Change Your Future: Simple Choices for Living a Successful Life
by: Betsy Shulman
“Those who choose to succeed always do better than those who never choose at all.”
Seems obvious, doesn’t it? Yet this principle is rarely applied by a majority of the population, or by the majority of entrepreneurs who ought to be concerned about the business success mindset. Perhaps this explains why, on average, 50% of businesses fail within their first 5 years as sited by Scott Shane of SmallBusinessTrends.com.
It also explains why there are so many tools; websites, courses and programs that claim to be the “secret ingredient” that will produce the success so many online business owners desperately seek and wish for. Note the difference between those two words, “seek” and “wish.” Therein lies the “secret” if there is one. Jesus said, “Seek and ye shall find” Surely we’ve all heard that bit of wisdom before. The question is “Do we apply it?”
Wishes may come true in stories like Aladdin’s Lamp, but it’s easy to forget that Aladdin endured a lot of trickery and hardship before he came upon the magic lamp that brought him great wealth and a royal bride. Even then, one version of the story tells how his riches were snatched away, but he boldly pursued the culprit and recovered what was taken from him. Aladdin was not just a “wisher,” he chose to pursue his dreams and they were granted. Do you have that vision about making your business a success?
So what’s the “magic” ingredient that separates those who seek from those who wish? The simplest way to explain it is the word “choice.” The quote above, “Those who choose to succeed always do better than those who never choose at all,” is taken from Shad Helmstetter’s book Choices: Discover Your 100 Most Important Life Choices
Choice is the freedom to exercise our will to accomplish goals and choose how we live our lives. But if you look around, it’s pretty obvious that most of us passively allow our choices to be made for us. As Helmstetter explains, it’s human nature to absorb patterns, attitudes and behavior from our families, teachers, and society. Without realizing it, we are programmed by our history before we have time to choose how to live our lives.
As adults, most of us never stop to ask, “Why do I think and act the way I do?” If we did, we’d have the ammunition to change old habits and choose new ones. Helmstetter has a surprisingly simple explanation about what it takes to move away from old habits and grow into new successful ones:
“We have learned that our determined choices can, by themselves, affect and change the programming that drives us…. That means that each of us has the ability within ourselves, right now, to affect and control an important part of our own future.”
In other words, your choices change your behavior, and behavior can change your future. Now that’s powerful stuff! So how do we put it to use?
Making right choices is like any new skill. It takes awareness, practice and persistence before it becomes a habit – a process that is thoroughly explained in Helmstetter’s book. Awareness is where it all begins. Unless we accept that ALL of our behavior is by our own choosing, we will not accept the responsibility required to choose differently.
Accepting this responsibility (That it’s no longer someone else’s fault.) is a huge hurdle for most people because then there are no excuses and no one to blame. But on the other side of the hurdle a beautiful new life awaits. Those excuses are replaced by the belief that anything is possible.
Ultimately, change always begins with us, with our own decision to make new choices.