Wednesday, October 6, 2010


So when is a good time to get started on making changes in your life?  What if the changes are major?  Will we ever be prepared for all possible outcomes?  What if we fail?  

When do we get started realizing our dreams.  For men the fear of failure is a big motivator or de-motivator as the case may be, and yet when asked about invention Thomas Edison had some quotes that I think fit into my world view very well.  This quote stands out to me:
"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work".  - Thomas A. Edison  
It is this attitude that needs to be learned by more people.  I know this is an attitude I have failed to adopt until recently.  In addition to my failure to maintain my self confidence I also have allowed myself to stop achieving.  As mentioned in the last post, I like accomplishing goals.  It is that sense of production that gives me a great sense of joy.  Not just the finished product but knowing that what I am producing, the act of being in production is what I really enjoy.  So why stop?  Fear of failure.  However, there is a better way to see failure.   

In the long run, failure is a better teacher than success.  Failure is also only truly loss when we give up.  Using the quote from above we need to strive toward progress but always with a watchful eye on our failures.  They will provide us with valuable lessons on how to proceed.  Not that we should seek out failure but understanding it in the right light is taking a big step toward success.  Not too long ago I talked to a friends step mom about business and she said that one lesson about the successful in business is that the wealthy see everything life exchange in a profit/loss perspective.  Time spent with kids, work done for a particular person, work spent on my own concerns, learning and research, watching movies.  Everything can be seen through this lens.  It keeps them constantly aware of their progress.  

The only catch I see to this goal oriented and driven type of progress is that we also need to make sure our priorities are in order.  Without a proper sense of priorities we could get pulled in several different and sometimes counter productive directions.  
To Edison work was the fun part.  He enjoyed hard work and although I don't necessarily agree with everything he has said he is definitely a great person from which to find motivation.  Another good quote:  
"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas A. Edison
 I have never been afraid of hard work.  Being a little ADD I have always felt like I had to fight up hill to get what I wanted academically but I did it none the less.  I wish I had that attitude when I was in school.  I also wish I understood how to handle my ADD addled mind better.  Oh well, hind sight being 20/20 and all I get it now.

How do we get started?
  1. Find Goals - Work with others to make sure they are reasonable.  Look at the SMART goal accomplishment method.  Each goal has to be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound.  Again I will explain the SMART plan in another post.
  2. Organize and Order - Prioritize all the goals found in step one.  Place goals that are contingent on other goals as subordinate.  This goes back to the SMART model to assist with organization.  Get a game plan on accomplishing this goal. 
  3. Verify against Profit/Loss model - Make sure that once progress is accomplished it will be time, money, and effort well spent.  That it gets you that much closer toward accomplishing all you want or need to accomplish.
  4. Gather Resources - Remember you don't have to go it alone.  Other people can help you.  You might very well have to compensate some but others you might not.  Consider that you might also be able to trade services.  Perhaps a previous accomplishment can be used to provide value to your help. 
  5. Get Started - Once you have your goal, a game plan, and the resources to accomplish it you need to get started.  Don't wait if you don't have too.  I wasted years trying to make some magic event tell me it was okay to risk.  That magic event may never come. 
  6. Observe Progress - before during and after a goal is being accomplished we need to be in an observant mode.  Always watching to see how things ebb and flow.  If we do this as a matter of habit we might avoid disaster or even see opportunities we might have missed before.  Some are simply not observant by nature so this might have to be learned.  But as things progress we need to be able to reevaluate and for that matter know when we are done.  If you are not observing your progress you may work on something long past its valued life. 
  7. Return to the beginning- every so often I think it is necessary to return to the front of this process and see what has changed.  Add and remove goals as needed.  Things change.  Be sure you keep up with those changes.  Goals change over time, be prepared to scrap everything if needed to start over.  It is important that we also remain adaptable.
 All this to make sure that if we are waiting on life to hand us the magic key.  STOP WAITING!  It is not going to happen.  If someone does hand you a magic key, it is mine.  Give it back!

NOW!  Get started.

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