Many people fail to realize that big success is the result of little successes achieved, often over a very long period of time. Truly successful people are long-term thinkers. They know that they must build upon each achievement and constantly learn new and better ways of doing things. A regular review of your progress is an essential part of goal-setting. A goal is little more than a wish unless it has a timetable for completion. Make sure your plan for your life includes short-, medium-, and long-term goals. Revise your goals as circumstances dictate, check them off when they are completed, and set new and bigger goals for yourself as you grow. And take time to reflect often to make sure you are on the right course — for you.
Mark Twain once observed that “the difference between the right word and the almost-right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.” It is never appropriate to use profanity, especially among people you do not know well. Instead, build your vocabulary by reading and studying so that you can express yourself simply and eloquently. When you expand the number of words you know, you also expand your mind, because understanding the words and their meanings necessitates understanding the concepts behind them. Make sure you allow time each day for study and reflection.
When you apply your faith in yourself, your faith in your fellow man, and your faith in God, the result is a positive course of action that when persistently followed will almost always lead to success. When you believe in your ideas and in your abilities, and you trust in the Infinite Intelligence of the universe, you know that your thoughts and deeds will ultimately lead to a successful conclusion. You cannot fail.
Our strength grows out of our weakness, said Ralph Waldo Emerson. “Not until we are pricked and stung and sorely shot at, awakens the indignation which arms itself with secret forces.” Strife and struggle can inspire you to overcome adversity and to propel yourself to real achievement. View every struggle as an opportunity for personal growth. It is the struggle itself, not the result that builds character. If you know you are right, stay the course even though the whole world seems to be against you and everyone you know questions your judgment. When you prevail — and you eventually will if you stick to the job — they will all tell you that they knew all along you could do it.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said: “It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.” It’s easy when you are part of a group to “go along to get along,” but when you are able to maintain your own highest standards of integrity — regardless of what others may do — you are destined for greatness. When you have developed a carefully thought out code of personal conduct, you will never have to ask anyone else what the appropriate course of action should be. You will intuitively know.
A good fisherman goes out of his way to bait his hook with what the fish prefer — which might not be a bad tip for those who wish to succeed in human relationships.
Just as in a conversation it’s a good idea to listen more than you talk, it is also wise in relationships to think about the well-being of others more than you think about your own wishes and desires. When you constantly strive to treat others in the same way you would like them to treat you, you become a person whom others like to be around, one who commands their respect, confidence, and loyalty. When you learn to manage emotions and your ego, and when you learn to always consider the needs and desires of others, it is inevitable that you will “bait your hook” with kindness and consideration, and catch more friends than you can count.
When you are involved in a dispute with someone else, it may be the only time doing nothing is better than doing something. There’s a practical reason for this: When you quarrel with others — even if you win the argument — you place a great deal of unnecessary stress upon yourself. It is impossible to maintain a Positive Mental Attitude when you allow negative emotions such as anger or hate to dominate your thoughts. No one can upset you or make you angry unless you allow them to do so. Instead of arguing with others, try asking nonthreatening questions, such as, “Why do you feel this way? What have I done to make you angry? What can I do to help?” You may find that the entire situation has resulted from a simple misunderstanding that can be quickly rectified. Even if problems are more serious, your positive behavior will go a long way toward helping resolve them.
Don’t overlook small details. Remember that the universe and all that is in it are made from tiny atoms.
There is an old expression that says, “If you take care of the little things, the big things will take care of themselves.” It’s another way of saying that every job is composed of many small details, any one of which, if overlooked, can create big problems later. If you have trouble dealing with details — paperwork, expense accounts, and other annoying details — set aside a time during your work cycle (daily, weekly, or monthly) to deal with such unpleasant tasks. Prepare yourself mentally to deal with those tasks, and you may find that you dispense with them quickly and efficiently. You may even find that the job wasn’t nearly as unpleasant as you expected it to be.
One of the most wonderful things about life is that we are all unique with different levels of intelligence, interests, aptitudes, and desires. How dreadfully dull it would be if we all wanted to be nuclear physicists — or bakers. But, regardless of the gifts we may have received at birth and whichever skills we may have since developed, we all have the capability to be the best at what we do. Being the best is strictly a reflection of your attitude and your desire. Whether you are a salesperson, an executive, a secretary, or an assembly-line worker, you have the capacity to be as good as you choose to be. When you become outstanding at what you do, you will discover greatly increased demand for your services. When you become the best in your line of work, you may be asked so often to help other “sheep” that you will soon own your own “flock.”
The world is filled with unfortunate souls who didn’t hear opportunity’s knock at the door because they were down at the convenience store buying lottery tickets. They have never learned that, as Branch Rickey, general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1942–50, once observed, “Luck is the residue of design.” You will be surprised how much your luck will improve when you make sure you are prepared to take advantage of opportunities. How many times have you had a great idea that you failed to act upon, only to discover later that someone used the same idea to start a business, get a promotion, or find a better job? Resolve now to get into action when you have a good idea. Don’t wait for something to happen — make it happen!