Category Archives: Future Thinking

Jake meets The Man (A short story) [FICTION]

Jake sat in the rather basic wooden chair waiting. He was nervous, which might explain the bead of sweat on his forehead that seemed to be growing by the second and now threatened to drop with a huge splash to the floor!

The man sitting across the table was eyeing him steadily, not meanly, but intently enough to cause Jake to squirm slightly in his seat. Jake silently cursed himself for what he thought was a sign of weakness, and he also cursed the friend of his who had suggested he meet this guy.

The man across the table looked down at Jakes’ papers and that gave him a chance to relax and search the features of the older man for an answer to what he was thinking. He was middle-aged, no medals for getting that one right; he had a brightness in his eyes that not many people had. Jake cynically thought that it was no surprise seeing as the guy was a multi-millionaire and very sought after by all accounts. He was somehow familiar to him which he put down to having seen him in the papers or TV perhaps. But anyway, no answers were forthcoming.

Had his pitch fallen on deaf ears? Perhaps his sales tactics weren’t aggressive enough? Maybe his plans for promoting a strategy to take a larger market share didn’t hit the mark?

The man (he was now thinking of him as ‘The Man’ now) sighed and looked up with a slightly mournful look on his face. The droplet of sweat decided that its moment to fall had come and Jake felt his dreams splash to the ground along with that small, salty droplet.

His head dipped slightly and his body rigid with mortification of his failure, Jake readied himself to stand and leave but finally the man spoke, “Do you have dreams Jake? Do you have ambitions for a successful future?”.

Jake licked his lips in preparation to answer the odd questions and finally stuttered “Y, y, yes sir, of course I do sir!”. Again he cursed himself silently for the unwanted stutter.

The man’s reply came back like a snake striking its victim, “You and everyone else I meet Jake!”, he paused for a moment and then went on, “Tell me, to be successful, do you have to be more competitive than the others? Do you have to be better than the rest?”

Sensing a trick but not knowing the answer, Jake, leaning forward, went for the obvious response, “Yes. Yes you do. You will fail if you don’t. You will not succeed if you cannot beat the rest” he said firmly. Jake sat back in his chair feeling just a little bit pleased with himself and gave the man an ever so tiny smile. None came back and that mournful look spread across the man’s face again.

Something was wrong here and Jake was starting to worry. Actually he was beginning to think that this was a big waste of time! But then the man spoke with surprising gentleness and an emotion cracking the words that came out of his mouth, “Competition is not the only way to be successful you know. Perhaps you look at me and assume that I was the hardest, toughest go getter of them all to be able to sit here with my empire ticking along around me? No Jake. Far from it!”. The man was vehement now and continued,  ”I’ve been called weak so many times. Meek perhaps, but not weak”. A wry smile spread across his face. He continued, “I’ve been told I’m too soft. That I don’t do enough to get the best price for my services. I’ve been told I’m not intent enough on getting the things I want. People say I look after others far too much ahead of my own wants and needs. And so the list of my competitive inadequacies goes on. And on. Yet here I am. Doing quite well thank you very much. What then is the answer, if it isn’t competition?”.

The man had stopped talking for a few seconds Jake realised and I shook himself out of the reverie his voice had taken him too. He was expecting an answer!

“Ummm so not competition then?”, Jake nervously asked.

“No. Not that”, he replied.

Jake felt like a pivotal moment had arrived and he started racking his brains for the solution. More sweat was forming, on his brow and hands, this time unnoticed as Jake frantically searched in his mind for the answer. He knew his future here depended on it but he was struggling. Surely being the best, the smartest, the hardest working competitive person was how it was done?

Cursing his friend again suddenly reminded him what she had said to him about The Man. “He’s a creator Jake.”, she had said. “You could say he has got where he is by creating the business firstly in his mind, then by acting upon his visions of creativity”.

The penny dropped and Jake looked up into the mans face, the smile a real one this time.

