Look at the picture, and what do you see? Really? Are you
sure you don’t want to look again? Do you see something different when you look
closer, or is it what you saw the first time? Is it a rabbit, is it a duck or is
it some other type of creature? You and I are looking at the same picture, but
may see something different, just as in life. We may be looking at the same
scenario, but seeing something very different. Let me tell you this; what you
see will play out in your life, so, depending on the circumstance, you may want
to look again.
Are you a glass-half-empty, a glass-half-full, or a glass-ain’t-no-where-near-big-enough
type of person? Why is it, when looking at the same picture or the same
situation, we can often see very different things? Why is it that when a
relationship comes to an end, one person can only see rejection and heartbreak,
whilst another person can see an opportunity to learn, grow and meet a better
match? Why is it when facing a significant financial crisis, one person sees
devastation and doom, when another sees opportunity? Why is it when someone gets
a rejection from a publisher for their book they give up, whilst another celebrates?
Simple, it’s all how we see the picture based on the perspective we are looking
at it through.
I love the word ‘Perspective’. In the Cambridge Online
Dictionary, it’s defined as; a particular way of considering
something. By definition, perspective means that we get a choice as to how
we consider something. Is it good? Is it bad? Is it good or bad luck? Is it a wake-up
call? Is it unfair? Is it a great lesson? It is, actually, however you choose
to look at it, based on your perspective. So, consider this; if how you perceive
something will determine how you respond and how you respond will either
positively or negatively impact your life, is it worth paying attention to the
following quote; Not all
storms come to disrupt your life, some come to clear your path?
Is being help up in traffic inconvenient, or is it giving you
more time to listen to an inspiring audio? Is the fight you had with your
partner another reason why they don’t understand you, or is it an opportunity
to learn more about them and improve the relationship? Is the fact that you put
on weight, on your ‘diet’ a sign that you are a failure, or is a sign that
there may be a better way? It’s all about how you look at things, and how you
look at things will define your life.
I have not always been able to see the positive side of
things, but I am grateful that I can do it easily now. This week I was driving
home when, all of a sudden, I heard a sound coming from my front wheel. I
thought it maybe a flat tyre, so I stopped at the next service station to look.
I got out of the car, looked at the front tyre and all the other tyres, and,
none were flat. There was nothing else hanging off the car that could be making
the noise I heard. Then, I had a closer look at the front tyre and found the
problem. I had driven over a screw, and the washer, and it was stuck in my tyre.
I believe it was because of the washer, that all air stayed in the tyre.
I could have been angry, frustrated or annoyed, but instead,
I saw opportunity. Right next to the service station was a Bob Jane T-Mart.
Again, lucky!! I drove in, to not just get my tyre fixed, but, to meet someone
who I could connect with and talk to about my business. I met a lovely lady who
helped me get my tyre fixed, charged me nothing for it and who is now interested
to find out more about what I do. I could have seen an inconvenient punctured
tyre, but I saw an opportunity, and that is exactly how it played out. I got
what I saw. This week I want to encourage you to look again, if you need to, and
decide to see something that will bless your life.
Ah, the all elusive motivation that seems to come and go as
it pleases. It’s never there when you really need it, and when it does finally appear,
it lasts for such a short time before it is over-run with doubt, fear and
confusion. We are often under the mistaken impression that we must have it to
be able do things that will help us achieve success in life. The question I
have often asked myself in the past, and the one I get asked regularly is, how
do I get and keep myself motivated to do the things I know I need to do? It’s
a great question, and the answer is very simple… you can’t!
You may be asking, if I can’t get myself and keep myself
motivated, then how do I every achieve anything great? That’s another wonderful
question. I will answer it just as I answered someone I am mentoring to write
and publish a book. During the week, the email I received from this person was,
‘Since I finished my first draft, I’ve been finding it difficult to enter a
momentum of writing again. Any advice?’
This is a very common question I get asked almost weekly. It
was a question I often asked myself when I was writing my own books, and, working
hard to make it as a professional footballer. Fortunately, I had the answer for
this person because I had worked it out for myself many years earlier. This is
what I replied, “Re-focus on why you are doing this. Visualise what life
will be like when your book is published. Think about the lives you will impact
and the difference you will make. Reflect on the money you will make and the
options you will have. If that doesn’t motivate you, nothing will.”
The mistake this person had made was, losing sight of the big
picture and instead focussing on the inconvenient and uncomfortable process. It
is inevitable we will feel like we need motivation when we are facing something
uncomfortable like; writing after a long day, getting up and exercising when we
are tired, reading when we’d rather be watching TV or practicing something when
it really is quite tedious. That being the case, we need to take our focus off
the process and place it on the other side of the discomfort. The key to this
working is that you need to have a clear vision of what that looks like and a
strong desire to be there.
