Learning to Take Risks
Advice for Graduates If you’re sitting out there now with a nice, neat little outline for the next ten years, you’d better be careful. Life may have other plans. Life will present you with unexpected opportunities, and it will be up to you take a chance, to be bold, to have faith and go for it.
John Grisham Writer
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You are now on your journey and have already been through many stations or experiences on the way. Do you like the direction that your life is taking? Do you feel that you have control over where you are going? You must decide whether to take charge of your trip and be the engineer or simply be a pas- senger on your train, letting others make the critical decisions for you.
Th e authors believe you have the right and power to make choices about your life. Furthermore, we believe that your long-range happiness is guaran- teed when you decide to direct and plan your own life. “But, isn’t this all just a little bit frightening?” you might ask.
Learning to Take Risks
If you are ever going to get serious about life planning, you will have to take risks. Th ere is simply no way you can grow without taking chances, because everything you really want in life involves taking a risk. To live a creative, interesting, challenging, and successful life, you have to gamble, take some risks, and experiment (Johnson 2006).
Psychiatrist David Viscott (2003) defi nes risk in this way:
To risk is to loosen your grip on the known and the certain and to reach for something you are not entirely sure of but believe is better than what you now have, or is at least necessary to survive.
BASIC LAW OF LIFE. Howard Figler (1999), a life-planning specialist at the University of Texas at Austin, gives the following advice to his students:
One-half of knowing what you want in life is knowing what you are willing to give up to have what you want. Th is translates into a basic law of life: For everything you get in life, you also have to give up something.
N obody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.
Think about this For just a few minutes, we are going to share an analogy with you that we recently heard at a Life Planning workshop, based on the work of authors Fred Hecklinger and Bernadette Black (2009).
Compare your journey through life to a train trip. You are constantly moving ahead, with stops along the way. With every mile and every new passenger, the train changes just a small amount. For every new person you meet or new experience you have, you change a bit. Just as the train will take on new passengers, employees, and supplies and will eventually let them go, so will you take on new interests, friends, and skills. Some of them you will choose to keep and others you will let go. But just as the train keeps going, remaining basically the same, so do you keep going. You are changed by your experiences, but you always come back to you and you must make the decisions that signifi cantly alter your journey through life.
Just as a train goes through tunnels, around curves, and encounters bumpy tracks, slowdowns and detours, your journey through life will be marked by both smooth and rough travel. At times the direction in which you are headed may not seem very clear. But a course is there, just as the train tracks are there. You may end up going in circles at times, but you still keep moving. Whenever you come to a junction and have to decide which track to take, you must make a decision. Some of these decisions can signifi cantly alter the direction of your life. You run your life, just as an engineer runs a train. You will be responsible for making many decisions. You must invest time and energy on this journey, but the rewards should be well worth your investment.
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Th ink about the truth of this. For example, if you go to college to further your education and career opportunities, you have to give up some time for study and going to class; if you take a job promotion in another state, you have to give up the security of your friends and familiar places; if you get married, you have to give up some of your independence; if you decide to have children, you have to give up some of your personal time; if you decide to lose some weight, you have to give up some of your high-calorie snack foods; and if you decide to retire from the world of work, you have to give up a higher paycheck.
As you can see, in every risk, there is some unavoidable loss, some- thing that has to be given up to move ahead. However, life is full of many risks and changes. Dr. Spencer Johnson (2002), author of the best seller Who Moved My Cheese?, reminds readers: “Change isn’t every- thing; it’s the only thing. Embrace change, don’t fi ght it.”
Many people are terrifi ed by any possible loss and try to avoid all risks. However, this is really the surest way of losing. Why would you lose if you didn’t take risks?
Dr. David Viscott (2003) gives us the answer:
If you do not risk, risk eventually comes to you. If a person postpones taking risks, the time eventually comes when he will either be forced to accept a situation that he doesn’t like or to take a risk unprepared. . . . If you continually shun any risk, you become comfort- able with fewer and fewer experiences. . . . Your world shrinks and you become rigid. . . . Your life has no direction but is only a reaction to what the world presents to you.
It seems benefi cial, therefore, to review some suggestions for more eff ec- tive risk taking. David Johnson (2008), professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Minnesota, off ers some considerations in How to on the next page.
Th erefore, the purpose of life planning is not to eliminate risks but to be certain that the risks you take are the right ones, based on careful thought (Boles 2005). Th e question then becomes, how can I fi nd direction for my life?
What Motivates You?
Th e old saying “Where there’s a will, there’s a way” means that if you want— really want—to do something, you will fi nd a way to do it. In other words, you must be motivated to act. Th e stronger your motivation, the more likely you are to accomplish your purpose. Th e weaker your motivation, the less likely you are to reach your goal.
What is it that causes a person to consider getting a college degree, becoming more fi nancially responsible, seeking the company’s sales award, or planning the direction of their life? Let us look at the impact of needs and drives.
NEEDS AND DRIVES. A need is a condition that exists when we are deprived of something we want or require. When a need exists, it creates a drive that pushes (motivates) us to satisfy the need. Th erefore, it is appropriate to say that
Take a risk!
L ife is not a spelling bee, where no matter how many
words you have gotten right, if you make one mistake you are disqualifi ed. Life is more like a baseball season, where even the best team loses one-third of its games and even the worst team has its days of brilliance. Our goal is not to go all year without ever losing a game. Our goal is to win more than we lose, and if we can do that consistently enough, then when the end comes, we will have won it all.
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when you’re motivated, you are in a state of tension. To relieve this tension, you engage in activity. Th e greater your tension, the greater your drive to bring about relief (Drafk e and Kossen 2005).
If all the air were suddenly sucked out of the room you are in right now, what would happen to your interest in reading the remaining pages of this chapter for your fi nal exam? You would not care about reading and study- ing for a fi nal exam and getting a credit in your last college course; you would not care about anything except getting air. Survival would be your only motivation.
But now that you have air, it does not motivate you. Stephen Covey (2004) calls this one of the greatest insights in the fi eld of human motivation: Satis- fi ed needs do not motivate. It’s only the unsatisfi ed need that motivates.
Psychologists have said that there is a reason for everything a person does. Th erefore, what are some of the needs that lead people to diff erent types of action?
FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN NEEDS. In First Things First, Stephen Covey (2005) discusses the essence of human needs being captured in the phrase: to live, to love, to learn, and to leave a legacy. Specifically, these four human needs are:
1. To live is our physical need for such things as food, clothing, shelter, economic well-being, and health.
2. To love is our social need to relate to other people, to belong, to love, to be loved.
3. To learn is our mental need to develop and to grow. 4. To leave a legacy is our spiritual need to have a sense of meaning,
purpose, personal congruence, and contribution.
Although we will refer to these needs again when we discuss what goals you would most want to accomplish, these needs are believed to be funda- mental to human fulfi llment. If these basic needs are not met, we feel empty and incomplete.
H appiness is a man’s greatest achievement: it is the response of his total personality to a productive orientation toward himself and the world outside.
How To Take Risks Effectively 1. Take risks often.
2. Start small. Small risks, with small penalties for failure, may be attempted fi rst. If successful, you will increase in both self-confi dence and knowledge and, therefore, can take on bigger risks.
3. The most appropriate risk is one in which there is a fi fty-fi fty chance of success or failure. This means that on the average, you will fail half of the time and succeed half of the time.
4. Prepare for your risks. Do not try to swim the English Channel without studying how it is done, practicing, getting into shape physically, and obtaining the proper equipment and support systems. The more experienced and better equipped you are, the more likely that your risk will succeed. You can control the outcome of your risks by being prepared and well-informed.
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Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
Perhaps the most widely accepted category of human needs was presented by Abraham Maslow (1998). It might help us to understand Maslow’s theory of human motivation by referring to how we reach the top of a ladder— one step at a time. Maslow feels that before we can “blossom” and grow toward self-actualization, the top of the ladder, we progress through certain steps. His theory of the stepladder, better known as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, might look something like Figure 10.1 .
