Change

While I Breathe, I Hope

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“Hope…Sometimes that’s all you have when you have nothing else. If you have it, you have everything.” You might have read this old adage, and it’s very true. Hope changes our disposition, our attitude and way of thinking. Look at how you feel when something you were hoping for comes true.

When times get tough, it’s hope that gets us through the difficulties.

People hope for anything: a better job, a relationship, a family, a new business, better performance at work or in sports, an accepting group of friends, peers or fellow professionals. People hope that a publisher accepts a manuscript, that an offer is accepted on a house or that a fundraising goal is reached.

Hope threads through our lives in every aspect. We can hope for a break from working so hard. We hope for a favorable turn for the better on a health condition. Whether you agree or not, hope is the fuel for living.

Hope gives you wings to soar in the midst of all the ups and downs of life. Without hope things would be dark, depressing, monotonous and without a glimmer of light – especially during the tough times.

With hope, you look forward to what’s next. You dream and visualize things for the better. You extend yourself to strategize and reach your goals. You work to find the best approach to get to the desired results. Without hope, we would all have lesser lives because it keeps us from moving forward.

Hope offers the tools to keep on going when everyone is telling you “it won’t work.” Hope provides you with energy, the strength to persevere – even when you’re doubting yourself. But you know you can’t let doubt take the best out of you.

Doubt is like weeds in a garden. It suffocates the plants and flowers.

You have a plan in life. Muster all your physical and emotional strength and tackle the task at hand. Don’t let doubt divert you from forging through your path. Keep focused on your hope and aspirations.

Life, these days, requires every cell of your being to work in unison. You’ve got to be able to duck when you need to and press forward when the timing is right. You sometimes need to take a stand as well as be able to conquer.

Since I was a boy of 8, I have known the Latin words, “dum spiro spero.” Or, in other words, “While I breathe, I hope.”

Please don’t forget to follow my blog at Life on Your Terms and like my Facebook Page.

Posted: August 5, 2015

© 2015 Savas Vikos all rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Savas Vikos with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Your Brain on Greed

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Greed over the years has had different and, at times, controversial connotations. Some claim greed is good. This has been depicted, for example, in movies when it comes to young aggressive stockbrokers, car salesmen, etc.

The truth of the matter is, at times greed helps sell items and services. There are mainly two forces that will make an individual buy what you want them to buy. One is greed; greed for getting something that will help them get more benefit than others. In other words, if someone doesn’t act on the purchase, he or she stands to lose something.

The second force is fear of loss, or what someone might not get if they do not act on a particular opportunity that appeared to them.

This principle has been used in sales for many years.

What is Greed?

But, what is greed and how has it transformed our collective way of thinking over the years? According to the dictionary, greed is the self-serving desire to further the pursuit of money, wealth, power or other possessions. This especially happens when it denies the same to others.

Whether greed is considered good or not, it is for you to decide and apply it or not to your life according to your values.

Effects of Greed

But, realize this, greed has brought many people problems in this world. The problems are too many to list, but wars have been started because of greed. Corporations have acted against people’s interests because of greed. Often, politics does not serve the many, but the few, because of greed. Income inequality can be traced back to greed. For example, in the United States, the top 1 percent owns more wealth then the bottom 90 percent. Obviously we have an issue of inequality.

Anywhere you look, whatever the country, it’s probably safe to say that many people feel things are not getting any easier for them. And, the fact of the matter is that greed and the affects of greed will not get any better with time. On the contrary, it seems as if the differences are getting more pronounced.

How Can We Prosper?

The only way that I see it is to be a self-starter. Each one of us has to be innovative and creative. More and more of us will be forced to go out and start our own businesses. If you haven’t seen the trends yet, please do some research. Full-time jobs are on the decline. If you think you’re going to have your job for five, seven or ten years, think again. You’re on your own.

Your best bet is to create your own business, small company or organization and offer a solution to others in some form of product or service. Only then, can you feel that you have some control over the forces that are in action in today’s world. Only then, can you feel that you can call some of the shots.

Social Good

But while you’re out there on your own, being your own headhunting firm with a client roster of one–you, remember a few other things. Most of us are in the lifeboat with you. Be empathetic to other people’s needs. There’s no need to be all about greed. Try to help wherever you can and if you can dedicate a percentage of your profits to a good cause, I’m sure it can use the help.

