The following are philosophies of mine. Each philosophy has an experience of mine that shaped the mentality and paradigm that makes me who I am today.
Basketball, although I enjoyed it and still do love the sport, was never a strong point of mine. I started way behind all the other kids at 7th grade, instead of most of them at age three or four. That’s not an excuse, it’s just a fact. For six years (junior high and high school) I battled, trying to catch up, trying to prove to the coach that I was worth something, that I could perform too! I got some chances, but never as many as I had hoped. I set big goals (for myself at least). One was to be on Varsity as Junior and start as a Senior. It never happened, but that didn’t stop me. As a Senior I was on Varsity by default. I went to a small school so that was an advantage in itself. Before the season started the coach called me into his office. He told me I would would get to be on the team, but wouldn’t probably play much. Still, he gave me a pretty fair shot. I would say he was by far the best coach I had out of all the years playing Basketball. I started one game — senior night. I remember being taken out not long after I started. It didn’t make me happy. I hardly stepped foot on that court again on that game, but I never ever quit. And that was the promise I made to myself, my coach and the team. I’m not quitting. You can bench me the whole season. I don’t care. Well, I did, but I understand at the same time.
I’ve learned a lot for adversity in life and I feel it definitely has had its place. I still carry that mission with me. No matter what happens, no matter how bad I screw up, I won’t quit. I’ll keep moving forward. Some things might end, some things might begin, but I won’t quit. Ever.
There’s Always A Way (If You Want It Bad Enough)
This is something that I am constantly reminded of through life’s path. I feel I’ve always had this mentality, however in the past few years, like much of my philosophy, it has become more evident. I could just be more aware of things, but I feel that as my expectation of there always being a way has grown, so have the experiences that have proven it true. I truly believe that if you want something bad enough, you can achieve it… realistically of course, but at the same time, what one may perceive “unrealistic”, another might see as reachable. It’s all in perception and that is exactly what “there always being a way” is all about.
The Worst Thing You Can Be Told Is “No.”
This philosophy began for me when I was working for Vector Marketing selling Cutco cutlery. Being in direct sales, you hear the word “no” a lot… maybe not directly, but in some form. I learned that hearing “no” doesn’t mean the person you’re talking to doesn’t like you, usually. Sometimes that’s wrong too, but it usually just means that something is either unclear and they don’t understand it or that something just isn’t a good fit for them in one way or another. This philosophy can be applied to so many things outside of sales too. Oftentimes when talking to others, I hear them say some sort of reason as to why something won’t work. Many times this isn’t even matter of fact, meaning they didn’t even TRY yet. I guess the philosophy could also be called “You’ll never know until you try or ask”. And then… the worst thing you can be told is “no.”
Rejection, in a way, is considered “failing,” but as Michael Jordan says:
“I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.”
I have been rejected so many times, it doesn’t even bother me anymore. And it allows me to be prepared for true criticism as well, no matter the form it comes it. Also, sometimes people can just be complete jerks. Having this philosophy helps handle that too!
Strive For The BEST Day Of Your Life, Every Day
Previously, I mentioned working for Vector and while doing that I attended several conferences. At one conference something was said that stuck with me. It stayed with me more than all the sales tips, more than the time management strategies and more than the leadership talks. It wasn’t some big, high up person in the company either. Just a sales rep who had been pretty successful. But the words she said was “have the best day of your life… every day.” Wow! Can you imagine each day being the BEST day of your life? Many times we say “I can’t wait until…”, which I don’t agree with because the focus is not on TODAY, it’s on some later day in the week or month or even year. Also, many times we look back on life and say “If only it was the way back then…” I don’t agree with this either because although it’s fine to say and sometimes is a valid point, it is not living for TODAY. By doing the things that would make today the best day of your life, even if you mess up, you won’t have as many regrets because you worked hard to do your best. In doing your best, you end up having a better day. I don’t believe it’s possible to have the BEST day of your life every day, but I do believe we can have a fairly good one if we strive for that. It isn’t to say that mistakes and misfortunes won’t happen. Computers crash. Friends are lost. And Floods destroy homes. There will always be things that happen out of our control, but how we respond to those things dictate how good of a day we will have, instead of letting each day dictate how good of a life we will live.
Don’t Worry. But Do Act.
I could build this one up a lot of ways, but I am just going to say it: worrying gets you nowhere. Now that I’ve said that, let me define “worrying.” By “worry” I mean thinking about things to the extent that no matter what you think, do, say, the circumstances you’re in won’t change. To explain it better, let me use an analogy.
You lose your job. Not because of something you did, but because they made a cut and you were the person that suffered the unfortunate event. What do you do? Maybe you worry. Let’s say you do. Put yourself in that place… where are you at now after worrying? Do you have your job back? What about another job? Have you thought about what you can do to get another job? Have you created a plan to make some side income until you find another suitable job?
Probably not. Worrying doesn’t do any of these things. It only dwells on the problem. Instead of worrying, act. Do what it takes to find another job or income until you find another job. Some of this involves adopting some of the previously mentioned philosophies of mine, such as “you’ll never know until you try or ask or… act.” Worrying, many times, only creates a nice little moist and warm spot for excuses. And then it starts to go downhill, only recreating more problems that end up being out of your control, but could have been prevented simply by acting.
Another situation that I have been in is where I procrastinated and put myself in the place of stress and disappointment. Should I worry? Maybe… it’s very justifiable, but again, what will I gain from that? Nothing will get done. I’ll waste energy on “what if” statements and wishing I had done better. That’s all. In both scenarios, the situation is out of yours or my control. We can’t do anything to change what got us in the situation, which is all worrying attempts to do, but fails. Instead, act. Do whatever you can to make the best of where you’re at right now. Not later. Now.
To some it up, don’t worry about what you can’t change or control, focus on what you do have control over and what you can do to change where you’re at.
Hal Elrod says it best: