MY PRAYER FOR TODAY.

Success is my destiny.

Wealth is my birthright.

I attract an abundance of riches.

I believe in my unlimited prosperity.

God has given me a divine purpose for my life and this day.

I will love myself even when I am not perfect.

I love others no matter what.

I am blessed with a beautiful family that enriches and inspires me continually.

I achieve anything that I put my mind to.

Therefore, I command my mind and my body to lead me in everything that I do today by giving me the strength and courage and creativity — and whatever else it takes — to help people who want to change.

I am grateful for the great things that are going to happen.

My best days are ahead. Success is my destiny. Wealth is my birthright.

Thank you, God.


What’s your prayer for today? What do you wish to be?

BEING HAPPY IS YOUR CHOICE. FOR REAL.

Being happy is a choice.

You may not have chosen it in the past, but it’s an option for you every day of your life. You don’t have to be miserable. You don’t have to be stuck in a job with a boss that you hate.

Misery and being broke are not things that are required of you.

No. Not at all. Your happiness is a choice that you could to make every moment of your existence.

  • You make the choice to stay stuck instead of reaching out for help.
  • You make the choice to spend your time on entertainment instead of learning and growing.
  • You make the choice to wallow in self-pity instead of digging deep and pursuing greatness, despite how uncomfortable it is at the time.

Being happy is your decision.

You get to define every part of that.

What happiness feels like. What happiness means to you. When you’re going to be happy. How you’re going to be happy.

It doesn’t need to make sense to anybody else. All that matters is that you’re happy. And it’s completely your choice. Life makes it seem like you’re trapped. Like you have fewer options than you really do.

“WHEN YOU MAKE THE CHOICE TO BE HAPPY ON YOUR TERMS, YOU BEGIN TO REALIZE HOW VERY POWERFUL YOU ARE AND HOW TRULY LIMITLESS YOUR OPTIONS FOR SUCCESS HAVE ALWAYS BEEN.”

It’s fear that holds you back.

Fear of the unknown. Fear of failing. Fear of rejection. Fear of what other people will think about you. But mostly fear of not knowing what comes next.

What if you choose happiness but don’t find happiness?

What if you walk away from misery it only makes you more miserable?

That’s the thing about choosing happiness. It’s not one choice, on one day, at one moment. It’s a series of small decisions you continue to make that govern every little part of your life.

So start small.

What if you chose to be happy today? And maybe not even for the entire day.

What if you just chose to be happy in one decision that you make?

Try it. It’s addictive.

52 INSPIRING QUOTES TO KEEP YOU MOTIVATED WHEN YOU FEEL LIKE YOU CAN’T GO ON.

Make no mistake — the battle to achieve success is rough.

You’ll be battered and bruised by the journey. And that’s on a good day.

When you are feeling down, it’s easy to fool yourself into believing that the success you want for yourself isn’t worth it.

Here’s the truth.

You don’t need a sudden rush of motivation.

What you really need is a new perspective. A fresh look at your situation.

“WHEN YOU CHANGE HOW YOU LOOK AT THINGS, THOSE THINGS CHANGE.”

Here are 50+ perspectives to help you find the inner strength to keep going when you feel like you can’t.

Find one that works for you. Write it down. Put it on your wallet. Tape it to your mirror — or on your steering wheel. Say it out loud until it’s burned into your brain.

Whatever you do, don’t wallow in your fear and failure. Own a new perspective

  1. When you feel like quitting, do it tomorrow.
  2. The difference between who you are right now and who you want to be is what you do.
  3. Most people aren’t awesome because what you have to do to be awesome isn’t awesome.
  4. If you aren’t willing to sacrifice for what you want, what you want becomes the sacrifice.
  5. You don’t have to be perfect to be awesome.
  6. Just because they’re loud doesn’t mean they’re right.
  7. Inspiration is the one thing you lose just after you stop looking for it.
  8. Nothing works if you don’t work.
  9. You either make progress or make excuses.
  10. If you want something you’ve never had before, you must do something you’ve never done before.
  11. Tough goals take tough people. Be tough.
  12. The opposite of success isn’t failure. It’s apathy.
  13. What you have to endure builds excellence.
  14. What you believe you become.
  15. Creativity is messy.
  16. How you do anything is how you do everything.
  17. Success is intentional. You make it happen. Or you don’t.
  18. What you learn determines how quickly you grow.
  19. Belief does not negate sweat
  20. Hard work is smart work.
  21. Success is a mindset long before it is something that other people can see.
  22. The difference between success and failure is usually just an excuse you are making right now.
  23. Nothing you ever do will ever outperform the quality of your beliefs.
  24. You can’t be great without being grateful.
  25. Now is the best time to fix the rest of your life.
  26. Don’t believe yourself. Believe in yourself.
  27. A shortcut is really a dead end in disguise.
  28. It’s not really a dream if you’re sure you can achieve it.
  29. Half measures only achieve full regret.
  30. Everything happens for a reason. Sometimes that reason is that you make bad choices.
  31. If you don’t know what matters, what you’re doing probably doesn’t.
  32. Productivity is a process. Not a moment in time.
  33. Avoid negative people at all costs. They will cost you everything.
  34. Fear is the fiction you feel.
  35. You’re never too busy to not do the right thing.
  36. Awesome is a choice.
  37. If you will, it will.
  38. Practice is the performance.
  39. You gotta want it before you get it.
  40. People who talk behind your back are behind you for a reason.
  41. It’s not supposed to get easier. You’re supposed to get stronger.
  42. There is no substitute for hard work.
  43. Success isn’t about the resources you have, but how resourceful you are.
  44. You don’t have problems. You have opportunities for greatness.
  45. You can’t pretend like you have it all figured out, and actually figure it out.
  46. What you believe, you become.
  47. Your thoughts become things.
  48. Belief is a drug.
  49. You can’t change people who don’t think they need to.
  50. Fear is a feeling. Not a fact.
  51. Work hard at working smart.
  52. Happiness is a habit.

