Success Lies In The Choosing

If you follow me on Twitter, you know I am a fan of quotes. I am always amazed at how people can so powerfully restate a timeless principle in a fresh new way. Most of the time I can grasp the breadth and depth of the quote rather quickly. That was not the case yesterday.

My friend Amanda shared a quote from her elderly grandfather which read, People don't know what they want today, and that's what they get. Wow! It's one of those quotes that I look forward to sharing at a dinner conversation, or over coffee with good friends to get their interpretation.

I see so many people embody this quote and sabotage their ability to achieve more of what they really want from their work and life. Failure to identify what you want and passionately pursue it produces days of confusion, anxiety, and discontent. Some examples I regularly see include:

  • A person who isn't satisfied in their job and wants to pursue something different, but won't make the decision to improve their job skills
  • A parent who wants to improve their productivity at work so they can spend more time with their family, but isn't willing to change work habits
  • Individuals who can't determine what their top priorities should be today, so they simply engage in low priority tasks to stay busy
  • Leaders who see the need to move the organization in a new direction, but won't make the choice to have some difficult conversations with their people
Even taking the wrong actions offers important feedback on the course corrections to make tomorrow.

People who are successful know that they must be intentional every day. This includes reviewing your goals, identifying your desired outcomes, creating a plan based on these outcomes, and then taking the corresponding actions. Even taking the wrong actions offers important feedback on the course corrections to take tomorrow. Failing to identify what you want, however, brings a day spent wandering from one task to another. And invites more of the same tomorrow. Success lies in the consistent choosing of one action over another toward an identified outcome. As a similar quote says, "If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there."

A few weeks ago I wrote about my friend Chris. He's had the dream of becoming a drummer for years. He finally went for an audition and, in his words, "It didn't go well." Chris knew what he wanted, however, and he recently had a much more positive audition, primarily due to increased practice and improving his skills. He is awaiting the results now. I have no doubt that Chris will eventually achieve his goal, if for no other reason than he knows what he wants-and is making choices based on his desired outcome. What about you?

Have you identified what you want from today?