Life is like a ten speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use.
1. Unwillingness to Take Risks
Success involves taking calculated risks. Risk taking does not mean gambling foolishly and behaving irresponsibly. People sometimes mistake irresponsible and rash behavior as risk-taking. They end up with negative results and blame it on bad luck.
Risk-taking is relative. The concept of risk varies from person to person and can be a
result of training. To both a trained mountain climber and a novice, mountain climbing is risky, but to the trained person it is not irresponsible risk-taking. Responsible risk-taking is based on knowledge, training, careful study, confidence and competence which give a person the courage to act while facing fear. The person who never does anything makes no mistakes. However, he doesn't realize that not doing anything is his biggest mistake.
Many opportunities are lost because of indecision. It is habit-forming and contagious. Take risks but don't gamble. Risk-takers go with their eyes open. Gamblers shoot in the dark.
Once someone asked a farmer if he had planted wheat for the season. The farmer replied, "No. I was afraid it wouldn't rain." Then the man asked, "Did you plant corn?" The farmer said, "No. I was afraid of insects eating one corn. Then the man asked , " What did you plant ? " The farmer said, "Nothing. I played it safe."
To laugh is to risk appearing the fool.
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.
To reach outfox another is to risk involvement.
To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self.
To place your ideas, your dreams, before a crowd is to risk their loss.
To love is to risk not being loved in return.
To live is to risk dying.
To hope is to risk despair.
To try is to risk failure.
But risks must be taken, because the greatest
hazard in life is to risk nothing.
The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has
nothing, and is nothing.
They may avoid suffering and sorrow, but they
cannot learn, feel, change, grow, love, or live.
Chained by their attitudes, they are slaves, they have forfeited their freedom.
Only a person who risks is free.
2. Lack Of Persistence
When problems seem insurmountable, quitting seems to be the easiest way out. It is true for every marriage, job and relationship. Winners are struck but not destroyed. We all have had setbacks in life. Failing does not mean we are failures.
More people fail not because they lack knowledge or talent but because they quit. The
total secret of success lies in two words, persistence and resistance. Persist in what must be done and resist what ought not be done.
A man is a hero not because he is braver than anyone else, but because he is brave for ten minutes longer.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson--
3. Instant Gratification
We think short term, not long term. That is limited vision. We are living in an age of instant gratification. There is a pill for everything, from waking you up to putting you to sleep. People want to take a pill to get rid of their problems. When people want to be instant millionaires, they take shortcuts and compromise on their integrity.
The desire to make a million overnight has made the lottery a flourishing business. Remember that instant gratification never thinks of consequences, only of momentary
Today's generation defines the ideal diet as one that will take off five pounds for good intentions. These are people who don't want any more birthdays but want all the presents.
4. Lack of Priorities
People make substitutes where they ought not to. For example, in relationships, they trade money and gifts for affection and time. Some people find it easier to buy things for their children and spouse to compensate for their absence.
When we don't have our priorities right, we waste time, not realizing that time wasted is life wasted. Prioritizing requires discipline to do what needs to be done rather than going by our moods and fancies. Too much emphasis is placed on success and failure rather than doing one's best.
How do you cope with defeat and problems?
Your response to this question says a lot about your character. One of the keys to solving this mystery to success is understanding. Some people have their mind set on money, power, fame or possessions. We have to understand our priorities.
Success does not come by reading or memorizing the principles that lead to success, but by understanding and applying them.
5. Looking for Shortcuts
No Free Lunch
There is a story about a king who called his advisers and asked them to write down the wisdom of the ages so that he could pass it on to future generations. After a lot of work, the advisers came up with several volumes of wisdom and presented them to the king. The king called his advisers and said that it was too long, people would not read it. They had to condense it. The advisers went back to work and came back with one volume. The king said the same thing. They came back again with one chapter and then one page, and the king said the same thing still until they came up with one sentence that satisfied the king. He said that if there was one piece of wisdom that he wanted to pass on to future generations, it is this one sentence: "There is no free lunch."
In every organization or society, there are freeloaders. They are people who want to get a benefit without paying for it. They are looking for freebies. By and large, sometime or the other, most of us have been guilty of being a freeloader. This is typically seen in associations and organizations. Most members are inactive. They want and get the full benefit of the effort of the active ones.
