By: D. A. Slinkard
Have you ever taken the time to notice how much we blame other people for our own downfalls? Turn on the news, open a newspaper or listen to the conversations from the local coffee shops, it seems that someone is blaming someone else for the pitfalls of our world, of our country and our society. To me, it seems we lack accountability on all fronts. I’m not turning this into a political diatribe, but I will say that the next time we go to point fingers at someone else, we need to realize we have three fingers pointing right back at us.

As I reflected on the accountability sentiments, I started seeing our societal demise coming to fruition all in that word, accountability. There was the friend who was rushing home from work because a work conference lasted longer than it should have. He was caught speeding and felt that the ticket he received wasn’t his fault but was the sole result of his boss being long-winded. Wrong way of thinking.

I was at a store the other night and heard a customer blame the cashier because the customer left her debit card at the checkout. Excuse me? How is the debit card being left at the checkout the cashier’s fault when the debit card being used has the chip? The customer was at fault, not the hourly cashier. Again, wrong way of thinking.

I listened as a small child blamed her parent for the bad grade she received on a school art project because the parent didn’t buy the right crayons. Again, wrong way of thinking. Did the parent correct the child and teach about that word accountability? Nope, and once again, we have the wrong way of thinking.

The examples are endless when it comes to accountability or the lack thereof. What we must do is begin to take control of our lives and realize that we are responsible for the life we have and the life we don’t have. Everything that we have gotten thus far in life is because of what we have and have not done. We cannot blame others for our failures when we are the ones that are responsible, yet too many people have the wrong way of thinking.

Now it’s your turn. Have you been placing blame onto others that you really need to take personal responsibility for? We are all guilty of this, but we must first realize there is an issue. When we are able to lift ourselves up beyond the point of blaming others, we are able to hold ourselves accountable for what happens and doesn’t happen in our life.

I truly believe that if we want success in certain areas of our life, there are two things that need to happen. We need to hold ourselves accountable for the results we get, and we need to become obsessed with what we want to achieve. I was reading a Tony Robbins’ book recently and a quote that stood out to me was, “there is no such thing as failures in life. There is only results.” I have to admit that I really, really liked that quote because of how true the statement is. If we are having success we don’t want to change a thing in how we are going about our business.

However, if things are going bad we are quick to look at things in terminology of success and failure. Not true. If we are not getting the results we want, then we must change the way we go about our business. Examining what works and what doesn’t work enables us to hold ourselves accountable for our results.

The next part is the truly fun part, and that is becoming obsessed about that which we desire. If you want success in a particular area then you must become obsessed with that area. The last article was about defining your priorities and this is no different. Think about how successful your priorities will be when you become obsessed with them?
How many times do we treat what we want to be successful at as merely a hobby? Are we going to have success? Are we going to be motivated to hold ourselves accountable? To find success in what is important to you, you must learn to become obsessed with becoming the best. When you have that obsession to succeed, you will no longer have to worry about whether or not you will hold yourself accountable.
By: D. A. Slinkard
D.A. Slinkard is the manager of the Athens Staples store

By: D. A. Slinkard
What’s the differences between successful people and unsuccessful people? What separates the one from the other? What makes one group standout from the other group? How can a person down on their luck turn their life around? I have written before that success means different things to different people. In my studies, I’ve found the one thing people struggle with in finding their so-called success is they do not know their priorities and what matters most to them.

In the last article, I wrote about seizing the day and this made me think about what struggles a person might have that would prevent them from being able to achieve their goals. Many of us know what needs to be done; we know what actions need to be taken yet we still fail to properly prioritize our life in order to achieve high levels of success.

Life is about balance. Life is about properly nurturing our bodies, our minds, our familial relationships and even our work relationships. Sounds easy enough, but too often we do great at one thing and fail miserably at another. There are some people who do great with their home life and struggle at their work life or vice versa. How do we maximize on all levels?

Going back to the word priorities, what do we need to do in order to obtain life balance? Growing up in a Christian family and being a firm believer in God, I believe the first priority in our life should be God. You may be nodding your head in agreement right now as you read this, but let me ask you a question that was even tough for me. Do you really make God priority number one? Many times I fail here but guess what, the first step is to admit the problem.

