Success: The elusive Long Term Life Outcome is elusive because people almost without exception use false information in their attempt to be successful.
Let me give you an example.
Bill is told to create a list of his goals and this is what he writes down.
“Goals List for 2019”
[Imagine Bill puts this list together…]
In 3 years I will have a house on a lake.
I will have a 2020 Audi on December 31, 2019.
I will earn $20,000 per month.
I will lose 20 pounds by September 1, 2019.
I will have a hot new girlfriend by September 1, 2019.
I will write a 300 page book about Dog Training by 12/31/2019
It took Bill perhaps 10 minutes to put this list together. “Write down your dreams with a deadline!”… He was told it would motivate him to succeed.
This is most people’s idea of “goal setting.”
It’s NOT. It’s really a bucket list.
These are fun to talk about and a waste of time, in almost all contexts to take seriously.
There is *nothing* wrong with such a list as Bill has penned.
Perhaps for some people there is a cumulative effect, “I want all this stuff, so I need to get to it.”
That’s simply the OPPOSITE of what the data shows to be true.
Keeping such a list around can be helpful in knowing that you have all these things you’re telling your Self to collect.
Finally it could give you a starting point…or more precisely an endpoint to work backward from.
As a tool in making stuff happen in YOUR life, this is probably the least valuable. Bill doesn’t need to toss it. Bill simply needs to know that is wont’ have a big impact on his life. It did organize his Christmas list into one compact collection. In other words, make the list and stick it in your computer where you’ll never see it again. I grew tired of the word “goals” 10 years ago.
“Dream with a deadline” = disaster in the making.
Not a great idea.
The bucket list?
I don’t have one. I don’t want you to have one. If you REALLY would like to have something, GO AND GET IT.
In the collective social mind, goals are thought of as “positive results a person wants, but will not attain, and like a dream they might feel real but rarely do they come to fruition.”
And that is most typically, precisely what occurs…nothing.
It’s a shame because people are taught that this list is *really* important.
Worse? If they sit and think about it for any amount of time they become LESS LIKELY to ever attain an item, person, you name it. Visualizing the “thing” is good for a few minutes…once or twice in a year. But then when you get past that…you need to be DONE with it.
The more you visualize and affirm, the further it ends up from your possession.
There is a big chasm between Bill’s list and where he is today.
It appears to me that it’s a LOT to do (and I get a lot done). BIll doesn’t know it but he’s asking to win the lottery.
There are competing goals. For example: Bill will earn no money while he writes his book but he wants $20,000 per month.
My quick look says that this is a nice list. Really. Each item is fine.
Take a hammer, smash the clock and stop dreaming and start living. Now a problem happens. Bill gives his list to ME!
“Kev, here are my goals for the rest of the year, what do you think?”
“Those are some nice things to have. Lots of cool ingredients that could make for a nice life cake.”
And then I have to stop because I got nothing else I can give Bill.
This is not how you create a successful life. Success is about life…being AWAKE…from wake up til bedtime… each and every day. It’s about a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT way of thinking.
Successful people decide to be winners in life. They determine that they will now MAKE LIFE HAPPEN.
When someone says to another person…about YOU, “don’t worry, he’ll make it happen,” you get a different notion. “Thy will be done.”
Whoever that guy is…he’s really going to do it.
We know that language matters when people listen to others and also what people say to themselves.
In my mind, an outcome is something that already has occurred in the future, I simply have to step forward and do the lifting to complete the process.
It’s as real and concrete as yesterday’s news.
“Where you flying to today, Kev?”
“First Amsterdam then Milan. The flight arrives at 2:57 PM.” The 2:57 is NOT a deadline. It’s the arrival time. But if the plane doesn’t make it by 2:57, I’m STILL OK with 2:58, 3:17 or pretty much any other time.
There are no deadlines in a “make it happen mind set.” The author signs the contract with the publisher and almost 100% of the time the book gets written, submitted, edited, laid out, and 4 months later it is in the bookstore.
