Five Keys to Wealth & Happiness

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“Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.” — Henry David Thoreau

If you want to grow your wealth and happiness, you also need to grow your capabilities and skills.

You need to be able to deal with frustration rejection, financial pressure, and complacency.

And you need to know how to create more value than you receive.

So if it feels like some invisible force is holding you back from your wealth and happiness, take a look at whether one or more of the 5 keys to wealth and happiness is the answer you seek.

1. You Must Learn How To Handle Frustration

Problems are part of the package.  Your ability to solve problems and deal with frustration are key to your success.  If you avoid problems, or can’t handle frustration, you limit what you’re capable of in terms of wealth and happiness.

Here’s the first key to the creation of wealth and happiness.  You must learn how to handle frustration.  If you want to become all you can become, do all you can do, hear all you can hear, see all you can see, you’ve got to learn how to handle frustration.  Frustration can kill dreams. It happens all the time.  Frustration can change a positive attitude into a negative one, an empowering state into a crippling one.  The worst thing a negative attitude does is wipe out self-discipline.  And when that discipline is gone, the results you desired are gone.

So to ensure long-term success, you must learn how to discipline your frustration.  Let me tell you something.  The key to success is massive frustration.  Look at almost any great success, and you’ll find there’s been massive frustration along the way.  Anybody who tells you otherwise, doesn’t know anything about achieving.  There are two kinds of people — those who’ve handled frustration and those who wish they had.

People get paid very well to handle frustration.  If you’re broke, it’s probably because you aren’t handling much frustration.  You say, ‘Well, I’m broke, and that’s why I’m frustrated.’

You’ve got it backward.  If you handled more frustration, you would be rich.  A major difference between people who are financially secure and people who are not is how they handle frustration. 

I’m not callous enough to suggest that poverty doesn’t have huge frustrations.  I’m saying the way not to be poor is to take on more and more frustration until you succeed.  People say, ‘Well, people with money don’t have any problems.”’ If they take on enough, they probably have more problems.  They just know how to deal with them, to come up with new strategies, new alternatives.

2. You Must Learn How To Handle Rejection

You need to know how to deal with, learn from, and leap frog rejection.   Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and you can use rejection as a tool for learning what works and what doesn’t.  It’s feedback, not failure, unless you give up and stop trying.

Here’s the second key.  You must learn how to handle rejection.  When I repeat that in a seminar, I can feel the physiology in the room change.  Is there anything in the human language with more sting than the tiny word ‘no’?  If you’re in sales, what’s the difference between making $100,000 and $25,000?  The main difference is learning how to handle rejection so that fear no longer stops you from taking action.  The best salesmen are those who are rejected the most.  They’re the ones who can take any “no” and use it as a prod to go on to the next ‘yes.

3. You Must Learn to Handle Financial Pressure

Whether you have too much or too little there’s always some sort of financial pressure around you.  Part of being able to fund your life and live your life styles involves dealing successfully with financial pressure.

Here’s the third key to wealth and happiness.  You must learn to handle financial pressure.  The only way not to have financial pressure is not to have any finances.  There are many kinds of financial pressure, and they’ve destroyed many people.  They can create greed, envy, deceit, or paranoia.  They can rob you of your sensitivity or rob you of your friends.  Now remember, I said they can, not that they will.  Handling financial pressure means knowing how to get and knowing how to give, knowing how to earn and knowing how to save.

When I first started to make money, I started to catch hell for it.  My friends disowned me.  They said, ‘You’re into money.  What’s your problem?’  I said, ‘I’m not into money.  I just have some.’ They wouldn’t see it that way.  People somehow perceived me as a different person because I had financial status.  Some were very resentful.  So that’s one kind of financial pressure.  Not having enough money is another kind of financial pressure.  You probably feel that pressure every day.  Most people do.  But whether you have a lot or a little, you deal with financial pressure.

4. You Must Learn How To Handle Complacency

If things are good enough and you’ve got what you need, then why keep trying?  Because life’s not static.  Things change.  If you want to keep what you’ve got, then you’ve got to go for more.

