Article by Curtis Beaird
Photography by Curtis and Norma Beaird
My grandmother, like your grandmother, could cook. She had killer recipes for homemade vanilla ice cream, lemon cake, spaghetti and meatballs that satisfied us all. A weekend with our grandparents without a sugar coma from consuming large slabs of her Japanese Fruitcake would not have been a complete weekend.
All of that and her fresh tomatoes, seasoned and slow-cooked to a sauce, always made us glad as kids we were going to Nonnies house. Home-grown. Home-cooked. Her recipe.
It dawned on me that success, when we experience it and enjoy it, is and finally becomes a home-built process. Our success is something we cook up. We gather a little bit of information from here, some advice from there. A friend or two gives us some insight and ideas, or we open one of the many "How To's" on the subject and glean from that what we can.
But, mostly through trial and error we cobble together our recipe for what becomes our version of success. What follows is my attempt to sketch out a recipe for the always elusive goal of success. Like my grandmother would say, "If you think of something else you want to add, try it, there is always room for improvement."
1. Give up dependence. Choose responsibility. Seek advice, but reserve the right to decide for yourself. It is your life. Why wear yourself out serving someone else's dream? Dream your own dreams, unless you don't want to. Then, the other person's dream might be your best bet. Either way. It is your choice.
2. Beware the person with all the answers. Ask yourself these questions:
What or who is influencing me?
What is pushing me?
What or who is attracting me?
Why am I fascinated by this and not by that?
3. Know yourself is wonderful advice. The need for self-knowledge has been repeated literally for ages. The idea got its start with Socrates. It's been around awhile.
However, while "know thyself " is wonderful advice.
Learn to manage yourself is better advice.
How we function in a given situation is up to us.
4. Beware the person with the resume of a savior, the ego the size of a mountain, and the financial attitude designed to impress. Charisma can be, and often is, seduction by another name. Don't kid yourself. It might feel good, look good, even glisten like diamonds in the moonlight, but count on it - it is going to cost you.
5. Never make the same mistake twice. How? Understanding how you think; how you make your decisions. Knowing why you choose this and not that is important for you to know. Work past the easy explanation of heredity, genetics, the devil and social pressure. You made a decision. What was the reason? This will cut down on making the same mistake two, three or four times. Pay attention.
6. Find a friend. Friendship is a relationship that seldom, if ever, has money as the glue that holds it together. If it is friendship, both individuals invest in the relationship. The measure: Who calls? Who texts? Who e-mails?
Equal investment is the requirement. If you are doing all the work in the relationship, you have not found a friend. If they are doing all or most of the work, you are not being a friend. Ask why, either way, the imbalance exists. Friendship is not free. Trust is important. Pay attention.
7. Define what is important to you. Half the world wakes up in the morning with a to-do-list for the other half. Where are you on that continuum? You need to know.
8. Define what is important to you. The entire world wakes up with a to-do-list for you to complete. Ask yourself:
Why am I doing what I am doing?
Why do I spend money the way I do?
Why am I here and not there?
How did I get here?
Do I remember making the decision?
Think about it.
9. Never kid yourself. You decided. It was your decision. Explanations are fun to generate. They make for wonderful conversation. They eventually and finally insulate us from the obvious truth -- I made the decision. Never kid yourself. Blame no one.
10. A corollary to number nine. Never lie to yourself. It is the mark of insanity.
11. Know this truth. There are lies. Recognize them and give them their rightful name. Generate as few of your own as possible. Jesus' promise, "And ye shall know the truth and the truth will make you free" is available at all times. Pay attention.
12. Reserve the right to shred all advice, forget all instruction, rearrange all direction. It is your life. "They told me. He said. She made me" is no way to live the one precious life we have. Think….. and think for yourself. Please know. There is a multitude who are only to glad to think for you, decide for you, and bill you for their time.
13. Learn to learn. Education is more and generally something other than acquiring a degree. Thinking is your best asset. Your mind Is more precious than any silver and gold you will ever gather. Your brain is priceless. Cultivate it. Learn to learn.
14. Your best friends are curiosity, imagination and fascination. Poking around the edges of things easily becomes the one thing that leads to another, and then to another. "Seek and ye shall find" is an exciting invitation and an energizing promise. The road less traveled is more fun if only because the scenery hasn't been trampled by the lumbering footsteps of the thoughtless herd. Have some fun. Even scare yourself. Explore.
15. Beware the comfort of large groups. They easily become mindless crowds. Observe group insanity from a distance. Reserve the right to engage or disengage. The advantage will always remain yours. You will need that advantage.
16. Listen. Listen to yourself, listen to the silence, listen to the wind in the trees. The still voice of God seldom shouts, almost always hints, and has an uncanny way of being heard in the silence. Quiet the noise of your wants, needs, longings and the sometimes out-of-control desires long enough to hear the calling. Listen.
17. Find pleasure in discovery. "Seek and ye shall find" is a promise of involvement. Sometimes, finding your way is found in the way of waiting. Ideas, opportunities, insights and understanding often shows up like a little kid who just wanders in with his hands in his pockets. Pay attention.
18. Have fun. Play is important to your creativity. Someone smart told me that.
19. Rest. God did.
20. Love. God does.
21. Live your life. Your life is God's gift to you. He said so:
"I am come that they might have life,
and that they might have it more abundantly." John 10:10
Copyright 2013, Curtis Beaird. All rights reserved.