“A good example is the best sermon. None preaches better than the ant, and she says nothing” (Benjamin Franklin). Transforming our own attitudes, beliefs, values, principles, behaviors, responses, perceptions, life philosophies, and total intrinsic and extrinsic environments is the surest way to help others reform themselves in a positive and forward growing manner. Ants work hard and never stop looking for ways to flourish, seeking food to harvest, building, and preparing for their future accordingly, during each season. We can even learn from ants.
One decision can change the entire trajectory and destiny of our lives. Hanging out with a gang or the wrong crowd can lead to mischief, pain, suffering, and even death. If you associate with pigs you will get dirty, and the pigs will like it. Eradicate toxic people like a bad habit. While being truly serious about change, similar to stopping smoking, cold turkey typically works best.
“As to methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble” (Ralph Waldo Emerson). Embrace your own adopted principles and moral code before beginning the pursuit toward any endeavor. Persevere with an unstoppable, relentless, and lit fuel knowing you will succeed. Ignited ABLE (attitudes, behaviors, leveraged intrinsic and extrinsic environments) dreams really do work.
“Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he” (Proverbs 28:18 KJB). We must live and apply a vision, combined with principles and a moral compass to better ourselves and the lives around us. Create and keep your own sets of rules, virtues or laws, guiding your moral compass. Let this code be your guiding light, directing choices, perceptions, and attitudes.
“Don’t be surly at home, then go out in the street and start grinning “Good morning” at total strangers” (Maya Angelou). If you have children and a family, consider starting to become better there first. Family must be the primary initial and lasting focus in order to be genuinely peaceful and successful. Remain fully engaged, attentive, loving, caring, and giving toward your loved ones first and foremost. Paradoxically, improving and loving yourself first allows the best of you to rub off on those you love most.
In the book, Good to Great, Jim Collins writes about findings from many years of research which vitally conclude that what matters most in great companies are having the right people on the bus. The bus can go anywhere and the people will succeed because they have unified goals and beliefs toward a specific mission.⁹ Our personal lives are not much different. By surrounding ourselves with morally superb, intelligent, and creative people enthusiastically sharing our visions, we, in turn, have wonderful potential and probability to become great too. Let’s choose only quality individuals to associate with most of the time.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13 NIV). For change to occur a person with a shopping problem should stay out of the mall. A drinker should stay out of the bar. A gambler should stay out of the casino. A person trying to lose weight should stay away from a buffet. It is easier to avoid temptation than it is trying to beat temptation. Acknowledging that we possess a self-created problem within ourselves allows the ability to let solutions work through and for us. That permits us to change our ways by living in a positive, progressive, forward moving, massively growing manner. As Tony Robbins advocates, “Raise your standards. Change your shoulds into musts. Stop shoulding all over yourself.”
“The difference between life and the movies is that a script has to make sense, and life doesn’t” (Joseph L. Mankiewicz). Don’t follow or succumb to characters in fictitious movies, which are not true representations of actual joy-filled lives. Life is real and takes hard work all around that is not depicted in most movies and novels. The excessively bolstered esteem characters portray might very well be animated fabricated facades and illusions, not to be trusted. Don’t be misled by mirages not based in reality. Learn from inspirational and wholesome movies. Stop allowing vices toward violence, disrespect, anger, profanity, and lax standards sway the goodness that truthfully resonates in the core of your soul.
“I promise to keep on living as though I expected to live forever. Nobody grows old by merely living a number of years. People grow old by deserting their ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up wrinkles the soul” (Douglas MacArthur). Through proper exercise, combined with embracing dreams, attitudes, principles, moral codes, life philosophies, and ideals we can feel young at any age. Doing the most challenging exercises in any work-out regimen first, allows the body to expend more glycogen (stored usable energy), while optimally completing each exercise routine. The same principle applies toward performing the most energy-consuming tasks prior to doing less strenuous responsibilities throughout the day.
“We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that death will tremble to take us” (Charles Bukowski). Continual growth and progress are pivotal keys toward living fully, therefore dying full, yet spent. You can’t spend your way to monetary wealth, only long-term joy fulfilling wealth. Remember to start where you are with what you have. No excuses, blaming, complaining, self-pity, regret, shame, or procrastination allowed. Get intentionally busy filling yourself up with greatness so you can spend yourself in an extravagant, yet selfless manner.