I am a believer in what is called The Law of Attraction.
- You attract who you are.
- Thoughts become things.
- Where focus goes energy flows.
- What you focus on expands.
- You will never get more of what you want in life until you are grateful for what you already have.
- Your thoughts are the primary cause of everything.
- If you see it in your mind, you can hold it in your hands.
- Change your thoughts, change your life.
Yes, I believe in all of it.
Because I have seen the power of the law of attraction on my own life, I hold on to it.
Recently, I have been listening to the Indian yogi and author, Sadhguru. Born Jaggi Vasudev, the name “Sadhguru” means “true guru.” While Sadhguru does not speak about The Law of Attraction, per se, he speaks a great deal about the idea of human enlightenment. In a recent video about achieving one’s goals – listed under the title “The Law of Attraction” – Sadhguru states these words: “For the committed man there is no failure.”
Let that sink in for a brief moment.
“For the committed man, there is no failure.”
Sadhguru was discussing, what he refers to as, silly ideas surrounding success and failure. True success, according to Sadhguru, is really “peace within and peace without,” meaning peace in one’s inner life and peace in one’s outer world. This peace is what all human beings search for and, therefore, once attained is true success. On the idea of failure, Sadhguru says these words: “There is no such thing as failure, only lessons. If a man tries a thing 99 times and it does not work, he has learned 99 lessons on how to not make the thing work.” He follows these words by saying, “For the committed man there is no failure.”
(Of course, Sadhguru is referring to both men and women here.)
When I first heard these words, I was sitting in my kayak in the middle of Mission Bay here in San Diego. This is a place I like to visit often and turn on a good meditation episode or podcast while reflecting and planning forward. On this particular day, I found Sadhguru on my recommended videos list, pressed the “play button” and heard these words. They moved me.
If I can be honest, I would admit to you that I have failed often in my life. In am in my 40’s now, but my 20’s were riddled with one failure after another. Or, what I have always termed, “failures.” Relationship failures. Work failures. Financial failures. Leadership failures. Academic failures. Transitional failures. You name it and I have probably failed at it. At times, if I am not careful, even today I live in the shadow of these failures.
So, like those of you reading this who have experienced any level of failure, when I hear someone say, “there is no failure,” I stop and take notice.
In a year like 2020, when so much pain has happened – the ongoing pandemic, the ongoing economic fallout, the social unrest the world witnessed during the summer months and the divisive election that followed – I am sure there are those who look at this year as one big failure. Even more heartbreaking are those who look at this year, look at their lives and observe the unintended consequences from the economic hardship our world is currently facing and label themselves as “failure.”
“How could I have lost that money?”
“How could I have spent my entire kid’s college fund?”
“How did I lose that job?”
“Why don’t I have another job yet?”
“How did I lose that leadership position?”
And, quite honestly, there are those reading this post who have actually made mistakes that cost them jobs, finances, relationships or leadership stature regardless of the ongoing pandemic and economic woes.
But let’s put all of that behind us.
I write these words today for the leader – or former leader – who considers themselves a failure after a year like 2020. Listen again to the words of Sadhguru: “For the committed man (or woman) there is no failure.”
What do these words mean? What does it mean to remain committed through failure? How does the character trait of commitment help a person become a greater leader? How does commitment ensure a healthy culture? How can commitment help a person to persevere through economic hardship and uncertainty?
For the person, leader, manager, culture, team or organization that remains totally committed, there is no failure. Here are three reasons why:
TOTAL COMMITMENT ENHANCES FOCUS
When there is total commitment, there is focus.
Think of a relationship. It could be a partner, spouse, child or parent. When you are absolutely committed to them, your focus remains on them. For a committed partner or spouse, they are not looking around for another partner. For a committed parent, they are not involved in the lives of other children; their own children are their primary focus.
The committed person remains focused.
Focused on what?
Their purpose and their vision.
In the consulting space, we call this a niche. The independent consultant or consulting firm has a clear focus in the type of problem they solve and the primary industry they solve the problem for. This niche helps the firm to remain focused on their “slice of the pie” as opposed to being all things for all people. When a firm experiences challenges as a result of losing focus, they can come back to their niche as a starting point.
