Zig Was Right

You can get anything you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.

~ Zig Ziglar

This is a classic quote from legendary speaker Zig Ziglar that I have been aware of for several years.  While I have always understood what Zig was saying in this quote, I never really got it until this week, when I was awarded my first voice over job.

The experience was an “ah-ha” moment for me.  I wasn’t awarded the job because I had a better voice than anyone else who auditioned.  (I’m not bad, but I’m no Morgan Freeman or James Earl Jones!)  The reason I was selected for this job is because I was helpful to the client.

The audition notes stated that the client would be open to suggestions for improving the script.  Since they asked, I made some changes to the script, which caused it to read better, without changing the spirit of their message, and submitted my audition.  When I was awarded the job, the client mentioned they liked that I had taken the time to make changes to the script and liked how it now read.  It felt good to be awarded the job, but it felt even better to know that I added value to the client’s project.  I felt good knowing that I had helped them.

This experience reminded me of Zig’s quote and the truth behind the principle of being helpful and useful to others first, rather than first seeking what we want and what we can get for ourselves.

Where in your life do you have opportunities to be helpful to others?  I’m not talking being helpful in a manipulative way, where you expect something in return.  I’m talking about offering your skills and talent to others to help them with their struggles and challenges.  Begin looking for opportunities to be helpful to those around you.  Not only will it make you feel good and benefit those you’re helping, you’ll most likely find that others will be eager to help you get what you want as well.

Worrying About What Might Happen

Can you imagine spending $525,600 on a device that lets you know if a meteor is going to crash into your head?  That would be ridiculous, right?  Why would someone spend that kind of money on an event that will most likely never occur?

We do the very same thing whenever we worry about something that is out of our control.  Check out these numbers that illustrate the high cost of worrying:

  • 1 day spent worrying costs 1,440 minutes of your life
  • 1 month of worrying costs 43,200 minutes of your life
  • 1 year of worrying costs 525,600 minutes of your life

That’s staggering!  Those numbers represent the price we pay to worry about something we can’t control instead of using that time for positive thinking, planning, relationship building, or personal growth and development.   The price of unproductive worry is indeed high!

So what can we do if we find ourselves tempted to start worrying about something that is out of our control?  The following steps offer timeless guidance on this topic:

First, determine the worst case scenario and prepare to accept it.  This is great advice Dale Carnegie wrote about on the topic of worry.  It is helpful to consider the worst case scenario because once you know what it is; you have a framework from which to begin problem solving.

Next, create a plan to improve on the worst case scenario.  Are there any corrective or preventative steps you can take to improve the worst case scenario?  If so, take those steps immediately.

Finally, stop worrying about it, fill your mind with positive encouraging content, and go live your life and.  If you’ve accepted the possibility of the worst case scenario and have done all you can do to influence it, then there’s nothing more you can do.  This is the point to stop worrying, because it no longer serves a purpose.  Instead of worrying, spend that time filling your mind with positive encouraging words to help improve your outlook.  It may be talking to encouraging people or listening to positive music or reading something positive.  I specifically like reading the Psalms to help alleviate worry, as there is always one that is relevant to my specific concern.

Here’s another thought to consider when you begin to worry.  According to Earl Nightingale, only 8% of what we worry about are legitimate worries!  The other 92% are what he calls, “[…]pure fog with no substance at all.”

Do we really want to spend 525,600 minutes a year worrying, especially when most worries are beyond our control or unlikely to occur?  When confronted with worry, take a moment and realize how costly worry can be in wasted minutes.  Minutes that could be spent on more personally profitable endeavors and can never be reclaimed once spent.

Make it Your Own

The only limitations you will ever have are the ones you put on yourself.”

                ~Unknown

No matter how often I hear this quote, or any variation of it, it always resonates with me.  It reminds me that anything is possible in my life and that the limits I face are usually the one I place upon myself.

One thing I like doing with a quote I find especially inspiring is to make it my own.  I do this by changing the pronouns so the quote speaks specifically to me.  For example, I could replace all the pronouns with my name and come up with:

The only limitations Scott will ever have are the ones Scott puts on himself.”

 That’s a little better, but it still sounds like it could be written for anyone in the world named Scott.  A better variation would be:

The only limitations I will ever have are the ones I put on myself.”

That’s powerful!  When I read this version, there is no mistake that it is directed specifically at me.  However, there’s one more thing I can do to unleash the full power of this truth in my own life, and that is to speak it, out loud, on a regular basis.

When we read a quote or principle like this out loud, we’re not just reading the words; we’re also speaking them and hearing the encouraging words in our own voice.  Great things begin to happen when we begin speaking encouragingly to ourselves.  We don’t need to wait for others to encourage us, we can begin encouraging ourselves today.

What are some of your favorite quotes of encouragement, success, or inspiration?  (If you don’t have a favorite, check out the book of Proverbs.  It’s loaded with enough great principles and quotes to keep you supplied for a lifetime!)

Take the steps below to cause the encouraging words of others to hold specific meaning for you:

  1. Identify or discover 1 or 2 of your favorite quotes or principles.
  2. Determine how you can re-word them to make them your own.
  3. Put the re-written quote somewhere where you will see it every day.
  4. Every time you see the quote, say it out loud to yourself.

Try this for a few weeks.  You’ll be encouraged by a message that’s written just for you.

I’d love to see how you’ve re-written your favorite quote to make it your own.  Place it in the Comments section of this post and share your encouraging words with others.