In our back yard is a large, gorgeous maple tree. In the
summer, it’s home to a number of birds.
Last year, at the end of a long branch, which extends to
within 7 feet of our upstairs bathroom window, a family of
robins built a nest where they lived all summer until the
weather got too cold.
Both our cats just lay in the windowsill for hours all
summer watching the birds come and go less than 7 feet from
their window perch.
Now keep in mind that the winter was absolutely brutal. 14
feet of snow. The wind that blew like no winter that I can
ever recall. Never as often and as hard as that year, it
seemed. It was just miserable from mid October until April.
Yet this bird’s nest, sitting on a long branch wide open to
the chilling, hammering winds and cold that snaps electrical
wires like tooth picks, stayed right there.
Every day, I’d look out at this nest and there it was,
gripping that branch…
And I’ve got to believe that the robins that built the nest
were no smarter or more skilled in nest building than any of
the robins in my neighbors’ trees.
They simply didn’t want their home to fall apart no matter
what. So they build it to withstand the worst possible
No short cuts. No excuses.
Tell me, what if you were to take every little task you do
today, and do your absolute best? What if you were to mow
the lawn as well as you could today?
What if you gave your all to every customer or prospective
customer? How much more effort would it take to be the best
husband, wife or significant other than you normally put in?
What would it really take to avoid eating beyond being
comfortably full? To finish your homework and then read for
another 30 minutes for good measure?
You know, the difference between failure, moderate success,
an OK marriage, an undistinguished career and a raging
success in any one of those areas is usually miniscule.
It’s not that much more effort. Often it’s hardly any real
work at all.
Every single day I get emails from people who have given up
hope of ever being really happy and satisfied in life. “I’m
beyond help.” “I’m happy that you’re doing this work for
other people… Too bad it can’t help me.”
They read the articles. They may even buy our tapes, and
either don’t listen to them as prescribed, or when changes
do begin either with positive progress or with negative
tension created by the rapid changes happening, they quit
because the change is uncomfortable at first.
“Whoa! That’s not me! Who am I kidding? Better slow down.”
The bottom line is, change is always wanted on some level
but hardly ever completely enjoyable at first.
If there is one thing that you MUST beat into your head
every day like a mantra is that success at anything is
simple. It’s so simple!
It’s just a matter of repetition of little thoughts and
For example, to allow yourself to do shoddy work once and
then again is to create momentum. A third time is like an
Hard to stop it. The fourth time is virtually guaranteed.
When the brownies or chips and soda make it into the
shopping cart every week, that’s it. Run past that aisle.
Achieve a little success. Get a little momentum going the
When the sitcom wins out consistently over the homework or
baseball practice in the back yard, then you are creating a
rotten habit, which develops a character. Done long enough,
and that becomes who you are…
But thank God that with just a little effort we can change
those things by making only slight direction changes.
The nest in my back yard is now housing a new family of
robins who didn’t have to do a thing. They just moved in.
All the work was done already. They just hung a few
pictures, threw out a “Welcome” mat and called it home.
And once you change the momentum of any downward slide you
may be in, it’s deceptively simple to stop the slide, make a
few right decisions and your entire destiny can change.
If I was to get in my truck right now and drive due west for
just four days, I’d be in North Bend, Oregon. But if I was
facing only about 5 degrees to the south, in the same four
days I’d end up in Los Angeles, California… about 960
Now hold your thumb and fore finger about an eighth of an
inch apart. Go ahead. Do it. You see, most of the time the
difference between horrible, devastating failure and
massive, glorious success is only that far apart.
In the next seven days, will you have chosen to stay on
Keep reminding yourself of how important each hour and each
decision is. Do that every hour today, and I guarantee that
no matter what doesn’t go right, you won’t be too terribly
bothered by it.
And isn’t that the direction you wanted to go in today?
By Mike Brescia