THE BIGGEST CHANGE YOU NEED TO MAKE IS THE SMALLEST ONE YOU WON’T CONSIDER.

Massive progress comes from small improvements.

It’s easy to dream about breakthrough as if you work and work and work and then all of a sudden stumble across the magic solution.

But that’s just not how life happens. That’s not the process by which extraordinary success is birthed.

“SUCCESS, BREAKTHROUGH, OR WHATEVER ELSE YOU WANT TO CALL GETTING TO WHERE YOU WANT TO BE, IS THE DIRECT RESULT OF THOUSANDS OF TINY, SEEMINGLY INSIGNIFICANT UPGRADES THAT YOU MAKE ON AN ONGOING BASIS.”


It’s about tweaking your choices when you realize there is a better option.

It’s about being vulnerable enough to listen to others who can give you new options. It’s about owning your outcomes and being willing to change — even when it means your feelings might get hurt.

Being open to making those small changes is not an automatic response mechanism for most of us.

We live in a social environment where admitting that you’re wrong can be a daunting status to overcome.

Admitting that you have room for improvement requires a bit of self-awareness and personal persistence that’s hard to conjure up unless you are radically focused on getting to where you want to be. Unless every ounce of your being is pointed in the direction of progress.

That by itself won’t come automatically either.

You have to dwell on the impact you wish most to create.

You have to let it consume you. Enthrall you. Inspire you.

Holding on to your dream is what allows you to temporarily set aside your feelings and ego in order to achieve the results you so desperately want for yourself.

It’s the smallest change. But the results will change your destiny.

YOU CAN’T GIVE OUT MORE THAN YOU HAVE TO GIVE.

You can’t take out more than you put in.

You can’t be happy to others around you when you’re not happy inside yourself. You can’t give wisdom and insight to others when you aren’t digesting a regular supply of wisdom and insight yourself.

You can’t be strategic and nimble when you aren’t learning and growing on a regular basis.

“YOU CAN’T GIVE VALUE TO OTHERS IF YOU WEREN’T FILLING YOUR LIFE WITH THAT SAME VALUE FIRST. THE PART YOU SHARE WITH OTHERS ARE THE BITS THAT BUBBLE OUT OF YOU. THE EXTRA STUFF.”

So how do you add that to your life?

You make changes in every area of your life:

  1. Read
  2. Spend time alone
  3. Listen to inspiring music
  4. Exercise
  5. Practice gratitude
  6. Create a vision board
  7. Study other people’s stories
  8. Give
  9. Try something new
  10. Stop feeling sorry for yourself
  11. Focus
  12. Avoid negative people

It’s not a mystery. It’s not even difficult to figure out.

It’s about making time for breakthrough.

It’s about priorities. About being deliberate in focusing on the people, processes, and potential that create the greatest joy and inspiration inside you.

Don’t let the obstacles in life rob you of your satisfaction.

You can’t be awesome yourself If you aren’t filling yourself up with awesomeness, right?

“BE VALUABLE TO OTHERS BY FILLING YOURSELF UP WITH THE GOODNESS THAT INSPIRES THEM TO BE THEIR BEST SELF.”

SUCCESS ISN’T AN ACCIDENT. IT’S ON YOU TO MAKE IT HAPPEN.

No one cares if you don’t succeed. Not really. Not like you do.

There are people around you who love you and want the best for you. But they’re not willing to fight for your dreams like you are. Like you need to.

They are there to support and love you. To encourage you. To help you dream.

The real work has to be done by you.

That’s important to realize, to understand, to embrace.

You have to wake up each morning with the determination to make the most of the time that you have.

“IT’S ON YOU TO ELEVATE YOUR GAME. IT’S ON YOU TO DREAM AND SOAR, PLAN, PREPARE, AND STRATEGIZE. NO ONE ELSE CAN DO THOSE THINGS FOR YOU.”

It has to come from inside you.

If you’re waiting for help before you get started, you’re never going to get started.

And if you happen to get started, through some stroke of luck, you won’t keep going. You’ll quit. Give up. And go back.

Because the power to move forward, in spite of tough times, has to come in from inside you. That resilience and determination that determines your ultimate trajectory is the result of what you manufacture inside you.

Is it fear? Is it excuses or whining? Or is it love and passion, purpose, potential, and a sense of awe?

No one else cares if you succeed. But you should.

Success isn’t an accident.

Success isn’t even about you being in the right place at the right time. It’s about a purposeful and deliberate series of daily motions that you execute.

