If you have read any of my previous posts, you are aware of my mantra, Accept. Adapt. Achieve. ®
It’s a catchy bumper sticker and perhaps a nice way to sum up some really good theories on life.
But what does it really mean?
Well, let’s start with the obvious:
Accept reality. Don’t fight what is. Gandhi, both Martin Luthers understood this maxim. Successful leaders and truly happy people pay attention to this easily understood but often difficult-to-apply concept. Here’s a powerful fact: We cannot change anything that has already happened. The best we can do is to love it. This caution to love the bad things in your life may seem morbid, especially when terrible things sometimes happen to seemingly good people. However, by loving what “is,” we embrace what was always to be, and will always be. By loving what is, we accept the reality of how things are. But as Rumi said, “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”
Become adaptable. The word “adapt” is mentioned almost 50 times in my recent book, The Ideal. That’s 50 times in a book with 220 pages… hmmm; perhaps there is a theme within the book. When we become adaptable, we spend our energy working with people – not against the things that people do. When we become adaptable, we manifest life as described by the great poet, Rumi when he said, “God teaches by means of opposites, so that you will have two wings to fly, not one.” When we become adaptable, we leverage our strengths and learn to extract value from what has already happened. When we become adaptable, we embrace change.
And when we embrace change, we embrace life. For what is life without change?
Achieve. This last one is interesting. At the various keynote speeches I provide, I often conduct an informal poll asking the attendees which one of the three (Accept, Adapt, or Achieve) are most important.
Time and time again, most people say, “Accept!”
Only a handful will say, “Adapt.”
And no one ever says, “Achieve.”
However, “Achieve” is the most important of the three verbs.
Indeed, the ability to accept is necessary and powerful; yet it is often difficult to implement. Interestingly, one of my other frequent statements is, “Never underestimate the power of denial” (the opposite of acceptance).
Likewise, the ability to adapt is highly desired; adaptability is a very practical trait in this ever-changing world.
However, above all… in almost everything we do, we must begin with the end in mind.
More to the point: What do you want to achieve?
Sure, we can accept all kinds of things that happen without our knowledge or approval. And we can probably adapt to almost anything if we simply had to do it.
But puppies, cats, and mice do the same thing: accept and adapt. On the other hand, many species don’t adapt… and they become extinct. The same can be said for bad employees, horrible bosses, and every other person in the world who does not adapt to their respective environment.
As for you and me… we can actually set the stage for awesome performance in this production called life. As the playwright, producer, director, and actor of your specific life, you have more than a starring role.
You have access to the Master Plan, the goal, the target, and (dare I say it…) the purpose. So the question remains:
What is your purpose?
Try this word exercise: Say the following six words aloud, with a strong emphasis on the capitalized word.
A. Before you can create lasting change in your life, there are a few things you have to ACCEPT.
B. Then, you can begin to ADAPT your daily lifestyle (or style of living) to a plan that facilitates the achievement of your goals. Change your life to match your goals.
C. If and when you can answer these 4 questions, you will know what you want to ACHIEVE.
Only YOU know the answers to A, B, and C above.
So again I ask you…
What do YOU want to achieve?
Accept. Adapt. Achieve. ®