What would it take to achieve success in our lives? If we had everything we desired would we really succeed? We often have an image of what success looks like in our minds; but when faced with reality, the journey usually requires more than anticipated. So the question arises, "How do we get wisdom, to handle the unexpected challenges of achieving the success we desire?" I read an article that responded this way, "Wisdom comes through pain and struggle. The pain brought on by interruptions and disappointments, by loss and failure. This is the long road to maturity and wisdom." The price of true success lies in how wise we become through our struggles.
1. Optimistic – An open mind is one of the first keys to gaining wisdom. Opening our minds to look beyond the problems and being able to stay focused on moving towards the desired goal is a must for success. My wife often says I'm too optimistic because I keep looking for the best in every situation. I feel that we have one of two options with every situation we face and that is to 1) Look for the best or 2) look for the worst. Either way we must look for something that's not seen. The chances are often higher to the one we seek.
Expect the best from people, things and situations around you. Your expectation will put you in a spot to absorb wisdom. Know your values and always be on the lookout for things that will improve you. Being optimistic about life will help you grow in wisdom.
2. Inquisitive – When my children were little they seemed to constantly ask questions about everything. I concluded, it's because they want to know how to do it. It's that simple; they gain wisdom of what to do and not to do by asking questions from those that know. As adults we should continue to be inquisitive about growing in our wisdom.
Be confident to gain an understanding in the areas that you lack the know how. Understanding can help you change your perspectives and can ultimately position your life to meet your goals. Being inquisitive can start with: What? How? and Why? Seek it out to unlock all the wisdom around you.
3. Humility – C. S. Lewis said, “True humility is not thinking less of ourselves; it is thinking of ourselves less.” One of the hardest journeys of life is to look inside ourselves. A mirror gives back a reflection of what's in front of it, but too often with our personal lives we don't stay in front of the mirror enough to see and change the problems. Being humble is a wise step towards achieving success because we are able to bring our high minds down and our low minds up. Humility brings a balance because we continue to confront and adjust the real us.
Be humble about your strengths and weaknesses. Use your good qualities to produce excellence. Inform others of your weaknesses and solicit good help. Wisdom is being who you say you are and doing what you say you can do. I once heard it said that , "humility is strength under control". Being humble is a key to being wise.
Summary – In so many words Anais Nin said, "Life is a process of becoming, a combination of different "states of minds". Failure often comes when we choose to select one "state of mind" for life." Wisdom is being able to juggle the best from different "states of minds" (past, present, and future) to arrive at the best possible outcome right now. Work to daily promote who you want to become by being optimistic, inquisitive, and humble - based on what's true.
Hermann Hesse said, "Wisdom can not be imparted. Wisdom that we might attempt to impart, sounds like foolishness to the listener. Knowledge can be communicated but not wisdom. One can find it, live it, do wonders with it, but one can not communicate and teach it." So where can we find wisdom so that we can live it out everyday? I define wisdom as the ability to discern the best from three areas at the same time - 1) what's currently happening, 2) what could happen, 3) and what has happened. Then applying that information at the right time, in the right way to achieve the most preeminent results possible. Effective wisdom requires strong character that is rooted in good principles. Let's look at some key elements to unlocking wisdom in our lives.
1.Experience – Like it or not, wisdom is not something we can get from school or buy in a store. Asking for advice or an opinion is one thing but wisdom comes from processing everything we have experienced (successes and failures) and then applying what's needed to what's before us.
Everybody goes through experiences but not everyone obtains wisdom from their experiences. Allow your experiences to be filtered with the truth. Wisdom is always closely related to truth. When properly accessed, your experiences can help you make wise choices. Work to rightly processing your experiences because it is a key to wisdom.
2. Understand - To know the reason behind what's going on is one thing but gaining that true understanding which brings wisdom requires us to know the real value or motive behind our actions and others. To reach this level of wisdom we need to have clear purposes and focused goals. Wisdom is shown abroad when we understand our responsibilities first, accept the positions of others and work together in unity to accomplish the greater good.
Captivate and absorb as much as you can, from all the places you can, anytime you can so you can be aware of how to respond to your surrounds. You can make wise decisions when you have a clear understanding of what needs to be done. It's a key to wisdom.
3. Conscience - It's always a challenge to exactly know when to do something and when not to do something. The times when we get it right, we are often called wise. Some accredit their success to their "gut feeling". But I think our conscience revels our personal true motives. Our conscience is the inner sense that separates right from wrong. If our motives are clear and pushing for what's right and true we can usually conclude that we are making a wise choice even if it doesn't seem like it at first.
Push to have your conscience directed with pure motives for what's best. Martin Luther King said it this way, “There comes a time when you must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but you must take it because your conscience tells you it is right.” Have a clear (truth focused) conscience, it is a key to wisdom.
