I got a Dale Carnegie newsletter today and that was the title … and it sounds just like me! They could have written today’s blog ENTRY … and in effect they did! Thanks Dale Carnegie … check them out, they give great training.
Here is their story …
Join The Recession Fighters
Whiners keep whining, winners keep winning.
Reality Check: Are you going out of business? Are you giving up? Do you believe that Canada and the United States as we know it is over – and we are all doomed?
If the answer to the above is a resounding yes, you could be right. [Are you surprised to hear that from us?] The fact is, you could be right or you could be wrong. Nobody really knows the future, nor can they accurately predict what will happen. If you doubt this, look at the next seven day weather forecast and see what actually occurs. Remember that economists have predicted seven of the last two recessions. Henry Ford was quoted as saying, “Success comes in cans. Failures come in cannots.” If you think you’re beaten – you are. It’s over for you.
Here’s the dirty little secret about positive thinking. Given a choice, it makes sense to focus on the bright side of life. However, there is a trade-off. There are owners, executives and managers who represent reality to themselves and their staff as worse than it is. (Some politicians are famous for this kind of fear-mongering.) Their underlying belief is that if people do not “get” how bad things are, they won’t be motivated to take action.” This is the well-known but ill-advised “burning platform” theory. [Light the platform on fire to force people to jump to a higher platform.]
Other executives attempt to make reality seem better than it is. Their contention is that if people see how bad things are, they will become discouraged to the point of being frozen by fear. Both views of reality have one thing in common. They believe what the Jack Nicholson character said in A Few Good Men, “You can’t handle the truth!”
Some people promote their form of “positive thinking” based on their belief that, if you are going to distort reality, you might as well distort it in your favor. We see it differently. The facts in the famous water glass analogy are that the glass is both half-full and half empty. In reality, what you have is half a glass of water – period. Distorting reality serves no useful purpose.
If you are looking for a particular store on a mall directory, you look for the red dot labeled, “You Are Here.” Imagine if someone played a cruel joke by moving the red dot. You’d be even more lost than before. Similarly, we see a frightening number of businesses that seem to have lost their bearings and have bought-in to one of the above distortions of reality. Don’t let yourself be bluffed out.
High performers develop a keen sense of reality. They separate fact from worldviews, editorials, hypothesis, and conjecture and keep themselves aware o f most people’s tendency to distort reality.
Last week we met three young Canadian Football League players. Their (our) team has 11 losses and 3 wins for the season. This is their fourth losing season. Quinton Porter, a rookie quarterback who led his team to an upset victory over the leading team in their division told us the next day, “I focus on the now. Actually, I see that there is only now.” I asked him, “Where did you get that philosophy?” He said, “I wasn’t always that way. In High School I filled my head with all kinds of stuff and it hurt my performance. Now, I let all that stuff go through me and focus in on the present.” It’s important to note that this young man studied video tapes of players he admired and stopped the tape, rewound it and studied the player’s moves again and again. When presented with the opportunity to perform, he was ready. Luck is being presented with the opportunity; readiness is developing what it takes to make the most of it. The price of success is always payable in advance. In good times and in bad times, professionals perform with no whining, justifying, blaming, or complaining.
We suggest relating to life as it is, not as you wish or hope it should or should not be. Dusty Springfield sang it best, “Wishin‘ and hopin‘ … and thinkin‘ and prayin‘ … plannin‘ and dreamin‘ … won’t get you [to where you want to be].”
In our experience, wishing and hoping are poor strategies for dramatic performance improvements, yet that is how many people approach business. They wish they could attract more customers. They hope customers will choose them over the competitors. They wish someone would notice how hard they work. They hope the economy improves, their boss comes to his or her senses, customers automatically see the real value their organization brings to market, and their problems magically go away, or someone else bails them out.
Olympic athletes do not earn gold medals by wishing and hoping nor do they delegate to others the hard work and practice required to win. Great musicians, actors, architects, teachers, salespeople, or successful business people do not wish and hope their way to success. Dreams can, and do come true in good times and in bad times. We realize our dreams through the “magic” of persistence, determination, commitment, passion, practice, focus, and hard work. Simplistically wishing and hoping makes you a wild dreamer. Planning, visualizing a clear result, connecting to current reality, making mindful adjustments, and taking focused actions can, and often does, turn dreams into reality.
If you didn’t see your name (or your company’s name) in today’s obituary, it means you have the opportunity to do remarkable things. Don’t spend one nanosecond thinking about excuses. Focus your attention, like a laser beam, on specific and written action steps to help you reach your goals. Forget about thinking times are tough. So what!
Look out over your playing field, take in what’s there, make adjustments, focus on the now, and make a play – any play. Learn from your mistakes and build on your success. Life is too short to spend time looking backwards. Learn from the past, anticipate the future, but live today. This is your day – 24 precious hours that nobody can spoil but you.
Live in the now, and join us in fighting the “recession.”
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