It’s what you allow into your life. The things you surround yourself with. What you do and where you go.

Your results are not an accident. It’s on you to get what you want. And to get started right now.

What’s holding you back?

BUT FIRST YOU HAVE TO BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF.

It’s impossible to practice radical candor with others when you haven’t first done the same for yourself.

What was the last time you took a few minutes to examine your motives and intentions?

When was the last time you had an honest conversation about your results, your effort, and your attitude?

It’s easy to look around and blame all of your problems on other people and their bad behavior. To blame bad luck. To pretend like none of the reasons why you are where you are right now have nothing to do with you.

You might call this taking responsibility for your actions  — or being accountable.

It’s really the first step in you practicing radical candor with others. It’s practicing radical candor with yourself.

An inside-out look at the truth behind your current existence.

Nothing in life is an accident. Your results, your predicament, your income, your obstacles — they are all there for one reason or another.

So take some time to get real with yourself. If you aren’t willing to grow, why should anyone else around you?

WHY RADICAL CANDOR WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE.

Success usually requires a bit of awkwardness. One of those awkward moments can be you practicing radical candor.

Candor is one of those subjects that often gets misunderstood.

Those who are habitually cruel use the label candor to justify their jerkish behavior. On the other hand, those who struggle with conflict and seek to avoid it at all costs excuse away their lack of candor by pretending that they care too much.

In truth, candor is balanced. It’s already the “middle of the line” option. Not unnecessarily cruel. Not overly kind. Just true words delivered in a way so that others can use it to be their best self.

According to the dictionary, candor is “the quality of being open and honest in expression.”

So what is radical candor?

It’s practicing candor even when you have to be open and honest with people that you love and respect greatly.

“RADICAL CANDOR IS YOU SAYING WHAT IS ON YOUR MIND WHEN IT IS EMOTIONALLY EASIER TO DO NOTHING.”

You have to fight a lot of battles in a day. It can be easy to let the stress and strain of that combat diminish your ability to utilize candor to help you.

Instead of saying the truth and possibly offend someone, it’s just a lot easier to sigh and overlook the situation — hoping that people and situations automatically fix themselves. In truth, not much in life ever gets fixed without honesty and openness.

It’s easier said than done. But when it is done, it’s a powerful accelerator for getting closer to your dreams.

To test that that, ask yourself this question: “How much better would your life be right now in a thousand small ways if you were more open and honest and your daily interactions?”

WHAT WILL YOU DO KNOWING THAT YOU ARE GOING TO FAIL?

You’ve heard that motivational question before: “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t lose?”

The intent is to get you to think bigger. To realize that your perceptions of reality and deep-seated beliefs control the size of your dreams. 

If you think something is impossible, you act like that. You might attempt to achieve the impossible, but you won’t have enough courage, enthusiasm or tenacity to keep on fighting after you’ve failed a few times. 

The question is a good one. You should ask yourself if your dreams could be bigger. If your goals and beliefs are grand enough. 

But maybe, at the heart of the matter is a more powerful question. A question that gets to the heart of your daily reality. 

What will you do knowing that you are going to fail? 

You know it. I know it. Everyone knows it. You’re going to fail more than you don’t fail. The times that you win are the minority. 

“WINNING ISN’T THE RULE. IT IS THE EXCEPTION.”

No matter how good you are at what you do. No matter how much knowledge you’ve gathered over the years. No matter how many connections, advocates, or luck you have in your corner. 

Small failures are all around you. They are inescapable. A part of your daily existence. Your hourly existence. Your minute-by-minute existence. 

And while it could be a depressing reality, it doesn’t need to be. And it shouldn’t be. 

The idea of winning wouldn’t exist without the reality of failure. Failure should cultivate your thirst for achieving big dreams. 

Every time you try something new, you are choosing to win. 

You could give up and not try anything. That would stop most of your failure. At least the public kind. 

You can go through the motions and pretend like you’re trying. That too would stop a lot of your failure. 

But there is something magical and deeply inspiring about giving something a “go” even when you know it could backfire magnificently. That you could lose money and time and reputation. 

It’s also the simplest path to success. 

“TRYING IS WINNING IN THE MOMENT.”

Knowing that you’re likely to fail and still heading into the battle with the belief that no matter what happens you’re going to get back up and try again. Time after time after time — until you get to where you want to be.

What will you do?

IF YOU REALLY WANTED TO BE SUCCESSFUL, YOU WOULD BE.

The truth is that if you really wanted to be successful, you would be.

Think about the things you really wanted in life the times — where you been backed into a corner and desperate to be anywhere but where you are right now.

That experience was so gripping and real and raw, that it motivated you to take drastic action.

You made changes that you weren’t willing to make before. You did things and went places and tried new behaviors that you weren’t prepared to attempt before.

So when you’re thinking about change and progress, success, better results, and getting to where you want to be you can’t remove the human element — the element of desire.

Do you really want what you say you want?

Or is what you say you want the thing that you think will get you closer to what you really want?

Are you fighting for what you want? Or are you just doing things that will make you money or make you happy so that eventually you’ll have the time and resources to do what you really want?