So you can do anything.  And that’s where number four butts in.  You must learn how to handle complacency.  You’ve seen people in your life, or celebrities or athletes, who reach a level of success and then stop.  They start to get comfortable, and they lose what got them there in the first place.

Comfort can be one of the most disastrous emotions a body can have.  What happens when a person gets too comfortable?  He stops growing, stops working, stops creating added value.  You don’t want to get too comfortable.  If you really feel comfortable, chances are you stopped growing.  What did Bob Dylan say? ‘He who is not busy being born is busy dying.’  You’re either climbing or you’re sliding.

You can take any experience and make it an opportunity for growth, your you can take it and make it an invitation for decay.  You can see retirement as the beginning of a richer life, or you can see it as the end of your working life.  You can see success as a springboard to greater things, or you can see it as a resting place.  And if it’s a resting place, chances are you won’t keep it for long.

5.  Always Give More than You Expect to Receive.

Zig Ziglar taught us that we can have everything in life we want, if we will just help enough other people get what they want.  It’s true.  If you want to capture more value, you need to create more value.

Here’s the last key.  Always give more than you expect to receive.  This may be the most important key of all because it virtually guarantees true happiness.  If you want to make your life work, you have to start with how to give.  Most people start their  life thinking about nothing but how to receive.  Receiving is not a problem.  Receiving is like  the ocean.  But you’ve got to make sure you are giving so you can start the process in motion. 

The problem in life is people want things first.  A couple will come to me, and the man will say his wife doesn’t treat him well.  And the woman will say it’s because he’s not every affectionate. So they’re each waiting for the other to make the first move, to provide the first proof.  What kind of relationship is that?  How long is it going to last? The key to any relationship is  that you have to give first and then keep giving.  Don’t’ stop and wait to receive. 

When you start  keeping score, the game’s over.  You’re standing their saying, ‘I gave, now it’s her turn,’ and  the game is over.  She’s gone.  You can take your score to the next spinning planet because the scoreboard doesn’t work that way there.  You’ve got to be willing to plant the seed and then nurture its growth.

What would happen if you want to the soil and said, ‘Give me some fruit.  Give me some plants’?  The soil would probably respond, ‘Excuse me, sir, but you’re a little confused.  You must be new here.  That’s not the way the game is played.’  Then it would explain that you plant the seed.   

You take care of it.  You water it and till the soil.  You fertilize it.  You protect it and  nurture it.  Then, if you do it well, you will get your plant or your fruit sometime later.  You could ask of the soil forever, but it wouldn’t change things.  You have to keep giving, keep nurturing, for the soil to bear fruit — and life’s exactly the same way.

If you internalize and embrace these 5 keys to wealth and happines you can overcome a lot of what holds people back over a lifetime.

Be Unique

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“If you celebrate your differentness, the world will, too. It believes exactly what you tell it.” — Victoria Moran

It’s one thing to think we do, or say we want to, but it’s another thing to really live life on our terms.

After all, It’s hard to stand out, if you’re too busy fitting in.

The problem with fitting in, is who you are fitting in with.  If you’re trying to fit in with most people or trying to be normal, or like everybody else, that leads to a lackluster life, and it’s no way to rise and shine.

Most People:

Most people over eat and eat based off pleasure vs. health.Most people don’t have enough energy to go after their dreams and goals.Most people sleep in and have no morning routine.Most people make excuses instead of progress.Most people focus on the negative vs. the positive.Most people spend more money than they make.Most people talk about success vs. take action.Most people go to college, go into debt, and get an unrelated job afterwards.Most people pray for weekends and hate Mondays.Most people sell themselves short.Most people associate with people who let them off the hook versus hold them accountable.

If you want the normal life, with normal income, normal problems, and normal experiences, then model from most people.

Don’t Be Normal

Normal doesn’t lead you to where your greatness is.

Normal is waking at 6 a.m., fighting traffic, and working eight hours.  Normal is to slave at a job Monday through Friday, save 10%, and repeat for 50 years.  Normal is to buy everything on credit.  Normal is to believe the illusion that the stock market will make you rich.  Normal is to believe that a faster car and a bigger house will make you happy. You’re conditioned to accept normal based on society’s already corrupted definition of wealth, and because of it, normal itself is corrupted.  Normal is modern day slavery.  Don’t be normal.

