Even when a bird stands still, we sense it has wings.
The meaning of this to me (and it may be different for you) is that you can choose to be whoever you want to be in this life. You can constantly be improving and you can take yourself to another place if you have the ambition to do so. This is a wonderful thing. And the fact is, you do have the ability and the power to do this. You can be whoever you want to be in this life.
I have met so many extraordinary people in my life. I have met people who barely finished high school, who went on to become great success stories. I have met people who spent their formative years in a Nazi concentration camp, who then came over to this country and started huge companies–with no education. I get excited about people who continue improving and become better in their careers and lives, despite the odds.
No matter who you are, no matter where you live, no matter how old you are, you can improve and keep doing so. You can be an entirely different person six months from now. You can be like the bird that sits still but knows it can fly high and go wherever it wants to. You are powerful, strong, and someone who can do whatever you choose to do.
The only thing stopping you is you.
I remember years ago, when I was about 16 years old, sitting in an English class when the teacher said something to the effect of, “You should be a much better writer now than you were at the beginning of the semester. If your writing has not improved then something is seriously wrong.”
My grandfather was a professional writer, and when he was very old and close to death he told me that writing was one of the hardest things in the world, and that his writing was still improving.
You can literally do whatever you want in your life and become the person you want to be if you never stop improving. The idea of constant improvement, of always getting better and better at what you do, is something that can change your life. There are countless people out there who are very successful, yet they have refused to stop where they are. They continue to learn and improve and grow. People like Mother Teresa have dedicated their entire lives to doing good, and others, like Barack Obama, Bill Gates, and Oprah Winfrey, continue to improve their lives and the lives of multitudes of others.
Look around you. Who do you know that at some point decided they were unhappy with the status quo of their lives and, thus, changed their lives fundamentally? Do you know anyone who has become famous? Do you know anyone who has gotten one promotion after another and whose success continues to grow? Do you know of businesses (or other) people that refused to accept mediocrity, and thrived?
Several years ago, I read the biography of Sam Walton, best known as the Founder of Wal-Mart. Apparently, his first store was a complete disaster. One example he shared was that one time he had ordered several truckloads of watermelons and put them on display in front of the store. It was a very hot day and all of the watermelons ended up exploding in the parking lot. That might have been enough for some people, who could have taken it as a “sign” to quit and pack up the whole business. However, Walton did not give up. He kept improving his store.
When the Japanese first started exporting electronics, cars, and other knickknacks into the United States 40 or 50 years ago, everyone thought that the goods the Japanese were bringing into the country were junk. The label “made in Japan” was synonymous with poor quality. The Japanese, however, kept improving, and soon that same label became synonymous with very high quality.
You, too, need to keep improving. You need to get better and better at what you do. If you have lost a job, make sure your next job is an even better one. You own your future. The past has already happened, but you can make the future whatever you want it to be. Who are you going to be? What are you going to achieve?
One of the most depressing things in the world to me is the belief that nothing can change and that we need to live our lives in some certain way. You do not need to live your life in a certain way. You can literally live your life in any way you want.
When people tell you that you are only capable of being one sort of person, or doing a certain thing, they are trying to keep you at a certain level. If you choose to aim for the stars, there are going to be people around you who will do everything within their power to keep you down. I tell you this from experience because I have seen this many times in my own life.
When you are trying to improve yourself, you will see people around you who are jealous, or even frightened of what you may become. These people will suggest that you cannot do what you want to. If you have initial success, they will tell you it is luck. They may even speak ill of you to strangers and your associates in an effort to undermine you and your efforts to grow.
When you try to become something and change your circumstances, there will always be obstacles. You need to break free of the obstacles out there to become the person you are striving to be and create the future that you want. It is as simple as that.
How can you integrate a focus on the future into your own life? You can start by writing down your goals, both personal and professional.
Every Sunday for the past couple of years, I have sat down and reviewed goals that I write every three months. These goals encompass where I am now and where I want to be in the next month, three months, six months, the next year, five years, and so forth. I create these goals and write them down because I want to ensure that I have a destination in mind for my life. I always want to make sure that I am making a better future for myself, and for others.
This brings me directly to you and your career. You need to be thinking of the future as you go about your life. You need to set goals for yourself. You need to believe that you can get a better job if you are unemployed, that you can get a raise or promotion if currently employed, and that you can create the ideal life that you envision for yourself. My career advice is to always focus on the future. The future is now, and you can have any part in it that you want.
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Tagged: career advice, career advice | a harrison barnes, career and life success, get a better job, idea of improvement, job search, job search guru, never stop improving, professional writer, teaching job, writing down your goals