“THERE’S NO FORMULA THAT CAN HELP YOU GET REAL ABOUT SUCCESS. THERE IS NO SILVER BULLET OR MAGICAL PROCESS THAT CAN REPLACE THE RAW AND REAL ENERGY OF DESPERATION.”

When you’re entirely consumed by a single purpose.

It’s clear. And you know why you want it. And you have decided that you’re willing to do whatever it takes.

If you really wanted to be successful, you already would be.

So maybe what’s holding it back is a bit of clarity.

You knowing what you want. You being clear on what you want and why you want it.

Start there. Let it consume you. Then do it.

WHERE YOU ARE NOW CAN’T BE WHERE YOU STOP.

There’s always another level. There is always more room for delivering surprise and delight and what you do each day. 

So what is that level for you? It starts with a simple question: “What would make what I’m doing even more spectacular?” 

Change the adjective. Add your own. Refine it. Tweak it. 

But, try it. 

It’s not a hard question. But it is revealing. It’s not always easy to think about the next level when you’ve already broken through a level and find yourself enjoying where you are. 

In truth, there’s room to celebrate. You’re growing and getting better. You’re taking things to another level. 

“BUT WHERE YOU ARE NOW CAN’T BE WHERE YOU STOP.”

No matter how much you grown or gained, there’s room for you to play the game at a higher level. Remember that. 

You don’t need to be a workaholic to push yourself to play the game at a higher level. 

This isn’t about obsession or managing the details. 

It is simply a reminder that you are either moving forwards or falling behind. 

Keep challenging yourself. Keep pushing yourself. 

Level up!

WHEN YOU ACTUAL BELIEVE THAT YOU’RE IN CONTROL OF YOUR DESTINY.

You chose the life you’re living. Your results and outcomes — they are the consequences of your decisions.

For good or bad, you are the creator of your destiny.

That should be encouraging to you.

Even if you’re not in a spot that you’re especially proud of right now, you get to make the decision about where you end up.

You call the shots.

“IT’S YOUR WILL AND PERSISTENCE AND MINDSET THAT DETERMINE WHERE YOU GO AND HOW FAST YOU GET THERE.”

You probably don’t disagree with any of that. There’s a part of you that knows you’re supposed to own up to your own behavior. That accountability and responsibility are something that you are in charge of.

So why not live like it?

If you can choose anything, why not choose what you really want?

The choices you make determine the outcomes that you experience. That’s always true.

It might take time for that to happen. But it will happen. The seeds you plant become the crops that you harvest.

If you truly believed that you were holding your future in your own hands,  you would act differently.

  • You would probably wake up at a different time and go to bed at a different time.
  • You would allow different words to come out of your mouth and have different thoughts running through your head during the day.
  • You would probably live a different life than the one you’re living right now.

Which is ironic, because all you’ve been talking about recently is how badly you “want it” and that you’re willing to do whatever it takes.

So stop talking about it and start acting like you care.

Choose better. Act better. Be grateful and kind. Do the right thing even when no one is watching you. Dream big and work bigger.

Remember, you call the shots.

“NO MATTER WHERE YOU ARE RIGHT NOW, YOU CAN END UP WHERE YOU WANT TO BE. BUT YOU CAN’T DO THAT WITH YOUR HEAD IN THE SAND.”

You have to take ownership of your life. Fast.

Today is the time to take that first step towards the future you’ve been telling everybody else you want to get to. The anecdote to your problems isn’t the hope that they magically fix themselves.

It is to take action. To be bold. To choose wisely.

You got this. Time to level up.

YOU DON’T NEED TO BE RUNNING THE COMPANY TO GET THE BENEFITS OF BEING DELIGHTFUL.

There’s a direct connection between greatness and delight.

The most successful companies — those producing consistent growing profit — focus manically on delivering surprise and delight.

You can’t build a hundred-year-old company if you don’t care about delivering outrageous customer service.

It just doesn’t happen.

It can seem attractive to be trendy and cool and relevant in the short run without caring about people, but you won’t last without a plan to deliver surprise and delight.

The same is true of you as an individual.

You don’t need to be “a company” to understand the importance of delivering surprise and delight. In fact, it’s more likely than not that you’ll never be in charge of an enterprise. You won’t get the chance to dictate across the entire corporation a focus of delivering surprise and delight.

But you can still make a difference just being you.

It’s still just as important. It’s just as impactful.

“WHETHER YOU ARE TRYING TO GET A RAISE, CONVINCE INDIVIDUALS OF YOUR POINT OF VIEW, OR BUILD YOUR CAREER — SURPRISE AND DELIGHT IS YOUR FAST TRACK TOWARD GUARANTEED OUTCOMES.”

The results won’t always be perfectly spectacular — but you will consistently outperform everyone else around you.

No matter your plan or position or current project, ask yourself a singular question: “Will my behavior create delight?”

If not, level up. 

IT DOESN’T REALLY TAKE MUCH FOR YOU TO BE DELIGHTFUL.

Do you know what is surprising?

When you don’t whine. Even when you have a perfectly good reason to. 

When you give value to people who don’t deserve it.

“THE SECRET TO DELIVERING SURPRISE AND DELIGHT ISN’T THAT YOU EXECUTE THAT STRATEGY WHEN IT’S CONVENIENT — OR WHEN YOUR AUDIENCE IS DESERVING OF IT — BUT RATHER THAT YOU GO OUT OF YOUR WAY TO DELIVER SMALL BITS OF SURPRISE AND DELIGHT WHEN YOU LEAST FEEL LIKE IT.”