Basically, Maslow believes that there are certain survival needs that must be met before we can become concerned with the satisfaction of other needs. We will now examine Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
PHYSIOLOGICAL NEEDS. Th ese biological needs include food, water, and air, which are essential to our physical well-being. Hence, they are oft en referred to as our primary needs because they keep us alive.
Figure 10.1 Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
Physiological Air, water, food, heat, homeostasis
Safety Adequate clothing, shelter,
and standard of living; security, stability, and lack of fear
Belongingness Feeling loved; belonging
to a group/family
Esteem Feeling respected
Reaching fulfillment and potential; feeling in
harmony with universe
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SAFETY AND SECURITY NEEDS. When our physiologi- cal needs have been satisfi ed, the safety needs are the next most important step on the hierarchy. Safety and security needs include a reasonably orderly and pre- dictable way of life, a savings account, shelter, insur- ance policies, etc.
LOVE AND BELONGING NEEDS. If our physiological needs are satisfi ed and our safety needs have been reasonably fulfi lled, needs for love, aff ection, and belonging are the next step on the hierarchy. Love and belonging needs drive us to seek meaningful relation- ships with others. We seek acceptance, approval, and a feeling of belonging in our social relationships. Com- panionship and friendship are very important in satis- fying this need to love and be loved.
ESTEEM NEEDS. Maslow believes that if people have their survival, safety, and aff ection needs met, they will develop a sense of appreciation for themselves. Th is sense of appreciation may be nothing more than the development of self-confi dence, which strengthens our self-esteem—our self-worth. We need to experience some degree of success to feel that we have achieved something worthwhile.
SELFACTUALIZATION NEEDS. Th e last step on the hierarchy represents the fullest development of our potentialities. Some writers believe that self- actualization is the need for self-fulfi llment—to fulfi ll oneself as a creative, unique individual according to his or her own innate potentialities. It has been said that we develop and use only about 10 to 15 percent of our poten- tial mental ability. Th erefore, only a small percentage of people achieve what they are really capable of doing.
Th ere are degrees of achievement of self-actualization, however. One person might feel that complete fulfi llment is being the ideal mother. Another person might satisfy this need by setting an occupational goal and reaching it. Actually, self-actualization is a matter of interpretation, and we have the right to decide what constitutes our satisfaction of this top step on the hierarchy.
Maslow’s (1993) book, Th e Further Reaches of Human Nature, contains some specifi c suggestions for increasing our self-actualization. Th ose sugges- tions are listed in How to.
I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my
chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.
Love and belonging needs drive us to seek meaningful relationships with others.
How To Increase Our Self-Actualization 1. Experience life fully, be alive and absorbed with what you are doing at the moment.
2. Learn to trust your own judgment and feelings in making life choices, such as marriage\and career.
3. Be honest with yourself and take responsibility for what you do.
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Where are you on the ladder? It is important that we realize that this stepladder of needs is somewhat fl exible. All people do not fulfi ll their needs in the order that Maslow gives; there are some exceptions. For example, some people may feel that self-esteem is more important than belonging and love. Furthermore, many of us move around on the ladder, as we strive to satisfy several needs together.
How do you go about satisfying the needs and wants in your life?
Plan Your Life Like You Would a Vacation
Richard Boles (2005), in his workshops on Life Planning, frequently refers to our lives being divided into three periods. Th e fi rst period is that of getting an education: the second period is that of going to work and earning a living or working in the home and community; and the third and last period is that of living in retirement.
One of Boles’s concerns is that these periods have become more and more isolated from each other. He makes a statement you may fi nd some- what surprising:
Life in each period seems to be conducted by those in charge without much consciousness of . . . never mind, preparation for . . . life in the next period.
WHY PLAN? If you really want to take an active part in satisfying the needs and wants of your life, you need a plan or an outline that will direct you toward your ultimate goal. Th e dictionary says a goal is an aim or purpose—a plan. You would not think of going on a vacation without some plans or goals for your trip. Aft er all, you might get lost. Are you trying to play the game of life without goals by moving from diff erent periods of your life without any plans or any direction?
If this describes the picture of your life right now, read the following words of Maxwell Maltz (1987) carefully:
We are engineered as goal-seeking mechanisms. We are built that way. When we have no personal goal which we are interested in and means something to us, we have to go around in circles, feel lost, and fi nd life itself aimless and purposeless. We are built to conquer our environment, solve problems, achieve goals, and we fi nd no real satisfaction or happiness
M ost people most of the time make decisions with little awareness of what they are doing. They take action with little understanding of their motives and without beginning to know the ramifi cations of their choices.
M. SCOTT PECK
4. Whenever possible, choose growth, rather than safety or security.
5. Recognize your defenses and illusions, and then work to give them up.
6. Even though peak experiences are transient, keep the aspiration of these moments of self-actualization alive in your everyday thoughts and actions.
7. Remember that self-actualization is a continual process; it is never fully achieved.
8. Commit yourself to concerns and causes outside yourself, because self-actualization comes more as a by-product of developing your full capacities than the egocentric pursuit of growth itself.
From Maslow The Further Reaches of Human Nature (1993).
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in life without obstacles to conquer and goals to achieve. People who say that life is not worthwhile are really saying that they themselves have no personal goals that are worthwhile. Get yourself a goal worth working for. Better still, get yourself a project. Decide what you want out of a situation. Always have something ahead to look forward to.
In short, we might say that goals give purpose and meaning to our lives; they give us something to aim for, something to achieve. Remember, the rea- son you make plans for your vacation is so you will reach your destination and have a good time in the process. Achieving what we want out of life is much like climbing to the top of a ladder. We do not leap to the top of the ladder; we have to take a few steps at a time. As the steps on a ladder lead to the top—the goal—our plan for achieving what we want out of life must have steps, too. Otherwise, we will be unable to climb.
Aft er you reach the top, can you quit? No! Goals become self-extending. We do not achieve a goal and suddenly feel comfortable and just quit. You do not get to your vacation destination and quit either. Th ere are things you want to do, and then you have to get back home, too. Rather, we achieve one goal and then fi nd that another fi lls its place. Th is is the way we continue to grow and get what we want out of life.
THE RESPONSIBILITY IS YOURS. It is your responsibility to build the road to your own enrichment; you must lay the foundation. David Campbell (1997), in his thought-provoking book, If You Don’t Know Where You’re Going,
You’ll Probably End Up Somewhere Else, likens life to a never-ending pathway, which has many side roads or paths in the form of options which confront us along that road; these side roads or paths have gates which are open or closed to us. When we come to each new option, there are two factors that determine whether we continue on the same path or take a new direction: one is credentials, and the second is motivation.
If you have the credentials (such as education, training, skills), you have an option available to you and may choose or not choose to take a new path. If you do not have the credentials, the gate remains closed at that point even if you are extremely motivated. In other words, no matter how much you may want that option, if you have not prepared for it, it is not going to be available to you.
Where will you be in fi ve/ten/twenty years? You may not know, but you probably have some dreams and ideas. Planning today will help you to go where you want to go, just like you want to get to your vacation destination, rather than drift along relying on luck or fate. Remember, do not forget to keep your options open.
Because we live in a world of change, the fulfi llment of our needs may vary from the experiences we encounter. A death of a spouse, for example, may threaten our security needs. Furthermore, as we grow and understand ourselves more clearly, our needs and wants probably change, too. In Unlimit Your Life: Setting and Getting Goals, James Fadiman (1990) notes that goals can serve as a coping strategy throughout our entire lives:
Since we are changing, having goals is a way for us to direct that change. Since we have no choice but to be older, we can choose how
Prepare yourself so you have the tools needed to reach your goals.
P lanning is bringing the future into the present so that you
can do something about it.
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we intend to grow older. We can also choose to have better health or worse, more freedom or less, greater income or less, more relationships or fewer.
Without a doubt, goals help us control the direction of change in our lives. We may have to ask ourselves quite oft en, “Where am I on the steplad- der? What are my goals? What are my plans for reaching these goals?”
Setting Your Goals: What Do You Want?