The next priority on your list should be your family, and if you’re married, it should definitely be your spouse. I hear people all the time who say their kids are their main priority. These are married people saying this, and I think maybe this could be one of the problems with their marriage. My wife and I have two beautiful girls (not allowed to date until they are 35 years old), and even though we may fight because I said or did something dumb, regardless though, for our marriage to work, I must put her as priority number two. There have been times she hasn’t been number two and that’s shame on me. Maybe you’ve been doing the same thing to your spouse and if so, what are you going to do differently about it?

Priority number three then goes to your children and the importance of instilling discipline and respect into their daily lives. Discipline and respect are two words that are missing from many vocabularies of our youth. Parents, realize the importance of priority number three and build up our future leaders.

Priority number four now becomes our work. I’m guilty of putting this ahead of priority number three, number two and even at times number one. Hard to admit it, but very liberating even though I put myself out there. It is okay to admit we have faults even though we live in a world of Facebook in which if everyone’s lives were as great as their status updates, there would be no need for anti-depressants in our world. Yet, life isn’t grand, it isn’t as easy as the selfie picture would lead to believe. What we don’t see is the 99 deleted pictures in our efforts to make life look perfect.

Life will never be perfect. There will be struggles, triumphs, and even tears along the way. We have one shot at life – to make the most of it. Even though we will make mistakes, we must first learn to minimize our errors.

How we do that is to take the time daily to write out our priorities in order of what is important to us. Mine is God, Mindy, my girls, work. Yours will look different because we are different. When you make your list, don’t just write down words, but include what specifically you will do that day for that priority so you can come closer to perfection.

This is how we seize the day, this is how we get our lives back on track and this is how we know at the end of the day, we have done all we could possibly do for ourselves and our loved ones.
By: D. A. Slinkard
D.A. Slinkard is the manager of the Athens Staples store

We Must Seize The Day

By: D. A. Slinkard
I realized an important aspect of life after a recent visit with my mom — it stops for no one. My mom suffers from dementia and it is devastating for the individual and the surrounding family members who feel the strain of seeing the person and the impact the disease has on their loved one. I was rushed with so many memories from years past that I knew I couldn’t speak with her about them because she simply didn’t have the ability to remember to way back when.

Though I hold tight to the many memories of my youth, with the involvement of my mom and the role she played in my early years, I know that they are just that, memories. I understand now that I cannot get back today what I took for granted yesterday. How many more of us are facing this cold, hard reality today?

We never know what the future holds for us and we know not what success and failures lie ahead in our lives as time unfolds before us. Seeing my mom living in a shell of who she was really tugged on an emotional string for me and made me realize that I want to live my life to the fullest because there may come a day when the only thing to hold on to is the memories that others have for us.

Though I write this article today, there is a chance that she has no recollection of my visit or me telling her that I love her. Instantly the Latin words “carpe diem” or “seize the day” are prevalent to me as I understand the approach that is necessary for all of us to achieve success in our lives. How many times do we say, “I’ll do that tomorrow,” and it turns out that was the biggest lie we told ourselves today?

Why continue the strings of lies? Tony Robbins once said, “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.” Yet we, as humans, are creatures of habit who continue to do what we have always done before. This is where we must decide to go a different route, change the course our lives are headed and set out in a new direction.

We must seize the day and take a full blitz approach to the way we live life. There may be a time in which we cannot recall how things used to be but we can impact how things are for us today. How do we make this impact? We must cutout the distractions that currently plague us. I want you to think about the distractions you have on a daily basis. How many times have you thought to yourself, “I’m going to just check Facebook” and the next thing you realize hours have passed by.

Maybe you think I’m going to just check the news or see what email just came through and now your entire day has been thrown off course because you allowed yourself to get distracted. Seize the day. What steps can you take to make the most of your life? Another big lie that I hear is, “I just don’t have time.” We all have 168 hours in a week, and some do what others cannot do. Why? If it’s important to you, you’ll find a way to accomplish it. If it’s not, you’ll make an excuse.

The difficulty comes into not making an excuse. It goes back to the biggest lie of doing it tomorrow. Spoiler alert- Tomorrow never comes! How we overcome this pitfall that many people face is to set out each day with a purpose. We must live each day with the purpose to seize the day. We must know what it is we want to accomplish, and we must take action. We all know what we need to do but few of us actually take the necessary action to accomplish our dreams and our goals. This proves that knowing is not enough.

