Turning a new leaf in life
Over three decades of listening to troubled people in our workplace
has made me familiar with most of the younger generation’s problems. But
there’s one so widespread that I consider it basic human sickness. It is
the problem of one living far below his potential and knows it; is
deeply unhappy, but can’t seem to do anything about it.
Although the person seems to have normal intelligence, adequate
education and all the necessary attributes for a successful living, he
can’t summon them up to his aid. His life is blurred, out of focus,
without power or purpose.
we find three deadly characteristics in such people: inertia, self-doubt
One afternoon, walking alone around our workplace backyard, I came
upon a young man fixing some planks in the store-room. I knew him
slightly, and asked him how things were going. He shrugged. “As you can
see,” he said, I’m not getting anywhere.”
“Where do you want to get?” I asked.
He looked at me glumly. “I don’t really know,” he said.
“What do you do best?” I asked.
He shook his head. “I’m not sure that I’m much good at anything.”
“Well, what gives you the most satisfaction?”
He frowned. “No special thing.”
“Look,” I said, “I’ve asked you three of the most important questions
anyone can be asked, and I’ve had three completely fuzzy answers. When
you go home tonight. I want you to sit down with paper and pencil, and
not get up until you’ve answered my questions. Then let’s meet here
tomorrow, same time, and we’ll take it from there.”
Somewhat hesitantly, he agreed. When we met the next day, he told me,
he liked to work with his hands, not his head; he thought he might have
some mechanical ability: and what he wanted most in life was some sense
of purpose or direction.
A few weeks later, he got a job in a roofing material factory.
Of course, he did not become the chairman of the company. But when I
met him six years later, he was a foreman, living a happy and productive
life. All he needed was a push to stop leading an unfocused life.
We meet people like that young man, frequently. If you are one of
them, what you need is to bring yourself into sharper focus of your
life. In my view, there are seven points you need to go through and if
you make a sustained effort to apply them, you will become a happier,
more forceful and a more effective person.
1. Pinpoint your primary goal in life.
It’s not enough to say, “I want to be happy” or “I want to make
money.” You must determine exactly what you want, and when. You need to
say, “I intend to be a qualified nurse in three years,” or “sales
manager of this company in six years.”
Write down a short summary of your goal and the achievement date; put
it beside your bed and read it aloud to yourself every morning when you
wake up. Vagueness is the invariable hallmark of the unfocused mind. Get
rid of it.
2. Use imagination to fan desire.
There’s no use pinpointing a goal in life unless you want it
enormously. Daydreams and wistful thinking are not enough; there must be
an intense, burning desire. Nobody can put this hunger into you; you
have to develop it yourself by constant, vivid imagining of the benefits
that achieving your goal will bring. Ask anyone who has achieved
outstanding success in any field. He will tell you that clarity of
purpose and intensity of desire are the chief ingredients of the magic
3. Expect to pay for what you get.
You will have to work, take chances, make sacrifices, and endure
setbacks. You won’t be able to afford the luxury of laziness or the
delights of frequent distraction. When setting your goal, remember that
unless you’re willing to pay the price (monetary or otherwise) you’re
wasting your time.
4. Send the right signals to your unconscious mind.
The unconscious is a great dynamo, but it is also a computer that has
to be properly programmed. If fear, worry or failure thoughts are
constantly channelled into the unconscious, nothing very constructive is
going to be sent back.
But if a clear, purposeful goal is steadfastly held in the conscious
mind, the unconscious will eventually accept it and begin to supply the
conscious mind with plans, ideas, insights, and the energies necessary
to achieve that goal.
5. Be willing to fail - temporarily.
Read autobiographies of successful men and women. You will learn that
all highly successful men in various fields had only one trait in
common: persistence. They kept picking themselves up and returning to
the fight long after most men would have given up.
. Believe in the power of thought to change things. It’s very hard
for most people to realize that the most powerful force in the world is
an idea that has taken root in a human mind. But it is. Remember the
famous saying: You can - if you think you can. Don’t ever think yourself
as a failure.
. Stop short-circuiting yourself with alibis. Unfocused people do
this constantly. They say. “The timing is wrong” or, I’m not really
qualified.” They play the if-only game: “If only I had more money, or
more influence.” The alibis go on and on. To become a focused person you
have to control self-limiting thoughts. Don’t believe in circumstances,
Plato once said that the unexamined life isn’t worth living. The
statement is as true today as it was 23 centuries ago. So, examine your
life. If it is out of focus, make up your mind to get it into focus.
And, start today, not tomorrow.