As tough as things are in the world, we are moving toward shared social responsibility. People notice companies and businesses that are dedicated to social good, as well as profits.

We might not be able to change the world, but we can each demonstrate what we can do in the midst of chaos, confusion and uncertainty. Make people aware of what is going on. Help people understand that you’re going to lend your voice to social good by creating a business environment that will be respectful of people’s needs. Business decisions can be profitable and not adverse to others. There’s no need to work with greed as your primary or only motivation. It’s a fine line, but a happy medium does exist.

The world would be a better place if all of us were more giving. And although you might be thinking what difference you can make being only one person, the fact is that you can make a difference. In Margaret Mead’s words, “A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Just think what all of us can achieve one person at a time. If we could set aside our egocentric desires and think in terms of what good can come of our lives, we can change someone else’s life and prosper.

Please don’t forget to follow my blog at Life on Your Terms and like my Facebook Page.

Posted: July 24, 2015

© 2015 Savas Vikos all rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Savas Vikos with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Silent Majority Can Make A Difference

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We seem to live our lives with a daily stream of racial, gender or religious bias. Catch the news any time and even on slow days, there’ll be some story that pits one group against another. Some outrage. Justified or not. There’s always something to get our collective anger riled.
Social media has made it easy for people to show their true colors across the world in a single tweet. And, it’s allowed us to respond moments later. All of us can sit behind a keyboard delivering whatever we think is just. We are all now judge and jury.

I wish things were different in some way. But, the truth is from time immemorial bigotry toward people who are deemed to be “different” (race, language, etc.) has permeated. It may seem more amplified now because of social media, but it’s always been there.

There have always been people who feel threatened because they don’t understand – or want to understand. To some, every one who is not like them presents a menace. In their minds, it all translates into challenges to their way of life or how they see the world. They deem difference as a threat against their values, their way of thinking, their way to make money, etc.

How far from true!

The Drivers

While I don’t have the solution to this abhorrent behavior, allow me to make some points in the hopes that it may help the conversation. Worldwide the incidents of racism, sexism and religious intolerance are so numerous that it seems to have always been a way of life.

Some intolerant individual does something outrageous and all of us demand and deliver our own brand of justice in the news and across social media. It’s a cycle that repeats unendingly.

Bigotry and division have been accepted. It doesn’t end and it doesn’t go away because we can’t eliminate the main drivers, fear and hate. Although I can probably speak the most about the United States because I have lived there for a long time, it’s disheartening to hear about the struggles that continue.

Recently, 9 people were murdered in a place of worship. When people are killed in what should be one of the safest places, a place of prayer, what else should be expected other than to think racism is ingrained?

Hatred doesn’t have a place in society. It robs us of everything dear and valued to us. People are robbed of their dreams and futures. Why does this have to exist? Is it because someone decided at one point in time that this is the way to be and that’s the status quo? Is it nature or nurture? I have to think most or all children are not born with hatred, bigotry or fear. These are learned behaviors. Someone has to instill fear into a child. Someone has to tell a child that another person who is black, or a girl or of a different religion is “bad”.

According to hate mongers, anyone who does not conform to the preconceived way of life needs to be looked upon with disdain. To them, everything that was not part of what they were brought up to believe is a threat to their life.

Gladiators In The Arena

In 2015, people should be more accepting. And, we need to do this directly by targeting the motivating forces of fear and hate.

We have conquered space and still can’t conquer ourselves and how we behave toward others. I believe that everybody should have the same opportunities in life no matter what his or her skin color, gender preference, affiliation, religion, etc. This world should not be a world for the few, the blue blooded, the “entitled” who reside in “bubbles” safe and sound while the rest of us fight it out as unruly crowds or gladiators in the arena. Unfortunately, many of us believe this is simply the way things are.

I don’t believe in violence in any way, shape or form. I believe in social justice and social good. The hard question is how can we achieve it? One step is by voicing our opinions; by making our opinions heard. The other is by directly addressing and talking about the tough stuff, the hate and drilling that down to the fear.

The Voice Of The Silent Majority

I was guilty of being a member of the silent majority. I was busy all of the time and I let things pass. But a friend brought this to my attention and I listened. Those who are discriminated against cannot do it alone. They need to have allies. We need to make our collective voice heard. We need to say we are sick and tired of injustice and lost opportunities because some of us happen not belong to the “right” group or class. There’s no such thing as the “right” group or class. We’re all human.

