October 31, 2012 by Mike Lyles
My friends, change is a good thing. Not just the coins in our pockets, but change in life, change in your future goals, change in your current state, and most importantly, change in your path to success.
Today I want to relate the two definitions of change – by simply looking at those who were selected for the ‘heads’ side of these US coins. And I hope to enlighten you to some of the famous quotes from these memorable people who had so many great things to say.
- “Be sure to put your feet in the right place, then stand firm” – great advice. Before you hold firm to your beliefs, make sure you are standing in the right place.
- “Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe” – it’s a well known fact that the more you plan the greater the probability that your outcome will be successful.
- “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt” – too many times we speak before thinking. It’s been said that there is a reason that we have 2 ears and 1 mouth – so that we listen twice as much as we talk. Ensure that you speak with confidence, but that you know your topic.
- “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years” – I’ve written before about a story I read long ago called “The Dash” which speaks of the dash “-” between your date of birth and date of death, and the question ‘What will you do with your dash’. It truly is important that you make the most of your life while you have time!
- “Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom” – to truly gain wisdom, you have to be a person of honesty, respect, and integrity.
- “Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on Earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude” – I strongly believe that before you can BE IT, you must SEE IT. If you are thinking correctly, and you are using the right mental attitude, then you can accomplish anything you set your mind to. However, if you have a negative attitude, continuously feel defeated, or you have laid plans for the wrong direction, then you will soon find failure.
- “Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances” – wise words, and, as most of us will agree, easier to say than to do. Many of us have situations in our lives that we control our reactions. But only a rare small percentage of people can say they remain calm in all situations. Controlling your temper is very much like exercise. The more you exercise the control, the more in shape you will become.
- “Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time who never loses any. It is wonderful how much may be done if we are always doing” – always be doing, thinking, planning, strategizing, and growing. Of all the things we can replenish, purchase, and manufacture, time is not one of them. Take advantage of the time you have, and you will never regret the hard work you put into your life and goals.
- “There are many ways of going forward, but only one way of standing still” – there truly are so many directions we can go from a single point. But as stated, there is only one way to stand still. Your first response may be that this sounds contradictory to the Thomas Jefferson comment above regarding the suggestion to always keep working, moving, and never being idle. This is not about standing still and not working. Imagine you are at a crossroad – as you sit there in your car, you are mentally making decisions on which direction you will take. Will you go forward? Will you turn left? Right? Will you turn around and go the opposite direction? Standing still is one of the times when you can see clearly where you want to go, and you can plan for the next step in your life. Sometimes you have to stop, and stand still, and let your direction come to you – instead of you going in the direction without a plan.
- “Rules are not necessarily sacred, principles are” – Stephen Covey once said that we cannot truly accept change until we have a changeless core. This changeless core are the principles which guide your life. Rules will come and go. They will be modified, adjusted, removed, and added. But principles are the changeless core which you must evaluate for your life in order to be able to stand still and to grow.
- “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” – one of Roosevelt’s most memorable quotes. So much truth in these simple worlds. Be strong, and have faith in yourself, and never let fear infiltrate your drive to succeed. Zig Ziglar once said “Confidence is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking the tarter sauce with you!”
- “It isn’t sufficient just to want – you’ve got to ask yourself what you’re going to do to get the things you want” – thinking, planning, strategizing, prioritizing. These are all great mental activities which are key in the “standing still” phases of life. But if you don’t get up, get moving, and start pursuing your goals, you will find yourself still sitting and thinking. Set your priorities, determine the steps you need to take, and start walking. They say ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with one single step’. Start walking!
- “Worry is the interest paid by those who borrow trouble” – anyone who has ever borrowed money knows the pain that interest causes to the whole process. This is because interest never benefits the one borrowing, it only benefits the one being borrowed from. The same applies with worry as the interest on trouble. If you want peace in a time of trouble, stop worrying, build your confidence, and face the trouble without a worry in your mind. Because worrying will never benefit your troubles – it will only make them grow and become stronger.
