Monthly Archives: September 2017

Successful People: Simply Put

What does it take to be successful?  That is a subjective question that can vary based on individual definitions of success.  In the United States, a successful life almost exclusively equates to an efficacious and prestigious career even though there are many other factors, such as family and community, that are just as important.  Unfortunately, in our society, most people measure success only by the size of their paycheck and bank account.  In the eyes of many, if you have money, you are successful, and if you don’t, you are a failure.  Nothing could be further from the truth, but you would be hard pressed to convince most Americans that accumulation of wealth is not the ultimate success story.  People believe want they want to believe, and for the most part, they want to believe money will resolve all their problems.

When it comes to success, a major problem in America is we spend more time identifying success and dreaming about it than we do doing something about it.  We fail miserably at applying action to our dreams and goals.  As a result, we are a nation of dreamers rather than doers.  We are a nation filled with blamers rather than achievers.  It is always someone else’s fault when we fail.  However, the truth behind our failure primarily lies in our inability to apply basic principles of success to our lives.

Regardless of the goal or end game, when it comes to success, there are common principles that directly impact our lives.  Whether you are a successful billionaire business person or a common Joe doing your best to provide for your family and keep your head above water, the basic principles for success apply to every one of us.  Yet, too many people are not aware of such principles, or they ignore them.  As a result, a roadblock to the success so many hard-working individuals deserve is created.  That is a shame since the principles are so simple to put into action.

Principles for Success

  1. Success is hard work! Even for the people who make it look easy, it is a sure bet they have worked hard to be successful and work even harder to maintain that success.  They know their end goal, prepare to accomplish that goal, and stay focused on the goal until it becomes their reality.

Simply Put:

 Successful people are goal oriented

and focus on success;

  1. The only action that has ever led to long term success is commitment. If you expect success and expect to maintain it, you must commit yourself to success.  You cannot talk about your dreams and goals occasionally and expect anything to happen.  Doing something worthwhile well takes more than talk; it takes action!  Dreams take action that result in sweat, which leads to success.  Hoping, dreaming, and even praying for success is a gamble.  If you want to increase the odds for success in your life, you must commit to give legs to your hopes, dreams, and prayers.

Simply Put:

Successful people get off their butt

and work for success;  

  1. Be your biggest cheerleader! No one will believe in you until you believe in yourself.  If you say, I can’t do that – you can’t, or if you say, I am not good enough – you aren’t.  Over time, if you say enough negative things about yourself, people will begin to believe those things about you.  By human nature, people will believe negatives quicker than they believe positives, so never sell yourself short around other people.  Sometimes, you may need to fake it until you make it, but that is okay if you maintain an image of confidence and remain steadfast to the accomplishment of your goals.  Always remember, your success depends on how you think about yourself, and the image others have of you.

Simply Put:

       Successful people celebrate themselves,

       especially in the presence of others;

  1. Quit making excuses! With few exceptions, you did not make the team or get the job because people didn’t like you.  You were rejected because you were not very good or others were better than you.  You have the power to change “not very good” by practicing every day to be better than you were yesterday.  To be successful, you must work to get better, or you can take the easy road and prop yourself up with excuses and self-pity and whine your life away.

Simply Put:

      Successful people do not spend valuable

     time making excuses or whining;

  1. Expectations are often a self-fulfilling prophecy. Always expect great things of yourself and those around you.  Keep your standards high!  To help with your journey, march with people with high standards.  Never, ever, lower your expectations or standards for anyone.  Avoid those who think your ambitions and goals are too lofty.  Expect great things of yourself and expect great things will happen in return.  Believing in yourself, dreaming big, applying a lot of elbow grease, and surrounding yourself with people who believe in you and have skills you may lack will slay most any demon or dragon you face.

Simply Put:

    Successful people refuse to lower their standards and surround

themselves with skilled people who believe in them;

  1. Don’t worry if someone sees you dance! When it comes to life, we all have two left feet, so don’t worry about it.  Concentrate on the music.

Simply Put:

Successful people don’t stay in the shadows;

they put themselves out there;

  1. Don’t worry about the mistakes you have made or may make in the future. If you must worry, be concerned for the opportunities you missed while worrying you might make a mistake.  Opportunity does not always knock twice.

Simply Put:

   Successful people don’t worry about bruises. 

   They take a licking and keep on trekking toward their goals;

  1. When confronted by an idiot or someone who wants nothing more than to bring you down, always respond with “Bless your heart” and walk away.

Simply Put:

Successful people do not waste time on bad or hot air;

  1. A sure way to ensure failure or maintain mediocrity is to remain in your comfort zone. To be successful, you must be willing to occasionally get the hell scared out of you.  Taking chances is the norm for successful people.

Simply Put:

     Successful people are not afraid to scream and stand up to their fears.

   They take chances;

  1. Remember this about success! Most people are not concerned with your success.  If you are lucky, on your most successful day, 20% of the people will support you, 10% will do everything within their power to cut your throat or discredit you, and the remaining 70% could care less one way or the other as long as you leave them alone.  Therefore, seeking 100% or even a simple majority buy-in to try to please everybody is a sure bet for failure.