We need to engage and talk about it – no matter how difficult. But not entirely from our Facebook or Twitter feeds. We need to talk about it in person. We need to talk about it with our friends. We need to talk about it in the cafes. We need to talk about it with our loved ones and children. We need to create safe spaces to discuss the fear and start to work through the rot.

Tell people “no” to bigotry of any kind. “Yes” to equality for all. “Yes” to opportunities for everyone. “Yes” to hope. The world can be a better place if we allow it and all of us do our part in bringing all sides together.

Please don’t forget to follow my blog at Life on Your Terms and like my Facebook Page.

Posted: July 13, 2015

© 2015 Savas Vikos all rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Savas Vikos with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Tweak Your Life to Your Taste

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Ralph Waldo Emerson said once, “Don’t be pushed by your problems, be led by your dreams.” In life we all experience our day-to-day issues. We are like a boxer who is at the bottom of the third round being pummeled by the opponent while trying to defend himself and at the same time make his move.

Not an easy play and most of us stay in the defending mode while trying to stay standing for another round.

If we let the blows get us down into submission, we will never experience the sweetness of life. Be like a child curious about the world. Don’t get jaded by bad experiences. Always ask, “Why?” When we are at an early age we don’t know what it means to set limits. Anything and everything is possible. Stay that way throughout your life against whatever you’re facing. Make plans no matter what. Why should we let limitations dictate our life.

Being this way – fearless – it is only then we will truly experience life, live life, feel the breeze, get closer to nature, cherish every moment.

Let yourself go to places you’ve never been. Life will give us plenty of excuses about lack of time, resources, even at times, lack of health. We only need to find one reason to dream and act on our dreams. Dreaming alone without following it with action doesn’t accomplish much. But we need the dreams to frame what are we pursuing.

Most of us are adverse to change. We were all taught to play it safe from early age. But what is safe? Get the education, get the job, get married, have a family, the house, the mortgage, the cars the vacation. Is that all there is?

Although this idea seems to be disrupted recently by the younger generations who feel they need to experience life on their own terms see the world while they can, create companies, create fulfilling relationships, do social good while bringing some goodness into the world.

I think the younger generations are more in tune with what they want out of life in a greater degree that the Boomers or the Gen Xers. And although it is not easy for them to follow their hearts in the midst of all this uncertainty I believe that at least they know what they want and they are pursuing ways to get it.

After all, we only have one life and if all we do is conform with what society tells us it is the right thing to do, what then do we do for our spirit? How do we feed our soul?

As Mark Twain once wrote, “20 years from now you’ll be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

To better trails.

Please don’t forget to follow my blog at Life on Your Terms and like my Facebook Page.

Posted: May 25, 2015

© 2015 Savas Vikos all rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Savas Vikos with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Finding Your Groove

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For those who are middle-aged and finding it difficult to either become entrepreneurs or wishing to rejoin the workforce, there are a few things to keep in mind. The most important thing to remember is that middle-aged workers have a lot to offer, including a wealth of life and work experience, esprit de corps and loyalty.

Of course, anyone can try entrepreneurship, and in today’s world, freelancers are increasingly becoming the bulk of the workforce. In the not too distant future, there will be more freelancers than individuals employed in a traditional full-time job.

Whether you are looking to become an entrepreneur or an employee, there are still some things you will have to do. You need to have clarity around the idea you want to execute in a new business or they type of company or business where you would like to seek employment. Skipping this basic step and doing or taking “anything” is simply a recipe for failure. Lay out a clear vision for what you want to do, why and how to get there.

I’m a big believer in being prepared. If you’re prepared, you can “wing it”. If you don’t know what you’re talking about and you make everything up as you go along, it’ll eventually catch up to you. So, research and learn about what it takes to be successful. Understand how the field may be changing and what it takes, including marketing yourself or the business, to be successful.

Being an entrepreneur or employee still requires realistic expectations. Yes, high expectations are important, as are dreams and vision, but no matter what you do, it always takes a great deal more work than you ever expect. And, so setting expectations that are based on sound reasons and assumptions is going to get you much further.