Life is about action. Anyone who has ever done anything great before will tell you it required them to set their lives in motion. All it takes is knowing what needs to be done and then setting out on taking the necessary steps to put the knowing in to motion. Making a point to seize the day will keep your life headed in the right direction. Go ahead and do today instead of putting off tomorrow. Tomorrow may be Too late.
By: D. A. Slankard
D.A. Slinkard is the manager of the Athens Staples store

Sometimes in life, the only thing you can do is smile. Maybe you’re ready to eat at a restaurant only to find out the establishment has run out of the food you wanted. Or maybe the flight you rushed for was delayed by nearly 3 hours. Better yet, the hotel you had booked had a major pipe burst, and your room was no longer available. Possibly, you find out the news that your dog (more like a child), ruptured a disc in his back and would be paralyzed for the remainder of his life.

We have all been there when it seems like Murphy’s Law is becoming a way of life. The above-mentioned events all happened to me in the course of forty-eight hours. Talk about trying my patience! I was beyond frustrated and found myself ready to crawl back in bed, slide under the blankets, and pull them snug above my head. I have faced adversity in my life and I always seemed to handle it nonchalantly. Yet, here I was being beaten up with life, one event after another. This thing called being an “adult” was no fun for me.

I found myself being out-of-balance with life and my positive “can do” attitude was suddenly facing the test of tests. Then it happened. I met a lady who told me she was having a bad day as she found out that her uncle was suffering from cancer. It didn’t stop there, though, as she went on to tell me that her dad and her mom were also afflicted with the disease.

That stopped me in my tracks. The pity party I had already begun throwing myself suddenly meant nothing as this lady had more things to be worried about than I did. She said one thing that really resonated with me and that was, “Sometimes in life, the only thing you can do is smile.” I felt horrible for the situation she currently faces, and I felt even worse that I actually felt sorry for myself.

What we can learn from this story is that when we think we have it tough, there will always be someone else out there who has it tougher than we do. Sometimes people give up because they think there are no other options to life and they feel they are at their wits end. Truth be told, though, we should use the story above to energize us to face life’s obstacles in stride.

There’s a quote out there that says, “Don’t sweat the small stuff, because it’s all small stuff.” I cannot help but nod my head in agreement as I write this article. In the world of business, when we face that uphill battle we must realize that it’s not over until it’s over. Each day we must press forward and maintain the positive approach to our everyday lives. We must maintain a positive outlook even when the events unfolding around us suggest otherwise.

If you find yourself facing struggles in life, just know that someone else has it tougher than you do. What you take from this knowledge is that someone who was in a similar situation as you has also been able to persevere. Whether life is good or bad is a matter of opinion. Sometimes, being tested in life is a good thing because we are able to see how far we can go by how far we have been.

Instead of focusing in on the negatives, we need to bring the positive highlights to the forefront. We need to find the best in situations as opposed to looking at what has gone wrong. When we do, we are able to realize just how lucky we are. In fact, the things we take for granted are sometimes the very things that others set their life’s goals and dreams upon. We must count our blessings and strive to be better tomorrow than we were today.

There will always be times we feel the pressures of life, but what matters most is how we respond. We can either throw the pity party for ourselves and have others feel bad for us, or we can take the approach of the lady mentioned above and look at life and just smile. Good times, bad times, no matter the season we are in, we must realize that “Sometimes in life the only thing you can do is smile.”
By: D. A. Slinkard
D.A. Slinkard is the manager of the Athens Staples store

Life as we know it is all about limits. There are coupon limits, speed limits, and even weight limits. Our world is so inundated with putting restrictions on what we can and cannot do, that too often this trickles over into other aspects of our lives. I’m not saying that all limits are a bad thing; but what I am saying, is that too many times we place limits on ourselves that prohibit us from living the life we were meant to have.

How many times have we said, “Oh I can’t do that,” and it never fails that our neurological design goes into overdrive to prove our theory correct. We put that limitation on ourselves, and our brain starts programming the rest of the results to ensure that what we say becomes truth. It is almost as if that magic genie in a bottle says, “You say you cannot do this; your wish is my command.” What we find is that we cannot accomplish what we already told ourselves was impossible.

Now, I want you to rethink your ideology on this subject. What if you were to replace the word “can’t” with “can”? What do you think would happen? Well, first you must believe that you can actually be successful and rid yourself of what we touched upon in the last article – that four-letter word fear. I am a firm believer that limited thinking leads to limited lives.

