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Achieving Success

“It is never too late to be what you might have been…” - George Elliott

So what is success anyway? Successful people have the habit of doing things failures don't like to do. They don't necessarily like doing them either, but their disliking is put into second place to the strength of their purpose. They seem to do things in a different way from the unsuccessful people. As the saying goes ‘Success breeds Success’, and certainly attitude is a key part to the secret of success.

Successful people have a number of attributes in common, none of which is at all magical. They make conscious choices about how they choose to live, and about their attitude towards life. Some of these include:

• A high level of drive and energy
• A long-term vision for the future
• Readiness to learn from your own mistakes and failures
• A clear structure for measuring progress
• The ability to connect and work with people productively
• Enough self-confidence to take carefully calculated, moderate risks
• High but realistic & achievable goals
• A belief that you can control your own destiny
• A desire to achieve excellence, with self-imposed standards

Key Elements of Success
There is no elusive secret to success, to achieving more in your life or work. Like many things in life the principles of success are simple - we just seem to have the bad habit of making them more complicated than they really are. Detailed below are some of the key elements of achieving greater success in your life… read, absorb and then put them into action - NOW!

The first and most important element of success is ‘vision’. What is it that you really want? Vision is the place of dreams – think big, don’t settle for less. What would a fulfilling life look like for you? Create an inspiring image of this life – make it as real as possible. Clarity and vision about what you are going to achieve will ensure that your efforts are focused in the right direction.

Accept Responsibility
The successful person takes responsibility for the consequences of his/her actions. They accept that their current situation is a result of the choices they have made and they acknowledge their part in both their success and failures. They don't blame others. What problems are you blaming others for? Accepting responsibility puts you in a position of power. It gives you the ability to take control of situations and change them, rather than letting them control you.

Self-limiting Beliefs
What holds us back are our self-limiting beliefs. Our ability to dream is limited by our willingness to allow our imagination its freedom. Fear of failure is drummed into many of us from an early age and we become apprehensive about mentioning our deepest ambitions. Fear of success is another limiter on what you are willing to do.

What's holding you back? What are you frightened of doing that is stopping you from achieving your ambitions. Most fear is imagined rather than actual. A useful acronym to remember for the word fear is ‘False Evidence Appears Real’. Learn to distinguish between fears that are real and those that are imagined. Most will fit into the latter category – so begin to acknowledge them for what they are and re-connect with your strength and vision to move you forward.

“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions, I have been entrusted to take the game-winning shot...and missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life, and that is why…I succeed” – Michael Jordan

Develop a Positive Attitude
Success is not possible without one –as nothing that you achieve will ever be enough. Your outlook on life is crucial to your success. What you choose to focus on will become your reality. If you look for everything that is wrong in your life – then that is what you will find! Choose to focus on the positive, on your strengths, and on the things that you have achieved – no matter how small they may be. Surround yourself with people and books that stimulate and encourage you to stretch yourself.

Develop a Strong Personal and Professional Network
If you surround yourself with negative people you will take on their negativity. Most people are unaware of how much they absorb the attitudes of those around them. Surround yourself with beer-drinkers, and talk about beer and alcohol will soon become the norm. Surround yourself with musicians and talk of music will soon become the norm. Get the picture? Never underestimate the impact that the people around you have on your life. Take a look at your relationships with your friends, family and work colleagues and ask yourself whether they are TOXIC or TONIC? Begin to focus on amplifying the positive and supportive influences in your life and transforming or distancing yourself from those that hold you back and drain your energy. Surrounding yourself with friends, family and colleagues who support you is vital to your success. Do not succumb to the ‘doom merchants’ who transfer their own sense of inadequacy on to you by pointing out all the reasons why you are going to fail.

Believe in Yourself
Self-belief and self-confidence are probably the most important gifts we can give to ourselves and our children. With self-confidence, we are willing to experiment and try out new ideas. We don't measure ourselves by other people's standards. If you don't believe in what you are doing then who will? Take yourself seriously. Build up your confidence; challenge yourself and push yourself to do more than just enough. Don't settle for less – you are capable of achieving far more than you think!

Decide to be Successful
Success won't just happen to you. You have to play your part. Whatever you want, you can have it! However you will need to concentrate your efforts to achieve it. Get specific about ‘What is success for you?’ Then start planning how to get there – take positive action!