- “It is better to be alone than in bad company” – the old saying “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer” is not always the best policy. Sometimes it’s best to steer your direction clear of those who will bring you down, fill your life with negative feelings and support, and degrade the value of your principles and goals. If you knew there was a dangerous animal outside that would attack you if you approached it, you would not go out. Sometimes you have to be aware of the bad company around you, and ensure that you stay away
- “99% of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses” – have you met these people? I am sure you have. When things are going well, they are positive, motivated, and ready to take on the world. When failure comes, and things are tough, they throw up their hands in defeat, and seek to find someone to blame or they make excuses for the failure they are experiencing. The solution to your failures is to take ownership, and spend your energy on finding a solution, and resolving the things that caused you to fail the last time. Don’t be fooled by the assumption that failure will not happen again. Many successful people will tell you that they failed multiple times before they achieved success. Keep focused on what you wish to accomplish, learn from the failures, don’t make excuses, and continue to march toward success.
The Fifty-Cent Coin
- “My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country” – this is singlehandedly one of the most memorable quotes by any US president in history. And such great strength is found in these words. Whether you are talking about your country, or your career, your company, your family, or your goals – you can simply replace the word “country” in this quote with either of these areas and it works. Begin TODAY looking at how YOU can make a difference in these areas, and you will find that the rewards of doing this will be extremely high. You want your job to be better? Stop looking for what your company is doing for you, and start looking at what you are doing for your company. You want your personal life to be better? Then focus on what YOU are doing in your personal life, and how you can make things better all around. You have goals? Ambitions? Stop waiting on your dreams to just appear – start planning what you can do, every day, to improve your chances of meeting each and every one of them.
- “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them” – ever since I read the book “How to Become CEO” by Jeffrey Fox, and found an acronym WACADAD (which stands for ‘Words Are Cheap And Deeds Are Dear’), I have tried to live by this principle. People don’t care if you speak, they care if you act. Show the world that the principles and words that you speak of are not just lost in the spoken word. Live by your principles and your words, every day, and in everything you do.
- “Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction” – every year, I watch the NFL football draft. I see young men, who have graduated from college, eager to join the pro league. They have the skills, they have the desire to play, but their future is dependent on someone in the league having faith in them and hiring them onto the team. Fortunately, for each of us, we are not in the NFL draft. We have the choice to seek purpose and direction for the things we wish to accomplish. Having courage and a drive is clearly a core value to prepare you to be successful, but unless you have a purpose, you have no goal to achieve. And lastly, it’s essential to know the direction you are going. If you are driving in one country, and you have a map of another company, you will never get where you want to go. You need to have a map that defines the direction you are going, and it needs to be relevant to where you want to go.
- “For time and the world do not stand still. Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or the present are certain to miss the future” – have you ever tried to drive a car while being fully turned around and staring out the back window? It’s difficult to drive where you want to go if you’re not facing the direction you are going. Learn from the past, live in the present, but always focus on where you want to be in the future.
- “The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining” – as I write this, the news on the TV speaks of hurricane Sandy, which has beat upon the Northeast states of the US. The people of these states are in repair mode, working hard to recover from the impact of the hurricane. They do not have the luxury of waiting until the sun is shining to repair their homes. Your situation is likely different. Don’t wait until you are in repair mode to start resolving the issues and broken dreams. Analyze your situation, determine the changes that are needed, and move on while things are in a good shape, and you will find that you are on the road from good to great. The road from bad to great is much longer!!
The One-Dollar Coin
- “Failure is impossible” (Susan B. Anthony) – the day you set in your mind that failure is not an option, that, even if you fail today, you will succeed tomorrow, you will see a great change in your life and your future. Don’t be let down by the difficulties in meeting success. Keep your eyes on the goal!
- “Everything I do is for my people” (Sacagawea) – there are many books on servant leadership and serving others. The greatest sacrifice anyone can make in their lives is to understand the value of helping others, and realizing the benefits of seeing a bigger picture which is not simply about themselves. Zig Ziglar once said “You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want”. Live by these values, and watch the miracles occur in your own life.
As with the coins in the US, there are many types of changes we will face in our lives. Some will be good changes, some will be trials. But all are possible to overcome and/or accomplish, if you have the right attitude and drive.
I leave you with one of my most favorite quotes ever – given to us by Mahatma Gandhi, who said “Be the change that you wish to see in the world“. Great words to live by. What are you doing today to be the change?