Do you steer by the light of the stars or the lights of each passing ship?

How good a seafarer are you? Are you the captain of your destiny or is your ship adrift in the sea of life? Have you carefully charted your course or are you aimlessly following others? No wind can help the ship that is bound for nowhere. And at the end of your voyage, you wont be asked about the storms you encountered, but whether or not you reached your destination. If youre unclear about where your ship is heading, dont panic; theres still time to refer to the map in the Captains Quarters (your mind). To navigate your way, you will need the help of your shipmates: acceptance, accountability, aspiration, attitude, aim, action, and achievement.

Acceptance and Accountability

Most of us are damaged goods. Imperfect parents raised us and flawed teachers educated us. Malicious peers taunted us. Were badly bruised and still in pain. Our trauma is holding us back, preventing us from reaching our potential. Our first step on the path to success is to stop blaming others and our circumstances. We cannot change the past, so we have to ACCEPT it and work with what we have. And what we have is infinite potential!

There’s no point in blaming our circumstances or others for our lack of success because blame doesnt advance us. We cannot control others or events; we can only control our own thoughts and actions. So it is time to assume ACCOUNTABILITY, to take responsibility for our own success. For as Anne Byrhhe wrote, Every action we take, everything we do, is either a victory or defeat in the struggle to become what we want to be.

We have enormous power within our grasp. It is expressed by the choices we make. Consider the powerful poem of Edgar A. Guest,

You are the person who has to decide.

Whether you’ll do it or toss it aside;

You are the person who makes up your mind.

Whether you’ll lead or will linger behind.

Whether you’ll try for the goal that’s afar.

Or just be contented to stay where you are.

Aspiration and attitude

ASPIRATION, or ambition, is the desire to improve your life. Im sure you agree with C. Archie Danielson who said, Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings. Aspiration is like taking a deep breath and optimistically jumping into the adventure of life. Aspiration stokes the fire of enthusiasm. When you want to succeed, you get excited about preparing for success. Acceptance, accountability, aspiration, enthusiasm, and optimism fuse to form the ATTITUDE of success.

Aim, action, achievement

Now that you are fired up to embark on your journey to success, you are ready to set your AIM. You are ready to focus on a goal. As you do so, life becomes worthwhile, for as Maxwell Maltz wrote, People who say that life is not worthwhile are really saying that they themselves have no personal goals which are worthwhile. Get yourself a goal worth working for. Better still, get yourself a project. Always have something ahead of you to look forward to — to work for and hope for.

When choosing a goal, always pick one that will make you stretch. Place your goal out of reach, but never out of sight. It should be worthwhile and difficult so you will grow. But at the same time it must be achievable. An unrealistic goal can discourage you and hurt your progress.

It is important to write down your goals. Also, state them in positive terms. For example, if you want to stop smoking, don’t write I will stop smoking. Don’t focus on the negative behavior you want to eliminate, but on the positive behavior you want to begin. So, you can write it as I am now leading a healthy lifestyle. I eat nutritional meals and exercise. Focus on the new you, not the old you. When writing your goals use the present tense (I am), not the future (I will), unless you have a specific date in mind. The reason for these considerations is because as you focus on your goals they will sink into your subconscious mind, which is a goal-seeking mechanism. It will automatically seek to achieve the images before it. So dont feed it pictures of the old you, just the new you. And let it know that this is not a plan that will begin at some vague date in the future (I will), but now (I am).

You also need to set a deadline for your goal, for instance, I will finish my school report by August 16, 1999. For best results, make your goal as specific as possible: I will have a bibliography of at least 17 sources, use at least 25 quotations, have a table of Contents, section headings, and write 25 pages or more in my school report, which I will finish by August 17, 1999. Can you see the difference it makes? So can your subconscious mind! Also, when you go into such detail, you are making your goal measurable. On August 17th, all you have to do is count the number of sources, quotations, and pages to see how successful you were at achieving your goal.

Once you have set your goal, it is time to break it into small tasks that you can easily do and schedule. Returning to our example, you can schedule one day to get your quotations, three days to do research and build your bibliography, one day to work on an outline (which will become your Table of Contents), and so on. These tasks, or ACTION steps are your keys to success, your road map to your goal. Discover, as Alexis Carrel did that Life leaps like a geyser for those who drill through the rock of inertia.

Finally, as you work on your plan for success, continually monitor your progress, analyze your obstacles, and adjust your plan so even if you change your route, you will remain on target. The result? ACHIEVEMENT, or accomplishment! People may doubt what you say, but they will believe what you do, so lets start planning our new life today. Look out world, here we come!