The difference between frustration and success

As I’ve worked with numerous people over the years and learned about their frustrations and successes, there’s one thing that has emerged as the difference maker between frustration and success: A plan.

As simple as that sounds, a plan brings focus, hope, and most times, positive results. I personally have been at a point when I was frustrated and couldn’t see why things weren’t going differently for me. I almost had a sense of entitlement, like “I’m a talented guy. Why doesn’t someone just give me what I want?” The light went on when I realized I had no plan for what I really wanted.

When I finally realized I needed a plan, I did some homework on what I wanted and built one. The result has been an awesome experience. Although there were days when that frustration would try to creep back on me, I simply reminded myself of my plan. That reminder would set me back on course.

Can plans fail? Sometimes. But if you have a plan, and plan some flexibility into it, your failures will usually be minimal.

If you want to trade frustration for success, start making a plan!

Take control of what you CAN control!

So many times we get frustrated about things we can’t control. We spend even more time stewing about them, even though there’s absolutely nothing we can do about them. Although this is common among all of us, it’s amazing what happens when you replace those stewing moments with thoughts of what you CAN control. Now THAT is using your time wisely!

We can’t control others choices, their attitudes, or the weather, to name a few. But we CAN control our own choices, our own attitudes, and how we react to the weather. Are we going to make choices that will lead to better things, have attitudes that are positive and uplift us, and roll with whatever weather comes our way? I hope so, because that’s really the only way we will positively progress in our lives.

If you want to be happier and more successful, take control of what you CAN control!

It’s OK to fall down, just don’t stay down too long.

Succeeding at anything requires you to take some hits, get knocked down, or go through some adversity. Sometimes that adversity is just good, old-fashioned work. This is the hard truth about making yourself better or accomplishing a goal.

Some see falling down or taking a proverbial hit as something bad. It’s really not. Sure, it’s humbling, but in some ways it’s a sign that you’re taking the necessary steps at getting better or getting closer to reaching your goal.

Remember when you take the hits that it’s OK to fall down, just don’t stay down too long. Sometimes when someone gets hit, they stay down. They feel the pain of the hit and decide it was too embarassing or too painful to get up and keep going. It takes something deeper inside to get up and keep going, and there’s some of that in all of us! It’s the will to get up and keep going. It’s the determination to see your efforts through. It’s the desire that leads to action.

So next time you get knocked down, it’s OK. Don’t stay down too long because you’re probably on your way to succeeding.

The reason we can and should be positive.

I dedicate this post to a friend that has been an amazing example through difficult times. His wife’s funeral was yesterday. She passed away after a long battle with cancer and was only 37 years old. How can anyone be positive through this kind of trial? My friend has been about as positive as anyone could. Yes, there have been awful times and will continue to be hard days, but he knows something that Jesus sums up in John 16:33:

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me you might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

What more positive news could there be? My friend knows that even through what is most likely the lowest time in his life, he can turn to Him whose birth we celebrate.

This Christmas season, hold your family close and be grateful for Jesus Christ, for He has made it possible for us to overcome anything.

The Complain Drain vs. the Positive Pulse

The other day after getting off the phone with someone who wanted to do nothing but complain, I was reminded of something we’ve all realized from these types of encounters. It saps anything fun or enjoyable out of you for a little while. It’s a downer, especially when the complaining is not constructive. I get the idea that we sometimes need to vent. That feels good and can be healthy. But without mentally moving on, you’re drained. I call it the “complain drain”.

On the opposite end of the spectrum there are people with the “positive pulse”. These are the people that build up, help out, and find solutions to problems in order to help those around them better their situations. When you feel that positive pulse from these people it’s invigorating – the complete opposite feeling that comes from the “complain drain”.

I’ve seen it time and again and have observed that you will get more out of life and find more success when you have the “positive pulse”.

Most days are great

When we think about how relatively good we have it in life, most days are great. We have the occassional reminder when we hear of a natural disaster ravaging a certain part of the world and we go home to food, clothing, water, and a bed to sleep in. We have the occassional reminder when we watch the news and hear of a crime or murder story and think about the relative safety we usually live in. We have the occassional reminder when we see a neighbor go through a hard time while we live a fairly busy but great life. When you really think about it, reminders of how good we have it are everywhere.

Sure, we will have some tough times on occassion. It’s part of life. Some of those tough times test our endurance and patience. But even during those tough times we can still look around and say “even so, my life is still great”. Some of the people I look up to most looked at the things they had during hard times, not the things they were lacking.

The more you look around at the good things in your life, the more you will see them. And the more you will realize that most days are great.

Simplify to succeed

Every weekend my wife and I have what we call our “impossible list”. You know, the list of all the stuff you want to get done, whether it be fun, work, projects, etc. We call it that because we never get through the whole list in one weekend. Sometimes that’s been, well, frustrating. How many times have you done this at home, or at work, or in life in general? You set yourself up to fail from the get-go because your list is just too big. I’ve learned I need to simplify to succeed.

Some might think this means lowering my expectations. Nope. All things can get done eventually, it just takes prioritizing things that are most important and putting those on a short, realistic list. Sometimes I’ve found that things that are way down on the list didn’t need much attention anyway, or worked themselves out over time.

It’s the important things that need attention. Make a short, realistic list of these. Once it’s knocked out, make a new short realistic list and be glad about the things you’ve accomplished, not what you haven’t.
Simply put: Simplify to succeed.