In 1989 I stumbled across an article in Contracting Business magazine profiling Harvey Mackay. It was a revelation to me. It inspired me more than any single thing I had read to that point in my life. In retrospect, for me, it was a road sign, a treasure map to the lost city of Atlantis. I read it twenty times. It set me on a path I've not wavered from. A commitment to my own personal and professional development that led me to a new career as a Writer and Professional Speaker.
Earl Nightingale in his pioneering Gold LP in 1954 entitled "The Strangest Secret in the World" said, ""Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal. A success is anyone who is realizing a worthy predetermined ideal, because that's what he or she decided to do ... deliberately. But only one out of 20 does that! The rest are "failures."
Neil Simon, the famous playwright said in his memoir "Rewrite", "If character is fate, as the greeks tell us, then it was my fate to become a playwright, not my destiny. Destiny seems to be preordained by the gods. Fate comes to those who continue on the path they started on when all other possible roads were closed to them. Fate is both your liability and your hope. For a man who wants to be his own master, to depend upon no one else, to make life conform to his own visions rather than to follow the blueprint of others, writing is the perfect occupation."
Marcus Aurelius, the great Roman Emperor, said: "A man's life is what his thoughts make of it." Disraeli said this: "Everything comes if a man will only wait ... a human being with a settled purpose must accomplish it, and nothing can resist a will that will stake even existence for its fulfillment."
William James said: "We need only in cold blood act as if the thing in question were real, and it will become infallibly real by growing into such a connection with our life that it will become real. It will become so knit with habit and emotion that our interests in it will be those which characterize belief." He continues, "... only you must, then, really wish these things, and wish them exclusively, and not wish at the same time a hundred other incompatible things just as strongly."
Katherine Mansfield was a gifted young short story writer from New Zealand. She died of tuberculosis at the tender age of 34. She wrote, "If you wish to live, you must first attend your own funeral." I believe what she was saying was, "Life is short. Begin with end in mind. How do you want to be remembered? What kind of legacy would you like to leave behind? Who will say what about you when you are gone? Nobody gets out of here alive. Get to work. The clock is ticking.
Would you like to have your best year yet? If your answer is yes, here are some questions to answer to help you along your way, so you can make 2016 extraordinary:
- If the average lifespan for men in the United States is 78, women, 82, how much time do you have left to leave your mark?
- In the time you have remaining, what would you like to have, do, see, become or share?
- Have you made a list? Are your goals written down? If not...
- Make a list of ten goals you would like to achieve for 2016.
- Prioritize your list in order of importance.
- Choose one that is more important than the rest. That is your number one goal.
- Why do you want it? What are your reasons? List them.
- How much by when? Well written Goals must be S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Responsible, Time-Sensitive)
- Turn them into Affirmations, Declarations, as if they were already true. Remember the 4-P's: Personal, Positive, Powerful, Present Tense. There is a big difference between "Lose some weight this year," and "I feel great at 198 with a 34" waist by December 31, 2016!"
- Bombard your subconscious with that goal 5-10 times a day. Get a picture of it if you can.
Earl Nightingale said, WE BECOME WHAT WE THINK ABOUT! That is the strangest secret in the world.
George Bernard Shaw said: "People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don't believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can't find them, make them."
It's not enough to just affirm. Faith without works is dead. If you are sales person, go at like never before. Double your activity. If you are manager, read books on management and leadership. If you are a stay at home mom or dad, talk with other parents (or grandparents) about what they have done to raise happy and healthy children.
Do you want to excel at your particular job? Do you want to go places in your company ... in your community? Do you want to get rich? All you have got to do is plant that seed in your mind, care for it, work steadily toward your goal, and it will become a reality. It not only will, there's no way that it cannot. You see, that's a law and like the laws of Sir Isaac Newton, the laws of gravity. If you get on top of a building and jump off, you'll always go down and you'll never go up. And it's the same with all the other laws of nature. They always work. They're inflexible. Think about your goal in a relaxed, positive way. Picture yourself in your mind's eye as having already achieved this goal. See yourself doing the things you will be doing when you have reached your goal.
A mentor of mine once said, "If it's to be, it's up to me." No one has to tell me to get up at 0500 each day to write. I love it. It's not work. Friends ask me, "Oh, do you have to travel?" "No," I respond with a smile, "I GET to!" I'm self employed. When I call in sick, I know I'm lying!"
My clock is ticking. Guess what? So is yours. Driving to our condo in Lake Chelan this last week, the traffic crawled to a stop at Stevens Pass, the ski resort. There was a fatal car accident. A young woman, 20 years of age was killed. No one is guaranteed tomorrow. All we really have is today. Learn from the past, work smart just for today, dream of your bright and beautiful future.
Mr. Nightingale was one of my first mentors. He pioneered audio learning in this country. You can download "The Strangest Secret" on Audible.com for $3.98! Here is what you will hear:
Do what the experts since the dawn of recorded history have told us to do: pay the price, by becoming the person you want to become. It's not nearly as difficult as living unsuccessfully. The moment you decide on a goal to work toward, you're immediately a successful person and you are then in that rare group of people who know where they're going. Out of every hundred people, you belong to the top five. Don't concern yourself too much with how you are going to achieve your goal and leave that completely to a power greater than yourself. All you have to do is know where you're going. The answers will come to you of their own accord, and at the right time. Start today. You have nothing to lose and but you have your whole life to win.
I need to write Harvey Mackay another letter and thank him. The last time I did in 1993, it was to share my book reading list for that year and to let him know he changed my life. A few weeks later, I received a letter that said "Congratulations!" 320 times! I still have it. Now that's FATE....