Do the Opposite

If you don’t know where to start, one of the best ways is to simply do the opposite.  Take a look at what everybody else is doing and then do the opposite.

I’ve grown up trying to fit in because I thought that’s what we were supposed to do.  You get reprimanded and disciplined if you speak up, act out, or try to be ‘different’ in school.  Well, in entrepreneurship and business, it’s a great way to separate yourself from the herd.  When I say go against the grain, I mean stand out versus fit in, and, instead of comparing yourself to others, differentiate from others. 

Earl Nightingale was one of the first business philosophers of our time and he said something that I’ll never forget:

‘If you really want success, and you don’t have any mentors or guidance, you can get a head start by looking at what everybody else is doing an do the opposite.’

When I was at rock bottom and felt like I had no way out, I realized that most people would have quit, which is the exact reason I didn’t.  I often think, What would the majority do? I then continue doing the opposite because I don’t want to end up like the majority.“

Do What Other People are Unwilling to Do

Another way to stand out from the crowd and differentiate from the herd is to do what others aren’t willing to do.

Don’t be like most people.  I know deep down no one wants to be typical or average, and everyone wants to be special and different.  Here’s the problem: we all do the same thing over and over.  The majority of us live like one another and then wonder why we continually fail to achieve any real results or success in our lives.  We follow each other’s lead and rarely break the mold.  Your life will become much more convenient when you take this seriously.  All the greats in our society life life to their own choosing, not other people’s.  One way to be outstanding and become more valuable is to do what others are unwilling to do.  I’d rather go broke building my dreams, than just get by living somebody else’s.

Think, Act, and Actually Live Differently

It’s one thing to say you want to be different, but it’s another thing to actually live and breathe it.

It’s one thing to say you’re different, but it’s another to think, act, and actually live differently.  Most people are struggling.  MBAs are selling shoes during the day and waiting tables at night.  College grads are pouring coffee and living at home until they’re twenty-nine.  Retirement age has morphed from sixty-fix to fix feet under, ’til death-does -employment-part.’  Yet we have 19-year-olds in our Game Changes Academy who love what they do and are on track to retire by age thirty.  It’s because they are doing things differently, and have escaped the herd.  I’d strongly suggest you do the same.

Be different by design.

Boldly go where you know you need to.

Express yourself the way nobody else can express you.

Dare to be different in your thoughts, actions, and how you live your life on your own terms.

33 Life Guidelines from a Biz Perspective

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“We become what we think about.” –Earl Nightingale

I’ve been thinking of my life as a business.

Without getting too carried away with the analogy – after all, life’s way more than business – it gives me a helpful frame, along with patterns and practices, to draw from.

Rather than think of a business that makes money, I think of a business that creates value (the mark of an enduring business.)  In this case, value for yourself and others.

Vision, Mission, and Values for Life

My life is my business.  I get to set the mission, vision, and values.  Through this lens I can decide who my customers are (myself, family, friends, community, employer, … etc.).  I can decide what my core capabilities will be, and how to invest my life force to flow value for others.  With this in mind, here are some guidelines for life inspired by business …

Top 10 Guidelines

Here’s my top ten to start things off:

Live your values.
Compete with yourself.
Play to your strengths.
Team up.
Model the best.
Productize yourself.
Balance your portfolio.
Follow the growth.
Find a way forward.
Flow value.

33 Life 2.0 Guidelines

Here’s a more exhaustive list along with elaboration.  You can drink from the fire hose, or tackle in steps, as you prefer.  I would suggest first reading it through to get the lay of the land, and then going back and spending more time on the points that resonate for you.  Enjoy …

Live your values.   Values are the culture of a business.  That’s why sometimes it doesn’t feel right.  You want one thing, the business wants another.  Your best fits are where your values match and you can live your values on the job.  In life, when you live your values you feel strong.  When you compromise your values, you feel weak.  Living your values is a way to stay true to yourself.  It’s part of your authenticity. 