“You create what you want by first visioning it in your mind, then working towards it as though it was already there!”.

A huge smile spread across the mans face as he stood up and held out his hand. Jake took it but not before wiping the sweat from his palms.

 

Related: Creative Capitalism

Leaning against my window (A short story) [FICTION]

I lean against my open bedroom window looking at the buildings, the lit street lights and parked cars. Nothing moves. All is still.

There are a few lights on in the houses, suggesting life of some sort. But no other signs. I question the unseen souls. Would you miss me if I left the world right now?

A moth flutters into my field of view disturbing my thoughts. Then a cat screeches at an unseen foe. A light flickers at a window, perhaps a TV being watched by its owners? Clothing waves on a washing line with the warm breeze.

Okay, so there is life out there, it is not all still. Now that I look carefully, I can see that I was wrong. I sigh to myself and, finally, after a terrible day, a small smile reaches my lips.

It’s not there for long because I recall what has befallen me. Befallen my soul. I want to make the decision I know I will regret. The anger boils up inside me and then quickly subsides, only to be replaced by a tearful sadness. A sadness I have not experienced before. Then the confusion takes over. Consternation takes over the ageing features of my middle-aged face.

I take another look out of my room, looking for answers somehow. None come. Not yet anyway.

I’m briefly reminded by a seagull call of where I live . Which in turn reminds me of the closeness of and greatness of the ocean, the vastness of the seas and then the unfathomable depths of the universe.

Can there really be a better way to live life I wonder? Right now, I wish it to end. I tell myself I cannot take any more. I squeeze strongly on the window sill as if to give my thoughts strength, credence and truth.

But it’s no good, a thought slips unseen, unwanted actually, into my troubled brain. A thought that could turn the tide of my emotions. But no, I’m full of negative emotions and will not let a positive thought take hold, especially not that one.

I remove my shirt to allow the warm, summer breezes to wash over my skin. I sigh and then breathe deeply. It hits me then that I’m starting to relax, but I push it away again, this time, deliberately allowing the sadness and tears to well up again inside me.

A bigger movement catches my eye. A youth with hood up over his head, rucksack on his back walks out into the cobbled lane a hundred feet away. His head is down but I stop breathing, not wishing for him to see me stood at my window. I think to myself that he’s probably up to no good but as he comes closer I can hear the sob of tears flowing, his emotions appearing to mirror my own.

The youth stops in the middle of the street, and looks up to the skies, anguish on his face and a mournful cry on his tongue.

“That’s my lot world,” he shouts, “that’s my life!”, he cries. With that, he falls to his knees, reaches inside his jacket and pulls out a gun. And with obvious intent places it against his head.

“Nooooooo!!!!”, I desperately call out, and before I can stop it, the thought that has been itching at the outskirts of my brain leaps into life, “Don’t make life changing decisions when you’re emotionally down or charged!”

I stopped and heard myself as if someone else had spoken. Shocked that I had spoken aloud the nagging idea inside me. My thoughts ran freely, running over each other with their desperate need to be heard. And then I stopped breathing as it dawned on me what a fool I had been.

I looked down at the youth who was staring at me aghast, his gun now lying on the floor forgotten, arms limp by his sides.

“W w what?”, the youth asked.

Then, as much to myself as the youth, I repeated, “Don’t make life changing decisions when you are emotionally down or charged.”

The end.

 

 

Related post:

http://wp.me/p3klcz-cC

(Don’t let your down times depict your life’s direction)

 

Don’t let your down times depict your life’s direction

When you’re down

When you’re down, that can be the hardest time to stop and consider your actions.  When you’re down, you are often emotionally susceptible too. When you’re down, your inclination towards decisions can be negative.  When you’re down, listening to advice and making positive steps to make things better can be almost alien.

In other words, Future Thinking is difficult to do!

