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Showing posts with the label success

What a Disappointing Turn of Events

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By Douglas Clark
About a year ago I applied for a job and had an interview that went great. I related very well to my potential new boss and his team, the work seemed interesting and the prospects of advancing appeared good. Everything looked like a good fit. After leaving the interview, I not only expected a job offer, I knew they would extend one. 
What I didn’t anticipate was the lackluster benefits package they would ultimately offer. Now don’t get me wrong, I didn’t expect a silver platter full of gold. What I got, however, amounted to only about one thousand dollars more than I made at the time, only at the new position I would be doing twice the work. Also, the healthcare and retirement package was almost nonexistent. 
Needless to say, I felt a bit perplexed. It’s a major thing to uproot yourself from a long standing position. One needs at least a bit of enticement to make such a switch. Obviously, I didn’t take the job. It led me to realize though, there’s nothing more deflating…

Think Big

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by Douglas Clark


Have you ever heard anyone say “I want to get second place”, “I’m working toward being mediocre”, or “My dream is to be average”? Probably not in a serious way you haven’t. It reminds me of a Monster.com commercial that’s pretty funny. Nobody consciously decides they want to be just another face in the crowd, not without giving up first. You see the thing is, most people try, experience difficulty, muddle through, and then find a certain amount of equilibrium with their environment, situation and circumstance, but then never really break through and excel beyond the status quo. This is where people become apathetic.
You can’t counteract apathy though. Think of this from a different perspective. I’m sure you’ve heard someone say “Aim High”, heck the Air Force used to use that as a tag line in their TV and radio commercials for years. Or maybe you’ve heard the saying ‘reach for the stars’, or ‘the sky’s the limit’. The common theme here is striving for something just ou…

What If a Golden Opportunity Knocked?

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By Douglas Clark
There is always a golden opportunity coming your way. Whether you recognize it or want to admit it, there can always be a better situation resulting from your actions. The flip side of course is disaster lurks behind every decision, ready to strike like a Viper.
Recognizing the opportunities in front of you is not always easy. Roadblocks like stress, pride, fear, despondency, fatigue, or arrogance get in the way. Truth is, most people probably miss golden opportunities because they feel overwhelmed by the change they would bring. Familiarity with your current situation is comforting. As the cliche says "the devil you know is better than the one you don't", but it is that very complacency that gets in the way of improvement and success. 
I felt stuck in a rut for a long time. I wanted to grow, take on a new career challenge, improve, but for years, (I'm sad to admit), I avoided it. Oh sure, I'd complain, but not really take action to force a chang…

What Does it Mean to Get Ahead?

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“The jealous are troublesome to others, but a torment to themselves” – William Penn
Life is about quality experiences and honorable achievements you work towards.
Life is not about getting ahead of everyone else. Life is not about accumulating every attention-getting trinket in existence. Life is not about comparing yourself to others as if they are the official measuring stick of accomplishment. Granted, I’m being completely subjective here. I know to others life might very well be solely about acquisition of power, wealth, fame, stuff; who knows. I’m sure having ultimate power might be cool, for a while; being able to buy whatever my heart desires would fulfill my wants, for a while; having people adore me and fawn all over me might be gratifying and feed my ego, for a while. 
But I’ve observed that a lot of times people compare their status with others (usually ones ahead of them) and feel as if they are not as successful or accomplished as they should be; then they lose sight of wha…

Knock Knock!

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A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.  ~Francis Bacon
How often do you create opportunities for success in your life? You might have heard the old saying “Opportunity only knocks once,” or “When opportunity knocks, answer it”. They’re cute little sayings aren’t they? But do you notice something about the way they are structured? I’ll give you a minute to reread them….
Did you see it? Well, if you saw what I saw you’ll recognize that both of those sayings are rather passive in regards to you and what you should do. Think about it. Opportunity knocks, meaning it will come to you. Really? I’ve always had this sort of ridiculous notion that opportunity was like a cloud of positive energy that would one day float by my apartment door and lightly rap upon my door knocker. All I had to do was wait. Now I realize that’s an incredible waste of time.
If we think about what Francis Bacon says about opportunity, we should all be out hunting that misty cloud of energy trying to wrin…

How Do You Define Personal Success?

