Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Embrace Change & Learn How to Improve if You Want to Succeed

One of the things that my early morning beach walks have made me more aware of is how our world is continually changing. From day to day, moment to moment, the seashore is never the same. Life is generally that way too but we become stuck in our thinking and rigid in the way we do things. We've always done things in a certain way, why change?

To succeed in today's ever-changing environment you have to be able to not only change with your environment but also continually improve. Your failure to do so will eventually spell out your demise.

Consider the following example. Holland is well-known for its rivers. It is also a very densely populated country which means that people often have to live near rivers which can flood their banks putting neighbouring homes at risk. The Dutch came up with a simple yet ingenious solution - the amphibious house. As builder Hans van de Beek puts it:

"They are pretty much just regular houses, the only difference is that when the water rises, they rise."

The amphibious house, like its animal counterpart can exist on dry land and in water. The houses are built on dry land but have specially constructed hollow basements which fill with water when the tide rises allowing them to float. The houses are tethered so while they are buoyant they do not float away.

These houses incorporate cutting edge technology and innovative design to provide a much-needed solution to an increasingly pressing problem. And practical doesn't mean that style has to be compromised as demonstrated by architect Koen Olthuis whose designs are contemporary and very striking.

The inventive thinking of the architects and builders of amphibious houses is often what is missing in today's society. People often live too much in the past. They reminisce about how they used to do things and how these tactics no longer work. Duh! Times have changed and a whole new way of thinking is needed.

"If you have always done it that way, it is probably wrong."
Charles Kettering

To excel in today's world you have to be more progressive in your thinking. This comes naturally to some but is a skill anyone can develop. Start by thinking about how you can improve what you currently do, even those tasks that you perform on a repetitive basis. Marketing guru Jay Abraham says that when he works with an underperforming business the first thing he does is to see how they can improve what they already do. In other words he doesn't immediately seek to implement radical changes he examines what can be done more efficiently and what can be tweaked to give better results.

"To succeed you may not need to do something different; you may need to do some things better."
Jay Abraham

Jay Abraham has worked with over 10,000 clients in more than 400 countries. He has helped businesses increase their profits by millions of dollars. His success lies in his uncanny ability to "maximize results with minimum effort".

Granted, not every idea you come up with will actually improve your efficiency and your results. Nonetheless, by continually challenging yourself you will find that your creativity will soar.

Also, don't be hasty in dismissing all your ideas that don't immediately seem to work. You need to be realistic but some things take time. We live in a world of instant gratification and sometimes we abandon a good idea without properly testing it.

If you struggle to come up with ideas on how to improve things, then try doing things differently. We are often creatures of habit. This has its benefits. For instance, it can help to instil discipline but it can also help to ingrain bad habits.

At first, doing things differently will feel awkward. This doesn't make it wrong. Stick with it for a while. You may get some amazing results. You see if we stop striving for improvement we start to stagnate and we become losers in this game called life. Bob Proctor says in his book You Were Born Rich,

"It has often been said the line which separates winning from losing is as fine as a razor’s edge - and it is."

The razor's edge that will help you to differentiate yourself from the crowd and help you to succeed where others fail comes from embracing change and continually trying to improve yourself and what you do.

In his later years, authorities insisted that Pablo Picasso be escorted when he attended an art gallery. Surely he wasn't caught stealing? No, but he had been caught in the act of trying to improve on one of his old masterpieces. Surely this is a lesson that we can learn from this maestro?

"Always keep in mind that you are a work in progress, that you are a diamond that is being cut shaped and polished but the value is always there."
Denis Waitley

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