Composure

Composure is a challenge to you when you are low or depressed. Perhaps you get stressed or highly nervous? Keeping your composure is essential to making correct long term (future thinking) decisions.  When you are down, try and remind yourself of just one thing:

Don't let your down times depict your life's direction

I know many people, many friends present and past who, when they are down, make life changing decisions. In response to situations where they fail, or they just hit a down day, they decide things like:

I'm not going to do that again!

or:

Why should I bother? I'm just not going to try any more!

If only we could keep our composure when we are down, we wouldn’t make stupid decisions! I know, I know, it’s easier said than done!  But once again, try and think of:

Don't let your down times depict your life's direction

Perhaps, you should make up a little card (say post card sized) and leave it in a place where you will see it every day to remind yourself?

Don't let your down times depict your life's direction

Why bother?

Why should you bother going to the effort? Well, if only you knew the fantastic things that can come your way if you overcome your propensity towards bad decisions when you are emotionally down. Maybe you are asking something like “How do you know they are bad decisions?”. I’ve been there. Many times. That’s how I know! Believe me, making life changing decisions or in fact any decision that could be regarded as negative is bad for you, bad for your future.

The other side of the coin

I’ve seen the other side. I have seen the incredibly positive affects that not making life decisions when depressed can have.  So okay it’s tricky to make positive steps, or positive decisions when emotionally hurt. I admit that. But you have the power to not make poor decisions when you are feeling low. You do have it in you. And if you can do this much, then you are a big leap forward to making more of your life. Of reaching your goals.

Finally

When low, depressed or feeling down, just remind yourself of this topic, this very important edict (make it a law in your mind) to not make poor decisions during bad times. Never forget that everyone suffers with their low days, even the greats of our world. The great sportsmen and women, the highly intellectual minds who solve mysteries of the universe. And also the successful business men and women all have their bad moments.  I think that one trait these people have is not to make bad ‘Future Thinking‘ decisions for their lives. They keep going and keep going some more.

Try it and you’ll see the huge benefits!

Take care,

Jonathan

When 1,000 criticisms bounce off my skin but one man’s belief in me makes me cry

My inner belief

I’ve built up a core belief inside me over the years. Most of it over the last 12-18 months but nevertheless a belief that allows me to be strong despite any criticisms or ‘flaming arrows’.  It is this belief that helps me be strong in the face of adversity or strong when I don’t feel very strong at all!

When I was going through a ‘tough time’ in my life, I suffered from depression and really didn’t feel like even leaving the house! All that has changed thankfully.  Now I go out each day with this core thing inside me which just won’t go away – my belief that I’m on the right track and that I will become what I want to become.

One man’s belief in me makes me cry

However, someone I have know for years now, who has helped me in the past and who has guided me; made me cry and brought me low!

He seems in a low place himself right now and so when he wrote:

“I have only one thing left now and that is belief in you for all these years”

It made me cry….

So, how did I react?

After my little choking up episode, I went for a walk and that belief that has made me strong came flooding in. Now, I more and more want to succeed on my chosen path simply to show this person that their faith in me WAS worth it!

What an amazing and powerful thing ‘belief’ is.

Go get some yourself. I think they sell it at your local supermarket, pub, workplace, websites etc ad infinitum….

Take care and believe in yourself.

Everything’s gonna be alright

I start each day drinking coffee looking out over Plymouth’s historic Hoe – All weathers! I’m self-employed where most of my work comes from property management in the student market of Plymouth. I  still do quite a bit of work in the IT and web fields (building websites and doing IT work for businessmen involved in property) as well.

But my, how things change! As I write I’m sat in a a nice office in the centre of Plymouth which I share with the landlord. About 15 months ago I was an employee working more hours than I was paid for and if I’m honest, not much in the way of prospects. Then, along with a few others I was made redundant.

Sad times! Not really. I had a deep conviction that everything was going to be alright. I can’t explain why I felt that way. After all, when I was given the news I had no job to go to, no work as a self employed person to go to and no savings to rely upon to get me through. I also had no transport to get myself out and about but I just knew it was going to be okay.  Perhaps this is what ‘belief’ really is? I’ve read a lot of ‘positive thinking’ (I prefer ‘future thinking‘) books in my time and much of what is said in them comes down to that one word: belief. Without a conviction that ‘everything’s gonna be alright’, how can we even take one step towards our goals?