It’s almost instinctual. Subconscious. A skill you hone and practice for so long that it’s just another part of you.

There are so many annoying things that happen in life — so many small, frustrating things that rob you of your joy.

It doesn’t take much for you to be delightful.

In fact, just a little bit less of the bad stuff and a smidge more of the good stuff is all that it takes. Usually.

You don’t need to do any superhuman sort of activity or attempt some intellectually challenging feat of brilliance.

It’s about small and focused differentiation — smiles and attention, not discounts, coupon codes, or over the top promises.

There’s no excuse for not delivering surprise and delight.

You don’t even have to be that good at it.

Mainly, you just have to try. And not make excuses. When you get it right, do more of that. When you get it wrong, apologize and fix it.

It won’t take you long at all to be really good at manufacturing surprise and delight.

It’s improving the small things. Maybe they aren’t really small after all.

IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR SUCCESS NOT TO HAPPEN WHEN YOU BELIEVE.

Have some faith. Trust the process. Believe that it will all work out.

It’s easy to throw around words.

It’s a lot harder to believe in them. To build your plan around them. To keep executing strategy directed by those words, even when your results don’t seem to line up.

But that’s where you going to spend most of your time — while you’re trying to figure it out.

You’re not going to go from “searching for it” to “found it” overnight.

It’s going to take you weeks and months, possibly decades, to figure out all the components — all the parts of the solution — that allow you to manufacture awesomeness consistently.

It’s not just about having all the pieces. You have to know how they all fit together. The timing and tone and intensity of each element.

Which is incredibly painful to figure out.

Most people give up along the way. You’re going to be tempted to do the same thing. Especially when you’ve tried so many times it seems like trying anymore is just another exercise in insanity.

Which is why you have to trust the process. And have some faith. Believe that you’re smart enough to figure it out in the end. That’s the dark side of delivering surprise and delight.

The finished product is glorious — unmatched in its greatness and awe. You see it. They see it. Everyone sees it.

“BUT TO GET THERE, TO FIND YOURSELF IN THAT MOMENT WHEN IT ALL COMES TOGETHER MAGNIFICENTLY, YOU HAVE TO FIND YOURSELF IN MANY MORE MOMENTS OF EMOTIONAL AGONY.”

Your heart being torn out by the roots. Frustration and failure. Another loss. Another ill-fated experiment. It grinds on you. Beat you down.

Makes you feel like success is never going to happen.

But success will happen.

It’s impossible that it won’t happen. It can’t not happen.

But only when you believe. When you trust. When you have faith. And then you let those emotions carry you along your day.

Despite the failure that comes. Despite the fear you feel. Despite the strange looks and raised eyebrows you get from those around you.

Just believe. Let it infect you. And drive you. Lead you.

Don’t give up on your journey to delivering surprise and delight. To get there, you’re going to have to experience everything but that.

YOU CAN’T FAKE IT. THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUR SOUL NEEDS TO BUBBLE OVER.

Be who you want to be. Do what you want to do. Go where you want to go.

Just don’t fake it. And don’t pretend like your destiny doesn’t matter.

We spend a lot of time pretending to be what we think other people want us to be.

“ALL TOO OFTEN, WE SACRIFICE HAPPINESS AND MONEY, MAKE DUMB CHOICES AND DESTROY OUR CHANCES FOR A BETTER FUTURE SIMPLY SO THAT WE DON’T NEGATIVELY IMPACT SOMEONE ELSE’S PERCEPTION OF US.”

And maybe I’m not speaking to you at all. (Maybe I’m the only one who does this brand of self-immolation.)

But here’s what I have figured out over the years.

The people who have your back when you’re struggling are the same people that have your back when you’re on the top of the mountain.

Your real friends are those who want you to be happy and successful. They aren’t trying to keep you down or compete with you or prove a point.

They want you to be the best version of you. Ego and fear hide this truth from us.

It’s crazy, but we feel like we need to be compliant — and not make waves.  To not do anything that causes someone else to be uncomfortable.

That’s easier. Less confrontational.

And why cause problems when you don’t need to? This is about mindset and potential and more specifically, your happiness.

You can’t bring delight to others unless the fountain of delight within your soul is bubbling over already. You can’t bring surprise and excitement to those you engage unless within you is spewing a volcano of those same raw emotions.

You can’t fake it. So don’t even try. Don’t waste your time pretending.

Just be who you are. Just be. Just be. Grow, evolve, and intend to be the best version of you.

Those are words to live by.

WHEN LOFTY DREAMS DEMAND UNPLEASANT SACRIFICE.

It was April 22, 1951, Donald “Lofty” Large and the boys in B Company found themselves face down in the dirt. “Lofty”  laid in the ditches by the Imjin River, holding his breath and waiting for the order to be given to attack. At 20 years old, he was at war. Defending troop routes against the Chinese. Fighting against communism.  His night was spent watching the fireworks in the sky from gunfire and returning fireworks of his own. The rest of the time he spent huddled in the cleft of a shallow hole. Hoping to avoid the damage of enemy gunfire.