I want you to think about any historical figure who has achieved greatness. You may have thought about Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, and Martin Luther King Jr.; no matter who you thought about, the one common denominator for any of these individuals boils down to the way they think. Their outlook on life is what made the difference in their own life, let alone the millions of others they were able to impact.

Yet going back to the limits we place in life, I find that what separates an individual from achieving success and abundance, versus a life of lacking the basic necessities, comes down to their mentality. As children, we were all familiar with the Little Engine Who Could and the key concept was, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.” This is a great children’s story that seemingly gets left behind as we mature into adults.

As a child, we are taught to believe we can do great things, which is a life with no limits; but the older we get, the realities of life become known to us. You know what I mean – the ones that suggest a poor boy from the country cannot grow up to lead a country, or that a shy teenager cannot blossom into a public official with the ability to lead an entire state. The world around us is filled with such negativity, but then I am reminded of the phrase “thinking outside the box.”

That phrase is one that has been around forever, yet I believe is the most misunderstood sentence in our society. When we think outside the box, we are no longer thinking about those things that confine us to thinking inside the box. We take the limitations that society has put on us, and we break through those limitations. Yet we hear this phrase very sparingly to suggest that only a few are able to break the limits life has put on them. We put a limit on speaking about people breaking limits.

If this sounds like you, then welcome to a new level of achievement. You cannot solve an issue until you know what the problem is. If you are guilty of placing limitations on your life, this is the first step in breaking out of the box. This is how you go from having a good life to having a GREAT life.

What limitations are you restricting yourself with today? Maybe you’re restricting God and placing limits on Him. What if the miracles He has waiting for your life are being blocked because you are limiting Him and yourself? Find it hard to believe? People are guilty of this every day.

We have all seen the person who has everything going for them but for whatever reason, they just cannot get out of their own way. They become their own worst nightmare, preventing themselves from obtaining abundance in their life. Maybe this is you. I dare you to take the limitations off your thinking and enjoy the unlimited potential of everything life has to offer.
By: D. A. Slinkard
D.A. Slinkard is the manager of the Athens Staples store

We have all had something that we wanted to do but we were afraid. Why were we afraid? The reasons could be fear of failure, fear of ridicule, fear of the unknown. No matter the reason, there was one determining factor that stopped you in your tracks. It was fear. At some point in our lives we will all be paralyzed by this word, and we will either respond in one of two ways. We either give in to fear or we learn to squash it.

I think about the times my life has been altered by fear, and I know that many of you are just like me. Maybe there’s something that has been weighing on your mind, but something is stopping you from moving forward. That something is fear. The question becomes: How do we overcome our fears and face these demons to become the person we were meant to be?

Fear is a four-letter word that strikes terror in the hearts of billions across the world. What characteristic or action allows some to do what others cannot fathom? When we find this answer, it will enable us to overcome that four-letter word and will put us in a state of Utopia.

The dictionary defines fear as, “an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.” It is human nature to avoid danger, pain or even a threat. There are many “entrepreneurs” working regular jobs, receiving regular paychecks because of the fear of failure. The first major cause of fear stems from the word “failure” because who likes being deemed a loser? No one does. We worry about failure because society has taught us fear of ridicule.

How many people have you seen set out to achieve fame and glory only to come back with their tail between their legs? The failure part isn’t as hard as the ridicule part because, even though it is human nature to avoid dangers, pains and threats, it is also human nature to be the most vicious and vindictive when someone else fails.

The ridicule part goes both ways. If a person fails, they will be ridiculed, but what happens if a person succeeds and becomes “obsessed” with succeeding? People will ridicule the individual for being obsessed with achieving greatness. These people who ridicule are the very ones that will tell you not to work so much, that it is okay to call in sick even when you’re not; however, the truth of the matter is that these are people who have fallen prey to that word fear. These people have given up on their dreams, so now they want to encourage you to give up on yours.

Don’t fall for it. Keep pressing on. When things are going good, your friends know you and when things are going bad, you know your friends. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “If you can’t fly, then run, if you can’t run, then walk, if you can’t walk, then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.” Whatever journey you feel your life tugging you towards, whatever direction it may be, do not stop moving forward. The more you press, forward the easier you will find your fears dissipating.