Simply Put:

       Successful people have the courage to stand alone.  They work hard

       to bring everyone on board, but not at the expense of their goals.

Definitions or interpretations of success will vary from person to person, but achieving success is the result of one thing and one thing only – action.  You can dream, hope, and pray for success, but if that is all you do, your chances of success will be very slim.  Although luck and miracles happen, depending on either to make you successful is like buying a lottery ticket – the odds are not in your favor.  Success is a personal commitment to being prepared when the door of opportunity opens, and by practicing the ten principles presented above, the door to opportunity is more likely to open wider and more often.

Simply Put:

Your success in this world falls directly in your lap.  No one can succeed for you.  The ball is in your court, so pick it up and do something with it.  You cannot score unless you shoot the ball.  Shoot and keep shooting until you make the shot, and once you have made the shot, keep shooting to make the second shot.  Never, ever stop shooting.  Life is about playing offense!  As long as you control the ball, you can’t lose!

JL

© Jack Linton, September 29, 2017

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The Little Big Horn

During our Trip of a Lifetime, we did not visit a single place that did not generate conversation around the supper table or campfire at the end of the day.  We discussed the bone chilling truths of the Minuteman Missile Historical Site in Interior, South Dakota; the treasures found in the Buffalo Bill Museums in Cody, Wyoming; the mystical metric system we encountered in Canada; and the incredible talent of a twelve-year-old female fiddle player in Mountain View, Arkansas.  From man-made history and marvels to the beauty carved by the hand of God in the Badlands National Park in South Dakota; Banff National Park, Canada; Glacier National Park, Montana; and Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, we spoke of it all, sometimes with excitement and sometimes in reverent awe.  Yet, the stop that generated the most conversation, immediately and for many days afterwards, was The Battle of the Little Big Horn National Park in Montana.  The place where Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer and the United States 7th Calvary met their Waterloo June 26, 1876.

The Little Big Horn Battlefield challenged every belief we held of the famous battle.  Although we did not realize it until we surveyed the battlefield and read the markers, listened to a native American guide, and visited the museums, our perceptions of the battle, from childhood to adulthood, had been schooled and skewed to be politically correct, twisted by racial ignorance, and warped by Hollywood theatrics that took liberties with the truth.  The markers, museums, and guide presented us our first unbiased truth – the 7th Calvary was not all good nor were the Sioux Indians all bad.  Atrocities took place on both sides; Indians scalped and disemboweled bodies of fallen soldiers, as well as cut the tips of Custer’s fingers from his hands, but only after the 7th Calvary desecrated their burial grounds and fired the first shots of the battle into tipis along the Little Big Horn River killing defenseless women and children.

Last Stand Hill itself, the site of Custer’s fall, also presented a different picture than the one we were taught in school and saw in the movies.  Rather than riding their ponies in circles around and through the outnumbered soldiers, the Sioux, many of them armed with Henry or Winchester repeater rifles given to them by the United States government to hunt buffalo, lay concealed in the tall yellow grass or along nearby hills picking off Custer and his men much like an old-time turkey shoot.  Not until the besieged soldiers, armed only with single-shot, breech-loading Springfield carbines and Colt revolvers, ran out of ammunition did the Sioux warriors swarm over Custer and his men.   When the struggle was finished, 268 men of the United States 7th Calvary, including Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer, and an estimated 40 to 60 Sioux warriors, including 6 women and 4 children lay dead on the battlefield.

With every step, we took through the park, our perception of Lieutenant Colonel Custer’s last stand and the final fleeting glory of the American Indian gained a bit more clarity.  The gallant Hollywood image of Custer, revolvers blazing in each hand, as he made his final stand against incredible odds, melted as we scanned the landscape from the ridge where Custer and his men perished to the Little Big Horn River below where thousands of Sioux Indians once camped.  For us, one of America’s most provocative myths, the June 26, 1876 Battle at the Little Big Horn, died.  It was replaced by bloody truths provoked and reciprocated on both sides.   It was the day a new America of white settlers, soldiers, and Washington, D.C. politicians and aristocrats in top hats endured its worst battlefield defeat at the hands of Native Americans; the day the sun set on the old America of native sons hunting and living off the land.  The Battle of the Little Big Horn ushered in a new era where all Americans, new and old, became forever locked under a veil of distrust, dishonor and deceit.

That is not to say, the men of the 7th Calvary and the Sioux nation who died on the battlefield were not men of honor; soldiers and Indians alike died believing they were right.  Their bravery should never be questioned, but the underlying dishonorable political and self-serving greed of the new Americans that sent the 7th Calvary to provoke the battle should be questioned and never forgotten.  The Little Big Horn resolved nothing.  For the new America, the violation of fallen bodies on the battlefield, gave credibility to breaking treaties with Godless heathens, and helped them justify their own barbarism at a place called Wounded Knee.  To the old America, the merciless slaughter of the 7th Calvary temporarily vindicated them against a treacherous “forked-tongue” enemy that looked upon them as less than human.  However, in the end, any credibility or vindication claimed by either side was short-lived.  No one won at Little Big Horn; the new America lost its honor, and the old America lost its way of life.

JL

©Jack Linton, September 11, 2017