Good intentions are like crying babies in church. They should be carried out immediately.
Today’s tip was penned by Mark Twain. He had a great way with words, but he also had a great understanding of human behavior.
As an author and professional speaker, I am repeatedly asked to speak on success. People want to know how to bring out the best in others. I’ve researched that question for some 30 years, and I’ve had a chance to work with some of the very best in all walks of life.
I’ve concluded that SUCCESS CAN OFTEN TIMES BE BOILED DOWN TO TWO ELEMENTS–GETTING STARTED AND NEVER QUITTING. In fact, those two elements may be the only thing standing between you and great success.
Let’s focus on “getting started.” Next week, I’ll talk about “never quitting.” TO GET STARTED, you need to make a decision, make a commitment, and make a move.
Your success begins when you MAKE A DECISION. As business philosopher Jim Rohn says, “You cannot change your destination over night, but you can change your direction over night. Indecision is the thief of opportunity.” He’s right. People who can’t decide can’t succeed.
Of course, decisions aren’t always popular. It seems like a lot of people don’t know what they want out of life or out of work. And other people want to keep all their options open. Neither approach will serve you very well.
Once you decide what you really really want, you’ve got to MAKE A COMMITMENT. Your chances of success are determined by the strength of your commitment.
Walter Hunt never seemed to learn that, even though industrial historians consider him to be an authentic genius. In fact he was responsible for more practical, successful inventions than any other American who ever lived. Among his many inventions were the fountain pen, the rifle, sewing machine, paper collar, and burglar and fire alarms.
His paper collar, for example, was designed when cotton became scarce during the Civil War. Even though people originally laughed at the idea, by the beginning of the 20th century, nearly forty years after his death, over 400 million were being worn each year in the U.S. alone.
Hunt’s lockstitch sewing machine, designed in 1834, was never promoted by Hunt because he feared it would put thousands of seamstresses out of work. He didn’t have the imagination to see that eventually it would create more jobs than it displaced. Years later, when sewing machines were being sold commercially, it was too late for Hunt to claim the rights to his invention.
Likewise, another inventor is given credit for the breech-loading, cartridge-firing rifle. Though Hunt invented the rifle, it carries the name of the man who marketed it, Winchester.
Walter Hunt’s brilliant mind could have made him rich and famous. Instead he died broke and disillusioned because he lacked the courage of his convictions. Historians say he lacked faith in himself and his ideas.
You can’t make the same mistake. You’ve got to make a decision and then make a commitment to that decision.
Finally, to get started, MAKE A MOVE. There’s a principle in physics that says a body in motion tends to stay in motion. The same thing applies to success. If you will do something, anything, to get started, it will be a lot easier to keep on going.
Some people tell me they just don’t feel like making a move. They don’t have any desire, or it’s too hard to make that first step. Well you’re not going to like this, but your feelings are irrelevant. If you wait until you feel like starting, you may never start. Winners force themselves to take that first step knowing the feelings will come later.
Try the “Five-minute Action Step.” It works for me. If there’s something I don’t want to do, I force myself to spend five minutes on the task. No matter how big or how unpleasant the task may be, I can always give it five minutes. Of course, more often than not, I keep working on the task even though the five minutes are up.
You can’t wish your way to the top of a mountain. And you can’t drift your way to the top of a mountain. You’ve got to get started on the right path by making a decision, making a commitment, and making a move.
Action: Think of something you want to achieve but have been putting off. You haven’t gotten started yet. And then apply a “Five-Minute Action Step” to that desired achievement each day this week. You’ll be pleased with the progress you make.