Go from Good to Great this Year
- Whitney Hopler Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2007 1 Jan
Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Zig Ziglar's recent book, Better than Good: Creating a Life You Can’t Wait to Live, (Integrity Publishers, 2006).
You may think that achieving a good life is the most you can manage in this stressful, challenging world. But you don’t have to settle for a life that’s merely good. God wants to give you a life that’s great!
Here’s how you can live life to the fullest:
* Discover your passion. Think and pray about what matters most to you, and why. Ask God to reveal His dreams for you. Consider what noble contributions you can make to the world to make life better not just for yourself, but for other people as well. Once you’ve found your passion, keep it alive. Regularly invest your time, talent, and money into pursuing it. Find someone who is already successful at what you’re passionate about doing, and ask that person to mentor you. Envision what you’d like to achieve, and let your imagination inspire you as you develop your passion.
* Manage stress well. Don’t let stress rob you of your passion. Wait to worry about situations until you have all the facts about them; then use that information to develop an action plan so you won’t need to worry. Learn from your failures, but leave them in the past so you can move confidently into the future. Live with integrity so you won’t have to deal with any stress arising from guilt or shame. Stay out of debt to avoid financial stress. Don’t fear the future; remember that a loving and powerful God is in control of it, and decide to trust Him. Reduce your stress with laughter as often as you can, and share the joy with others.
* Watch your thoughts. Realize that what you think powerfully impacts who you are and will become. Decide to be an optimist. Meditate on thoughts that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, excellent, and worthy of praise. Spend time regularly reading the Bible and other inspirational books. Avoid negative material from the media and in conversations with others. Feed your mind positive thoughts, knowing that they will lead to positive actions. Embrace healthy attitudes, such as knowing that you’re never a victim of your circumstances, trusting that God will cause everything that happens to you to work together for a good purpose, and thanking God for all the gifts He has given you.
* Plan wisely. Submit all your dreams to God and ask Him to direct your steps. Ask Him to help you develop a plan to accomplish the goals He wants you to, yet still remain flexible enough to adjust the plan whenever necessary. Don’t picture the negative – what you don’t want to do. Instead, envision the positive – what you would like to achieve and what your life would like if you do. Realize that life is a journey rather than a destination. As you go through life, have faith to take action as you can, learning along the way, persevering with hope, and steadily moving forward toward the future God has for you. Trust that fulfillment will through the process rather than the results. Regularly review your progress on your way to your goals, and stay focused on God and His guidance. Use the resources He has given you wisely to accomplish your goals. Remember that He wants you succeed.
* Don’t let failure stop you. Accept the fact that failure is an inevitable part of life. But realize that it is also a valuable learning tool. Understand that experiencing failure doesn’t mean that you’re a failure as a person; it simply means you tried something that didn’t work at a particular moment in time. Study what went wrong to see what you can learn from the experience. Remember that failure can teach you: to depend on God, to be humble, that you can’t always get what you want, to correct your course of action, to have strong character, to persevere, and to realize that you can survive. After failing, try again, and keep trying as long as God urges you to do so. Remember that you may be just one more effort away from success.
* Cultivate healthy habits. Build these habits into your life: staying motivated, listening, learning, reading, redeeming downtime by using it to be productive, doing your best in every situation, exercising, getting enough sleep, eating a nutritious diet, drinking lots of water, praying often, reading the Bible regularly, holding yourself accountable to others you trust, setting goals, rewarding yourself for a job well done, going the extra mile on tasks, and thinking pure thoughts. Seek healing to break free of negative habits, and trust that starting positive habits will replace negative habits in your life over time.
* Recognize the power of grit. Ask God to give you the grit – determination and persistence – you’ll need to accomplish your goals. When you encounter criticism, consider the source. If it’s coming from a wise, credible person who means well, learn from it. If not, don’t let the criticism squelch your determination. Be patient over the long haul as your dreams finally become reality. Ask God to give you His eternal perspective on your life.
* Redefine success. Understand that God’s definition of success differs from the world’s view of it. Know that true success is losing yourself in a life’s work that is bigger than you and that brings glory to God. Realize that success shouldn’t ever come at the price of damaging your relationships with God, your family, or friends. Ask God to help you balance your life so you can place relationships first while pursuing your goals. Don’t let obstacles limit you; rely on God’s unlimited power to help you through. Strive to develop strong character based on biblical virtues, which will lead to true success. Be discerning; don’t tolerate unethical behavior as you pursue success. Do your best to be a positive role model to others.
* Discover your purpose. Know that God has created you to accomplish something wonderful. Ask Him to reveal your calling to you. Every day, consider what activities fulfill you the most, and bless others as well. Be sensitive to what God wants to show you about your calling. Recognize that, just because opportunities present themselves, that doesn’t mean you’re called to pursue them. Measure opportunities against your purpose by considering whether or not God is truly compelling you to embrace them. Take whatever steps you can to have your calling and career overlap, so you’re paid to do what you’ve been made to do. Be trustworthy and loyal so you can build winning relationships to help fulfill your purpose. Seek to constantly learn something new, your whole life long.
* Change the world. Realize that you can change the world for the better, one act of kindness at a time. Every day, do your best to love others, set a good example, smile, speak encouraging words, show a biblical worldview, and help others through service. Ask God to constantly guide you toward people whom He wants to touch with His love, expressed through you. Be alert to opportunities to show His love to others.
Adapted from Better than Good: Creating a Life You Can’t Wait to Live, copyright 2006 by Zig Ziglar. Published by Integrity Publishers,
Zig Ziglar is an internationally known author and speaker whose client list includes thousands of businesses, Fortune 500 companies,