Two Truisms that Stuck with Me

Once in a while, we stumble upon words that can actually change our mindset and behaviors. I don’t mean cliché quotes. Instead, they’re more like truisms, and in plain, practical terms. Have you latched on to any of these in your career or life in general?

Image result for thinkingI can think of two that stick out in my mind, and they are both somewhat related. I think they stuck with me because they resonate with my experience and they can be made very concrete. (Not much value in a quote that makes you feel good, but there aren’t actionable steps to take after hearing it).

My favorite truisms both deal with getting what you want. I don’t mean the spoiled “getting what you want”, like a kid throwing a fit in a toy store (side note: R.I.P. Toys R’ Us). I’m talking about the feeling of personal drive and empowerment to drive your own life where you want to take it….instead of waiting for doors to open.

The first truism, I must admit, comes from an unknown source. I can’t remember. (If you have heard it, feel free to post in the comments below). I don’t think it matters (unless you’re the source 😉)

This 1st statement is:

You have two very powerful things in your control…
You can change your environment or change your attitude.

This is not a mind-exploding idea…I know. Not rocket science or Freudian stuff here; but, it is very true. If something in your life is not going 100% well – your career, relationships, leisure life, or something else – YOU have the complete freedom and complete control to do 1 of 2 things (or both). You can change your attitude. Or you can do something to change your situation.

>If you don’t like the city you live in,… you can learn to like it and find something enjoyable, or you can move. Those are your two options.

>If you don’t like your job,…you can change your attitude and reset to have an open mind, or you can make changes to influence what your job is.

>If you don’t like your manager, …you can adapt and learn to accommodate his/her behaviors that bother you, or you can respectfully work to change things (your manager’s understanding and views, or your organization structure, or your job).

This is true and applicable to anything.

Our world is full of lots of excuses these days. This quote above was a refreshing outlook for me when I first heard it, because instead of focusing on the “bad luck” or misfortunes, it is empowering and reflects our awesome ability to drive to our achievements. We have the choice and gift of paving our own way. I’m not saying this is easy, but we can all do it. No excuses (play like a champion!).

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The second, somewhat related statement is:

If something didn’t go as planned, its either your strategy or your execution that failed.

Unlike the first, I know where this quote came from. I heard this during my MBA, from one of my favorite professors and mentors. He taught our Business Strategy course. It stuck with me during my studies, during my startup venture, and even today in my corporate job and life in general.

To avoid boring everyone with dry business lessons, I can give more standard examples of how this is so true…

Maybe a cliché example, but think about personal health. For some, this is losing weight. For others, it is gaining weight (muscle/strength). For some, it could be training from something like a 10k or Iron Man, etc. This applies to any of these situations, plus more.

People who set goals like this and then miss the mark, usually do so because (1) their training plan was wrong or (2) they failed to execute their solid plan. It is really that simple.

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I think many times, people know their end goal, but they don’t really know how to get there. They go to the gym and do the same routine every day or week, and then wonder why results are the same.

On the flip side, many people understand what to do and they have an excellent plan, but then their execution doesn’t align (This is often why startups fail). These goal-setters miss workouts, or skip repetitions in an exercise, or use the incorrect workout form, or don’t follow a corresponding diet plan.

Considering this truism, I think it simplifies the challenges of reaching big goals. It boils it down to two things – strategy and execution. If you’re wrestling with some goal or desired change in your life, and it’s not happening, assess your strategy and your actions. One of them has to be wrong.

In the same way as this truism above, the first truism boiled challenges down to internal changes (attitude) and external changes (environment). It’s like Andre3000 says… “You can plan a pretty picnic, but you can’t predict the weather”.  In other words, focus on what you can control 😊.

If you pair these ideas together and view each of YOUR challenge through these lenses, I think solving them might become clearer. And as I alluded to last week, don’t forget to partner with great people and get help along the way. This is empowering stuff, but no one does it alone.

Happy Friday ya’ll. Go get it.

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