So anyway, I had this conviction and I guess it is this that enabled me to move on. I didn’t know where I was going but I knew it was for better things and a better life. So I went from being an IT & Web Analyst to a Property Manager! I won’t bore you with the details (message me on Facebook if you REALLY want to know!) but now things are very different. I’m happier than I have ever been. I have more freedom than I ever had. All because of that inner conviction that cannot be explained, only felt.

You’ve probably seen successful people on TV or perhaps you know one or two. I bet there is something about them that makes you ask:

“How on earth are they successful? They can’t even … <fill in your own thoughts here>!”.

Well, maybe it is belief that is the difference? They may not even know it but they all have this conviction inside. No self doubts about their goals or future exist for them.

That’s not to say there are no self doubts ‘at all’. There are. Every day they are faced with issues that challenge their belief but they carry on knowing that ‘everything’s gonna be alright’.

Why not try it yourself? Perhaps you can force or trick yourself into believing. Believing that things are going to be okay.

Just have a little faith that the Universe is a thing of growth. It is not a thing of decay. Start believing that despite what we hear in the media (and ‘expert’ friends!) that you have an opportunity to grow wherever you are right now. Stop believing that things are getting worse but in fact they are getting better! It seems to be working for me.

I’d be happy to chat about this topic if anyone wants to. I’m not claiming to be an expert but just a lot of thoughts and observations! Speak to you soon.

Why do good things keep happening to me!!!!

Why do good things keep happening to me?

Not a question people usually submit to their friends down the pub or over lunch with work mates is it? No, more likely we hear statements like “Why does all this bad stuff happen to me?!!”. This often follows a diatribe of troubles and things ‘happening to’ the person.

I got to thinking (actually for a while now) that what if what we say affects what happens to us in a negative (or positive) way more than we might think? At the very least I’m sure our friends eventually get a little bored with our constant bitter whining about how our life is bad and that all bad things seems to be happening to us.

So for that reason alone (having happy friend relationships) it is probably a good thing to change what we say. Maybe you do have more than your fair share of ‘bad luck’ but if we could possibly contain ourselves from telling everyone for just a moment, perhaps our lives would actually be better than they seem?

There is a thought that what we say also affects our lives in more profound ways as well. I asked myself:

“What if I started talking to myself and others about the good things that are happening, the good things that I have, rather than the bad things? Would that actually have a positive influence on the outcome of my life?”

There is a school of thought that suggests that the way we think and talk definitely affects our lives whether that be success in business, work, home life and so on. Part of this thinking says that if we were to go about our lives with a sense of gratitude for what we have and for what we are going to have, then this brings towards us those good things we want! This is Future Thinking at work!

Adversely, if we continue to bemoan our losses then this brings towards us more of the same!

At the very least, having a future thinking approach can help us not to see the bad stuff so much.  To often we make ‘mountains out of molehills’ of the negative occurrences we have.  Why not try and ignore them a little and say to yourself:

“Why do good things keep happening to me!!!”

Done in a humourous  way, this can put a smile on your face and really annoy the people that annoy you! (I didn’t mean that – honest!)

 

Creative Capitalism?

I don’t even know if Creative Capitalism is an already known phrase but here is my idea of how business people and entrepreneurs everywhere can grow their business – harmoniously.

Harmoniously?

Wouldn’t it be fantastic if we could grow our personal wealth and business without taking business from another? “Uh, yes Jonathan, but that’s a dream world” I hear you say.  Perhaps not, let me go on.

If Creative Capitalism is a harmonious one then typical Capitalism is a non harmonious one. Why? because it is based on competition.

