By: Lawrence T. Markson, DC
I’m not a philosopher, or a clergyman or a psychiatrist. If anything, I’m a “doer,” a “make-it-happen” fellow. I am also someone with an abiding curiosity who soaks up the knowledge and experiences I come across. So, I’m constantly intrigued by the ideas, the concepts, even the words—especially key words—that can make a difference in the level of achievement that each of us reaches as a person and as a practitioner.
No one can claim to have all, or even the best, answers on how to do well in life—on how to win and be happy. At times we must be responsive to economic conditions (inflation, recession) over which we have no control. Yet, we must deal with such factors.
Keys That Have Worked
I have some thoughts, proven by action, that have worked extremely well for me personally and—I’m especially thrilled to note—they have also worked for thousands of Chiropractors and Chiropractic Assistants. Importantly, they have stood me in good stead in good times and when times have not been so good. Here, I offer these thoughts to you, embodied in key words. These words are “achievement builders,” not simply subject headings. Look deeply into them. It is imperative that these words communicate to YOU… that YOU understand their vital meaning and value them.
Never forget that we are engaged in the study of “personal and professional services to humanity.” These key words can guide and/or apply power to your professional and personal health, wealth and happiness.
I have learned that there are only 2 ways to face the future; with anticipation or with apprehension. Believe me, anticipation is the best, by far; yet 80% of all people face the future with apprehension. Why? Because they don’t set and/or stick to goals. They don’t have a plan or design or even know what they want to strive for. Worse, without thinking about it, they have probably accepted someone else’s plan of what their goals should be.
You will face the future with anticipation only when you have deliberately designed a future that you can be (and stay) excited about. To achieve the future you want, you must have GOALS.
THIS WAS THE SINGLE MOST POWERFUL ACTION STEP I TOOK WHEN I DECIDED TO CHANGE MY LIFE. When I set goals, I notice my income, my bank account, my personality, my lifestyle, and my accomplishments all began to get better… much better.
Your Goals Are Road Maps To Your Future
Your goals are the road maps to a future that you—not an advisor nor any consultant—must select. They are the plans you must write down to achieve the fulfillment of your dreams. I have found—and you will, too—that well-defined goals are like a magnet. They literally pull you in their direction. Of course, the better you have defined your goals and the more specifically you direct them, the harder they work… the pull such goals have on you is even stronger.
Without goals, it is easier to be discouraged and to let life deteriorate to where you are just getting by, are unhappy and/or dissatisfied. Don’t be without set goals; if you do not have goals, inevitably you will find yourself trapped—either by economic necessity or discouragement that makes you willing to settle for existence, not substance. Even in the poorest of times, we each have a choice! We can either grope or we can design a life. I’ve experienced both and, again, I can tell you… designing a life is better.
THAT’S WHY I AM BEGGING YOU TO TAKE THE RESPONSIBILITY OF SETTING YOUR GOALS—DESIGN YOUR OWN LIFE… CREATE THE ROAD MAPS TO YOUR FUTURE AND SPEND YOUR YEARS EFFECTIVELY ACHIEVING THE RESULTS.
“Fundamentals” is the key word to making our lives work well. It is essential to learning and practicing those things vital to the achievement of success. This word demands your attention to the basics that build the foundation for your productivity, the handling of your challenges, your accomplishments, your lifestyle and your eventual success. Someone once said that to be successful you don’t have to do extraordinary things… you just have to do ordinary things, extraordinarily well. So true!
One of the things I learned, as I studied success, is that success is measured in small quantities. In fact, there are only about a half dozen elements that can make nearly 90% of the difference. Think of it: your mastery of as few as six fundamentals can be the difference between ultimate success or crashing failure. And it could all depend upon how much each of us is committed to seek out, study and master the six or so essential fundamentals.
You’ve heard coaches say “Concentrate on the fundamentals.” They mean learn the job from the basics up. If you’re a line backer, learn how to block and hit your opponent, be expert in how to lure and trap him into the hole. But, above all, learn the realities of the likely situations, as well as the unlikely situations. Then you will meet and be able to apply the fundamentals each step along the way.
Fundamentals Are Invaluable
There can be no shortcuts… no substitutes… and no exotic alternatives. Fundamentals can’t be “manufactured,” they must be continually worked on, honed and sharpened. That’s because results based on fundamentals are truly invaluable. Beware of the advisor who claims to have a new formula for success, one that ignores the fundamentals. That’s like claiming an 18th-century antique table handmade by Duncan Phyfe, the acknowledged American master cabinet-maker, can be manufactured on a North Carolina factory production line. It’s been tried, but it has never happened. And today, a Duncan Phyfe table or cabinet can sell for more than $300,000, while even the best manufactured tables rarely bring 1% of that value.
In Chiropractic, fundamentals mean building and maintaining a solid office procedure. Understand it—be sure you know what it means to staff and patients; drill it, as much as possible, to make sure you and your team are fundamentals “perfect” in every situation. Adjust elements, but never the basic fundamentals of what you are in practice to achieve.
