Yesterday, we looked at the dangers of blaming others for our misfortunes or lack of progress towards our goals. It is quite worrying that we are so quick to seek a scapegoat when we fall short of our goals or are dealt a bad hand in life, but reluctant to look at ourselves and how we might be responsible.
The truth is that, aside from your family and closest friends, nobody really cares whether you thrive or merely survive. This is because everyone is fighting their own battles and chasing their own goals. So, stop making excuses for your circumstances. Stop pointing the finger of blame at anybody else, unless you can be absolutely certain that there was nothing that you could’ve done to prevent the current situation in which you find yourself.
Your progress, development and ultimate success or failure depend on you, and you alone. Nobody will give you your true value, until you work for it and earn it. Take an employer, for example. Employers want value for their investment (your salary, training costs and bonuses) and will attempt to squeeze as much work out of you as possible. If you let them, they will have you working as many as 60 or 70 hours, including evenings and weekends. It’s up to you to protect your health and personal life. Most companies do offer benefits such as gym memberships at reduced rates, cycle to work schemes and the opportunity to work remotely, from home, but you have to go and get it if you want it. You will not be chased to take advantage of what is on offer. If you sit back and wait for an employer to come to you with offers of better pay and other perks, you will be waiting a very long time. Bear in mind that it is ultimately your responsibility when your health and relationships start to fail, not your employer’s, as you neglected both.
One of the big goals shared by an increasing number of people, is to achieve financial freedom. The popular misconception, though, is that in order to achieve this sacrifices must be made. So people sacrifice their health and happiness in the hope that all of the extra work will allow them to achieve financial freedom and independence. It goes well for a while, until they wake up one morning to realise that they have a healthy bank balance and nice things, but little else. The tendency is to blame their employer for this, but the reality is that this is merely the result of the choices which they made.
As with any other goal, if you want to achieve financial freedom you have to work for it. This does not mean giving up on your personal life in order to give everything for an employer. It means working on yourself, otherwise known as working smart.
Work is not limited to the 8 or 9 hours you give to your employer daily in return for your salary. I find it odd that so many people work all day long for somebody else, but do nothing to help themselves in the evenings and at weekends. It is as if they expect opportunities to simply fall from the sky into their lap. Unfortunately this is not the case.
How deeply do you want to become successful? If you really want it, you need to put the work in, as this is the only way to get peoples’ attention and raise awareness of what value you have to offer. It stands to reason that you can’t do this while at work, and on your employer’s time. So you need to be prepared to give up the box sets or nights out with friends.
Success is not an overnight process, and may take months of hustling in silence during those times when you’d rather be resting or enjoying some downtime, but this is the price that you have to pay if you really want it. After you have finished your day’s work for your employer, you have a duty to work on your personal development. Fail to do this, and you only have yourself to blame when you stagnate and stop making progress.