Art begins his book by relating how everybody grows up with the feeling they are special and different. My generation watched Art Linkletter on TV constantly asking children what they wanted to be when they grew up on, “Kids Say the Darndest Things”. You would hear everything from President of the US, to 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. And why should they, because at this point in their life they are constantly encouraged and surrounded by family members that tell them how special they are. This usually lasts until kids graduate from school and then they come face-to-face with the “big bad world”.
They get married, have kids and take on increased responsibilities.
They go to work for companies that promise but don’t deliver.
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 always thought they would. Instead of thinking they have choices and options; they begin to take on an attitude of just accepting what life dishes out. Their childhood feeling of excitement and enthusiasm wanes and is replaced by a feeling that they must just be average and ordinary, like everybody else.
I (Doug) know, because I’ve been there. I was the first child and grandchild in my family and was told that I was smart and special and was going to be a superhero when I grew up, but then life began to close in. My mom died of cancer at age 36 just as I began my senior year of high school and then my dad drowned on a beach vacation not long after that. I had to go to work full-time in a grocery store to work my way through college. And then, to my surprise, I discovered there wasn’t a long line of companies fighting to be the highest bidder for my services.
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 insure that wouldn’t happen.
Art shares that for all of us it must start with realizing that you are going to have to fight for whatever you 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.
Here are some of Art’s principles to burn into your brain that will help you turn the corner in your life:
The first one is that you’ve got to demand happiness and success because nobody is going to just walk up to you and give you something.
Secondly, you must learn to dream again like you did back in high school, which, by the way, is probably the last time you really did any big thinking.
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. Yes, it takes time; but what’s 5-10 years if your family can eventually “live like nobody else”.
Whether you believe it or not, your company probably has an environment where you can compete. Take a look at archived photos from your company’s past annual “winner’s” incentive trips, whatever they are called at your firm. You will see people who look just like you, warts and all, with similar backgrounds and abilities. The difference; they decided to compete and are now winning; some even earning six-figure incomes. Decide to go be one of them!
I’ll bet you’re familiar with this sequence of events:
1831 – Failed in business
1832 – Defeated for legislature
1833 – Second failure in business
1836 – Suffered nervous breakdown
1838 – Defeated for speaker
1840 – Defeated for elector
1843 – Defeated for Congress
1848 – Defeated for Congress
1855 – Defeated for Senate
1856 – Defeated for Senate
1858 – Defeated for Senate
1860 – ELECTED PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
Abraham Lincoln just kept competing until he won, although he had an unbelievable pattern of failure that would cause most people to just give up. His saga lasted for 30 years. But the principle stands that if you’re tough enough and compete long enough, you will win!
The fourth principle Art shares is 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. What about 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. 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 as, “unfit for TV”.
Dick Cheney – Flunked out of Yale…twice.
Jerry Seinfeld – Froze in front of a comedy club and was booed off the stage.
Charles Schultz – The author of “Peanuts” had every cartoon rejected that he ever submitted to his high school yearbook staff and later in life was rejected for a position with Walt Disney.
Elvis Presley – Was fired after one performance and told to “go back to driving a truck.”
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. Keep stumbling forward and constantly improving!
How about Speaking Your Mind below and share with us when you realized life was brutal, and tell us what you did about it.
©2013 Robinson Training Solutions, LLC