This word has many meanings: greed, sharing, relentless power, leadership, security, hoarding, showing off, contributing. Wealth is surely a word that brings about a variety of mental responses. Depending upon your goals and fundamentals strengths, that can be good… or bad! Wealth comes from the conversion of effort and enterprise into currency and equity. For example, to each of us, the amount of money required to be “wealthy” may differ, but the dream for each of us is usually the same: freedom of choice… freedom to enjoy and to have the opportunity to create and to share life as we see fit.
A Misdirected Concept Is Bad
A confused or misdirected concept of wealth can be bad, because within that mixture and mystery of our mental images are the initial inspirations, dreams and incentives to achieve, which we create and pursue. To one person, wealth might mean to have enough financial substance to be able to do whatever you wish. To another, it may mean freedom from debt or pressing financial obligations. To still another, it might mean living beyond your means—giving off the image of being a “millionaire,” without achieving the substance. Wealth, of course, inevitably depends upon the possession of sufficient financial resources that can improve your opportunities to shape the quality of your life and give it added dignity and pleasure.
The “SLYC” Principle
You have the responsibility to attain wealth, and also to keep it and make it grow. I have found that the system that works best for me is the one that keeps my resources Safe, Liquid, earns a high Yield and is Catastrophe-proof.
Put A Wealth Plan Into Action
Again, you—nobody else—must decide what wealth means to you, as you strive to attain it. Now is the time to latch onto your mental image of wealth. Let’s see if the ideas that we’ve discussed so far, and those that follow, will motivate you to put a “WEALTH PLAN” INTO ACTION NOW; so that as the days pass, you will feel a growing sense of substance and the comfort of a lifestyle that is in tune with your goals and the fundamentals of your achievement program.
Often it is happiness—not wealth—that becomes the universal quest. Somebody has said, “Happiness is something left behind or something yet to be discovered. It is elusive, but not impossible to capture.” Happiness is the joy that most often comes from a positive activity. As with the word “wealth,” it, too, has a wide variety of meanings and interpretations.
Happiness is both the joy of discovery and the joy of knowing. It is the result of an awareness of the full range of life. It is the joy you get from designing a life for yourself and from practicing the fine art of living well. Happiness is being able to explore the offerings of life, by perceptions, response and the experience of enjoyment. Happiness is both receiving and sharing, reaping and bestowing. It is the ability to live in harmony and to share ideas openly. Happiness is the deliberate act of creating a wider world of experience and awareness. Happiness is being able to control emotion and circumstance and knowing how to deal positively with disappointment.
Happiness is freedom from the negative feelings of fear, worry, low self-esteem, envy, greed, anger and resentment. Apart from fear and worry, which may be normal and natural in given situations, the rest are time-wasting emotions. Happiness is an awareness and grasp of the positive power of life and of living values. It is your positive thinking, activity and style of living.
Happiness is values in balance. It is contact with people of substance. It is contentment with the tasks of your life—not only in your practice, but in your daily relationships. Happiness is activity with purpose. It is love in practice. It is a grasp of the important, and an awe of the mysterious.
Happiness is a life well-lived in which a wide variety of experiences are deliberately captured. Most can become an invaluable form of “currency” for you to spend and invest in for your own better future.
If there is a magic word that stands out above the rest, this is the one: DISCIPLINE. It is a positive word; yet it is troublesome, because it is demanding. It is the bridge between thought and accomplishment. It is the bridge between necessity and productivity. It is the bridge between inspiration and valuable achievement.
Letting Time Pass Is Our Enemy
The passing of time is the enemy of discipline. It lets us drift; and when we drift, we are prone to experience negative, perhaps disastrous and disappointing failure.
It is important to note that failure is not usually a cataclysmic, unforeseen event when it occurs, it is generally the result of one major incident, BUT that incident is usually the last straw in along list of accumulated unattended little failings. FAILURE IN LIFE IS FAILING TO THINK NOW… FAILING TO ACT NOW. IT IS FAILING TO CARE, TO STRIVE, TO CLIMB, TO LEARN TO PERSIST, TO CORRECT, TO RESPOND EACH DAY, E-V-E-R-Y D-A-Y!
If, for example, your goal is to write 10 “thank you” emails today and your write only three, you are down by 7 emails—any or all of which can be costly to your patient relationships. If you want to make 5 calls and you make only 1, your are risking patient relationships in the 4 calls you don’t make.
If your Wealth plan calls for you to save 10 dollars today and you skip it—because “times are tough,” and you’d rather put it toward a new sports shirt, you are behind and subject to fall further behind, because your failure in discipline puts your Wealth Plan at risk. The danger in all this is that any undisciplined day takes just one failure. And concluding that no great harm has been done is the greatest mistake of all. Such days, individually, don’t seem so bad, but they can add up to make a year, and then add up some more to make a lifetime.
It doesn’t take much to see how the lack of discipline weakens your goals, undermines your fundamentals and threatens your happiness. Ultimately, of course, you place your original ideas of wealth in harm’s way. Today’s small failures in the discipline of our existence can turn our years and our lives into a series of disasters. Dazed and shocked you will ask: “Why me?” and “How could it happen?”
Build Discipline To Do More
Achievement is just the same process in reverse. Plan to make 5 calls and end the day making 10 calls. Now, you are ahead. If you do the same with everything else in your Discipline Program, it will make a massive difference in just 1 year. Then just imagine the achievement for a lifetime!