Many people spend a great deal of time looking for things, circumstances
and in some cases, other people, that they believe will make them
happy. People seek to move the world - just so they can "feel better"
about it. We have learned that, more often than not, this is a futile
pursuit. Successful people seem to instinctively realize that this mindset
is exactly backward. Successful people recognize that emotional
happiness can be a conscious, proactive, voluntary choice, and
choosing to be happy (even in the face of adversity) can be one of the
most powerful tools in creating one’s own circumstances and in earning
the things that one wants. The most successful person’s "mood" is not a
product of their circumstances. The most successful person’s mood is
chosen and is a powerful influencer of their circumstances.
The most successful people recognize that their personal circumstances
are the direct result of the sum of their personal choices. Less-
successful people believe that life happens to them, and their choices
are in reaction to their circumstances. Successful people seek
opportunities to take responsibility for their life. Successful people do
not let themselves fall into the trap of placing blame outside themselves,
even in the rare occasions when it might be warranted. Less-successful
people seem to take a measure of emotional comfort by allowing
themselves to believe that life has happened to them. Successful people
take no comfort in finding external causes for their failures—they are too
busy looking for ways to succeed.
Number three is one of the most obvious, yet it is one of the most
important lessons. Learning this lesson leads to all the others.
There are only two possible states of personal development: moving
forward or moving backward. A static or stationary position in terms of
one’s personal development is not possible. The body of knowledge in
your family, your career, and in the world at large is moving forward. As
such, the moment you begin to stand still, you are, from a relative
position, moving backward rapidly.
Here is the key: Successful people understand that the “better” one
becomes, the more one’s choices and actions affect things. Choice
number three is, in effect, a lever one can use to move choice two.
Humans are incredible, yet finite creatures. They are limited in their
perception, limited in their communication, and limited in their ability to
process information. Almost everything in the human experience is too
complex for one hundred percent understanding. There are just too
many variables. As such, when people believe that they have a one
hundred percent grasp of anything, they have almost always
oversimplified that thing to the point that they are fundamentally wrong
about it in important ways. Successful people understand that
comprehension—about anything—is a direction, not a destination. This
is not at all to say that successful people have “analysis paralysis”
waiting to understand something well enough to act. Quite to the
contrary, successful people plan and act based on the information they
have or seek out the data necessary to act, and they prepare
contingencies. The most successful people do not need to observe
absolute certainty to make decisions; by their decisions and actions, they
create their own certainty.
You are what you feel…to you. To absolutely everyone else in the
world, you are what you do. You are, to yourself, the sum of your hopes
and dreams, your fears and your insecurities, your history, your skills,
your personal development, and, to a lesser degree, your biochemistry.
To absolutely everyone else, you are the sum of your deeds, your words,
and complete fabrications about you, created by the observer (based
more on their personality than yours) to fill gaps necessary to “complete”
their understanding of you. People who are close to you and who care
about you may attempt to understand your hopes, dreams, fears,
insecurities, history, skills, and personal development, but even they will
fill gaps in their understanding about your personality with data from their
own personality. Even they have absolutely nothing to go on except
what you give them through your words and actions.
The “you” that the world knows is a creation of the “you” that you know.
Successful people know that they are completely in charge of how they
are perceived. Successful people accept complete responsibility for
creating their public persona—their projection.