Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Stockdale's Paradox

Do you remember Admiral James Stockdale, the guy who was Ross Perot's Vice Presidential candidate in 'the '92 election?

He didn't fare so well as a VP candidate, but he was quite an impressive military man. He was former president of the Naval War College and was the highest ranking officer in the "Hanoi Hilton" in Viet Nam.

He spent eight years in Hanoi and was tortured numerous times by his captors.

Mr. Thomas Barnett relates:

"Stockdale tells the story of the optimists who never survived their time in Hanoi, simply because they clung far too much to their dreams of release and in doing so couldn't handle the brutal realities of what it took to survive the day to day.

"So instead of dealing with the here and now realistically, they tended to cling to the hope that they'd be home by whatever the next holiday was, and when that day came and went, their spirit would be diminished by that measure.

"Over time, they died because their spirit was extinguished by reality."

Stockdale's explains his "paradox" this way:

"You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end (which you can never afford to lose) with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be."

What Stockdale was really describing is the flagrant abuse of 'positive thinking.'

And you know what? A lot of people are really just too optimistic. Worse yet, the business opportunity pitchmen exploit this and sell ridiculously unrealistic plans to starry-eyed people.

What a shame.

I seriously doubt anything you ever face in business or life will be as dreadful as the Hanoi Hilton. Still, nothing can be worse for you than to walk into battle with a plastic sword and helmet, and then get cut down with tanks and machine guns.

You wanna survive... then thrive?

Here are some wise precautions that will prepare you for adversity and ensure success in your race for the 'perfect' body:

- Know that nothing comes easy. You will have to sweat it out to achieve.

- You must stick to your plan, but still be prepared to adapt your plan if necessary.

- This is your Evolution, not a Revolution. It will take time to achieve your goals.

- Don't make or set unrealistic goals, you will dissapoint yourself time and again.

My approach is simple: I'll tell you like it is, no fancy dressing! You will always know how much effort is needed to achieve your specific goals!

The liberating thing about this is, people who are prepared for tough sledding will make it. You will revel in your victory when it does come.

With the right overall strategy, victory can be almost inevitable.

(Adapted from an article written by Perry Marshall)

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