“One sees clearly only with the heart.
Anything essential is invisible to the eyes.”.
—Antoine de Saint-Exupery (1900-1944) French writer and aviator; from The Little Prince
As a adjective, distinction is a word seldom used today to describe a person’s character. As a verb, it is seldom seen. Look around. Cultural similarities, predictable behavior, and conventional attitudes snuggled together within the walls of shopping malls across the country are perfect examples. Brand has replaced handmade specialty products. More and cheaper has replaced less and finer. Moreover, we’ve lost the insistence that our leaders, writers, entertainers, manufacturers, and neighbors bear the banner of distinction.
There is safety in numbers and it remains easier and far more secure for a writer to travel the path of the unadventurous than to journey down the road less traveled. That’s not to say that every writer is living a life of cowardly indifference. No one would argue that life is anything but a straight line. Challenges and struggles turn up almost every day. The prize goes to those who have the courage and desire to fulfill their dreams and reach their full potential, regardless of the struggle, as opposed to, or in spite of the society in which they live.
|[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons|
Teddy Roosevelt summed it up when he said, “Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.”
The history of
dotted with great men and women who’ve lived their lives with distinction and
have enjoyed an exhilarated and exciting journey, carrying with them an
abundance of self-esteem and self-respect, which comes as a result of living a
meritorious life. Follow closely in their footsteps and you will discover,
firsthand, the thrill of an adventure that no materialistic ingredient can come
close to offering. You have the power and the ability to be the producer,
director, and star of a real-life drama, with a script that only you have
fashioned. Why not make it an adventure story. Live life with distinction.
Below are “10 Principles of Distinction.” Follow them and you’ll begin a journey that mirrors the lives of heroes past. As a bonus, your adherence to these principles will greatly increase the likelihood of your success in business and impart a greater happiness in your personal life.
10 Principles of Distinction
1. Question all that you read, hear and see.
2. Surround yourself with people whose perspective on life is different than your own.
3. Maintain a childlike curiosity and imagination.
4. Never complain—seek solutions.
5. Let go of limiting paradigms—the restrictive thought patterns that prevent you from seeing an alternate course.
6. Study religions other than your own.
7. Pay your dues, settle your debts, smile when you pay your taxes, and welcome new opportunities to pay more.
8. Use fear; don’t let it use you.
9. Spend one hour a day getting to know and learning to enjoy people.
10. Choose a mentor, living or deceased, whose life and values, when emulated, will improve the quality of your business and personal lifestyle, then act in accordance with their principles and standards.
This week, take action on the “10 Principles of Distinction.” Fold them into your life. Add five more principles that are personally important and will impact your life. Copy these fifteen principles onto an index card and read them aloud, every day, until you live them by heart.