Changing Today

Success is not the result of spontaneous combustion.
You must set yourself on fire.
– Reggie Leach

Changing TodayI’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.

Straight home.

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.

But, wait.

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.

And on.

Now, I have some questions for you:

Was this caused by a motivational speaker?

Reading a self-help book?

Audio tapes or CD’s?

I highly doubt these were in his realm of reality on this date. I would further surmise that this ‘tank man’ didn’t wake up that morning with an idea to stop oncoming tanks. He probably wasn’t a careful student of wushu (martial art). I don’t think he was a thrill seeker.

But, that’s what he did.

He did one simple thing. He purposed to take action. And then, he took action.

An action that named him to Time Magazine’s top 100 most influential people of the 20th century. An action that has spurred on hearts and actions ever since. You may be able to think of many other brave and daring enterprises that have been afforded through the centuries. The tank man is close to the pinnacle for me.

Remember, he had no army behind him, just in front of him.

Let’s get back to our boy Johnny…

All of a sudden Johnny is a popular guy. People seek him out at gatherings. His energy is contagious and people try to bottle it for themselves. Some friends he’s known for a long time tell him they always knew he’d make it big. Mom tells everyone how proud she is of her little Johnny.

Before I go further with Johnny’s story, let me tell you some more about him. Johnny is married (or isn’t), has three children (or doesn’t) and a dog named spot (a mini pinscher or a Belgian Shepherd, or a parrot). His hair is receding more than a little. His rhythm is saved for the steering wheel because wifey (or not) can’t handle Johnny doing the two-step on her feet.

She does however love the new house and huge kitchen (and Johnny).

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.

Even though he had been advised against touching real estate, he did anyway. He didn’t go blindly at it though. He got educated. He went to seminars, read books and listened to podcasts. He talked to successful investors. It wasn’t easy because Johnny was working 5, 10 hour days down at the god-forsaken plant. Heck, he only had another 13 years to retirement.

But every Saturday, Johnny began working for himself, his life. At night during the week before succumbing to sleep and just after tucking the children in, was grow time. Reading, listening, building, growing, conversing and doing.

You see, at some point Johnny decided excuses just wouldn’t work anymore so he took action.

He knew that there was something more to life than what he had been getting. He also admitted to himself that the problem wasn’t the rest of the world, it was him.

That was painful to admit, but, became the catalyst for a new way of life.

He purposed to take action. And then, he took action. Again and again. A conscious everyday choice.

He began to stack the momentum of his choices and they paid off.

Looking back Johnny realized that he didn’t even give his full measure or else it would have been achieved even sooner. But, he never went back even after setbacks.

Johnny and the tank man, BFFs.

The common bond that glues these two together is that they took action. Not just thinking, and dreaming and planning, but, acting out. At some point there can’t be another day, more planning, or another excuse. A time must come when you are fed up enough to stand before a column of tanks.

When the only life worth living is a life of action.

The rewards are endless for those brave souls who will act out. For those who will take action and never turn back.

Fortuna audaces iuvat-Fortune favors the bold.

There is nothing to lose, but your very life to gain.

  • Make it happen.
  • How are you writing your story?
  • How are you spending your grow time?
  • How will you act out today?
  • What will you do today to grow?
  • Face the tanks!
  • Act out, my friend.
  • Grow, my friend.

Get out there and live it, and Live it LOUD!

Remember, you are the only you, you have!

If I can assist you in taking action and attaining your goals let me know.


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