When you think of “goals” you really want to think about “an outcome that YOU will CAUSE to happen.”
You learn to trust your Self when you begin to make your “goals” real, each and every time.
Other people begin to trust you when they see that you consistently produce results when you finish project after project.
The self trust necessary to “make it happen” needs to be 100%. Let me show you specifically what I mean.
I’ve run in to a lot of people who have a strict, “Money Mindset”.
I don’t like the Money Mindset because it implies the outcome is to generate as much revenue as possible or worse, a SPECIFIC amount of money. Problem: It doesn’t incorporate the impact on those who interact with the individual.
In other words, it’s a zero sum game for the Money Mindset. Person A wins, Person B loses.
I don’t like it except when playing games (like blackjack) or trading stocks. Aside from that, focusing on money…can become very counterproductive.
You would LOVE to accomplish X.
Ultimately, more than money, you really want the more difficult to pin down state of success.
Can we agree on something?
Being successful means more than pursuing or having money.
Let’s agree success is about reputation, people’s appreciation and valuation of your work and so forth.
The Make it Happen Mindset CAUSES and CREATES success and achievement.
And success is certainly defined a little differently for each person though, to be sure, there ARE common threads.
Can you make ANYTHING happen?
This is a good place to pause. You can “image” an attractive potential life partner all day long…and you will arguably have a better than average day.
But all that imaging doesn’t put the girl in the seat opposite you at the dinner table…or anywhere else in your house.
Things like imagery and affirmations are all but B.S. They are simply unstable tools in a very real world.
They are easy to think about and consider because they require no effort.
This is why you don’t just want “A Mindset,” you want a MAKE IT HAPPEN MINDSET.
And part of that is your being aware that the girl comes at a price. What price (assuming she was available) would it take?
It’s simple! Answer THIS question.
What pictures does the girl reading her hand made Valentine’s Day Card need to be seeing, for YOU to FIT in to HER picture?
Now you have the FIRST element of the Make IT Happen Mind Set!
You MUST be able to clearly see what and why people are yearning for YOU in THEIR LIFE/SPACE/PLACE.
Now, Imagine I have a success pill that only requires effort and a well executed plan for you to make just about anything happen that you want.
Granted you probably can’t have EVERYTHING you want in life…you won’t live long enough for that…but you can have just about ANYTHING that you want.
NOW, instead of having Bill tell us what stuff he wants, let’s see what kind of life he wants to live. After all, we have a PILL that combined with effort and a well executed plan that will cause Bill to be able to make almost anything happen in life.
“I’d like to have the right girl, spend some time traveling with her, eventually have kids, be able to have a retirement account that will take care of us and of course I want a few toys like an Audi.”
“Bill, (I say) each of those things has a price in terms of plan, effort and execution…i.e. making IT happen.”
“OK Kev, so what are you saying?”
“Will you do what is necessary to give life what each of those things is worth to you?”
“You mean I have to buy the girl, the kids, the traveling, the account and the Audi?”
“Yes. That’s exactly what I mean. The thing is that you can’t just use money.”
“What else can you buy all this with?”
1. Time 2. Effort 3. Love 4. A Different Mind Set 5. …for the next decade.
Now Bill STOPS and looks at me. The answer to this question will determine whether he will create his desired for future or he will let it BECOME A DREAM which will NEVER “come true.”
“Kev, When do I get the car?”
“The second you can pay cash for it.”
“And when do I get the girl?”
“You can’t get them off the shelf like Fritos. You get her when you have been giving people around you, love, time, effort, an even better person than you are now to interact with.” [Hmmm… I see creative seems to think you can, fine. MOST of the time you can’t just get her off the shelf and into the cart.]
“Like one year?”
“If you have a Make it Happen Mindset beginning next week and not return to your old way of thinking, you should be able to have her within 6 – 18 months. BUT this is 100% contingent on your being consistent with being able to make stuff happen in life.”
“You gonna show me how?”
