I am a huge fan of the thinking of Abraham Maslow. Not just because he was a University of Wisconsin psychology student like me. But because he did so much to help us all understand our pursuit of happiness. The pursuit of happiness is amongst the 3 greatest pursuits in life. (Along with Trivial Pursuit and Roscoe P. Coltrane’s Hot Pursuit! from The Dukes of Hazzard.)
Here’s a new Maslow quote I heard recently. To be clear, it is new to me. Not something he said recently. He hasn’t produced any new material since June 8th of 1970.
“If you deliberately plan to be less than you are capable of being, then I warn you that you’ll be deeply unhappy for the rest of your life.
-Abraham H. Maslow:
Plan to become all that you are capable of. The pursuit is more important than the achievement. Think big. Working to become a fully realized, best-possible version of yourself is the most rewarding life-long project. And it is the best way to finish with no regrets at the end of your days.
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On a recent car ride I heard my children debating a topic in the back seat. At one point my 13-year old daughter made a point about what she felt was an important precedent set the day before. My son Johann had a simple and elegant response:
Today is not yesterday. -Johann Albrecht (11 y/o)
I love this declaration. It serves as both an inspiration and a warning. Today is indeed, not yesterday. If you had a bad day yesterday, forget about it. It’s over. Today you get to start again fresh. Today is a chance to bounce. It’s a whole new chance to be great. To be productive and smart. To be the you that you want to be.
For those who had a great day yesterday, full of success, productivity and Maslow-quality self actualization, remember that yesterday is gone with the wind. And we have to begin again. To fully capitalize on a great yesterday you need to put in the work again today to build momentum.
You are either getting better or you are getting worse. You get to decide which direction you are going every single day. And today is the day that matters most.
This week my family and I loaded up the old Family Truckster for a road trip across the Lone Star State. We are covering Dallas, Fort Worth, Frisco, Plano, Waco, Austin, San Antonio and more. What I like most about this type of travel are the unexpected gems you discover along the way.
While we were in Dallas we decided to see the site of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. It was both interesting and sobering to see where this historic event occurred in 1963. We saw the book depository, although I still don’t know what a book depository is. We saw the route JFK’s motorcade was traveling in his last moments. We saw some grassiness. We saw some knoll. And we saw the JFK Memorial. Which made me think they must not have had many memorial options.
The JFK Quote
We stopped into the JFK Museum store, where I was greeted by a JFK quote I had never heard before. Of course there are plenty of famous JFK quotes:
“Ask not what your country can do for you… ask what you can do for your country.”
“We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”
“Honey, let’s keep this our little secret…’
But I liked the new-to-me JFK quote better than any of the others.
“Things do not happen. They are made to happen.” -John F. Kennedy
Making Things Happen
This quote summarizes everything I know about making an impact and achieving great things. It summarizes how you build and maintain a strong network of friends and family. It applies to everything from gardening to creating a new law to building a business from dust. These things don’t just happen. You have to make them happen.
None of the things you want in life will happen on their own. They require energy and action. This is both a warning and an inspiring call to action. It warns us that without action you will get nothing and have nothing. But with action you can have anything you are willing to work for.
Action is everything. It is the difference between dreaming and doing. If you want something to happen you have to force it to happen. You have to will it to happen through your vision, action and energy. This simple rule applies to friendship, to entrepreneurship and every other ship in between.
Also, do more road tripping. It is the best way to collect dots and connect dots.
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