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A Goal In Mind

By Byron Pulsifer

How easy is it to find an excuse, to convince oneself that we will never attain what we want in life? The answer, unfortunately, is that it is far too easy. The sad aspect of life is that some people seem to be quite satisfied finding that any excuse at all will suffice including excuses like "I have no time." "I am far too busy," "I am not born into the right family or social circle," or "I'm just not smart enough." And, to some, the best excuse of all is that the stars are against them and no matter what they do or attempt to do, they will never be successful.

The reverse of this excuse response is this: what do those who succeed use for excuses? Here is the shocking answer: They don't. If they need to learn more about a subject, or need to be trained in a new endeavour, they either attack the need aggressively so they master it, or they seek guidance from those who already have the skills with the intention to ask them for advice on what to do to learn the skill.

And, here is the real advantage that those who succeed have over those who will always have what they have now and no more. People hardly ever succeed without first having failed. You know, I've personally known hundreds of people who have tried something different, failed, and never tried another new thing in their life... how sad. But, the successful people all have the ability to learn from their mistakes using everything possible from their past failure as a potentially valuable lesson.

To succeed isn't to be in the right place at the right time as if by some magic or fatalistic event. Those people who succeed, and are in the right place, have often made sure that they are in the right place by learning new skills, or being open to continuously learn each day. These type of people don't shy away from work, nor do they complain to their bosses about being given a tough assignment.

Most of you have probably heard the expression, "Where there is a will, there is a way." Well, this simply tells you that you are in control; you are the one who makes the choice between success and failures depending on how much 'will' you have. And, this will power isn't just a once in a while attitude either. It is an attitude that is predominant everyday; an attitude that no matter what obstacles appear, you know that you will find a way around them or use them to your advantage. Part of overcoming obstacles, as well, is being prepared for them before you even take one action step towards reaching your goal.

In other words, perseverance is the hallmark of those who succeed. Have you ever found a winning athlete that always or even sometimes gives up? Not likely.

Thousands upon thousands of people can sink in quicksand without even knowing it. Each day, with normal stressors of life, we can all become mired in 'poor me' thoughts that bring us to despair. Yet, the normal stress of everyday living soon pales when we cast our eyes onto the plight of those around us.

When our small issues are compared to what others have to endure, we are vividly reminded that each day is a gift. Each day can be filled with wallowing in self-pity, or be filled with little joys that can make our day worthwhile. These little joys are there for us to embrace, or to be ignored. We all have a choice.

Recently, I was shocked to learn that a friend had just been admitted to hospital with a brain aneurism. It didn't look good. Needless to say, the family rallied to her side, but all they could do was wait for hospital staff to evaluate her prognosis and take whatever medical action they could to save her life. Within a heartbeat, my friend's life changed. There was no prior sign of medical concerns in my friend's life. There were plans for a well-deserved family vacation for the following week. Everything seemed to point to a life full of excitement and future plans.

Ask yourself whether you are enjoying your day, enjoying a laugh with friends or co-workers, appreciating the welcoming call of a bird, or the buzz of a bumble bee as it makes its rounds to flowered shrubs. Each day brings the opportunity to experience all the little things that can become big things that become a valued day. Or, you can approach each day as if you're owed more, should have more, or should be allowed more. If this poor me attitude follows you everywhere, goes with you to work, accompanies you to the family table, or rides on your shoulder through rush hour traffic, you are building a life based on failure, on excuses, and not on possibilities.

So, what does this have to do with reaching a goal? Well, just about everything. You need to be able see what's around you, what opportunities arise, not to keep your head buried in the sand, depending on every other circumstance to rule your life.

Pessimistic I'm not, realistic I am. You DO have the power to succeed. But, you won't succeed unless you have an over-riding burning desire to move beyond what you have now; unless you have the perseverance to continue in spite of obstacles and challenges; unless you can ask other people for assistance especially those who have already succeeded in an area the same or similar to what you desire; and, unless you can avoid procrastination like it is the most deadly virus on this earth.

Byron Pulsifer is a former manager of employee assistance program, now a motivational speaker and seminar leader.
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