Another aspect of fear is the unknown. Anything new in life is going to create an unknown that can be either good or bad. This is no reason, though, not to live your life because every day a new dawn breaks, giving you the opportunity to start fresh.
If you have allowed fear to run your life, the great news is that you can stop it and start fresh right now. Do not wait for tomorrow because fear will creep back into your life, whether it is fear of failure, fear of ridicule, or that fear of the unknown. You cannot allow fear to determine your fate because it will rob you of the wonderful joys of life. Think about the fears in your life that you have been able to overcome throughout your life experiences. There were some things you probably thought you couldn’t do, but eventually you did.

Realize that the fears you have today can be overcome by taking the necessary actions and keeping on moving forward. Someone, somewhere, has been in your same predicament and they were able to rise to the top. So can you!
By: D. A. Slinkard
D.A. Slinkard is the manager of the Athens Staples store

At the end of this month, I have the pleasure of celebrating fourteen years of marriage to my bride, Mindy. Fourteen years! That would be 13 ½ years longer than some people gave us when we said, “I do.” That’s right; people were betting against us, and why shouldn’t they? We were two young kids in what some referred to as “puppy love.” Now, don’t get me wrong, I love dogs but by no means were these naysayers trying to paint a fuzzy picture for us and the turmoil they just knew we were destined to have.

After all, we did have a whirlwind romance in which history saw our first date on October 9, 2001, and I found myself down on bended knee within a month of that first date. The difference is I knew I loved Mindy the first time I laid my eyes upon her. In the beginning though, she unfortunately didn’t feel the same way.

My mom told me Mindy was just playing hard-to-get, and to be honest, I didn’t like this kind of playing. I mean seriously, who likes to be told “No” over and over again? No one does, and the fear of rejection is why so many people fail in life. I have learned so much from my wife which has helped me in the business world. The first lesson learned prior to getting my first date with her is that “PERSISTENCE BEATS RESISTANCE.”

I asked her out on a date once and she said “No.” I asked her twice, I asked her three times, I asked her four times, and the answer was still “No.” I found different ways to ask her out. Make that five times, six times, seven times, same response. With every resistance she was giving me I was beginning to feel the pressure. I loved her, she loved me, she just didn’t know it yet. Eighth through tenth time, it was always an adamant “No.”

Eventually upon asking for just one date on the thirteenth time, I was finally given the answer I wanted, “I’m going to church on Tuesday night. If you want to you can meet me there.” Did I want to? Was that even a question? Of course, I wanted to or I wouldn’t have risked being the fool twelve times over. I had finally worn her resistance down with my persistence. If I had not stayed on the trail like a bloodhound dog, I would not be blessed to have my beautiful wife today and our two blessings of Abigail and Johana.

Now, what you can learn from my past failures turned success is that too often we give up too easily. We face the slightest bit of resistance, and we decide that maybe that big account we wanted to win, well maybe it doesn’t matter as much as we thought it did. Or maybe that girl who has caught our eye, well maybe there’s some other fish in the sea for us. Now, if it is romance you are after, I highly suggest you pay attention to the amount of persistence you use because if you’re not careful, you may get a nicely crafted letter from the judge warning you to not persist so much.

In life though, we are going to face difficulties and those who don’t can be found in cemeteries. I can remember being a small child and my dad telling me, “Son, it’s not how many times you get knocked down, but what counts is the number of times you get back up.” What my dad was really saying was, “Son, persistence beats resistance.”

If you are up against a tough or difficult situation, do not give up. The best way to beat any kind of resistance is to counter it with Massive Action. The more action you take, the more traction you are going to be able to gain. When you get the action flowing, you will suddenly find yourself being able to knock down any barriers in your way. You will become unstoppable and whatever you set your desire upon, you can achieve. So the next time you face a struggle and think about giving up, I want you to ask yourself how your persistence is. If you are stubborn enough to keep going, you’ll eventually get what you want. For those of you who are wondering, I am the head of the household, but my wife is the neck because the neck is what turns the head.
By: D. A. Slinkard
D.A. Slinkard is the manager of the Athens Staples store

I want to say “Thank you” for the overwhelming support I have received from readers of these articles who have taken time to let me know my writings have been helping transform their lives. The journey we have had together has seen us focus on attitude, building a reading library, making an impact on the world, to even building self-discipline.

This past week, I reflected on these articles and it led me to realize every single article comes down to one word – decision. Every second, of every minute, of every day, we must make a decision. When to get up, when to go to bed, what to eat, what to wear, these and many more are all questions that bombard our brain on a daily basis.

