Life’s Two Groups

There are two groups of people in this world. One group’s members will endure a lifetime of frustration, missed opportunities and unfulfilled potential. The other will achieve more than they ever thought possible. So, what are these groups and which of them do you belong to?

Group 1 believe that their success is purely a matter of luck. They see social media posts of people who’ve become successful in their chosen arena almost overnight, and become encouraged that their time will come too. They fail, though, to take into account the years of disappointments, rejections and failures which these people have battled through in order to finally achieve fame and fortune. They regard these people as lucky, and reason that it’s only a matter of time before Lady Luck magically showers them with everything great in life. So, they sit around and trawl the internet for the quick and easy way to success, and wonder why success eludes them.

In group 2, however, people work relentlessly, and have faith that their desired results will come over the course of time. They work as hard as they possibly can and do EVERYTHING they can to forge the life that they want. Day and night. They study, they read, they listen to podcasts, they network and do whatever it takes to get them closer to their goals. One step at a time. They have faith in their ability, and believe that their efforts will pay off, even though it may not be going accordingly to plan right now. This is the group who lead a more productive, meaningful and fulfilling existence. They live with purpose, constantly striving for improvement in their personal and professional lives and as a result, achieve greatly.

Both groups have one thing in common, and it’s that they believe in an unseen force at play. So, what separates them? Work. Relentless, hard work.

One group depends on luck. They believe that they don’t have to do much at all, other than wait. Sounds too good to be true. Do nothing, and wait to get lucky. When this doesn’t happen, they just wait longer for it. As a result their time and potential gets wasted and they lead a mediocre life. There is only one way in which blind luck will make you rich, and that is by winning the lottery. You buy the ticket, and if your numbers come up, you hit the jackpot. No effort required. For everything else, you need to be more like the other group.

The other group are more proactive. They actually set goals and get to work. These are people who understand that they are in control of their own destiny, and do whatever it takes to get them closer to their goals. To them, sitting around and just waiting for it to happen is unthinkable. They have faith and belief in their abilities, but they also have a very strong work ethic. The faith and self-belief is what supports them through the challenging times and keeps them going when things go wrong. So, while they also believe in something unseen, in their case it provides a source of strength and helps them to become resilient and bounce back from setbacks.

The good news is that, even if you’ve spent a lifetime in group 1, all is not lost. You can change at any time. All you need to do is;

  1. Set aside some time for serious reflection. Be honest about where your strengths and weaknesses lie, and what you truly want from life.
  2. Set goals. Once you know who you are, what you want and the resources at your disposal, set some clear goals.
  3. Plan. So, you’ve become more self-aware and have set your goals. Now you need to clarify how you will get to these goals. What resources will you be using? What gaps in your skills or knowledge will need to be addressed? How will you achieve this?
  4. Action. Now that you know who you are, what you want, and how you will get to it, all that is left is to put this into action. Enjoy the rollercoaster ride, but never stop learning and growing. Strive for constant improvement, and when things go wrong, learn from the mistakes and failures before picking yourself back up and trying again.

Which group are you currently in? If you are in Group 2, keep up the great work. If you find yourself in the group of dreamers, however, it’s time to get to work.

The Siren Call Of Lady Luck

I’m a greater believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it

 Thomas Jefferson

Whenever we get “lucky” it feels fantastic. I, personally, am grateful whenever some comes my way but it’s not something I count on having. Luck, in reality, is not as random and effortless as it seems. It actually takes a lot of hard work and effort.

While the concept of luck can be exciting, it can also be extremely damaging to us mentally and to our goals. Too often when times get tough, as they invariably do, the temptation is to bemoan the fact that you get no luck, and then give up. Or, you look at those who have achieved what you want, and write them off as just being lucky. As a result, your confidence takes a hit and you don’t even go after what you want. It is time that we all wake up and realise that luck is not something to hope for, but rather a consequence of preparation and persistent hard work.