The Easier Way May Actually Be The Tougher Way
Once there was a lark singing in the forest. The lark stopped him and asked, "What do you have in the box and where are you going?" The farmer replied that he had worms and that he was going to the market to trade them for some feathers. The lark said, "I have many feathers. I will pluck one and give it to you and that will save me looking for worms." The farmer gave the worms to the lark and the lark plucked a feather and gave it in return. The next day the same thing happened and the day after and on and on until a day came that the lark had no more feathers. Now it couldn't fly and hunt for worms. It started looking ugly and stopped singing and very soon it died.
What is the moral of the story?
The moral is quite clear what the lark thought was an easy way to get food turned out to be the tougher way after all. Isn't the same thing true in our lives? Many times we look for the easier way, which really ends up being the tougher way.
Losers Look For Quick Fixes
There are two ways of getting rid of weeds in your yard. The easy way and the not so
easy way. The easy way may be to run a lawn mower and the yard looks fine for a while, but that is a temporary answer. Soon the weeds are back. But the not-so-easy way may mean getting down on your hands and knees and pulling out the weeds by the roots. It is time consuming and painful, but the weeds will stay away for a longer time. The first solution appeared easy, but the problem remained. The second solution, was not so easy, but took care of the problem from the roots. The key is to get to the root of the problem.
The same thing is true of our attitude in life. Some people spread their attitude of bitterness and resentment and this attitude keeps cropping up in different parts of their
lives. The problem with people today is that they want instant answers. They are looking for one-minute solutions to everything. Just like instant coffee, they want instant happiness. There are no quick fixes. This attitude leads to disappointment.
6. Selfishness and Greed
Individuals and organizations that have a selfish attitude toward each other and toward
their customers have no right to expect growth. Their attitude is to keep passing the buck without regard for the welfare of others. Greed always wants more. Needs can be
satisfied but greed cannot. It is a cancer of the soul. Greed destroys relationships. How do we gauge our greed index? By asking ourselves three questions:
¨ Can I afford it?
¨ Do I really need it?
¨ If I have it, will it give me peace of mind?
Greed comes out of poor self-esteem, which manifests itself as false pride, pretense or keeping up with the Joneses. The way out of greed is to learn to live within your means and be satisfied. Being contented does not mean lacking ambition.
WHERE DOES IT END?
There is a story about a wealthy farmer who was once offered all the land he could walk on in a day, provided he came back by sundown to the point where he started. To get a new start, early the next morning the farmer started covering ground quickly because he wanted to get as much land as he could. Even though he was tired, he kept going all afternoon because he didn't want to miss this once in a lifetime opportunity to gain more wealth.
Late in the afternoon he realized the condition he had to fulfill to get the land was to get back to the starting point by sundown. His greed had gotten him far enough. He started his return journey, keeping an eye on how close he was to sundown. The closer it got to sundown, the faster he ran. He was exhausted, out of breath and pushed himself beyond the point of endurance. He collapsed upon reaching the starting point and died. He did make it before sundown. He was buried and all the land he needed was a small plot.
There is a lot of truth in this story and a lesson to be learned. Whether the farmer was wealthy or not, any greedy person would have ended the same way.
7. Lack of Conviction
People who lack conviction take the middle of the road; and guess what happens in the middle of the road? They get run over.
People without conviction do not take a stand. They go along to get along because they lack confidence and courage. They conform in order to get accepted even when they know that what they are doing is wrong. They behave like part of a herd.
Some people consider themselves a shade better because they do not support the wrong; however, they lack the conviction to oppose. They do not realize that by not opposing they are actually supporting.
One of the important secrets to success is, instead of being against something, be for
something. That way, you don't become part of the problem, but part of the solution. It
takes conviction to take a stand.
Conviction Takes Faith
Faith without action is delusion. Faith does not wait for miracles but produces them. If you think you can or if you think you can't, you are right.
We all have low moments, we all fall down and get hurt. We all have moments when we doubt ourselves and get into self-pity. The point is to overcome these feelings and
restore your faith.
There are three kinds of people in this world:
¨ People who make things happen
¨ People who watch things happen
¨ People who wonder what happened
Which category do you fall into?
