So many people I see and speak with will tell me their lives are a mess and that they just can’t seem to get things back on track. What I find sad is that the steps to living a controlled and productive life are simple. Now, implementation is another story. There are basic principles that all successful happy individuals implement in their lives. If you can grasp these concepts and use them consistently, there is no telling where your life can take you.
So, what are the steps we need to implement in our lives and why do so many people seem to fail to understand them? The fact of the matter is this; life is not easy, simple yes, but easy, no! For some of us it can be physically demanding, but the mental strain can be much more overwhelming than the physical. The fact is that, in life, we deal with people and people can be the most destructive part of our lives, if we allow them to. So often I see people go from one train wreck to another. These same individuals I will see taking advice from people with worse lives than their own.
Here are the Seven Steps to help get your life back on track:
1. Beware of the advice of others.
2. Have a life plan written down.
3. Take responsibility for your life.
4. Dream big.
5. Seek knowledge and wisdom first.
6. Never give up.
7. Face Your Fears!
Let’s Go Deeper
Number One – Beware of the advice of others. Someone once told me that you should always look at the fruit on the tree before you decide to pick it. This saying is just as important in life. So, if we are going to seek advice from someone, we should always make sure that they have our best interests at heart and that they have some awareness or expertise in the area that we are seeking advice about. The world is full of people who would steal your dream if allowed. Many of these individuals are well intentioned but have little or no knowledge of the road you are looking to follow. The bottom line is this – Why would we want to take advice from someone worse off than ourselves?
Number Two – Have a life plan written down. Statistics show that less than 10% of Americans have written goals. Statistics also show that less than 10% of Americans earn $100,000 annually (there could be a correlation). I believe this is an example of the magic of setting goals. Goals can be the roadmap of your life and can help you move forward (get your life on track). Without a plan, it is like taking a road trip with no specific destination in mind. Your goals need to be realistic and attainable, clearly defined and measurable. This single pitfall derails more people that you can imagine.
Number Three – Take responsibility for your life. Whatever happens in our lives we need to look for the part we played in it and accept responsibility. The day that you can take responsibility for where you are and not blame someone or something is the day you become free to take control of your life. Therefore, responsibility for one’s actions is a key foundation in you being able to change the course of your life. It is not always easy but blame leads to anger and anger is one of the most destructive issues that can control our lives.
Number Four – Dream Big. The saddest thing is to meet a person with no dreams. I once heard someone say dreams are what make life tolerable. What could cause someone to go through life without any dreams? I am quite sure that this person did not start out this way. My guess is that somewhere along the road they let failure and frustration beat them down to a point where they felt dreaming was futile and failure too painful of an option. The pitfall of being dreamless is such a tragedy.
Number Five – Seek knowledge and wisdom first. Most people believe that finding the answers is the key to knowledge. I believe that knowing the question to ask is more important than knowing the answer. Here is a great analogy: We all know that an apple falls downward from a tree, this does not make us wise! Wisdom is understanding what the question should be, what is it that makes the apple fall downwards (the theory of universal gravitation). This understanding constitutes wisdom. Wisdom comes in different forms－ commonsense, educational, and theological. I truly believe if we seek wisdom first, we can get our life back on track.
Number Six – Never give up. Over the years I have come to believe that there is no true failure, there is only giving up. You see, if you never stop trying then you have never really failed. Failure can only be identified when someone stops doing something before he or she accomplishes it. The caveat to this thought is that if you decide it is not worth the trouble you are going through to accomplish something, then have you really failed? If you had kept trying you would not have failed. The greatest pitfall to beware of is quitting. Understand this－ quitting will probably be the easiest thing you will do in your life. Perseverance and determination to not give up is critical to success.
THE BIG PITFALL
Number Seven – Face Your Fears! Fear is the greatest obstacle that holds most people back in life. But when our dreams are bigger than our fears, we can accomplish anything.
Read more about fear in my book:
Dream big, have a plan, practice and learn. Know that you can change your life if you decide to change. (Never Give Up)