The Pledge, Your Master Plan For An Abundant Life

“If I didn’t change myself, my life wouldn’t change – not then or ever.” was Michael Masterson’s (writing under a pen name) defining realization offered in the opening of “The Pledge, Your Master Plan for an Abundant Life”. Masterson was bright and capable, but up until that moment committed to mediocrity. In an instant he realized that if he wanted to live a full and fulfilling life – he had to change.In “The Pledge” Masterson emphasizes “taking action” as the seminal means to achieving success. In example after example he illustrates how “most people” never realize their full potential, nor achieve their most cherished dreams because they are immobilized by fear or ignorance, or are willing to live with an uneasy satisfaction for the status quo. People fail because they aren’t willing to imagine, plan and take deliberate action.Everyone stumbles, everyone falls – everyone who is willing to act that is. If you want to reach your goal you must be willing to accelerate failure, as success is on the other side of challenges.Masterson weaves the thread of taking action throughout “The Pledge”, even the title suggests you must commit to some action. While imploring the reader to act Masterson offers tangible tactics and techniques to organize, aim, assess and advance in life – boldly and brazening. For the one who knows where he or she is going and advances decisively will meet uncommon success.An effective plan for life must be both realistic and flexible. But remember, unless and until you are willing to test and stretch yourself you’ll never know what you are really capable of. You must have a vision, and in time-tested “goal setting” fashion, you must break that long-term, big-picture vision into specific, reasonable, actionable, time-oriented objectives – in writing. Masterson recommends, “…four fundamental life goals. By simplifying your goals into four major ones, you will make it 400 times easier to pursue and achieve them.”Masterson devotes some time and energy to getting “the goals” just right. Words matter. The key steps, however, in achieving what it is you set out to, are to focus, prioritize and then act. Without dedicated action, specific, determined results are a fantasy.The discipline of achievement is not necessarily enjoyable – not in a vacation resort kind of way. Planning every day, then working the plan, is not for the faint of heart. To achieve extraordinary results you must be willing to devote uncommon, time, energy and attention to difficult (at least at first) tasks. And have the persistence and dogged determination to stick with it.Masterson offers three practical steps to success: think, act, and break up your day. “Ultimately, accomplishing your goals all boils down to how you spend your time. What you do and what you fail to do.” Good intentions are not enough.A fan of “Seven Habits”, Masterson advocates: put first things first and focus. People make choices leading to one of three types of activities: “golden”, “vaporous”, or “acidic”. If you truly desire to grow and achieve you must consistently perform “golden” activities – not waste time or worse – destroy your life. Meaningless, busy activities sabotage achievement and undermine human potential.Masterson takes on “the topic”: motivation. Desire, intention, yearning, passion – these are the characteristics of doers, achievers, winners. While he presents checklists and practical suggestions to manage time more effectively – ultimately success comes down to an individual’s motivation. The most telling and illustrative example he offers is the drive, focus, and persistence of an addict – a crackhead. Driven by their yearning, the crackhead finds a way to realize the object of their desire – a drug induced high – over and over again. What misspent potential. If an addict can find a way to destroy themselves, despite the challenges, why can’t you take action to do something great?In “The Pledge”, Masterson offers a formula for learning and growth to overcome the inevitable obstacles: study, observe, then do. The proportion for these activities is 25-25-50 with the weight on doing. Normal people, intelligent or otherwise, resist change – successful people embrace and shape change. Masterson recommends you pay less attention to yourself and devote more attention to other people. Focus on opportunities, not problems. Stay positive. And, most important of all: act. You might just start by taking The Pledge.Copyright (c) 2011 Scott F Paradis

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