“The path of least resistance is what makes rivers run crooked.”
—Elbert Hubbard, 19th Century American writer and philosopher
Image from Unsplash by Wynand Uys
Looking for short cuts and taking the easy route to success is a common trait in our fast-paced world. I find it quite humorous that when I go to my health club each morning, people are competing for the parking spot closest to the entrance to eliminate a twenty-second walk before their one-hour workout.
It is actually this resistance and the level of challenge in our workouts and in life that supports the greatest growth and achievement toward our personal and professional objectives.
With ever increasing competition and transparency in the business world, buyers of products and services seem to have the upper hand. We are all just a few clicks away from having reasonable, accurate, and objective information on just about anything and anyone.
Have you ever heard of the “So What Test”? If not, imagine going to a networking event in which you are given 30 or 60 seconds to introduce yourself, your service, and perhaps your product. Now imagine if the person you are speaking with actually was rude enough to say, “So What?” aloud, instead of keeping this thought to themselves.
What is truly unique, special, and distinctive about you, your product, or service?
What could you share about what you have to offer that would raise a few more eyebrows?
What are the reasons people may be saying Yes to your competition and No to you more often than you would like?
“Use what talent you possess. The woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best.”
—Henry Van Dyke, 20th Century American educator
Image from Flickr by Rach
We live in a hyper-competitive world. Simply look around and see the countless examples in your personal and professional worlds.
For our children, it begins quite early with school and sports and other extra-curricular activities. As we enter our early adult years, the competition to get in the best schools and desirable companies can be fierce. Then we have to climb the corporate ladder.
Perhaps the primary goal of our journey through life is to reveal our unique abilities and talents. Perhaps it is our job or purpose to express and share them with the world as we become better versions of ourselves.
What are your special talents? How can and will you develop them to your fullest capacity, and offer them generously within your communities with your voice both loud and proud?
“I’m not interested in competing with anyone. I hope we all make it.”
-Erica Cook, Interior Designer and Blogger
A few weekends ago my wife Wendy and I watched the movie, Where to Invade Next, in which Michael Moore compared the views of people from many countries regarding education, healthcare, equality, and business, to those of Americans.
His journey to explore a wide variety of routes to success and bring them back to America was fascinating. He discovered—surprisingly—that there are many ways to succeed that seem contrary to what one might think.
A significant take-away for me was the many examples of happiness and success in which collective achievements and the care of everyone within the community was paramount.
Where would a shift from a “ME” perspective to a “WE” approach make the biggest difference in either your personal or professional worlds?
“The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential… these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence.”
Image from blog.builddirect.com
Every two years the athletes of the world come together to participate in either the summer or winter Olympic Games. There is perhaps no other global spectacle that demonstrates the will to win, the desire to succeed, and the urge for these special athletes to realize their potential.
Few of us have ever competed on a profession or Olympic level in sports. Each of us, however, plays and competes each and every day in the game of life, in which professional and/or personal success is the goal.
What would a “Gold Medal Life” look like to you? How would establishing this goal in your heart and mind foster greater will and desire to more fully unlock your doors to personal excellence?
Spring is here, and the people I speak with can’t wait for warmer weather, longer hours of daylight, and the beauty Mother Nature provides.
When my neighbors begin to emerge from their homes, I see them out walking or participating in some other physical activity, or, relative to today’s quote, jumping into lawn care and maintenance.
I’ve heard some of them compare their lawns to others—sometimes favorably, others not. This characteristic of comparison can be a source of upsets, dissatisfaction, and frustration.
Where in your personal or professional life are you paying too much attention to other people’s grass? How would tending to the fertilization and care of your own abilities, projects, and priorities reward you with the results and satisfaction you desire?
“If you wish to be out front, act as if you were behind.”
—Lao Tzu, ancient Chinese poet and philosopher
How competitive are you in your personal or professional life? What factors motivate you to do your very best and achieve remarkable results? Some people are motivated to avoid pain or punishment. Others are goal or future oriented, setting their sights on pursuing and achieving a worthy objective ahead of them.
La Tzu’s coaching is to set our sights on just such an external person or objective, to create a “come from behind” victory, and be out front.
Where are you currently behind in the race to achieve some worthy goal or objective? How can you use this position to motivate you to pursue and surpass your highest expectations?
Remember: when you are are out in front, find something else to pursue, or others will quickly be on your heels.
We live in a highly competitive society in which winning seems to be all that matters, in so many areas of our lives. Just look at sports, business, and even politics. However, if we examine how often any one individual or organization wins, we are often surprised at the modest or even low percentages.
This pursuit of winning and the pursuit of the perfect outcome leaves far too many of us falling short, often with negative views of ourselves and others.
Be your best self today and all this week, and use that as the only standard you measure yourself against.
Don’t be surprised by how great you feel, and by the considerable results you produce.