Succeeding cuts many ways!
Before he retired, my father was a Linguistics Professor and a Latin teacher. As a very curious child, I peppered him with linguistic questions, and he taught me to look at the roots of words when l studied my grammar. Unlike my father, I’m no linguist, so the following isn’t etymologically accurate, but when it comes to inspiration, it’s spot on! English, while a Germanic language, has a lot of Latin influences. For instance, there are a lot of words with the root “cis” (very loosely: Latin, meaning “cut”). In addition to describing myriad acts with regard to cutting (see below), I have found these words to be extremely useful in illustrating the steps I believe are necessary for us to succeed in life. Do we all ‘make the cut?’ Read on.
Incisive: (from medieval Latin incisivus, from Latin incidere ‘cut into’ [see incise]).
To get to from where we are now to where we’d like to be, we first need to be incisive. We must be remarkably clear and direct; sharp; keen; acute. We have to know what we want, and we have to state our goals in a clear and direct manner. There is no room to be nebulous. The reason a bulls-eye is a bright red circle with a very defined outline is so that we have no doubt where to hit the target. Our goals should be the same way. Napoleon Hill called it “definiteness of purpose.” For instance, if we want a promotion at work, the goal should be the exact position desired (e.g.* “branch manager” or “CEO,” not a wishy-washy statement like “I want to move up”). If we want to have more money, we need to have a number to shoot for, e.g. “$25,000,000” not “I want to be rich.” Be very specific with all goals, and that takes some soul searching and incisiveness.
Next is when we need to dig deep into our intentions. After we have established our specific goal, we need to ascertain what obstacles there may be between where we are now and where we would like to be. Sometimes this can be in the form of external forces or conditions. But if we are honest with ourselves, more often than not, it’s something inside us. This is where we need to make a psychological incision: (from Latin: to cut in, or an opening or slit). We need to cut into our mindset to expose our challenges and strengths. After we make this psychological incision, we know what we bring to the table. Be incisive.
Excise: (from Latin: excis- ‘cut out,’ from the verb excidere, from ex- ‘out of’ + caedere ‘to cut,’ e.g.* tissue, bone or tumor from a body; to completely remove). At this point, if we see that we have challenges or other roadblocks, we must excise them. Much like a surgeon removing a tumor, we too need to make excisions to rid ourselves of mental plunder. These may be in the form of negative attitudes, a lack of confidence, etc. We need to cut these out of the equation. These excisions can also be applied to bad habits and proclivities. If the reader takes just one thing away from reading this post, it is this: on the road to success, it is just as important not to do some things as it is to do other things. If we are engaged in destructive behavior or wasting our time, we have to stop that before we can take constructive action and use our time productively. We are all given just 24 hours in a day. We get to choose how to spend those, and with whom we spend them. If we desire success, we need to make sure we leverage our 24 hours with discretion; excise negativity and engage in positivity.
It is now when we make a Decision: (from Latin: to cut away from, or a resolution, conclusion, commitment, resolve, determination, choice). See above; to do one thing, we must not do another. We have to decide which path we are going to take. Tony Robbins reminds us that it is in our moments of decision, that we shape our destiny. Think of the fork in the road; we can only take one path at a time. Let’s make sure we choose the one that leads us toward our goals.
Since we are discussing Latin, it’s apropos to end with this quote from Shakespeare’s Julius Ceasar. In act 3, scene 2, 181–186, Marc Antony calls Brutus’ stabbing of Caesar “…the most unkindest cut of all.” But when it comes to our personal development, the cuts we covered above are indeed the kindest cuts of all because, without them, we may never realize the success that can be ours.
*More Latin: “e.g.” stands for exempli gratia, ‘for the sake of example.’
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