Take a look at an apple tree. There might be five hundred apples on the tree, each with ten seeds. That’s a lot of seeds. We might ask, “Why would you need so many seeds to grow just a few more trees?”
Nature has something to teach us here. It’s telling us: “Most seeds never grow. So if you really want to make something happen, you had better try more than once. This might mean:
You’ll attend twenty interviews to get one job.
You’ll interview forty people to find one good employee.
You’ll talk to fifty people to sell one house, car, vacuum cleaner, insurance policy, or idea.
And you might meet a hundred acquaintances to find one special friend.
When we understand the “Law of the Seed”, we don’t get so disappointed. We stop feeling like victims. Laws of nature are not things to take personally. We just need to understand them – and work with them.
IN A NUTSHELL Successful people fail more often. They plant more seeds.
For a long time we have been told to focus on improving our weak areas to succeed in life. Also realise that at most times when we request for feedback we keep the good part aside and go after the areas of improvement.
However, we cannot be perfect so this strategy for success is an infinite loop in itself. And also it is a very time consuming process to clearly identify your weak areas and build enough competency to make any visible improvement.
A lot of experienced folks realise that they have less time in hand and the strategy of working on the weak areas is something which may not give them quick results. A better approach in the current scenario is to play to your strengths.
“To play to your strengths” means to first Identify your top strengths (competencies that you are really good at) and then leverage them for maximum growth in the shortest possible time. This means find/switch to opportunities/roles where you can best utilise your strengths. And the good news is that unlike working on your weaknesses you don’t have to go through a painful process of change. Your strengths are already inherent within you. All you need to do is to do some introspection and objectively identify your top strengths. Once done acknowledge them and start working on your strength areas and see the results.
This post is slightly longer but it is immensely valuable and I assure you it is well worth you time. After reading the entire post you will thank yourself for taking the time to read it completely.
Here is a summary of the book and key points “Attitude is Everything” by Jeff Keller.
The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind – William James.
Jeff was a lawyer who changed his profession to become a motivational speaker. The key was wanting to share the message of being able to transform one’s life through the power of thought.Never underestimate your power to change yourself (H. Jackson Brown Jr). It starts with a decision to have a better life – take a stand.
The book is divided in 3 sections “Think….Speak….Act”.
“Think” – success starts in the mind. “Speak” – how your attitude is reflected and influenced by language, watch your words. “Act” – the need to act to create a new reality.
Part 1 : Success begins in the mind
Success is a state of mind. If you want success, start thinking of yourself as a success (Dr Joyce Brothers).
Lesson 1: Your attitude is your window on the world.
Why at the same event, do some people see it as a disaster yet someone else at the same event sees it as great – different experiences as seeing the world through a different window (attitude). Attitude; difference of seeing the world as “I Can” versus “I Cannot”. Everyone starts with a clean mental window. As you grow, so the window gets splattered with dirt – smudged with criticism; soiled with disappointment; clouded by doubt. Dirt just keeps building up, the trouble is often the window is not cleaned – wash your window! It is your job to keep your window clean. It is a choice, look through a dirty window or through a clean window – and this choice has consequences. A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes (Hugh Downs).
Success is applying various principles (which we look at later); however none of the principles can be activated without a clean window (positive attitude) – hence attitude is everything!
Lesson 2: You’re a human magnet
The secret is found in six words: We become what we think about Dominant thoughts rule the day. Nurture your mind with great thoughts (Benjamin Disraeli). The key is you are pulled in the direction of your DOMINANT thought pattern. Thought precedes action. Your beliefs have brought you to where you are and your circumstances reflect what you have been thinking about. If your thoughts don’t change, your results won’t change.
Repetition is the key. Everyday read something positive and uplifting. Everyday listen to a motivational cassette. Change your thinking and you change your life. Nobody succeeds beyond his or her wildest expectations unless he or she begins with some wild expectations (Ralph Charell). It will not happen overnight, just keep moving in a constant direction with effort, commitment and patience.