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What a loaded question huh? I mean success has so many different facets doesn’t it. What category should we explore: financial, romantic, physical, emotional, academic, professional, spiritual? There are so many different types of success it’s hard to qualify a statement like “I’m successful.” It’s probably better to start by asking “Where does success begin?” For me, though, personal success is the most important. I mean, I’d love to be at the top of my professional field, making millions of dollars, after earning my Ph.D., but that won’t all come at once, and it’s certainly a lot of hard work, but would all of that mean anything if my own personal parameters of success weren’t met? Knowing what success means to you is probably the single most important step in actually achieving that success. If you really didn’t know where you were going or why you were pushing so hard for something, even if you achieved that goal, it probably would hold little value, at the very least when you wer…

Does Persistence Really Pay Off?

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Douglas Clark
-Head writer, The Inspiration Engine

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again.” As the old saying goes, never giving up is a mantra to follow if you want to be successful. But when you think about it, when does trying and being persistent stop being a virtue and start becoming a hindrance? There’s a fine line between the two and it’s not always easy to know which side you are on. Honestly, I don’t know the answer to this question, but I posed it because knowing the answer would help wouldn’t it?  There have been times when I was absolutely sure staying the course and continuing on was the best answer. I persisted and stayed focused, but I continued to fail. What does that mean? Did I not commit enough? Did I not try hard enough? There are other times when I gave up when things seemed hard. I felt devoting so much time and energy to that one thing was a recipe for failure, only to find out later that if I had hung on just a bit longer, things would have worked…

21 Days to a Good Habit

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There’s an old saying that I’ve heard and read countless times.  It says to form a habit you have to do something for 21 days in a row. Now usually it seems easier to form a bad habit than it does to form a good habit. Ever wonder how you fell into watching TV every night, or eating macaroni and cheese for dinner; because it’s easy. Bad habits are easy to form because they don’t take much effort, usually because they arose out of some need for a short cut. You found that short cut and BANG, it’s a bad habit. Okay, so that 21 days may be an arbitrary number, and it’s fair to say that not all people will need 21 days and some people may need more. But you should get the idea behind the premise. Doing something consistently for a specific period of time will help form patterns in your behavior that eventually becomes second nature.
So, why the hell am I bothering with all this you might ask? Easy. I want to form Good habits. Why does it seem that doing ‘good’ things for ourselves are so …

Most of us regard good luck as our right, and bad luck as a betrayal of that right.

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- William Feather (read about him here)

Disappointment can be a hard thing to deal with, especially if you’ve worked really hard at something.  Putting forth real effort to reach your goal, to drive toward your mission is always a great achievement, but there’s something so deflating when you don’t reach your goal due to no fault of your own.  Sometimes, things or people get in your way and you fail, not because you didn’t try, but because your efforts were thwarted by circumstances, or by other people.  Unfortunately, you may encounter people in your life who actually try to sabotage your endeavors.  Sometimes they do this because they are ignorant of your aims and inadvertently get in the way.  Sometimes, they are deliberately vindictive or jealous, and actively attempt to ruin your work.  Yes, there is that type of ugliness in the world and I’m sure you have experienced it.  I myself have been the target of nefarious individuals at one time or another in my life.  And let me tell yo…

Happy Birthday

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So it may surprise you to know that today is my birthday.  Yes the conductor of The Inspiration Engine is turning one year older.  I like to think of it as turning one year better.  Now to be honest, I don’t really pay too much attention to birthdays.  It’s not that I don’t care about them; it’s just that to me, a lot of times, it seems repetitive and arbitrary.  However, there is a certain value in reflecting on the past year and seeing if you’ve managed to improve, learn, better yourself, and continue to drive toward the goals of your life mission.  So in that regard, birthdays are a great thing. 
On a personal level I can say that I’m doing pretty well.  Now I’d like to bitch about little things, stuff that irritates me, and stuff that continually hounds me even despite my best efforts to irradiate them from my life.   And trust me, I’ve got some monsters. Well, such is life I suppose.  But I’m not lacking for simple needs and compared to most of the world I’m doing pretty damn wel…

Anytime you suffer a setback or disappointment, put your head down and plow ahead