Competitive Capitalism

Therefore, classic capitalism could be phrased as Competitive Capitalism.  This suggests that there is a limit to how much wealth can be gained for you or for your business.  I must admit that it would be hard to get away from this description of  ’how things are’, because that’s how things …er well ‘are’.

But does it have to be? Competitive Capitalism means that you and your business are fighting over limited resources of wealth (business, customers and so on).  Competitive Capitalism means that businesses tender quotes for work required by other businesses (B2B) or businesses such as shops are selling and marketing their wares on the high street in competition with other businesses on the high street (B2C).

Once again, Competitive Capitalism suggests that there is a limit to how much business is out there.

An alternative option

Now, I’m not saying that we can do without Competitive Capitalism. Obviously, we need shops and online stores to buy the things we want and need and professionals to provide services. Therefore Competitive Capitalism will continue to exist for quite some time I think!

However, what if there is an alternative? One that does not conflict with others and other businesses? I think there is an alternative.  I call it Creative Capitalism.

Creative Capitalism

Creative Capitalism suggests that you can create your own new business from places that you thought none existed.  Creative Capitalism also suggests that this vein of new business is limitless. Limitless? “Don’t be daft!”, you cry. Perhaps, perhaps not.

Creative Capitalism demands that you be, well ‘creative’. Rather than trying to take business from your next door neighbour, Creative Capitalism demands that you seek new areas to do business, new ideas for products that people might buy, new services that people hitherto had thought they didn’t need or want.

If you can think creatively about how you can use your skills, your knowledge and your experience in new ways, you might be surprised what new business can be created.

A couple of examples

One of the things I do is to design and program websites.  As you probably know, this is a very competitive area to do business in. The way Competitive Capitalism would work might be something like this:

The Competitive Capitalism way

I’m a web designer and need to find some business so I sell myself and my skills to other businesses. I might do this by contacting businesses in the area and asking them if they need a website or whether they need their current one updated.

I may already be in competition with that businesses existing web site designer and so Competitive Capitalism is already under way.  I may or may not gain some business which would be based on several things:

  • My skills, experience and attitude
  • My pricing
  • My levels of service
  • My competitors (lack of) skills, experience, attitude and level of service and poor pricing

The Creative Capitalism way

The Creative Capitalism way seeks to invent or create business apparently from nowhere! For instance, you might initially think that every business has a website and that there would be no way of creating new business in this way.

However, there are many businesses and professionals who do not yet have a web site or indeed any form of Internet use (email and so on) at all!

You might say, “Well perhaps they don’t want a web site and therefore your supply of business Jonathan has run out before you start!”

However, I have not yet mentioned the nub of the matter. I mentioned the word ‘harmoniously’ earlier. By that I mean that if you can offer service or products where the buyer receives ‘worth’ higher than what he deems to pay for and to do this acting harmoniously with the those you do business with, then you are acting harmoniously.

Creative Capitalism requires that you believe that there is a limitless amount of business and wealth to be had out there but that you need to do the following:

  • Act harmoniously
  • Think creatively
  • Believe

 

Examples from real life

Richard Branson is a Creative Capitalist if you think about it. One of his current projects is Virgin Galactic where he hopes to sell flights into space! If he were to think competitively all the time, he would be focussing on the battle for commercial flights around the world. as you can imagine, while this may well be a growing industry, I doubt it is growing fast enough to accommodate the dreams of businessmen like Richard Branson.

I’m sure you can think of other examples? A past example might be the advent of TV programs like X Factor or Big Brother. A decade or so ago, these types of TV shows would have been unheard of, yet someone had an idea, they thought creatively and a new business market (and therefore new wealth, new business) was born.

Finally

Creative Capitalism is invigorating, it can instil previously non existent enthusiasm in your business. Of course, there no doubt will still be hard work ahead of you but why not try it yourself? I am.


Future Thinking – What is it?