Things have changed drastically due to globalization, outsourcing, disruption, innovation, position redundancy and automation. Yes, everything was different ten or twenty years ago, but if you are looking for employment, recognize that even the selection of candidates is different today.

Now a resume will be initially checked by software programs that search for unique key words in order to identify candidates for further consideration. This happens before a pair of human eyes even looks at your resume. Those resumes that make it past that first hurdle then go to a human resources specialist who will devote about 6 seconds to reviewing it. Imagine the odds of getting chosen in many positions, based on those two realities.

Today, a lot of success comes in not only what you know but also whom you know. It is vitally important for both employees and entrepreneurs to network. If you happen to be an introvert, this can be a challenge. A good technique is setting a goal to invite one or two people a week for coffee. If you have the personality and are more adventurous, attending networking meetings is a better way to go since you can meet many more people and use your time more effectively.

Your overall goal is to make as many meaningful human connections as possible. In a startup business, these individuals can become your customers or lead you to new clients if you have the solution to a need. Otherwise, in the job market, by networking, you are helping to position yourself outside of the resume stream that will first get vetted by a computer and then a specialist. It allows you the opportunity to potentially get your resume in the hands of the decision-making hiring manager.

Focus groups, networking meetings, coffees, employment and business conventions– anywhere you can show your true colors in person are all effective strategies. Don’t rely on only one strategy. Use a variety of them and see what works best for you.

If you are middle-aged, you may have experience and a bias that you may not realize. It happens generation after generation. You have older employees or entrepreneurs who have to work for, or with, much younger people. It doesn’t matter. Even if they don’t have the experience you do, you probably do have something to learn from them. Be open and willing to work with a younger person, including a boss.

Don’t allow the assumption be true that the older you become, the less inclined you are to be up to speed on the latest technology. Consistently brush up on technology, computer skills, social media and news so you can compete and operate in today’s world.

Try to lead a healthy lifestyle. It might not seem important, but it is crucial to success. You need to be at the top of your game, and this means mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. You want to have vitality and energy–no matter your age.

Unfortunately, life can be hard and especially in an environment with constant change. Employers want success. Customers want the same things. The reality is no one cares in business about your issues, complaints or baggage. All they care about is high performance. Remembering this will only help you.

Be willing to go the extra effort, as this will differentiate you from your competitors. Although middle-age is an advantage, it can sometimes be viewed as a disadvantage, so just accept this as a fact of life, don’t work against it. Instead, go with the change and use it to your advantage.

Finally, realize this, any one–no matter the age–in order to survive and thrive needs to be smart and work hard. Utilize all of your skills and leverage and extend your network to its fullest. Always be willing to learn. In today’s world, everything changes constantly. As someone once said, “Life is a contact sport”.

Please don’t forget to follow my blog at Life on Your Terms and like my Facebook Page.

Posted: April 10, 2015

© 2015 Savas Vikos all rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Savas Vikos with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Never Say “Quit”

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It has been a long time since I sat down to write and I missed it. Today, I want to write about how life interferes while we are busy making plans.

Life can be unforgiving, twirling us hard, hitting us against obstacles and challenges daily. We just need to keep on going.

These past two years have been very challenging for me due to travels and unforeseen situations in certain environments. What I learned is not to lose hope. As I heard from someone who lived to be 100 years old, you just have to plan every day and continue forward. Do everything the best you can in anything you do each day. The rest, anything you cannot change with no power to make a difference, simply let it go.

Decide every day to be happy – no matter what. Stress is self-induced and over-rated. Yes, there are times when we all reach our limit, but what if we decided not to be affected by the negative (news, attitudes, etc.)?

What if we started extracting negativity from our lives? What if we avoided miserable people who can steal the energy out of us in minutes?

Do you come into contact with positive people? Always try to be close to them. They will only lift you up.

The hardest thing in life is to keep being inspired with all the good that can happen to us even while in the meantime we are faced with challenges. That is where many of us despair, lose confidence or get depressed.

Believe me there is light on the other side. You just have to go through the darkness first in order to appreciate the sunshine.

There were times when I thought of letting everything go; no more trying. But there was always this voice inside that was telling me, “You came so far – for what? You have to keep on going.” And, that’s what I did.

Do not lose hope. Believe deeply in something or someone. A friend, a loved one can help on your path. Sometimes, even a stranger can help. It is always better to have someone with whom to talk and walk together.

