Life is full of choices. Where you go, what you do, who you become; they are all the result of the daily decisions you make. Henry David Thoreau once said the price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it. Is the path you are on taking you where you would like to go?
High performance people share a number of common traits. A strong sense of self, a close connection to others, a curiosity to solve problems and the creativity to do it. They share a unique ability to engage in moments in which they felt truly alive, creative, and integrated. Maslow analyzed their characteristics; how they thought, what they dreamed, the way they lived. He described the following abilities: total absorption, or the ability to maintain complete concentration, choosing growth for the sake of progress, honestly taking responsibility for their actions, having the courage to follow intuition, and making one's life a never ending self-development process. He called these people self-actualizers.
Beyond tangible goals is the ability to experience living with passion while pursuing your dreams. It's a daily journey. At the end of every day ask yourself three questions: did I give 100 percent, did I stay predominantly positive, and, did I take responsibility for my actions? There are no shortcuts to being true to yourself.
A Process that Never Ends
Every moment is a choice, and every choice has consequences -- both costs and benefits. Life seems to work in proportion to the size of the promises you make and your ability to make good on them. Most people believe they have to choose riches without spirituality, or poverty and humility seasoned with the divine. Many make ridiculous excuses for the life they lead. Think about getting home on time. Yes, maybe there was traffic. But you could have gotten up earlier, or left sooner. You're personally responsible for the commitments you make in your life. It's all about responsibility. It's totally up to you. You can fail many times, but you're not a failure until you begin to blame someone else. You are never without the ability to choose. Bad things may happen to good people, but how we decide to respond to events makes all the difference in the world.
An Inner Battle
You've heard of Victor Frankl? He was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist who survived the Holocaust. He witnessed nearly every possible atrocity yet he survived. Most people would have given up enduring such atrocities, but Frankl said he chose to discover the meaning of existence. He believed it was the power of choice that kept one alive even in the most trying times. "We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms - to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way."
There's a Greek word that describes the quest: 'Zoe". Zoe is the state of being possessed of vitality and absolute fullness of life, real and genuine, active and vigorous. It's the full potential of your inner life, the generator of beauty and passion so intense that moments have a sacred quality to them, detached from every obstacle, doubt, and fear. Zoe encompasses love, wisdom, and courage. Your thoughts do affect how you feel, and how you feel affects how you think. Thoughts and feelings together trigger chemical and electrical reactions in the brain that are powerful. If we want change we must work from the inside out. You won't have the power of choice if you are constantly reacting to the outer world. You either consciously create your life or you react to it.
Nelson Mandela suffered through twenty-seven years of false imprisonment only to emerge without bitterness toward his captors. Daily suffering molded him. Who would have known he would end apartheid and become president of South Africa? His suffering produced perseverance, his perseverance produced character, and his character was the basis for the inner confidence that became a powerful sense of self. The key is to live as if you''ll die tomorrow and prepare as if you'll live forever. There is one powerful thing that self-actualizing people have learned to do, it's to control where they place their attention. They build their environment, from relationships, and focus their desires around that which inspires, teaches, and empowers. Your thoughts become the feelings moods, and attitudes that direct your life. Your life unfolds the way it does because of your thoughts. To change your behavior, you need to change your thoughts, and to change your thoughts, you must change where you focus your attention.
Getting the Things You Want
Everyone has a story. You are the author and narrator of your story; you choose which moments of life have meaning and how meaningful they are. Every moment provides an opportunity to decide which direction your story will lead. Every thought is part of that story line, and great lives have great story lines. It's your beliefs that lead to the expectations that cause you to see what you expect and to achieve what you see. Beliefs not only set limits for what's possible in your life but also attract situations that lead to your goals. Goals are unique because they're creations in your mind that you don't have yet. The true worth of a man is measured by the goals (objects) he pursues -- Marcus Aurelius.
Your Model of the World
Guglielmo Marconi connected a few wires around the start of the twentieth century and sent a message across the Atlantic that changed history. He enabled people to hear each other via radio waves. What did he really do? Marconi and Benjamin Franklin who came before him only tapped into what was already there. Marconi did not invent radio waves, just as Franklin did not invent electricity. Radio waves and electrical currents were always there, always available, just waiting for us to get in tune and connect with their energy. What's your bigger thought? Winston Churchill said, "We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give."
A Sense of Self
A person with a strong sense of self is not threatened by a failed outcome. Strong people have no need to defend themselves, because they don't have the need to prove they're right. A strong sense of self is connected to self acceptance. Self acceptance is increased by expanding your vision. Choose integrity and you'll more readily take responsibility for what happens in your life. In order to truly grow you must take risks, and to take risks, you must overcome the barrier of self-consciousness.
Focus is the ability to direct your attention, efforts, or activity at a desired goal without being distracted. Focus creates the leverage that takes average talent or minimal resources and produces extraordinary results. Focus is the fulcrum to a lever. It leverages power, just as a magnifying glass focuses the power of the sun. The same amount of energy is there with or without the glass. But if the energy is directed through a lens, it can produce fire. Focus will help you find the answers.
Extraordinary performers seem to have a few 'special talents'. They are solution oriented. They don't say "I can't". Instead they ask 'How can I'. This simple twist of semantics changes everything. It forces your mind to create a solution. There are always ways to a solution. Think big. Look for challenging problems to solve. You can't win the game of life trying to shelter yourself. Winning requires courage. You have to make decisions. The person who tries and keeps on trying will eventually get to where he or she is going. Don't settle for what you have. Pursue excellence. Prepare for tomorrow but remember to live every day as if it were your last.
Being proactive is the best way. Some say the future cannot be predicted. I say, the way to predict your future is to create it.
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We provide peace of mind by creating and managing structures that allow you to grow and protect your business, legacy, and personal wealth. "Where you'll be tomorrow, depends on what you do today."
Lechner Law Office, P.C.
Law and Professional Center
Orland Hills, Illinois 60487-4623
Paul Lechner Esq., CPA
The Lechner Group, Ltd.
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