Luck requires preparation. The only time you can get lucky without any effort at all, is by winning the lottery. In this case, you simply buy your ticket, and if your numbers come up, you win. It really is that simple. However, are you really prepared to put your life on hold in the hope that you might win lots of money, or would you rather work for it.? I know which I prefer, because I know that when you achieve something through hard work and persistent effort, you appreciate it more and the euphoria of achievement which you feel is like nothing else.

If you want to get “lucky”, here are a few key things to do;

  • Preparation. The first thing to do is to determine exactly what it is that you desire. Then, reflect on where you are right now. What are your strengths and weaknesses? What knowledge and skills do you need to achieve what you want?
  • Action. Now that you know what it is that you want, and what you need in order to achieve it, it’s time to get busy. Read, study, network or do whatever you need to do amass a level of knowledge and a skill set so strong that when you close your eyes, you can see, feel, touch and taste what you want to achieve. This visualisation is important, as it helps to make your goal feel real and within your reach. Once you’ve finished working on your skills and knowledge gaps and visualisation exercises, it’s time to take action in the direction of your goals.
  • Persistence. It’s important to understand that things will go wrong, mistakes will be made and that there will be setbacks on your journey towards your goals. The key here is to keep going. Don’t stop, or else it will be hard to get back up and start again. You have built positive momentum to this point, so you need to keep it going. The one thing which you need to do, when things go wrong is to take some time to reflect on the experience and determine what went wrong, why, and what you could do better next time when in a similar situation. Treat it as an opportunity to learn and grow.
  • Repeat. As you achieve your goals, it’s important to replace them with new, more challenging ones to keep you moving forward. Failure to do this could see you becoming comfortable and complacent, which is a big threat to your continued success.

In all honesty, this is nothing new. As you may have noticed, the formula I use to get “lucky” is the same I use to achieve my goals. It’s simply a matter of deciding what is important to you, planning and preparing effectively, and doing whatever it takes to achieve what it is that you want.

Good luck on your journeys!!

Luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity.
Seneca

A Psalm of Life (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

Another day, and I have another poem which I would like to share with you. Also known as What The Heart Of The Young Man Said To The Psalmist, this poem brims with optimism. This is the perfect tonic for daily life, which can at times feel heavy and as though it is weighing us down.
The poem below, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, is a reminder that life is full of possibilities and opportunities for those who work hard and are patient. Essentially, the poet tells us that we can make progress from day to day, and achieve our goals, if we make the full use of our time. That said, our time has to be used wisely, by working hard, but we should also never lose faith in the power and potential of life.
Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
   Life is but an empty dream!
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
   And things are not what they seem.
Life is real! Life is earnest!
   And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
   Was not spoken of the soul.
Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
   Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
   Find us farther than to-day.
Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
   And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
   Funeral marches to the grave.
In the world’s broad field of battle,
   In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
   Be a hero in the strife!
Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant!
   Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,— act in the living Present!
   Heart within, and God o’erhead!
Lives of great men all remind us
   We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
   Footprints on the sands of time;
Footprints, that perhaps another,
   Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
   Seeing, shall take heart again.
Let us, then, be up and doing,
   With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
   Learn to labor and to wait.
I hope that you have enjoyed reading this poem as much as I did after I was introduced to it for the first time. Most of all though, I hope that you heed the poet’s message, that we should all aim to make the most out of this life.
Instead of just watching life pass us by we should take action, as life is full of possibilities. So, if you have a talent within you aching to be released, stop wasting time and just express yourself. Draw, paint, sing, read, write….whatever it is that makes your heart sing, start doing it today. Likewise your dreams, ambitions, goals and plans. We all have something which we want to do or achieve, and now is the time to start working towards making them a reality. Slowly, one step at a time and one day at a time.
Have faith, work hard and make the most of life’s inherent potential.