What do you want to achieve? It is important that you get to the “heart of yourself ” and answer this question. Whatever is satisfying and worthy can be a goal for you to accomplish. Th erefore, no goal is too insignifi cant if it contributes to your sense of achievement. It cannot be small; only you can make it small. Living each day fully is just as important as writing a book. At any rate, you, not anyone else, must be impressed with the goals you set for your life. Richard Boles (2009) confi rms this statement:
You have got to know what it is you want, or someone is going to sell you a bill of goods somewhere along the line that can do irreparable dam- age to your self-esteem, your sense of worth, and your stewardship of the talents that God gave you.
Authors Covey (2004), Roger-John and McWilliams (1994), and Ziglar (2000) write of at least seven diff erent kinds of goals:
physical family fi nancial mental spiritual social career
Do you have any needs, wants, or desires that could be worked on in any of the seven goal areas? Th ink about some of these possibilities:
Would you like to lose some weight or improve your appearance in some way? Would you like to start a personal physical fi tness program?
Would you like to meet some new people? Would you like to do some vol- unteer work for non-profi t organizations or become more involved in your community?
Are you satisfi ed with your spiritual life? If not, what could you do to improve that element in your life?
Have you been thinking of further developing your skills and capacities? What would you like to accomplish while you are in college?
Do you need to spend more time with your family? Do you need to rees- tablish a relationship with a distant family member?
Is your fi nancial management what it needs to be to provide for neces- sities and some of your wants? How can you save to buy that new car next year?
Would you like an enjoyable, satisfying job? Have you thought of planning to make an appointment with a counselor at your school and begin some serious career counseling?
As you can see, the list of possibilities is just endless. You know what some of your wants and needs are. Are you ready to select one or more of
A ll I know is that the fi rst step is to create the vision—that creates the want power.
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the seven goal areas and begin to establish some serious goals? When? What is wrong with today? Do not procrastinate. Th ere will never be a completely convenient time.
Contributors to Success
Th ere are countless defi nitions of what success really is. Success has oft en been referred to as the progressive realization of a worthwhile, predetermined personal goal (McCullough 2002). For example, some people defi ne success in terms of money and material possessions. Others may feel success is found in personal relationships. Th en, there are some people who believe that devel- oping their potential in work or some particular interest defi nes success. We might conclude that success is setting a goal and achieving that goal, whatever that goal may be.
What actually contributes to success?
A SENSE OF DIRECTION. If we do not know where we are going, we will certainly end up elsewhere. Th ere will, no doubt, be confl icting wants and needs. However, we need to establish priorities and make choices. A philoso- phy of life —or rules for living and values in life—is basic to the direction we choose. Successful people know the direction in which they are moving, and why they are going there. A unifi ed purpose, whatever that may be, gives meaning to our existence, and you already know from chapter nine how important this is.
A FEELING OF SELFCONFIDENCE. If we desire to be successful, a belief in our abilities and our worth as a human being is extremely essential. Most of our actions, feelings, behavior, and even our abilities are consistent with the degree of self-confi dence we have. Surely, we have all experienced failures, as well as successes in life. However, if we allow our failures to rule our life, we will never be able to realize our full potential. We are all imperfect. To be suc- cessful, we must learn to accept that our blunders, as well as our successes, are a part of us. Our blunders should only be remembered as guides to learning. Johnson (2008) makes this profound statement:
A basic tenet of all individuals who wish to succeed in any endeavor is “I have to be willing to fail.” You cannot learn, you cannot improve your
How To Set Successful Goals Your goals must be your own.
The goal must not be in confl ict with one’s personal value system .
Goals need to be specifi c and written down.
Start with short-range goals.
Goals must be realistic and attainable.
Goals should contain specifi c time deadlines.
I f your success is not on your own terms; if it looks
good to the world but does not feel good in your heart, it is not success at all.
I t’s a misnomer that our talents make us a success.
They help, but it’s not what we do well that enables us to achieve in the long run. It’s what we do wrong and how we correct that ensures our long-lasting success.
BERNIE MARCUS FOUNDER OF HOME DEPOT
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E xperience is simply the name we give our mistakes.
How To Achieve Success If you want to be successful, you have to take 100% responsibility for everything that you experience in your life. This includes the level of your achievements, the results you produce, the quality of your relationships, the state of your health and physical fi tness, your income, your debts, your feelings—everything.
Jack Canfi eld
The Success Principles
interpersonal eff ectiveness, you cannot build better relationships, and you cannot try new procedures and approaches unless you are willing to accept your mistakes. You need the ability to fail. Tolerance for failure and the ability to learn from it are very specifi c characteristics of any highly successful person.
Certainly, feelings of successful achievement are the greatest motivation for continued success. We have all heard the statement that we can do whatever we think we can. Th us, we will never experience suc- cess unless we have confi dence in ourselves. Because your performance is directly tied to the way you see yourself, real confi dence in yourself is always demon- strated by action.
A HEALTHY MENTAL ATTITUDE. Th e one word that infl uences our life more than any other is attitude. Th is word actually controls our environment and our entire world. Actually, our life is what our thoughts make it. If we think happy thoughts, we will be happy. If we think miserable thoughts, we will be miserable. If we think sickly thoughts, we will be ill. If we think failure, we will certainly fail. Successful people suc- ceed because they think they can attain their goal.
Certainly, a healthy mental attitude does not imply a pollyanna atti- tude toward all our problems. It simply means that we approach our problems and goals with a positive attitude. A negative attitude defeats us before we even start to work on our goals. On the other hand, a pos- itive attitude enables us to take action toward facing our problems and obtaining our goals. Mamie McCullough (2002), author and motivational speaker, defi nes a positive and a negative attitude in this way: A positive attitude says, “I can”; a negative attitude says, “I can’t” or “I won’t.” Behav- ioral researcher Shad Helmstetter (2003) off ers this thought-provoking statement:
No one, not one single person who was ever born on the face of this earth, was born to fail—or to automatically succeed. Th rough life—we tend to make choices to fail or succeed.
ur i A
10 , S
Do you have a positive mental attitude?
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A BELIEF IN PERSEVERANCE. In the game of life, you have to put something in before you can take anything out. Aft er all, is not this what you also have to do with your checking account? Successful people itch for a lot in life, but they are willing to scratch for what they want. Th erefore, we must determine how much time we are willing to give and what sacrifi ces we are willing to make towards the attainment of our goals. Th e magic word to success has been referred to as work —working hard and long to accomplish goals (Doskoch 2005). Th e late Sam Walton (1993), founder of the Wal Mart stores, had this to say about perseverance:
My life has been a trade-off . If I wanted to reach the goals I set for myself, I had to get at it and stay at it every day.
We need to remember that to give up is to invite complete defeat. Some people quit before they have given themselves a chance to succeed. People with a true belief in perseverance work toward their goals when encouraged and work harder when discouraged. It is very easy to give up, but much harder to continue, especially when “the going gets rough.” However, nothing worth- while has ever been accomplished the easy way. AN UNDERSTANDING OF OTHERS. More than likely our goals will involve other people. As a matter of fact, it is dangerous to make goals without carefully considering the eff ects they could have on your family. Remember, you do have to work around and with these folks. Furthermore, you want to take them with you down the road to your successes.
Don’t Quit When things go wrong, as they sometimes will, When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill, When the funds are low and the debts are high, And you want to smile, but you have to sigh, When care is pressing you down a bit— Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns, As everyone of us sometimes learns, And many a fellow turns about When he might have won had he stuck it out. Don’t give up though the pace seems slow— You may succeed with another blow.
Often the goal is nearer than It seems to a faint and faltering man; Often the struggler has given up When he might have captured the victor’s cup; And he learned too late when the night came down, How close he was to the golden crown. Success is failure turned inside out—
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt, And you never can tell how close you are, It may be near when it seems afar; So stick to the fi ght when you’re hardest hit,— It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit.
I can give you a six-word formula for success: Think
things through—then follow through.
EDWARD V. RICKENBACKER
M y favorite four-letter words are “hard work.” JOHN WAYNE
T he only place where success comes before work is in the
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It is important, therefore, that we learn to understand what their needs are, how they feel, and how to interact with them. Learning the art of human communication is vitally important to achieving success. Successful people rarely make it completely on their own; they have generally been encouraged by others.