When climbing a mountain, focusing on of the pain of each
step will cause many people to give up. The people who are excited to see the
view from the top and experience the pride of their achievement will simply see
each uncomfortable step as necessary to getting them closer to what they want.
When my alarm goes off at 5:30am every morning to get up and exercise, I don’t
think about how uncomfortable training will be. If I did, I would hit snooze. I
focus on how good I will feel when I’m finished and how much I love being fit,
lean and healthy.
Motivation is not something you can rely on, nor something
you can manufacture. However, when you are clear about what you want and why,
you don’t need it, because you will be happy to do what you need to do to get
This is a hard lesson to learn, right?Unless of course, you will learn from reading this blog, rather than your own painful experiences. If you are anything like me, you have been spending a lot of time repairing! The biggest, and probably the only downside of being a chronic spontaneous and fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants action-taker, is lack of preparation and the reparation that sometimes needs to happen as a result. So, whilst I absolutely encourage spontaneity, some preparation before racing off like a headless chook, will save you from the potential repair required.
My classic repair story was the result of the spontaneous and totally ill-prepared decision to buy a café, back in the year 2000. Wow, it’s hard to believe that was twenty years ago!! I had been a personal trainer for about ten years until that point, and had just spent the previous couple of years learning and getting inspired about the power of good nutrition. So inspired was I that I wanted to share my new found knowledge and predictable system for optimal health, energy and weight loss. Now, keep in mind, my qualifications and experience in the café and the hospitality industry were limited to eating and drinking out socially. So, clearly, I knew nothing.
What would make me think that buying a café was a logical move to get my vision out to the world? Nothing, other than a driving passion and a spontaneous nature. I did no prior preparation into owning this type of business. I did not consider that already working 80 hours per week in my personal training business would be a barrier. My vision was large, my action was swift, my preparation was non-existent and so my results were no surprise. After two years of working more than 100 hours, seven days per week, I was in around $100,000 debt. The reparation had to begin, and, it took years to pay off the debt, and recover fiscally, physically, mentally and emotionally.
Even today, I’m still learning & repairing. After an eleven year marriage, I find myself single again. Why? There are many reasons, that I am not going to go into in this blog, but the number one cause; lack of preparation. By this I mean; lack of attention, lack of planning, lack of self-awareness and lack of understanding. So, again, I find myself in repair mode. I’m repairing myself to be a better partner for a future relationship. I wish I wasn’t here. I wish I had been more aware and more prepared, but, it is what it is. I now have to deal with the consequences of my lack of preparation.
Please don’t learn from your own bitter experience, although you probably have already in your life. Learn from my painful experiences. I teach people, who are writing a book, to spend time developing a great chapter outline and book plan to save time and stress in the writing stage. As I am always learning, and encourage you to do, spend the time in preparation and planning for all aspects of your life. Be spontaneous, but do it with a plan. There is no doubt, it is better to prepare than to repair.
There is a reality in everyone’s life. That reality is: we are all getting older and, one day, will be gone from this planet. Sorry, it’s the truth. The sooner we realise and accept the fact that we will one day die, the sooner we will start to live the life we have. There are far too many people who just think they will live forever and continually put things off because they believe there will be another time. There are also people who believe ageing is a bad thing, and do everything they can to disguise, cover up and lie about their age, as it grows.
I’m no different, I even joke that I am 50 plus GST at the moment. For those of you who don’t know what GST is, it’s an Australian tax applied to goods and services, and, it’s 10%. So, 50 plus GST is 55, and yes, it’s a funny way to make me sound younger than I really am. I am not misguided, I have acknowledged that I will die one day, and I am certainly not one to put things off. In fact, if anything I’m the opposite; an illogically spontaneous action taker. However, getting older has been a thing I wanted to avoid and consequently, I have done, and do, many things to keep me looking, feeling and even pretending that I am younger.
Well, it’s starting to change for me, after all this time. There comes a time when we just have to accept the fact that we are getting older. So, how about we stop worrying about it and stope fighting it? I was talking to a great friend of mine on his very successful podcast, and both of us are in our mid-fifties. We were talking about our age, and, without any prior planning, I said, “I’m not getting older, I’m getting better!” Yes, it surprised even me! As I attempted to justify that statement, I found the words just flowing from my mouth.
In my twenties and even thirties, I thought anyone in their fifties was just one foot out of the grave! Believe it or not, in my fifties, I love my age right now. I truly believe I am getting better each and every day. When you let go of how old you are, and what other people think, you can focus, each day, on the things that really matter. For me, each day I get better at dealing with circumstances. Every day, I believe more in myself. Each day I learn more and evolve more to help me achieve my purpose on this planet. Every day I feel like I am getting closer and closer to become the man I am meant to be. I love each and every moment and each and every situation of each and every day, because I know it’s leading me to where I need and want to be in my life. I can see the good in everything.
