I recently completed an interview where the main topic of conversation was “Attitude”. Honestly, I wasn’t really sure that The Physics of Success fit into that category at first. Then I got to thinking about Predicting the Future, and from there to a place I discussed at the end of the book in the “References” section.
If you’ve read any of these notes, you might have picked up on the fact that I’m not just a passenger; I’m also a pilot. Ask any pilot, and they will tell you that attitude is everything. We’re talking about the attitude of an aircraft, of course, but the analogy is excellent. Basically, even if you have everything correct except the attitude, the airplane isn’t going to do what you want. For the airplane, attitude refers to the geometry of the aircraft in reference to the forces acting upon it (gravity, lift, thrust, drag). For the pilot, it boils down to “where is the nose pointed?” + “are the wings level?”.
Same with your life. You might have the dream job, live in a dream home, and have all the trappings, but if your attitude is off (your nose or your wings are pointed in the wrong direction) you just aren’t going to end up in a happy place. On the other hand, you can be in a pretty messed up situation, and if you correct the attitude (pilots call it “fly the plane”) you can usually turn things around.
The Physics of Success explains that fixing a situation clearly in your conscious mind allows your consciousness to choose a path to the place in the Universe where that situation exists. We use Success Principles to do this. However, they aren’t “success” principles, they are just principles. The same rules apply to failure as to success. They become “Success” principles when you use them consciously. If you don’t pay attention to your driving, and instead just look around out the windows at the scenery, a couple of things are going to happen. The first is that you will drift out of the lane in the direction you are looking. A pilot will do the same, only in three dimensions. Then, of course, the vehicle you are driving is eventually going to hit something unless you correct course.
Which is where we get back to the principles. You need focus on where you are going, not where you are, or something off to the side.
I haven’t spent a lot of time on my personal history, because it hasn’t been germane to the subject. I’ll make an exception now. Following an extended period of unpleasantness (no income, high outgo, no car, no girl, poor health, and so on), I had a very, very bad attitude. When you are in that situation, you tend to look at all the wrong stuff (namely, no income, high outgo, no car, no girl, poor health, and so on). Then I ended up seeing the film What the Bleep Do We Know? I do not agree with everything in that film, but it sure got me thinking! On the way home on my bike, I said (out loud), “Michael, you don’t have to do this. You know better!”
I went home, borrowed some notebook paper from my son’s trapper-keeper, and spent the next three days at the kitchen table doing exactly what is described in Chapter Eight of The Physics of Success, “Casting”. Everything I wrote down came true, and that is quite a tale in and of itself. As always, I was confounded by how well it worked, as it seemed to make no sense at all. The Physics of Success is the result of my quest to make sense out of the mysterious.
I mention inertia in the book, and it is real and it is true. If you are headed completely in the wrong direction, there is no turning things around on a dime. However, I must confess that the minute I decided to sit my butt down in the chair and figure out where I wanted to be in life, I felt a LOT better. Right then, immediately. Instant attitude adjustment.
Imagine you are driving at night in a strange city, on dark streets, you are almost out of gas and you are hopelessly lost. Now imagine you see a familiar blue and red shield like this:
What a sense of relief!
Notice: you are still driving at night in a strange city, on dark streets, you have even less gas and you are still lost. You just aren’t hopelessly lost. You have a plan, because even if you turn the wrong way on I-95, you are going to find a well-lit gas station and be able to figure out where to go from there.
Figuring out what you want and when, describing how it will affect your life, describing what you are giving up in order to get what you want, and then writing it all down is making your own signpost pointing you in the direction you need to go.
Or, as a pilot might say, you’re flying the plane.