Live Like You Are Dying

This was a hit song for Tim McGraw a few years back. It is one of those that is really inspirational. Part of the theme is to tell the listener to live like he or she is dying. The reality of things is that is exactly what is happening to each of us. Shakespeare wrote that we start dying the day we are born. Each day brings us one step closer to the end.

I write this not to sound morbid but, rather, to awaken all to the fact that life is short. Nobody wants to look back over his/her life with regret. Yet, most do. How many of us put things off until tomorrow, next week, or next year. The truth is that time may never arrive.

The time to get started is now. Life is passing us by each day. Most of us approach things like we have an eternity. We never know when we will be at the end, thus we feel there is plenty of time. In turn, we put our dreams on hold. Life becomes nothing more than a waiting game.

The successful take a different track. They know that time is a limited resource that is meant to be invested. Instead of wasting each day, put those hours to profitable use. If you want a return on your time, use it wisely. Remember, unlike money, you cannot recoup time that is lost. One it is gone, it is that way forever.

"Live like you are dying". Imprint this motto firmly in your head. Consider the idea of how you would live your life if you found out you only had a year to live. How would plans for tomorrow change? Would you still do the same things that you have planned? Or would you do something different?

My question is how do you know that you do not have only a year to live? None of us are aware when we will be out of time. Getting started on the dreams we have is an ideal approach. Putting everything off until tomorrow is a surefire way to have regret. When you look back over the years, do you want to have a path wrought with I wish and I should have? Or do you want to be able to lay your head down with a smile on your face knowing that you gave it all you had? If you are like most, you want the latter. The way to get this is to live like you are dying.
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This is a fan favorite of all the victims out there. Nobody can be a good victim without making excuses for all that happens in life. Whatever the circumstances, there is always a reason for it transpiring. Personal responsibility is not in the cards for these individuals.

The successful take the exact opposite track. They know they are responsible for all that happens in their lives. This is how they retain power. Whenever I blame someone (something) else for what occurs in my life, I am giving that person power over me. When this happens, if I want change, I will have to wait for that person to change. This is not the definition of personal power.

Whenever you encounter someone who is continually making excuses, rest assured that you are dealing with one who comes from a place of weakness. Their conditioning is such where they need to play the victim in everything they do. And, a victim never wins. Remember that.

The simple truth is that there are times when things do not occur as planned. Business deals go awry. The stock market goes the wrong way. You one and only love runs off with another person. Life is full of surprises. This is true for everyone who walks the planet. Nobody has a crystal ball to predict the future. The strong know this and accept what happens. The weak make excuses.

One of Warren Buffet's investment criteria with looking at a company is the strength of management. When looking at the ability of a CEO, Buffet says to read the annual reports. In his estimation, this is where you can garner the type of person leading the company. He looks for those who stand up and take the blame when things do not go as planned. Everyone makes mistakes. Buffet wants to deal with someone who doesnt make excuses while trying to pass the blame to someone else.

You should expect the same thing in your life. If you are one who habitually makes excuses for things that happen, it is time to stop that behavior. You are free to decide whether you are going to come from a place of strength or weakness. Making excuses is always a weak man's approach. The strong take responsibility.

The same concept applies to those around you. Involve yourself with people who resist the desire to place blame and make excuses. Cut these people out of your life like a surgeon does cancer. When it comes to your success, these people are just as fatal.
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Willing To Do It

One of the main secrets to success is having the willingness to do what others aren't willing to do. It is that simple. Success is nothing more than a path to follow. Nevertheless, most are not willing to put forth the effort to achieve the ends desired. Instead, they seek the easier way which keeps them in the middle of the crowd.

Fear is the primary reason why people walk the safe path. I would say that most people have aspirations of something more. In addition, the knowledge exists to achieve almost any goal one has. Therefore, the only thing that prevents one from taking the necessary action is fear. This is the stumbling block that most cannot overcome.

