Anyone can give up, and lots of people do, because it’s the easiest thing in the world to do. But to keep going when everyone would understand if you stopped, that’s what winners do differently. In fact, this is the most significant principle of winning. Because without this kind of determination and persistence, the first nine points in this article wouldn’t matter. But when you combine determination and persistence, as described in point #10 below, with each of the other nine points below, that’s when the real magic happens.
On their relentless road to victory, winners…
- Take 100% responsibility. – Your life is your statement to the world, representing your values, beliefs, and dreams. It is yours to create, to enjoy or not enjoy, to fight or to be at peace. In the end, the very best years of your life will be the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your parents, society, or the economy. You realize that you control your own destiny. Read The Road Less Traveled.
- Focus on the controllable. – Life is a balance between what we can and cannot control. You must learn to live comfortably between effort and surrender. Life does not owe you anything; it has already given you everything you need. Freedom is not overcoming what you think stands in your way; it is understanding that what is in your way is part of the way.
- Eliminate the wrong things. – The true price of anything you do is the amount of time you exchange for it. If something you’re doing or thinking isn’t fixing or improving the situation, then it’s wasting your time. There comes a point when you have to choose between turning the page and closing the book.
- Maintain control. – Start shaping your own days. Start walking your own walk. This journey is yours. You know you were born, and you know you will die. The in between is all up to you. Stop wishing, and start doing. Either you run your days, or your days will run you.
- Keep good company. – It’s not always where you are in life, but who you have by your side that matters most. Some people drain you and others provide soul food. Be sure to get in the company of those who feed your spirit, and give the gift of your absence to those who do not appreciate your presence.
- Think constructively. – Change your thoughts and you change your reality. Our thoughts are the makers of our moods, the inventors of our dreams, and the creators of our will. That is why you must sort through them carefully, and choose to respond only to those that will help you build the life you want, and the outlook you want to hold as you’re living it. Read Learned Optimism.
- Conquer oneself. – Being yourself is the foundation of happiness. Knowing yourself is the foundation of wisdom. Pushing yourself is the foundation of success. It is better to conquer yourself is these ways, than to win a hundred battles elsewhere in life.
- Practice self-love. – We need to fix ourselves first before we fix others. Caring for yourself is not an act of self-indulgence, it’s an act of self-respect. The day will finally come when you have to accept that you need to be your own caretaker. There will be times when you’ll have to work hard to mother yourself with the compassion and patience that any messed up kid would need. Doing so will prove to be a great challenge, but a happier life is your reward.
- Work through the pain. – One day this pain will make sense to you. Sometimes it takes the worst pain to bring about the best change. The strongest people you know became strong because of the pain they once faced, and conquered. So in spite of all the put-downs and negativity you’ve heard from others in your life, stay focused on your goals, and remember that how you rise up is no one else’s business but your own. Read Man’s Search for Meaning.
- Keep going. – No matter what you do, no matter how many times you screw up and think to yourself that there’s no point to carry on, and no matter how many people tell you that you can’t do it – keep going. Pick yourself back up. Don’t quit. Don’t quit, because a few months from now you will be so much closer to your goal than you are now. Focus on the road ahead. Do something today your future self will thank you for.
Photo by: Zach Ancell