Home The Columnists Behind The Mike Are You Strong?

Are You Strong?


By: Michael Aun


There is a passage paraphrased from The Talmud that I find particularly interesting.

Iron is strong, but fire melts it.

Fire is strong, but water quenches it.

Water is strong, but the sun evaporates it.

Sunshine is strong, but clouds can cover it.

Clouds are strong, but wind can drive clouds away.

Wind is strong, but man can shut it out.

Man is strong, but fears cast him down.

Fear is strong, but sleep overcomes it.

Sleep is strong, yet death is stronger.

The strongest is kindness. It survives even death.

There is a funny thing about kindness… the more it is used the more you have of it.

I have always believed that when an idea arrives, we should not waste it; rather put it to work. So it is hats off to the past, coats off to the present and sleeves up for the future. Use it or lose it! Put a good idea to work.

I once interviewed the late Wilma Rudolph, who was the first woman in the history of the Olympic Games ever to win three gold medals. She told me “The doctors told me I couldn’t walk. My mother told me I would. I believed my mother.”

Who do you choose to believe? Are you strong? The worst thing that can happen to a human being is success without achievement. Basketball great Bill Bradley may have said it best: “Becoming number one is easier than remaining number one.” No, you cannot have success without achievement.

I find it interesting… we are all self-made but only the rich will admit it. We are all responsible for our plight in life, good or bad. In every race, there are many starters… and very few finishers.

Success is often defined as getting what you want in this world Happiness is better defined as wanting what you get. As the ancient Chinese proverb suggest… beware of the goals you set, for you may attain them.

I have been a goal-driven person since I was a child. A goal without a roadmap is nothing but a dream, a wish or an incomplete thought. One must have direction. That’s what the roadmap is all about.

The acronym S-M-A-R-T says it all. The S stands for specific. Goals first must be exact, precise and explicit. Get the “who, what, when, where, why and how” questions answered up front. They define your purpose.

The M in the acronym stands for “measurable.” You must have a tracking system in place for accountability. How can you know if you are ahead, behind or on time? Reasonable progress in a reasonable time frame. How long should your kid spend in the first grade? Answer- 1 year is reasonable.

The A stands for attainable. Is it reasonable? Is it out of reach? Are you capable of more? The old expression “If all else fails, lower your standards” is not the answer we seek. This the “how” part of the equation.

R stands for relevant. Is it worthwhile? Is it out of reach? My late friend Jim Rohn, CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame® was inducted into the Legends of the Speaking Profession® the same year as yours truly and the late Zig Ziglar, CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame® was chosen. Jim used to say: “Become a millionaire… not for the money, but for what becoming a millionaire will make of you.” He was dead on the mark.

The T in the abbreviation is for timely. When is it reasonable to expect results? All goals should include a time limit. Otherwise, how would you keep score? There are two issues. First, a sense of urgency is established when you set a date. Secondly, this should facilitate better time management.

If you do not have a reason to exist, you will cease to exist. The French call it “raison d’etre”… a reason for living. Are you strong?

Michael Aun, CSP®, CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame® is the author of “Winning the Time Wars… How to Build a 26 Hour Day”