that we cannot control either. Sometimes it just seems as if we have no control over life at all. But that is absolutely untrue. We have complete control over one of life’s greatest assets…. our attitude.

While we cannot control the events or people in our life we have total control over how we react to them. Total control. You have total, complete control over you attitude. It’s your choice and your choice alone. The only way you can lose that choice is to give it away.

Less successful people regularly give the choice of their attitude to the whims of events and the chances of life. They have, I’m sorry to say, a victim mentality that makes failure palatable. They have, to a large extent, not only given up control of their attitude, they have given up control of their life.

You see, the only real way to control your life is to control your attitude.

The most successful people make a choice to control their attitude regardless of the circumstances that effect their day. They CHOOSE positive no matter how strong the winds of negativity blow. They ignore the nattering nabobs of negativism and keep themselves shielded with positivity.

The most successful people choose to control their attitude in order to maintain control of their life. They are not blindly optimistic, they simply see opportunities where less successful people see only obstacles.

The most successful people almost all have one other thing in common: when they did fail they decided to try again. Less successful people often decided to not try at all. The difference between trying again and not trying at all is most often attitude.

You will seldom see a successful person with a negative attitude and you will seldom see a person with little success who has a positive attitude. Here’s what less successful people fail to understand: poor attitude isn’t caused by failure, failure is often caused by poor attitude.

Attitude is a choice, choose positive and choose control. Choose positive and choose success.