8. Lack of Understanding of Nature's Laws
Success is a matter of laws and these are the laws of nature. Change is nature's law. We are either moving forward or we are going backward. We are either creating or
disintegrating. There is no status quo.
A seed, if it is not planted in the earth to create, disintegrates. Change is inevitable. It is going to happen whether we like it or not. All progress is change but all change is not progress. We must evaluate change and accept it only if it makes sense. Acceptance without evaluation amounts to conforming behavior, a sign of lack of confidence and of low self-esteem.
There is a lot to be said about tradition. Growth for the sake of growth is the philosophy of a cancerous cell. It is negativity spreading all over. That is not growth, that is destruction. Growth, in order to be meaningful, must be positive. Success is not a matter of luck, but of laws.
Law of Cause and Effect
In order to succeed, we need to understand the law of cause and effect and the relationship between actions and results. For every effect, there is a cause. The law of cause and effect is the same as the law of sowing and reaping. The law of sowing and reaping says five things:
- We must have the desire to sow. Desire is the starting point.
- What we sow, so shall we reap. If we sow potatoes, we are only going to reap
potatoes, not tomatoes.
- We must sow before we reap. Sowing takes place before reaping; we must give
before we get. We cannot expect the fireplace to give us heat before we put in the fuel. Some people are constantly looking to get before they give. It does not work this way.
- When we sow a seed, we do not reap a fruit--our harvest is manifold. If we sow a positive seed our harvest will be manifold in the positive, and if we sow a negative one the harvest shall be manifold in the negative. It is not uncommon to see people going against nature's law.
A farmer knows that we cannot sow and reap in the same day. There is always a period of gestation.
It is like the law of physics. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Most of the time people are trying to change the effect while the cause remains. Either we feed our mind with positives constantly or negativity automatically fills the vacuum.
Many ancient sages have said what James Allen said in his book As a Man Thinketh. A man's mind is like a garden. If we plant good seeds, we will have a good garden. But if we don't plant anything, something will grow and they will be weeds. That is nature's law.
The same is true in our lives. I would go a step further. Even if we plant good seeds, weeds will still grow. The process of weeding goes on forever.
If you put water in a glass and put it in sub-zero temperature, it will freeze. That is not
surprising, that is nature's law. In fact, that is the only thing that will happen. Our thoughts are causes. You sow a thought, you reap an action. You sow an action, you
reap a habit. You sow a habit, you reap a character. You sow a character, you reap a
destiny. It all starts with a thought.
Laws of Attraction
We attract to ourselves not what we want but what we are. The old phrase, "Birds of a
feather flock together," holds true.
Negative thinkers are dangerous. They attract other negative people, react negatively,
expect the worst and they are not disappointed.
Have you observed how at any social occasion successful people attract other
successful people? Failures attract other failures, and together they will moan, groan and complain.
Our friends are not the kind of people we want but the kind of people we are.
9. Unwillingness to Plan and Prepare
Everyone has a will to win but very few have the will to prepare to win.
Most people spend more time planning a party or vacation than planning their lives.
Confidence comes from preparation, which is nothing but planning and practicing. Winners put pressure on themselves. That is the pressure of preparing and not worrying about winning.
If we practice poorly, we play poorly; because we play as we practice. The difference
between success and failure is the difference between doing exactly right and almost
A complete mental and physical preparation is the result of sacrifice and self-discipline. It is easy to be average but tough to be the best. No wonder the average people take the easy way.
Preparation is the necessary edge to succeed in any field.
Purpose + Principle + Planning + Practice + Perseverance + Patience + Pride =
Preparation Leads To Confidence
Preparation means tolerating failure but never accepting it. It means having the courage to face defeat without feeling defeated, being disappointed without being discouraged.
Preparation means learning from our mistakes. There is nothing wrong with making
mistakes. We all do. A fool is one who makes the same mistake twice. A person who
makes a mistake and doesn't correct it, commits a bigger one.
The best way to handle a mistake is to
¨ admit it quickly
¨ not dwell on it
¨ learn from it
¨ not repeat it
¨ not assign blame or make excuses
Pressure comes from being unprepared. There is no substitute for preparation, practice and hard work. Desire and wishful thinking won't do it. Only preparation will give you the competitive edge.
