Our founding fathers said it best when they wrote:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all
Men are created equal, that they are endowed
By their Creator with certain unalienable rights
that among these are Life, Liberty
and the pursuit of happiness.
While the Declaration of Independence does not guarantee happiness, it makes it very clear that it is our job to pursue our happiness. Only we can make ourselves happy, and only we can see our dream and only we can live it.
But how does one “pursue happiness?” Consider the following:
- Be passionate about what you do – Passion is the fuel that drives you. If you are not passionate about what you do, how do you expect to get others to take notice of what products and services you offer? It is the compass that shows you the right direction to take. You need to find your passion to be “big” inside. But for your passion to work for you, discipline and action must also be present.
- Have a vision for yourself and your business – Create the clearest picture you can of what you want to accomplish initially over the next 18 to 24 months. Be specific. The more specific you are, the more likely you will achieve it. When creating your vision dream big. Your vision is the rudder on your ship – without one, you cannot control your direction. Without a vision, nothing meaningful happens. A vision without passion is like trying to start a fire with damp wood – it flickers and then it goes out.
- Work hard – Vince Lombardi once said, “The dictionary is the only place where success comes before work.” Big dreams require hard work; there is no getting around it. Learn to plan each day and focus on doing only the “right things.” When you are goal-driven and working hard, you will find that you will be less distracted by the events of the day. To work hard you must develop good habits. One of the most important habits you can develop is self-discipline. The best definition of self-discipline I have read was written by Thomas Huxley: “Do what you are supposed to do, when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not.”
- Be persistent – Persistence requires that you forge ahead, work hard and not give up at the first, second or even third obstacle you encounter. You need to relax and accept the fact that no one gets it right the first time. It’s okay to make a mistake. In life, there are no mistakes, just lessons.
- Learn something every day – It’s been said that a day without learning is a day without living. When you stop learning or close your mind to learning, you become stagnant. Once you have learned something, practice it until you are good at it. There is no room for “winging it” on the road to success. Coach Lou Carnesca of St. John’s University said it best: “Nothing takes place on the court that doesn’t first take place in practice”.
- Have fun – The fact is you only get one life, so why not get the most out of it? Make it a point to have fun and celebrate your wins. You work hard so there should be no guilt associated with the pursuit of happiness and the enjoyment of your life. If fun doesn’t happen spontaneously – then plan it – make time for it. Just have fun!