Future Thinking is a phrase I coined years ago. I came up with the phrase when I simply got fed up with people talking ‘positive’. I wanted something more meaningful than positive. ‘Being positive’ is often seen as a lame, limp and shallow phrase. I think this is because people who are positive in the ‘being positive’ sense of the word are often short term optimists, they are often positive for no apparent reason. They just come across as optimistic; positive without cause.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m what a lot of people call a positive person and I always try and look at the positive side to a given situation or problem. However, for me, ‘being positive‘ is something that happens ‘in the moment’ and not something that lasts. It’s not something that decisions affecting our futures are made of.

So, Future Thinking sprang from a desire to be more than just positive. I wanted to have a way of describing life choices with future consequences in mind and not just life choices that affect the moment. For me this meant that while I was ‘thinking’ about the future consequences of my actions, it didn’t necessarily mean that I was positive 100% all of the time. Sometimes looking at the negative aspect can provide you with insightful information to help make your ‘future thinking’ decisions!

How does Future Thinking work in practise? I use the following methods:

Look six months back

It probably seems a little weird to talk about Future Thinking by first talking about the past. However, there is a very good reason for this. I like to analyse decisions I’ve made by first looking to see if the desired affect has actually happened. In other words, I look six months into the past, remind myself of where I was (relating to a certain situation i.e. job) and see where I am now, also relating to the certain situation.

If things have improved to my liking, then I tell myself that the decision I made six months ago was a good one and that perhaps I should carry on doing what I’m doing for the next six months too!

Look six months forward

So, I know where I’ve come from. Now I ask myself where I would like to be in six months for a given situation (again, could be a job or something else) and I make decisions based on this thinking.  Now, you could say, I’m ‘Future Thinking’ at this stage and you would be right. The thing about Future Thinking and the difference between just being positive is that you can apply this ‘look six months’ forward style of thinking at any time and for, well, anything!

Have you just heard you are being made redundant? Have you just lost in tendering for a big contract? Looking six months forward takes you out of the moment and the necessity to be ‘positive’ and into something altogether different – Future Thinking.

There’s Power In What We Say

Real Power

There is real power in what we say.  What we say, has an astonishing and sometimes sad affect on our and others’ lives.  By the way, when I talk about the power of what we say, this also includes what we say in writing (such as in text messages, emails, comments and messages on social networking sites etc.). Here’s a couple of examples:

A Sad Example

Young people are more susceptible to the power of words than adults.  So susceptible that from time to time you hear of young people killing themselves through the stress of bullying.  Sometimes this bullying is just verbal and not physical!  You’ve heard it yourself in the news where young people commit suicide and you wonder why.  Then you read the article and find that the youngster had received abusive or threatening messages by text or through some sort of online social networking site.

There was one young girl recently who killed herself by jumping under a train.  I’m not going to relate the full story here, you can go to Google and find many such stories and all of them have the same underlying theme.

  1. There was a certain amount of torment from others in their lives – The Power In What We Say
  2. The decision to take their lives was ‘uncharacteristic’ – The young person’s emotions were affected enough to take drastic action

Changing Just A Little

I’ve mentioned this elsewhere but it is worth mentioning again: Change the words around in what you were about to say about yourself (or someone else) and the difference is amazing! You can easily turn a soul destroying, negative and hopeless comment into one that has possibilities, that can inspire someone (you?) to build up and inspire hope for the future.

As you know, much of what I write is about ‘Future Thinking‘.  Future Thinking is about thinking positive yes, but it goes further than that. I would also say that Future Thinking is a more realistic approach, a more practical (future thinking) approach to yours and others’ future.  Future Thinking asks you to be positive if you can, but also asks you to think about the affect on the future (of a given situation) in your actions and words.

So, back to changing the words you say and write to say something completely different with Future Thinking in mind.

This YouTube video illustrates not just the Power of Words but in the way we phrase them. It’s just over a minute long so watch it now:

Changing Our Lives Through The Power Of Words

Start considering what you say to yourself as well as to others. When you talk to yourself, you can hear it! It doesn’t have to be out loud for your subconscious to take on board what you are saying!  When you change what you are saying, it would be better to say it out loud as I believe there is more power in what you say than in what you say ‘in your head’.

