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Inner Game

Choosing Greatness Every Day Can Be Hard

confort zoneHey Moguls, Steve Cook here…

I want to start this lesson with a terrific quote that fits perfectly into the idea I want to get across today…

“Every man builds his world in his own image. He has the power to choose, but no power to escape the necessity of choice.”                

~ Ayn Rand

Did you know that the choices you make each and every day have a huge impact on your success – both professionally and personally?

The power of choice is super important, but sometimes, making the right choices is hard. Why? Because it’s hard to step out of our comfort zone. The path we need to be taking, the one we should be taking to grow and learn – may require more effort, time and work on your part – and choosing the easy path looks so inviting and, well, easier.

But, as you’ll learn in today’s powerful lesson, deciding to choose the harder path and not leaving things up to chance… leads to greatness. And the responsibility of that choice is all on you.

Of course, we sometimes make the wrong choice, but how you respond after making a mistake is the key. So, read on to learn how you can choose greatness... dig deep, friends, it’s worth it.

Choice Matters

What we do matters. Every action we take has a reaction. This simple truth is grounded in the tenets of physics and Netwon’s Third Law of Motion.

We can choose to be proactive or reactive in our thoughts, words and actions. The fact that you are on Mogul’s site means you are proactive. (Well done!) Choosing to be proactive often takes us out of our comfort zone, but it often leads to progress of personal and professional development. 

Choosing to be reactive is easier but often leads to more of the same. More of the same means our chances of changing habits will be harder. Behavioral economics shows us that we like to underestimate the force of inertia and overestimate our own willpower when making decisions.

Most of us have experienced inertia's force after breaking countless diets, budgets and promises to ourselves and others in our efforts to live a healthier lifestyle. Meanwhile, the world waits for no one. It’s easier to make excuses and say we'll be great tomorrow rather than biting the bullet, choosing to put in the work and being consistently great day by day.

The Shark and the Plankton

When we choose to be proactive with our own education and personal development we are like a shark. How’s that? Most sharks need to constantly swim forward to breathe or they will drown. Most sharks are always moving and because they have no swim bladder they have great range of depth. They are able to travel from the sea floor up to the surface without exploding or imploding. In short, they are extraordinarily adaptive creatures that do not mistake movement for achievement.

sharkChances are that if we swim forward toward our goals and adapt with the ever-changing society, we will increase our odds of ending up where the magic happens. Magic happens when we have the freedom to do more of what we love with the people we love. 

When we choose to be reactive we are like plankton. Plankton let the sea’s current decide their fate and chances are if we choose to be plankton and remain still – nothing will happen. 

No matter what, we alone are responsible for what we choose to do or say, and sometimes, more importantly, what we choose not to do or not to say. 

Poetry in Motion or Missing in Action

We are as responsible for shaping our future as much as we are responsible for how we feel right now. We are the owners of our feelings and emotions. We are responsible for how we feel because we choose how to respond to what happens to us and what others may say or do to us.

We are responsible for our future because we can choose to live a life by design or by default.

This is the power of choice; we can choose to be poetry in motion proactively painting our lives onto the canvas of time, or succumb to being a prisoner of someone else’s paintbrush, like a soldier missing in action, unable to carry out his/her mission.

We Make Choices and Our Choices Make Us (or Break Us)

Let’s talk about choosing to be 100% responsible for everything in your life. For example, if we choose to take ownership and responsibility for everything we experience, say, do and how we respond to whatever happens to us – we have power. Our ability to practice choosing to take ownership and responsibility daily has the power to change our perceptions, our emotions and our lives.

Choosing to be great every day is not easy. We all face uncertainty and experience forces in the constantly changing world around us that we cannot control… 

Our path to greatness may be filled with risks and pain, failing in school like Physicist Albert Einstein, being born into poverty like engineer of the locomotive Robert Stephenson, getting laid off or fired from work like former CEO of Apple Steve Jobs, suffering from disease like former Hewitt Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and it may even lead us to a POW camp like Jim Stockdale.

However, if we choose to believe that we will not be great and improve our lives, chances are high that we will not. We must have unwavering faith that we will prevail in the end, while confronting the brutal facts of reality, whatever they might be. For some of the leaders mentioned above, how they chose to respond to adversity was their defining moment of greatness.

winstonWe will all make mistakes and fall on as we progress toward our goals of becoming great. However, it’s the choices we make after the mistake that determine the full extent of the damage. As Ernest Hemingway said:

“The world breaks everyone and afterwards many are stronger in the broken part.”

The Japanese have a word: kintsukuroi, which means “to repair with gold; the art of repairing pottery with gold or silver and understanding the piece is more beautiful for having been broken and surviving." 

When we make mistakes will we prolong the suffering and create drama around it or will we fill our cracks with gold and become stronger?

Greatness Is within You

The world needs more great people. It took great people to create great civilizations. Great people of Egypt, Indus River Valley and Mesopotamia convinced everyone to work together to master agriculture and grow enough food so everyone could eat. 

Instead of small tribes spending all of their time hunting and gathering food, now people had more time to develop other trades and improve housing, science and technology. 

So why not choose to be great?

Great people have always chosen to believe that they could change the outcome and be responsible for their own fate. This is what Ghandi meant when he said choose to “be the change you wish to see in the world.”

greatnessAccording to business leadership expert and author Jim Collins, it takes a triad of 3 core behaviors to be great by choice:

1. Fanatic Discipline

2. Empirical Creativity

3. Productive Paranoia

The 3 Cs

I want to end this mindset lesson with a simple, but profound point…

There are 3 Cs that run constantly in our lives:

  • Choices
  • Chances
  • Changes

Countries were founded, wars were waged and economies created because of the power of choice. We must make a choice to take a chance or our lives will never change.

Choose to Reach Out

Has this lesson made you think differently about your everyday choices? Reach out to me in the comments section below and let me know your thoughts.


Do It To It! Immediate Action Steps

Be proactive in your thoughts, words and actions.

Harness the power of choice every day to reach greatness and your goals.

Remember the 3 Cs: choices, chances and changes.

Make the choice to take a chance and make a change.

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