Zig Ziglar was one of the most well known motivational speakers. He inspired millions through his simple communication style. There are many of Zig’s quotes that people often share but I think one that he was most famous for.
“You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.” – Zig Ziglar
Like most sound advice, it is easy to say, but more difficult to actually follow. What if the goals and desires of my team don’t match up with mine? What if what I want for them is different than what they want?
We may not actually be that articulate or even voice it, but our selfishness can come in to play. Some people may try to first manipulate people in to what their desires should be so they are aligned.
That is not what Zig meant. He meant we should serve others and help them get what THEY want even when it may not align with what we want for them. Some times we may help people and not get anything tangible from it. Other times we will. I believe he was right. It is a better way to live and a better way to lead. Just help people get what they want. If we help enough people, we will be just fine and we will be happier in the process.
Wouldn’t it be cool to have a time machine? Going back in time to experience the world or be a part of famous historical events would be fascinating, but I’m not even talking about that. What if we could just back to when we were younger? What things would we love to tell ourselves? What mistakes would we tell ourselves to avoid? What opportunities would we tell ourselves to take advantage of?
Wouldn’t we all want a do-over or at least have some sound advice to give ourselves? Unfortunately, we can’t go back to the 20 years younger version of us. That doesn’t mean we can’t still think about it. If you could go back, what advice would you give yourself? It is a worthy question that requires reflection and self-awareness.
Then I think there is another question that we can ask that is a bit more difficult. What about the 20 year older version of yourself? If your 20 year older version had a time machine and could back and give you advice about your life right now, what do you think it would be?
This is a more challenging question, but worth consideration. It has the potential to give us more clarity today.
What advice do you think the future you would give you today?
We can’t go on a road trip with kids without hearing the classic question, “how much longer?” If the trip is any where near an hour or more we will hear it and probably over and over.
We asked the question as kids too because all kids want to get to the destination faster. Waiting is hard. The interesting thing is we grow up, but we still have these same feelings and emotions of wanting to “arrive” sooner. We may not outload in our whiny voice ask the question like we did as kids, but it doesn’t mean we aren’t thinking it.
Only now it isn’t about asking how much longer until we get to the hotel. As adults the questions we ask are more like:
“How much longer until I lose this weight?”
“How much longer until I’m out of debt?”
“How much longer until I can get my new car?”
“How much longer until my business is profitable?”
We all ask these types of questions of ourselves. We can even start asking them in the annoying, whiny voice like when we were kids. That is not a good sign.
All worthwhile things take time. Patience is so important in life. It may be boring. It may not sound like the million dollar solution, but it just might be. Patience is a sign of maturity. Unfortunately, many of us never seem to grow up. We are stuck asking those whiny questions like a 5 year old. We may dress it up to sound more sophisticated but it is the same basic question.
Why does it matter? Because impatience ultimately leads us to make a stupid decision. It leads us to get the car payment we shouldn’t get. It leads us to make the investment gamble we should have never made. It leads us to try the craziest fad diet ultimately causing our weight to yo-yo even more.
The irony in it all is that our impatience ultimately adds times or sometimes keeps us from ever getting there!
With a little more patience, we tend to make wiser decisions that are better for us in the long run.
How patient are you?
I often contemplate what drives someone. Where does motivation come from in certain people? Drive is important. We don’t act to change our circumstances or create positive change in the world around us without drive.
Where does it come from? There is a lot to be said on the topic. Entire books have been written about it, but let’s look at one source of drive for so many.
I heard a CEO say that he likes the people who have a chip on their shoulder. The people who have something to prove. It was just one quality that he mentioned, but his point was that people who have a chip on their shoulder are often hungry to succeed to prove something.
It is true. Imagine how much progress has been made in the world by people driven to achieve something because of the chip they were carrying on their shoulder. It is a driving force for some of the most driven, successful people. To take something negative and use the energy to achieve something positive is a much better alternative than using it to do something destructive.
We all probably have some type of chip on our shoulder. We can use it for drive and motivation, but here are my questions.
Should we still deal with the chip?
Will a certain amount of success get rid of the chip or will we still be carrying it around even after succeeding?
Even if the chip creates positive drive, does it have potential to harm other areas of our life?
If we lose the chip would we lose the drive to succeed or would we find a healthier alternative?
Is our drive simply a band-aid to an injury that needs much more to be healed?
Those are my questions.
What drives you?
I’ve heard it said when an elephant is young they are restrained with a small chain around one leg. The baby elephant will pull on that chain and fight to get loose but it is too small to break away from the chains. At some point the baby elephant stops even trying because it hurts to tug on the chain. The elephant eventually believes it is impossible to break the chains so it stops trying.
The interesting part is the elephant continues to grow. In fact, it grows to become one of the largest and strongest animals on the planet yet the chain that restricts it remains the same. It is the same tiny chain that was used when it was a baby. The elephant now has the strength to break the chain with ease, but it doesn’t. It never attempts to because the elephant has already been conditioned to believe that it can’t.
The tiny chain has become a limiting belief that keeps the elephant from breaking free.
I can’t say for certain that this is totally true or is still how elephants are restrained. It may be a practice that is no longer used. I’m not an elephant expert, but the story is a great illustration for us.
It seems silly to us to think of a giant elephant not pulling on a tiny chain. But that is the power of a limiting belief that we have about ourselves.
What tiny chains do you have around you? Maybe they were put on you by someone else? Maybe you put them on yourself? It doesn’t matter. What matters is breaking free.
Why is it that we push back against the simple plans but gravitate towards the complicated?
If we have something we want to achieve we tend to push back against the simple strategy. Surely, it needs to be more complex. We need to use a strategy that almost no one has ever thought of or maybe only the most successful have and that is their secret.
Could it be the most successful just execute? I was speaking to someone I really respect several years ago and I noticed he had lost a lot of weight and was looking really good. I asked him what he had been doing. His response was so simple. “Yea, I’ve just been eating less.” I kept waiting for the complicated, long answer on why his plan was better than all the others. Turns out it was a pretty simple strategy. He didn’t even have to sign up for a course to do it.
Don’t most of know this? We can all get healthier if we just EAT LESS and MOVE MORE.
Deep down most of us know that works, but why do we insist on the complicated? Maybe it is because if we find a complicated plan and it doesn’t work, we can blame the plan? We can always say that we didn’t fully understand it or that it wasn’t the right plan for us. So then we can turn our focus on finding the next plan.
The good news is capitalism is alive and well. There are endless entrepreneurs out there to sell us a complicated strategy whether it is fitness, business or anything else.
Maybe we shouldn’t be so quick to ignore the simple strategies. The only challenge is then we may not have anything to blame but ourselves if we don’t do it.
One of the greatest enemies of success is procrastination! It is a deadly killer of success. We have to battle it if we want to reach our full potential.