I bet you’ve heard this sort of conversation loads of times:

Person 1 – “I’ll never get a second interview for that job”

Person 2 – “How come?”

Person 1 – “I reckon I’m too young” (or old, or something else)

Person 2 – “You’re probably right”

Well person 2 is probably right! If person 1 thinks and says that, then they probably are right!  If person 1 does get an interview, she/he will be surprised and will quite possibly the wrong mindset when going in to the interview.  One of (“What am I doing here, they will never choose me” etc..)

Why not think first and then say something like:

Person 1 “Hmm I wonder if I’ll get a second interview for that job?”

Person 2 “You have the skills”

Person 1 “Yeah, I’m young and full of energy” (or: “I’m experienced and have great composure”)

Person 2 “Then if the company want someone like you, you have a great chance”

Person 1 “Yeah, I do don’t I!”

Of course, the situation hasn’t changed (yet) but what if person 1 was asked back for another interview? Then person 1 is likely thinking “Ah they DO want someone young like me!”.  Immediately, they will have a positive attitude when going for that second interview and will no doubt be thinking how they can influence the interviewer to consider them for the job!  Consequently the situation is more likely to end up favourable than if they had in their minds that they were too young (or old)!

Person 2 in the above example also changed what they were saying.  If person 1 does get a second interview, then person 1 will have a much better attitude at the second interview and may even get the job because of it!

Here’s a challenge

Change what you say and think with Future Thinking in mind and see how you feel in a week or a months time.  Future Thinking like this will allow us to think realistically but positively too. It can seem hard though I understand that.  It seems that all to often our natural inclination is to be negative and you will find yourself catching what you say.  This is ok, If you notice what you say is wrong, then you are on the right track to permanently changing what you say with amazing results.

Tips

  1. Pause before speaking – Consider other things to say!
  2. Speak slower – give your mind a chance to catch up!
  3. Check out “Look 6 months back and 6 months forward [Future Thinking]” for a bigger picture of how you can think in this way
Thanks for reading and by all means contact me to ask a question or to contribute your own ideas.  Please ‘Like’ the Future Thinking Facebook Page also.
Take care,
Jonathan

How to get on in life – it’s all just luck! [FUTURE THINKING]

Or so some say….

Is it luck that allows some people to get on, find the right job, get that promotion (and so on) before anyone else or where things seem to always go right for them?

I don’t think so.

First, a short story

One of the greatest golfers there has ever been is Gary Player and he was regarded as one of the best bunker players in the world at the time.  Some thought he was ‘lucky’.  He wrote in one of his books about a fellow golfer:

‘Once Jerry Barber, a great sand player, was practising bunker shots. He hit one ball near the flag. The next shot went in. A person watching Jerry told him: “Gee, you sure are a lucky trap shot player.” “Yes, I know,” Jerry replied. “And the harder I practice, the luckier I get.”

This quote, on some websites, has Gary as the golfer who was ‘lucky’.  If you are interested, check out this link at quoteinvestigator.com.

Alternatives to ‘luck’

Ok, several things I want to pick up on here:

1. Gary Player worked hard.  He practised and worked hard at his job.  His ‘job’ in this case was golf

2. His goal when practising at bunker shots was to get the ball in the hole (or as near as possible!)

3. Repetition. For Gary player, he was training his body and mind to do something and do it well.

All the above amount to ‘being ready‘.

Being Ready

Working hard doesn’t guarantee a good result.  You have to have a goal and have your eyes open (be ready) as well.  The goal for Gary Player as I’ve already said was to get the ball in the hole.  For others, the goal might be that elusive promotion or that opportunity to meet your soul mate.  If the goal is to get on at work, then you should work hard but also have your eyes open to the goal too.  If you do what Gary Player did then you will work hard, keep a goal in mind and keep repeating things that will get you where you want to be.

