Saturday, June 9, 2018

How to be successful – do what you say you will do!

What is being successful? Simple, you reach the goals you set for yourself in life. Done.

Well that was a short post. It is like: How to become rich?  You accumulate assets.  Easier said than done.
There are hundreds of excellent plans; many fail because they are not implemented. The idea that you need to invent something entirely new, like a Microsoft windows is bogus. Xerox invented the concept of windows and the mouse. But Bill Gates executed.  Steve Jobs executed but ‘lost’ from Bill. What a colossal failure! How could Steve be so stupid?
As we all know, Steve was far from stupid. Yes, Apple went nearly bankrupt, but Steve didn’t see that as a failure. He saw it as a learning experience. After being fired from Apple, his own company for crying out loud, he tried creating ‘Next’ another operating system and got no-where. Then Apple got into so much trouble, they asked Steve to come back and we know what happened thereafter. Ironically, Apple’s version of personal computers is very successful and… you can run Windows on Apple computers. But Steve’s real success was iPhone. The question is, would Steve have been that successful with iPhone if he hadn’t learned from his earlier adventures?
The lesson for all of us is, that there is no failure. Everything we do is a steppingstone, a learning experience to do it next time better and if that doesn’t work… keep on trying.
Everything starts with a plan, but it doesn’t have to be a completely novel discovery. It maybe as simple as improving on someone else’s ideas. I am not talking about stealing someone else’s work, like plagiarism or stealing someone’s computer code. Bill Gates saw the potential in DOS (disk operating system), one of the earliest generations of computer operating systems. He BOUGHT the project and then improved it and marketed it. His execution of the ‘DOS’ plan was brilliant and with luck, he became one of the richest people on this planet. But it wasn’t MS DOS that made Bill such a historic person. It was another idea that he saw at Xerox, he recognized the potential of what is now Microsoft Windows.
There is one very important lesson people may overlook. Neither Bill Gates nor Steve Jobs foresaw their largest successes. They didn’t set out with the idea of Windows or iPhone. They started with much simpler plans and one thing led to another. That is life: you set a goal, a personal ‘Belize’ and then you work towards it. It is not important that you reach that goal. It is the voyage towards that goal. The goal provides direction and once you are there or when you are getting close you may think that you reach something that is turning out different than you visualized. You adjust your goal or if you reach your goal you recognize an even more ambitious goal or a key improvement and then you go again merrily on the trip towards your new goal.  Life is not static – doing nothing with your life after you retire is a living hell! Reaching retirement is not a goal – a goal is doing something you think is worthwhile and then execute.
Regular readers know what I think about climate change. I think it is fake and not real science. Having said that, the concept of ‘climate change’ has motivated many to do something about our planet. To keep it clean. That is a great goal. But not to the point that we cannot use this world to reach our goals. Not to become entirely reactionary and oppose anything humanity does. This world and the universe around us is our sandbox; it is a tool to make our life worthwhile, to grow and to achieve goals. Are you careful with the tools you use in your daily life? Of course you are but, that won’t stop you from using those tools. Many people have chosen to use combatting climate chance as a goal, no matter how futile. This planet changes forever but if we do not take care of it, if we not keep it functioning and be there longer than our puny 3.5 million years of existence then we are at fault.  You may have bought this fabulous house, but if you don’t live in it, if you don’t dare to use it, it is no good to anyone.
Life is to be lived in a certain amount of discomfort. Discomfort because your latest project is a new challenge. That way you grow never old in your mind. It may even extend your physical limits. However, now in my sixties, I do see and hear everyday of people around me who died; people who became another aspect of this universe. And don’t ask me if that person’s individuality continuous or if he or she is just an unaware dust particle in the universe. It doesn’t matter. What matters is how that person lived the privilege of being a human with all its potential. Life is not about legacies, but it is about living it to its fullest potential. There is no failure, there only is the quality of the voyage to whatever you set out to accomplish and then on to your next goal. Legacies are for psychopaths who are afraid that they are forgotten over the billions of years this universe is likely to endure. Who will remember Bill Gates or Donald Trump or heaven forbid Justin? 😊  Do you really think that a billion years from now Bill Clinton looks down on earth and reminisces Monica and what happened under his desk?  Who really cares? Legacies are for fools.
You are successful based on your own goals and, especially, the voyage of reaching those goals – temporary traffic signs towards never ending goals. Goals give you direction, without goals you run around aimless like a chicken without a head. But those goals are just traffic signs for where-ever you are ending up. You can grow and learn, or you can go in circles (until your learn) the choice is yours. But realize that you as a human being are very special and privileged. It doesn’t do to hop around aimlessly, and it doesn’t matter what the world thinks of you. What matters is what you think of yourself and whether you achieve what you set out to do with this life.
That brings us to a cornerstone of success. It is not about what your goals are. You may have the most beautiful and the loftiest goals, nobody cares including you. It is about the voyage of achieving those goals or at least up to the point that you can see where to go next. You know whether you truly achieved and are on the way to something even better or whether you where not really executing well. There lies the real failure, if you couldn’t be bothered; if you were lazy and ended up drifting endlessly on your ocean of life never coming even close to the shore of your promised land.
So how do you execute? Your goal can not be set too low. You know what you can do and then you make sure that you have a bit of a challenge. A goal like: By 40 years I have my first million.  I want to publish this paper about this specific geological issue. Whatever you think is worthwhile and with some effort achievable. But never ever set a goal for someone else. Never tell someone else what they should do.
Execution! Most plans fail because they are not implemented. Even big plans need a first step, and then another and… another. You could use milestones if the final product seems dauntingly out of reach. Reaching milestones is very good for your self-esteem and your motivation to get the job done. Make sure, your milestones in themselves are goals to be proud of. How do you ensure that you will actually move towards your goals?
We humans are social beings and we want encouragement from those around us. If you have ‘friends’ who do not encourage you to move towards your goals, whether they think it is achievable or not, then get rid of them. Negative ‘friends’ are like vampires stopping you from reaching what YOU think is worthwhile doing. Very important.  Once you set your goal, even one that is a bit audacious, and you have  decided that your goal is worth the effort (which may be considerable) then you tell those around you. Even your enemies. You tell the world of your plans (except that portion that may be used against you. You don’t tell a potential buyer what the lowest price is that you are willing to accept).
Those around you may help you. They may point out some weakness in the itinerary of the voyage towards your goals.  Constructive criticism is fine; you even want it. Not stories about how unachievable your goals are, i.e. vampire ‘input’. You want to show those around you that you can get things done. It motivates you, just like it motivates athletes to have a cheering audience. An audience that wants you to achieve! This is the first step in your commitment towards the plan. Now that the world knows, now you can take another step. And with each step towards your goal your competence, commitment and self-confidence will grow.
That is also a bit about why this blog is so important to me. It let me tell the world some of the things I want to do. At the same time, I help others by showing them how certain things can be done. Do what you tell others that you want to do! It cements your commitment and commitment is a very important ingredient of success.

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