Sometimes we come so close to finding our calling in life, but because of all the difficulties that life throws us we fall short of reaching our goals. Persevere no matter what. Yes, life can be cruel, but yet so beautiful. You have a choice in perspective – no matter what.

Find a reason why you want to do what you are doing. Why? For whom? Yourself? Your loved ones? And, before you go to sleep at night, remember that “why”. The next day before you start your day, remember it again.

Why are you doing what you’re doing?

It is to find your freedom?

Is it to help others?

Is it to change your work circumstances?

Whatever that “why” is, let it guide you to persevere no matter what.

Expect difficulties and be prepared to handle obstacles. Have the attitude that “I can”.

Once I read somewhere that if you want something out of life bad enough, the Universe will conspire to offer it to you. You just have to keep going.

Please don’t forget to follow my blog at Life on Your Terms and like my Facebook Page.

Posted: March 23, 2015

© 2015 Savas Vikos all rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Savas Vikos with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Embracing Change

Electric Lights

We each have to leave some of our familiar surroundings behind, our relatives, our friends, our homes at some point in our life.  Although it is never easy to move, especially for those of us who are not nomads, it is an experience that can be handled more easily if you set some parameters.

You can either hate change and do everything in your power to minimize moving, whether for other opportunities, work, relationship, etc., which is highly unrealistic in today’s world or, of course, the extreme opposite being those who are ready to travel at a moment’s notice with some luggage always packed. And then there are those in between, or who will make a change if they have to but their decision does not come easy and they would need some time to adjust to their new surroundings. So let me put some thoughts on paper and see if it can be helpful for all of you who dare to dream but find it difficult to take that first step.

Due to the way we were brought up we do not like change. People like stability, but at what expense? Life is not what it used to be. Due to globalization opportunities, ease of mobility, economic conditions, etc., people sometimes need to decide to make a change for the better. After evaluating options and conditions at hand someone decides to leave their familiar environment and move to a different neighborhood, state or even country. Some people just travel the world for a few months or even years. I am not referring to that segment of population. They are the ones that enjoy that form of activity. I’m referring to those who might decide to move elsewhere due to work opportunities, relationships, etc.

Realize this, playing it safe and not taking a chance is not the only way to live. And yes starting out somewhere else, getting that new job, moving to a different locale, might at times be unnerving and stressful, but life doesn’t guarantee us a lot these days. We have to embrace change if we want to thrive in such a demanding global environment. There are always some adjustments to be made, but it is doable. All it takes is to be open and embrace it.

Please don’t forget to follow my blog at Life on Your Terms and like my Facebook Page.

Posted: August 26, 2014

© 2014 Savas Vikos all rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Savas Vikos with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Making Sense of What is Happening Around Us

Imagine

Looking at what’s happening in the world today, hearing the news, seeing the images of people suffering, you cannot help but wonder what is wrong with people when life, to some, has no value. I just can’t sit on the sidelines and not express my opinion. And yes, I won’t make this post political, but if I can offer some insight to what is going on that might be helpful. Maybe I can offer some way to make sense in dealing with our present.

From the beginning of time, as we all know there, there have been the “haves and the have-nots”. All you need to do is look at history and see that nothing really has changed in the world aside of the fact that we are more advanced in innovating, technology, science, etc. But, all of this has come at a price. Call it increased health risks, environmental pollution, climate change, conflict, etc.

In the news, for the most part, you hear of misery – who killed who, the oppressed and the oppressors, human suffering and for some, a total disregard for life. Do you ever wonder why? Why do people have to live this way? You have heard the expressions, “Why can’t we all get along?” or “Live and let live.” Why don’t all people aspire to such ideas? I suppose, it is easier said than done. Human conditioning may not allow it. Greed does not allow it. Peace requires an incredible inner strength for someone trying not to get affected from everyday events and keep a can-do attitude in the midst of this chaotic environment.

While most of the press and TV seem to glorify human suffering to sell to a larger readership, get larger audiences, increase the amount of followers, we are left in the middle of the ocean on a raft, trying to live our lives and make sense of everything that goes on. How does someone get through all this? How can everything can be explained? What can we do?

