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Life Lessons

We are learning, never quite fast enough, that the time and date of our own death is unknown, but it could be tomorrow, or next week, or next year.  Knowing this, and fully recognizing its truth, can help you overcome complacency about doing many things that you have probably already put off too long.

We have learned, but too often forget, that there is some kind of magic in writing down goals, and even more in writing down the specific steps that you plan to take to accomplish them.

We have learned that flexibility and the willingness to constantly try new things is an important survival skill in these ever-changing times.

We have learned that the best way to achieve flexibility and introduce new thoughts and ideas and practices into your business life is to budget at least two hours a week to doing nothing but thinking about your life and what you could do to improve it. 

We have learned, the hard way, that without budgeting that time beforehand, you will never find it in your normal work life.

We are learning that too much of what we do is simply filling time; too much of what we spend money on is irrelevant to our goals and purpose.

If we could focus our energy, and screen out the irrelevancies, we would recover months of time and many dollars of capital.  This recovery of our time applies not only to office duties that we should finally go ahead and delegate (however painful that may feel), but also to all the people who claim our attention who don’t deserve it.  The world demands your attention, and too many of us give in to those demands without reflection.  If a magazine article is wasting your time, if the newspaper is reporting on things that are not long-term relevant to anything important in your life, if commercial messages and junk e-mails and junk TV are taking your attention away from what is important, then we need to be tougher about eliminating them and re-focusing on our mission and our purpose.

We are learning that all of us have at least 15 people somewhere in our lives who deserve more attention than they’re getting now.  And if we gave them more attention, and took more of theirs, we would all be better for it.

We are learning that the process of improving our lives and achieving greater fulfillment and success doesn’t have any end; it is always an endless beginning.  This is perhaps the hardest lesson of all, because as humans, we are hard-wired to think in terms of beginnings and destinations.  But in the journey that is your life, there is no “here I am, finally at the end; there is no place else to go.”  The destinations are way stations to new destinations; the progress never ends.

We are learning that we should never allow our past to become greater than our potential future.  That is the human recipe for stagnation. 

I wish all of you a healthy, prosperous, happy, successful, fulfilled 2012, and I hope that some of the abundant goodness will be traced back to something you read here.

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