Life is a choice which makes life as Jim Rohn put it, life is iffy or life is a big if. Meaning, if you do this, this is the most likely result and vice versa. You can repeat the same dull routine every day for years or you can decide to look within yourself for the special gift and untapped potential. Let comedian and talk-show host Steve Harvey, a rags-to-riches victor himself, inspire you to reach for the stars. Now a successful stand-up comedian, the popular host of his own TV talk show and steward of the game show Family Feud, Harvey was once homeless, burdened debt and going nowhere. Then he discovered his gift – his ability to make people laugh – and with determination, he achieved wealth and fame. The key to fulfilling your potential, he maintains, is identifying the inherent, unique gift that sets you apart from everyone else, and then putting it to work. One of the best advice i ever heard is, find out all you can do, then do all you can even thought you might not be able to do all you find out you can do!
Lessons Learnt From the Book
- Negative self-perceptions can block your progress and growth. Build a new internal message around your unique gift and stay off negative people like a plague.
- Your gift is that one thing you do best with the least amount of effort. But it is noteworthy that you gift might or will need some polishing and years to develop and mastered. Identify your unique gift and make the most of it.
- Set specific, realistic and relevant life goals. Race, age, gender or income level are poor excuses for not moving ahead; never limit yourself or your vision. Aim ridiculously high in life, and if others are not laughing at your dreams and goals, you are not aiming high enough.
- Distance yourself from pessimists, procrastinators and those who insist on being right. Imam As-Syafie said, never argue with a fool because will only bring you down to their level. Maybe, an audit of your circle of friends and influence is a good idea, cut off those who are not beneficial for your and maybe get new friends.
- Don’t waste a second responding to your critics and giving them the attention they crave.
- Many people default to the status quo rather than confront their fears and self-doubt. Face your fears and they will be less daunting than you expect. People so often make fun and memes of a zone called friend-zone, but most people ignore a much more dangerous zone, the comfort-zone!
- Being “tired of yourself” is the ideal starting point for making positive changes. This reminds me of a quote from Dave Ramsey’s, you will change when you sick and tired of being sick and tired.
- Failure is an inevitable component of growth; embrace failure and learn from it. The trick as per advice by Denzel Washington is to fail forward and fail quick!
- You can’t succeed alone; everyone needs advice, motivation and inspiration. But the best or i would say the only motivation there is, is the self-motivation. Never count on someone else to get you motivated because if that person you are counting on don’t show up, you are in deep trouble.
- Learning to say ‘NO’ is a true act of empowerment that lets you focus on your priorities. This is crucial piece of advice with respect to time management, it is not that we don’t have time to do the things that we wish to do, it just that it is not a priority.
Summary of the Book
Whatever your dreams and aspiration are, success stems from identifying and using your unique gift. Everyone has a special gift and if you utilised yours properly, you can achieve your dreams and goals. Getting the most out of your gift and sharing it with the world will bring you happiness, vitality and a sense of fulfillment.
Motivation to improve your life usually comes from confronting any unhappiness or dissatisfaction you feel. Maybe you are sick of struggling financially, working in a dead-end job or putting your dreams on hold, get sick and tired of being sick, tired and broke! Those who feel “stuck” often make excuses for not taking advantage of opportunities to grow and excel. Negative self-perceptions can easily develop into counterproductive decisions and behaviors.
“My gift is making people laugh…Your gift may be totally unique or it may be similar to someone else’s, but know that your gift is yours.”
Jealousy, procrastination and skepticism are damaging limiting belief and mind-sets that can prevent you from realizing your potential and sabotaging your own success. Changing the direction of your life means escaping your ready-made excuses and being brutally honest with yourself – as painful as that may be. Don’t compare yourself to others; that’s one of the worst things you can do. Every person is unique; your achievements, setbacks and experiences belong just to you. Focus on yourself. Turn damaging self-talk – “It’s too hard.” “I’m not smart enough.” “It’s too late.” – into positive affirmations. Jim Rohn put it as, learn to harvest come harvesting time without complaint.
