Updated: Jan 31
When I was 17 years old, I remember walking in an Iowa country field by myself. There was the smell of freshly cut alfalfa, birds chirping and a beautiful blue sky. I began to dream a bit about the life I wanted as I was moving forward toward my future. I realized that no matter if I get to live to be 25, 55 or 95, that I wanted to do whatever it took to maximize my life that I had been given. In other words, I wanted to maximize my potential and LOVE the life which I was in the process of creating. You know what’s really cool? I’m 58 and I’m still creating my life! I really love what I've been creating!
As you are reading this, think about it, you are CREATING your life no matter your age. As I’m writing this blog, it’s 2:14 PM, Sunday afternoon. You know what? What you and I do today in our lives really matters how we will live tomorrow.
I love to read about the famous successful people and what they chose to do to get to where they are at. Why? Most have very similar stories. They, just like you and me, had a dream, hopes and dreams of what their life could be. As they moved forward in their lives they experienced life's ups and downs and challenges and the pain of failure. However, in regards to their life, their hopes and dreams, they kept moving forward and creating.
Here are 3 choices that successful people choose:
1. They don’t give up on the things they believe in.
I never read any of the Harry Potter series. I've watched several of the movies. However, I'm a huge J. K. Rowling fan. I'm a fan of her story, her life! If J.K. Rowling stopped after being turned down by multiple publishers for years, there would be no Harry Potter. I'm also a huge fan of a chai latte! If Howard Schultz gave up after being turned down by banks more than 200 times, there would be no Starbucks. I'd be so sad! I love Starbucks!! If Walt Disney gave up and quit on his theme park concept, which was trashed by more than 300 investors, there would be no Disney. My granddaughters who live 15 minutes from Disneyland would be so sad! One thing for sure: If you give up on your dreams too soon, you will miss out on seeing them become a reality and you too will be sad.
I’ll be super honest with you. I will NEVER give up on me. I will keep striving, climbing and pushing to get to the top of that “mountain.” Why? Life is worth it. The people I love are worth it. And I’m worth it.
2. They work with, and spend time with, the right people.
I’m not sure why age 17 was such an important year for me in my life but it sure was. I had lost my father...murdered by mafia associates when I was a young child. My mother had become a full-blown alcoholic and now at age 17, I was searching for something real and something good. That’s when I began to realize the value of spending time with the right people.
I remember driving to my basketball coaches’ house one day and we sat on his patio deck. We talked about life. We talked about life's difficulties and yet we also talked about the really cool things that can happen in one's life. We talked about basketball and working hard to accomplish one's goals. His words inspired me! As I left his house he said, “Brownie, you are always welcome to come over and talk.” Coach Danks was one of those "right people" to spend time with.
My closest friend in high school was very academically driven. Unfortunately, I was not so driven in the classroom. However, my best friend had a HUGE influence on me in the area of working hard and he said to me when we graduated, “Michael, no matter what you do, keep moving forward and never give up. Fight and you will win!” His words inspired me and they have never left me.
Today, that best friend from high school, Ken Isley is the chief administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Foreign Agricultural Service in Washington D.C.
A day spent with the right people is always a day spent well. Sometimes the most ordinary ideas and plans can be made extraordinary, simply by discussing them and doing them with the right people.
3. They maintain a positive attitude.
Only you can change your life, no one can do it for you. Happiness always comes from within, and it’s found in the present moment by making peace with the past and looking forward to the future. Each morning when you open your eyes, think only three things first: Thank you, thank you, and thank you. Then set out to make the best use of the gift of the day that you can. It's easy for me to say thank you first thing in the morning. Even though I did not really understand what was happening, at age 5, I was homeless for 10 days. Today, I'm off the charts grateful I get to live and sleep indoors!
If you don’t like things in your life, you are the ONLY one who can change your life. I know life can hurt. I’ve been hurt, sad and yes, I’ve failed. However, I have always found so many good things in life.
What would you add to this list?