the secret of getting ahead…

in Jack Canfield’s book The Success Principles

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.  The secret of getting started is breaking your complex, overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks and then starting on the first one.”  Mark Twain

Let’s face it, most of us get stuck in the overwhelmed stage and don’t even get to breaking the tasks into bite-sized pieces.  That’s where our inner drive comes in because more often than not these things don’t “need” to be done on a timeline, if at all.  It’s just a dream we have.  We don’t have to answer to anyone, not even ourselves.  Besides, we’ll do it “later.”  And quite frankly watching tv (or any other thing we do for procrastination) is so much easier to do and more fun in the short-term.  We can be deliciously lazy because no one knows about our dream, except for us, and we’ve given ourselves the okay to just take another day off.  I think that it is essential to our souls to have deliciously lazy days where we sit in stillness, putter around the house, watch movies and enjoy and luxuriate in the fact that we have chosen not to do anything that day.  The problem is when we are having “stressed out” lazy days which we have when we are procrastinating and we run around like chickens with our heads cut off not really accomplishing anything of importance and at the end of the day we’re still stressed out deep inside because we are not taking action on our dreams.   I also believe we need we need “prayer days” or “quiet days,” (whatever you want to call them) written in pen on the calendar for at least three hours to sit in stillness-that means no getting up to just get one load of laundry started or make one quick phone call (I don’t care if it is related to your dream you should have done it earlier!).  Three hours, impossible you say; just find a way to get as much time as you can at this point in your life that will work for you and your life and then tweak it to make it fit better.  Just sit.  Be present-there are no worries in the present, right this minute you are fine and you are here and you are breathing, feel your body sink into the chair or the ground you have no place to go because you’ve set aside a block of time.  The more you show up and practice, the easier it gets.  Even if you don’t think you can do it, just show up and sit.  Sit through the loud thoughts and the endless chatter of the “monkey brain,” as the Buddhists call it.  That’s where you are right now.  That’s fine.  It is annoying and sometimes not all that restfull but it’s still good. That’s where you are right now.  That’s fine.  Just show up and keep showing up.  And sit a while.

“It doesn’t take any more energy to create a big dream than it does to create a little one.”  General Wesley Clark

So, why then, do we box ourselves in to what we think we can do and what we cannot do.

“Everything you experience today is the result of choices you have made in the past.  Everything you experience in life-both internally and externally-is the result of how you have responded to a previous event….You only have control over three things in your life-the thoughts you think, the images you visualize, and the actions you take (your behavior).  How you use these three things determines everything you experience.  If you don’t like what you are producing and experiencing, you have to change your responses.   Change your negative thoughts to positive ones.  Change what you daydream about.  Change your habits.  Change what you read.  Change your friends.  Change how you talk.  If you keep on doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep on getting what you’ve always gotten.”  Jack Canfield

I think we’re supposed to go back over a situation in our heads, not to be miserable or think I’m right, they’re a jerk, but rather to visualize the different outcomes that would have felt better and then to use that information the next time.  So, instead of yelling (or loudly talking) to your child not to do something, because you’ve visualized (and meditated) you don’t react on automatic pilot.  You catch your anger rising and you become conscious and change the situation and have the child help you with dinner or something that changes and dissipates the tension.  Or you can yell at them and watch the rest of the evening spiral down in anger and frustration.


2 thoughts on “the secret of getting ahead…

  1. Anne Kelly says:

    So those of us with the mental capacity to recognize the situation, plan a means of accomplishing our goals, and proactively overcome the laziness and avoidance behavior we observe in others every day, will succeed.

    People are blocked from taking control of their lives by a variety of circumstances that pair with their personality traits to block accomplishment of their goals. Society should accommodate those individuals by institutional safeguards and protections, while allowing them the opportunity to deal with their “life’s struggles” in a way meaningful to them (my only understanding of the benefit of religion).

    • the lotus seed journals says:

      It would have probably been more appropriate for me to just write in the first person because I was talking about those moments in my life when I was acting “lazy” because I was uninspired and needed to do something different in order to get different results. Possibly if there is a strong reaction there might be something more there to look at. I think everyone is on his or her own path and doing the best he or she can, but sometimes in my own life I know I need to shake things up a bit in order to get that stuck energy feeling to get moving.

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