I was away on business overnight recently in Cardiff, and rather than sitting in the hotel I decided to go to the cinema.

Being a lone male, I tried to pick an action movie rather than getting caught up in a love story, as I didn’t want to stand out as a sad lonely man in a sea of couples.  So I chose the film with Matt Damon that I’d seen a clip from a week or two before called  The Adjustment Bureau.

It was a love story.  D’oh!

Fortunately, the cinema was pretty empty so I didn’t feel like a complete idiot, and I settled in to watch the movie.

As the story unfolded, it became clear that it’s based around the idea of fate, that whatever you do, there is a hidden force at play that creates opportunies and takes them away, following some kind of plan that’s been laid out for you.

If you think like this, you’re giving up without really trying. Sometimes I’ll get an enquiry from a client who thinks I can wave a magic wand and make their world a better place, without them having to do anything.

Last year I worked very briefly with a client who has a good business, but who is sitting back and watching it die.  We agreed a strategy to bring in a bunch more business.

But instead of putting the plans into action each week, he made excuses for why he couldn’t do it.  The truth was he was scared to try.  He was scared to face up to his life being hard.  He was scared of taking responsbility for his own actions and the results in his life and business.

You have just 70 years or so on the planet.  Make every year count.  Do what it takes to live your life to the max, as the Pepsi advert goes, because at the end you don’t want to die with any regrets.

When there’s so much opportunity in the world, you have to make the effort to reach out and give it your best shot, or else you’ll live in the shadow of the life you could have and it’ll make you sad, bitter or miserable, possibly all three.

The truth is that life throws all kinds of troubles your way.  In his famous book, “The Road Less Travelled”, Dr M. Scott Peck starts with the wonderful three word sentence…

“Life is hard.”

And life can be hard.  But feeling sorry for yourself doesn’t make it any easier.  In fact, it makes it even worse.  It’s living in denial – thinking that life is unfair and that you don’t get the breaks.

But look for inspiration from the people around you who have achieved something with their life.  Don’t find things to criticise about them, but look instead for the positive things they do to get what they want.

Notice how they take chances and don’t fear failure.  Then copy them. Meet your life head on, instead of looking for an easy ride.

Stop making excuses about why you can’t, and just get on with it.  Don’t fear rejection or failure, because those fears are simply the feelings of helplessness that hold you back from a happier, more successful and fulfilling life.

While The Adjustment Bureau may not have been the action movie I was looking for, it was a great reminder that we need to take action when something is precious in our lives, or the opportunity may disappear forever…

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