“Everything we do in life that’s worthy of note requires gifts that are beyond our own. How we utilize the blessings of our relationships is the key to making it big.”
To maintain your morale, associate with positive, upbeat people who help shape your attitude and outlook. Stay away from pessimists, procrastinators and those who insist on being right. Avoid people who resent your dreams and mock your ambition, or in other words, just away from energy draining and negative influences. Find successful people whose great ideas resonate with you or get yourself a mentor. Just being around them will change your thinking, because they believe good things will happen. They know how to tune out the negative messages that can prevent you from pursuing your dreams. Successful people think in terms of expectations, not limitations.
The Fear Factor
Overcoming your fears is a the gateway to success. Ignoring them only makes them bigger and stronger, face your fear and make it exciting! To live life to its fullest, make a conscious decision to face your fears head-on. If you do, you will discover that they aren’t as intimidating as you expected. Always ask yourself when you are facing your fears, what is the worst thing that can happen? Most of the time, the worst things that can happen ain’t even that bad.
“If you are sharing your dreams with people [who] tell you how your vision won’t work, you should immediately disassociate from them.”
Fear of failure leaves you stuck in a rut and ready to default to the status quo. You become frightened of what might happen if you really try, so you don’t risk it. Now, instead of hesitating or holding yourself back, realize that failing is an inevitable part of growth, development and maturity. Take Thomas Edison for example, when asked why he would not quit after 10,000 failed experiments on the invention of the light bulb, he simple answer that he has not failed, but rather he successfully find 10,000 ways how not to build a light bulb. Entrepreneurs pursue their dreams even though statistics reflect an 85% failure rate for US small businesses in their first two years. Warren Buffett says he won’t invest in any business owner who “hasn’t failed at least twice.” Businesses can fail for many reasons – planning poorly, hiring incompetent employees, misjudging the market or starting with inadequate resources but most of the time resources is not the problem, the problem usually is the resourcefulness of the individual. Learning from your mistakes gets you a step closer to launching a successful venture next time, but never repeat the same mistakes, it is insanity to repeat same course of action and expecting a different results.
“I don’t care how vivid your dreams are: Without goals, your dreams will remain a someday phenomenon instead of today’s reality.”
Cherish your experiences and knowledge. New college graduates often have trouble finding jobs because they lack experience. Employers prefer to hire people who have stumbled along the way but forge ahead, remaining committed and motivated. Besides, these experiences and knowledge is what determine your value to the company, company will only pay you based on their evaluation and expectation of your worth, so, the question is what is your worth? How can you increase your worth?
Jim Rohn once asked about what he thinks next decade will be like, and he gave an insight that is so profound to me. He said, it will be like pretty much the same as it always been! Opportunity mixed with challenges! And i personally think that it is an incredible insight. Every day presents a new opportunity to have a positive outlook and reject a negative mind-set. Buried in self-pity and complaining about a bad job or a boring marriage are easy but consciously choosing to look at your life in a different way is more challenging, and one of the most crucial choices facing you. Opportunities has many forms and your response to them shapes the quality of your life. Michael Jordan’s six National Basketball Association championships wouldn’t have been possible if he hadn’t learned from defeats along the way.
“Stop lying to yourself with excuses. Your excuses are as empty now as they were when you first started using them.”
Success demands that you free yourself from self-imposed limitations or as i called it, limiting belief. Don’t allow gender, race, age or income level to compromise your dreams and expectations. The opinions and attitudes of others often shape people’s behavior. If you’re continually told you can’t do something, eventually you start to believe it. Look inside yourself, and maximize your talents and abilities.
“Kids don’t think about what is logical, practical or even doable. They just let their imaginations rip…Let your heart and desires guide your vision.”
The following behaviors and attitudes indicate that you are stuck in a rut:
- Waking up and going to work doesn’t excite you.
- Boredom defines your daily existence. Boredom basically means that you are not inspired. There’s a quote i love which said, You are not TIRED, you just not INSPIRED!
- You have enough time for everyone else. Learn to say “NO” when you meant to.
- You can catch every episode of your favorite TV programs. Hustle and work your sweet off.
