Last week was not a good week. It seemed that no matter what I tried to accomplish, nothing worked out the way I wanted it to. It brought me down, way down and as I sat at my kitchen table, head in my hands I began to wonder about next steps. We’ve all been there, times in our lives when even the best laid plans seem to go awry either in the most mundane or dramatic of ways. Also like so many other people, my issues weren’t the worst in the world but when they all come at the same time, it can be a bit much to handle. As I was thinking about how to regroup, I realized that what I really needed to do was follow my own advice, advice I had gleaned from the wise words of others.
That’s not always easy though, sometimes it’s easier to sit back and feel bad for oneself, wallowing in misery as it were. And so I went through an exercise, which I wanted to share with you all. I picked five of my favorite quotes about success and decided to articulate why they’re important, why they’re necessary to follow. I did in fact help myself get through that rough patch and I hope these same quotes, maxims really, help you out when you go through something similar.
1. “If you don’t build your dream, someone else will hire you to help them build theirs.” Dhirubhai Ambani
While originally written in a business sense, this really can be applied to almost any facet of our lives. It comes down to whether or not you want to be a leader or a follower. For me it really defines the nature of my business and something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. I personally need to take more control over my work, I need to not be as dependent on others for my livelihood. It’s not easy though and there are certain times in our lives when it’s actually important to help others build their dreams, in order to learn the skillsets so you can go ahead and focus on your own goals. Regardless, I have found myself helping others far too much, which sounds awful, but there are times in our lives when we have to be selfish and we have to be daring enough to say no and instead concentrate on our own best interests.
2. “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” Mark Twain
Ah, Mark Twain, how I love him. One of the most intriguing people in world history, I find myself relating to him in a number of ways except for one important one. He had a unique ability to cut through the inconsequential noise that few others have ever possessed. He had a clarity of thought so profound, that it’s shaping our thoughts even today. My take away from this is to avoid following the pack as you divine your own path to success. Sure, it’s easy enough to see what some successful people are doing and then try to replicate their efforts. That’ll never work though, ultimately the most successful people will do things no one else has done before. They were alone, they were outliers and instead of seeking an easier way to make their dreams come home, they broke away from the majority and were all the happier for it.
3. “If you don’t value your time, neither will others. Stop giving away your time and talents. Value what you know & start charging for it.” Kim Garst
This is an inherent issue for any creative professional; every day companies who ought to know better instead try to get as much from us as possible without feeling the need to compensate. It’s one of the reasons I was so down last week, the daily battles over getting paid takes a toll on the freelancer and creative type. Photographers are asked for free pictures, writers demanded to give away complimentary content and social media pros asked to promote all for the promise of hugs and warm praise. Entrepreneurs of any ilk in any industry run into this problem and it’s hard to know which unpaid opportunities will be worth it in terms of experience and that mythical exposure and which ones won’t.
4. “If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.” Jim Rohn
This relates strongly to the first quote and addresses the issue of self-determination in a little more straightforward way. In life there are those who sit by the sidelines and those who take action. While at times we’ll fluctuate between the two, when it’s important we need to remember the very real fact that we are our own greatest champions. As much as I dream about someone taking notice of my work and handing me that dream opportunity I lust after, I know that’s just not the case. If I want that dream opportunity I need to stop whining about it and instead make it happen. Everyone is on a fast track to improving their own lives, to making themselves happy. These plans don’t include you. Instead of hoping for some nice person to include you in their express train to success, set your own course and don’t look back.
5. “The only path towards success isn’t by lamenting what others have done or own; it’s by making it happen for yourself. “ Matt Long
Yeah, I’m that pretentious jerk quoting himself, but bear with me for a second. I write a lot about issues of entrepreneurship and success and while I’m thrilled when others find guidance in these posts, I write them selfishly for me; to motivate myself into new ways of thought. So with that in mind I took a look back and found this quote, which is not so mysteriously echoed in the themes of these other maxims. When things go wrong I have a natural instinct to wallow in self-pity and feel bad for myself. It’s immature and completely counterproductive, but it’s honestly just a part of my personality, as it is for many of us. What I have changed though is to learn how to bounce back from these episodes in a way that is productive and use them as a way to accelerate growth instead of hinder it. Ten years ago I would’ve let these times prevent me from moving forward but today they’re my best motivators.
What are some quotes or teachings that help you in your daily life?