Invest in yourself.  You’re a good bet to invest in.  Sharpen your mind.  Craft your body.  Master your emotions.  Make time for yourself.   This includes think time and fun time. 

Unique differentiators.  A successful business stands out.  Its unique value to the market is obvious.  You bring unique value to the table.  Your mash up of skills, experience, and values are a unique combination.  Use your differentiation as a leverage point in your life.  Your unique differentiators can be the key to how you sell yourself in the market.  Are you the “get things done” or the “creative mind” or the “makes them smile” or…….?

Track progress from time to time.  A business keeps a scorecard to measure its progress along the way.  In life, you can check yourself against your outcomes and objectives.  For example, do you have the right people in your life?  … Are you spending the right time and energy on your body? … Are you actually enjoying the things you do for fun?…..etc

Play to your strengths.  A great business plays to its strengths.  Darwin and survival of the fittest are as true in business as in life.  Give your best where you’ve got your best to give.  Nature supports you.  In life, you can spend all your time working on your weaknesses, or you can play to your strengths and maximize your results.  Spending time in your strengths not only renews your energy, but it’s where you’ll get your best ROI.

Perform a SWOT analysis.  SWOT is an abbreviation for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.  It’s an analysis tool to explore the overall strategic position of a business and it’s environment.  You can apply it to your life.  Simply list your strengths, your weaknesses, your opportunities, and threats.

Assess and prioritize potential risks.  Every business opportunity has potential risks.  So does life.  This includes the risk of missed opportunities.   Take calculated risks.  Smart risks help you get more from life.  Remember the saying: ships are safe in the harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.

Create budgets.   Create budgets for your time.  This will help manage your energy and avoid spreading yourself too thin.  You can also use time as a forcing function to prioritize and to meet windows of opportunity.  

Balance your portfolio.  Diversified investment portfolios help reduce risk and maximize return.  You can do the same in life by spreading your life force across your key hot spots.  I use what I call my Life Frame: mind, body, emotions, career, financial, relationships, and fun.  Investing in these areas helps me stay balanced and effective.

Learn and respond.  Successful businesses learn and adapt.  They respond to feedback.  They test their results and continuously fine tune their approach.   You’re a living learning loop.  You have feedback all around you.  What’s it telling you?  See Working your business is working on your life. 

Team up.  Successful businesses create partnerships.  In life, adopt a “better together” strategy.  Pair up with others that compliment your strengths and weaknesses.  Life is a team sport.

Compete with yourself.  Successful businesses find ways to improve efficiency and effectiveness.  They raise their own bar.   Make it a game to improve your abilities.  Improve your super powers.  Find more effective ways of getting things done.  The secret is that when you compete with others, they’ll knock you down.  When you compete with yourself, others will lift you up.  Everybody wants to help the underdog that makes the most of what they’ve got.  Be YOUR best.

Cost, differentiation, and focus.   According toMichael Porter, businesses can compete on cost, differentiation (unique capabilities along dimensions that customers value), or focus (best in class in a segment).  As a contributing member to society, you can use this lens to figure out your long term competitive strategy.  In this case, competitiveness roughly equates to your ability to survive in the marketplace.  For example, rather than compete on cost, how can you differentiate yourself?

Know your target market.  A business has to figure out who its customers are and what channels it will use.  In life, you can figure out what arenas you can play in to maximize your results.  Changing where you play your game can dramatically change your game.  The world might seem like a big place, but at the end of the day, the most important impact on you is YOUR world.

Know intrinsic value vs. the market value.  The intrinsic value of a glass of water might be negligible.  Take that same glass of water to the desert and the value just shot up.  Intrinsic values are lasting.  Market value fluctuates.  Think about the intrinsic values and market values in your life.

Invest in innovation.  Experiment.  You never know where your breakthroughs will come from.
Know what holds you back.  Every business has at least one bottleneck on its throughput.  So do you.  What holds you back the most?  Pushing this bottleneck around might help you unleash your best results.  See Theory of Constraints (TOC).

Hire and fire the right people.   A business thrives when it’s got the right people.  Your life thrives when you’ve got the right people in it.  What people do you want in your life?