Pressure can paralyze when a person is not prepared. Just like water gravitates to its
own path, success gravitates to those who are prepared. Weak effort gets weak results.
Persistence is a name we give to
¨ a purpose
¨ positive attitude
¨ a plan .
¨ price .
¨ Do you have a clearly defined purpose?
¨ Do you have a plan of action?
¨ What effort are you putting into preparation?
¨ What price are you willing to pay? How far are you willing to go?
¨ Do you have the patience to withstand the gestation period?
¨ Are you willing to practice toward excellence?
¨ Do you have any firm principles to stand on?
¨ Do you have pride in your performance?
¨ Do you have the "can do" attitude?
Winners may analyze but never rationalize that is a loser's game. Losers always have a book full of excuses to tell you why they could not.
We hear excuses like:
- I'm unlucky.
- I'm born under the wrong stars.
- I'm too young.
- I'm too old.
- I'm handicapped.
- I'm not smart enough.
- I'm not educated.
- I'm not good looking.
- I don't have contacts.
- I don't have enough money.
- I don't have enough time.
- The economy is bad.
- If only I had the opportunity.
- If only I didn't have a family.
- If only I had married right.
- The list can go on and on.
HOW THEY CATCH MONKEYS IN INDIA
Monkey-hunters use a box with an opening at the top, big enough for the monkey to slide its hand in. Inside the box are nuts. The monkey grabs the nuts and now its hand becomes a fist. The monkey tries to get its hand out but the opening is big enough for the hand to slide in, but too small for the fist to come out. Now the monkey has a choice, either to let go off the nuts and be free forever or hang on to the nuts and get caught. Guess what it picks every time? You guessed it. He hangs on to the nuts and gets caught.
We are no different from monkeys. We all hang on to some nuts that keep us from going forward in life. We keep rationalizing by saying, "I cannot do this because . . ." and whatever comes after "because" are the nuts that we are hanging on to which are holding us back.
Successful people don't rationalize. Two things determine if a person will be a success: reasons and results. Reasons don't count while results do. A good advice for failure is: Don't think, don't ask and don't listen. Just rationalize.
11. Not Learning from Past Mistakes
People who do not learn lessons from history are doomed. Failure is a teacher if we have the right attitude. Failure is a detour, not a dead end. It is a delay, not a defeat.
Experience is the name we give to our mistakes.
Some people live and learn, and some only live. Wise people learn from their mistakes
wiser people learn from other people's mistakes. Our lives are not long enough to learn
only from our own mistakes.
12. Inability to Recognize Opportunity
Opportunities come disguised as obstacles. That is why most people don't recognize them. Remember that the bigger the obstacle, the bigger is the opportunity.
Fear can be real or imaginary. It makes people do strange things and primarily comes
because of a lack of understanding. To live in fear is like being in an emotional prison. Fear results in insecurity, lack of confidence, procrastination. Fear destroys our potential and ability. We cannot think straight. It ruins relationships and health.
Some of the common fears are:
¨ fear of failing
¨ fear of the unknown
¨ fear of being unprepared
¨ fear of making the wrong decision
¨ fear of rejection
Some fears can be described, others felt. Fear leads to anxiety, which in turn leads to irrational thinking, which actually sabotages our solution to the problem. The normal
response to fear is escape. Escape puts us in our comfort zone and reduces the impact temporarily, while keeping the cause. Imaginary fear magnifies the problem.
Fear can get out of hand and destroy happiness and relationships. Fear of failure often can be worse than failure itself. Failure is not the worst thing that could happen to someone. People who don't try have failed before attempting. When
infants learn to walk, they keep falling; but to them it is not failing so they get up. If they got disheartened, they would never walk. It is better to die on one's feet than to live with fear on one's knees.
14. Inability to Use Talent
Albert Einstein said, "I think I used about 25% of my intellectual capacity during my life." According to William James, human beings use only 10-12% of their potential. The saddest part of most people's lives is that they die with the music still in them. They haven't lived while alive. They rust out rather than wear out. I would rather wear out than rust out. The saddest words in life are "I should have".
Rusting out is not to be confused with patience. Rusting out is idleness and passivity.
