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The Dash of Life - How to Become More Successful




Excerpted from
Letting Go of Your Bananas: How to Become More Successful by Getting Rid of Everything Rotten in Your Life
By Dr. Daniel T. Drubin

When was your last visit to the cemetery? Yes, the cemetery. You know, the last time you visited someone's grave site. In all likelihood you stood at the foot of someone's grave and read the words and dates that were etched in the granite. I have always wondered how a few words, numbers, or comments etched in stone could define who a person was, what they stood for and accomplished, whose life they influenced, or the content or quality of that individual's life. You and I both know that there is so much more to the story than what the words in granite tell us.

As you stare at the stone, you notice the name. Is that what will define your life? Your name? Not likely, although some names do become synonymous with the accomplishments, either positive or negative, of a person's life. Good examples would be Winston Churchill or Adolf Hitler. Both names create immediate thoughts and images in your mind. Will you be known for what you did during your life on earth? Maybe, maybe not; it's all up to you during your life, and for others to judge after your life. Will the quality of your life be measured by how many years you have lived? Not necessarily; there are people who live long lives and appear to accomplish very little, while some people can achieve great deeds in a relatively short time. Will the specific date you were born or the date you died define your life? Probably not. The most important information on the stone tends to be the least noticed item on the stone-the dash. The next time you visit the cemetery to visit a loved one, just focus on the dash. In reality, it's the only thing that really matters. Let me explain.

One day a friend I had not seen for quite a while approached me and asked, "How's your dash going?" I had absolutely no clue what he was speaking about, so when I said, "My what?" he said, "Your dash-you know, how's your dash?" Still totally lost and beginning to think more about the dashboard of my auto or about running races than living life, I asked him what he was talking about. He continued, "Your dash, your dash of life?" Enjoying my total confusion, he went on to explain that everyone is born with two dates, the date of their birth and the date of their death. Although you know the date you were born and do not know the day of your death, trust me, there will be the day when you no longer exist in your present form and two dates will define your time on the planet. He said that businesses, like people, also came with two dates: the date the business began and the date the business will cease to exist. He then explained to me that the day of your birth or the inception of your business or the day that you die or the death of your business is meaningless compared to the dash that lies between the dates. He referred to this hyphen as ''the dash of life."

Though seldom noticed, when you stop to consider the quality of your life's accomplishments, the only thing that really matters is the dash between the dates. So while your two dates are important, the dash between the dates signifies all of the events of your entire life. Your dash is what truly defines how you have lived, how you have served others, and the impact you have had on the people who matter most to you and the world in general. It's your own personal dash of life; no two dashes are exactly the same. The dash of your life is your dash and yours alone. It is a direct reflection of the choices you have made and the decisions you have chosen to act upon.

I have always referred to the condition of one's life as an individual's Q of L, or Quality of Life. So I suppose that the question "How's your Q of L?" is just as good as asking about someone's dash. I have always found that the people with the best Q of L, or dash of life, are those who go through life more involved in giving to others than taking from them. You see, it's not what you take away from life that will ultimately define your existence; it's what you have brought to the party of life that makes you special to yourself and to others.

Many years ago, I took a much-needed vacation to the island of St Maarten. It was a vacation that I was truly excited about, having heard so many wonderful things about the island. On my first night I went to a highly recommended restaurant and ordered fish that had been caught in local waters. Unbeknownst to me, some of the fish fed in areas where local industries dumped waste into the ocean, and they contained a high level of mercury. That night I became violently ill. I was unconscious for the first time in my life, had a blood pressure of 80/40, which is dangerously low, and spent five days in a hospital convinced that my life was over and that I would never make it off that island. As I slowly began to recover, I made some serious decisions about the rest of my life. Live in the moment, because life is filled with the unexpected. And have fun. From that event until now, I have lived by those rules. I plan for tomorrow but live in the now and make certain that each day is filled with joy and laughter.

In order to improve the quality of your life, your dash, there are some things you should consider doing. First, you must embark on and become involved in a program of personal improvement. Read some self-help books and act on the information; find a mentor to show you the way to a better existence and decide to be held accountable for your actions. When you do these things, you are on your way to a better, more fulfilling, and more enjoyable existence. Taking yourself from w here you are in your life to a better place begins with the decision to make you a better you!

The better you make yourself, the better you make every area of your personal and professional life and everyone with whom you come into contact. The more you elevate your standards of personal excellence, the more you will notice that the people in your sphere of influence raise their standards. Armed with the knowledge that the number-one thing you can do to make your life better is to make yourself better, now is the best time to start working on you. That means that no matter what barriers lie in the path of your personal improvement, you must be committed to doing whatever is necessary to overcome those barriers. It's not important that you like what has to be done to improve your life; you just have to do it.

I use the acronym AUTO as my guide and motivator. When confronted with a life challenge or rotten banana, I think AUTO: Around, Under, Through, or Over. Any way you overcome your obstacles and blast through your barriers is okay with me. So the next time you are faced with an obstacle, think in terms of how you can go beyond the barrier. You can go around your challenge, tunnel under the obstacle, blast through the barrier, or hurdle over the problem. Regardless of how you do it, barrier busting is the way to your personal improvement. The better you make yourself, the better you make every area of your life. I strongly recommend that you utilize books, self-improvement tapes, mentors, and your own personal creativity. Then dedicate each day to making yourself better.

To improve your dash of life radically and dramatically, you must approach life improvement with a "do whatever it takes" attitude. You have to invest yourself totally in your personal improvement. The more resourceful you become in making yourself better and the less willing you are to settle for the status quo, the greater your opportunity to shape your own destiny and improve the quality of your dash. As an added bonus, the better you make your own dash of life, the better you make the dash of everyone with whom you come into contact. Remember, when it comes to shedding the limitations of the past, resourcefulness rules.

The Law of Gravity is an example of an absolute Universal Law. It works every time, at least here on Earth. Because all Universal Law is absolute, it is important for you to remember that the Law of Cause and Effect has no sympathy or compassion. And, because the Law of Cause and Effect has no sympathy or compassion, it's important to remember that everything you do during the rest of your life is going to have a ripple effect. You are the cause of your own life, and all causes create effects. Your present dash of life is not a coincidence. It is the result of the situations and circumstances that occurred in your past. And while your past dash has been predetermined and is in a place of reference, your future dash is yours to create. That means that as you prepare to move from wherever you are in your life right now to wherever you want to be, your thoughts and actions are going to have an impact. That impact may often have far-reaching effects beyond your immediate world and the people in it. This is important to remember because barrier busting does come with responsibilities. And those responsibilities often go way beyond how changing your life affects just you. So while busting your personal and professional barriers is clearly your goal as well as the purpose of this book, it's important to keep in mind that each thing you do can dramatically impact those around you. Letting go of your bananas comes with responsibilities and consequences.



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