I have to question how we function and do not get overloaded with the millions of questions that arise daily. This thought process led me to the belief that our lives, as they turn out, are not because of bad things happening to good people or what some people deem as lucky breaks. Not at all.

I believe our lives turn out according to the decisions we make. A simple decision to sleep a little longer leads to having to rush to get to work, to having to put the pedal to the metal. The culmination of these decisions leads to a friendly meet-and-greet with a local police officer who kindly obliges with a complimentary piece of paper which impacts your bank account.

The next decision we make is to put blame on anyone and everything to justify the outcome of our initial decision. In life it is much easier to place blame on someone or something else than to realize the actual problem stems from the person staring back at us in the mirror. This may be a hard pill to swallow; we must be accountable for our actions and our decisions.

What separates a millionaire from a beggar? Believe it or not, decisions. Choosing to stay at a job you hate is a decision. Choosing to stay in an abusive relationship is a decision. Choosing to live in the body you hate is a decision. Neither the millionaire nor the beggar can buy more time, but both can choose how to spend it.

To make any kind of positive change in your life, you must think about the decisions you are making and how they are negatively impacting you and those around you. Experts say that humans are creatures of habit, both good and bad, but the reality is these habits we have formed are all from the decisions we have made.

When we think about the habits we have, they are all routines we have formulated in handling our lives. From the moment we get up to the moment we go to bed, most of us are living with decisions that have become habits over time. If you want to make the most out of your life, if you want to change the direction your life is headed in, I urge you to give a second thought to the decisions you are making on a daily basis.

What decisions are you making today that you need to change in order to be successful tomorrow? You must take the time to think about this question so you can begin living the life you were always destined to have. I suggest you look at your goals and form them as a question.

If your goal is to make $100,000 extra this year, pose this goal as a question. Take out a piece of paper and write down, “How am I going to make an extra $100,000 this year?” The idea of this exercise is to come up with 20 answers to this question. It could be reading a book or it could be calling more clients. Regardless of the answers you write, you must really dig deep to find the answer. By the time you get to the 20th question, you will find your answer. The answer is normally the easiest decision that we overlook because we live a life of habit. Go ahead; write out your goals in a question and make the decision to find your answer to living the life you’ve always wanted.

It doesn’t matter how young or old you are. Once you start making better decisions, you will start to notice a better way of life. Ultimately though, the first decision you must make is to start…today.
By: D. A. Slinkard
D.A. Slinkard is the manager of the Athens Staples store

Recently I was asked, “What separates those who have success versus those who seem to draw the short end of the stick in business?” My immediate knee-jerk reaction was to answer the individual by giving a short statement about hard work and a positive attitude. However, the more I thought about this question, the more I realized what is prevalent to someone who is successful.

This one ingredient can be used in various aspects of life and it comes down to the word “self-discipline.” The definition of self-discipline is, “the ability to control one’s feelings and overcome one’s weaknesses; the ability to pursue what one thinks is right despite temptations to abandon it.”

The more I reflected upon this definition, it became apparent to me what separates someone from success, and failure boils down to the amount of self-discipline a person has. Think about the number of New Year’s resolutions that people write down at the beginning of the year. Yet, by this time of year, you find most people have already “abandoned” the resolutions they were so ambitious about months earlier.

Take someone who is focusing on their health and someone who lacks self-discipline; life is much easier for someone to sit back on the couch compared to getting their body in motion. I’ve written in the past about people waiting to go after their dreams. Why? Self-discipline or a lack thereof is what becomes the downfall of many people.

In the world of business it is not easy to have the ability to keep fighting when the odds are stacked against you. When the world has your back against the wall, one of the hardest feats known to man is picking yourself back up when life has beat you down. This proverbial “beat down” could be a job you were fired from, a promotion you were overlooked for, or even a person turning you down for a date. It took me asking my wife out 13 times before she reluctantly agreed to a first date!

We all face obstacles and struggles in our lives. If you have a heartbeat, you’re going to have problems. The answer to these problems lies in how we respond to these struggles. This is where having self-discipline comes into play. Having the ability to be in control of your feelings and your actions make the disappointing times a lot easier to handle, as opposed to when you feel out-of-balance with life.

You may be asking yourself, “How does a person find self-discipline?” I narrow this response down to three things. The first is “Goal Setting” and making sure you are writing out your goals on a daily basis. Who has a better shot of hitting their goal – the person who writes their goal once in a New Year’s resolution or the person who writes their goal down every day? The obvious answer is the person continuously writing out their goals. If you’re not doing this, start today.

