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Prosperity: The Choice Is Yours
November 08, 2002
By: Jeff Keller
Repetition is the key when it comes to motivation. We read or hear things over and over and then we act on these ideas. But just because we've heard something before does not make it "truth." In fact, I've recently re-visited some of the motivational principles that I once accepted as truths - but
that I now see as success "myths":
1. Beginning is winning. There's a lot of advice telling you to just begin a project and then you'll have the momentum to carry you through to completion. If you have a task that might take an hour or two (like cleaning out your garage), I think this principle is valid. However, if your time frame is likely to be weeks, months or years, "beginning" is not going to generate enough momentum to help you reach the
We all know people who begin something new every month - only to drop out when they don't get immediate results. Success requires commitment, as well as the willingness to make mistakes and persist in the face of setbacks.
2. Find out what the successful people in your field are
doing - and do what they do. By all means, you should learn and study from successes in your field. There's no need to reinvent the wheel, and you shorten your learning curve by studying what others have done.
They can point you to the groups to join, books to read, techniques that have worked for them, etc. But remember to take what you learn and adapt it to suit your particular abilities. As Emerson said, "Imitation is suicide." Don't imitate. Create as only you can.
3. Successful people have lots of material things. Money or possessions are only one measure of success. Now, those individuals who have accumulated lots of wealth have often made substantial contributions to society. Yet, I think we tend to overlook some of the real heroes in our midst, people like teachers and nurses who may not make a lot of money... but who render such important services nonetheless.
What is your definition of success?
4. Do what you love and the money will follow. (Note: This is also the title of an excellent book by Marsha Sinetar.) Many people take this to mean that the money will follow immediately or at least pretty soon after they start doing what they love. Not so, at least as far as I've observed. Don't get me wrong. I'm a staunch proponent for following your dreams and doing what you love. In the end, you'll be healthier, happier and more fulfilled. Yet, the money may take a while to follow. Recognizing this up front can relieve a lot of anxiety and will cause you to think long- term.
5. You should strive to be at the very top of your
profession. This sounds obvious, right? But what does it
mean to be at the "top?" Does it mean you're making the most money... or that you have the most recognition? Judged by those standards, the "top" may cost you a lot. You may "succeed" at the expense of your family relationships... or your health. I prefer this alternative: Strive to keep developing your own talents, while maintaining balance in your life.
6. Concentrate on money if you want to earn a lot of money. I doubt that Bill Gates amassed billions of dollars by visualizing a stack of dollar bills constantly. Bill Gates's wealth resulted from the implementation of his visionary ideas. As W. J. Cameron said, "Money never starts an idea; it is the idea that starts the money."
Even Napoleon Hill, author of the classic book, Think & Grow Rich emphasized the power of ideas. While he recommended that you envision a specific sum you'd like to earn, he added: "State what you intend to give in return for this money." To be sure, it's essential that you believe in your ability to earn money and that you feel you deserve it. But it's the implementation of ideas that actually brings the money to you.
7. Set specific 5, 10 and 20-year goals. This advice has
been dispensed for decades. And, thirty years ago, it made sense. Not any more. The world is changing too fast. Let's assume you owned a small "brick and mortar" bookstore in 1995. The long-term goals you made back then would be in shambles now. How could you know about the explosion of the internet, on-line book sellers like Amazon.com, or the
advent of e-books?
Certainly you can hold a vision of what you want your
business or your life to become. It's possible to succeed
with a small bookstore today - but not if your plans are
based on assumptions you made in 1995. Bottom line: you need to be flexible and switch gears when the landscape changes.
You may find that some of the items I've identified as
success "myths" are, for you, "truths." That's fine. I'm not trying to impose my viewpoint on you. However, I think you're going to find that many of the principles that you believe are "black and white" actually have shades of gray.
I encourage you to be an independent thinker and don't be afraid to disagree with what others hold as conventional wisdom. The important thing is to re-examine the guiding principles of your life to determine if they still serve you.
-- Jeff Keller
(c) Attitude is Everything, Inc.
Jeff Keller is the President of Attitude is Everything, Inc.
For more than 15 years, Jeff has delivered presentations on
attitude and motivation to businesses, groups and trade
associations throughout the United States and abroad. Jeff is also the author of the highly acclaimed book, Attitude is Everything. For more information, go to
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1) Once over the hill, you pick up speed.
2) I love cooking with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food.
3) If it weren't for STRESS I'd have no energy at all.
4) Whatever hits the fan will not be evenly distributed.
5) Everyone has a photographic memory. Some just don't have film.
6) I know God won't give me more than I can handle. I just wish He didn't trust me so much.
7) Dogs have owners. Cats have staff.
8) We cannot change the direction of the wind ... but we can adjust our sails.
9) Some days are a total waste of makeup.
10) Do you believe in love at first sight ... or should I walk by you again?
11) Age is a very high price to pay for maturity.
12) Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.
13) Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.
14) If you must choose between two evils, pick the one you've never tried before.
15) My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance.
16) Not one shred of evidence supports the notion that life is serious.
17) It is easier to get forgiveness than permission.
18) For every action, there is an equal and opposite government program.
19) If you look like your passport picture, you probably need the trip.
20) Bills travel through the mail at twice the speed of checks.
21) A conscience is what hurts when all your other parts feel so good.
22) Men are from earth. Women are from earth. Deal with it.
23) A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand.
24) Middle age is when broadness of the mind and narrowness of the waist change places.
25) Opportunities always look bigger going than coming.
26) Junk is something you've kept for years and throw away three weeks before you need it.
27) Experience is a wonderful thing. It enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again.
28) By the time you can make ends meet, they move the ends.
29) Someone who thinks logically provides a nice contrast to the real world.
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Caught for speeding
The cop got out of his car and the kid who was
stopped for speeding rolled down his window. "I've
been waiting for you all day," the cop said.
The guy replied, "Yeah, well I got here as fast as I
could." When the cop finally stopped laughing, he
sent the kid on his way without a ticket.
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