Have you ever watched a child when asked to do a chore he or she doesn’t like to do? What do they do? They pause – even if for a flicker of a second – then come up with an excuse, no matter how lame, of why they cannot do the chore. And it doesn’t have to be a hard one. “Make your bed.” “Get dressed for the day.” “Take a shower/bath.” And the all-time favorite, “Do your homework.”
The resulting behavior does not make for a good day for anyone beyond the child. Actually, not even for the child. When their excuse doesn’t work, they change their tactic, moving into the
“I HATE YOU” vocalization, followed usually by quickly withdrawing from the scene, slamming the bedroom or exterior door in the process. The harder slams are always better, don’t you think? So much more effective when the pictures of the house fall off the walls, or the door jamb becomes loosened in the process. “Shows YOU who’s boss!”, they reason in their little head.
And there’s basically little you can do. When a child makes up his or her mind to do something, it will often take an act of God to get them to change their mind. The older they are, the more they push the boundary envelope, and the more difficult it becomes to alter their version of reality.
If not trained early to change their perspective, will it become a poor habit as an adult? Most certainly it will.
We’ve all seen the “mature” adults during our years of employment or even observing behaviors when they interact with others, like shop keepers, customers, or even family members in public.
And we’ve (or maybe it’s just me) been aghast at the spoiled customer demanding money back when the cause of the issue was clearly not the shopkeeper’s fault.
On television, we’ve seen equally spoiled adults throwing bricks through windows of store fronts and banks demanding they get a raise or get attention for some cause they think they deserve.
Do either of these cases create empathy with their position? If anything, it creates an antagonistic thought about them and their demands, viewing them as what they are: immature people in adult bodies. They are people who have not yet thought about anyone else but their own wants and desires. And they are willing to destroy what others have worked for or depend on for their livelihood to get their demands met.
What is the cause of this…
Did you notice something in the above statements? What caused the child to become belligerent and test the waters of authority beyond their sphere? Or the adult to make demands that they believed they deserved?
They are all thoughts. And thoughts dictate actions. When a person thinks they deserve something, like a raise or a promotion, and do not get their demands met, they think the boss or company is against them. They think it to be unfair.
So they think…
Remember earlier in previous articles (“don’t label me…” and “creativity...”) that man was differentiated from the animals by something very peculiar to himself? It was the ability to reason and the ability to create.
When a person makes up his or her mind to believe something, they typically put that thought into action. They think up ways to retaliate, or build up a case in their minds on how unfair they were treated. And they put display those ill thoughts by telling the world their story. Never mind that there might be another side to it. They spin tales that will show they are right.
But unless proven truly justified in their position, they will be seen for what they are: a person who has little discipline and even less self-worth. For a person who has good perspective in who they are and a strong foundation in that belief will not try to undermine those who have wronged them. They will give benefit of the doubt to those they do not know, and forgive those whose reputation for bad treatment of others is known by all. That doesn’t mean they won’t be hurt by the slight; but it does mean that they are mature enough to understand and let it go.
The battle is in the mind…
A person who thinks a particular way will create that reality for themselves.
If a person thinks they are ugly, they will not recognize the beauty they have within and will believe they are ugly in every way.
Or perhaps a person keeps telling themselves that they are stupid, they will never rise up to their full potential of intelligence.
Maybe a person believes they will be broke all the time, they will live that way and never learn to live within their means and use a budget.
And if a person doesn’t see that keeping clean is necessary, they will certainly keep their car, house, or body dirty displaying to the world where their priorities lie. And keeping clean isn’t one of them.
Search for successes
I began to research those who have succeeded in life – who have reached their goals. Not those who cheated, swindled, or bullied their way to the top. Those people do not count in my world. They are not self-made people, but monsters who use use, abuse, and intimidate others to get ahead. We all know who they are. We don’t like even being around them.
I am talking about those who, by their own will, made something of themselves. And, more than that, didn’t allow others to define them or their goals. And they enjoyed the process as well.
Warren Buffet is often one who is top of this list. He is a self-made billionaire, 5th most wealthy man in the world, last time I checked. I always thought of him as being a self-centered man, not interested in his people or in the people around him. But actually listening to him changed my perspective. He gave a talk on the people he admired – those who made a fortune for themselves or made an impression on him by their shear courage in overcoming obstacles that would make most people shy away from what could be their success.
One woman, who lived until she was 104, was a lady who made a fortune in a furniture business. She couldn’t read or write. She was an immigrant who could speak or understand the American language until her daughter, who went to public school, taught her mom how to read. This lady had every reason to make excuses on why she couldn’t succeed.
But she succeed she did. And she attracted the attention of Warren Buffet who, later in her life, bought her business and allowed her children and grandchildren to continue to manage the company.
Others ran the race…
There are others in our society who created their own successes in this world by choosing to overcome their own particular obstacles, seeing them as opportunities. They didn’t whine about not getting millions handed to them without effort, jealous of those who put in the hard work to get where they are (or were) in life. Physical ailments didn’t stop them.
These are the people who didn’t see failures as proof that they couldn’t reach their goals, but chose to use those failures as ways to learn to improve. They weren’t afraid to fail and they weren’t afraid to go against the grain. These people did things their own way, and, loving what they did, were able to use all obstacles as launching pads to success. Sometimes they didn’t live to realize their goals, but they always put the plans in motion that reached them.
The one thing they had in common is the desire to rise above the norm – they hated mediocrity. They knew instinctively that they deserved better than that.
What about you?
Are you one who believes that you will never succeed? What dreams do you have that you wish to make happen? Are you listening to everyone else around you? Those who are supposed to be the “experts”? The “friends”? The “family”?
Are you hanging around those who have not succeeded, or don’t have any care to succeed? Usually those are the ones who tell you how you’re supposed to do whatever it is you want to do. Yet, if you look at their lives, they have not reached their own goals. Or they are ones who don’t care to rise above mediocrity. Those you hang around are reflective of those you want to be like…to become.
Are you willing to take the risks needed to achieve your own definition of success? It may not be to become a billionaire. Perhaps it’s just to be happy living a simple life and learning to live within a monastic-like existence. Maybe it’s to just serve others. Or maybe it’s to be the best darned hole digger or whittler on the planet. Whatever it is, that’s okay. As long as you met what you set out to do.
What you imagine yourself to be, that you will become. If you refuse to do basic tasks in life, like making your bed or doing your school work, you will suffer the consequences. You will rise only to the level you set for yourself. If the goal post is low, you will achieve your goal. The higher the goal post, the more the effort is needed.
The battle begins in the mind…
But it all begins in the mind. You have to set a goal in your mind. You have to figure out in your mind the steps needed to reach that goal. And you have to be determined in your mind to reach that goal. The amount of effort needed to reach that goal will be reflected in the amount of discipline and effort you are willing to put into to the work to reach that goal. And that willingness begins in the mind.
Do you want to rise up above your present position? Determine what you want to become. Visualize it. Then set out a plan to get there. One small step at a time. It doesn’t have to be anything big at first. Make it small. Make it a win. Little by little, one win at a time. That is how you rise to the top.
You can do it. As a psychologist once told me years ago, you can do anything you set your mind to.
And he’s right. Even if it’s only beginning with a small, unread blog.