Manage your Time
To be successful, you must manage your time as effectively as possible. Many successful people are habitual planners/list-makers. You need to manage your time effectively and to do that you must have clarity about what you are trying to achieve. Cut out time-wasting activities, decide what is important and concentrate on the activities that give you most benefit. Find a time management strategy that works for you.

Set Goals and Take Action!
List your goals for all areas of your life – for your business, for your career and for your family. What are your goals? What do you want to have achieved in the next three weeks? What do you want to achieve in the next three months? What is it that you want to achieve in the next three years? What will you have to do more of and what will you have to do less of to achieve these goals? And the most important step of all – take action!

“Goals are dreams with deadlines” - Diana Scharf Hunt

Inspiring Paul Hawken Commencement Speech

Paul Hawken: You Are Brilliant, and the Earth is Hiring

University of Portland, May 3rd, 2009

When I was invited to give this speech, I was asked if I could give a simple short talk that was "direct, naked, taut, honest, passionate, lean, shivering, startling, and graceful." Boy, no pressure there.

But let's begin with the startling part. Hey, Class of 2009: you are going to have to figure out what it means to be a human being on earth at a time when every living system is declining, and the rate of decline is accelerating. Kind of a mind-boggling situation - but not one peer-reviewed paper published in the last thirty years can refute that statement.

Basically, the earth needs a new operating system, you are the programmers, and we need it within a few decades.

This planet came with a set of operating instructions, but we seem to have misplaced them. Important rules like don't poison the water, soil, or air, and don't let the earth get overcrowded, and don't touch the thermostat have been broken. Buckminster Fuller said that spaceship earth was so ingeniously designed that no one has a clue that we are on one, flying through the universe at a million miles per hour, with no need for seatbelts, lots of room in coach, and really good food - but all that is changing.

There is invisible writing on the back of the diploma you will receive, and in case you didn't bring lemon juice to decode it, I can tell you what it says: YOU ARE BRILLIANT, AND THE EARTH IS HIRING. The earth couldn't afford to send any recruiters or limos to your school. It sent you rain, sunsets, ripe cherries, night blooming jasmine, and that unbelievably cute person you are dating. Take the hint. And here's the deal: Forget that this task of planet-saving is not possible in the time required. Don't be put off by people who know what is not possible. Do what needs to be done, and check to see if it was impossible only after you are done.

When asked if I am pessimistic or optimistic about the future, my answer is always the same: If you look at the science about what is happening on earth and aren't pessimistic, you don't understand data. But if you meet the people who are working to restore this earth and the lives of the poor, and you aren't optimistic, you haven't got a pulse. What I see everywhere in the world are ordinary people willing to confront despair, power, and incalculable odds in order to restore some semblance of grace, justice, and beauty to this world. The poet Adrienne Rich wrote, "So much has been destroyed I have cast my lot with those who, age after age, perversely, with no extraordinary power, reconstitute the world." There could be no better description. Humanity is coalescing. It is reconstituting the world, and the action is taking place in schoolrooms, farms, jungles, villages, campuses, companies, refuge camps, deserts, fisheries, and slums.

You join a multitude of caring people. No one knows how many groups and organizations are working on the most salient issues of our day: climate change, poverty, deforestation, peace, water, hunger, conservation, human rights, and more. This is the largest movement the world has ever seen.

Rather than control, it seeks connection. Rather than dominance, it strives to disperse concentrations of power. Like Mercy Corps, it works behind the scenes and gets the job done. Large as it is, no one knows the true size of this movement. It provides hope, support, and meaning to billions of people in the world. Its clout resides in idea, not in force. It is made up of teachers, children, peasants, businesspeople, rappers, organic farmers, nuns, artists, government workers, fisherfolk, engineers, students, incorrigible writers, weeping Muslims, concerned mothers, poets, doctors without borders, grieving Christians, street musicians, the President of the United States of America, and as the writer David James Duncan would say, the Creator, the One who loves us all in such a huge way.

There is a rabbinical teaching that says if the world is ending and the Messiah arrives, first plant a tree, and then see if the story is true. Inspiration is not garnered from the litanies of what may befall us; it resides in humanity's willingness to restore, redress, reform, rebuild, recover, reimagine, and reconsider. "One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began, though the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice," is Mary Oliver's description of moving away from the profane toward a deep sense of connectedness to the living world.