Life is a risk. Ask anyone who almost got hit while crossing the street. Each year, hundreds of people drown in their own bathtubs. I could list an assortment of other routine activities then ends in death. Yet, most of us do not give a thought to partaking in these activities because the probability of success is so high. Thus we achieve our ends without a thought of fear.

Now, compare that to the idea of starting your own business. How does that resonate with you? If you are like most, your excitement is coupled with fear. Thinking about losing that "paycheck" is a scary proposition for many. Projecting forward, people often look at all that can go wrong. In the end, fear stops moving forward no matter how exciting the potential payoff might be.

We see this situation repeated over and over. Why do you now not invest in the stock market? Is it because you are afraid of losing money? If you do invest in the market, why do you not invest in options which have a much higher payout? Is it because you heard of the increased risk and are again afraid of losing money?

The bottom line is that people make money in the stock market, trading options, and starting businesses. Those who overcome fear are able to enjoy the rewards. Certainly, I am not saying any of these routes is easy and without effort. Nor will I state there are not risks associated with each one. However, those who are able to overcome fear are able to profit.

All successful people do the things that others are not willing to do. While many enjoy a cocktail at happy hour after work, those who get ahead remain at the office late. Or they invest time outside work studying their craft. They will involve themselves with self-improvement programs in an effort to progress. Motivation, knowledge, and an increased ability are daily goals. This is a drastic break from the mainstream.

Start to look at those areas of your life that will separate you from everyone else. Focus your actions on achieving successful ends by doing what others are unwilling to do. It is in those areas that you will find your key to achievement. Success is simple if you are willing to go for it. Most are not and that is how you can separate yourself from the crowd.
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The Next 60 Days

People want change. They want to do things differently. Yet all the talk in the world changes nothing. Action is what is key. Doing things in another way reaps rewards. Sadly, few ever make the leap opting instead to follow the same path. This is why their lives never change.

The time to start making the change is right now. Of course, this is a well known fact. Many begin to make the changes only to stop after a few days. We see this behavior repeatedly with the same results.

I found the key to lasting change is to get after things for a couple months. It is so difficult to go from inertia to activity. We all experienced this when we start working out after being stagnant for a while. Our muscles hurt until we strengthen them to the point where they are accustomed to exercise. Most people quit before reaching this level. Instead, they fall back to doing what is comfortable.

So, the time to start the changes you seek is right now. The next 60 days will be the time when you create the habits that lead to more successful. Getting started on a different path takes energy and focus. The years of conditioning of doing things that did not work are deeply ingrained within us. Success habits are required if we are to excel.

You task is to make a list up of what you are going to do over the next 60 days. What areas will you focus upon. This is an exercise where you do not focus so much on results as opposed to activities. We are not creating a "goal" list. Instead, we want to draw attention to the actions which create habits that ultimately lead to our goals.

For example, let us say that you want to lost 50 pounds. That is the goal. I can presume that you set a time frame for the completion. How are you going to go about achieving this end? This is where the 60 day breakdown process enters the picture. We can state that walking will be involved. What days of the week are you going to walk? Put that on the list. State how long you will walk and how far. Then each week increase it by 15%-50%. You can do the same thing with the other exercises that you will do and the diet changes you will make. Following this for the next two months will create habits that lead to your ultimate goal.

Momentum is an rarely talked about commodity when it comes to success. It is far easier to keep something going once it is started than it is to get started. Take the exercise example again. What is the hardest part about working out? Many find that simply getting to the gym is the most difficult. Once someone is there, he or she simply does the exercise routine. But, ahead of time, there are all kinds of mental excuses as to why one should not workout on this day. Momentum allows us to "keep rolling".

Use the next 60 days to develop momentum in all areas of your life. Start to make the changes today by listing all the actions you want to take. Following through on this will enable you to succeed with much less effort than you imagined. Momentum is a power ally once you begin to access it. The 60 day concept does just that. Get started today.
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The Winner's Mindset

A lot is made about the mental outlook people have in regards to success. The reason is because success first starts in the mind. Everything that transpires originated as a thought. Therefore, having the right mental conditioning is of paramount importance. Fortunately, for those who are seeking to get to the top, the competition in this area is limited.