Patience is a conscious decision, it is active and involves perseverance and persistence. Someone asked an elderly person, "What is life's heaviest burden?" The elderly person replied sadly, "To have nothing to carry."
15. Lack Of Discipline
Have you ever wondered why some people never reach their goals? Why they are always frustrated with reversals and crises? Why is it some people have continued success, while others have endless failures? Anyone who has accomplished anything worthwhile has never done so without discipline, whether in sports, athletics, academia or business.
People without discipline try to do everything, but commit themselves to nothing. Some so-called liberal thinkers have interpreted lack of discipline as freedom. When I am in an aircraft I want a pilot who is disciplined and does what he is supposed to do and not what he feels like doing. I don't want him to have the philosophy, "I'm free. I don't want anyone from the control tower telling me what to do."
Lack of consistency is poor discipline. Discipline takes self-control, sacrifice, and avoiding distractions and temptations. It means staying focused. Steam does not move the engine unless it is confined. Niagara Falls would not generate power unless it were harnessed.
We all know the story of the tortoise and the hare. The hare used to brag about his speed and challenged the tortoise to a race. The tortoise accepted the challenge. They appointed the fox as the judge who gave them the starting and finishing points. The race started and the tortoise kept going steadily. The hare ran quickly, left the tortoise behind and decided to take a nap since he was so confident he would win the race. By the time he woke up, remembered the race and started running, he saw that the tortoise had already reached the finish line and won.
Consistency takes discipline and is more important than erratic effort. Discipline and regret are both painful. Most people have a choice between the two.
Guess which is more painful.
Generally children brought up with excessive freedom and a lack of discipline grow up
not respecting themselves, their parents or society, and have a hard time accepting responsibility.
16. Poor Self-Esteem
Poor self-esteem is a lack of self-respect and self-worth. It leads to abuse of one's self
and others. Ego takes the driver's seat. Decisions are taken more to satisfy the ego than o accomplish anything worthwhile. People with low self-esteem are constantly looking fo identity. They are trying to find themselves. One's self is not to be found but to be created. Idleness and laziness are consequences of poor self esteem and so is making excuses. Idleness is like rust that eats into the most brilliant metal.
17. Lack Of Knowledge
The first step towards knowledge is awareness of areas of ignorance. The more knowledge a person gets, the more he realizes what areas he is ignorant in. A person who thinks he knows everything has the most to learn.
Ignorant people don't know they are ignorant. They don't know that they don't know. In fact more than ignorance, the bigger problem is the illusion of knowledge, which can
mislead a person.
18. Fatalistic Attitude
A fatalistic attitude prevents people from accepting responsibility for their position in life. They attribute success and failure to luck. They resign themselves to their fate. They believe and accept the predestined future written in their horoscope or stars, that
regardless of their effort whatever has to happen will happen. Hence they never put in any effort and complacency becomes a way of life. They wait for things to happen rather than make them happen. Success is a matter of luck, ask any failure.
Weak-minded people fall easy prey to fortune-tellers, horoscopes and self-proclaimed God's men who are sometimes conmen. They become superstitious and ritualistic.
Shallow people believe in luck. People with strength and determination believe in cause and effect. Some people consider a rabbit's foot lucky; but it wasn't lucky for the rabbit, was it?
Some People Think They are Just Unlucky
This breeds a fatalistic attitude. People who get involved halfheartedly say things like:
¨ "I will give it a try";
¨ "I will see if it works";
¨ "I will give it a shot";
¨ "I have nothing to lose";
¨ "I haven't put much into it anyway."
These people guarantee failure because they get into a project with no dedication or
determination. They lack courage, commitment and confidence. They are starting with
complacence and call themselves unlucky.
A man bought a racehorse and put him in a barn with a big sign, "The fastest horse in
the world." The owner didn't exercise the horse nor train it to keep it in good shape. He
entered the horse in a race and it came last. The owner quickly changed the sign to "The fastest world for the horse." By inaction or not doing what should be done, people fail and they blame luck.
