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March 2005
Success Harmony Newsletter


In the world of chasing success and happiness in our lives, we often say that getting what we want is complicated. Yes, there are times when we may stare at the ceiling in the middle of the night trying to figure out an answer to a complicated problem. However, more often than not, success is rather simple.

Let's take success in school. There's a simple equation. The person who fails to show up for class, read assigned materials or do assigned exercises is likely to fail. Yes, once in a while, there will be a genius who doesn't need to do all that and who succeeds, but that is rare. The person who has the correct prerequisites, shows up for classes diligently, reads the textbook, does what is assigned and asks for clarification when they don't understand, is likely to do well in the class. Having talent definitely helps, but a talented person who doesn't do the work is less likely to do well than the person without talent who did the work. Having a good attitude also helps tremendously, but the bottom line again is that a person with great attitude who doesn't do the work is less likely to succeed than the person who does the work without much excitement. Certainly, the person who waits until they have that great attitude before they start will be passed by someone who just started.

In the school example, there are certain success determinants that have a direct bearing on the final result: 1) talent, 2) attitude, 3) sufficient foundation for the class, 4) attendance, 5) doing assigned homework, 6) asking for support when necessary. Rather simple. That doesn't make it easy. And the same goes for many of the other endeavors of our lives. Want to lose weight? The simple answer is to eat less, eat higher quality food, and exercise more. But that requires work. I heard of a weight-loss study where the researchers wanted to see how people would respond to changing a simple habit before they asked for changes in eating habits. The researchers asked for people to get out of bed on the right side if they normally got out on the left side, and to get out on the left side if they normally got out on the right side. The study subjects were to do this for 30 days. The study was scrapped because nobody did it!

We don't like work. We don't like changing routines. But we do like to complain about the lack of results in our lives. If I don't have a relationship I'm happy with, it's much easier to say that my spouse is doing this, that, and the other thing. Instead, I could ask myself, "What are the key determinants of a happy relationship?" I might come up with: 1) quality time, 2) communication, 3) honesty, etc. Then I might say to myself that, although my spouse and I spend 10 hours a week together, most of that time is spent watching TV and that this isn't the quality time I'd want. I can then blame my spouse or I can approach my spouse about scheduling time each week for "together time". We can talk about how to spend that time so that it is quality time. In this, I have dealt with the issue of quality time, as well as communication and honesty. Then I need to ensure that we actually take that time each week as we discussed, rather than allow us to go right back to the TV as we have done for the last 30 years. Simple? Yes. Easy? Maybe less so.

This analysis is really all I do as a coach. I find out about the results desired. I ask lots of questions to find out what the success determinants for that type of result would be. Then I ask a lot more questions to determine what the client has been doing to get the result they say they want. By then, it usually starts to become rather clear what has been missing and what needs to get done. Maybe I am simply not smart enough to deal with complex solutions, but I have found time and time again that the answers usually lie in some simple thing or things that just need to get done. So, if there is something in your life that you want but don't have yet, look for the simple solutions.

Look at what successful people have done to get that result and then - then do the same thing. In martial arts, it is said that until a person gets their black belt, they follow their master's directions. After they reach their black belt and become a master themselves, then it is their turn to create new directions. It is very much like that in other areas of our lives. Until we become experts ourselves, we may not understand the beauty of the simplicity that the masters have created. By looking for magic pills and shortcuts designed to avoid the work, we often end up with no results. I am not saying to throw out creativity. If we all were satisfied with only following the examples of others, there would be no Edison and we would still be reading by candle light. However, even Edison still followed a simple approach: "try whatever may work, eliminate what doesn't work". Simple. So, whether your quest is to find an original idea or to follow a success formula established by others, just do what needs to be done. Simple. Do it for how long it needs to be done. Simple. You sow the seeds, you tend to them, chances are that you will harvest what you intended.

Sunshine and smiles,


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"Conditions are never just right. People who delay action until all factors are favorable do nothing."
William Feather

"Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome."
Samuel Johnson

"The truth of the matter is that you always know the right thing to do. The hard part is doing it."
Norman Schwarzkopf




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© 2002 Pavla Michaela Polcarova, CPR Coaching Services, Vancouver, BC, Canada