Wednesday, April 15, 2009
A Concrete Mind.
It has been argued by some (including myself) that at least some of the cause of the collapse of the US economy lies in every day people aspiring to live like their Hollywood ideals... living the American Dream (or the contemporary version of a dream that was once freedom and liberty).
When people aspire to false idols, and chase symptoms of success without implementing the principles of success... they fail. Often we want without going out and getting - we wait for our wishes to come to us and we take no action or the wrong actions... effectively removing the power each of us has to exert influence over our circumstances.
The more we patiently and diligently seek out, learn, and practice the principles of success - the more power we have to affect our own lives in the manner we choose. We move from observers of our life and it's course to the directors of that course.
One could argue that wishes or thoughts without action is like trying to build a skyscraper out of water - it flows through every opening and you are left; after much frustration- no closer to the skies than you started. A skyscraper is a great analogy because when we view a skyscraper we often marvel at it's height and exterior; with little regard to the structural integrity that allows it to surge over hundreds of feet to the sky.
We often view successful people the same way - we want their money, their fame, their success - without appreciating or wanting to put in the work they have to get there (see Justine's Monday post about 10,000 hours).
If we want to build a skyscraper out of our life- we need to start with the concrete foundation and not the beautiful glass exterior... hence we must adopt a 'concrete mind'. Spend all of your time improving your strategies and your character before you worry about the polished exterior. If you've ever seen a skyscraper under construction- all you see is wood and concrete for probably 75% of the building process. By the time the first window has gone up- the foundation for the top floor has usually already been set.
As a good friend of mine says, 'the hardest part of any race is getting to the start line'... well this is a great example of a concrete mind- tackle a race by training consistently (pouring the concrete foundation) or you have no hope of hitting a personal best time goal (nice, shiny windows).
The same goes for relationships... before you can marry a beautiful spouse (window)- you'd better start by being a great person yourself (concrete foundation).
The same goes for any part of your life that you can set goals for. Being that is the case, we must ensure our decisions are long term focused (concrete) rather than short term, instant gratification (windows).
We see what happens in an economy/ relationship/ business when you try to build a skyscraper out of fancy windows... it must collapse.
The oldest company in North America, however - the Hudson Bay Company- has a location in downtown Calgary that proves this point- the building looks old- but it's fundamentals have allowed it to prosper since the company's first business transaction in 1669.
It is very okay to want material things and success for yourself and those close to you. It is simply more important from your habits, development, and leadership of others that you focus on the habits first and the fruits of that labour second.
Develop a concrete mind, and you can accomplish all the flash and wonder you could ever want.