The smell of gunpowder stuck in his nostrils.  It seemed the ringing in his ears never ceased.

His company had the fight of their lives ahead of them that night.

This attack would pass. But it would soon be followed by another. Over and over and over. Seven attacks that night, to be exact. Historians would later name this the battle of Gloster Hill.

During the last attack, Lofty was shot in the left shoulder twice. He had two open bullet wounds and least 18 pieces of shrapnel in his arm. He also had a tracer from the same weapon embedded in his ribs.

He had narrowly escaped death. Shot to pieces and surrounded by an enemy much larger than them, B Company was soon forced to surrender.

That’s when the real fight began. Lofty and his company were forced on a ten day march to a prison camp. With bullet wounds festering. Barefoot.

Forced to give up his boots, every step Lofty took was a painful one.

Sticks, thorns, and stinging bugs tore the flesh from his feet. His wounds felt like burning lava inside his damaged shoulder and chest.

His feet screamed. His legs gave out. But every time he fell, he got back up. Despite the agony, he marched on. He marched for his life. Staying down meant a bullet in the head from his Chinese captors.

He limped into camp barely alive. He would spend the next 700 days fighting for his life.

It would be two years later before he received any medical treatment for his bullet wounds. Days before his release as a prisoner of war, a Chinese doctor removed the tracer round from his ribs, but not the shrapnel in his shoulder.

He would leave camp a skeleton of his former fighting self.

His arm had atrophied, and he lost almost all movement in it.

He had been starved — going from a fighting weight of 217 pounds down to barely 136 pounds at the time of his release.

After his return home to the UK, Lofty was offered a medical discharge from the Army. But he wasn’t ready to give up the fight just yet. All he had ever wanted, since he was a child was to go to war. So he declined.

He was determined to go back into the battle. Not just as a regular. As a badass operator in Britain’s elite SAS unit — a fighting team equivalent to the US Delta Force. A group of the best-of-the-best warriors.

He worked tirelessly to recover —  while serving his duties in the quartermaster’s stores and in the regimental police of his local unit. He conditioned and rehabilitated his arm on his own. He had to. No doctor would help him. They told him that his arm should be amputated. That getting use of his atrophied muscles would be impossible.

But Lofty proved them wrong. He battled through the pain. But he knew what he wanted. And he was willing to pay the price. It took time, but his arm recovered. He beat the odds.

Lofty decided to go big. And got accepted into the SAS.

He completed the brutal SAS training — twice, in fact — and was ready to deploy when he had a freak accident on his motorbike. He broke his ankle in several places. This would prevent him from being deployed. Or so you would think.

He just decided to keep the situation to himself.

Being no stranger to pain or the endurance of it, Lofty didn’t think twice before he wrapped his ankle, put on a boot two sizes too big to accommodate the swelling and pushed through the daggers of pain. With every step, he could feel the pressure on the broken shards in his ankle. He could feel the swelling. He could feel the heat of the pain.

He knew that if he could endure two years of torture and starvation and untreated wounds, Lofty knew that he could endure a few weeks of ankle pain.

But it wasn’t a week or two. The pain wasn’t about to stop with untreated broken bones. He had signed up for service that was full of unpleasant sacrifice.

He was asked to lead a team that was sent into the jungle to locate enemy special force bases and report back the location.

For fourteen day stretches, the men would have to be silent, never uttering a word to each other knowing that the slightest noise could cost them their lives. They couldn’t bathe. They couldn’t smoke. The only thing they could do was eat the same bland meal every day. Curried bullied beef. Curried sardines. Curried everything.

There was no limit to the pain the jungle could inflict.

They would go to sleep in the jungle and wake up covered in leeches. Having to pull them off every part of their bodies, even the most private ones. They suffered bug bites that they couldn’t slap at because it might be too noisy. They got rashes everywhere from the brush and the elements. Not scratching was a mental exercise in itself.

Mission after mission, Lofty and his team found victory. Tracking, locating, targeting and destroying the enemy. “The trick is to do it and hope to Christ you get away with it,” he would tell his unit.

And “get away with it” they did,

On Lofty’s last mission, he and the other soldiers were required to complete an 8,000 foot climb in the dark of night. It was like climbing up the side of a cliff ten times higher than the Empire State Building in New York City.

It was a mission that seemed impossible to almost everyone. Except Lofty.

They each carried packs on their backs full of special operations gear that weighed 120 lbs — more than half of Lofty’s body weight. One wrong step would mean instant death.

Every step  — every climb — got heavier with the supplies on their backs.

Lofty felt his previous ankle injury with every movement. And every time he heaved his backpack to a more comfortable position, he was reminded of the bullets and shrapnel still lodged in his body.

For ten hours, they climbed, one foot in front of the other.

Raw agony. A test of human persistence. Lofty encouraged his men with every step.

The packs got heavier, but they moved forward. The mountain got steeper, but they would not stop. Their steps got slower, but they pressed on. Following Lofty, the man they looked up to.

When they finally reached the top, they surprised the rebels — easily defeating them. Another victory for a man who understood that big dreams require sacrifice and pain.

That was a lesson he would spend the next 27 years teaching as an instructor in the Army with one of the SAS’s two reserve regiments.

