Goals. Everywhere you turn, someone is telling you that the secret to success is setting goals. Hell, I’ve even mentioned them a time or two.
But there’s something else that can be even more powerful than setting and achieving goals, and that is defining your principles.
You see, it’s easy to set goals. It’s harder to meet them. But failing is not really that big of a deal, right? I mean if you fall down, you just pick yourself back up, brush yourself off, and get going again.
But if you have well defined principles; things that are so central to your being and belief systems that there is no failing them, it’s just how you live.
My Operating System
I’ve decided on a set of core principles (or values, or whatever you want to call them) that I will install as my mental “operating system,” so that these will always be at the forefront of my mind. Everything I do should derive from, or at least not violate, these core principles. Some of these I’ll have to work on. Others will come somewhat naturally.
My first principle is going to be I’m unstoppable. What do I mean by this?
It means I don’t give up. I don’t quit. I either win, or I learn.
Now, sometimes it makes more sense to quit. If you’re running a failing business that has no chance of recovery, then it absolutely makes sense to quit.
However, quitting should be a last resort. After all possible resources have been exhausted. When there’s nothing left for you to give.
I won’t be held back by others telling me I’m not good enough. I won’t be held back by me telling myself I’m not good enough. I won’t be held back by the fact that I don’t have a college degree, or that I’m not particularly knowledgeable about a particular topic.
If that’s the case, then I’ll go out and get the knowledge I need. I’ll believe in myself, even if only for just a few minutes, because if I don’t who will? Certainly nobody else will. Nobody else gives a shit, except maybe my mom. And my wife. But certainly nobody else.
I Lift Others
One of my core principles will be I Lift Others.
What do I mean by this?
Simply put, everything I do should lift (or help) others. And if I can’t help others, at the very least I shouldn’t hurt them. This is one of the core philosophies of the Dalai Lama:
Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.
This is vital, for I believe that to be successful in business, in life, in anything, you have to help others (or, again, at least don’t hurt them).
I’m Just Getting Started
Whether or not you believe that we all have a purpose for existence, the fact of the matter is we’re all here. We exist. (Though some of my Buddhist friends may disagree with me somewhat)
And since we’re here, and we exist, we may as well better ourselves with the time we have.
Presumably, we only get this one life to live.
So it’s critical that we make the best of it. We should always be looking for ways to better and improve ourselves, from taking courses learning new things, to making new relationships with folks we might otherwise not have met.
For those reasons, my next principle will be I’m just getting started.
Always Choose The Hard Thing
This one is going to hurt. It’s going to be painful. In fact, it’s going to go against my very basic nature as a lazy person.
I’m going to always choose the hard thing.
Jerzy Gregorek said it best when he said:
Easy choices, hard life. Hard choices, easy life.
That’s right. If you choose the easy thing in each situation, you’ll lead a hard life. But if you choose the hard thing, then you’ll live an easy life.
It’s easy to say screw it, I’m not going to the gym today. It’s hard to decide to go. But which do you think leads to a better life?
Going to the gym helps you get (or stay) in shape. It’s a no-brainer! Unfortunately it’s not the easiest choice to make for many of us (myself included).
And that’s ok.
It’s also very easy to choose to sit around doing nothing, surfing the internet all day. Or laying out on the couch binge watching Longmire on Netflix. It’s hard to get up and do something, whether that’s go network with someone new, or take a course learning something new.
Whatever the hard choice is, I should endeavor to choose it more often then not.
I’m going to work on making these principles central to how I live my life. Will I be perfect? Hell no. And that’s ok. As long as I hit the mark more often than I miss it, I’m going to be doing better than most people in the world.