Success is an odd thing. Almost everyone knows how to be successful but almost no one chooses to work at it. How can you be successful? You get up every day, work hard, practice your trade, improve yourself, set goals, and work toward them.
Some people think they will stumble onto wealth. This is the Fred Flintstone-Ralph Cramden School of Success. There’s always a scheme. They take money from their retirement fund and stick it into a pet rock franchise. Or they invest in a real business but don’t show up to work. In the Fred Flintstone-Ralph Cramden School of Success there is no hard work. There’s only one fruitless scheme after another.
But that’s not why most people don’t succeed. It is related, however. Most people choose not to succeed because it’s difficult. Success is much more than money. It means good personal relationships, happiness, financial security, and a well-rounded life filled with people and things that make you happy. Fred and Ralph never get any money, but supposedly learn that friends and family are what really matter. Of course they forget this in time for the next episode.
We all fail. We fail to exercise, even though we know we should. We fail to put away money for retirement. We fail to relax. We fail to continue improving our skills. We fail to dream.
The great thing about success is that you can start over any time, any day. You can begin exercising today, and setting goals, and making time to relax, and getting to know yourself and your friends at a more meaningful level.
When you look back on the list of things you need to do for success, you’ll see that most people do most of these things: they work hard, practice their trade, improve themselves. The one they don’t do is to set goals. And that’s the killer. If you don’t set goals then all the hard work is useless.
Oddly enough, people are willing to work 40-50 hour weeks, take night classes, stick away some money for retirement, and yet have no idea why they’re doing any of it!
Perhaps the single thing that separates successful people from everyone else is the willingness to think about their lives, get to know themselves, set goals for themselves, and work toward the goals. Rather than being mice on a treadmill, they step off the treadmill and consider where they’ve been, where they want to go, and how to get there.
So, why don’t people do this? I have to admit I don’t know. I think many people are caught up in the belief that they don’t have the time. The work keeps piling up, the store has to be opened, the paperwork keeps flowing, and they don’t have time to stop. The result is, they climb on the treadmill every day and run faster to go nowhere. They don’t see that they’re running faster and faster and faster with nowhere to go.
I’ve been in the position of needing to train someone but not having the time to do it. The result, of course, is that I keep doing the work until I take the time to train someone. Then, of course, I have more time because someone else is doing part of the work. I know what needs to be done, but I put it off because I perceived that I didn’t have the time.
Success is the same way. Once you take the time to relax, think about your goals, and decide where you want to go, then all of your work is more meaningful. Your life is more meaningful! But you have to take the time to do it.
Resolve today. Step off the treadmill.