Light the Fire: Succeed and Triumph and Change Your Life
One Step at a Time
One foot in front of the other. That’s a good way to live, but even then at times we trip and fall. Sometimes we think we did everything right, crossed all of the t’s, dotted all of the I’s and yet we just don’t end up where we so meticulously planned and thought would be our ultimate destination. We all have those moments where everything seems to be working against us and it seems useless to keep walking that same predictable path. But how we react to those moments is the basis of our character and our ultimate destination. I’m pretty confident that Stevie Wonder didn’t quit because he couldn’t see the ivory keys. Nor did Jim Abbot put down a baseball glove because he only had one hand. And yet, excuses we can make are as numerous as the stars.
The fact is, for most of us, life is hard. Every day we have obstacles and challenges ahead of us that test our ability to persevere. While not every obstacle is a defining moment in our lives, it goes without saying that practice makes perfect. Not perfect in the sense of correctness or accuracy, but in the mindset of overcoming our struggles. A perfect mindset would look like Stevie Wonder, or Jim Abbot who against all odds, never quit. 100% of the time, they got back up to fulfill their vision of greatness.
Practice Makes Perfect
Perfection comes from that spark inside of us that lights the fire in us into action. If anything is more spiritual in the world than recognition of our own lives, than I will stop writing, but to be aware of our life-force and spirit is what can lead us to the highest highs in our lives.
It is often from the things that hurt us, or our failures where we find that fire inside to persevere. Think back at a time in your life when you were down and out. You probably rallied the courage to kick things into gear and make a change. You got back on your feet and went on your way, in a new way, but over time, that fire fades and you find yourself back where you started. What is it that dampens our mo-jo?
Practice. In short, when the need to rebound and change is not present, we fail to put wood on the fire and get back that energy and zest for life. While hopefully most of us aren’t facing debilitating handicaps, we all have the spirit inside of us to act and make decisions to get back up and keep going forward as if we were. However, like everything in life, a good marriage, relationship, job performance etc, it takes cultivation and a willingness to sacrifice.
I remember a time in my life when it seemed that I found a bottom beneath what I thought was a bottom and realized that everything I thought and knew has lead me astray. With nowhere to turn, I decided that if I was going to dig myself out of the darkness and re-invent my life it was going to take a lot of work, effort and consistency. It takes time and practice to change.
One of my role models in my life was my grandmother. A woman who never had much money, or even a driver’s license, was the happiest most sincere woman I could imagine. At 93 years of age she passed, but left me with the gift of a vision of what happiness and success truly looks like. It wasn’t money, a house, clothes or a car, vacations, jewelry or anything material. It was that if you practice enough, if you get back up enough, it will eventually redefine your life and you’ll start viewing obstacles as opportunity.
So along my journey of reinvention, I took a step, to this day I will consider my best decision. I studied people I admire: Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Michael Jordan and of course, my grandmother to name a few. The one thing successful and happy people have in common I found, is that they have practiced the art of sustaining. It is repetition, over and over and over again to persevere, get back up and try again and they have it mastered. Bringing it back to my point about perfection, they have perfected in their subconscious, that switch that always ignites and doesn’t let their motivation fade as they get comfortable. They continue to reach, strive and achieve new things and don’t rest on their laurels.
3 Cornerstones to Success
You may say, I’m not as gifted, or I don’t have the skill set, or I just am not anointed. I sure said those things. What you must do, and I say must because if you are unwilling to do so, you will continue your current trajectory, but what you must do, is admit that you need people to help you. How brilliant! If there is a skill set I don’t have, but someone else does, why not enlist them in your quest.
Three things, people or concepts you must enlist in your life to perfect the subconscious switch to triumph are 1) a consistent and reliable source of information, 2) a mentor or target to emulate and 3) someone you can confide in and share your journey with.
For me, the first item was easy. Having the blessing of living in Houston, I picked Joel Osteen and the Lakewood church as my source of a consistent and reliable source of information and motivation on how to live the life I want. While growing up, I wasn’t the religious type, I had my doubts about God and religion and the mechanics of it all, but what I learned is that if I wanted to change, I would need to hear over and over and over again, participate over and over and over again, and try to absorb as much as I could about the qualities and traits I was hoping to incorporate into my life. With church, it was easy, I could go 3 times a week if I needed, every week for the rest of my life. That is some stability to hang your hat on and really build a foundation.
The second area, finding a mentor, or teacher can be a bit gray, at least for me. While no particular person do I follow or seek guidance, I have come to really focus on those in leadership positions. Joel for instance, or a boss at work, someone who has been where you are and succeeded and holds a position you admire or aspire to achieve. You need something in life to strive for and what better way to train for what you want than to pay attention, listen and engage those who are already doing it.
The last area, is to me one of the most fulfilling tools. Finding someone to confide in and share the journey with. For me, I happened to meet a girlfriend, who shared a similar lifeline. What I have come to stumble upon, is someone who I can share the zest and excitement to evolve with, and the compassion and understanding when I fail. With her I am able to maximize my potential because we often motivate each other and have pointed our lives in a direction to become the best we can be through encouraging and making each other the best we can be. While it may not be your spouse, or significant other, having a solid and open relationship with someone you can share with without fear is essential. You will not be able to overcome as many obstacles as gracefully as you could, if you decide to go it alone. Like two soldiers climbing a wall, one will get up first, and help pull the other up much faster than both trying to climb alone.
Routine Routine Routine. What is your routine. How often do you do something to feed the soul and spirit. There is a reason why every Sunday people go to church. It is because in order to be at your peak, you need to constantly stay on top of your game. We need reminders, like a car needs fuel. If you don’t do something routinely to fuel the fire, it will eventually go out.
Putting it all together, you have to make a choice every day to prioritize. For me, I keep God the center of my life, my girlfriend and family in the next ring, my healthy routines that feed my soul as the basis of what surrounds me. As a result, I have formed a reliable defense in life against those things that may challenge me. It takes work, a lifetime of work, but the payoff comes from living in the moment, being able to recognize the spirit of life and ultimately redefine happiness and success.
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