Waiting for an opportunity means you need to work hard, focus on good potential outcomes and keep repeating the things that are most likely to get you where you want to be.

Practical Scenarios

Well, we’ve already talked about one application of these ideas: Gary Player and his amazing golf bunker shots.  What about real life? What about getting on in your career?  How about becoming one of the best in your profession?  How about your charity group achieving things like raising money or finding a generous benefactor?

Quite possibly I could ramble on about any one of the above possible scenarios.  But I won’t you’ll be pleased to hear!  I’m going to pick on the last one.  Not because I have experience in this area but because I know that you can use the same ideas in other areas of your life too.

So, how on earth would you find a generous benefactor for instance? By luck? You think it’s luck that you can by chance meet someone, get talking, find out that he or she is a rich businessman who wants to give to a charity or organisation like yours? Ha! No way!  It might seem that way to some.  And indeed this might happen from time to time. However, for most of us, the way to find a benefactor would be to work hard and repeat certain things and to ensure you are in the right mind-set and ready for that ‘chance meeting’.

Working hard, a practical example

Would you agree for the sake of this article that finding a benefactor means you need to be skilful at communication and be a good conversationalist?  I think this is a good start.  So, you should learn all you can about these subjects, you should start talking to people – anyone! You should communicate with people wherever you go.  You should talk online with people through social networking, forums and email.  How many? It doesn’t matter how many.  Who can say how many people you need to talk to to become a successful conversationalist? No-one.  So work hard at talking and listening to people.

Oh and that’s very important too! Listening!  Listen to all the people you talk to and you might just hear something that makes you suddenly get an idea or ask a certain question.  Listening is an integral part of being ready. Do not underestimate how important this is.

Listening and Intuition go hand in hand.  I won’t say any more on this topic but you go away and have a think about it!

Goal setting, a practical example

I’ve discussed goal setting elsewhere but for this practical working example, don’t you think that you could set goals of communicating with a certain number of people in one year?  Again, it doesn’t matter how many because even if you fail to reach your goal, if you have moved towards your goal, you have been successful in moving forward.

Repetition, a practical example

If you notice that you are getting along well with people through your interactions and that people are talking to you and asking questions, then it’s safe to say that you are probably doing something right.  Then repeat what you are doing with the next person you meet!  And the next!

How many people does it take to find a wealthy benefactor for your organisation? One! You just don’t know which one!

A Warning

With all the above talk, it’s easy to think that the purpose of striking up conversation, being friendly, helping people, discussing issues and so on is all about finding that benefactor!  This is dangerous.  It’s dangerous to have this goal as the be and end all.  If you don’t find that person, then your hopes might get dashed and you stop doing things that you know work (i.e. people like you and like what you are doing and find you easy to get on with).  Your daily reason for meeting and chatting and making friends is not to find that generous rich person but to have fulfilment and self improvement in your life and to be ready when it does happen.

Measuring success

Of course, as in the example above, some would say you would measure success by whether you find that one generous person or not.  To me this is short sighted and narrow minded.  Success should be measured by whether your actions are making you the kind of person that a rich person might look upon and think to themselves “Hmmm, I could give money to this charity”.  See the difference?  How do you think Gary Player (the golfer I mentioned earlier) felt when the ball didn’t go in the hole?  Well, I don’t suppose he felt too bad if it was a good shot and the ball ended very close to the hole every time!  Imagine if every time you made a new friend they respected and looked up to you? Imagine if they saw you as someone who knew what they were talking about and someone who had a great knowledge of their chosen profession/field?  In the process you would become the kind of person that rich person will give money too!

Finally

Whatever your goal, whether its like the example above or if it’s seeking to grow your career or something else.  Your actions today affect the outcomes of tomorrow. By doing things right today, you will be ready tomorrow.  Ready to see and take the opportunity when it comes.  Because you will have been preparing yourself by working hard with eyes open, you will be the one to ‘get lucky’.

So go out there and get lucky!