We all hit low points in our lives that challenge our purpose, test our resolve for how long we’re willing to endure and question the strength of our relationships with every painstaking move. Hard times often call for deeper self-analysis to help excavate new personal insights that determine our willingness to keep on keepin’ on.
After all, “circumstances do not make the man, they reveal him,” said James Allen.
Nothing matters more than your beliefs. What you believe ultimately determines what you do -- or don’t do. Here’s a quick checklist of “winning” beliefs to test if you’re on the right track:
1. Nothing good ever comes easily.
Well, most things don’t, at least. Success takes time. Just look at Abraham Lincoln, who had less than one formal year of education, ran for election eight times and failed twice at business ventures. Failure is only determined by where you stop. Fortunately, Honest Abe kept going and going -- just like that annoying little bunny.
The takeaway is that every so-called “failure” is an opportunity to learn, iterate and improve upon for next time.
2. Perspective matters.
How you see a problem often is the problem. Our orientation for how we see the world is determined by our culture, upbringing, values and experiences. Consider, for instance, the difference in perspective you may experience when parking your car.
There are those lucky people who always seem to find the most convenient “VIP” spaces closest to the store while others seem to only find the leftovers -- spaces on the outer banks of the parking galaxy.
There are two ways to look at this situation. The first is through a perspective of convenience. Namely, the closer you are to your destination the sooner you get there. The second is through a perspective of health in that the further away from the store you park, the more opportunity you have to walk and therefore the more exercise you receive.
Let’s be honest. Taking the extra 40 to 50 steps isn’t exactly going to kill you compared to the 20 seconds you’ll save with VIP parking.
3. The only easy day was yesterday.
This is the motto of BUD/S (Navy SEAL training), which means that yesterday was easy because it’s over, but you still have today and tomorrow to endure. The past never dictates the future, but the moment of now does.
Additionally, attributing past performance to future functioning is relied upon due to the mind’s availability bias: the mental shortcut that remembers immediate instances and assigns them to the brain as “true.”
4. There's no place for “me.”
A personal disposition towards service is never wrong. Placing the organization, the team and others before you isn’t an indication of submission, but rather personal strength. When you contribute to the betterment of another purpose, you also convey that you understand the big picture and are someone to rely upon to get things done.
Leading from afar allows you to develop not only others but yourself as you learn and grow while contributing towards their enhancement. In other words, it’s a “win” all around.
Everybody’s personal beliefs for success differ. Ultimately, the beliefs that further your purpose are timeless and, hence, drive interminable value. What do you believe?