Most seek to be comfortable. This is true no matter what facet of life we are referring to. People simply do not like pain and leaving one's comfort zone can be painful. Rejection, failure, and disapproval are things that we are all taught to avoid. However, they are also the exact qualities which are needed for substantial success. Look at anyone who accomplished any great feat and you will realize that all these were experienced on multiple occasions.

The winner's mindset is what separates him or her from the rest of the crowd. Quite simply, people at the top think differently than others. For example, Warren Buffet doesnt think about making a few dollars in the stock market. His mindset is tuned for billions. Making $10,000 is something that does not interest him. The same is said for Tiger Woods in the field of athletics. He seeks to win every golf tournament that he enters. Many are out there looking to make the cut (the 36 hole cutoff which makes the difference between going home and getting paid) whereas Woods is seeking to put himself in position to win.

As you can see, what you focusing upon at the start directly affects the results you achieve. Those who set their sights low usually achieve that level. However, success can be increased simply by lifting your standards. It is an activity that costs you nothing and anyone can do. Focus intense attention on how you think and you will increase you success substantially even if all other things remain the same.

To illustrate this point, I will use the reverse scenario from what I just mentioned. What happens when the winner loses the mindset that made him or her so successful? As you can guess, performance goes down. Tiger Woods is an example of this here also. His play this year after his off the field developments is abysmal. Some are questioning whether he should even be playing. Woods' confidence is shaken. The invincibility that he had is gone. On the golf course, he is again a mere mortal. The winning edge in his mind is removed.

Some will attribute his poor play on losing his swing coach or some other minor points. The truth is that Woods is beating himself with his mental state. His ability has not dwindled in the least. It is his mind that went south and took his game with it.

If it can happen to a champion like Woods, it can happen to you. On the bright side, however, is that you can also (re)capture the mindset the moment you decide you want to think like a champion. Of all the obstacles in life, the most powerful are those we erect in our minds. Remove them and the path to the top is much easier.

My challenge to you is to stop thinking like everyone else. Most people have aspirations of being comfortable. If you dont believe me, just ask them. Ask 100 people what they want most out of life and that is what most of them will tell you. They want to be comfortable by living a conservative lifestyle. Remaining in their comfort zone is where they view happiness. However, success lies in the discomfort. Stretching your thinking to include all that is possible is the starting point. Expand your world by expanding your mental conditioning. This is how you are going to change your life. I know because I am one that did that exact thing. Follow this prescription and I am certain you will get similar results.
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Give 100%

"If you are going to do it, you might as well do it right"

Have you ever heard this saying before? This is something that I was told over and over many years ago by my grandmother. I think this was her favorite saying. Of course, being a child/early teenager, this was the last thing that I wanted to hear. It drove me nuts each time I heard her say it.

Over the years, this saying has taken on new meaning for me. While it is obvious at the surface level, this statement actually contains a great deal of wisdom. When I looked at it deeply, I soon realized that this simple saying held a key to success. Implementing it is a clear path to high achievement.

We need to define something before we can have a clear understanding of what this statement means. When we refer to the word "right", what does that entail? To me, doing something right means performing that action to the best of my ability in that moment. Certainly others have expectations about how things should be done. However, I may or may not be able to perform to their desired ends. This does not necessarily make me "wrong". If I am acting in accordance to the best that I can offer in that moment, then I am doing it "right".

This brings us to another facet of this concept. What is the best that I can do? The answer to this question is what I write about regularly on here. All the techniques I mention all comprise what it takes for me to be the best I can be. For example, 100% focus is something that instantly increases my chance of success. When I concentrate my efforts exclusively upon what I am doing, I find my performance increase substantially. This is one thing I can do to perform at my best.

