"The best way to predict the future is to create it."
– Peter Drucker
Many people live their lives hoping to ‘get by.’ They hope it will be a good year financially. They hope they don’t get laid off. They hope their kids turn out all right. They hope they don’t mess up in a job interview.
One of the best things you can do is to decide to live on offense. Living on offense means you make things happen. You are not going to sit back and hope for the best. You are going to move some things. You are taking the steering wheel of your life.
The #1 habit of Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is ‘Be Proactive.' That's the proper placement. Everything starts from there.
Here are four ways you can move from living on defense to living on offense.
Practice Positive Discontent
We should be grateful for all the good things in life, to count our blessings. Gratitude is a very healthy emotion. But there is no reason why we can’t be thankful for all that we have, while we pursue improving our lot in life. While gratitude is healthy, complacency is not. When you become complacent, you coast. And the only direction you can coast is downhill.
Excellence is a lot more fun than mediocrity. Aim high. Don’t think about getting by, think about nailing it! When I have a big speaking engagement, my thought pattern is not “I hope I don’t screw up.” I am a person of faith, so I recite a phrase by the Apostle Paul, “God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.” We need to do more talking to ourselves and less listening to our self-doubting voices. You can’t thrive tentatively.
"The story of the human race is the story
of people selling themselves short."
– Abraham Maslow
View Life as an Adventure
Try new things. Explore. If you happen to be somewhere you don’t necessarily want to be, (the opera, an infection control meeting, etc.) become curious. Instead of wishing you were somewhere else, decide to be in the moment and learn something new. If your plans don’t go as planned, be flexible. Adjust. If you make a mistake, learn from it and do it better next time.
Make the Best of Any Situation
Despite being proactive, much of what happens to us is still out of our control. We need to decide to make the best of any situation. When adversity strikes, make the best of it. When change is required, make the best of it.
This also goes for positive situations. Years ago I was asked at the last minute to attend a conference in Chicago. The person making the travel arrangements told me, “Don’t tell anyone, but the hotel was completely booked except for the Presidential Suite.” When I arrived at the room, I couldn’t believe how big and luxurious it was. My initial thought was, “I don’t feel comfortable here. I am so out of my element.” Then I decided that I will likely never have this opportunity again, so I took it all in and acted like an important person for 3 days.
Some people think the goal of life is to arrive safely at death. Life is meant to be lived large and to the fullest. Not irresponsibly, but positively and joyfully.
Average to excellent. Surviving to thriving. Defense to offense.
Make your move.