THE JOURNAL OF LEADERSHIP APPLICATIONS
Vol. 4, No. 12
(626) 350-1500 Ext 102
How to Create Your Own Future
“Extraordinary achievements demand extraordinary leaders.“
© 2006 William A. Cohen, PhD
Peter Drucker, probably the greatest management thinker of our time said, “You cannot predict the future, but you can create it.” There is considerable evidence that Drucker’s statement is accurate, or at least the second part of it is. I don’t know whether or not you can predict the future, but I know you can create it. There are just too many impossible realities existing because someone decided to create his or her own future.
Consider this one. Angelo Siciliano, was a boy from a poor Italian family whose parents immigrated to the U.S. from Italy. Skinny and shy, he was bullied by older and stronger boys. One day he stood up to them and in return they gave him a bad beating. Siciliano vowed that this would never happen again. He was determined to create his own future and become not just strong enough to defend himself and ward off their bullying, but to become a body building champion.
For months he avoided everyone. Even friends wondered what had happened to him. In secret he had borrowed books from the library on body building. Unable to afford the weights most of them recommended for building muscle, he made a close study of all body building methods. He recognized that muscles were enlarged by working each muscle against increasingly greater resistance. He saw that such resistance could come from many sources besides weights. Conducting his own experiments and using his own body as a subject, he puts his ideas into practice without the use of the weights and other equipment which he could not afford to purchase. Working his muscles daily and applying his methods, he gained the strength and muscles he sought. Finally, he was ready to meet his tormentors. He actually sought them out. They wanted no part of him. Rather than fight the strong man the formerly weakling had become, they fled.
Angelo continued to develop his body. He had reached only part of his dream and he didn’t want to stop until he had achieved the entire future he had envisioned. Now he entered body building contests. At first, he did poorly. But as he continued, and with the future he was creating constantly in mind, he got better and better. Finally came the day that he won a major body building title: “The World’s Most Perfectly Developed Man.” Angelo Siciliano had created his own future.
Now like many who reach their goals in this way, Siciliano set new goals. He had a vision of strong young men who had once been weak, all changed by Siciliano’s methods which he called “dynamic tension.” He put together a body building course which he sold through the mail. That course made Siciliano into a multi-millionaire. Over the next 50 years, tens of thousands of his mail order students benefited from it. So powerful was the course his vision that the course still sells today more than thirty years after Siciliano’s death. If you are a male, you may recognize the name, for long ago Siciliano changed his name to better reflect who he had become and this is the name the world knows him by: “Charles Atlas.”
In every field, there are those like Charles Atlas that may have few resources top begin with. They may not have strength or wealth or education or anything that you think may be necessary for success in any given field of human endeavor. Yet they create billion dollar corporations and even whole new industries.
Steven Jobs never went to college. But he co-founded Apple Computer and miraculously created the personal computer industry almost overnight. Bill Gates became the richest man in America and founded MicroSoft even though he never finished college. Doug Becker never went to college either. Yet, he founded Sylvan Learning Systems and today as CEO of Laureate, he heads up an organization which own universities all over the world. Arnold Schwarzenegger became in turn the foremost body builder in the world, the most highest paid movie star, and finally the governor of the State of California.
Madonna is world famous as a singer and performer, yet she never took singing lessons. She actually moved from her native Michigan in 1977 to New York with dreams of becoming a ballet dancer. However, she soon changed her mind. She wanted to sing. To create this future, she formed a band called “The Breakfast Club” with a partner. However, her singing abilities were not yet developed. So she started out playing drums for the band . But she soon developed her voice sufficiently to become lead singer. She saw that a demo tape she had made fell into the right hands. In 1982 she made her first single, “Everybody” which became a hit. She kept working until the future she created was realized and continued to set higher and higher goals for herself. She couldn’t predict her future, but she could create it — so she did. You see your age, background, wealth, nothing seems to matter very much if you commit to creating your future. Somehow you will find a way of getting the job done.
So, quit trying to predict what your future will be. Especially don’t focus on why you can’t do something. Instead decide what resources you do have or can get, and go from there. Others have created their futures, and so can you!
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THIS MONTH’S THOUGHT FOR LEADERS
I look to the future because that’s where I’m going to spend the rest of my life. – George Burns
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