I wish I had all of the answers. I wrestle with being peaceful and finding peace every day, but I think the writing is on the wall. All it takes, again, is having a look through history, and you can see that the pattern repeats itself. Over and over. You can see this cycle never ends, and you may not understand why.

If you find yourself suffering in any way, realize this – human dignity is priceless. Be the best you can be with what you have to work with whether education, resources, work etc. Never underestimate or lower yourself due to conditions you encounter. Your present conditions do not define the person you are or your worth as an individual.

Be open and ready to discuss issues and always try to negotiate a mutually beneficial solutions by being willing to give a little in order to get to your goals. Instead many prefer to criticize, become inflexible in their way of thinking which leads to disagreements, frustration, isolation and getting
nowhere.   

As my parents taught me once, keep your head high. We all walk on the ground but some of us look at the stars. Try always to extend a helping hand to others no matter how much or how little you have.  Some people are so self absorbed with their own agendas of their everyday lives, that their viewpoint tends to get myopic.

Don’t hold grudges.

Do not hate. Hatred robs you of your energy. It takes so much out of you to be irate and miserable. It takes so much less to love.

Make a difference.

No matter what, be the change.

Please don’t forget to follow my blog at Life on Your Terms and like my Facebook Page.

Posted: July 28, 2014

© 2014 Savas Vikos all rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Savas Vikos with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

No Time to Waste

Sun Rises From Haleakala

Living life today with the goal of making it is not for the faint of heart. Sometimes challenges or goals require so much effort on your part, and and sometimes it is almost easier to quit. But, when you reach those points that is exactly when you cannot quit and you have to go on if you want to climb your mountain. You have seen people who cannot see and somehow, after mustering all their reserve, climb Mt. Everest. The other day I read about a person who had no legs – just the prosthetics – and he did the same thing. How do they do it?

First, it requires an incredible desire to make it. Second, it requires an incredible discipline to stay the course and stick to the plan that has been thought out and set. No deviations, aside of something coming up unexpectedly, which always happens, and then you deal head on, re-adjust the route and come back to the plan.

But before you decide what route to take, what plan to follow or where to go, you need to decide what’s important to you. Whether young or old, whether you go at it later in life because of X or lost time because of Y, or you have not lost any time because you’re starting out fresh, it is your time to take on the day and seize the moment, even if you do not know where to begin.

First realize that the rules of have changed. In order to reach a goal, it requires even more work than you may be used to experiencing. Provided you realize what your natural talents are and also perhaps by receiving some feedback from friends, you can embark on a goal where you feel you have an edge.

For example, if you are looking for a career, realize that not everybody is cut out to become a scientist or an engineer. But, you can follow your heart (and your brain) and do what you want to do.

Be willing though to take calculated risks.

And, always be ready – every day – to give it your best and more than your all.

In every goal in life and everything you do, you are competing with so many others. At times people who are more qualified than you. Does it mean you pack it up, get depressed and climb under a rock? On the contrary, other factors can come into play that can give you an edge over a seemingly better candidate on paper; factors such as your drive, motivation, determination.

Can you take a different approach than everyone else? Can you handle a little more calculated risk? What happens when you take a more direct approach? What does your network look like? Non-existent? Do you know any people? Can you change into an extrovert if you are not?

In business these days, you need to build a network of people you know outside just your friends and relatives. People who you can reach out and talk to when you want, people who will offer to connect you with others because they believe in you and that for many reasons will promote your efforts.

But you need to be able to reciprocate. The old approach of knocking on doors does not work very well these days. Although many people still use it if they have no connections, it is not the most efficient way and will usually take so much longer than working through your established network, your acquaintances and through the people you met during the course of your life.

And, it takes work to maintain those relationships. You don’t just meet someone, then do nothing with them for a number of years and then when the need arises, you reach out to them. No, it doesn’t happen this way. You have to build and nurture that connection. It requires a lot of effort on your part, but it is an absolute necessity to achieve your goals.

Life can be very hard, and to make your mark in this world, you’ve got to be willing to give it your best and then some. There will be tough and bad times, which you might have already experienced, where things might not come your way for some time. But, you need to continue to fight – no matter what – even when someone promises you that “you’ve got this in the bag” and then you never hear back. Even when you thought you hit your goal, only to be left standing wondering what happened.