- You’re not missing any sleep.
“Your gift cannot be taken because of downsizing or given to you because someone creates a job description. Your gift exists because you do.”
Being “tired of yourself” is the ideal starting point for making positive changes. Following a daily routine with no direction or aspirations is like dying slowly, don’t died in your 20s but buried in you 70s. You become conditioned to believing that life consists of mindlessly engaging in the same activities every day, week after week, year after year. Sadly, you could awake one morning realizing that you’ve wasted your potential and your dreams. Life is more than taking a job that pays the bills, but doesn’t fulfill you, more than being addicted to passive entertainment or associating with people who have little or no ambition. Islam teaches us that everyone has a purpose to fill in this worldly life, you are not born just to eat and sleep but rather make your life matter, contribute to something bigger than yourself.
“We grow accustomed to our self-perceptions, and we allow them to become oppositions to our gifts and opportunities.”
Laziness, unreliability, dishonesty, procrastination and negativity are all signs of a “dangerous state of living” that undermines your morale. However, changing your old patterns requires a conscious decision to make your life different. Seek activities that enrich your experiences, intellect and imagination. Focus on taking steps toward success, like meeting project deadlines at work. Turn off the TV during dinner to talk to your family. Priorities your time, don’t just let them wash away pointlessly. Time is precious, as Kaecilius (from Dr. Strange) put it “People think in terms of good and evil when really time is the true enemy of us all. Time kills everything.”
Pursuing your dreams requires a leap of faith. Your business venture could wipe out your bank account and put you back home with your parents. But taking risks and living with no regrets will enrich your life. Staying the course requires determination. Don’t let obstacles or negative opinions throw you off. Identifying your special gift will give you the confidence and ability to move forward, even when those around you think you’re crazy. No one but you can supply the motivation; don’t expect it to come from an outside source. And as Elon Musk put it, starting a business is like staring into the abyss and eating glass.
“Some of us have been playing the same self-defeating records…for so long that we don’t know how to think any differently about ourselves.”
The Gift of Life
Identifying and cultivating your gift requires a different approach. Even if you harness your talents to build a successful career and make millions of dollars, you still may not be using your gift. Your profession, education or social status don’t define your gift, one of my family members studied Engineering in his university life, now he makes millions if not more selling life insurance and Coway. No one can take away your gift or separate you from it. Your gift can make anything possible in life once you pinpoint it and commit to using it. But please remember that your gift is also like any other muscles in your body, you will lose it if your don’t use it.
“People can aid you in your climb, but they can’t pull your rope for you.”
Your gift is that one thing you do best with the least amount of effort. You may be an exceptional listener or an extraordinary cook. You may have a knack for arranging flowers or painting. You may be terrific at talking to children or solving problems.
Expecting to arrive at your ultimate goal right away is unrealistic. You have to climb the ladder, using whatever vehicle is available. Pop music star Beyoncé didn’t just wake up one day and instantly sell out football stadiums. She once sang in a girls’ group that lost a competition to a boy band that faded into anonymity. But she persevered. If your gift is cutting hair, maybe you can start in your home, then rent a space in a salon, study cosmetology, find a mentor, move up to a more prestigious shop and eventually open your own business. This highlight the importance of knowledge and experience.
“It is not good enough to simply exist. Life is more than wading through a lifeless job, earning a gold watch and cashing in your 401(k).”
Your gift for teaching doesn’t mean you have to stand at the front of a classroom. Lisa Nichols and Tony Robbins are highly successful motivational speakers who teach millions of people how to live better lives. They are gifted teachers who built their careers using nontraditional vehicles.
“Time is in your favor when you use it productively. Focus your energy on developing your new habits. Just take it one day at a time.”
Scoring with Goals
Once you identify your gift and become determined to succeed, set specific, realistic and relevant life goals – the accomplishments and achievements you want to attain on your journey. Keep and record your goals in your Journal. Set goals and to do list for the short term, medium term, long term and life term. Design your goals to fit your personal situation. Young singles may be able to obtain their goals faster than married parents. Yet, young people have less experience and may require more mentoring. Don’t worry about how others plan their voyages. Chart your course as it relates to your life. There is no such thing as overnight success, success comes after years of life experience, failures, hardship, tears, heartbreak and financial setbacks.