“Excellent.” He looks up at me.
“Kev, I have a question. Can I be happy too?”
“Ah, so simply having the girl, the kids, the travel, the car and so forth doesn’t mean you are automatically happy?”
“I don’t know I’ve never had all that.”
“Are you happy now, Bill?”
“Of course, well not really, you know?”
“Sounds like you saying you’re familiar with what you have and you currently don’t have a lot of conflict that’s ripping your heart up?”
“Happiness has a different formula than success and being able to make it all happen.”
“So success isn’t being happy?”
“Success and happiness are words you need to define. For most people happiness is one part of the success pie.”
“So I really need to focus on being happy?”
“Nope. You have to focus on what you want and make it happen because YOU said so.”
“Wow. I always thought you could have money OR happiness.”
Everyday, you run into people who have a lot of conflict in their lives and are definitely angry, hurt and in pain, and they tell you they are “happy”.
Is it true?
It’s quite easy to be angry and happy at the same time.
It’s easy to be in pain and happy at the same time.
It’s not as easy but still very real and common to be “hurt” and happy at the same time.
KEY POINT: Freedom from conflict is not happiness; freedom from conflict is the absence of possible rejection, resistance and significant and meaningful interactions.
For now, realize that you don’t want to go bursting bubbles.
A little illusion can go a long way – in the right contexts.
Important Key point: Happiness can intersect with success, often, but NEVER allow yourself to make a FEELING a GOAL. If you do, you will become an Emotional Addict that makes Cocaine Addiction look infantile.
The fact is that you would ideally experience happiness while “achieving success”.
By example, a person working within their passion and toward the outcomes they desire, having their meaning in life, their legacy perhaps…they certainly could be happy, or not, at the same time.
Feelings change from moment to moment.
Someone is hospitalized.
Someone got married.
They could be on their “success journey,” someone they love dies, be proud of their journey but sad or depressed that the person they love has died.
IMPORTANT: Many people believe you can only experience one feeling or emotion at a time. But that isn’t true. You can be happy and depressed both at once, in the same moment, for hours, days or even experience both emotions at the same time for periods of time.
“I’d rather be happy than depressed.”
“I’d rather be happy than have money….”
Same thing as saying, “I’d rather be tall than overweight.”
“I’d rather be able to sing than be intelligent.”
Key Point: You CAN have two things at the same time in life. It’s OK…
For me…success is pretty broad in scope and depth. In other words I don’t want to have one “successful book”. I want to have a number of successful books. (Breadth)
I don’t want to have a book sell a lot of copies if it’s junk. I want to write stuff that matters. (Depth and reputation)
Now that you get how feelings integrate in ways that you may not have considered, what about you?
Do you ever think, “I’ll make it happen tomorrow??”
Does tomorrow ever come? Here’s the answer…
The mind of someone who makes life happen begins today. They don’t delay until tomorrow because tomorrow the magic could be gone. It always begins TODAY.
Are Definitions Illusions?
Definitions are important in life. In fact, people MUST define things in life. People who make life happen have certainty AND flexibility in the rare situations where certainty is glitched.
I had been looking for a new home for some time.
I put offers on a number of homes.
I set a number.
Not going to go higher than that number. Never did. Ironically EVERY house I put an offer on, which was declined eventually went on to sell for dramatically less than what I offered… also another story….
But what if the bank or seller came back and said, wait we will go dollar X and that dollar is $10 higher than my maximum.
How firm is that definition now?
My guess is I will cave (for $10?!) and give them the money for coffee…
But the point is the definition of “maximum price” was an illusion.
So too, success and happiness both.
They are not necessarily easy terms to define….
People regularly come up to me and say, “Man you have been successful.”
I think that’s very nice, but I also well know that I have yet to hit the vast majority of my life goals. I don’t want to leave this planet with only what I have accomplished to date. THAT would be a disappointment…if there were an after life to be disappointed from….