Summary - Find your wisdom by analyzing your experiences, seeking to understand life, and having a clear conscience all based on truth. Then seek to apply that information at the right time, in the right way for the best results possible in the present. Your wisdom has to be personally unlocked with each situation you face by you. In all that you do, pursue your wisdom!
The fundamentals of responsibility are based within our personal values. Our development and growth in any area will come from properly responding to what we have the ability to change. Jim Rohn said it like this, "We must take personal responsibility. We cannot change the circumstances, the seasons or the wind but we can change ourselves." It is in our control to set our standards high for ourselves. If our standards are high within us, our words and thoughts will reflect it on the outside of us. Let's work to be more effective and efficient with our lives by responsibly handling our jobs and tasks instead of running away from them.
1. Accomplish– Take on every opportunity to accomplish the tasks before us. No one else should be finishing what we should be doing ourselves. Our excuses and pity parties are not showing a sign of maturity. If the job is to be done by us, we should be willing to learn and master the skills needed to excel.
Learn from and own up to your failures and mistakes. Michael Jordan said, "I failed over and over again, that’s why I succeeded.” It is not the failure that prevents your success; it’s being irresponsible with your failures that cause you to be unable to accomplish your tasks. Push beyond your failures and accomplish the tasks that you are responsible for. Your success is based on what you accomplished over your failures.
2. Accept– It is said that old habits are hard to break because we don’t like being forced to do new stuff. However, if we are going to be successful with our responsibilities we must accept changes to improve. Abraham Lincoln said, "We can't escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading them today."
Accept what it will take both mentally and physically to achieve the responsibilities connected to your success. Include in your plan a way to handle the inevitable - failures, discouragements, and even your own self-sabotaging thoughts. Being responsible calls for you to handle it all and still remain in control.
3. Adamant – To be adamant is the mind set of doing what's required for the goal despite other persuasions. Body builders usually go to the gym with a purpose. They adamantly push themselves to the limits even when they don't feel like it. Being responsible calls for us to be clear about what we have to get done and to be adamant about our responsibilities despite our feelings.
Be adamant about accomplishing your responsibilities even if they weigh you down a bit. You might feel like giving up but being responsible demands that you don’t quit. Find a way to overcome your circumstances and obstacles.
Summary – The fundamentals of responsibility are attainable by you. Take the mind set everyday to not give in to irresponsibility by: 1) accomplish the tasks that are given to you, 2) accept changes and opportunities to improve you, and 3) being adamant about every step towards your goal.
I remember as a teen getting more responsibility. At the onset, I thought I was the man and was becoming a mature adult because I had more requirements. But after many mess ups, I recognized more responsibility required more work and brought more stress. I was having serious issues with what I had been given to do. I reflected on a quote that said, "Maturity is accepting responsibility for your actions, being accountable for your results and taking ownership of your mistakes." Success in our lives will only come from properly handling our responsibilities. Here are some tip to help us stand up to our commitments.
1. Cope – Learning to cope and deal with problems instead of blowing up, fighting, or giving up is a step to being responsibly mature. Life will bring frustrations and disappointments but an undeterred commitment calls for a precise focus on accomplishing the goal in spite of obstacles and challenges. Wes Craven said it this way, "A lot of life is dealing with our curses and dealing with the cards we were given that aren't so nice. Will it make us into a monster, can we temper it in some way or will we accept it and go in some other direction?" How we cope with the stress of our lives determines the level of responsibility we can handle.
Work to be optimistic about every situation good or bad. Allow them to empower and motivate you to achieve your goals. Don't visualize yourself as a helpless victim, who can't change the circumstances. Instead, work to improve your situations at all cost at from all angles. Don't give up! Always believe that there is a way through the mess. Step back, take a deep breath and keep swinging at your responsibility. Maturity keeps the hope of success in view.
2. Respond – Responding properly and following through with our commitments is a sign of being responsibly mature. It's easy to point the finger and find fault in the other person to avoid our responsibilities. But just because we want to shift the blame to someone else doesn't make the problem go away. A mature person looks to solve the problem when it falls in their lap. They accept the responsibility to get the job done no matter who's the blame.
Owning up to responsibilities will require you to avoid vague excuses and playing the blame game. Think through your choices or decisions before you respond to them. Value your words and your commitments. Allow your responses to reflect mature responsibility.
3. Humble – Recently I was in a meeting where one of the key elements discussed was how achieving success requires us to think differently about our everyday struggle. For example: To be on top we must lift others up, to lead we must follow, and to impact others we must serve. Ken Blanchard said it best, "Humility does not mean you think less of yourself. It means you think of yourself less." A key to being responsibly mature is staying humble.
True responsibility is more than “getting YOU to the top”, it's about getting your whole team or others that are around you to the next level too. Being humble is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of being responsible.
Summary – The level of your success is connected to the level of your responsibility. Learn to be more responsible by: coping with the tough issues, responding properly to the call of duty and being humble when severing others. You are at the center of being responsibly mature.