In essence, people who are successful in reaching their goals have direc- tion, dedication, discipline, and a super-positive attitude.
But, will you have enough time to develop these qualities of success?
The Time in Your Life
Time presents a problem to all of us. Alec Mackenzie (2009), a time- management expert, off ers some interesting insights:
You can’t save it and use it later. You can’t elect not to spend it.
Consider this . . .Consider this . . .
The value of courage, persistence, and perseverance has rarely been illustrated more convincingly than in the life story of this man (his age appears in the column on the right):
Failed in business 22 Ran for Legislature—defeated 23 Again failed in business 24 Elected to Legislature 25 Sweetheart died 26 Had a nervous breakdown 27 Defeated for Speaker 29 Defeated for Elector 31 Defeated for Congress 34 Elected to Congress 37 Defeated for Congress 39 Defeated for Senate 46 Defeated for Vice President 47 Defeated for Senate 49 Elected to President of the United States 51
That’s the record of Abraham Lincoln!
I f I had permitted my failures, or what seemed to
me at the time a lack of success, to discourage me, I cannot see any way in which I would ever have made progress.
Th ere is nothing more beautiful than a rainbow, but it takes both rain and sunshine to make a rainbow. If life is too rounded and many-colored like the rainbow, both joy and sorrow must come to it. Th ose who have never known anything but prosperity and pleasure become hard and shallow, but those whose prosperity has been mixed with adversity become kind and gracious.
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You can’t borrow it. You can’t leave it. Nor can you retrieve it. You can’t take it with you, either.
But . . . Time is always with you—and you can lose it or use it—the choice is up
to you. However, sometimes we get uptight about “time.” Th ese frustrations of time are largely due to your attitudes toward time. Many of these attitudes are based on false assumptions (Douglas and Douglas 1993).
For example, you have been told that to be successful you must learn to manage your time. Th is is impossible. You cannot manage time. It is frustrat- ing to think you can manage something over which you have absolutely no control. But you can learn to manage yourself.
Another false assumption is saying, “I don’t have time to do that.” Prob- ably not so. You have the time. You just do not choose to spend it in that manner. It is probably an unpleasant task that you would rather not do. Th at’s okay. But why blame time?
Or how about, “She has more time than I do.” Everybody has the same amount of time. But everybody spends it doing diff erent things by choice or habit.
TIME MANAGEMENT IS REALLY SELFMANAGEMENT. Th ere are several ways of looking at exactly how much time we have. For example, each of us has twenty-four hours—1,440 minutes a day, 10,080 minutes a week, or 8,760 hours a year to spend, invest, or fritter away. We spend time doing the maintenance tasks of life—working, eating, sleeping, and so on. We invest time in learn- ing, creating or loving. Th ese time “investments” continue to pay dividends in personal satisfaction, career advancement, or fond memories. Sometimes we fritter away valuable time in activities we do not really enjoy and soon forget. Oft en, this is caused by our inability to say “No!” (Lakein 1996).
Remember, you should be the master of time and not let it master you. Discovering your time wasters is the key to managing yourself in relation to time. Th e word time waster can be defi ned to mean anything preventing you from achieving your objectives most eff ectively. Most time wasters are self- generated. For example, do you ever procrastinate—put things off until it’s too late or no longer matters? You might be surprised to learn that procrastination is one of the most common time management problems, or time wasters.
ESTABLISHING PRIORITIES. Take a moment and refl ect on this question: What one thing could you do in your personal and professional life that, if you did on a regular basis, would make a tremendous positive diff erence in your life? Now, refl ect on this question: How much time are you spending in this area or on this activity?
People who accomplish the most do so not because they have more time, but because they use their time more wisely. Th ey know that planning and goal setting are the keys to successful time management.
Stephen Covey (2004), author of the best seller, Th e 7 Habits of Highly Eff ective People, teaches partici- pants in personal leadership training groups that the
essence of eff ective time and life management is to organize and execute around balanced priorities. Covey then asks his participants to consider
What are your time wasters?
P erhaps the most valuable result of all education is the
ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not. It is the fi rst lesson that ought to be learned and is probably the last lesson a person learns thoroughly.
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the following: If you were to fault yourself in one of three areas, which would it be:
Th e inability to 1. prioritize Th e inability or desire to 2. organize around those priorities Th e lack of 3. discipline to execute around them, to stay with your priorities and organization
Covey says that most people believe that their main fault is discipline. However, Covey believes the basic problem is that people’s priorities have not become deeply planted in their hearts and minds. In First Th ings First , Covey (2005) summarizes the importance of priorities with these words:
Putting fi rst things fi rst is an issue at the very heart of life. Almost all of us feel torn by the things we want to do, by the demands placed on us, by the many responsibilities we have. We all feel challenged by the day- to-day and moment-by-moment decisions we must make regarding the best use of our time.
If you had a bank that credited your account each morning with $86,400, carried over no balance from day to day, allowing you to keep no cash in your account, canceling all unused funds at the end of each day, what would you do? You have such a bank. It’s called time. Every morning, each person’s account is credited with 86,400 seconds. Every night, each second not put toward a good purpose is canceled. Time carries no balance forward. Nor does time allow us to borrow against future allocations. We can only live on today’s deposit and invest our time toward the utmost health, happiness, and success.
How To Waste Time
Procrastination Watching TV
Personal disorganization Talking on the telephone or cell phone
Lack of planning Meetings
Poor communication Excessive errands
Commuting and/or traffi c delays Attempting too much at once
Lack of self-discipline Leaving tasks unfi nished
Not setting deadlines Drop-in visitors
Inability to say no! Texting
Playing video games
Which of these timewasters create a problem for you? Which do you have control over?
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Decisions are easier when it’s a question of “good” or “bad.” We can easily see how some ways we spend our time are wasteful, mind-numbing, even destructive. But for most of us, the issue is not between the “good” and the “bad,” but between the “good” and the “best.” So oft en, the enemy of the best is the good.
8020 PRINCIPLE. People who eff ectively manage their time have learned to structure their lives so that they focus most of their time and energy on what is most important to them and minimize the time they spend on activities that they do not value. Th ey realize that the quality of their lives is enhanced when they are able to do a few things well, instead of trying to fi nd time to do a little of everything.
You may be thinking to yourself: “All of my responsibilities are important; I can’t simply drop some of them to do what I please.” Have you heard of the 80-20 principle ? Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian economist, noted that 20 percent of what we do yields 80 percent of the results. Conversely, 80 percent of what we do yields 20 percent of the results. Th is principle can be applied to many areas of life. For example, about 20 percent of the newspaper is worth your while to read. You are better off just skimming the rest of it. A good 80 percent of most people’s mail is junk and best not read at all. Just about 80 percent of your housework can wait almost indefi nitely, while 20 percent of it, if not done, would soon make your home uninhabitable (Davis et al. 2008).
Using time eff ectively is dependent on your daily identifi cation of priori- ties of the important things you have to do or want to do (Lock 2005) . You must decide what the important objectives are in your life and then establish priori- ties every day in relation to these objectives.
Culture and the Organization of Time
Let us assume that you have arranged to meet one of your friends for lunch at 12:30 P.M. Th e friend has not arrived at 12:45, 1:00, or even 1:15. Now, answer these questions: What time did you arrive? Were you “on time?” How long would you wait for your friend before you started to feel worried or annoyed?
In most parts of the United States and Canada, you would have been there pretty close to 12:30 and not waited much past 1:00. Th at is because these countries, along with northern European nations, are what Edward T. Hall (1990) calls monochronic cultures : Time is organized into linear segments in which people do one thing “at a time.” Actually, the day is divided into appointments, schedules, and routines, and because time is a precious commodity, people do not like to “waste” time. In such cultures, therefore, it is considered the height of rudeness (or status) to keep some- one waiting.
