Living the “At Most Life:” Five Keys to Finding Your Success

Will Shakespeare had it right! In his play As You Like It, he wrote, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts.”   Many people on life’s stage spend their days just getting by. They enter the stage trying to just fit in, afraid to shine too much light. Even though we all have been endowed with brilliant talents and gifts, many people are too consumed with fear to allow others to see them. They have become too comfortable in repeating what they know. Experiencing the best in life is merely a dream to them. These people perform the role of what I call the At Least Actor. Often, you will hear them lament about their work: “We’ll at least I have a job.” “At least I have a roof over my head.” “Vacation is coming soon. At least I will have a few days off.” “At least we’re getting a little raise next year!” In relationships, they say things like: “He yells but at least he does not beat me.” “She always has the television on but at least she does not stay out all the time anymore.”  These people move through life not savoring the awesome possibilities that life offers to all of us. The practice of living life out full in what I call an At Most Life.

An At Most Actor looks for the best in life. She doesn’t wait to stumble upon positive relationships. She creates them! Instead of singing the Monday-morning-back-to-work-blues, she builds a work experience that feels more like play time. The At Most Person/Individual looks for ways to demonstrate his most brilliant talents. Whether in the board room, on the sales floor, on the stage singing or working communities, he knows that the most important outcomes of his performance yields joy, builds positive relationships, makes communities, creates abundance, and solves problems. The At Most Individual is looking for ways to squeeze the most out of life. He might be the one that you see who looks forward to showing up at work, he doesn’t complain about his job, laughs a lot and surrounds himself with other positive people. Most times, the difference between the At Least Actor and the At Most Actor consists of slight adjustments. In my practice as a coach, I often work with clients to make the slight adjustments that facilitate them in experiencing tremendous change in their lives. The five most important adjustments to improved performance consist of setting the proper stage, seeing the vision, writing the story, building a supporting cast, and consistent rehearsals.

  1. Clearing the clutter, and negative pasts can make the difference between a dull experience and a brilliant one. The At Most Actor knows that in any given moment lies the possibility to create something new and wonderful. She doesn’t carry the past into the future. She sets the proper stage so that she can excel.
  2. Every self-help book ever written most likely prescribed the notion of creating the vision that you want to see. The At Most Actor knows the truth of this principle and makes the time to be quiet to envision the world that he wants to see. He knows that first the actualization of his dreams happen in his mind.
  3. One of the reoccurring memes in popular psychology today says to “change your story and change your life.” The truth of the matter is that for every society around the world, if you can identify their original myth, you can predict their future. If we keep telling ourselves the same old story, we can expect to get the same old results. The At Most Actor is willing to experience a new story. They are willing to start again, and sometimes, again and again and again, until they are satisfied with the results. They know that the story that they tell about their life resonates into the world.
  4. All the Academy Award winners talk about the fact that they could not have given their dynamic performance alone. The usually always thank the supporting cast. The At Most Actor knows to surround himself with the positive forces that support the vision that he wants to manifest in his world.
  5. Finally, the At Most Actor dreams of a magnificent performance but she knows that how she prepares determines her final performance. The idea of stepping outside of their comfort zones scares the life out of the At Least Actor. Going beyond the confines of the comfort zone also frightens the At Most Player but she goes outside anyway because she knows that the directions for greatness lie outside the walls of the comfort zone. The At Most Individual doesn’t try for her grand performance in one try but she knows that by taking small rehearsals towards greatness, she can eventually master the gifts that the entire world is waiting to see. Her rehearsals become her habits.

The option to live the At Most Life exists for us all. The difference between those who actually live life to the fullest and those just get by lies in choice. For those seeking the At Most Life, life is waiting to surrender all its gifts but only to those who choose.

The Probability That You Will Succeed Is Very Low, So You Might as Well Give Up! 7-Steps to Creating Your Hopes and Dreams.

Many years ago, a wise old teacher gave me a piece of advice that I take with me everywhere that I go. When I was facing doubts and fears about my hopes and dreams, he very sternly instructed me:  “Based on all circumstances, the probability that you will succeed is very, very low, so you might as well give up.” He calmly waited a few seconds as I tossed his ideas around in my head. After a long pause and after he had gazed deep into my eyes to see my reaction, he smiled and gently said: “But, the possibility that you can succeed is infinite. You must focus on the possibilities of your life, your hopes, and your dreams.” This wise old man taught me to become a possibility thinker. The possibilities for our lives are infinite. Most people never come close to living out the possibilities for their lives. Many remain stuck, adding up and subtracting the probabilities of their lives. They scour the newspapers and watch newscasts filled with statistics and probabilities. They give more credibility to these news reports rather than to their hopes and dreams that tap them on their shoulders.  The old man gave me 7-Steps to Creating Your Hopes and Dreams.  I share them with you.

Get Quiet – Beyond the noise and chatter of living in the modern world, the old man taught me to make space for quiet time at least twice a day.  He instructed me to shut out the negative chatter and noise of the probability thinkers.  I started sitting for five minutes at a time.  In the early days, those minutes seemed like hours.  Eventually, I learned to sit for 30 minutes and then longer.  In those quiet moments, I discovered realizations to problems that I had wrestled with for long periods.  Flashes of insights colored my mind and my imagination. I learned that many of the problems that I thought I possessed, already had solutions if I would only be still and listen.

Take Inventory – The old man taught me to take the visions from my quiet time and find the demonstrations of those visions that were already present in my life.  Often, we find that what we have been looking for, we already possessed.  The old man reminded me:  “You say that you want more abundance; you must realize all the ways that you already have.”  After taking inventory, I began to feel that I already had and once I knew that I already had, more abundance came into my life.

Build a Community – I learned that in order to hear, see and live my dreams, I had to surround myself with others who could also see the possibilities for my life.  Living in the modern world, we cannot always choose our co-workers, neighbors and family.  But, with respect to our dreams, we can choose what we wish to share.  The old man helped me to realize that all of my associates could not see what I could see.  All of those in circle had not taken the time to dream.  Therefore, not only could they not see the dreams for my life, they did not see the dreams for their own lives either. I learned to avoid sharing my hopes and dreams with those people.  To share my dreams with them would only weigh me down.  One day, I would demonstrate to them what they could not see.

Rehearse – There comes a time when dreamers will have to take the thing that they see in their dreams and bring it to the world.  The old man taught me to start small and work every day to get bigger.  He reminded:  If you want to sing, then give your song to everyone that you see.  One day, they will only evoke your name as, the singer.  Do what you love, demonstrate who you are until the world only knows you for what you do, action!

Play – Dreams should be lived out in JOY.  I learned how to do what I loved with a smile.  The old man taught me the art of play.  I learned what Einstein professed:  “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”  The old man told me that I would not make new discoveries without play.  I learned that insights and discoveries do not come to a heavy mind.

Share – We must give in order to receive.  With the old man, I began practicing the art of giving.  I began to see amazing gifts in my life.  He taught me that to withhold giving blocks our ability to receive.  I learned that giving and receiving are the same.  No act of giving is too small.

Give Thanks – The old man taught me that by giving appreciation and thanks, I would unlock my heart.  I had already practiced how amazing sharing had transformed my life and lifted me up.  I learned that by giving thanks, I increased my ability to give.  The old man instructed:  “By giving thanks, the universe recognizes your gratitude as a sign of appreciation.  The universe loves to give and will see your appreciation as a trusted co-conspirator in giving.” 

Many years have passed since those encounters with the old me.  It feels like yesterday since he gave me his timeless wisdom.  I think about him often and I dream of telling him, “Thank you,” for giving me more tools for the journey of success.

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