No matter how determined and independent you are, you can’t succeed alone. Don’t be too stubborn or too proud to get help. This reminds me of one of my favorite Malaysian Businessman, Syed Mokhtar al-Bukhary, in one of the autobiography i read about him, he said that he is never shy away from asking advice and making strategic partnership, and it help him makes billions. Partners can be quite beneficial and provide a different perspective, even if you eventually go your separate ways. Save yourself a lot of time and heartache by seeking the advice of those with more experience and know-how. Knowing everything is impossible, so ask questions. You’ll be surprised at the number of people who are willing to share their expertise with you, and moreover people like to talk about their expertise. To move ahead, evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. Take emotion out of the equation and honestly assess where you stand in three important areas:
“Success is expressing my love for my children…and working my butt off every day doing what I love.”
- “Knowledge-based skills” – Technical, managerial and industry-based proficiencies that you gain through education and experience will serve you well.
- “Transferable skills” – Your abilities to communicate, lead others, solve problems, satisfy customers and manage projects are critical. You take these talents with you wherever you go.
- “Character skills” – A strong work ethic, honesty, reliability and self-confidence are qualifications that make you professionally and personally attractive.
These are the skill that will multiply your worth! Hence, helps you excel and make more money per time spent while enjoying your fulfilling life and accomplishing your goals.
Staying the Course
Learn to set boundaries and don’t compromise your principles. Saying no allows you to establish priorities and move closer to your objectives. Saying no may stop you from being an enabler and helping people who need to help themselves. Saying no can prevent others from taking advantage of you and your gift to further their own causes. Saying “No, I can’t” is an acknowledgement that no one can do everything, including you.
On the road to success you will find roadblocks especially in the form of naysayers and “haters” who want only “to impede your progress.” Ignoring haters is the most effective way to deal with them; refuse to recognize their existence. If you take the time to defend yourself or go on the offensive, you play into their hands; attention only nourishes naysayers. Some of history’s most notable and influential figures, including Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela, persevered despite intense criticism and opposition, and even being jailed. Haters deal with their unhappiness by attacking others. Choosing not to acknowledge them lets you focus on yourself. Like Tony Robbins said, haters gonna hate, and angry people will always be angry! Focus on yourself and your locus of control, because your own success is important to you, not to them. Besides, the best revenge is to show them the your success when they say that you’re not going to make it.
The world is full of negativity. Listening to it can drag you down. Oprah Winfrey decided to create her own TV network when she could have easily retired after ending her long-running “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” In the beginning, naysayers blasted the new network’s faltering ratings, but in less than three years Winfrey was turning a profit and producing popular shows. Rather than respond to her critics, she channeled her positivity and efforts into another success. See the three years, yes, it takes three years and that for Oprah Winfrey, it might take longer for you or shorter, but hustle and work your butt off, as if your going to work hard anyway, works on what you love doing.
When Steve Harvey set out to achieve success, he worked long hours for little pay, traveled constantly and coped with stinging rejection. When he finally became successful, he indulged in “the money, the cars and the clothes.” He found that, at times, he couldn’t be with his children when he wanted, because he had to earn money to ensure their security. Those moments helped him see that he wasn’t living a balanced life. By the way, it is also important to note that, your balanced life might be different from mine, best to figure out yours first, together with your goals and dreams that we talked about earlier.
A laser focus is an admirable trait, but it can undermine your equilibrium. Professional success may bring fame and fortune at the expense of other important things. Commit to spending quality time with your life partner and your children. Give your time according to your very own order of priorities, prioritize your health; exercise, eat right and don’t drink alcohol excessively. Pay attention to your mental health. If you hit a dangerous place emotionally, talk to a friend or seek professional counseling. Treasure your gift, make the most of it and envision where it can take you.
Well, there’s a whole lot more to the book, get a copy for your love one now!