Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Thought for the day

Choices. Decisions. Selections.

Everyday is filled with dozens of personal crossroads - moments when we are called upon to make a decision regarding minor as well as major questions.

Only through careful mental preparation can we consistently make wise choices. What we think determines what we believe; what we believe influences what we choose; what we choose defines what we are; and what we are attracts what we have.

If we are not happy with where our past decisions have led us, then the place to start is with our current thinking process. As we add new knowledge, we will begin to refine our philosophy. As our beliefs change, so too will our choices. And from better choices, come better results.

Failure is not a single, cataclysmic event.

We do not fail overnight. Failure is the inevitable result of an accumulation of poor thinking and poor choices. To put it more simply, failure is nothing more than a few errors in judgment repeated every day.

Now why would someone make an error in judgment and then be so foolish as to repeat it every day?

The answer is because he or she does not think that it matters.

Failure's most dangerous attribute is its subtlety. In the short term, those little errors don't seem to make any difference. We do not seem to be failing. In fact, sometimes these accumulated errors in judgment occur throughout a period of great joy and prosperity in our lives. Since nothing terrible happens to us, we simply drift from one day to the next, repeating the errors, thinking the wrong thoughts, listening to the wrong voices, and making the wrong choices.

The sky did not fall on us yesterday, therefore the act was probably harmless. Since it seemed to have no measurable consequence, it is probably safe to repeat.

But we must become better educated than that!

Both success and failure involve future consequences, namely the inevitable rewards and the unavoidable regrets resulting from past activities.

If this is true, why don't more people take time to ponder the future? The answer is simple: They are so caught up in the current moment that it doesn't seem to matter.

The problems and the rewards of today are so absorbing to some human beings that they never pause long enough to think about tomorrow.

But what if we did develop a new discipline to take just a few minutes every day to look a little further down the road?

We would then be able to foresee the impending consequences of our current conduct. Armed with that valuable information, we would be able to take the necessary actions to change our errors into new success-oriented disciplines. In other words, by disciplining ourselves to see the future in advance, we would be able to change our thinking, amend our errors and develop new habits to replace the old.

Taken one step at a time, all of the things that success and happiness require are actually quite easy to do.

Changing from errors to disciplines is easy, as is going from failure to success. The reason why it is so easy is because we can do it, and anything we have the ability to do is always easy.

But if it is so easy, why don't more of us do it?

Because while it is easy to do the things that success and happiness require, it is also easy not to do them!

The things that are easy to do are also easy not to do. The primary reason most people are not doing as well as they could and should can be summed up in a single word: NEGLECT.

Neglect is like an infection. Left unchecked, it will spread throughout our entire system of disciplines and eventually lead to a complete breakdown of a potentially joy-filled and prosperous human life.

Not doing the things we know we should do causes us to feel guilty and guilt leads to an erosion of self-confidence.

As our self-confidence diminishes, so does the level of our activity. As our activity diminishes, our results inevitably decline. And as our results suffer, our attitude begins to suffer. And as our attitude suffers, we begin the slow shift from positive to negative, our self-confidence diminishes even more ... and on and on it goes.

Once a negative spiral starts, it is difficult to stop.

We must keep a watchful eye on the subtle differences between success and failure, and be ever mindful of the inner urgings that would have us repeating costly errors rather than developing new disciplines.

The journey toward the good life begins with a serious commitment to changing any aspect of our current philosophy that has the capacity to come between us and our dreams. The remaining pieces of the puzzle of life can be of little value if we have not first made the firm resolve to do something with this piece of the puzzle.

... the first step ... lies in becoming the master of our ship and the captain of our soul by developing a sound personal philosophy.

(Extracted from The Five Major Pieces to the Life Puzzle by E. James Rohn, 2004 Advantage Quest Publications edition, Chapter One: Philosophy.)



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