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15 Immutable Principles for Living the Life you Really Want

Jan 18, 2015

Posted by

George Mantor

George W. Mantor is a nationally respected authority on all areas of real estate, and is a frequent contributor to Real Estate Finance, Real Estate Information Services Media, Natio Read more

A new year.  A time to reflect on past accomplishments and to set new goals for the future.   A time of hope and resolutions.

I once made it all the way to the eleventh of January without having a drink.   What a nightmare!   I won’t be doing that again.

But, it taught me something; you have to know what you really want.

I wasn’t trying to quit drinking.

  I’ve never had a drinking problem, and now that I know myself better, I know when not to drink…and I sure know when to quit.   Of course, I learned it all the hard way; but I learned before it was too late.

For awhile there, a long time ago, I WAS the party.   After all of the crazy things I did, it comforts me to know that if I did not have a purpose in this world, I probably wouldn’t be here.

Abstinence wasn’t the outcome I was seeking.   What I really wanted was to be a better team-mate by doing everything I could to improve my own performance.

The reason I resolved to stop drinking had to do with managing my caloric intake.

  I wanted to maximize my strength and energy to be able to compete at a higher level for a longer period of my life.

Fortunately, it isn’t necessary to abstain from pleasure to get where we want to go.   I found that eating a healthy, well-balanced diet, weight training, and Yoga were better avenues to my real goals.   None of them required me to give up anything and each has its own additional rewards.

Too often we set goals that are either vague, negative, or for which we have little passion.   Then we are disappointed that we abandon them so quickly.   Soon we lose belief in the power of our intentions to create the outcomes we want.

Sticking to a resolution or achieving a goal is made possible by understanding the immutable laws that have always driven human achievement and personal life satisfaction.

1.  Failure is possible.

We think we have more control over our circumstances than we actually do.    We believe we are entitled to whatever we want.   But, we are entitled to nothing.

Change is inevitable.   Some things are not meant to be.   Things don’t always turn out the way we think they should.

  Accidents, illness, and the acts of others can all be impediments.

Fortunately, neither success nor failure is permanent.   Both are imposters competing to distract us from what really matters; not what happened, but what we did.

As much as they would have us believe that sports are all about winning or losing, they are not.   Winning and losing are two sides of the same coin; athletic competition is about the joy of the moment.

Forget about professional sports; that’s just big business that has less to do with the outcome on the field than it does to do with real estate development.

The word amateur has taken on a very unfortunate connotation.   The word comes from the Latin word “amato”, to love.   Amateurism is participating for the love of the competition rather than compensation.

If we love what we are doing, what happens when it is over doesn’t really matter.

Tesla founder, Elon Musk, was asked in a recent CBS interview about his propensity to undertake ventures almost certain to fail and said, “If something is important enough you should try.  Even if the probable outcome is failure.”


There is no such thing as success.

Life isn’t about money and work; it is about seeing what we can do.  It is about striving and falling and rising again to a greater challenge, and possibly even greater defeat.

3.  The outcome doesn’t really matter.

Which is all the more reason to set a firm course to a place we really want to live our lives and take the first of what might be many, many steps in that direction.

4.  There will be challenges to overcome.

Welcome them.  They are the gymnasium where we build knowledge, experience, understanding, character, empathy, compassion, and find our purpose.

5. Stop judging.

No, this isn’t the worst thing that ever happened to you and it might very well be the best.   We don’t know the future so we do not know whether an event is good or bad. Accept it.   Understand that it may represent a vital opportunity to get to the next level in your personal journey.

6.  If you can’t see the picture, you can’t paint it.

Start with the end in mind.  What does it look like when you get there?   Engage all of the senses.

7.  Visualization is the slight edge.

Visualization is more than having a picture in your mind of where you want to be. Visualization is actually a form of mental practice used by everyone from scientists to athletes to condition the mind for better performance.

Repetitive physical practice ultimately produces a response known as muscle memory. The athlete ultimately recognizes by feel and replicates the perfect physical response to the desired objective.

