Staying Alive.

Winning is not an accident. Winning just doesn’t happen to you. Winning is the result of planning, preparation,  training, and execution.

Winners are a model of consistency. They understand creating and executing a process.

And, winners always fight the urge to just be good enough or to survive. They demand to thrive. To compete.

In our masthead is Shalane Flanagan of the United States, as she celebrates in Central Park after winning the women’s race of the 2017 New York City Marathon, on November 5, 2017. It had been 40 years since an American woman had won in New York. Flanagan, who missed the Boston Marathon this year with a fractured back, won the New York City Marathon on Sunday in 2 hours 26 minutes 53 seconds. Flanagan’s surprise victory was not an accident. She had represented the US in four Olympic competitions winning a silver medal.

On my morning runs, nothing in comparison to Ms. Flanagan’s exploits, I have the presence of mind to listen to the lyrics of the songs I use to get my juices flowing. I tend to rotate songs every couple of months to keep my selection fresh. Sometimes, I hear the lyrics to old songs in a new light based on where my head is at the time. The other morning I heard the Bee Gees “Staying Alive” for the first time in years. In 1977, I saw the movie Saturday Night Fever in theatres with the song’s track at the very beginning of the movie.

Back in the day, Saturday Night Fever had generated a serious buzz in the 16-25-year-old crowd. Seeing the “R” rated movie with its racy depiction of sex served as an initiation to those in the know.

To put the 1970s into context, The City of New York was crime-ridden, tittering on the brink of bankruptcy in 1975, only to be bailed out at the last moment, by the City’s pension funds. Urban decay blanketed our biggest cities with despair. The US had left its global aspirations in a heap of ashes as we rushed to vacate Vietnam with our tail between our legs. Staying Alive speaks to societal angst permeating our daily lives. That collective sense of malaise filling our hearts and minds.

Below I have bolded parts of the lyrics to the amazing upbeat disco hit. The lyrics are true to Saturday Night Fever’s time and social context.

Well, you can tell by the way I use my walk
I’m a woman’s man, no time to talk
Music loud and women warm, I’ve been kicked around
Since I was born
And now it’s alright, it’s okay
And you may look the other way
We can try to understand
The New York Times’ effect on man

Whether you’re a brother or whether you’re a mother
You’re stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive
Feel the city breakin’ and everybody shakin’
And we’re stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive
Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive
Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin’ alive

Well now, I get low and I get high
And if I can’t get either, I really try

Got the wings of Heaven on my shoes
I’m a dancin’ man and I just can’t lose
You know it’s alright, it’s okay
I’ll live to see another day
We can try to understand
The New York Times’ effect on man

Whether you’re a brother or whether you’re a mother
You’re stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive

Feel the city breakin’ and everybody shakin’
And we’re stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive
Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive
Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin’ alive (ohh)

Life goin’ nowhere, somebody help me
Somebody help me, yeah
Life goin’ nowhere, somebody help me, yeah
I’m stayin’ alive

The song echoes a generation caught in a “Life goin’ nowhere” cycle just “Stayin’ alive“. This movie shoves ugly urban angst in your face, wanting more and fleeing are natural routes away from the pain dying dreams generated. But wanting more is never enough. You have to plot and own your escape.

“You will never change your life until you change something you do daily.” – Mike Murdock

Change is about consistent action. Long-term success is a different game with different rules. Rules that you must play by. Those rules reside inside a process. That process is a set of small consistent actions that guarantee inevitable success.

“Everything you have ever wanted is on the other side of your persistent effort.” Robert Watson

“People do not decide their futures, they decide their habits and their habits decide their futures” -FM Alexander”

In the movie Saturday Night Fever, Tony Manero’s (John Travolta) life is going nowhere. He has dreams of getting out through dance, but his raw talent will not be enough. He will have to refine and redefine himself to climb out of his circumstances. Travolta’s Manero requires a process. A method for training himself to get to the next level and a new personal best, if he is to compete and win his place in the dance world.

A process is defined as a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end. Allow me to suggest a series of steps to use as a cookie-cutter in any situation demanding substantive change.

1. Set a clear, measurable goal for every step of the way to your bigger goal or grand change.

2. Require steady feedback on your actions. Did I reach my goal? What does success look like in each step of your process?

3. A balance must be struck between prospective challenges and your current skillset. Don’t get ahead of your own learning curve.

4. Action and awareness must be combined as part of your feedback loop. No sleepwalking or “automacy of being” will be tolerated.

5. Let go of distractions & self-consciousness as they just get in the way.

6. Embrace your many small failures, as failure will find success if you’re persistent.

7. Relax into your transformation as time becomes distorted in the “flow” of creation.

Immersed in your work, you will lose your sense of time. Enraptured by the possibilities of what you can accomplish, you will be quickly swayed by the tug of tomorrow. Slow down. Be consistent and polished in your actions. There are no shortcuts to better.

Your work becomes your craft so saturated with your persistence that there’s no future or past. Your daily grind has become an extended present building meaning and purpose. As failure finds success, you dismantle meaning and remake it. Without undue regard for the words like failure or success. Your process just “is.” And when you’re immersed in your own unique creative arc, you have the feeling that there’s no other way of being or doing.

Your process will wake you up. Cause your awareness to grow and foster a new level of attention and energy you never imagined possible. The results of your process will be so profound, as to echo in your soul for years to come.

I will close with this last quote.

“You can’t rush something you want to last forever.” –unknown

Until next time. Stay present my friends.

Published by Robert Q Watson

During my first six decades on this earth, I lived life at great heights often on the razor’s edge. Consequently, I have enjoyed incredible successes and endured mind-numbing failures. Truthfully, I have had a hell of a view.

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