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-Les Brown


Disappointment is unavoidableThings don’t always go according to plan.Sometimes, things go so far off course you wonder how the heck it ever got so bad.Even with all your planning and preparation, everything is just Fubar. So what do you do with that sort of disappointment?How do you handle it?I mean, it’s not like you missed the opening three minutes to a movie, or missed out on the opening pitch of a ball game.Sure, those things can be a disappointment too, but when the weight of being disappointed gets really heavy, when it turns into a load you feel you are forced to carry, there’s got to be something you can do, right?If you don’t change your perspective on it, that disappointment can become regret, and regret is a far worse burden to bear.
At every stage of a person’s life, they must deal with disappointment.This was very evident to me yesterday thanks to my daughter.She had plans to play with a friend after school on Thursday; she was excited and looking forward to it …

In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure

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- Bill Cosby
A friend of mine asked me once, what I thought of the past and what would I do to change it if I could.Now I thought about that for a while and had a lot of different exotic and strange ideas.My natural tendency to lean toward Sci-Fi and fantasy stories led me down a path of great adventure and amazing story telling.But then I stopped and really thought about what it would mean to change the past, I mean really alter what has happened in my life.How would I know what would be different if I chose not to go to college, not join the navy, not get married, not get divorced, not have a child. The more I thought about it, the more it dawned on me that even though I had regrets and have made some massive mistakes, I couldn’t change a thing.You see, I have come to understand myself in a way that is much more profound and true as compared to when I was younger.I’ve been through some really hard times, emotionally.But I’ve learned from those experiences.All this contemplation led me…

Enjoy the silence.

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Sometimes it’s okay to have nothing to say.Sometimes it’s okay to just be quiet, sit back and enjoy the peace and quiet that can come with inactivity.Relaxing and letting your mind decompress from the day, or week depending on how stressed you are, can be a great thing.Not every minute of every day of your life has to be chasing your dream, carrying out your mission, or on your feet.You are allowed to relax every once and a while.In fact, it should be part of your schedule.You know that old saying, ‘All work and no play makes jack a dull boy?’Well, it’s true.You have to know when to slow down, take a moment and pause.Reflecting on what you’ve accomplished for the day, the week, or just at the task at hand is a good way to gauge how your success is going, or not going as the case may be.
Sometimes I have felt myself pushing too hard and not getting a good return on my time investment.If that ever happens to you, slow down, stop even.After I finished my master’s thesis, I wanted to just …

What is greatness?

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Philosophers have been trying to answer that question for ages.The idea of Greatness occupies the minds of many, controlling their thoughts, actions, and entire lives.But the question remains: What is Greatness?Also, how does one obtain it, retain it, recognize it, utilize it, and wield it effectively?The big problem here is defining Greatness.Whose definition is correct?Do we go with the militaristic view and say Greatness is when someone can command others, lead him/herself and others to victory over competing forcers?Do we go with the economic view and say Greatness is when someone can accumulate the most wealth by manipulating the system to its fullest?Do we go with the religious view and say Greatness is when someone represents themselves as the best human reflection of their god, or follows the tenants of their religion as devoutly as possible?The possibilities and avenues we could go down in trying to define Greatness are vast and wide.So the obvious course of action is to try …

Your future depends on many things, but mostly on you.

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-Frank Tyger.


What is self-reliance and why is it important?  There are a lot of things in this world that you may be responsible for: bills, education, work, family members, but most of all, you are responsible for yourself.  Most people would agree with that, but in practice, many disregard their own personal care and supplant it with other chores and duties claiming that to be responsible.  But think about it, you can’t possibly take care of anyone if you can’t take care of yourself.  That is what self-reliance is all about; taking care of yourself.  Now I’m not talking about being selfish and blind to other people.  Learning to handle things on your own, depending on your own abilities, skills, and disciplineare vital. 

There’s a powerful lesson in learning how to do things for yourself.  Once you have grasped the concept of self-reliance, you’ll thirst for challenges to overcome and conquer.  But how do you get there? Having self-reliance starts with believing in yourself and your…

The best revenge is massive success.

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- Frank Sinatra

To me, it's a waste of time trying to tear down and destroy your opponents or enemies, because that does nothing to build you up. For my effort, I'd rather work on myself and be the best Me I can be. What do you think? Is it better to try and bring someone else down, or build yourself up?
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