Millions of people are working on behalf of strangers, even if the evening news is usually about the death of strangers. This kindness of strangers has religious, even mythic origins, and very specific eighteenth-century roots. Abolitionists were the first people to create a national and global movement to defend the rights of those they did not know. Until that time, no group had filed a grievance except on behalf of itself. The founders of this movement were largely unknown - Granville Clark, Thomas Clarkson, Josiah Wedgwood - and their goal was ridiculous on the face of it: at that time three out of four people in the world were enslaved. Enslaving each other was what human beings had done for ages. And the abolitionist movement was greeted with incredulity. Conservative spokesmen ridiculed the abolitionists as liberals, progressives, do-gooders, meddlers, and activists. They were told they would ruin the economy and drive England into poverty. But for the first time in history a group of people organized themselves to help people they would never know, from whom they would never receive direct or indirect benefit. And today tens of millions of people do this every day. It is called the world of non-profits, civil society, schools, social entrepreneurship, and non-governmental organizations, of companies who place social and environmental justice at the top of their strategic goals. The scope and scale of this effort is unparalleled in history.

The living world is not "out there" somewhere, but in your heart. What do we know about life? In the words of biologist Janine Benyus, life creates the conditions that are conducive to life. I can think of no better motto for a future economy. We have tens of thousands of abandoned homes without people and tens of thousands of abandoned people without homes. We have failed bankers advising failed regulators on how to save failed assets. Think about this: we are the only species on this planet without full employment. Brilliant. We have an economy that tells us that it is cheaper to destroy earth in real time than to renew, restore, and sustain it. You can print money to bail out a bank but you can't print life to bail out a planet. At present we are stealing the future, selling it in the present, and calling it gross domestic product. We can just as easily have an economy that is based on healing the future instead of stealing it. We can either create assets for the future or take the assets of the future. One is called restoration and the other exploitation. And whenever we exploit the earth we exploit people and cause untold suffering. Working for the earth is not a way to get rich, it is a way to be rich.

So I have two questions for you all: First, can you feel your body? Stop for a moment. Feel your body. One septillion activities going on simultaneously, and your body does this so well you are free to ignore it, and wonder instead when this speech will end. You can feel it. It is called life. This is who you are. Second question: who is in charge of your body? Who is managing those molecules? Hopefully not a political party. Life is creating the conditions that are conducive to life inside you, just as in all of nature. Our innate nature is to create the conditions that are conducive to life. What I want you to imagine is that collectively humanity is evincing a deep innate wisdom in coming together to heal the wounds and insults of the past. Ralph Waldo Emerson once asked what we would do if the stars only came out once every thousand years. No one would sleep that night, of course. The world would create new religions overnight. We would be ecstatic, delirious, made rapturous by the glory of God. Instead, the stars come out every night and we watch television.

This extraordinary time when we are globally aware of each other and the multiple dangers that threaten civilization has never happened, not in a thousand years, not in ten thousand years. Each of us is as complex and beautiful as all the stars in the universe. We have done great things and we have gone way off course in terms of honoring creation. You are graduating to the most amazing, stupefying challenge ever bequeathed to any generation. The generations before you failed. They didn’t stay up all night. They got distracted and lost sight of the fact that life is a miracle every moment of your existence. Nature beckons you to be on her side. You couldn’t ask for a better boss. The most unrealistic person in the world is the cynic, not the dreamer. Hope only makes sense when it doesn’t make sense to be hopeful. This is your century. Take it and run as if your life depends on it.

Link:   (click on multimedia tab)

Bill Gates - High School Speech

Love him or hate him, he sure hits the nail on the head with this!

Bill Gates recently gave a speech at a High School about 11 things they did not and will not learn in school. He talks about how feel-good, politically correct teachings created a generation of kids with no concept of reality and how this concept set them up for failure in the real world.

Rule 1: Life is not fair - get used to it!

Rule 2: The world doesn't care about your
self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

Rule 3: You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won't be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.

Rule 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.

Rule 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: they called it opportunity.

Rule 6: If you mess up, it's not your parents' fault, so don't whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent's generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they'll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time.

Rule 10: Television is NOT real life.. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs..

Rule 11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one.


The Wheel of Life