Ever since I was a child, I had always been in an environment where I was encouraged to achieve. My father, being an small business entrepreneur all of his life, taught me some great lessons about life and how to have the mindset to overcome obstacles and be tenacious about success. An important principle that he instilled in me as a young man was the value of hard work. One of the things I love about my father is that he is a master of “one-liners”, which makes him profoundly memorable (and freakin’ hilarious). I distinctly remember from my childhood him observing my behavior and, if my behavior was not aligned with a favorable outcome, asking me “Dean, do you want to be driving the Ferrari or washing the Ferrari?”. Though there is nothing wrong with washing a Ferrari and, frankly, if someone has a business where they are washing Ferraris, that’s commendable. The lesson in this was really a question of if I was willing to do the things necessary to achieve everything I wanted (and I loved Ferraris at the time).
Looking back on these moments, I realized that my father was trying to teach me that I must behave my way to success. The key word is BEHAVE. Our success is determined by our behaviors. Of course, it is important to have the right mindset when it comes to success in each area of life, it doesn’t matter if there aren’t the proper behaviors to follow. For as long as I can remember, I have taken this mentality into every endeavor in my life.
Now, let’s take a step back. At face value, this type of mentality seems like the ultimate philosophy to get everything you want in life and more, right? There have been some great achievements along the way of my journey that felt amazing at the time. However, achievements don’t necessarily give someone happiness; and isn’t it the pursuit of happiness that keeps us ticking after all? You may be able to relate to the experience of feeling some temporary pleasure or “happiness” after an achievement or proclamation of mastery in some area of your life. This is an incredible feeling – it’s a rush! After many achievements (and disappointments), I realized that achievement does not bring happiness because it simply can’t be sustained every moment of every day. I have explored within myself where to find happiness to ultimately live the life of my dreams. These are the lessons I have learned in order to achieve my dreams and be happier every minute of my life in the process:
- Set process-oriented goals versus outcome-oriented goals.
An outcome-oriented goal is a goal that is defined by a certain accomplishment and timeframe which provides a direction. By very definition of this type of goal, you may be setting yourself up for disappointments if a particular outcome does not come to fruition. Anyone that has seen extraordinary results in their life knows that part of succeeding is failing. To be attached to the ideal outcome of any situation is almost guaranteed to cause frustration.
Rather than focusing on an outcome, focus on the process. It feels so much better to shift your mindset to the process of getting results rather than the results themselves. One of my early mentors once told me that “if you want to do something someone has done, just do what they did until you do it too”. For example, if you want to be a millionaire, do what other millionaires do and you will eventually become a millionaire too. If you want to have a great marriage, find how other great marriages worked, replicate it in your marriage and it will eventually become great too. Again, don’t focus on the results – focus on the activity. Trust the process of success. It will come as long as you do the right things.
- Realize that NOW is the most important moment that you will ever have.
Be present. Too many people live their lives worrying about the past or the future, which can’t be changed. The present is what matters – now matters more than ever before. Once you realize that this moment that you are in – NOW – matters more than any other moment. Think about it. What you did 10 minutes ago before you started reading this article doesn’t matter because it’s already been done. It is simply a story of how you chose to live that moment. You can’t change that story until NOW. We all need to let go of our past – no matter how good or bad it was – because we can always be better. Our circumstances or life situations may not be better or worse but the character that makes you YOU can be better.
Isn’t it ironic that in order to have happiness in our life, we must let go of the future first? It is because we must come back to the present. People that live too much in the future aren’t fully appreciating every moment of their journey. They don’t place enough importance to show up to that moment the right way, ready to make the best of that moment. Those that do stay present truly live life to the fullest and ultimately, have a more abundant life because of it.
- Practice self-awareness
When is the last time that you had 10-15 minutes with yourself and nothing else? No TV, internet, smart phones…nothing but you and the air that you breathe. Most people in today’s society are reactive to all of the stimuli in the environment that we seemingly can’t escape. However, you can make the decision to spend 10-15 minutes and not worry about what is going on around you. Remember, the most important thing you can do is be present and enjoy that moment you have with yourself. The more time you spend enjoying yourself in the moment will make you realize that all of the manousha of life will always be there.
There are many ways to practice self awareness including journaling, meditation, yoga, sitting in silence, expressing gratitude, etc. Find a new way to practice self-awareness and see how much you happier you are.
By focusing on the process, the outcome generally takes care of itself. Don’t succumb to the way the rest of the world craves instant gratification, which just leads to frustration and quitting before we should. Success in life for all of us is achieved through happiness. If you remind yourself to be focused on the process, be present and self-aware, you are on your way to living the life of your dreams.