It occurred to me that holidays over the next couple of months give us a lovely opportunity to look at that “Secret Formula” equation in a different way. Due to the communicative property, we can change things from my usual formulation:
GOALS X FAITH X ACTION X GRATITUDE = RESULTS
To GRATITUDE X FAITH X GOALS X ACTION = RESULTS and it works precisely the same.
THANKSGIVING is gratitude. A time for contemplating all that we have to be happy about in life. For me, it is family, health, all of the wonderful mentors and students life has brought me, the amazing experiences I’ve had. Watching “Steve Jobs” yesterday, it opens with a clip of Arthur C. Clarke lecturing about the future of computers, against a backdrop of an entire room of IBM punchcard machines. I laughed because the laptop I was working on has far more computing power (heck, my Iphone does) but felt a very special warmth because I actually sat and had a private lunch with Sir Arthur at Larry Niven’s house, long long ago. What a wonderful memory!
FAITH is Christmas. Now, personally, I’m a Christian, and this holiday stems from a celebration of the birth of Christ, and revolves around the meaning of this in the Christian tradition. But it is also a cultural holiday, a time that most of us can tap into memories of joy and peace and possibility, of believing in flying reindeer and jolly fat men shimmying down chimneys and bringing toys to every home in the world. Magic. Faith in things unseen, and with the stress so many of us feel right now at this time in the world, a little Peace On Earth Good Will Toward Men action is pretty healing.
GOALS is New Years. How many of us set New Years Resolutions? The end of a year and the beginning of another year opens our eyes to the passage of time, the need to shake off the dust, open our eyes and choose to live in closer accord to our hopes and dreams and values.
ACTION of course, is what is necessary to bring our goals to life. Constant action. And you WILL take action if you have Gratitude for where you are now (this vanquishes fear) and Faith that you CAN and SHOULD pursue and achieve your goals. Action. Every day. Do this, while modeling success and being prepared to be flexible about your approach, and you maximize your chances of external achievement…and are 100% guaranteed to win. Why? Because ultimately, all we want is to be happy, and when you BEGIN your day with gratitude, you are a winner, no matter what happens the rest of the day. But guess what? You have also maximized your chance of actually performing at your very best, because joy and love are an even more powerful motivation than fear and anger. The last time you fell in love, didn’t it feel like you could fly?
You can feel like that every day. So tomorrow…before you slip into a Tryptophan coma, think of all you have to give thanks for. EVERYONE has things, even if they were in your past. Find them and hold onto them. Just as an incident of childhood abuse can poison an entire life, a single act of kindness or joyful memory can light the rest of your life, if you hold it close in your heart.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS, whichever you celebrate, and however you celebrate them.
(p.s…I also considered suggesting Valentine’s Day for “Action”, because if you get your sweetie the right gift…oh, never mind. That’s naughty, and with Christmas right around the corner, I’d rather be nice!)