However, the farther south you go in Europe, South America, and Africa, the more likely you are to fi nd polychronic cultures . In these cultures, time is organized along parallel lines. People do many things at once, and the demands of friends and family supersede those of the appointment book. As a matter of fact, people in Latin America and the Middle East think nothing of waiting all day, or even a week, to see someone. Th e idea of having to be somewhere “on time,” as if time were more important than a person, is unthinkable.
Th e diff erences in time orientation between the two cultural styles is sum- marized in Focus on Diversity.
A nything less than a conscious commitment to the important is an unconscious commitment to the unimportant.
W hat, of all things in the world, is the longest and the shortest, the swiftest and the slowest, the most neglected, and the most regretted, without which nothing can be done: TIME.
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Creating Harmony in Your Life
Th ink about the last time you heard a symphony orchestra play and then answer these questions: Just by chance, was there one instrument that was given so much emphasis the others simply were not heard? Was there one instrument that seemed “out-of-synch?” Or, were all the instruments playing in a harmonious melody?
What does a symphony orchestra have to do with your life? Th e important areas in your life, to which you devote your time and energy, do not exist in isolation but are very much like a symphony orchestra playing. Individual instruments (like work) sound fi ne, but when combined into a symphony (your life), the eff ect on your whole life is then multiplied. Could it be pos- sible that you have not found a harmonious melody to play with all of the important areas in your life? Could it be possible that you might have one important “instrument” that has been given so much emphasis, that there is no way for the others to be heard? Balance is important with our lives, as with a symphony orchestra.
YOUR CHAIR OF LIFE. Someone once said that each individual has a chair of life . Th is chair contains four legs, each representing an extremely valuable part of our life. For example, the four legs might be: 1) Vocation, 2) Family and friends, 3) Avocation—interests and hobbies, and 4) Spirituality.
If we are experiencing contentment in each of these areas, we must be contributing some quality time to each of these areas. In short, our chair of life is in balance —there is a harmonious melody in your life. However, if one of the legs becomes longer or shorter than the others because of too much time or too little time, we feel uncomfortable, stressed, and oft entimes dissatisfi ed. In short, our chair of life is out of balance —a harmonious melody does not exist in our life.
If it is diffi cult for you to relate to a symphony orchestra, then fi nd a chair with four legs and sit down for just a moment. Label each leg of the chair with the important areas of your life. For example, 1) Work, 2) Family, 3) School, 4) Playing tennis with friends. Let’s assume that by the time you go to school
O ne who every morning plans the priorities of the day and follows out that plan carries a thread that will guide one through the most busy life. But, where no plan is laid, where the disposal of time is surrendered merely to the chance of in-cidents, chaos soon reigns.
Time Orientation Monochronic People Polychronic People
Do one thing at a time Do many things at once
Take time commitments seriously Consider time commitments an objective to be achieved, if possible
Give the job fi rst priority Give people fi rst priority
Adhere religiously to plans Change plans and schedules often and easily and schedules
Emphasize promptness Care less about own promptness than other people’s needs; are almost never “on time”
Which time orientation do you prefer?
Hall and Hall (1990).
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and work and spend some time with your family, you are fi nding little time for your favorite stress-relieving hobby—playing tennis with your friends. As a result, you are beginning to feel a little cheated. Get several books and place them under the leg of the chair representing this very important leisure activity. Now, sit down in the chair. How do you feel? Off -balance, right! Are you afraid you are going to fall over?
Th is is the true picture of what goes on in our life when we either direct too little or too much time to the important areas in our life. Something is “out of synch.” You notice yourself getting really irritated or even depressed.
Th is illustration can even be used to describe a person who is so commit- ted to the World of Work that there is little time for family life or anything else. Is the pursuit of a career worth losing the respect and admiration of your family? You will have to decide that, but here is a view from Mary Kay Ash (2008), the founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics:
It’s most fulfi lling to build a successful career, but if you lose your spouse and family in the process, then, I think you have failed. Success is
ily and F
What would your chair of life look like?
Would it be in balance or out of balance?
Recipe for SUCCESSFUL LIFE PLANNING
Know what you want. Know what you are willing to give up to have what you
want. Have a game plan. Go to work consistently each day on your game plan.
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so much more wonderful when you have someone to share it with. It’s no fun to come home and count your money by yourself.
Th e important thing is to learn to recognize when your chair of life is getting out of balance and take immediate action to balance your time and energy on all the important aspects of your life. Otherwise, you may lose a major portion of one or more legs of your chair of life. When this happens, your whole life is out of balance. M. Scott Peck (2003) makes a thought- provoking statement:
Mature mental health demands an extraordinary capacity to fl ex- ibly strike and continually restrike a delicate balance between confl icting needs, goals, duties, responsibilities, etc. Th e essence of this discipline of balancing is “giving up.” . . . As we negotiate the curves and corners of our lives, we must continually give up parts of ourselves since the loss of bal- ance is ultimately more painful than the giving up required to maintain balance.
In essence, in life there are tradeoff s. Th ere is a price to pay for what is important to you. You and you alone must decide what your trade-off s will be.
Effective Life Planning: It’s All Up to You!
Th e key to successful life planning is the willingness to take responsibility for ourselves. It is indeed possible for us to take control of our lives in the midst of the forces around us. In a life situation, we have three choices: change it, enjoy- tolerate it, or leave it. To change it, we must change our behavior, goals, or circumstances. If we choose to enjoy it, we must recognize that it is our choice to stay with it, for whatever set of reasons. Th en, if we choose to leave our life situation, we must fi nd another environment for our energies. We must remember that feeling forced to stay with our life situation and hating it is not a viable and productive alternative.
Th ere are many opportunities for us to grow, to fi nd interesting work, and to vary our lives. Actually, the freedom and opportunity to realize our potential are relatively rich and available to a relatively large proportion of people. However, we must choose to actively pursue the possibilities we do have. We cannot wait for “good things” to happen to us; we have to make them happen.
Because goals give direction and purpose to our life, goal setting should be a continuous activity throughout our lifetime. What happens in life plan- ning is that we pause frequently to reevaluate ourselves, our goals, and our performances. As we improve in the understanding of ourselves, our wants, needs, and goals may change.
With this thought in mind, there are some questions you ask yourself about the arena of life and work planning: Who Am I? What Am I Up To Right Now? Where Am I Going? And What Diff erence Does It Make Anyhow? (Corey and Corey 2008). If we, from time to time, apply these questions to our per- sonal objectives, our lives will be more eff ective, satisfying, and of course, more in balance.
But, what exactly makes a person feel satisfi ed and fulfi lled? Have you ever asked yourself these questions: “Is there a secret to happiness?” “What would really make me happy?” We will conclude this chapter with a discus- sion of happiness and well-being.
D o what you can, with what you have, where you are. THEODORE ROOSEVELT
I f it is to be; it is up to me. FORTUNE COOKIE
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Happiness and Well-Being
Th e question of what makes a person happy has been the subject of much speculation and increasingly more research studies. Americans have a pecu- liar relationship to happiness. On the one hand, we consider happiness a right, and we do everything in our power to try to possess it, most particularly in materialistic form. However, materialistic comforts by themselves have not led to lasting happiness. Having reached that conclusion, we do not oft en see another way and retreat into our comforts, barricading ourselves from what appears to be a hostile and threatening world. And, we continue to crave a happiness that seems both deserved and yet out of reach.
WHAT IS HAPPINESS? Psychiatrist Dr. Mark Epstein (1995) believes that one reason we have so much trou- ble attaining happiness is that we do not even know what it is. For example, the very ways in which we seek happiness actually block us from fi nding it. Our fi rst mistake is in trying to wipe out all the sources of dis- pleasure in our lives. Actually, pleasure and displeasure are two sides of the same coin. We cannot have one without the other, and trying to split them off from each other only mires us more deeply in our own dis- satisfaction.
Happiness, therefore, is not easy to defi ne. Dr. Epstein (1995) off ers the following defi nition of happiness : “We confuse happiness with a life unclut- tered by feelings of anxiety, rage, doubt, and sadness. But happiness is something entirely diff erent. It’s the
What is happiness to you?