Even at the end, he practiced what he learned in the jungle. Fighting for his life. Fighting leukemia. Fighting through his pain. Never complaining. Always smiling. A warrior willing to do what was uncomfortable.

Big goals demand unpleasant sacrifice.

Lofty knew it. So do you. Now you have act like it.

Instead of avoiding anything that makes you hurt, you have to embrace the discomfort. It is what you powerful.

It’s what gets you closer to what you want to be.

Stop giving up on your dream just because you get banged up. Life is going to treat you unfairly.

You are going to feel pain. A lot of it.

There is no escaping it. No avoiding it. It’s on you to push through it. To find success. To follow your dreams.

You’ve heard the phrase: “No Pain. No Gain.” It’s the truth. What you go through, you grow through.

There is no path to success that avoids discomfort.

There is no opportunity for greatness without pain.

You have to decide. Do you want to be good or feel good? Do you want to make progress or excuses?

Lofty made his choice. Now it’s on you to make yours.

Pete Scholey, in his book SAS Heroes: Remarkable Soldiers, Extraordinary Men wrote perhaps the most compelling description of Lofty’s inspiring leadership: “When I joined the elite SAS unit, I was told that the best way to survive those first years in the squadron was to pick out someone who you thought you would like to be. It wasn’t until later in my service that I learned that most of us had picked the same person — Lofty.”

MAYBE YOU’VE BEEN WASTING YOUR LIFE DOING THINGS THAT DON’T MATTER.

If you’re struggling to over-deliver, you might be in the wrong line of business. Have you ever thought about that before?

Passion and purpose are a big part of what fuels the creativity and attention to detail you will need to create surprise and delight for those you interact with.

It’s not unlikely that you’re doing the wrong thing with your life.

A lot of people are. They think they have to do what they’re doing in order to pay the mortgage. Keep the lights on.

But they don’t love what they’re doing. They aren’t obsessed with it. They’re hoping to make enough money to go do something else.

And that’s where the problem begins.

If you’re not obsessed with how you spend your day, it’s impossible for you to deliver an experience that creates surprise and delight.

So it’s only natural that we start with the most important question of your life: “Are you doing your life’s work?”

You don’t have to love everything about every part of your day. No one does. But you do have to be doing things that get you closer to where you want to be.

“YOU HAVE TO CARE MORE THAN YOU’VE EVER CARED ABOUT ANYTHING IN YOUR LIFE. IF YOU ARE JUST GOING THROUGH THE MOTIONS, NONE OF THAT WORKS.”

If you don’t care, it’s not worth it for you to go the extra mile. You’re not going to care enough to double-check and over prepare.

Which is why I come back to where I started this discussion. Maybe you’re in the wrong line of work right now. Maybe you need to burn the ships and go pursue your destiny.

There are a lot of people who pay lip-service to that.

They pretend like pursuing your destiny is easy. That it all works out. That you’ll never get hurt. That good things automatically happen for good people.

But that’s not true. None of it is. 

You’re going to have problems — big scary horrifying problems. People are going to try to hurt you. For no good reason.

You’re going to face obstacles that you never imagined. Which is why it matters that you’re doing something you can be passionate about.

“WHEN LIFE BEATS YOU DOWN, AND IT WILL, YOU NEED TO BE FUELED BY THAT EXTRA SPECIAL SOMETHING THAT FORCES YOU TO DIG DEEP.”

Maybe it’s time for you to rethink your priorities.

That includes where you work and what you do and who you allow inside your inner circle. All of that impacts the amount of surprise and delight you’ll be able to deliver to those around you.

It all starts on the inside. Start looking there.

THE BAR IS SO LOW THERE’S NO EXCUSE FOR YOU NOT TO JUMP OVER IT.

The bar is pretty low. Delivering surprise and delight in your daily interactions might seem like a daunting task — until you consider the alternative.

The bar for delivering awesome service is pretty low. Even when it’s a premium product.

It used to be a foregone conclusion that you would do what you promised, especially when someone paid you for it. Then business leaders started adding fine print, terms, and conditions.

Now, you had to deliver as long as you didn’t have a loophole to escape through.

The bar got a little bit lower when someone in corporate strategy realized that by delivering less the company as a whole would profit more.

“THE CYCLE OF PURPOSEFULLY DIMINISHING SERVICE IN ORDER TO INCREASE PROFITABILITY QUICKLY BECAME A SPIRAL DOWNWARDS.”

When was the last time you had to interact with your cable company, and came away feeling like it was easy to achieve success?

I’ve been told before that I need to take my phone number off my website and hide my email address so that people won’t be able to contact me. Think about that for yourself.

You have probably struggled to get support or talk to a “real person” to solve what is really just a simple challenge. The person on the other end of that transaction forced you to use a chatbot or send an email to a giant bulk email address without reassuring you that they would take care of you and get your problems answered.

Think about the last time you walked into a boutique to purchase something.

Were you received warmly by the staff or did you simply receive a robotic: “What can I help you with today?”

In fact, as you think about your experiences spending money or engaging with people who are providing you service, have you ever been truly surprised and delighted?

If so, you can probably count those experiences on the fingers of one hand. In your entire lifetime, you won’t have many of those experiences. That’s because the bar is low. Really low.