Another component is to give 100% effort to the task. This might require me changing my mindset especially when I am asked/required to do something that I do not particularly enjoy. Nevertheless, holding back effort because I detest something is not operating at my best level. Perhaps I need to focus upon the fact that my motivation is lacking and increase my level by quantifying it. Whatever is needed, I should look at doing to operate at my best.

This is what "doing it right" means to me. Simply, if I am following this concept, I am giving 100% to my present activity. I understand mistakes will be made but they act as a teacher in my book. Giving 100% effort is one of the easiest methods to separate yourself from the masses. Most operate fall below their capability. Remember this when you are faced with a task. Whatever level you are at, double your effort. You will notice instant results.

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Balls Of Steel

The title of this post refers to exactly what the imagery produces. To be successful in life, you need to have "balls of steel". In others words, being weak is a sure path to failure. One needs to be confident and sure of oneself while traveling up the ladder. Look at anyone who is at the top of any field and you will see how they were able to keep forging ahead in spite of challenges.

Success rarely comes easy. The path to the top is wrought with all kinds of dangers. Many give up their dreams too easily; the moment they encounter resistance. This is not the mindset of the successful. They believe that they will attain their goals...no matter what.

How does that compare to the average person. He or she doesnt have the "no matter what" mindset. Instead, most people have the "I hope it works" outlook. They go after their goals tentatively. Boldness is not an adjective used to describe these people.

There is no success in safety. The elite are willing to step out of the comfort zone in search of achievement. They certainly take the road that is less traveled. Their interest lies in forging new ground as part of their quest for excellence. Of course, this takes a great deal of courage.

Make no mistake: everyone questions whether they should throw in the towel. Nevertheless, the successful are the ones who resist the fear-based self talk and move onward. There are times when honest analysis reveals poor choices. However, this is a remarkably different than listening to fear. Decisions based upon sound reasoning and analysis are always recommended. Giving up hope because of fear is not.

I learned a great deal about myself in trading options. This is a vehicle that can help one make a lot of money quickly. At the same time you can lose it just as fast. Entering into this arena is a slippery slope. Success depends upon having the nerve to make the proper decision at the right time. Emotions of fear can crop up with every setback. Knowing when to fall back on one's plan requires a tenacity that few have. The "balls of steel" analogy applies to the type of investing.

Over the years I learned that it applies to success in all areas. Everything worthy in life involves some degree of risk. At times, it is easy to question whether we should continue or not. These are the times where we most often have to check our internal fortitude. There is a tremendous payoff for accomplishment. However, to enjoy this, we need to risk failure. Staying in the game often requires "balls of steel".
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Begin With The End In Mind

This is the one guaranteed path to success. If there is something that you can do to insure your path to exactly what you want, start from the end. This is how the great ones do it.

Let me ask you a question: what do you think your success rate would be if you could leap into the future and find out how things turned out? Suppose that you can enter a time warp and be in the same place but 5 years from now. Do you think you would be able to come back and navigate a more successful path? I believe that most of us would.

That is what I am telling you to do today. Obviously, none of us has a crystal ball that will tell us what the future holds. Life is definitely full of unexpected situations and consequences. However, our chance of success increases dramatically when we have an idea of where we are trying to get to.

Most people look at where they are now and start from there. This is exactly the wrong approach. Looking at your life over the next few weeks or months does not tell us much. You need to decide where you want to be 10, 20, or 30 years from now. Those who can see into the future clearly over this time frame fare much better than everyone else.

I will use the analogy to planning a trip. Do you plan to drive across country by drawing a line from where you are and connecting it to the next town over? What do you think your chances are to get across the country if you follow this pattern. Certainly, you might get there but you will most likely have a lot of wasted effort. Looking at the near term means that a slight deviation from your path will have major consequences when you go further out. The same is true when we are planning our lives.