Lesson 3: Picture your way to success
You must first clearly see a thing in your mind before you can do it (Alex Morrison). Imagination is more important than knowledge (Albert Einstein). Visualisation is simply mental movies. Take responsibility for your own movies. Change the meaning of old movies. Facts cannot change, but you can change the interpretation/meaning of old movies. Consciously choose to view previous situations that made you feel smaller than you are, differently.Create new pictures, your mind is too stupid to know the difference. Picture your success; repetition. You have control over the pictures that occupy your mind. Relax and involve your senses. Do this several minutes everyday. Write a cheque to yourself. If you can dream it, you can do it (Walt Disney).
It works both ways. Keep negative thoughts or prompts away – what does the sticker do to you if you see it on your car several times everyday “I owe, I owe, so off to work I go”. Change the meaning of old movies and develop empowering new movies.
Lesson 4: Make a commitment and you’ll move mountains
This is the willingness to do whatever it takes. Read this again. If it takes 5 steps, then I’ll do it. If it takes 55 steps, I’ll do it…. The key is that often you do not have to know exactly how you will achieve your goal; just that you will commit to getting there – doors somehow open; trust life and commit. With ordinary talent and extraordinary perseverance, all things are attainable (Sir Thomas Buxton). A champion is always prepared to go one more round. One person with commitment is worth more than 100 people who have only an interest (Mary Cowley). Always be prepared to do whatever it takes – if you are not, don’t start.
Lesson 5: Turn your problems into opportunities
Problems. Don’t complain and who said life is fair. Look for the opportunity in every problem. The road to success often travels through adversity. No pressure, no diamonds (Mary Case). Disappointments are often blessings in disguise. The things which hurt, instruct (Benjamin Franklin). Frustration creates energy, direct it.
How does adversity serve us? It gives us perspective on what is important in life; it teaches us to be grateful; it brings out hidden potential; teaches us valuable lessons; builds confidence and self-esteem when overcome; opens new doors. Most importantly it encourages us to make changes and take action!
Part 2 : Watch your words
Repeat anything often enough and it will start to become you (Tom Hopkins).
Lesson 6: Your words blaze a trail
Your words have incredible power. Thoughts > Words > Beliefs > Actions > Results and a destiny
In words are seen the state of mind, character and disposition of the speaker (Plutarch). Watch your words! Never discuss your goals with negative people. Stating and discussing goals creates commitment and accountability. The people who always talk about lack of money generally don’t accumulate much of it. Watch the emotion and impact on your body by the actual words used eg difference between “furious/livid” and peeved/annoyed” – lowers the emotional intensity. Choose words that will point you in the direction of your goals. Look at words you use in relationships, in finances, in your career, your health or what you believe you are capable of or your station in life. You have a choice, choose your words carefully.
Lesson 7: How are you?
Your day goes the way the corners of your mouth turns. When someone says “how are you” the responses are generally negative (“don’t ask”), mediocre (“okay”) or positive (“awesome”). A smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks . Everyone lights up a room – some when they walk in, and some when they walk out! Just form a new habit and change the way others, and you, feel about you. What if I don’t feel great – if you are tired and I tell you that you have won a million rand, all of a sudden you feel fantastic – fix your mental state! How are you? Respond with enthusiasm. AWESOME.
Lesson 8: Stop complaining
Troubles, like babies, grow larger by nursing (Lady Holland). Nobody wants to hear about your aches and pains. Self-pity is an acid which eats holes in happiness (Earl Nightingale). Two complainers often start to outdo each other, the principle of escalation. Don’t let it rain on your parade. The secret of happiness is to count your blessings while others are adding up their troubles (William Penn). Put things in perspective. Create a mental list of all those things and relationships around you for which you have to be grateful. If you are all wrapped up in yourself, you are overdressed (Kate Halverson). Be a source of positive news, be a joy to be around.
Part 3 : Heaven helps those who act
Nothing happens by itself. It all will come your way once you understand that you have to make it come your way, by your own exertions (Ben Stein).