Which means you have all the more reason to buck the trend and focus on delivering surprise and delight.

No one else is doing it consistently.

Or at all. And in a world, where buyers are beaten down and used to having to fight to get what they want, what a refreshing experience you bring when you over deliver surprise and delight intentionally.

When you set out to make your prospects and customers smile. When you purposefully work to ensure that they’re happy.

The effects will last for a lifetime. You will be one of only a few people that they will ever remember as having delivered so much value it no longer made sense. 

It doesn’t take much to deliver surprise and delight. It does take intention. And a focus on the details.

But imagine the payoff. It’s generational. For you. And them.

BEING THE WARLORD OF YOUR DESTINY.

“It’s very sad for all of Kokang,” said a former soldier of her death. “We have come to say farewell to our leader.” On July 13, 2017, in the hills of Burma, “Uncle Olive” passed away peacefully in her sleep. She had retired years earlier to the beautiful countryside, guarded in her secluded compound by a militia of loyal fighters. She was the world’s most fearsome warlord you’ve never heard of.

She didn’t set out to rewrite history books. She just knew that she was different. Instead of trying to be what other people told her that she should be, she lived life on her terms.

And that changed everything.

Olive Yang was born in British Colonial Burma in the late 1920s. Her family was considered royalty in the region, so expectations were high, but Olive was not the type of “princess” her family expected her to be.

Quite the opposite. She had no desire to become a princess. Or even act like a little lady. She rejected the idea of motherhood or getting married.

Instead, she chased after her brother’s girlfriends and dressed like a boy.

Her people expected her to have her feet bound and marry a prince. Instead, she became a warlord and a drug smuggler. She ruled an entire corner of the world.

But it wasn’t easy.

Her parents, and the rest of the royal family weren’t willing to tolerate her nonsense for long.  As soon as they could, they forced her to get married. To her cousin.

Where she was forced into sex until she became pregnant. She didn’t want or need a child. She was a child herself. Overwhelmed after giving birth to her son, Jipu, she left him with a wet nurse and made a mad dash for the hills of Burma’s remote Kokang region. Never to return.

Over the next fifty years, she would turn those hills into her empire. Ruling with power and genius opportunism. She provided a unique service — guarding caravans of raw opium through the hills to the Thai border.

It was a man’s business. But she decided it was her business.

Soon “Olive’s Boys” — as her militia of hundreds of pistol-toting warriors were known — controlled a worldwide operation. At home, she ruled over a region the size of Luxembourg.

Her shipping routes in the Golden Triangle grew to be the second largest source of illicit opium in the world. Her secret? She was the first person to use trucks, not mules, to ferry opium through the Burmese highlands. She built a financial empire as big as Pablo Escobar in his prime.

And how did she use that wealth?

Besides wooing famous Burmese movie actresses, she plotted the demise of communist leaders.

A woman fighting against dictators.

She was cunning and ruthlessly efficient in her craft. Using the opium trade to fund her anti-communist crusade.

She was good at it. So good the CIA decided to get behind her, secretly giving her weapons to keep her militia in full force on the ground.

She bucked conventional wisdom at every turn. Wearing men’s clothes instead of dainty dresses. Cutting her hair short instead of letting it grow out. She was openly gay in a world that punished such behavior by death.

Weirdly enough, her nickname for much of her life was “Miss Hairy Legs”.

A name given out of humor and respect by her loyal fighters.

She spent years in prison where she endured horrendous torture and sexual abuse. She faced death threats from her government and power struggles from leaders within her organization.

She was Olive Yang. No one else. She did things her own way. Not asking permission or waiting to be told what to do. It was truly living on her own terms.

And then, at the peak of her power, she stepped down. Retired from being a warlord. She gave the entire operation over to one of her lieutenants, Lo Hsing Han, whose job was to carry a jar of cigarettes for Ms. Yang.

Wealthy beyond measure. More powerful than the military of the country she lived in. Wise. Capable. And witty.

She was all done fighting.

So she gave it away and settled into a simpler life — further earning the respect and adoration of the rebels in her country.

In her late 60’s she was called out of retirement to help her people negotiate a peace treaty between the Burmese government and the Burmese rebels. That treaty unbelievably lasted twenty years, until 2009, when fighting again broke out.

By that time, Olive Yang was wheelchair bound and living safely in a compound full of militiamen who called her “Uncle Olive.”

She wasn’t supposed to be any of that. Or do any of that. She was supposed to look pretty and marry smart — living out her life in luxury and wealth.

But she wasn’t about to let that happen.

She was determined to live life on her own terms. To direct the course of her destiny.

She was accountable for her behavior and took ownership of her choices. But through it all, she offered no excuses. No explanations. No equivocation.

She was the warlord of her destiny. She fought for the right to live life her own way.

Whether you agree with her choices or not, you have to admire someone so committed to success. Someone so dedicated to getting to where they want to be that they stop at nothing in pursuit of that dream.

So what’s your excuse?

What is stopping you from standing up and standing out? You automatically start the game in a better position than Olive.

You probably won’t face torture, rape, or sexual abuse. You might face some mockery and skepticism.

Stop crying about it. Grow up. Take ownership of your dreams.

Be the warlord of your destiny.