What people might be saying is, “Wow you are more successful than me and that’s cool,” and that might be true… “but of course I don’t have definitions yet, so I don’t actually know, and, I don’t know what that means. ”
I never want to get wrapped up in someone else’s definition of success…of happiness…of love. I want you to have YOUR own definitions as well.
What is an appropriate response to the admirer who figured out they haven’t pieced together their map yet?
“Thank you?” Certainly not.
“Hey Kev, you’re smarter than me.”
“Thank you?” Nope, that doesn’t work.
“Hey Kev, You made it happen, I haven’t yet, but I will.”
Yes, that works.
When people comment on what you have accomplished, what is YOUR INTERNAL response?
This is huge because it’s going to shift your entire life.
How YOU will make it happen…
Most people experience ACHIEVEMENT or EXCELLENCE in certain facets of life.
These are either areas you excel in, master or are proficient at.
And that is important.
But achievement is only a component of success.
People often put the word “successful” next to a person’s name. “Paul McCartney is successful”. No question that’s true.
His current marriage partner appears to be a match made in heaven. But he wasn’t so successful last time out. Question: Does that mean HE is not successful?
And what would the objective parameters BE for a PERSON to BE successful?
It’s an important point for a couple of reasons.
I’ll take you in the back door before opening the front….
I think it’s fair to say that just about everyone has parts of their life that are royally screwed up.
I know a lot of people who have “more” X or “better” Y than I do…and I promise you that they are royally screwed up in SOME WAYS.
In fact, I’ll go further and expose the secret to you.
All people you believe to be successful, probably are successful …and they are screwed up, too….just like you…and me.
So having their sh… together is not a criteria for success.
Emotional beings will NEVER have it ALL together. Life does NOT work that way.
It’s (having sh…together) another attribute like happiness that describes someone, but doesn’t describe success. But it could describe SOME successful people….and it could describe some failures, as well…
Having come from a decade of being a therapist overlapping with two decades of being in different kinds of businesses, some “successful,” some not….
…I’ve met a lot of people. A lot of fascinating people.
The interesting ones were those who “were successful”.
The common thread?
They all had a Make IT Happen Mind Set.
Nothing is more boring than someone who does nothing well and then aspires to be good at nothing.
…AND they are screwed up.
I like success with my screwed up person as much as I like Splenda with my Coffee. Coffee is still coffee without Splenda and Success is still success with or without being screwed up in some areas of life.
The point of sharing that everyone has one aspect that is out of kilter is important.
It reminds you that everyone goes through challenges. Everyone. Some get them at 10 years of age. Some at 20. Some at 40. Some at 60. Some at 80. Some at all of the above.
Never let anyone tell you that because you have a part of life out of whack that you cannot be successful, which could include, wealth, happiness, love, health and spiritual peace.
You probably will not have them all at the same time but remember you can have almost anything you want in life.
Chasing happiness, like “feeling good,” means you’re off to the cocaine factory. Don’t chase happiness.
And do the world and don’t chase money.
Instead: Serve people. No kidding. SERVE PEOPLE.
The more people you serve well the better you do in life. Period.
Chasing money will always fail in the end. Striving to be the best always finishes with Excellence in the end.
What are people really saying when they talk about success?…
Most people whine and grumble. They protest that things aren’t perfect any more…
They have problems a, b, c and when they get their heads together, they will go out and make it.
They suffer from depression, bipolar, alcoholism, and they do nothing but bitch. Failures in spite of mental illness and addictions.
And then there are successful people who have made it happen in spite of mental illness and addictions.
So we have no excuses for lack of success.
Successful people achieve BECAUSE they don’t let the massive problems of life stop them.
They see an outcome.
They begin TODAY.
They overcome obstacles.
They are resilient.
People who are embarrassed by their apparent “weaknesses” think like this:
“I’m an utter failure in life, I’m screwed up, I’m depressed, I’m on medication and I don’t want people to see that, and I’m fortunate that my life isn’t on display or else they would see how much of a failure I am and I’d be embarrassed.”
