I came from a family with six children and half of us dropped out of school. After my parents divorced I dropped out after finishing the 9th grade. I joined the Army at the age of 20, because honestly no one was chasing me down with any great opportunities.
I was in the Army for 3 years and a definite change took place in me during my Army time. The change that took place was that I was given the tools to achieve goals. I got my GED (general equivalency diploma) before I joined the Army because I had to have it to get in. After my enlistment ended I decided to go to college on my veteran’s benefits. After four years of working full-time and carrying a full load in college it was graduation day. Being the first one of my family to go to college, much less graduate, some of my brothers and my parents came to the ceremony.
After we walked the line and received the diploma and the ceremony had ended I was posing for photos with my family. Then one of my brothers told me how ‘lucky’ I was because I had gone to college. I asked him why he didn’t get his GED and try to enroll at Memphis State? He told me, “Oh I could never do anything like that!” I looked him in the eye and told him, I wasn’t lucky at all to be graduating college. Then I told him four years before when I made my choice to use my military benefits and enroll I didn’t just take classes and suddenly “hit the jackpot.” When I took action on an available opportunity I was laying a foundation for the day I graduated. The point of this little chain of events is this, If you make no plans, take no actions, and you don’t believe you can accomplish something then indeed “you can’t do something like that”. Whatever the “something” in your life is. You have to thrust your life into the fire and allow it to be shaped with the blacksmith’s hammer.
If you are in a situation that isn’t what you want there are several weapons that you may arm yourself with to conquer your circumstance. No doubt you’ve read them before but this time I suggest you put them into action!!
Step 1 — Make a plan
If you don’t know where you are going most assuredly you will “never arrive”. Don’t just say what you are going to do write it down and put it where you must see it every day. Then make yourself determined to follow your plan. The plan must be solid and practical. Stick to it taking one step at a time.
If you’re like many, perhaps you don’t trust your own judgement; you think the judgement of others is better than yours. Chances are you are just as intelligent – maybe more so- than those you turn to for advice. So do what YOU think is best for you and your situation.
Whatever motivates you is what you must keep before you all of the time. If you must listen to motivational speakers, do it. If you must find someone who has accomplished what you want to motivate you, do it. Whatever it takes, as long as it is legal and moral, DO IT.
Step 2 — Gather Knowledge
If you don’t know where to find the information you need, ask someone. A good place to start is the public library. The reference librarian is a solid gold resource. The library has an abundance of reference material that will lead you to the appropriate books, magazines, schools, government agencies, suppliers, and contacts within a given industry. In most cases all this information is free for the asking. In the Army I was taught how to seek out resources in the most unforgiving situations. Think through things and write it down because sometimes the solution will present itself in the process of “putting it on paper”.
Step 3 — Put your plan into action.
Knowledge without action is only meaningless facts. Actions without a plan is often dangerous and leads to ruin, but a well thought out plan coupled with the appropriate knowledge and energized with directed action can overcome even the harshest circumstances. Action is what gives dreams and ideas locomotion.
Look around you thinking about everything you see. Once it was only an idea in someone’s mind. That stop sign on the corner, the bridge you drive your car across, even the eraser on the end of your pencil were ALL only ideas in someone’s mind until the idea was married to action to create reality. Action is the fuel in the engine of ingenuity.
You must be a person of action. Your future is in your hands. You must shape it according to your attitudes, desires, ideas, and actions. If you are tired of getting what you have always gotten then only you can change your situation. If you want to change your life first you must change your mind. Then put power in the desired change with the dynamo of your actions.
Taking the first step is the most difficult thing to do. Everyone lives in a “comfort zone”. Once you step out of your comfort zone you begin your forward momentum. Once you have stepped away from the “same ol’ same ol’ ” it will be easier to push forward to the action you need to create positive change. The change you want.
Action without direction is dangerous, because it leads you to places you didn’t intend to go. Action without direction is impulsive and very seldom produces the desired results. If you keep your vision focused on the plan you have set forth and remain steady in your progress you will obtain your goal. The day will come when you will control your own destiny not some relative or boss or perfect stranger. Then you will blame no one for your failures or praise no one for your victories other than yourself and God.
Your eyes must always be focused on the horizon and not the mundane circumstances that make up our day-to-day lives. Don’t be blinded by a situation that to you seems insurmountable. Instead step back and widen your vision to see past the obstacle, or over it, or under it. You must look, not only at the situation but also the possibilities that are present in every problem. Don’t let your problems control your mind’ let your mind control and solve your problems.
Perhaps you’re having a difficult time right now financially, or personally, or professionally and you are “waiting for your ship to come in”. If that is where you are get off your hands and swim out to meet the ship. Don’t wait for something outside yourself to change your situation be the change you are waiting on. Change it yourself starting right now. Don’t allow anything negative to drag you down and press towards your goal! Don’t listen when someone tells you that your idea won’t work. Perhaps is won’t but then again perhaps it will! As long as your idea is in line with the laws of physics anything is possible.
Usually, the people who tell you that something won’t work either speak only of the negatives (they never have a positive thought about anything) or do not have all the information needed to make an accurate assessment. There are always plenty of people who will be glad to tell you why something is SURE to fail.
Don’t take the above statements totally out of context because there are people who are experts in certain fields that can explain the pros and cons of your plan if it is in their area of expertise. If they can give you sound reasons why something may not work their opinions are worth more than those of the average person.
But ultimately, you must use your own good judgement as to whether you should go ahead with your plan, alter it, or abandon it. If you abandon it, devise another and keep moving. If you haven’t achieved the circumstances you desire then thrust your life back into the fire that you can be put on the anvil again.