Keys to Success

“Your success depends on you.

Your happiness depends on you.

You have to steer your own course.

You have to shape your own fortune.

You have to educate yourself.

You have to do your own thinking.

You have to live with your own conscience.

Your mind is yours and can be used only by you.

You come into this world alone.

You go to the grave alone.

You are alone with your inner thoughts during the journey between.

You make your own decisions.

You must abide by the consequences of your acts…

You alone can regulate your habits and make or unmake your health.

You alone can assimilate things mental and things material….

You have to do your own assimilation all through life.

You can be taught by a teacher, but you have to imbibe the knowledge. He cannot transfuse it into your brain.

You alone can control your mind cells and your brain cells.

You may have spread before you the wisdom of the ages, but unless you assimilate it you derive no benefit from it; no one can force it into your cranium.

You alone can move your own legs.

You alone can move your own arms.

You alone can utilize your own hands.

You alone can utilize your own muscles.

You must stand on your feet, physically and metaphorically.

You must take your own steps.

Your parents cannot enter your skin, take control of your mental and physical machinery, and make something of you.

You cannot fight your son’s battles; that he must do for himself.

You have to be captain of your own destiny.

You have to see through your own eyes.

You have to use your own ears.

You have to use your own faculties.

You have to solve your own problems.

You have to form your own ideals.

You have to form your own ideas.

You must choose your own speech.

You must govern your own tongue.

Your real life is your thoughts.

Your thought are your own making.

Your character is your handiwork.

You alone can select the materials that go into it.

You alone can reject what is not fit to go into it.

You are the creator of your own personality.

You can be disgraced by no man’s hand but your own.

You can be elevated and sustained by no man but yourself.

You have to write your own record.

You have to build your own monument-or dig your own pit.

Which are you doing?”

B.C. Forbes 1917

The Ending of the Year

It is hard to believe that it is already September. The time has flown this year, but it always does, whether we choose to do something or nothing. To me, this is an important time of year to check in with my goals that I set in January. We are entering the final quarter of the year, so its important to make sure that I am dialed in for the remainder of 2014.
As I move through life, one of the things that I notice in the vast majority of the population is that they lack any sort of introspection. This is not a knock on other people, just an observation. We all have struggles, none of us are perfect, but introspection allows us to see what we do well, and what we need to work on. We then take the appropriate action. Serious introspection is necessary to be able to do this and make the right calls. If you run a business that has any sort of inventory then you know the importance of having an accurate account of what you have in inventory and the quality of said product. The same thing goes for our lives. I have a close friend who is in Al Anon and has turned me on to some of their reading materials. The program is based on introspection and awareness of one’s state and then working to make things better. The program is completely about personal accountability, there is no blaming others. This is right where we want to be.
This is a good time of year to do this inventory. I take a daily inventory in the morning and evening before bed, but I like to do a more in depth review quarterly.  I review my goals and plans in the light of some of these questions: What worked? What didn’t? Why? What did I learn from it? How can I take this lesson and apply it to my life? What things can I use now to take the ball over the finish line in December? Am I where I need to be? Are there any things distracting me from my purpose, my goals? In what ways did I apply lessons that I may have learned from my reading? Did they work? I gain so much knowledge about myself and where I want to be by doing this. I also use this information as a foundation to build my goals and plans for the coming year so that when the calendar rolls over to 1 January I am already solid, I’m good to go.

Of course, the first assumption here is that a man has goals, focus and a drive to see these goals through. Just writing down your goals and dreams will do nothing. Action is the only thing that will make them come true. It is a lesson in discipline, fortitude and commitment. Finding your goals and purpose is not a haphazard process. It takes reflection, desire and clarity. I suggest taking a weekend trip away from the normal distractions of life, this helps to be able to think more clearly, although it is not necessary. The other important aspect is that the goals must be your goals, they must be your desires. It may sound strange but for many of us it is difficult to come to a decision about what we want out of life. Most of the time you will find that your goals come up very differently from what society tells you that you should want. This is good. When a man dials in his goals he finds that he wants less and less of what society has to offer. Having set goals and a code to live by also gives us the freedom to focus. We know the things that are not important, and the things that are. We can measure every question we have by our own question; “Is this action or thought in line with my goals and my vision of who I am?” This will boil things down to their essence which is exactly what we want. If you think of your favourite historical figure, action hero, or someone whom you look up to, my guess is that there is one thing that they all have in common: they live by a code that they do not violate for anything or anyone. To me this is all summed up by the Duke in “The Shootist”; “I won’t be wronged. I won’t be insulted. I won’t be laid a hand-on. I don’t do these things to other people and I require the same from them.”  In fact, all of the great legends, myth and folklore have one common thread; the hero, a man steeped in valor, honor and grit, takes on a journey from which he never wavers, despite a myriad of distractions. He often winds up engaged in combat as his values are tested and he must stand and fight for those things that he believes in. Life is full of distractions. A clear, definite sense of purpose as well as clear, defined goals will help us to focus on what we need to do to get where we want to be.

One must choose his goals and “code” wisely; once he chooses he must stand up for these things. Once chosen and internalized it becomes a mater of a man’s hounour and integrity; things which cannot be lost, only surrendered.