Starting with the end in mind means that we know where we are going. This is often the most difficult process. Few spend serious time looking at where they would like to be in the end. Instead, the focus all attention on where they are at and what is wrong. Logical planning always will result in a better outcome than haphazard activity.

When one sets down exactly where he or she would like to end up, the process of figuring out how to get there is not difficult. It is only a matter of working backwards from that point. Like the analogy of planning a trip, once you know your destination, you can follow the road map backwards until you get to where you are at presently. Creating a plan of action to achieve your goals is the road map you need. After that, it is only a matter of following it.

Most people never get what they want because they have no idea what it is they want. Remember this tidbit the next time you feel lost. Do you have an end in mind? If not, spend the next few weeks thinking about exactly what it is that you want. The clearer the picture is, the greater the chance that you will achieve it.

To your success.
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The Right People

I am going to stir up a lot of controversy here by stating simple that most people are not worth the trouble. This sounds like a cold thing to say but when you look at the quality of people that exist within society, you soon realize that most are a detriment to you. The energy needed to sustain these people is wasted since they offer nothing in return.

The psychological community calls the people I am referring to as energy vampires. They are the ones who will suck all the energy out of you. A conversation with a person of this nature will leave you tired and spent. The sad thing is you know it is going to happen before you even start interacting with them. In fact, we often try to avoid them and hope they do not see us. Nevertheless, we are ultimately cornered by them.

People tend to be courteous so they will not tell people to go get stuffed. Instead, they politely listen while looking for any opportunity to get away. You can notice their mannerisms as they try to walk away. Of course, because the vampire is often a social ingrate, he or she will follow yapping the entire way.

Maturity is something that many people lack. Surf the online community and you will see people with huge self esteem issues trying to "be somebody". They flame out entire threads just to make their point. Any viewpoint that is not in agreement is immediately wrong. This is reminding of the behavior of school children on the playground. Most of these people never evolved from that level.

Success requires the assistance of many people. Of course, if you spend your time tending to the energy vampires, there is nothing left for you to move forward. For this reason, I say that it is best to clear these type of people out of your life. It matters none how long you have known him or her. The bottom line is one is either helping you or hindering you. If they fall into the latter, they need to go.

Most like to be victims. It became a national pastime. We are a bunch of whiny moochers. If something doesnt go our way, we are quick to point the finger at everyone else and try to place the blame elsewhere. Then we turn around and have to tell everyone about it. "Woo is me" is our national anthem.

Of course, this is a losers outlook. Anyone who is committed to making themselves something are apt to look at things a different way. Nevertheless, we cannot control the attitude of our friends and family. We can, however, choose whether we sit and listen to them. My advice is to exit as soon as possible. The toll you pay is not worth it in the end.

If you look at most people in your life, the majority will be takers of some sort. Most relationships are one-sided with one party carrying the load. This places a bigger burden on that person that is required. Ultimately, situations like this result in the overall abilities of both. The first has no interest in anything other than taking and the second tires.

Thus, clear the energy vampires and anyone who is not a help to you out of your life. It is wonderful to have friends and associates. However, if they are impeding your progress to success, they are your enemy. Remember this the next time someone is sucking you dry energetically.
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How High Will You Go?

"Shoot for the stars so that if you miss you still hit the moon"

What are your aspirations? How high do you want to go? These are questions that everyone should ponder at some point in their life. Sadly, most never even consider something of this nature,. Instead, they spend more time thinking about what they will have for lunch than they do about what they want out of life.

Before any greatness can be achieved, it first must be developed in the mind. Think and so it shall become. The mind is the mechanism that starts the success process. In this arena, the only hindrance is what the mind establishes. We set our own limits.

The truth is that most people settle for a lot less than they are capable of. This is a universal truth. The masses tend to be sheep. Success is achieved only by those who are brave enough to go and grab it. It is not an easy path. Thus, most opt for the safety that society promotes. In the end, the dreamers are ridiculed as a means of conformity. A few ignore what the masses to say and achieve all that life has to offer. Greatness can be had if you are will to set it as a goal.