Recently, I heard a minister refer to this as the Carrot Principle. This minister had become friends with one of the largest carrot producers in the world. On a trip to visit the carrot farmer at his sprawling compound in Bakersfield, CA, he asked the question, “How does all of this come from a simple carrot?” To which the farmer introduced the Carrot Principle. On a sheet a paper, he drew a carrot with a circle around it. From this circle he began to draw several lines and wrote something different at the end of each line: carrot juice, carrot pudding, carrot seed oil, carrot cake, carrot bread, carrot chips, baby carrots, full carrots and so on and so forth. On and on he went naming the different products that were produced from the carrot.
The point? This farmer’s primary focus was The Carrot. His sole purpose was to grow and harvest good carrots that would, in turn, become the basis for all of the aforementioned products. The total focus of this man’s life was The Carrot.
Not many things. One thing.
My question for you: What is your carrot?
What is the one problem you are working to solve? What is one product you are trying to create? What is the one thing you believe you were placed on this earth to do and do well? What is your North Star?
When you can answer these questions as a person, a leader, a manager, a team, a culture or an organization, there is no failure.
Sure, there will be setbacks. There will be disappointments. There will be loss. There will be hard choices. But there is no failure.
When you encounter a hard season, you will be able to look to your North Star and know, “This is still what I am meant to accomplish.”
You may have to adjust. You may to pivot. You may have to move locations. You may have to change team members. You may have to change your mindset. However, your North Star remains the same when you are totally committed to your vision and your purpose.
Find your North Star and keep your eyes focused on it. Even through setback, you will have a guiding purpose to mark the journey before you.
TOTAL COMMITMENT ENABLES EVOLUTION
Focus leads to evolution.
The vision does not change, but the methods are always evolving.
I won’t belabor this next point, but think of Kodak.
If you’re under the age of 30, you may have no idea who/what I am talking about.
Since the dawn of picture taking, human beings have been fascinated with taking pictures of themselves and whatever lights their fire. At one point, the company Kodak had nearly the entire market share for photo taking. Back in the 80’s and early 90’s one would never leave their home without their Kodak camera. Their greatest innovation were “disposable” cameras. You could purchase one of these cameras at Walmart before your vacation and take 24 or 36 pictures per camera, return the camera to that same Walmart and they would develop the grainy pictures and return them within 3-5 days. Anyone remember those days?
Then the cell phone came. More specifically, Steve Jobs came around.
And Kodak did not evolve.
Today, millions of pictures are taken and uploaded every day around the globe. Very few, if any, are taken by Kodak.
The Carrot – taking pictures – never changed; the method – using a handheld phone – did.
The committed person, leader, manager, team, culture or organization will evolve in how they accomplish their “carrot.” You can see the importance of knowing what your “carrot” is.
Yet, knowing your purpose and vision is not enough; you have to be willing to evolve.
As we shared earlier, evolution during a time like 2020 could mean changing your mindset, changing your location, changing team members, pivoting strategy… you get the idea.
For the totally committed person, they do not seek to change their purpose or position when they face a setback, they simply change their blueprint.
What about you? If you have faced a setback in 2020, what are you doing to evolve? Are you willing to make the hard choices in order to become more viable in 2021?
Evolution is difficult. Growth requires transition. Growth requires change.
But you know the saying, “Evolve or die.” Setbacks are no excuse for throwing in the towel. Setbacks simply mean it’s time to change.
What will you change going into 2021?
TOTAL COMMITMENT ENSURES FINISHING
For the committed person there is no failure. Why? The committed person finishes what they start. Always.
I don’t want you to think there is no such thing as failure. There is. Simply put, failure is quitting. Nothing more, nothing less.
Of course, there are many things in life we should quit. Bad diets. Bad relationships. Toxic cultures. Toxic leadership. Negatives mindsets. Gossip. Jealousy. Envy. Resentment. You get the idea.
In addition, all of those things that are keeping you from your purpose and vision? Quit those things as well.
However, your purpose and vision must remain. Nothing should take you from pursuing and accomplishing these outside of death.
This is total commitment.
You know your purpose and vision and remain focused on it. You evolve in order to ensure sustained success. You see your project through until completion.
With this total commitment, you will never experience failure. Only setbacks and lessons.
Seek peace. Peace within and peace without. Never rest until you find it.
Keep pressing forward.