How Happy Are You? The Satisfaction with Life Scale was devised in 1980 by University of Illinois psychologist Edward Diener, a founding father of happiness research. Since then, the scale has been used by researchers around the world. Indicate your agreement with each item using the following 1 to 7 scale. Total your score.
7—Strongly agree; 6—Agree; 5—Slightly agree; 4—Neither agree nor disagree; 3—Slightly disagree; 2—Disagree; 1—Strongly disagree.
______ In most ways, my life is close to my ideal. ______ The conditions of my life are excellent. ______ I am satisfi ed with my life. Total Score______ ______ So far I have gotten the important things in life. ______ If I could live my life over, I would change almost nothing
Scoring: 31–35—extremely satisfi ed; 26–30— very satisfi ed; 21–25—slightly satisfi ed; 20—Neutral; 15–19—Slightly dissatisfi ed; 10–14—Dissatisfi ed; 5–9—Extremely dissatisfi ed
Most Americans score in the 21–25 range. A score above 25 indicates that you are more satisfi ed than most people are.
Check This Out
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ability to receive the pleasant without grasping and the unpleasant without condemning.”
Social psychologist David G. Myers reviews thousands of recent studies conducted worldwide in search of the key to happiness in his book, Th e Pursuit of Happiness. Dr. Myers (1993) defi nes happiness in this way: “It is a ‘pervasive’ sense that life is good—a state of well-being that outlasts yesterday’s moment of elation, today’s buoyant mood, or tomorrow’s feeling of sadness.”
Psychologists and researchers frequently refer to happiness as subjec- tive well-being (SWB) and are exploring it in their labs. One discovery is that happy people show more electrical activity in the left frontal lobe of the brain, while those who tend toward sadness or depression show more right frontal lobe activity (Myers 1996). University of Minnesota researcher David Lykken (2001) indicates that about 50 percent of one’s satisfaction with life comes from genetic programming.
Myths and Truths about Happiness
Additional work needs to be done in refi ning and redefi ning studies of who has SWB, who does not, and why, and how to help those who do not have enough. In the process, researchers are overturning many cherished myths and coming up with surprising new fi ndings:
Happiness is not an illusion or a delusion. SWB can be measured on fi nite scales and is just as real as its opposite number, depression. People who defi ne themselves as satisfi ed are supported in their belief by friends and family who concur. Happiness is evident in practically everything they do.
Happiness and marriage may go together. Some people are happier attached than unattached says Dr. Ed Diener (2003), researcher from the University of Illinois. Married people appear to be happier because they generally are less lonely and have roles as spouse and parent that enhance self-esteem and happiness.
Happiness knows no gender. An analysis of 146 SWB studies showed a less than one percent diff erence in happiness between the sexes (Myers 1993; 1996). Th is contradicts the popular belief that women are sadder than men. Although it is true that women are twice as likely as men to suff er from depression and anxiety, men have fi ve times their rate of alcoholism and antisocial personalities—which evens out the happiness equation.
What do men and women feel enhances their happiness? See the gender results in Gender and You—Quality-of-Life Enhancers on the next page.
Happiness doesn’t depend on age. No particular stage of life is less happy than any other; not the tumultuous teenage years, not the “midlife crisis” period, not even the waning decades of old age. However, in face-to-face interviews with around 28,000 people ages 18 to 88, Yang Yang (2008), a University of Chicago sociologist, indicates that it does appear that people are most content between ages 60 and 86—a time when most are focusing less on achievements and more on enjoying life and relationships.
Wealth does not beget happiness. Money does buy happiness, but only up to the point where it enables you to live comfortably. Beyond that, more cash doesn’t boost your well-being (Flora 2009).
W e tend to forget that happiness does not come as a result of getting something we don’t have; but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.
H appiness is easy. It is the letting go of unhappiness that is hard. We are willing to give up everything but our misery.
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Quality-of-Life Enhancers U.S. News and the advertising agency Bozell Worldwide Inc. polled 1,009 American adults in 1995 and asked them to name the three things that most contribute to their quality of life. Americans cited these factors: (Marks 1995)
1. Job/career satisfaction 32%
2. Relationship with family 28%
3. Money I earn from job/fi nancial independence
4. Good health 12%
5. Where I live (city/state/urban/suburban/rural) 11%
6. Religion/spirituality 11%
7. Relationship with spouse/signifi cant other 10%
8. Relationship with friends 10%
9. Education level 8%
10. My home 7%
Do you think the results would be different if the polling was done TODAY? What three things would contribute most to your quality of life?
And in a survey of the Forbes 100 wealthiest, Dr. Diener found that the privileged are not much happier, overall, than working-class folk. Money may become an avenue for something bigger and better—a way to keep score and compare. For example, you may have a lovely home, but if it sits next door to a neighbor’s mansion, it may be a source of more dissatisfaction than happiness. Even striking it rich does not seem to have the eff ect of boosting a person’s happiness. Studies of lottery winners reveal that the sudden euphoria experi- enced upon winning quickly wears off . What is important, though, is having enough money to buy life’s necessities (Diener 2003).
Who Is Happiest?
Drs. Diener (2003), Myers (1993; 1996), and their fellow SWB research- ers have pinpointed a number of traits that seem to be shared by happy people:
Self-Esteem. Happy people like themselves. A healthy self-esteem is posi- tive yet realistic and provides a less fragile foundation for enduring joy. Hand-in-hand with self-esteem go personal identity and having a sense of purpose, accomplishment, and achievement.
Optimism. Happy people are hope fi lled and are confi dent they can make things better, even when they have failed or experienced rejection in some
1. Relationship with family 33%
2. Job/career satisfaction 28%
3. Good health 19%
4. Religion/spirituality 18%
5. Money I earn from job 17%
6. Relationship with children 14%
7. Relationship with friends 12%
8. Where I live (city/state/urban/suburban/ rural)
9. Relationship with spouse/signifi cant other 9%
10. My home 8%
O ften people attempt to live their lives backwards: they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want so that they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must fi rst be who you really are, then, do what you need to do, in order to have what you want.
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endeavor. People who expect the best are the happiest, and they are also healthier and less vulnerable to illness.
Extroversion. Happy people are more outgoing, more cheerful, and high-spirited. Extroverted people are more involved with people, have a larger circle of friends, engage in rewarding social activities, experience more aff ection, and enjoy greater social support.
Personal Control. Happy people believe that they choose their own destinies. You will recall from our discussion in chapter three, individu- als with an “internal locus of control” participate in determining the con- tents of their lives and live more happily. Summarizing the University of Michigan’s nationwide surveys, Angus Camp-bell (1997) commented that “having a strong sense of controlling one’s life is a more dependable predic- tor of positive feelings of well-being than any of the objective conditions of life we have considered.”
OTHER INGREDIENTS TO HAPPINESS. Having a strong spiritual faith, hav- ing close, supportive friendships and marriages, and having work and other activities that enhance our identity and absorb us into fl ow appear to be addi- tional ingredients to happiness (Garcia 2005). Being really happy, according to psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (1997), is living in a state of fl ow — that is, being totally absorbed in an activity, whether at work or play. Flow goes beyond mere contentment; it entails active participation, a sense of mas- tery, and the use of all or most of your skills. Using too few skills generates boredom, which Dr. Csikszentmihalyi warns, may be the biggest threat to happiness.
Ways to Be Happy
Have you ever thought, I will be happy when this semester is over and I make an “A” in my psychology class, or when I get a new job, or meet the perfect someone with whom to share my life. But, would you like to start making happiness a habit right now? In her books, Simple Abundance and Th e Simple Abundance Companion, Sarah Breathnach (1998; 2000), writes of our need to adopt a new state of mind about happiness. She encourages us to stop thinking that things outside our control will bring us happiness.
Certainly, the semester being over and making an “A” in psychology, get- ting a new and exciting job, or fi nding that special someone can make us feel—at least momentarily—happier. But the magic seeds of contentment are planted deep within us—our outlook on life (McGowan 2005). Although the pursuit of happiness is an inalienable right guaranteed by the Declaration of Independence, we have to be willing to pursue it.