So, how high will you go? Are you willing to ponder the greatness that is within you? When you establish goals, are you seeking to attain "superstar" status or do you wish things to "improve"? The onset of this process makes all the difference in the end. Dream like a billionaire will create a different end when compared to someone who dreams in terms of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Even in success, the later will fall short of the former.

I challenge you to increase your thinking in terms of what you want. The world is a limitless lode if you are willing to tap into it. This is the key. You need to decide exactly how high you aspire to. There is no reason why you cannot attain tremendous heights. Resist the temptation to sabotage yourself success by thinking "small".

What I want you to do is choose one aspect of your life. Decide to become the very best person walking the planet in that area. If it is weight loss, as an example, make a decision to have the best body on the planet. Begin to think, act, and behave as if you were the top person on the planet. Even if you do not get the best body, you will be a lot better than if you set the goal to lose "a few pounds". You can see how success is in direct proportion to the success level you mentally set down.

Begin the path to greatness today by lifting your sights to a much higher level. Settling for less than you can become is akin to murder; it is killing your potential. Shed those mental bonds today and watch what happens.

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Get Busy

Start your day off right. This is a wonderful thing for all of us to remember. The best way to ensure that you have a happy, productive day is to get it started on the right foot. Obviously, what is done will differ for each person but the premise holds true for all of us.

Many start their day off by grabbing a cup of coffee (with lots of caffeine) and a donut. This is not the best idea if you are seeking to get into shape. The bottom line is that we want our first actions to move us in the proper direction.

Momentum is one of the most power forces we have access to. Physics proved that it takes less energy to keep an object in motion than it does to get that same object moving. Guess who the object is in this instance? The hardest part of most activities is getting started.

When I am suffering from inertia, I spend an incredible amount of time "looking for something to do". Naturally, this is insane since I have a litany of projects that need my attention. Yet, when my motivation is suffering, I fail to take the actions that are needed. Instead, I will procrastinate by seeking out something that "strikes me" or spending time on meaningless tasks that provide no real value. I am doing the exact opposite of "getting busy".

This morning is the opposite of that. I am writing this post within 30 minutes of getting out of bed. There are days that I struggle with "writer's block". However, recently I have a list of topics I want to write about. There is absolutely no reason for me to wait to create this article. Therefore, I took the initiative and started writing. The hardest part was opening up the browser and going to my blogger page.

I stress the importance of this concept. It is imperative to remember that the hardest part of any task is actually getting started. Salespeople will tell you the hardest call for them to make is the first one of the day. We, as humans, tend to project about things in a negative manner. This leads us to procrastinate. As Anthony Robbins like to say, "procrastination is the silent killer". It simply saps us of our lives.

Action is the simple solution to procrastination. One caveat that I will put in at this time: for most, getting busy doing anything is a major advancement. We are often taught that it is important to focus our time and attention on the right tasks. I agree with this statement. However, since most individuals major in slothfulness, I believe that develop the ability to take action is crucial. This is done by getting busy on whatever tasks are in front of you. After you gained the capability to act, then you can start prioritizing your life. In the beginning, however, just get busy doing something.

Until next time, live sensationally.
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Do you realize the consequences of your choices? Is this something that you sat down and truly considered? I find that most people never give a thought to the decisions they make and the consequences they have. This is another example how most walk through life completely blind.

The truth is that every decision we make creates a result. Naturally, not all decisions are life and death. Nevertheless, over time, all of the choices we opt for add up to a direction that we are following. Ultimately, our entire life is nothing more than a series of choices.

Many like to complain about the predicaments they find themselves in. Listen to someone who is a smoker bitch about how tough it is to quit smoking. Well, didnt that person decide to start smoking at some point. The same is true for the stock market. Individuals losing money commiserate how the market is going against them. Who bought the stock that is plummeting?

