Sunday, February 27, 2011

Success or Failure: The Choice Is Yours

By Rich Schefren

In 1935, Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger devised a thought experiment known today as "Schrödinger's Cat."

Schrödinger asks us to imagine a cat inside a box. The box also holds a mechanism that could - but might not - kill the cat. The box is constructed in such a way that no one can see the cat. Likewise, there's no way to know if the deadly mechanism has detonated.

Because there's no way to determine whether the cat has been killed, it is equally possible that the cat is alive or dead. In a sense, the cat is simultaneously alive AND dead.

Only when the box is opened will we know for sure what has become of the cat.

In some ways, your dream of a fulfilling, successful life is like that cat.

Sounds like a stretch, doesn't it? Well bear with me for a minute...

You see, every day, you make dozens of choices. What you do, how you act, what you read, who you talk to, what you eat for breakfast, how you treat your prospects and customers, what you say to your team... and on and on.

Everything you do or don't do every day either moves you toward success or away from it.

But the thing is, it's likely that you don't know which direction you're heading in. I call this the Delay Between Cause and Effect. Most of the small, seemingly insignificant choices we make each day don't result in immediate feedback. There's a delay. So, whether you make the right choice or the wrong choice doesn't make a noticeable difference immediately.

That's why - like Schrödinger's Cat - your dreams are both alive AND dead at the same time. It won't be until some point in the future when you "open the box" that you'll discover whether you've achieved the success you dream of... or need to start from scratch.

As I said before, in some ways, your dreams are like Schrödinger's cat. But in other ways, they are completely different.

For instance, your dreams are not dependent on a random mechanism inside a sealed box. You can take specific actions to help ensure that you achieve the success you long for. You can direct your destiny.

You Can Choose Success with Every Action You Take

It may seem to you that today is much like yesterday. It isn't. It is different. Every day is.

Appearances are almost always deceiving. In life, you never stay in the same place.

Which means that today you are either closer to your goals or you are further away. Period. The delay between cause and effect is always there, working behind the scenes. And right now it's either helping you or hurting you.

Now, let's apply this daily reality to your entire life: Right now, the journey of your life is following one of two paths. One path curves upward toward success, the other curves downward toward failure. The best way I've ever seen this reality described is with the following diagram...

Notice, there are no straight lines. Every entrepreneur's life and business is either improving or declining. You're either curving upward or downward.

So, the question is: Which way are you headed?

Not sure? Perhaps in the middle, you say? Sorry.

There is no middle. You are either going up or going down.

The early part of both curves is fairly flat, so it can certainly look like you're moving along on a nice, even keel, heading neither up nor down. But appearances are deceiving until it's too late.

Often times it's easier to figure out where you stand by looking at the subcategories of your life. In other words, look at which path you are on in each important area of your life and business.

On a personal level:

- Your relationships are either improving - growing deeper and richer... or degrading... growing more stale and distant...

- Your health is either building day by day, or it's ebbing away slowly...

- You're either getting smarter - more knowledgeable, more skilled, and more capable - or you're getting dumber...

- Your finances are either improving - taking you closer to security and financial freedom - or the days and/or the dollars are slipping away, driving you closer to dependence and the poor-house...

On a business level:

- You either know your prospects' mindset better - their beliefs, frustrations, and dreams - or you're more out of touch with the people who have final authority on whether or not your business dreams come true...

- Your products and services are either improving or they're falling behind your competitors...

- Your marketing is either getting better - getting more customers to spend more money more often - or your competitors are receiving a greater share of their wallet...

- Your overall business is either growing - getting all the necessary conditions in place - or it's simply getting closer to going out of business because you're sacrificing the essential to chase the non-essential...

This is too important to simply know and understand the concept. So let's take a moment to get very honest with yourself. Check the box that corresponds to the curve each area of your life and business is on right now. Which ones are on the success curve and which ones are on the failure curve?

How's that for a wake-up call?

If you are honest with yourself, I'm sure you realize you could be doing better. And that can be either good or bad news. It all depends on what you decide to do about it.

You see, if you decide this essay is really a wake-up call - that you can do better - and you decide to start doing things the right way immediately, then you are on the right path.

Make the right choices... Constantly strive to improve rather than decline... And you can ensure that when you "open the box," your dreams will be alive and well.

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