Lesson 9: Associate with positive people You will be known by, and your destiny influenced, by your friends. Avoid toxic people and keep the company of nourishing people. We become apart of what we are around. Your friends will stretch your vision…or choke your dreams. They impact your greatest asset, your mind. Tell me who you associate with and I will tell you who you are.
Lesson 10: Confront your fears and grow Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain (Ralph Waldo Emerson). If you want to be successful, you must be willing to be uncomfortable. Don’t back away, confront. Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood (Marie Curie).
What is your “X” outside your comfort zone? Presentations or public speaking; your ideas or you being rejected; changing jobs; starting your own business; passing bad news up the line; talking to people at higher management levels; sales calls; fear of failure… When you do this you lower your self-esteem, reduce yourself inside, do not create breaks….He who loses wealth loses much; he who loses a friend loses more; but he who loses courage loses all (Miguel de Cervantes).
Armed with a great attitude, decide to become a participant in life and explore your potential, confront your fears. Reframe the situation. Consider yourself an immediate winner when you take the step to confront your fear. Move forward. The only way to escape from the prison of fear is action (Joe Tye). Don’t be one of those who lets his regrets take the place of his dreams.
Lesson 11: Get out there and fail
Failure is only the opportunity to more intelligently begin again (Henry Ford). Toddlers keep on trying until they walk, they just don’t stop until they do, yet somehow as adults we shy away from failure. Failure is often a necessary part of growth and ultimate success. Undaunted by failure, just as long as the mistakes are new ones. The greatest mistake a person can make is to be afraid of making one (Elbert Hubbard). No such thing as failures, just results. Never give up. True success often means you will fail along the way, accept it, get up and try again. You may be disappointed if you fail, but you will be doomed if you don’t try.
Lesson 12: Networking that gets results
You can get everything in life you want if you’ll just help enough other people get what they want (Zig Ziglar). If you’re positive and enthusiastic, people will want to spend time with you. In business and in your personal life, network. Project a winning attitude, participate in projects and associations, serve others, be a good listener….call people from time to time just because you care. Meet new people, make them feel special, acknowledge good presentations, get them to talk about themselves and their interests. Think what you can do for others, life is round. Build you network and keep detailed notes and contact lists. Networking is a great help, yet you have to be good at what you do to succeed.
To change your circumstances, first start thinking differently (Norman Vincent Peale). Take control of your life. Act as if it were impossible to fail (Dorothea Brande). Play the one string you do have, your attitude, and with a final quote from Charles Swindoll:
The longer I live, the more I realise the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company, a church, a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past…we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you…we are in charge of our attitudes.
How we lead our lives depends a lot on perspective. Two people looking at the same situation interpret it differently depending on their outlook for life. Read the below 10 Commandments and reflect back on your life and you outlook. These may give you a different perspective.
1) Heavy rains remind us of challenges in life. Never ask for a lighter rain. Just pray for a better umbrella. That is attitude.
2) When flood comes, fish eat ants & when flood recedes, ants eat fish. Only time matters. Just hold on, God gives opportunityto everyone!
3) Life is not about finding the right person, but creating the right relationship, it’s not how we care in the beginning, but how much we care till ending.
4) Some people always throw stones in your path. It depends on you what you make with them, Wall or Bridge? Remember you are the architectof your life.
5) Every problem has (n+1) solutions, where n is the number of solutions that you have tried and 1 is that you have not tried. That’s life.
6) It is not important to hold all the good cards in life. But it’s important how well you play with the cards which you hold.
7) Often when we lose all hope & think this is the end, God smiles from above and says, `Relax dear it’s just a bend. Not the end’. Have Faithand have a successful life.
8) When you are sad, try to cheer up – just go to the mirror and say, `Damn I am really so cute` and you will overcome your sadness. But don’t make this a habit b’coz liars go to hell.
9) One of the basic differences between God and human is, God gives, gives and forgives. But human gets, gets, gets and forgets. Be thankful in life!
10) Only two types of persons are happyin this world. First is Mad and second is Child. Be Mad to achieve what you desire and be a Child to enjoy what you have achieved.