My point is that every situation can be traced back to a choice that you made. Therefore, you need to take responsibility by admitting that you choose your current circumstance. No matter what the predicament, you opted for it. Naturally, you thought things would turn out differently, but they did not. Life has a way of doing that. Accept it.

If I want to change my life, I must do two things. The first is to acknowledge the power my choices have in creating the results in my life. Everything that I am presently experiencing is because of a choice I made at some point in the past. My life was created by the decisions that I made.

The second thing that I need to do is to start making different choices. Following the same thought pattern will result identical outcomes. Sometimes it is best for me to simply do the opposite thing than what I think is right. I experienced points in my life where my thinking was that broken. Nevertheless, making different decisions lead to different actions which lead to different outcomes. This is how we forge a new path in life.

Consider this post as you travel throughout your next few days. Be mindful of the thoughts that go through your head and the options you are presented with. Ask yourself if this is a decision you normally would make. If it is, perhaps it is best to try something different. A new life direction is only one choice away.
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Knowing What You Want

There is a saying I heard a number of years ago that always rang true with me. Most people dont get what they want because they do not know what they want. Those who have the ability to clarify in their minds what they desire, in detail, are able to attain the results they are seeking. Unfortunately, this is the small minority. The majority drift through life allowing circumstances to dictate what they enjoy. People live in a reactive mode.

Being Proactive

Successful people seem to share one common trait: they make things happen in their lives. As opposed to sitting back and waiting for circumstances to go their way, they attack their lives without abandon. They are determined to achieve the ends that they set down for themselves. This is a radical difference from the masses who take the exact opposite approach. Living in a reactionary mode is death.

The first step in your path to a better life is for you to decide to be proactive from this point going forward. Just because things did not work out in the past does not mean that is how it will go in the future. History is littered with people who failed before they achieved ultimate success. In fact, it often seems like failure is a prerequisite for success.

Once you decide to be proactive, you need to set yourself on a path to follow. This is an extremely difficult task for many. We all have seen the millions of goal setting programs out there and, many of us, tried most of them. How many of you experienced the "New Year's Resolution" syndrome where you make a promise only to have broken it by January 3rd? This happens every year.

With Clarity Comes Power

The mind is a powerful mechanism. We cannot underestimate it's ability to create results in our lives. However, for us to unleash this device, we need to get clear about what it is we are seeking. Putting crystal clear desires into it will produce a viable avenue to follow. Attaining goals is nothing more than breaking things down into a series of steps. Yet, one must know where he or she is heading before formulating those steps.

What do you want in life? This is the multi-million dollar question. Ask this of most people and they will give you vague answers. The reason for this is because they have no idea what they want out of life. Instead, they will tell you what they do not want. Or, if they do tell you, they will state something general such as "I want to lose weight". Each of these situations provides no power since there is absolutely no clarity in the thinking.

So again, what do you want in your life? I want you to think about this question long and hard. Spend days and weeks going over it again and again. The answer to this question holds the key to your entire life. All happiness and fulfillment are tied to reaching the proper conclusion. I can assure you once you have clarity, your life will take on new meaning.

It is time to design your life. Success is a reasonably simple exercise since so many are adept at failing. The biggest thing they fail at is not being proactive in their lives. Having clarity will automatically put you in the upper 1% of all the people out there. Again, the average person has no clue what he or she wants. Simply deciding for yourself separates you from the masses. Begin the process today.

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Bottoming Out

Alcoholic and drug rehabilitation programs talk about the need for one to "bottom out" before any recovery can take place. What this means is the person needs to endure enough pain before he or she will take the necessary action to get better. Basically, until the pain of remaining the same exceeds the pain of change, the status quo will persist. It is only after this reversal that behavior modification enables one to follow another path.

This principle applies to all aspects of life, not only alcohol and drug abuse. I was conversing last night with someone who battled excess weight all her life. She finally is at the point where she is willing to do something about it. Over the last month, she lost 10+ pounds and is approaching a weight she has not seen in 15 years.

