No More Excuses - Sam Silverstein and the Power of Choice
Sam Silverstein on The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch
Sam Silverstein Tells It Like It Is
by Jerod Morris
Bookstores and the online marketplace are littered with books and journals from self-help and business experts. In my humble opinion, most of the opinions and tips offered are pretty much a-dime-a-dozen. Trite anecdotes and overused platitudes are not my idea of an effective pathway to self-actualization and career success.
Every now and then, however, I run into a voice that separates itself and gives me something of value. John C. Maxwell, author of The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership and many other great books, is one of these voices. Rick Warren, the author of The Purpose Driven Life, is one also. Randy Pausch, the now famous and tragically deceased professor from Carnegie Mellon University who gave and wrote The Last Lecture, is yet another wonderfully influential voice whose words truly had an impact on my life.
And just recently, I came across another one: Sam Silverstein. He is the Vice President of the National Speakers Association, and was awarded their highest designation: Certified Speaking Professional. In addition to being a motivational speaker, he writes an e-newsletter that is subscribed to by over 60,000 business professionals, and has written numerous books about success and personal improvement. Most importantly, from a credibility standpoint, Sam Silverstein was successful as an entrepreneur before branching out to help others with his ideas. For those of you who have not yet had the pleasure of being introduced to Mr. Silverstein, his tag line is: “No More Excuses.” Simple, straightforward, and one of the greatest pieces of advice I can imagine to improve any aspect of life.
Just stop making excuses.
I unabashedly admit that I have spent the majority of my life as both an excuse maker and a procrastinator. A boss of mine when I worked in Miami (we called him Mike T.) finally took me to task for it and lit into me for compromising my personal potential with “excuses for why you don’t always do what you are capable of doing.” He was right, of course; and I have come to appreciate his advice more and more over the past few years. Furthermore, I have realized what a tremendously positive impact eliminating excuses has had on so many different aspects of my life.
Something tells me that Sam Silverstein and Mike T. would get along quite well.
“No More Excuses” is the central theme that serves as the crux for all of Mr. Silverstein’s ideas. In addition to “No More Excuses,” he offers many other nuggets of motivational wisdom that I found useful. Below, I will discuss a few of these ideas and do my best to paraphrase Mr. Silverstein's influential words.
(For the record, initially, I wondered if I should simply link you to his site and let you read for yourself, fearful that I would not provide an adequate description of his ideas. But then I heard Mike T. and even Sam Silverstein himself screaming in my ear that I was making excuses again. So here I go…)
No Rain Delays
Due to the nature of the competition, outdoor sporting events like baseball and golf are sometimes delayed by rain. Life, however, is never delayed. There are no TV timeouts, no halftimes, you cannot make substitutions, and it certainly does not stop for rain. Thus, it behooves us all to be in a constant state of preparedness for whatever challenge or surprise life may send our way.
Sam Silverstein offers up three actions that will allow you to always be prepared:
1. Study – Constantly be learning. Think about where you are, where you want to go, and what you need to learn to get there. Then go acquire the knowledge you need. This will help you reach your goals, adapt to any changes in your competition, and also help you create new directions for yourself.
2. Exercise – Take care of your body. You will have more energy to attack each day’s challenges and be able to move at a faster pace. Plus, exercise improves mental sharpness, as well as improving the overall health of your body.
3. Build Relationships – You increase your potential opportunities exponentially with each new relationship that you build. Whether it is a door you want to open, a partnership you want to cultivate, or a skill you want to improve, networking can greatly improve your chances of making it happen.
Your Happiness Hierarchy
Basically, this boils down to having a specific answer to the question: “Where do I need to be in the future to be satisfied and happy with my life, my career, or my business?” As we all know, hindsight is 20/20. However, the key is to understand how to make foresight as close to 20/20 as possible. By projecting into the future, and being as granular as possible with respect to where you want to be and what specific accomplishments you want to have achieved, you have infinitely better odds of actually making it happen. Ultimately, this will provide a pathway to happiness and fulfillment.
The Power of Choice
Outside of “No More Excuses,” this is my personal favorite. From Mr. Silverstein’s website, this is how he describes the power of choice:
“We become what we become because of the way we choose and will ourselves to think. Our choices affect our thoughts and our thoughts affect who we are, what we stand for, and the footprints we leave on this planet.”
I personally see a feeling of victimization in so many people, and even in myself sometimes, that manifests itself in a powerless belief that the vast majority of life is predetermined, and we can do nothing about. This is such an erroneous and self-defeating idea to have. As Sam Silverstein says, “an awareness of choice is the first step towards growth.”
More Video of Sam Silverstein
Having a personal understanding that each one of us is in control of our own thoughts and actions through the choices we make is such a crucial factor for success. This feeling empowers us to take control of our lives and also helps to keep us in the present and not focused on regretting the past or fearing the future. By harnessing the power of choice we give ourselves the opportunity to plan and control each day. In the process, we prevent regrets before they can happen and vanquish any anxiety over tomorrow.
If you are in the market for one or two new ideas to improve yourself, a market that we should be all shopping in constantly, check out Sam Silverstein. He has actually achieved success in both business and in his personal life, so he speaks from a position of credibility. More importantly, as far as I am concerned, he separates himself from the other “gurus” who are out there by having a unique voice, with simple yet profound principles, that can truly have a positive impact on your life.
About the Author
Jerod Morris is an Account Manager and Copywriter with OrangeCast in Dallas, Texas. In addition to his experience in social media marketing, Jerod Morris has management and training experience in the printing and restaurant industries, as well as managing direct marketing campaigns for Fortune 500 companies in Miami, Florida. While in college at Indiana University, Morris also co-founded and was Head of Creative Development for TB Digital Productions, a multimedia development company.
- Motivational Speaker
Visit Sam Silverstein's official website to learn more about his motto of "No More Excuses" and for information regarding his books, newsletters, and availability to speak at events.
- The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch Website
Former Carnegie Mellon professor Randy Pausch wrote one of the most poignant, touching, honest, and inspirational books I have ever read. If you have not read it, visit the official website...then read it!
- John C. Maxwell Leadership Resources
John C. Maxwell is another well respected voice in the self-improvement/motivational realm, and with good reason. Maxwell's idea are rooted in his strong Christian faith, but he is not overbearing about this in his books. They are great.
- The Purpose Driven Life
Another fantastic book that is even better when you go through it with the accompanying workbook. I am not usually one who goes for books that are overtly religious, but the lessons in this book were so good that I did not even think about it.