A bad day of fishing is better than a good day of work.
That’s what the world teaches you. And that’s what some people have stuck on the bumpers of their cars or the front of their minds. But it’s a lie.
Real joy and real pleasure do not come from a life of leisure. They come from a life of contribution — balanced with a time of refreshing.
That’s why Charles Sykes gave high school students his “Eleven Rules for Real Life,” rules found in his book, Dumbing Down Our Kids. He wanted us all to know about the attitudes and behaviors that underlie success.
During the last two weeks, I gave you his first eight rules. Here are the last three, and with the others, I think they apply to all of us — not just high school kids.
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.”
I think Sykes is right. I’m all for “finding ourselves,” but it’s our responsibility to do that — not somebody else’s.
“Finding ourselves” is all about “educating ourselves.” And few things are more important in life. Business philosopher Jim Rohn says, “Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.”
I see it all the time in my business. The best people always show up for the seminars. They want to keep on getting better, and to do that, they know they’ve got to keep on learning. So they’ll attend every seminar their company offers, and if the company doesn’t offer what they want and need, they’ll go to seminars on their own nickel and their own time. In fact that’s what brings several people to my Peak Performance Boot Camps.
By contrast, I see the losers, the has-beens, and the second-raters finding reasons not to educate themselves. They’ll say, “I’ve heard all that before … or …I don’t need that stuff… or …I went to one of those motivational seminars one time and it didn’t last.”
Of course, their colleagues are laughing under their breath. They’re thinking, “If those negative folks only knew how much they needed some ‘motivational seminars,’ they’d be shocked. Everyone seems to know it except them.”
Time and again, I’ve heard people in my programs say my program was the best one they’d ever attended. But then they’ll say, “Who really needs to be here is old so-and-so. Boy does he/she ever need this program!” And they’re right. Losers are lost.
Of course, losers will say, “I’m not lost. I’m exploring.” Nice words. Big lie. As Tom Cruise said in one of his movies, “Show me the money.” I would challenge those people to show me the time and money they’ve spent and are spending on their own self-education.
Rule 10: “Television is not real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.”
In other words, to be successful, you’ve got to get up and do something. And you’ve got to do something whether or not you feel like it.
Dr. Albert Ellis, one of the founding fathers of counseling psychology, often talked about the great lies people told themselves. He referred to them as “irrational thoughts” that got people into big trouble.
One of those lies was the thought that success could be achieved through inactivity. And yet there are millions of people who sit around waiting for success to hit them — when they get that lucky break, when they win the lottery, or when that special person enters their life.
Those are the same folks who talk about how unfair life is or how the rich get richer. But they don’t do anything to improve their lot in life.
These are the folks who “intend” to do something when the idea strikes them. They “intend” to do something when the emotion is high. But as author Jim Rohn says, if they “don’t translate that intention into action fairly soon, the urgency starts to diminish. A month from now the passion is cold. A year from now it can’t be found.”
So you’ve got to take action. You’ve got to move when your emotions are high and your idea is strong, clear, and powerful.
Rule 11: “Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one.”
I’m sure high school kids don’t like this rule either — but neither do many adults. More emphasis is put on looking good than being good. “Cool” is “in” while “competence” is so “out.”
I think Charles Sykes is partly right on this one. When I look at all the kids I knew back in school, kindergarten through graduate school, the most popular ones then are seldom the most successful ones now. Sex appeal and athletic skill did not automatically propel a person into a great career and a great life.
On the other hand, the nerds of yesterday are often the ones who are making the bigger incomes these days. But that’s where Sykes’ analogy stops. Sykes’ rule seems to focus entirely on the technical skill associated with nerds.
I’ve spent thirty years researching and refining the skills associated with Peak Performance, and I know that it takes more than technical skill to be highly successful. It also takes a lot of confidence and a great deal of interpersonal skill. You’ve got to believe in yourself and know how to work with people.
That’s why I offer my two-day, power-packed, life-changing Peak Performance Boot Camp. You need to come — but act soon. It always sells out, and I don’t offer more than one off-site Boot Camp every year.
Thomas Edison had all of the success components. He was technically gifted. But he didn’t let 10,000 “failed” experiments damper his confidence. And he didn’t let a fire that destroyed his laboratory destroy his relationship with his employees.
Indeed, on October 21, 1879, Edison made the incandescent light bulb a reality. His invention revolutionized our lives, and strangely enough, his light bulb has remained about the same ever since.
For most of us, such a monumental success would have been enough for a lifetime. But Edison was never content with past successes. He used them to move forward to other successes. In 1882, he started the Edison Electric Illuminating Company, which brought electricity to thousands of homes and businesses. In 1889, he created the first motion picture camera, and in 1912 he invented a device that was the forerunner of sound movie projectors.
The point is simple – Edison might have been a “nerd” in today’s world–but so what. You’d better not put them down. As Sykes said, we need them — and we may end up working for them.
The most successful people learn from other successful people. And that’s what Sykes’ 11 Rules do for us. They provide a shortcut to success. We should all take them into consideration.
Action: The tenth rule refers to “doing something.” You can’t wait around hoping for success. You have to go after it.
List three things you are waiting for. Perhaps you’re waiting for a better job to come along, or you’re waiting for someone to change before you invest any more energy into a relationship with that individual.
Now list one thing you can and will do in each of these situations to get some movement towards greater success.