Tsunamis, Cherry Blossoms and Career Success

Did you get a chance to see the Oscars this year?  Cathy and I watched the entire show.  I thought that The Artist was a great movie, but I was pulling for Martin Scorsese and Hugo to win best picture.  Cathy and I are such big movie geeks that we went to see screenings of the Oscar nominated live action short films, animated short films and animated documentary shorts.

Saving Face, a film about a courageous group of people in Pakistan who help women who have been disfigured by acid – usually by their husbands — won the documentary short category.  It is a great film; one worth seeing.  But today, I want to focus on another nominated documentary short from which I took great career success advice.

The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom is a documentary about the aftermath of the hurricane which caused a Tsunami in Japan.  It uses the annual blooming of the cherry blossoms as a metaphor for the strength the people whose lives were devastated by the Tsunami.  The cherry blossoms bloom every year.  The film shows how the people whose lives were turned upside down found the courage to go on in this annual natural phenomenon.

As I often point out to my career success coach clients, bad stuff happens as we go through life.  But it’s not what happens to us that’s important, it’s what we do with what happens that is.  In Japan, the blooming of the cherry blossoms helped people cope with some extremely bad stuff.

If you want to create the life and career success you deserve, you have to find your cherry blossoms – people or things that can help you keep going when times get tough.  Tweet 49 in my career advice book Success Tweets says, “Surround yourself with positive people.  Hold them close.  They will give you energy and help you create the success you want and deserve.”  Positive people can be your cherry blossoms.  They can help you deal with the tough stuff life throws at you.

Positive people are optimistic; and I believe that optimism is the first step in building your self-confidence and life and career success.  Positive people help you feel good about yourself, because they feel good about themselves – and life in general.  They help you build your self-esteem because they have a strong sense of self-esteem.  Positive people are there when you begin to doubt yourself.  They are not threatened by you or your success.  They realize that self-esteem is not a fixed pie.  There is an unlimited amount of it to go around, so positive people are always giving it away.  You can build your self-confidence, recover quickly from setbacks and jumpstart your life and career success by spending your time with upbeat, positive people. On the other hand, you want to do the best you can to avoid negative people.  They are the opposite of the cherry blossoms.  Tweet 50 in Success Tweets says, “Jettison the negative people in your life.  They are energy black holes.  They will suck you dry, but only if you let them.”

Negative people tend to be pessimists.  I was leading a workshop on career and life success the other day and I mentioned that self-confidence is the hinge on which life and career success swings, and that optimism is the most important ingredient in the self-confidence mix.  On the other hand, pessimism can cause the success hinge to rust and become difficult to swing.  That’s why some of my best career advice is to hold tight to the positive people in your life and run – as fast as you can – from the negative ones.

For me, optimism begins with the ten points of The Optimist Creed.  I have given away a couple thousand copies of The Optimist Creed.  If you would like one, just go to http://budbilanich.com/optimist.

Let’s take a look at the difference between positive optimistic people and negative pessimistic people.

  • Positive, optimistic people tend to see problems, failures and setbacks as temporary.
  • Negative, pessimistic people tend to see problems, failures and setbacks as permanent – almost their destiny.
  • Positive, optimistic people see problems, failures and setbacks as isolated occurrences.
  • Negative, pessimistic people see problems, failures and setbacks as omnipresent – things from which you can’t escape.
  • Positive, optimistic people don’t take problems, failures and setbacks personally.
  • Negative, pessimistic people personalize problems, failures and setbacks.

If you read this blog with any regularity, you know that I am an incurable optimist.  I see problems, failures and setbacks not only as temporary, but as opportunities to learn and grow.  I expect things to go well.  When I run into problems, failures and setbacks, I’m always a little surprised because I don’t expect them.  I do, however, plan for them.  Finally, I never take a problem, failure or setback personally.  I’m a human being.  Sometimes I make great decisions.  Sometimes I make poor ones.  My self-worth is not threatened by the occasional problem, failure or setback.

And, I choose to hang around with positive, not negative people.

I’m a big fan of Mark Twain.  One of my favorite quotes of his gets at the heart of surrounding yourself with positive people and jettisoning the negative people in your life…

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions.  Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”

Negative people are a drag on your goals and your ambitions.  They are quick to tell you what you can’t do, offer little encouragement, and hate to see you prove them wrong by succeeding.  Hold these kinds of people at arm’s length.  Don’t spend time with them.  Instead, invest in friendships with positive, upbeat people; the kind of people who not only don’t belittle your ambitions, but do what they can to help you make them a reality.

Cynics are negative people.  They are also dangerous, because they are seductive.  They always have something witty to say about others – usually others’ shortcomings.  At first, they seem to be funny and amusing.  But spend time with cynics, and you’ll find that they have little joy in life except in pointing out and reveling in others’ problems and failures.

I suggest that you create an negative person free life.  Don’t let negative people, into your life.  Hold them at arm’s length.  In my career success coach talks, I tell people…

“Allowing a few negative people to make themselves at home in your life is dangerous.  Their poison will quickly infect you.  Negative people try to clone themselves.  Spend too much time with them and you run the risk of becoming one.”

The common sense career success coach point here is clear.  Successful, self-confident people find their cherry blossoms.  The people and things that help them deal with setbacks and failure and keep moving forward to their life and career success.  They follow the career advice in Tweet 49 in Success Tweets.  “Surround yourself with positive people.  Hold them close.  They will give you energy and help you create the success you want and deserve.”  And, don’t let negative people into your life.  Follow the career advice in Tweet 50 in Success Tweets.  “Jettison the negative people in your life.  They are energy black holes.  They will suck you dry, but only if you let them.”  Avoid cynics.  They are jealous and petty, unhappy when others succeed.  Avoid people who are rude, insulting, sarcastic and two-faced.  They will only drag you down.  Make a conscious choice to spend time with positive, optimistic people.  Avoid negative, pessimistic ones.  Positive, optimistic people are your cherry blossoms.  Just like the annual blooming of the cherry blossoms helped the people of Japan recover from a devastating tsunami, positive people can help you recover from your career success setbacks and keep on moving forward towards your goal.

That’s the career advice I took from the documentary short, The Tsunami and The Cherry Blossom.  What do you think?  What and who are your cherry blossoms?  Please take a minute to let us know by leaving a comment.  As always, thanks for reading my daily musings on life and career success.  You are my cherry blossom when the tsunami threatens to overwhelm me.

Bud

PS: If you haven’t already done so, please download a free copy of my popular career advice book Success Tweets and its companion piece Success Tweets Explained.  The first gives you 140 bits of career success advice tweet style — in 140 characters or less.  The second is a whopping 390 + pages of career advice explaining each of the common sense tweets in Success Tweets in detail.  Go to http://budurl.com/STExp to claim your free copy.  You’ll also start receiving my daily life and career success quotes.

PPS: I opened a membership site last September.  It’s called My Corporate Climb and is devoted to helping people create career success inside large corporations.  You can find out about the membership site by going to http://www.mycorporateclimb.

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