My grandmother turned 110 years old yesterday. Unfortunately, she’s not around to celebrate as she died more than 20 years ago. Even though she’s been gone a long time, I still think of her each year on May 19th.
It’s hard to believe that someone who was an important part of my life could possibly be 110 years old. I guess that means I must be getting old too, right?
At any rate, I was talking about Grandma yesterday with my dad (her son), and I started thinking of everything that has happened since she was born in 1912.
She was a toddler when World War I started. When she graduated from high school in 1930, The Great Depression was relatively new. She had her first child at the beginning of World War II. She lived long enough to see space travel, medical breakthroughs and even the Internet.
At the time of her birth, Grandma’s rural home didn’t have electricity. One hundred ten years later we have dazzling electronic capabilities, and we take them for granted.
But despite how many years have gone by, and how much has happened since she was born, I suspect, if Grandma was alive today, she’d say something like this:
“It seems like just yesterday when I was a kid.”
Or maybe this:
“The time has flown by.”
That’s because time indeed flies by quickly. Time is our most precious Earthly resource, yet it’s amazing how good people (myself included) are at wasting it.
Life’s milestones have a way of reminding you of how little time we have to pursue our dreams, accomplish our goals and just get stuff done. It doesn’t matter whether it’s your late grandmother’s 110th birthday, one of your own birthdays or a significant moment in your child’s life. There are lots of reminders out there telling us to get our butts in gear and make things happen.
But do we pay attention? And if we do notice those reminders, do we act on them?
Many people do not. Personally, I’m trying to do a better job of it.
How do you do that? Time management and discipline are important. Time blocking is a good habit for sales pros. But I think we really need to focus on initiative. That means you’re proactive; you “take the bull by the horns,” so to speak.
Ben Franklin once advised, “Plough deep while sluggards sleep.”
Steven Covey once said, “Employers and business leaders need people who can think for themselves – who can take initiative and be the solution to problems.”
History has proven that successful people are always on the move. They get things done when they need to be done. Successful people are not afraid to keep working when less accomplished people are taking time off.
Success requires you to take the initiative, to be a self-starter. Nobody else can do the heavy lifting required for you to reach the pinnacle of your existence. Sure, you need to delegate and engage the talents of others, but it’s up to you to actually make your goals happen.
Don’t wait for opportunities to present themselves to you. That’s too passive. It makes you dependent on other people and external conditions you can’t control. Instead, be assertive. Go out into the world and make your own opportunities. Create your own luck.
In today’s hyperactive world, there is no room for passivity. That’s unfortunate, because most of us have a tendency to procrastinate. How ironic would it be if you put off taking the initiative? Don’t procrastinate. Take the initiative and set yourself up for long-term career and life success.
Now, I have to get back to working on my goals and ambitions. After all, Grandma will turn 120 in the blink of an eye. And when that happens, her grandson will pretty old too.