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Pay the price ; inherit the promise

Solving financial difficulty is easy. But it is also easy notto solve. If the rewards are eluding us, then the best place to start is with an honest look at our results, Jim Rohn advises.

If the results are not there, something is wrong. “The lack of results is symptomaticof a problem that needs to be addressed and corrected. To ignore the symptom is merely to perpetuate the cause.” Rarely will a problem repair itself. Instead, a neglected problem intensifies.

Those whose efforts have produced a poor result often have a lengthy list of reasons to justify their poor progress. To them, the items on the list are not excuses, they are reasons. They blame the company or they blame the boss. They blame taxes. They blame their parents or the teachers or the system. Sometimes they even blame the country.But there is nothing wrong with the country.There is no shortage of opportunity in Ghana. There is only a shortage of those who will apply themselves to the basics that success requires.

CHECK RESULTS OFTEN

We cannot afford to wait ten years to see if our plan, our philosophy, our attitude or our efforts need to be modified. Neglect and delay can be costly.

Progress must be measured on a regular basis. The timely checking of the key indicators in all parts of our lives is a barometer of responsible thinking. How often we need to check our results depends on how far we want to go. The greater the distance, the more frequently we need to check. If we are only going as far as the next junction, being off a few degrees isnot going to make much difference. But if we have our sights set on some distant star, then miscalculating by even one degree can lead us many miles off target. The longer we wait to discover this small error in judgment, the harder we will have to work to get back on course. And of greater consequence is that the passage of time tends to diminish our desire to get back on course. We may accept the little that we have and abandon our dreams of all that we might have been.

MAKING MEASURABLE PROGRESS TIMELY

That is the great challenge of life — making measurable progress in a reasonable amount of time. That is what creates both purpose and value in our lives. “If we want to receive the rewards the future holds in trust for us, then we must exercise the most important choice given to us as members of the human race by maintaining total dominion over our attitude towards this life’s challenge.”

If we are to confront this challenge with enthusiasm and with any hope for success, we cannot use our current circumstances as an excuse for our failure to make measurable progress. When circumstances make progress difficult, this should be our signal to push harder, not to diminish our efforts.

The difficulties we encounter serve a unique purpose. Difficulty tests the strength of our resolve. If our wantto is strong enough; then we will be driven to seek solutions. As we invoke the power of creativity and intensify our efforts to conquer each new problem, we actually speed up our progress.

Without challenges to capture our attention, we may take twice as long to arrive at our objective. If the way is easy, we tend to drift along at a leisurely pace, content in the knowledge that success is within our grasp. If the way is fraught with obstacles, we will dig deeper within ourselves calling upon more ingenuity, more abilities and more strength than we even knew we possessed. Conquering these challenges leads to a new level of self-confidence that drives us further and faster toward our inevitable success. An Indian philosopher once said, “When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds. Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world.”

If we are not making measurable progress in a reasonable amount of time, then it may be that our goals are too small. It is very difficult to get excited about minor rewards.

The problem may also be that we really do not believe in our dreams, or to be more specific, believe in our ability to make them happen. Instead of being challenged by obstacles, we use them as opportunities to withdraw from the confrontation. That is why checking our result often is so important. If we are not making measurable progress in a reasonable amount of time, then something is clearly wrong with either our objectives or the execution of our plans.

WHATEVER HAPPENS, HAPPENS TO US ALL

In the final analysis, we are all faced with about the same circumstances over the period of a lifetime. Some choose to use them as an excuse for poor performance while others use those same circumstances as a reason to grow and to drive themselves to new heights of accomplishment.

We all have opportunity mixed with difficulty. All of us have times of illness in addition to years of health. The storms come up on the rich as well as the poor.

Whatever happens; happens to us all. The only difference is our approach to the “things that happen”. It is not what happens that determines the quality of our lives; it is what we choose to doabout what happens.

There is an inherent tendency to want the results when we want them or need them. But the law of sowing and reaping tells us that to reap in the fall, we must first plant in the spring. We must use the summer to help the plants to grow strong by guarding against certain invasion of the devouring insects and the strangling weeds. We must continue our activityin spite of our current needs. The harvest will surely come, but it will come in its own due season: “To everything there is a season, and to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted; … A time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance. … A time to love and a time to hate; a time of war and a time of peace.”

“Results do not respond to need. Results respond to effort; to labour; to activity.”If we have done our part, the results we need will appear in a reasonable amount of time.

While challenges can serve a worthwhile function in helping us to achieve our goals, there is no need to deliberately invite them into our lives.

Ten years from now we will all be somewhere, the question is, where? Nowis the time to fix the next ten years. Life will present us with enough obstacles without purposely attracting them to us. One of the best ways to minimise future challenges is to anticipate the results of our current neglect.Anticipating the results of our current neglect begins with asking ourselves important questions about our attention to the basics: How many books have I read in the past ninety days? How regularly did I exercise last month? How much of my income have I invested this past year?

The answers to these and many other questions will provide us with vital information about our potential for progress and future rewards. If we cannot discipline ourselves in the small things, we will lack the discipline to capitalise on the great opportunities when they appear. Ravenhill puts it aptly, “The opportunity of a lifetime needs to be seized during the lifetime of the opportunity.”

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