Quote of the Day

Today, rather than offering my reflections, i’d like to share 2 quotes. One of these is more recent than the other but both are full of wisdom and food for thought…

Tony Robbins;

“There is a powerful driving force inside every human being that once unleashed, can make any vision, dream or desire a reality” 

Leo Tolstoy;

“The two most powerful warriors are patience and time”

Why did I choose both of these quotes and put them together? Simple. I strongly believe that we all have within us the potential for greatness. Whether we Fulfill our potential,  however, depends largely on whether we have the patience to put in the hard work consistently over time rather than chase overnight success. 

Quote Of The Day: Work Your Butt Off (Arnold Schwarzenegger)

Today, i’d like to share with you a call to action from Arnold Schwarzenegger. Through grit, determination and relentless hard work he has achieved greatness, and this is his philosophy;

“​It is so important that you work your butt off. Don’t ever look for shortcuts. You have to recognize that there are 24 hours a day. We sleep six hours a day. I know there are some of you that say, “Wait a minute, I take more time to sleep.” I say, “Just sleep faster, okay? Because you should only spend six hours in bed because otherwise it’s a waste of time, and then you have 18 hours left.” 

Most people work, let’s say, eight or 10 hours. So now you still have eight hours left. 

What do we do with these eight hours? is really the question.

So this is when you have to study and learn something new. The key thing is, is to keep in mind what is your goal, and keep looking at that as you get up and dust yourself off. Okay?”

In his own inimitable way, Arnie reminds us that we should embrace lifelong learning and strive to improve ourselves every day. My favourite line, however is “get up and dust yourself off”. This is a reality check, and an important one, because things will not always go according to plan. It is, therefore, crucial that you become resilient and better able to persevere through the challenging times. This is what will allow you to get back up and move forward having learned from the experience.

Rather than binge watching the latest box set or going out, spend your downtime working towards your goals. Hustle, grind, work…whatever it is that you call it, that is exactly what you should be doing. This may mean networking, building your brand, creating a website or drafting a business plan. As hard and tiring as it may be to give up your free time in order to chase your dreams, in the end it will be worth it. After all, while others are at rest or play, you have the perfect opportunity to steal a march on them. Don’t waste it.

The truth about luck

“It seems the harder I work, the more luck I have”

Thomas Jefferson

We are often being misinformed and told half-truths when we read about the success of others in journals, magazines or online. All too often, we are entertained with tales of overnight success and pure luck. In the same publications or websites, however, we also find motivational articles advising us how we can achieve whatever we focus our attention and effort upon. Confusing to say the least. Are we to wait for Lady Luck to shine brightly upon us, or do we get out there and work for what we want?

We must give credit where it’s due, though, and stories of luck do make for good reading. They are heartwarming and reassuring. We start to think that maybe we will get lucky too. I enjoy a good story as much as anyone else and love reading. However, I also live in the real world and am a strong believer in hard work and consistent effort. For me, there is no other way and it stands to reason. Imagine, for example, a man named John who dreams of becoming a successful musician. He sits around at home all day, binge-watching programmes on Netflix while waiting for inspiration to strike, after which he hopes to get lucky. What are his chances of success? Pretty small, right?! Now imagine John version 2, in which he is more proactive. John spends his day writing songs, practicing, performing in bars and clubs, putting some examples of his work on Youtube and networking online and in person. It goes without saying that Version 2, the version that works hard and doesn’t give up easily, will have the higher chance of becoming successful.

The truth is that when we work hard on our ourselves, our passions and our dreams, we stand a higher chance of finding ourselves in the right place at the right time, surrounded by the right people, after which we can achieve success in our chosen arena. There is no such thing as an overnight success or pure luck. The uncomfortable truth is that persistence and continuous hard work are the keys which will open the door to achievement and success. There is no shortcut. You need to work hard and be patient. Believe that, if you are doing everything you possibly can, the doors will open and your time will come.

“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll just get run over if you just sit there”

Will Rogers