Effort Does It
Life without vision, courage and depth is simply a blind experience. Small, lazy, and weak minds always take the easiest way, the path of least resistance. Athletes train 15 years for 15 seconds of performance. Ask them if they got lucky. Ask an athlete how he feels after a good workout. He will tell you that he feels spent. If he doesn't feel that way, it means he hasn't worked out to his maximum ability. Losers think life is unfair. They think only of their bad breaks. They don't consider that the person who is prepared and playing well still got the same bad breaks but overcame them. That is the difference. His threshold for tolerating pain becomes higher because in the end he is not training so much for the game but for his character.
LUCK FAVORS THOSE WHO HELP THEMSELVES
A flood was threatening a small town and everyone was leaving for safety except one man who said, "God will save me. I have faith." As the water level rose a jeep came to
rescue him, the man refused, saying "God will save me. I have faith." As the water level rose further, he went up to the second storey, and a boat came to help him. Again he refused to go, Belying, "God will save me. I have faith." The water kept rising and the man climbed on to the roof. A helicopter came to rescue him, but he said, "God will save me. I have faith." Well, finally he drowned. When he reached his Maker he angrily questioned, "I had complete faith in you. Why did you ignore my prayers and let me drown?" The Lord replied, "Who do you think sent you the jeep, the boat, and the helicopter?"
The only way to overcome the fatalistic attitude is to accept responsibility and believe in the law of cause and effect rather than luck. It takes action, preparation and planning rather than waiting, wondering or wishing, to accomplish anything in life.
Luck Shines On The Deserving
Alexander Graham Bell was desperately trying to invent a hearing aid for his partially deaf wife. He failed at inventing a hearing aid but in the process discovered the principles of the telephone. You wouldn't call someone like that lucky, would you?Good luck is when opportunity meets preparation. Without effort and preparation, lucky coincidences don't happen.
He worked by day
And toiled by night.
He gave up play
And some delight.
Dry books he read,
New things to learn.
And forged ahead,
Success to earn.
He plodded on with
Faith and pluck;
And when he won,
Men called it luck.
19. Lack of Purpose
If we read stories of people who overcame serious disabilities, it becomes evident that
their burning desire to succeed was their driving force. They had a purpose in life. They wanted to prove to themselves that they could do it in spite of all odds--and they did.
Desire is what made a paralytic Wilma Rudolph the fastest woman on the track at the
1960 Olympics, winning three gold medals.
According to Glen Cunningham, "Desire is what made a boy with burnt legs set the world record in the one mile run."
A polio victim at the age of five started swimming to regain strength. It was because of
her desire to succeed that she went on to become a world record holder at three events and won the gold at the 1956 Olympics at Melbourne. Her name is Shelley Mann.
When people lack purpose and direction, they see no opportunity. If a person has the
desire to accomplish something, the direction to know his objective, the dedication to stay focused, and the discipline required to put in the hard work, then other things come easy. But if you don't have them, it doesn't matter what else you have. Character is the foundation upon which all else is built. It endures.
20. Lack Of Courage
Successful people are not looking for miracles or easy tasks. They seek courage and
strength to overcome obstacles. They look at what is left rather than what is lost. Wishes don't come true; beliefs and expectations supported by conviction do. Prayers are only answered when they are supported with courageous action. It is courage and character that is the deadly combination for success. This is the difference between the ordinary and the extraordinary.
When our minds are filled with courage we forget our fears and overcome obstacles. Courage is not absence of fear but the overcoming of fear. Character (justice and
integrity) without courage is ineffective, whereas courage without character is oppression.
A RECIPE FOR SUCCESS
Success is like baking a cake. Unless you have just the right recipe, it is not going to
work. The ingredients must be of the finest quality and in the right proportions. You can't overtake it or undercook it. Once you have the right recipe and with practice and the occasional disaster, it becomes a lot easier.
What is the difference between persistence and obstinacy? The difference is that persistence represents a strong will and obstinacy represents a strong won't.
You have the recipe. To use it is your choice.
A CRASH COURSE FOR SUCCESS
¨ Play to win and not to lose.
¨ Learn from other people's mistakes.
¨ Associate with people of high moral character.
¨ Give more than you get.
¨ Don't look for something for nothing.
¨ Always think long term.
¨ Evaluate your strengths and build on them.
¨ Always keep the larger picture in mind when making a decision.
¨ Never compromise your integrity.
Source : Shiv Khera