Our conversation centered around the fact that our society is becoming too accepting of people's faults and downfalls. She felt that public embarrassment was not a good method of motivation. I, on the other hand, disagree. However, she said she felt the degradation over the years but figured what the f***, why change? This is the mindset of one who allows circumstances to win out.

My point here is not to argue the merits of public humiliation. Instead, I use this as an example of what it takes for each of us to bottom out. Everyone is different. What might crush one person is perfectly acceptable to another. However, we all need to realize that nothing will change until we reach that magical instance where we had enough. It only takes a split second where the mind says "no more" and the individual opts for new action.

I apply this idea to relationships also. People often tolerate things within their relationships because they are comfortable. Nevertheless, when one decides, firmly, that he or she will not accept something, that is when the change occurs. Often, this is something that the person needs to pursue him or herself. Focusing on improving oneself is usually the key to improving a relationship.

Yesterday, I wrote about quantifying where we are at and the actions we are taking. We can apply this same principle to the bottoming out process. If we are feeling some pain, and we know we need a lot of pain to motivate us to change, we need to magnify that level upward. Thus, if a situation causes us to feel pain at a level 5, we need to think up different ways to get that to an 8 or a 9. Perhaps something such as telling everyone where we screwed up and inflicting a bit of embarrassment is precisely what is needed. We need to take all action that will assist us in reaching that bottom if we are ever to change. The increasing of pain is at the core of this idea.

In conclusion, always monitor your level of pain. Most of us are taught to avoid pain. This concept I expressed here shows you the benefit of embracing it. Pain is what motivates. Use it to your advantage.
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Quantify It

You know that I believe success in life is the result of taking action. Without action, there will be no success. It is that simple. All the planning and motivation will accomplish nothing without being followed up by action. This is what makes our invisible plans visible. Action is the bridge between the non-existent and the existent.

Of course, many will argue that taking the proper action is important also. I would agree. However, there is one disclaimer that I put on that: for most, any action is an improvement. We are so accustomed to being inactive that doing anything is a movement in the right direction.

That being said, once we choose the proper action, we need to look at the intensity which we approach those things that need to be done. Have you ever heard of "going through the motions"? This is where someone does the right things but with minimal effort. Public service employees are often accused of majoring in this. They do what needs to be done but without enthusiasm. Intensity is what separates completion from grand success.

A simple exercise to do is to quantify the level of intensity that you are applying in the present moment. For example, if you are reading this post, what is your level of attention to it? Are you just glancing at it while the television is blasting in the background? Or are you in a peaceful area so you can concentrate? I know, as I write these words, the only distraction I have is the cat on the floor cleaning himself. The television is off and my other browsers are closed. My total focus is on this activity in the moment.

Does that mean we have to operate full tilt in everything we do? Of course not. That would cause burnout (or a heart attack) very quickly. However, most of what we do can be improved upon. Quantifying our present level is what allows us to increase that level. Our goal is simply to move up the scale somewhat.

I will use the analogy of weight lifting since it is fairly simple to quantify. Each time I workout, I can tell you what level it was at. When I am motivated and pumped up, I am usually at a 9 or 10. Yet, when I am dragging ass, my workouts can be at a 5. Now, is it reasonable for me to expect to be at a 9 or 10 all the time? No it is not. But, when I am at a 5, I can stop myself and ask "how can I get this to a 6 or a 7"? Mentally, I have a checklist of things that I go through to try to motivate myself. Often, if I can get a couple extra points, that is the difference between an awful workout and a decent one. Raising the bottom pays enormous dividends in my experience.

Apply this mental exercise over the next week. Throughout your day, ask yourself "what level is I presently at". Whatever it is, try to raise it up but 1 or 2 points. Think of all the things that will increase your energy, focus, attention, and/or outlook. This will net you better results and help you avoid going through the motions. We all have tasks that we dont want to do. Making them as fulfilling as possible enables us to further enjoy those things that we do like to do. After all, this is your life we are talking about.

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