Sunday, April 19, 2009

I Dreamed A Dream - Apr 19

By now I'm sure you've heard about Susan Boyle and her knockout performance on American Idol. Here's this frumpy 47 year old woman who was instantly parachuted into fame and did so through sheer moxie. It probably took her twenty years or more for her to become an overnight sensation. But oh, what a debut! I usually have little time for such frivolity as American Idol but Susan's performance inspired me to right this post.

'Maybe I'll Be The Next Great American (or British) Vocalist'

No you won't. Not in a million years. What's the problem with the above statement? If you said the problem lies with the word 'maybe' you'd be absolutely correct. For example, if next weekend you say to yourself 'Maybe I'll take in a movie this week.', what's the likelihood is of you actually going? Nil. Now if you say 'I will see (insert movie title here) this weekend', what's the probability now? Obviously much higher than any 'maybe' statement you'll ever make.

The second you preface anything with the word 'maybe' it will never happen. This world will never open doors to those who preface their life choices with the word maybe. On the other hand, doors will open if you make a deliberate choice and stick to it. You have to be stubborn, focused and single-minded if you ever want to achieve anything in this world. I realize that we're not to love temporal things and to conform ourselves to this world. By no means! What I'm suggesting is that God wants us to succeed and have some ambition. Susan Boyle always knew she could sing. She never gave up despite all the rejection and resistance.

What Separates the Winners From the Losers In This World?

It's not ability and it's not hard work. It is mental toughness and stamina. In my humble opinion, no-one personifies this dimension better than Tiger Woods. All the other golfers have the same skill. Their drives are long and straight. Their putting is sound. Sand traps don't faze them. All of them work hard off the course and practice whenever they can. Yet for some reason Tiger always manages to separate himself from the rest of the field when it matters.

Some P's To Consider: Personality, Profile and A Plan

So now you've made your life choice. No maybes allowed!. We've got the market cornered on mental toughness. Why then are there still failures? It comes down to three main reasons, personality, profile and a plan.

Personality: Failure often occurs because you're doing something that doesn't fit your personality. It is vital to be able to know your values (What's important to you?), your interests (What intrigues you?) and your abilities (What are you good at?).

Profile: Here's another important point. Don't let someone tell you what you can and cannot do. Susan Boyle did not fit the 'profile' of a singer. No doubt people had in mind the likes of Katharine McPhee or Kelly Clarkson when it came to female singers. Susan was no fool. She knew what she looked like. But never did she let that be a hindrance in her pursuit to become a professional singer.

So it is with you. Never let someone shove you into a mould because of race, gender, age or physical appearance. So much of the PC rubbish out there is based on such victimology. Don't believe a word of it! If an obstacle presents itself go around it or remove it. Don't let anyone impede your success because you don't fit the 'profile'.

Plan: The failure to plan is one the greatest obstacles you will ever face. Do you need further training? Do you require real-life experience? Then go get it. Don't let your pride get in the way! Suck it up and go get that training and experience you'll need. The foundation must be laid first before we can build on it!

Starting a business? Ask yourself: Do I have a formal business plan written up? Do I have enough capital - from private investors, banks, gov't grants and your own resources - to get going? Are my timelines too ambitious? Am I assuming instant profitability? Do I have enough money to cover my current expenses? If we cannot find the answers to these questions our dreams can quickly become a nightmare.

Why Positive Thinking Is Nonsense: Of Elephants and Refrigerators

Indeed it can be the death knell of any creative or business enterprise. Read on:

A corporate interview is taking place and a candidate has just been asked 'How do you put an elephant into a refrigerator?'. The candidate replies 'Open the fridge door and put the elephant in'. The interviewer is thrilled by the superficial response.

Have you ever seen an elephant in a fridge? Moreover, do you think you'll ever see such a spectacle? Probably not. The reason why I state that positive thinking is rubbish is because we've developed this humanist notion of limitless development. Not only is this preposterous, it's downright scary. A self-righteous liberal with a cause is much more dangerous than a cynic with an axe to grind. It goes beyond illogic and into the realm of neo-fascism.

Positive thinking is not, nor will it ever be, a guaranteeor of success. Positive thinking is meant to act as a buffer against defeatist attitudes. That's it. Allow me another sports example. If you have two fighters squaring off and one was more skilled, in better shape and more prepared, who wins? Suppose the inferior fighter was using the power of positive thinking. Does that alter the outcome? Of course not. The superior fighter wins every time. So much of what constitutes positive thinking is nothing more than fanciful optimism divorced from reality. So don't buy the hype. I certainly don't!

Johnny Cash

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