Success is not the result of spontaneous combustion.
You must set yourself on fire.
– Reggie Leach
I’m not going to give you a rah-rah spiel with a think positive twist.
Can that work for some of the people some of the time? It’s in the ballpark, sort of.
But, what I will offer to you is 100% effective. Every time.
I didn’t invent it, so I won’t take the credit. But, will it work? Yes.
Some people have listened to many hours of the world’s top-notch motivational and self-help guru’s (including me). They have read all of the must have books and even gave them to friends and family members (me, too).
Those who’ve had some success point to this book or that tape as the reason. And, those that haven’t had success may point to the same book or tape but with blame (guilty, your honor).
Neither views are right.
See if this next example sounds familiar (fill in the name and story of Johnny with you, me):
Ready to change his life Johnny heads right straight to the (fill in blank-kindle, library, etc) and is enraptured by the wonderful selection of close your eyes and make a wish books. He can’t choose so he buys six of them.
No time for that frappamochalattachai (with skim please). Johnny boy gets to reading. As he does, he chuckles in agreement with the author wondering how he ever managed through life without these nuggets of wisdom. He pours through some of them and even finishes one completely. Now, he is ready to show the world the new improved Johnny.
Johnny demands a recount. His life is not better a month down the road. As a matter of fact, he put ten pounds back on for the five he lost (and it took him a much shorter time to do it!). He watches TV instead of reading. He knows his life was destined for run-of-the-mill, eked out living. Motivational and self-help books don’t work and Johnny swears he’ll never read another one.
For a while he doesn’t.
A year later Johnny’s friend tells him about the newest, bestest, self-help author ever. Johnny reads the authors’ series of best selling books titled, The Newest and Bestest You (1, 2 and 3). He reads them again. He can’t believe the insight.
The profundity. The timeliness.
Two years later a brazened Johnny has lost 25 pounds. He has started a business that is turning a hefty profit. He rarely watches TV but instead chooses challenging and thought-provoking books and articles. And, of course, he is working on all the classics.
Johnny isn’t about to welcome the old Johnny back because he likes his present life way too much. He’ll fight to keep it.
Interesting. Those must have been some seriously good books. Life changing even.
Or, were they?
What changed from the former Johnny to the latter Johnny?
Before we dig into that, let us take a ride back in time to June 3-5th 1989.
Beginning on the evening of June 3rd, 1989 the People’s Liberation Army of China went about clearing the Tiananmen Square of protesters. Please study this event in depth, but for the purpose of this writing, I will abbreviate.
Hundreds of thousands of Chinese civilians (including a large percentage of college students) were seeking democratic reform and economic change. They were spurred to action by the recent death of Hu Yaobang an official who was pro-democracy.
The tanks rolled in (late evening of June 3rd) and by 5:40 am on the 4th of June the crowd had been dispersed resulting in death and injury (how many is disputed).
As the tanks were departing on June 5th, they approached an intersection on Chang’an Avenue (Eternal Peace), a man (possibly you or me) who has since been dubbed ‘tank man’ positioned himself in front of the leading tank. He boldly stands in front of a piece of metal weighing in at over 100,000 pounds.
The tank attempts to go around, but, the tank man is not swayed and stays in the front of this procession.
Then, the unthinkable.
The tank engines are shut off. We are talking about one of the most powerful nations in the world, known for taking swift actions toward anything resembling dissidence.
As if this couldn’t become any more dramatic, he then climbs atop the tank to have a brief discussion with the occupants.
Who does that?
Conversation concluded, he descends to ground level. The tank engines are started and the lead tank begins forward. Again, the tank man plants himself in the path of the lead tank. Once again, the tanks halt. Shortly thereafter the tank man is hurried from the front of the formation and out of camera shot. It is still a mystery as to the outcome or whereabouts of the tank man. I can tell you this much: his memory lives on.
She was on the fence a bit at first about his new change. You see, Johnny was going to make it plenty of times before. Heck, she loved him either way but wasn’t getting her hopes up this time. But, she started noticing little things: like the garbage was actually being taken out by someone other than her, there was no more hollering at the TV for bad passes or missed calls. But one of her favorites was that Johnny’s pectoralis major was actually becoming major. Johnny’s kids started noticing, too. He would bike ride and play catch. He even let the rascals bury him in a monstrous pile of leaves (and, jump on him!). Friends silently wondered how Johnny was catching all the breaks.
Every time they turned around Johnny was catching yet another break.