I just got a speeding fine in the mail, and, believe it or not, I am grateful. Grateful I am alive, grateful I am able to pay it and grateful that there is a police force upholding the law. Mostly I am grateful that with each day that goes past, I am not getting older, I am getting better.
Have you ever heard people talk about actors, athletes, or other successful people as being an ‘overnight success’? The unknown Olympian who appears seemingly out of nowhere and wins five gold medals. The undiscovered actor who bursts onto stage and screen and is an immediate hit. The anonymous author who magically writes a globally acclaimed best-seller. Well, we all know that they spend many years working, struggling and overcoming to achieve this ‘overnight success.’ So really, there is no such thing as overnight success, or, is there?
It all depends on how you define success, doesn’t it? What I love about getting older, is the wisdom that seems to magically come with it. When I was young and dumb – and I mean dumb – I always believed success was about achievement. As a teen, with an aspiration to be a professional footballer, I could only see success as an event. That event was the moment I ran out onto the ground, through the banner, in front of tens of thousands of screaming fans in my first senior game. Everything leading to that moment was a painful and frustrating process to get to that euphoric point. My overnight success came after about four years of intense and consistent pain!
Looking back now, I wasted every day in those four years, because I couldn’t see what success truly was for me. It wasn’t the destination that represented success, it was actually every day on the journey. When I speak to people about my football career today, I rarely talk about that first moment I ran out onto the ground. Instead, I talk about the dream, the process, the struggles, the lessons, the overcoming and the breakthroughs I experienced every single day on that journey. What I now know is that each day I wake up an overnight success, because of five simple things.
1. My vision and purpose. Each day is another step towards fulfilling my purpose and living my vision. That represents success for me.
2. Gratitude. When I wake up, think about and write the list of the things I am grateful for, I know in an instant I am blessed and successful.
3. My daily habits. The daily habits I have and the ones I am in the process of developing mean that every day is predictably leading me where I want to be. That sounds like success to me.
4. My faith. I believe in advance that which only makes sense in reverse. This means that every day I move forward, I am heading where I need to be. I love that feeling.
5. Living in the moment. Right now, I love this moment, because it’s the only moment I have. I love every moment I am alive, and, I feel like a success.
Stop waiting, stop suffering, stop complaining and stop thinking that success comes only after the accomplishment of a goal or the attainment of something material. Instead, start enjoying overnight success, every day.
Does that sound like a total contradiction to you? Me too. Especially, as I spend so much time talking about ‘focus’ this and ‘focus’ that, to then come out and declare that true success in life doesn’t require focus, sounds like I’m confused, delusional, or a little whacky! Well, do you know what? I am a little whacky! It actually just came out of my mouth whilst I was being interviewed. As I was formulating the words, I couldn’t stop them from just coming out and I really didn’t even know how I was going to justify what I had said.
But then, like magic, the words came out, made sense, enlightened me and now, I’m writing a blog about it. Yes, it’s true, I enlightened myself! I was talking to a guy in the USA who was interviewing me for a profile on the new wellness platform he is developing. He had asked me quite a few questions about me, what I was doing and what I believed about optimal wellbeing, or as I talk about now, living a life of joyful longevity. The final question he asked me was, ‘Do you think people should focus every day on their health and wellbeing?’ Without any conscious thought, and before I knew what I had done, I said, ‘No!’
The word came out of my mouth and then I had to justify it, because there was quite a large pregnant pause, as I know it was not the answer he was expecting. I went on to say, from somewhere in the recesses of my being, ‘Health and wellbeing should not be something we focus on, it should naturally be who we are, how we live and what we do, just like brushing our teeth.’
The mistake most people make is believing that being healthy and well takes a large commitment of time, energy and resources. That sounds way too hard. Therefore, people are sure it must be something requiring serious focus. Sure, creating the right habits will take some short-term focus, but once habitual, they are just what we do. I don’t believe eating breakfast should be a focus, I believe it should be just what we do. I don’t believe daily movement should be a focus, I believe it should be just what we do. I don’t believe being nice to people should be a focus, I believe it should be just what we do. I don’t believe making the necessary daily calls should be a focus, I believe it should be just what we do. Are you getting my point?
Success in life will not come from what you have to deliberately focus on every day. That will quickly become challenging, uncomfortable, tiresome and un-fun! Success will come from the things you work to move out of your conscious focus and into unconscious habit patterns, just like brushing your teeth. When walking up the stairs, eating breakfast and drinking water becomes what you do, you will be healthier. When making calls, saving money and daily meetings become what you do, you will be wealthier. When treating your partner how he or she deserves becomes what you do, you will have a better relationship. Success and happiness are not about what you focus on, but who you are and what you do… naturally!