In Notes on How to Live in the World and Still Be Happy, Hugh Prather (2002) says, “You must make the eff ort—the struggle to be happy now—and not fi rst gain what you need in order to be happy.” Dr. Myers (1996; 2001) agrees by saying, “happiness is less a matter of getting what you want— money, possessions, success, etc.—than of wanting what you have.” He off ers ten steps to happiness, culled from his own and other psychologists observations of how happy people live. See How to on the next page.
Ultimately, genuine happiness can only be realized once we commit to making it a personal priority in our lives. Perhaps, some of the following thoughts will give you some helpful ideas.
H appiness is having a sense of self—not as a feeling of being perfect but being good enough and knowing that you are in the process of growth, of achieving levels of joy. It’s a wonderful contentment and acceptance of who and what you are and a knowledge that the world and life are full of wondrous adventures and possibilities.
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464 Chapter 10 Life Planning
In Love, Medicine, and Miracles , Bernie Siegel (1998) reminds readers:
My advice is to live your life. Allow that wonderful inner intelligence to speak through you. Th e blueprint for you to be your authentic self lies within. In some mystical way the microscopic egg that grew to be you had the program for your physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual development. Allow the development to occur to its fullest; grow and bloom. Follow your bliss and be what you want to be. Don’t climb the ladder of success only to fi nd it’s leaning against the wrong wall. Do not let your age limit your future growth as a human being.
In Life is So Good , George Dawson (2002), who died at the age of 103, tells of how he became bored with fi shing at the age of 98 and found time to do the one thing he was never able to in his younger days—he learned to read. “Don’t worry about what someone else thinks,” Dawson writes in his autobiography. “Just do the right thing and take pride in yourself.”
How To Achieve Happiness
Savor the moment. Live in the present and take advantage of treasured moments and events that occur every day.
Take control of your time. Happy people set big goals, then break them into small, doable daily bits.
Reprogram the mind. Happy people work to control their emotions by thinking more positively than negatively.
Leave time for love. Having—or developing—an enriching and fulfi lling relationship with another person.
Act happy. Happy people are self-confi dent, optimistic and extroverted. Even if you do not feel that way, act happy.
Do not vegetate. Get involved in something that utilizes your skills, rather than engaging in self-absorbed idleness.
Get moving. Aerobic exercise is an antidote to depression and anxiety. Get rest. Happy people exude vigor, but they also reserve time for sleep and solitude. Give priority to close relationships. People with close friends, spouses, and signifi cant oth-
ers cope better with stresses such as bereavement, job loss, illness, etc., so seek friendship and do not shy away from commitment.
Take care of the soul. Faith cannot insure immunity from sadness, but it can nudge you along on the road to happiness.
Myers (1996; 2001).
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I ’ve learned that if you pursue happiness, it will elude you.
But if you focus on your family, your friends, the needs of others, your work and doing the very best you can, happiness will fi nd you.
Finally, in Authentic Happiness , Martin Seligman (2004) says that to be really happy, you must lead: 1) a pleasant life —the pleasure of doing things, 2) a good life —the gratifi cation of being absorbed and engaged in life’s activi- ties, 3) a meaningful life —fi nding personal fulfi llment in life activities.
Perhaps the words of anthropologist Margaret Mead best explain how to achieve happiness:
Th e Authentic Life
Other people attempt to live backwards; they try to have more things or more money, in order to do more of what they want, so they will be happier. Th e way it actually works is the reverse. You must fi rst be who you really are, then do what you need to do, in order to have what you want.
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466 Chapter 10 Life Planning
If you are going to get serious about life planning, you will have to take risks. Th e purpose of life planning is to be certain that the risks you take are the right ones, based on careful thought.
■ Th e Basic Law of Life is related to risk taking in that, for everything you get in life, you also have to give up something.
■ Needs and drives cause us to consider life planning. A need is a condition that exists when we are deprived of something we want or require. When a need exists, it creates a drive that pushes (motivates) us to satisfy the need. One of the greatest insights in the fi eld of human motivation is that satisfi ed needs do not motivate. It’s only the unsatisfi ed need that motivates.
■ Four fundamental human needs, according to Stephen Covey, are to live, to love, to learn, and to leave a legacy.
■ Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is based on the principle that there are certain survival needs that must be met before we can become concerned with the satisfaction of other needs. Th e hierar- chy of needs includes: physiological, safety and security, love and belonging, self-esteem, and self- actualization, the fullest development of our potentialities.
■ Our lives are divided into three periods: 1) getting an education, 2) going to work and earning a living or working in the home and community, and 3) living in retirement. It is important that we consider each period when we consider life planning. A plan is a goal or aim for satisfying the needs and wants of your life. In short, goals give purpose and meaning to our lives.
■ Authorities generally write of at least seven diff erent kinds of goals: physical, fi nancial, spiritual, career, family, mental, and social.
■ Some guidelines or criteria for identifying personal goals and making them work are: your goals must be your own, the goal must not be in confl ict with one’s personal value system, goals need to be specifi c and written down, start with short-range goals, goals must be realistic and attainable, and goals should contain specifi c time deadlines.
■ Success might be defi ned as the progressive realization of a worthwhile, predetermined personal goal. Contributors to success are: a sense of direction, a feeling of self-confi dence, a healthy mental attitude, a belief in perseverance, and an understanding of others.
■ A basic tenet of all individuals who wish to succeed in any endeavor is “I have to be willing to fail.” And, the magic word to success has been referred to as “work”—working hard and long to accomplish goals.
■ You cannot manage time, but you can learn to manage yourself within the time you have. Discovering your time wasters—anything preventing you from achieving your objectives most eff ectively—is the key to managing yourself in relation to time. Th e essence of eff ective time and life management is to organize and execute around balanced priorities. When we either direct too little or too much time to the important areas in our life, our chair of life is out of balance.
■ Th e 80-20 principle states that 20 percent of what we do yields 80 percent of the results; and conversely, 80 percent of what we do yields 20 percent of the results.
■ In monochronic cultures, time is organized sequentially, and schedules and deadlines are valued over people. In polychronic cultures, time is organized horizontally, and people tend to do several things at once and value relationships over schedules.
■ Th e key to successful life planning is the willingness to take responsibility for ourselves. As we take con- trol of our lives in various situations, we have three choices: change it, enjoy—tolerate it, or leave it.
■ Four questions to ask yourself about the arena of life and work planning are: 1) who am I, 2) what am I up to, 3) where am I going, and 4) what diff erence does it make anyway.
■ One mistake people commonly make in seeking happiness is to try to wipe out all the sources of dis- pleasure in their life, but we cannot have one without the other. Happiness is a sense that life is good—a state of well-being that outlasts yesterday’s moment of elation, today’s buoyant mood, or tomorrow’s feeling of sadness.
■ Several truths about happiness are: happiness is not an illusion or a delusion, happiness and marriage may go together, happiness knows no gender, happiness does not depend on age, and wealth does not beget happiness.
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■ Several traits that seem to be shared by happy people are: self esteem, optimism, extroversion, and personal control. Having a strong spiritual faith, having close, supportive friendships and marriages, and having work and other activities that enhance our identity and absorb us into the fl ow appear to be additional ingredients to happiness. Living in a state of fl ow is being totally absorbed in an activity, whether at work or play, with a sense of mastery, and the use of all or most of one’s skills.
■ We can learn to adopt a new state of mind about happiness: making the eff ort to be happy now, rather than fi rst gaining what we want or need in order to be happy.
Remember, you are in control of what you want to achieve in life and how you are going to accom- plish your goals.
