Any day we wish we can discipline ourselves to change it all. Any day we wish we can open the book that will open our mind to new knowledge. Any day we wish we can start a new activity. Any day we wish we can start the process of life change. We can do it immediately, or next week, or next month, or next year." Change begins with choice says Jim Rohn.
We can also do nothing. We can pretend rather than perform. And if the idea of having to change ourselves makes us uncomfortable, we can remain as we are. We can choose rest over labor, entertainment over education, delusion over truth, and doubt over confidence. The choices are ours to make. "But while we curse the effect, we continue to nourish the cause." As Shakespeare uniquely observed, "The fault is not in the stars, but in ourselves."
We created our circumstances by our past choices. We have both the ability and the responsibility to make better choices beginning today. Those who are in search of the good life do not need more answers or more time to think things over to reach better conclusions. They need the truth. They need the whole truth. And they need nothing but the truth.
We cannot allow our errors in judgment, repeated every day, to lead us down the wrong path. We must keep coming back to those basics that make the biggest difference in how our life works out. Activity is one of those important basics that we cannot afford to neglect.
In order to produce the desired results we must put intelligence as well as intensity into our activity. Action without intelligence can be destructive. But we must not spend too much time in the process of acquiring intelligence. All things must be in their rightful ratio.
It is so easy to mistake motion for progress and movement for achievement. That is why activity must be deliberately planned, carefully refined and consistently executed.
We must become wise enough to use today to plan tomorrow. We must design the future, not just dream about it. If we discipline ourselves to put intelligence into our plans, we will put fortune into our future.
In our journey toward success we need to select a specific destination. We also need to anticipate the obstacles and the risks and be prepared to respond to them whenever they appear.
Having well-defined goals is an essential part of any life plan. These goals should be recorded in writing, and should reflect both short-term and long-range planning. Short-term goals serve as landmarks along the journey. They are the small stepping stones that lead to the achievement of our long- term fortune and help us to stay on track over a long period of time.
Long-range goals serve as milestones. They are the points of achievement along the way that give us cause to celebrate the fruits of our efforts.
But the most important part of planning and goal-setting is to see in our "mind's eye" the major objective that we are pursuing. This is what Rohn calls the "magnificent obsession" This is the very nerve center of our ambition. This is what drives us.
Major objectives are the unseen force that pulls us into the future. Through our daily activity and discipline we provide the push to propel us toward success. But it is the dream of the future achievement of our objectives that pulls us along day after day and pulls us through the major obstacles we encounter along the way. The exciting thing about this process is that the more we push, the more the future begins to pull. "As we demonstrate our unwavering determination to conquer our limitations, increase our intelligence and achieve our objective, that still small voice within us begins to speak its special and promising message adding to the pull of the future. As we listen carefully to this voice, and respond instinctively to its urgings, the pull becomes stronger and the future more certain."
Our better future begins with a worthy objective and a simple plan. We must not allow our plan to become excessively burdened by complexities. Many of the answers take time to discover. It is virtually impossible to plan every detail or to anticipate every obstacle.
We must also be careful not to allow the opinions of others to unduly influence the development of our plan for the good life. Others will have opinions about what we should do, but the final plan for progress must be our plan. We should listen to the voices of value, but we must remember that no one else will see our plan or sense our obsession quite the way we do. "It must be a personally designed plan, and its creator and architect must remain at the helm of the ship throughout the entire journey."
There is a tendency for the negative side of life to infiltrate our plans, our dreams, and our activities in an effort to seize control. There is a tendency for optimism to surrender to doubt. There is a tendency for a simple plan to become a complex plan. There is a tendency for courage to give way to fear, and for confidence to be overwhelmed by worry.
Only through the consistent application of discipline can we prevent the negative tendencies of life from destroying our plans. With the passing of a little time and the attainment of a little success, we can become careless. That is why those in pursuit of the good life must develop a new sense of appreciation for discipline, and become aware of all that they can do and all that they can achieve.
Any day we choose we can walk away from wherever we are regardless of the circumstances. By small leaps we can begin the process of amending our activity to such a degree that today can become the starting point of a whole new life.
We do it by designing a good plan. We do it by setting new goals. We do it by working every day on the little things that will make a major difference in how our lives turn out. Like everything else that success requires, developing the discipline that it takes to achieve our dreams is easy to do and it is also easy not to do.
The early inspiration that comes from the practice of new and simple disciplines will start a process called "soaring self-worth." It does not matter how small or how insignificant the activity is because it is within those obscure but important disciplines that the great opportunities exist.
"This kind of simple progress will build a ladder leading out of the abyss of failure and neglect that once was our dwelling place. With each new discipline we will have constructed a new rung that will enable us to climb out of the darkness where the failures, the complainers, and the confused and misguided gather to share their sad stories of how unfair life is." Building the ladder is easy to do. The smallest of disciplines, practiced every day, start an incredible process that can change our lives forever.
Until we have learned to take care of the little opportunities life brings our way, we will never master the disciplines for becoming happy and prosperous. The major accomplishments in life begin with the mastery of the small disciplines. "Planning, imagination and intense activity are awesome forces that have the power to dramatically change the quality of our lives."
Activity is a major part of the life puzzle. It is the power that gives substance and meaning to our philosophy and our attitude. Intelligent, planned, intense, and consistent activity creates new energy and keeps us moving toward the exciting future that our thoughts and desires have already designed for us.