Whether it’s having a more successful business, a healthier body, a stronger relationship, or all the above, most of us are constantly striving for improvement. The good news? Everyone has the power to create a better quality of life, and that power lies in our ability to choose:
- What to focus on
- What something means
- What we’re going to do
- What are you going to focus on?
Whatever you focus on you will feel. Most people tend to focus on what’s “wrong” with or missing from their lives, and it leaves them feeling . . . well, pretty awful. When you’re in an awful state, do you feel like changing things? No! Because it sucks the energy right out of you and keeps you feeling stuck. Not exactly a recipe for personal success, right?
Instead, get laser focused on what it is you really want and why you want it, and then get obsessed with it. That combination of emotion and vision is what will drive you to succeed.
- What meaning are you going to give things?
Nothing in life has any meaning except the meaning you give it. The meaning you attribute to events, interactions, and outcomes determines how you feel. Does it mean the beginning or end of something? An obstacle or an opportunity? A setback or a challenge? That this person doesn’t love me, or that they are struggling with something in their own life, and their actions are a cry for help? That I will go broke in this economy, or that I will work smarter/innovate/adapt, and come out on top?
Remember, YOU are the only one who puts a label on what something means. The label you put on your experience becomes your experience. When you change the meaning, you change your life. Give things a meaning that empowers and energizes you, not one that destroys you.
- What are you going to do?
I listened to a Tony Robbins Ted Talk presentation the other day, and he said something that stuck in my head: “If you want to take the island, then burn your boats. With absolute commitment come the insights that create real victory.” This quote originated more than 2,000 years ago with the Roman politician and General Julius Caesar. Caesar had ventured out to conquer England with the support of a considerably-sized naval fleet (whose numbers still paled in comparison to the Celtic warriors who awaited them). As the Roman armada drew near the coast, the Celtic enemy could be seen lining the cliffs of Dover. If Caesar and his soldiers were defeated and had to retreat, they would have to sail back across the channel with no supplies and no assistance. Caesar and his men weren’t likely to survive the voyage under those conditions. Even if they did, the Roman Senate was full of political antagonists who would jump at the chance to exploit Caesar’s defeat.
Caesar saw his generals directing their ships away from the cliffs. In no time, his men established a beachhead. To Caesar, it appeared that his soldiers had secured their ships in such a way that they could successfully beat a hasty retreat if needed. Ever the unpredictable General that he was, Caesar ordered his men to burn the ships. With that one move, Caesar had sent a strong message to both his own men as well as the enemy: failure was not an option. With no escape route, Caesar and his men were 100% committed to conquering the enemy and taking the island. It was win or die.
Ok, back to Tony’s talk. He observed that when we’re faced with a tough task, we often equate fighting with pain and escaping with pleasure. But if we burn the boat and have no escape route, we learn to equate fighting with pleasure, and failing with pain.
Think about the last time you made a goal for yourself. Did you think about what would happen if you didn’t accomplish it? When you know there’s a fall back option, you WILL take that fall back option. Which means you won’t give everything you’ve got to your goal.
So, decide what you want to do. Start doing it. And burn everything else that you see as a potential crutch. Make no mistake. That crutch will only make you want to hobble, when all the time you could have run…sprinted to success!!!
Happy boat burning! 🙂