Sometimes, We Are the Problem

Can a quote change your life? I’m here to tell you it can. Jim Rohn once said, “Success is a few simple disciplines practiced every day.” What I love about this quote is its simplicity. It can be broken down into three simple parts:

“A Few”

Success doesn’t require learning a lot, just a few. That’s great news for someone like myself who is strategically lazy.

My time management system is all about that – simplicity. I have no interest in spending a lot of time learning many things. What are the few things that can make a big difference in how things turn out.

“Disciples Practiced”

I can do that. In fact, that’s how I stay in shape. Each day, I devote about 20 minutes to working out. Nothing too strenuous, just some stretching, a few yoga positions, some punches and then some “kata” practice (Karate) so adding a little bit more to my regiment sounds doable.

“Every Day”

The best thing about success is it doesn’t really require that much work, but it does require commitment.

Whether you want to lose weight, save money, become rich, get in shape, build a company, create a new product, quit smoking, have a happy marriage, or develop a new training course, over time it’s easy. As Tony Robbins likes to say, “People overestimate what they can accomplish in a year, and underestimate what they achieve in a decade.” It’s amazing how hard work and perseverance over time pay off big time.

The reason I bring this up (again) is I’m amazed at how many people get this WRONG.

I suppose we have the Internet and TV to blame, but today we seem to have been brainwashed into believing we can become overnight successes. There are countless TV commercials touting the latest and greatest breakthrough in whatever field. It’s stronger, faster and better than ever. And yet, next year you’ll hear the same thing about a new product. It never ends, which means last year’s products failed to achieve the results most people desired, otherwise we wouldn’t need new products.

Why is this? The problem doesn’t lie in the products themselves, but rather within us. While we might not like to hear it, sometimes, we are the problem.

Treadmills work, but with one small caveat – we must use them.

What most people are searching for is magic. Products that do everything for them. In other words, people have gotten to the point where they no longer what to work to achieve results and simply want to have the results handed to them. People don’t want to learn how to lose weight, buy houses or make a million dollars. They simply want to pay a small price and have everything handed to them on a silver platter.

I was reminded of this when talking to a client of mine who runs a relatively successful English school here in Japan. Having taught English for many years myself, it was a topic I could easily relate to. I asked them why it was that students failed to master English. This is the list they came up with:

  1. No willpower
  2. Busy (ie. no time)
  3. Believe they can’t
  4. No teachers (mentors)
  5. Don’t know how to study
  6. No friends to study with
  7. Wrong materials

Interestingly enough, this list could have been used for success in practically anything and why I resonate so strongly with Jim Rohn’s teachings. He talks in generalities, but the genius of his words is that they can be applied to every business or facet of life. I must say I’m shocked that despite having access to information at our fingertips, kids today seem less capable and prepared for dealing with the world in which we live in.

We don’t lack tools. We don’t lack information. What we do lack is a willingness to actually take the time to learn and then apply what we learn. To me, that’s all it is.

I use myself as an example. I used to say I had “no time” and that I “couldn’t do it.” But…the truth was I had time. I simply chose to do something else with it. I truly did believe I couldn’t learn a foreign language but I proved myself wrong with good old-fashioned elbow grease.

The problem was not something, it was someone: Me!

In my experience as both a teacher and a productivity consultant, the biggest obstacle to our success at anything is ourselves. We prevent ourselves from succeeding when all it takes is a little dedication. James Truslow Adams, back in 1931, defined the American dream as being, “life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement” regardless of social class or circumstances of birth.

I truly do believe that one of the secrets of success is embracing fundamental ideas and combining them with modern technology.

We have half the puzzle (information) available to us at a cost of almost nothing, all we need now is use it.

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