Recently, a friend of mine gifted The Traveler’s Gift: Seven Decisions that Determine Personal Success to me and my wife. I immediately picked it up and began reading, and the book captured me from the first few pages. Before I realized it, I had finished the book and was left to process a challenging and inquisitive book.
The seven decisions described by Andy Andrews are short, simplistic ideas that we have all heard in our lives, but he works these steps into a fictitious tale that is both riveting and intriguing from its early pages. Below are condenses versions of the seven decisions:
1. The buck stops here. I am responsible for my past and my future.
2. I will seek wisdom. I will be a servant to others.
3. I am a person of action. I seize this moment. I choose now.
4. I have a decided heart. My destiny is assured.
5. Today I will choose to be happy. I am the possessor of a grateful spirit.
6. I will greet this day with a forgiving spirit. I will forgive myself.
7. I will persist without exception.
Without diving into each decision, I want to discuss a few important points that Andy Andrews provides in his book. To begin, the first decision is one of the most important and also one of the most overlooked steps when striving for personal success. So many people tell themselves that they will work for a goal in their life, but then continue to blame their unfortunate situations or failures on other people. They make statements such as, “I wasn’t born into money” or “My business failed because of my co-founder. He/She didn’t work hard enough”. If they are afraid to break out of their comfort zone, they claim it is because of their childhood. Those afraid of emotional commitment blame past relationships.
Any large amount of success cannot be achieved if you are unable to take personal responsibility for your actions. Any circumstance you experience is a result of your actions and your decisions. If you did not get a promotion at work, do not blame your boss or the individual who received the promotion. If you are not able to finish your degree, don’t blame your job or your children. These are all results of your decisions, and there is no one to receive blame but yourself. This statement can be sobering for some people, but it’s important to accept your responsibilities before you attempt any significant goal.
Second, I wanted to discuss decisions #4 (I have a decided heart). In this book, this decision is explained as having complete and unwavering confidence in one’s ability to accomplish a goal. This confidence may be met with criticism. In fact, I will guarantee that any significant goal you set out to accomplish will face its fair share of people who doubt the end results. But Decision #4 is about holding true to the process and remaining confident in yourself and your work. There is no need to acknowledge the doubts, because in your heart you should know that what you have set out to do will come to fruition. It may take longer than you expected, but there should be no doubt in your mind that you will make it happen.
It is this resolve that separates the successful from the average. When we face challenges, many of us will simply say, “Well, this wasn’t for me. I wasn’t meant to accomplish this goal.” And from there, people settle for what they already have, and their goal is forgotten. Instead of starting their business, they go back to their “safe” job. Instead of running a marathon, they’ll blame their lack of work on an injury and go back to simply riding a stationary bike at the gym. These excuses are the foundation that an average life is built upon. The successful are those who push through these doubts and force themselves to accomplish their goals.
To close this blog post, I want to share a quote from The Traveler’s Gift that stuck with me from my own reading. Andrews states, “Poor is the man whose future depends on the opinions and permission of others”.
I found this statement so profound in that it confirms what I believe, which is that greatness is accomplished within our own minds. It does not require the confirmation of outside individuals. If you have a goal that you’ve set for yourself, whether publically or internally, I encourage you to ignore the outside voices in your pursuit of this goal. Do not seek the permission of your friends, family members, or coworkers to pursue your dream. Involve them in the process if you feel that is necessary, but do not rely on their approval to get the process started. It is your dream, not theirs. That means that your success relies on you. Your happiness is a product of your decisions, and by waiting for outside approval, you will remain on the sideline like so many others before you. Take the chance! Take action! And do it relentlessly until you reach your goal.