Do not ever despair. Don’t let other people’s comments or life’s unpredictable moments define you and your future. Learn from your mistakes and failures. And then, continue to dream and follow the dream no matter how hard it looks, because eventually it’s going to be fine. Devise and stick to your plan, making course corrections as necessary. Have the stamina and tenacity to make it happen. Don’t let anyone get the best of you.

And, most importantly, always be grateful of what you have, because even in the darkest hours, you still have a lot, whether it be your next breath or the gift of a sunset on a particularly difficult day. Stay to the task and know that no matter how the “weather” is out there, you will eventually reach your goal – or something better.

May your dreams become reality.

Please don’t forget to follow my blog at Life on Your Terms and like my Facebook Page.

Posted: June 10, 2014

© 2014 Savas Vikos all rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Savas Vikos with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Never Give Up Your Field of Dreams

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We all remember the movie with Kevin Costner, but I will not be talking about baseball. What I want to write about, however, are our dreams and what happens when things don’t come your way.

When we are young, we all have dreams. Some of us are blessed to live a child’s life that involves fantasy and dreams. I am sure as a child you were probably asked by an adult in your life, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Then you grow up, and sometimes life happens to you. Other times, you have some control and you make life happen. But, as the years pass and especially if you are tossed around a little, or a lot, in rough seas, your dreams either evolve, and become more realistic, or they start to disappear. Maybe, one day you find yourself quietly sitting somewhere thinking to yourself – how did I get here and where did all of those plans and dreams go?

I am usually very focused in my life, those in my life and where I can make a difference. However, I think most of us will agree that something very different has happened, especially since the economic melt-down. We see report after report, hear commentators or listen to people complain, sometimes bitterly, about the loss of what they once had.

All around us we have the ashes of lives and parts of our collective society in ruins. We all have someone outside of ourselves to blame for this, such as the recession, the job market, advanced technology, globalization, etc. Whatever it is, I think all of us know that nothing – absolutely nothing – can be taken for granted. Not your job. Not the house or apartment you live in. Not your health. Not your wife. Not your children. Nothing. I have read that what we knew of our lives before this enormous societal shift that kicked off the first decade plus of the 21st Century was all part of a big lie or illusion that we bought into. Perhaps.

Nevertheless, we are all left standing, or maybe on our knees at the moment, knowing that nothing will ever be the same. Period.

So, what do you do? Do you stay on your knees? Do you hang it all up and stay under the covers? What do you do?

Maybe it’s because of who I am, maybe it’s because of how I was raised or my ethnic heritage but all I know is you get yourself up each and every day. You never quit. You never let anyone get the best of you.

There is a great piece of history from Greece, and it comes to us in the life and efforts of Leonidas and his warriors. Essentially, Leonidas was the King of Sparta who defended Greece against an invasion by the Persians. In August of 480 BC, he took 300 Spartans and with other Greeks who joined him, he led a force of approximately 7,000, which was substantially smaller in comparison to the 200,000 men modern scholars say were on the Persian side.

You can read the story of the Battle of Thermopylae, but the most important thing to know is that Leonidas faced his battle head-on. With a smaller force of men than what he started out with in battle, he courageously fought to the death to try to prevent the Persians entry into Greece through the only access road. His tale is a story of absolute courage despite overwhelming and devastating odds.

That’s what we all need to do. We all need to fight our battle head-on and with force. And, in my experience, the only way to fight that battle, whatever it is – is to have a plan. A dream. You have to be shooting for something. Leonidas’ goal was to prevent passage to the Persians. He had a plan. He stuck to the plan.

We each need to do the same. We can’t allow life to beat us into submission. You can’t let cancer, disease, a job loss, a marriage that ends, the death of a loved one – anything – defeat you. Leonidas still lives today in memory because of that courage to stand and fight, no matter the odds.

So, the message here, is to dream. Even if you don’t dare, just dream one thing. Make one plan to kick the disease, get a new job, start your own business, get a new home, marry that woman, travel the world, whatever it is…And then, whatever life throws at you, do not quit. Do not give up until the game is really and truly over, if you do not succeed. And, know this, even if the moment comes you do not get it all; the game is indeed over and there are no seconds left, you fought. You did not give up. And, that makes all the difference in the world.

Please don’t forget to follow my blog at Life on Your Terms and like my Facebook Page.

Posted: May 19, 2014

© 2014 Savas Vikos all rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Savas Vikos with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.