You must make the right choices and take appropriate action to get ahead in life. All too often, we don’t do what we should and then we wonder why success is not coming our way. Regardless, of how you define success, you have to behave in the proper manner to achieve it. Are you experiencing the level of success you desire? You cannot keep doing the same things in life and expect different results. According to Albert Einstein, this is the definition of insanity. Dave Ramsey says it like this, “If you want to be rich, then behave as rich people do.”
Here’s the reality check for getting ahead in life.
Are you doing what it takes to get ahead? Our behavior defines who we are. We can learn a lot about ourselves simply by looking honestly at how we act. For instance, if you want to see what you value, then look at where you are spending your money. It doesn’t matter what you say is important, it is the results in your life that count. Your actions have to reflect your words if you really want to make progress. Here’s a list of questions to ask yourself as a reality check.
1. Is your house clean?
A clean house is a reflection of an organized life. Is there a sink full of dirty dishes at your house? What do your closets and garage look like? Does everything have its place or are things strung all about? If you are a slob at home, then you probably aren’t paying attention to other details in your life that are important to succeeding. I know that this is not the end all, be all, but it is an indicator.
2. How much television have you watched this week?
I have watched TV and I know that there are very, very few programs on that are going to help you get ahead in life. Get out of in front of the television! It will rot your mind. Instead, use this time more productively to work toward your goals. Use this time to learn something new, produce more income, or build valuable relationships. If you need more reasons for watching less TV, then I highly recommend reading Twelve Reasons to Turn off the Television.
3. Are you overweight and out of shape?
Ouch! This one may hurt a little, but if you aren’t taking care of yourself, then it is probably safe to say, that you don’t have the discipline you need to get ahead. Take an honest look at yourself. Are you fit and healthy or do you get winded from simply walking up a flight of stairs? We all know the health risks of obesity and lack of exercise. If you aren’t taking the proper action to protect your health, then this is probably evidence that you need to work on your self-discipline. If you need more motivation, then check out 10 Reasons to Work Out That Have Nothing to Do With a Sexy Bod.
4. When was the last time that you read a non-fiction book?
Do you read regularly? Successful people are continual learners. Pick up a book and learn something new today that will help you get ahead. There are so many great books to read. You can learn practically anything by simply going to the library and checking out a book on the subject. It won’t cost you anything other than a few hours of your time and it may help you to develop a new attitude, skill, or some additional knowledge to be more successful.
5. Have you created a budget to manage your finances?
You will never get ahead financially until you get control of your money. Would you think your employer was responsible if they ran their business like you run your household? It really isn’t any different. You have to be intentional with your money if you ever expect to get and stay wealthy. It doesn’t matter how much money you make, if you don’t manage it properly, then you won’t get ahead. Just look at all the athletes and movie stars that make tons of money and yet still wind up broke.
6. What did you do last Saturday night?
How do you spend your weekends? Do you have a case of self-induced flu on Sunday morning? Do you spend all weekend recovering from Friday night? This is not healthy or productive. Again, if this is your lifestyle, then you haven’t really made the decision and committed yourself to getting ahead. It takes discipline and hard work to really make the kind of accomplishments necessary to be successful. There are no shortcuts!
7. Who are your friends?
The old saying that birds of a feather flock together is true. Look around at the people you hang out with. They are probably a pretty good reflection of who you are. Are they career minded or do they constantly bash their employer? Would you say that your friends are smart with money? If you were or are an employer, would you hire your friends? You might need to find some new influences in your life if you truly want to get ahead.
8. What is the condition of your relationships?
How’s your marriage? Do you get along with your spouse? How about your kids? Loving and nurturing relationships are very important to our emotional well-being. If we aren’t taking the proper action to develop and maintain these vital connections, then we are probably less effective in other areas of our lives. If you have a trail of ex-spouses or even ex-boyfriends/girlfriends a mile long, then you probably need to take a hard look at yourself. As much as we would like to believe differently, I doubt they were the cause of the problems in every one of these situations.
9. Do you pay your bills on time?
Paying your bills is a matter of integrity. You owe the money and you agreed to pay it. If you aren’t doing so, then you have an integrity issue. This is why employers and others check people’s credit histories before hiring them. If you aren’t paying what you owe, how do you expect to get ahead? Get a second job! Swallow your pride, get a job delivering pizzas, and get your bills paid! Oh yeah, get on a budget!
10. When was the last time you donated money to a good cause?
Truly successful and prosperous people are empathetic to the needs of others. They get involved in their communities. They give their time, money, and influence to help good causes. There are a ton of ways to do this. I have written about virtual volunteering and microloans which are both excellent ways to make a difference. If you aren’t helping others, then it is likely that you aren’t getting the assistance and support you need to get ahead.
The value of a reality check.
Have you ever noticed that we judge ourselves by our intentions, but we judge others by their actions? We are often way too easy on ourselves. Did this reality check produce an emotional response in you? What made you mad? Where did you feel your defenses rising? This is probably exactly where you need to take a second look at yourself. I’m not trying to push your buttons, but I do want you to be successful and live life to the fullest. They only way this is going to happen is if you are brutally honest with yourself.
Where do you need to improve to get ahead? Please leave me a comment and let me know.