OK, read that again.
Everyone can relate to that.
Everyone has a challenging life in some way.
Without question, some far more challenging than others.
Maybe you were born into the right and proper part of town or the world. Or just the right house. You had it all when you were a kid. You became the whiny spoiled kid who expected it all on a platter and got it.
Some would say you (or that person) was lucky.
And maybe you were born middle class. Parents that worked, had enough to live on, but not so much it was impressive.
Some would say you (or that person) was normal.
And maybe you were born in the ghetto and have only barely made it “out”.
Some would say you never got a break.
Here’s the deal.
Check it out…
This is the deal. In all of those lives, the individual, that’s you and me, have all kinds of schemas and life challenges that screw us up.
I rarely meet “normal people,” for which I am largely thankful.
What is fun for me is to meet successful people.
A lot of people are probably better off having someone else run their life. A lot of people are not.
If you have been letting other people run your life, and it is NOT working, then consider taking charge of some aspects of your life. Consider the possibility that being CAPABLE of running your own life is potential power.
I travel. There’s a camera around everywhere. In 80% of photos taken of me, I find them terrible.
When being onstage is part of your life, you realize two things early on.
You look terrible in the morning, after your gig and at night like everyone else.
Will imaging these …nice images…move you to make it happen?
Part of success means you are in control when you want to be in charge.
Pamela Anderson doesn’t look as hot after a long day as she does when she’s “on.”
The fact is…you do your best to look good when you are “on”. And…frankly I’m glad cameras are around, or I’d never keep my weight at any reasonable level.
When people AREN’T photographing you all day, it is easy to gain weight and not care because no one is saying anything about it…if they are trying to be polite.
Generally, successful people, (who are similar to people in general)…mostly because they are people…who are indeed screwed up… …successful people take a challenge and go for it. Unsuccessful people don’t.
It’s ALL ABOUT the Make IT HAPPEN Mindset.
And therein lies a key distinction.
KEY POINT: The babe in the bikini (Valerie Bertinelli at 50) is that way ON PURPOSE not by accident.
KEY POINT: Successful people don’t “happen,” they are INTENDED and ON PURPOSE.
A guess: You are still seeking the level of success you want to attain. Maybe you’ve had achievements in certain areas, but not in others. Your career might be going great, but your relationships are lacking. Or you’ve met the love of your life, but you just can’t seem to earn the amount of money that would make you happy. Or everything else is great, but you can’t seem to lose those last 20 pounds and get into better shape.
It’s a maddening position to be in, especially if you don’t understand why it’s happening. You may think you’re doing everything right, but circumstances just won’t bend to your will. You constantly run into obstacles, sabotage your own efforts, berate yourself for your “failures”,- and the struggle continues.
This struggle continues because of one reason, and one reason only: you are focusing your energy and effort in the wrong direction!
People have the misguided notion that success is some elusive quality “out there” that you need to hunt down and capture. Maybe you believe that if you say the right things, do the right things, take exactly the right steps, success will fly right into your little butterfly net and you can pin it down on a sheet of cardboard and hang it proudly on your wall.
You can’t capture success, nor can you buy it with monoey, stumble across it, or fall into it. You can only create “it,” from the inside out. And the only way to create it is by changing our thoughts and habits.
What do thoughts have to do with anything? Everything!
What you expect to see, in large part, you see. What you expect to have in your life, you have. What you focus on the most, expands.
If your life isn’t what you want it to be, you CAN change that.
This can be a tricky concept to understand, but the most important point to get – is that it’s a cumulative process.
Think of a scale. If you place a grain of sand in one of the trays, it probably won’t make much difference to the balance of the scale. But if you add another grain, and another, and another, before long the scale will begin to tilt in that direction. Your thinking works in much the same way, and if you have enough of one particular type of thought, it will affect your quality of life.
Thinking that you WILL Make IT Happen and then DOING IT is the key.
It’s the defining characteristic of ALL successful people I know.
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