The second is “Time Management” and your ability to control the hours you have. Everyone has 168 hours per week. No one can create more time or less time, as we are all guaranteed the same hours. What’s important is what we do with the time we have. The biggest lie people repeat is they do not have enough time. If it’s important to you, you’ll find a way. If it’s not, then you’ll find an excuse.

I am a believer in the written to-do list. I learned this special skill-set from my wife who has helped educate and domesticate me in so many ways! This list is simple to do and takes what you want to get accomplished and assigns an importance to the tasks you want to complete. There will be days you hit it out on your to-do list, and other days it will look like you barely touched it. Regardless of the good or bad, keep making your daily list of what you want to get done.

The final word is “Persistence.” You must be obsessed or persistent in achieving self-discipline. In life, you’re going to face obstacles, but you’ve got to build self-discipline in your life to find success. There’s a quote I love that states, “Persistence beats resistance” and I point this out because if I wouldn’t have been persistent with my wife, we wouldn’t be married today.

I urge you to work on your self-discipline and create the life you’ve always wanted. Don’t abandon your dreams.
By: D. A. Slinkard
D.A. Slinkard is the manager of the Athens Staples store

To achieve anything in life worth having takes doing something the regular person is not inclined to do. Whether it is health, wealth, or reaching a particular goal, there is one key ingredient every person must have to be successful in business and in life. The term success means something as different to each person as our core values are unique to each individual. No matter the differences in the person, I believe you can find both success and bliss through a process I refer to as the “ABC” principle.

“A” stands for Action
“B” stands for Believe
“C” stands for Commitment

Action: This is where the magic happens when you want to achieve success. Too often people miscalculate the amount of effort needed to accomplish success in a particular area. People misjudge the necessary steps required in order to achieve their dreams and instead of re-evaluating what they should be doing differently, they keep doing the same things over and over again expecting a different result. This is the definition of insanity.

To break through the barrier and generate the success you desire, you need to take what you think should be the necessary steps and multiply your effort. You understand me correctly in that too many people are doing just enough to get by. Too many people are staying busy enough to say they’re working towards their goals, towards their dreams, but in reality, not enough people are taking the necessary actions to achieve what they want.

When you know what you want, you must map out the actions you want to take and then think about the additional actions you are going to have to take for the speed bumps that will come along in life. As long as you have a heartbeat, there will be unforeseen obstacles that you didn’t expect.These distractions will pop up and you must be prepared to handle them. When these distractions occur you must rely upon the next step of the “ABC” principle.

Believe: Taking action is not enough to find success. You have to combine the right amount of effort with the belief process that you CAN achieve your goals. Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, either way you are right.”

You must believe you will accomplish the goal, otherwise you are going to continue the failures of your past. Whether you realize it or not, we all follow through with this process. We either believe we will accomplish our goals or we believe we will not, but either way we believe something.

What is your belief system telling you about your goals? I have people tell me they believe they can achieve their hopes, their dreams, their goals, but then “reality” sets in. You know what I’m speaking of, that small voice of reason that begins to plant the seed of doubt in your mind. This small seed begins to grow and just like weeds choking a beautiful flower bed, the seeds of doubt have stifled your ability to believe in yourself. One way to continue believing in yourself is in the final stage of the “ABC” principle.

Commitment: This is the 3rd portion of the ABCs, and commitment is important to combine with the Action you take and the Belief you have in achieving success. Commitment is almost as important as taking action because even though action helps you achieve success, being committed to something is what helps you achieve your goals. In the beginning of any new hope, dream, or goal we all have a sense of belief we can achieve our heart’s desire. Yet over time these thoughts begin to wane, and this is why we must utilize the commitment towards our goal. I would rather be 100% committed to the wrong thing, than 50% committed to the right thing. When you make a decision to go after something you need to go all in, leave no stone unturned to make sure you hit your target.

When you utilize Action, when you Believe, when you have Commitment in your life, you will find a new utopia for your hopes, dreams and goals. There will be times you will need to re-evaluate all 3 stages but focusing in on these 3 words will help you be great in business and life. Take the necessary Actions, Believe in yourself, and make a Commitment so that your future self will thank you.
By: D. A. Slinkard
D.A. Slinkard is the manager of the Athens Staples store