Test Review Questions: Learning Outcomes
1. Explain what the Basic Law of Life means and how it applies to risk-taking. 2. Explain how needs and drives cause us to consider life planning or take various directions for our
life. In the fi eld of human motivation, which needs motivate, and which needs do not motivate? 3. Explain the four fundamental human needs, as outlined by Stephen Covey. 4. Explain the concept of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. List and discuss the needs at each level in the
hierarchy. 5. According to Richard Boles, into what three periods are our lives divided? Explain how these three
periods should be considered in life planning. Discuss the purpose of goal setting. 6. List at least fi ve diff erent kinds of goal areas, as discussed in the text. 7. Discuss the guidelines or criteria for identifying personal goals and making them successful. 8. Explain the contributors to success. What is the magic word to success? 9. Identify and explain the signifi cance of the basic tenet of all individuals who wish to succeed in any
endeavor. 10. Explain why it is impossible to manage time. What is the essence of eff ective time and life
management? Explain the chair of life concept. Is your chair of life in balance or out of balance—why?
11. Discuss the meaning of the 80-20 principle as it applies to establishing priorities in one’s life. 12. Distinguish between monochronic and polychronic cultures in relation to the way time is
organized. 13. Identify and explain the key to successful life planning. What three choices do we have as we learn
to take control of our lives in various situations? 14. Discuss four questions you can ask yourself about the arena of life and work planning. 15. Defi ne happiness, and discuss why pleasure and displeasure are “two sides of the same coin.” 16. Discuss at least fi ve myths and truths of happiness. 17. Discuss the traits that seem to be shared by happy people. What other ingredients lead to
happiness? Explain the term, “living in a state of fl ow,” as it relates to happiness. 18. Explain how we can learn the happiness habit. List and discuss at least six steps to happiness.
Basic Law of Life Chair of Life Drive Esteem Needs Flow (Living in a state of) Goals Happiness
Love and Belonging Needs Maslow’s Hierarchy
of Needs Monochronic Cultures Need Physiological Needs Polychronic Cultures
Risk Safety and Security
Needs Self-Actualization Needs Success Time Waster 80-20 Principle
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1. What risks are you afraid of taking right now in your life? 2. What are you going to have to give up to have what you want? 3. What do you think are the basic needs and wants of human beings? 4. Identify some of the needs and wants you have established right now in your life. What are you now
doing to satisfy them? 5. Of Maslow’s fi ve basic needs, which one seems most important for you to satisfy right now? 6. What does success mean to you? 7. What determines success in our society? 8. Discuss this statement: Each of us becomes what we think about. 9. What is your greatest time waster? How much of your time do you spend in this activity? 10. Diagram and discuss your chair of life. Is it in balance? If not, why? 11. Discuss, giving examples, how the 80-20 principle has applied to your life. 12. What is your defi nition of happiness? 13. Discuss this statement: if you can’t appreciate what you have, your achievements will feel hollow.
www.time-management-guide.com/ Time management hints.
www.motivation123.com/ A psychological view of motivation and happiness.
http://www.mapnp.org/library/prsn_prd/decision.htm A site designed by an expert who guides you through step-by-step decision making.
468 Chapter 10 Life Planning
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Your Life’s Activities Purpose: To demonstrate how your activities make up your life.
I. Divide the circle on the left, as a pie, into parts that represent your current life. Label each part: for example, home life, work, personal, education, leisure, and whatever else represents your current life.
II. Divide the circle on the right into parts that represent your life three years ago. Use the same labeling as in the fi rst circle or add others as needed.
III. For the third circle, divide it in a way that represents the ideal way you’d like your life to be. Label each part as in previous circles.
IV. Complete the answers to the questions below and be prepared to discuss them in small groups.
Current Life Three Years Ago
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Discussion Let us compare and contrast the three circles.
1. What is keeping your present circle of activities from being like the ideal circle?
2. What can you do within the next six months to make the ideal circle like your real life?
3. Is your ideal circle realistic for you? Why or why not?
4. What did you learn about yourself from this activity?
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What Do You Want? Purpose: To establish three sets of goals and to examine what you are really working toward accomplishing.
I. Write down what goals you would like to accomplish in the following areas. If you do not have a goal in a particular area, that is okay. You decide.
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II. Next, select the three things you want most to accomplish within the next six months.
III. Now, select from your goals the three things you want most to accomplish in the next year.
IV. Now, select your three most important life goals.
V. Now, write down anything, large or small, you have done within the past month to accomplish any of these goals.
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Discussion 1. Are you presently working toward what you say is important to you? If not, why?
2. Do you really want these things?
3. Review the seven areas of possible goals and write down what goals you really want to start working on now.
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Lifeline Purpose: To take a look at where you have been, where you are, and where you want to go.
I. If done in class, on a piece of heavy poster board or construction paper, start with the year in which you were born and depict the signifi cant experiences and people who have helped shape your life.
II. Your lifeline will be dated in terms of the years these signifi cant experiences or people appeared in your life.
III. Make notations above or below each year to remind you of exactly what occurred.
IV. When completed, your lifeline will appear like a graph: “highs and lows,” “hills and valleys,” and “steady” periods of your life. You may use pictures, words, or whatever you wish to depict these signifi cant time periods in your life.
V. The last dot on your lifeline should be on a “hill,” a high point in the future. Fantasize and jot some words down to describe what you would like to have happen in your life in the next fi ve or ten years. What will you be doing, where will you be, and who will be with you?
VI. After you have completed your lifeline, you will divide into small groups and explain your lifeline. Be prepared to give a 3 to 5 minute presentation.
Discussion 1. How do you feel about the quality of your life at the present time?
2. What experiences are primarily responsible for where you are today?
3. What experiences are primarily responsible for what you want to accomplish in the future?
4. What goals are implied as you picture yourself fi ve to ten years in the future?
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My Future Autobiography Purpose: To think about the quality of your life and to demonstrate that you still have a life ahead with which to do whatever you choose.
I. In the space below, write at least a two or three paragraph autobiography for yourself. Include things that you would like to have said or written about you near the end of your life. Write about things that you would like to accomplish and what contributions you want to make. Write about what character strengths you want to have and what qualities you want to develop.
II. Have someone else read your autobiography and complete the fi rst discussion question.
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Discussion 1. What long-range goals are implied in this autobiography? Write them below, even if they are vague.
2. Do you see any similarity in the goals implied here and in the goals you listed in the previous activity?
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Goal Development Purpose: To further understand yourself and to defi ne your goals.
I. List your strengths, based on questionnaires, personal assessments, assignments, and personal experiences gained in or out of class this term.
II. List your weaknesses, based on questionnaires, personal assessments, assignments, and personal experiences gained in or out of class this term.
III. Re-evaluate your responses to the exercises in this chapter and what you now know about yourself. List the fi ve most important things in your life at the present time.
IV. Review your lifeline and what you know about yourself and list at least three peak experiences that have been meaningful to you.
V. What other peak experiences would you like to have in the future?
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VI. Review your autobiography and your lifeline and list the tentative goals implied in each activity.
VII. Review your responses to the activity “What Do I Want” and your responses to the previous questions in this activity and write down at least three goals that you want to start working on now. Consider the following questions before listing your goals.
Is this a goal I really want to achieve? Is it realistic; that it can be achieved? Does this goal contradict any of my basic values? Do I have the personal strengths to achieve this goal? Do I need and have the support of my family?
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Goal Project Purpose: To develop a plan of action for what you want to accomplish.
I. From the previous exercise, select two goals and develop a plan of what you can do this next year to achieve these goals.
Goal Number One 1. I want to ___________________________________________________________________________
2. What obstacles must I overcome?
3. How do I plan to overcome these obstacles? Be specifi c.
4. What behaviors must I change?
5. How do I plan to change these behaviors? Be specifi c.
6. When will I achieve this goal? Be specifi c.
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Goal Number Two 1. I want to ___________________________________________________________________________
2. What obstacles must I overcome?
3. How do I plan to overcome these obstacles? Be specifi c.
4. What behaviors must I change?
5. How do I plan to change these behaviors? Be specifi c.
6. When will I achieve this goal? Be specifi c.
Discussion 1. How do you feel about the goal project you have just completed?
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Where Do I Want to Go with My Life? Learning Journal
Select the statement below that best defi nes your feelings about the personal value or meaning gained from this chapter and respond below the dotted line.
I learned that I . . . I was surprised that I . . .
I realized that I . . . I was pleased that I . . .
I discovered that I . . . I was displeased that I . . .
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