No? Until recently, me neither. I’m not a big sports fan and Fred was a hugely successful Canadian NHL player and coach with a string of many hundreds of wins and numerous awards and accolades to his name. Pretty good going, but it’s not his sports record that I admire.
What I love Fred for is something that he once said:
“Success is not the result of spontaneous combustion. You must first set yourself on fire.”
Reading that sent lightning bolts through my spine, as there have been many times in my life when I’ve been sitting back, subconsciously waiting for the world to bring me the success I thought I wanted. To be completely honest with you, even now I sometimes find myself expecting someone else to ‘set fire’ to me, waiting for spontaneous combustion rather setting myself on fire and finding my own success.
I have to catch myself when I slip into that way of thinking before it sets in, because Fred’s absolutely right.
People all too often wait for success to happen to them. “If only it would fall into place…”, “Surely someone will discover who I am and what I can do soon…” or “Just a little while longer and it’ll all come good…” are examples of the things we say while we’re waiting for success to come along.
Of course, the big thing I’ve come to learn is that it doesn’t work that way. Finding success – real success – isn’t a passive thing. It’s not something that happens to you like watching a movie or getting your hair cut. Finding success is something that happens in you.
Here are 4 things for you to think about:
1. What does success look like to you?
What comprises success? How much of it is material? How much of it is emotional? How much of it is spiritual? Get specific about what success does and doesn’t mean to you.
2. Imagine yourself towards the end of your life
Picture yourself towards the end of your life as happy and content as you can be. What is it about that future you that tells you as clear as day that they’re happy and content? Picture yourself walking up to them and asking them what it is that allowed them to reach that point. What single piece of advice can they give you?
3. How focused are you on working on your success?
What are you willing to do to get the kind of success you want? What are you waiting for the world to deliver to you so that you can have that success?
4. Are you driving your success?
How would it be if you were driving that success rather than waiting for it? What changes do you notice in how you do things and how you feel about things?
I’m not suggesting for one minute that you can’t ask others, the world, the universe or whatever higher power you happen to believe in for help. I’m not even suggesting that you become wholly focused on working towards your success. That’s missing the point.
The point is that we humans tend to be focused on working towards happiness and success and assume that until it comes along we have to spend time being unhappy, suffering or struggling.
You don’t have to struggle…
The truth is that things happen much easier and more readily if we don’t struggle, suffer or assume unhappiness – the assumption that you need to struggle or fight for your success is a false one. Real success comes much easier and becomes more consistent when you operate straight from that place of success instead of assuming it’s out there in the world somewhere.
Go after what’s important to you and get going on all those shiny things you’d love to have, do and be in life, but recognise how much more pleasureable it’s going to be when you’re feeling happy and successful rather than unhappy and unsuccessful.
Fred got it right. Don’t wait for spontaneous combustion or for someone to set light to you. Dive into your own happiness and success, engage with those things and operate from a place where they’re real and present.
Don’t wait, set yourself on fire.