Coupling this with a regimen of fifteen minutes daily of sitting comfortably with eyes closed and visualizing the perfect outcome for each attempt is a vital part of a competitive athlete’s training.   From sinking baskets to hitting baseballs, there comes a rhythm and a feel that is nearly always infallible.   But first, you have to see it in your mind.

8.  Restate goals as affirmations.

Affirmations are present tense expressions as though you had already achieved the desired outcome.

  My affirmation is, “I have a slender, well-muscled body.”

I didn’t diet; diets don’t work.   I didn’t aim for a certain weight or try to lose 30 lbs.  I’m 5’-7” and I went from 165 lbs. to 125 lbs., and I kept it off.   I have a pair of Levis that I bought in 1992.   They have a thirty one inch waist, and there is room for a good-sized meal between me and the waist band.

I worked it off and I keep on working because that has many more rewards beyond not having to diet.   Don’t get me wrong, I don’t eat a lot of prepackaged crap.

 When you put in all that time with weights, you don’t want to compromise the effort by depriving your body of what it really needs.   The surprise is that when you work your body hard, the foods you should be eating are the ones you crave.

9.  You can’t do a don’t.

Instead, you must be proactive.   Resolutions all too frequently are little more than a list of things we think we ought not to do.   Don’t eat that, don’t procrastinate, don’t waste time, and don’t earn less than six-figures.

I’m down to just one resolution.

  Do the most important thing now because the one thing over which we do have control is what we do now. 

10.  Your time is all you have.

Every moment is important and extremely precious.   I once heard someone say that they were “just killing an hour.”

It made me wonder how many hours we really had to “kill.”   As it turns out, it isn’t all that many.   The average life expectancy of a forty year old American is 80 years.

  Let’s do the math; 80 years x 365 days x 24 hours = 700,800 hours.

If you are forty, you have about 350,000 hours left.   About a third of those will be spent sleeping.   That doesn’t leave much time, and it goes by faster every day.  So if not today, when?

11.  You are on a continuum.

You are somewhere between no longer the person you used to be and not yet the person you will become.   

Who do you want that person to be?   How do you get there from here?  Give yourself permission to grow, change, and benefit from new information.

12.  Goal setting requires self-reflection.

If our goals and resolutions are not aligned with our core principles and values, the tasks will seem overly difficult.   Make a list of ten simple things that give you joy.   Ask, how often do I do these things?   How can I incorporate them into my daily life or work?

Ideally, you should set goals for the seven key areas of your life: spiritual, emotional, physical, financial, educational, relationship/family, and fun.   If the only goal you set is the amount of money needed to pay your bills, it isn’t likely that you will embrace life’s veiled opportunities.

13.  We are all self-employed.

We should see ourselves as being in the business of ME, Inc.   Maybe you get a regular paycheck and earn enough to live on, but for more and more people that isn’t the reality of their work lives.   Many people work two or three part-time jobs to not quite make ends meet.

  By seeing ourselves as businesses, we are better adapted to pursue multiple opportunities and revenue streams; possibly doing things we truly enjoy.

14.  Life is a journey, not a destination.

We would all like to think that there is a place, somewhere over the rainbow perhaps, where we will find peace, prosperity, comfort, and satisfaction.   No such place exists in a life.   The only real security you will ever have is faith in yourself, your mission, and your destiny.

If you are still in the game, your real purpose may exist in time to come.   

Everything else might have only been training.

15.  Know when to quit.


Ross Perot once said, “Most people give up just when they're about to achieve success. They quit on the one yard line.   They give up at the last minute of the game, one foot from a winning touchdown.”

All limitations are self-imposed; every defeat a surrender.

I grew up watching my Mother battle Multiple Sclerosis and rejecting the prognosis that she would become an invalid.   When my Dad succumbed to cancer, she really didn’t have much choice.   She conquered MS, not once but twice, and lived in remission the last 20 years of her life.   It was a struggle, but she never quit. 

I’ve seen a quote floating around in various places.   It asks the provocative question, “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?”

A better question might be, “What would you do if you didn’t care if you failed?”

If you are pushing the envelope of your own life, you are right on the edge of something going wrong.   So what?

Poet Robert Browning wrote, “Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp -- or what's a heaven for?"

What are you reaching for this coming year?