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Author Henri Amiel once said,
“The stationary condition is the beginning of the end.”
It’s a wonderfully profound statement that describes far too many of us.
It describes the paradox of life that when we stop moving forward, we start going backwards.
It explains why so many people, especially men, struggle to cope with life after retirement.
We went on a family walk this week and as we wandered along, we saw a few massive trees that had fallen to the ground over the years.
These once magnificent gum trees, probably well over a hundred years old were now just lying there, rotting on the ground.
What a waste.
Or so it seemed.
These trees, may never recover their former glory, but they still had an important function to play in their eco-systems.
To be exceptional…
You can’t hide in the herd.
You can’t accept the status quo.
You can’t stay at the same level year after year.
You can’t expect to be an overnight success.
Don’t complain about the atmosphere where you work… make it better.
Don’t wish that your team was more effective… make it better.
Don’t fret about your family situation… make it better.
Don’t worry incessantly about the future of your business… make it better.
Don’t look the other way when someone is being treated unfairly… make it better.
It’s easy to lose sight of why you do what you do.
You lose momentum and start to go through the motions.
Your bold aspirations sit on the shelf as you just float from one day, week and year to the next.
In those moments, I want to encourage you to remember why…
One of my daily disciplines is to read.
I grab my trusty Kindle and enter the world of people much wiser than myself, learning important principles and being endlessly entertained by their clever words.
I read to learn and grow, and the process has had enormous benefits for my own professional and spiritual development.
But I recently realised that there is another benefit of reading that I hadn’t thought of before. It’s an unintended consequence that I now appreciate.
Change isn’t easy.
To develop new habits and new mindsets can be very difficult.
But change we must.
Growth isn’t optional if we want to do something remarkable with our lives.
And the rate at which the world around us changes demands that we adapt or languish.
Change isn’t easy.
Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney says:
“To be an overachiever you have to be an over believer.”
It’s a message that he constantly instills in his team.
That they are never out of a game.
That they can do remarkable things.
That they can create their own history.
In one of his books, Steven Pressfield asks:
Did Rhapsody in Blue come to Gershwin in the shower?
Was J.K. Rowling baking a pie when she first imagined Hogwarts?
Or was he at the piano and she at her writing desk?
You know the answer.
Inspiration needs to find you working.
At the end of 2017, will you look back with pride on your achievements?
Will you have maintained focus on your goals and resolutions?
Will you know more?
Will the world be a better place because of your positive contribution?
Will you take others with you on the journey?