You know it seems like everybody grows up with the feeling they are special and different. During the 1960’s my generation watched Art Linkletter ask children what they wanted to be when they grew up on a TV show called, “Kids Say the Darndest Things.” In the 1990’s my kids watched Bill Cosby do a remake of that same show, and the answers were always zany and varied across the board, everything from President of the U.S., to Hollywood movie star, to Olympic gold medalist, to astronaut, to Super Bowl MVP quarterback.
It never occurs to kids that there are obstacles and barriers to their dreams, because as kids, they are constantly encouraged and surrounded by moms and dads telling them how special they are. As these kids begin to graduate from school, they no longer have their helicopter parents telling them all that happy stuff, and they begin to come face-to-face and get slapped around by the “big bad world.”
These guys and gals then get married, take on the increased responsibilities of children and mortgages, and go to work for companies that promise great sounding futures that are rarely delivered.
Their level of frustration goes through the roof as they wake up one day thinking that life has passed them by and that things will never work out like they dreamed. Instead of believing they have choices and options; the walls close in and they start to just accept what life dishes out. Those childhood feelings of excitement and enthusiasm begin to be replaced by feelings that they are just average and ordinary, like everybody else.
I know, because I’ve been there. I was the first child and first grandchild in my family, and was told I was smart and special and was going to be a superhero when I grew up. But then life began to happen when my mom died of cancer at age 36 just as I began my senior year of high school, followed by my dad drowning at age 40 three years later. I took a full time, all-night job stocking shelves in a grocery store to pay my way through college. Then, to my surprise, I discovered there wasn’t a long line of companies elbowing each other to be the highest bidder for me to come work with them.
Within a few short years, marriage, children, and several multi-state relocations made me realize that I was just surviving on life’s treadmill, pretty much like everybody else. I decided not to live the next 40 years of my life that way and began to make some changes to ensure that wouldn’t happen.
Everyone needs to realize that they must fight for whatever they want, because life has a way of slapping you around & beating you up, if you let it. If you will accept being unhappy, or broke, or being an average Joe; that’s exactly what life will give you.
My favorite sales and entrepreneurial mentor from nearly 40 years ago, Art Williams, always said there were four “power principles” that folks needed to get into their brain, when they arrive at that place I described above.
The first one states that you’ve got to demand happiness and success because nobody is going to just walk up to you and give it to you. You have the power within you to be successful, and you only have to couple that with belief and determination to begin to get moving.
The second principle is that you must learn to dream again like you did back in high school, which, by the way, is probably the last time you really had big dreams. People talk themselves out of success by constantly saying they can’t do something. A famous man once said, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t…you’re right.”
His third principle is that you have got to compete. You have to see yourself winning and then continue to slug it out until you work your way up through the food chain and reach YOUR objective. Life won’t be giving out “participation trophies” or “I showed up” awards. Yes, it will take time; but what’s 5-10 years if your family can eventually “live like nobody else.”
The fourth principle he shared was that you must realize that you can change. Your friends, relatives and maybe even spouse may not believe in you, but if you believe in you, nothing else matters. Ever heard of these “losers?”…
Henry Ford – Went broke 5 times before founding Ford Motor Co.
Bill Gates – Dropped out of college and started a business that failed before birthing Microsoft.
Albert Einstein – Didn’t speak until he was 4 or read until he was 7, and was later expelled from school.
Thomas Edison – Was told by teachers he was “too stupid to learn anything” and attempted to invent the light bulb unsuccessfully 1,000 times before actually doing it.
Winston Churchill – Failed 6th grade and lost every election until he became Prime Minister at 62.
Oprah Winfrey – Endured an abusive childhood and was fired as a reporter who was labelled as, “unfit for TV.”
Dick Cheney – Flunked out of Yale…twice.
Jerry Seinfeld – Froze on stage in front of a comedy club and was booed off the stage.
Elvis Presley – Was fired after one performance and told to “go back to driving a truck.”
Now just think for a minute what the world would have missed if these folks would have listened to those external voices instead of their own internal voices. Internalize these “power principles” and keep stumbling forward and constantly improving until you reach your goals!
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