You get what you reward.  A business gets what it rewards.  That same is true in life.  The idea here is that if you have an attitude of gratitude, reward your good behaviors and you’ll get more of them, appreciate the people in your life that do the things you like (or you’ll lose them or the behaviors.)  The key point is what gets ignored gets lost … use it or lose it.

Find a way forward.  The market place changes.  Life’s not static.  Follow trends to see where things are going.  Sharpen your anticipation skills.  Respond to change and stay agile in your approach.

Never get stuck.  Ask solution focused questions such as, “what’s my next best move?” or “how can I make the most of this” or “what’s the way forward?” or simply, “what’s the solution?”

Model the best.  Successful businesses don’t start from scratch.  They model what works.  Every now and then somebody changes the game, but a lot of what works is proven patterns and practices.  Success leaves clues.  Find your mentors and models in life.  Mentors are one of your best short-cuts to avoid years of mistakes.  A lot of ideas sound good or look good on paper.  Mentors and models can help you filter through the vast amount of information.

Know the business case.  A business case helps answer the question, does this investment make sense?  You can ask the same of your life investments. 

Know the ROI.  Quit the right things and lean into the right dips.

Productize yourself.   A business can find economies of scale with a product strategy.  The right products also help service companies sustain through the downtimes.  You can turn what you know into information products, such as a book or an information kit or training.  Productizing yourself helps you decouple from time and break away from the grind.   It’s a great complement to a services strategy, since your products and services can help support.

Focus on renewal.   A business that renews itself refuels for the future.  It cuts the dead wood and creates new opportunities.   Your energy is one of your most precious resources.

Create a system that supports you.   A successful business is a system of inputs and outputs.   Map out your system.  This includes your inputs, outputs, and key processes.  One simple way to improve your system is to create and improve checklists for your common tasks.  Periodically review these to see how you can tune, prune, and optimize your key workflows.

Flow value.   Any business with a sense of entitlement soon finds itself in trouble.  The market weeds it out.  Flowing value is a simple but effective way to stay focused, survive, and thrive.

Follow the growth.  A business thrives on growth.  It’s where the energy is.  Find the growth opportunities in your life.

Passion, profit, value.  A successful business finds the intersection of passion, profit, and value.  Making a profit without value or passion is unsustainable.   Look for the passions in your life that have the best profit potential.  You define what profit is: energy, financial, emotional, or whatever you choose.  If it’s not generating value, don’t expect to profit and don’t expect it to be sustainable unless it’s truly valuable for you.

Think in terms of funding your life style.   Your lifestyle is a sliding scale of quality in different areas.  Everything is a trade-off and comes with a certain cost.  If you think in terms of funding your life style, you get clarity on what you need to make and why.  You can make conscious trade-offs by design.  It’s about shifting from a decision to get a job, make money, pay for costs, and use whatever is left for fun … to intentional design around your lifestyle and evaluating the trade-offs as a sliding scale … how much do you need to make for different lifestyles, and do you like the trade-offs those lifestyles demand?

Ask what’s the minimum you need to make.  This is such a simple question, but it gives immediate clarity.  What’s the business need to make to stay around?  You can simply ask, “What’s the minimum you need to support your basic needs?”  This one question can put a lot of things in perspective very quickly.

Focus on sustainable results.  Unless you’re a fly-by-night business, you’re focused on the long-haul.  That means building trust, flowing value, and growing in a sustainable way.  In life, play for the long haul.  One of my mentors uses the following quote as a guide: “Live each day as if it were your last and plan to live 100 years.”  The key to sustainable results is playing to your strengths, following your passions, and living your values.  It’s also about finding effective metaphors, whether that means pacing yourself for a marathon or running a series of sprints within a longer race.  Test to see what works for you.

Know the cycle you’re in.  A business should know the maturity level of its market.  It should also know its maturity level in terms of people, process, and product.  A business also should know whether the market is in growth or decline.  When you know the cycle you’re in you can pace yourself.  You can anticipate a bad bet.  You can better understand whether you’re waxing or waning in specific areas and time your best moves. 

As I see more businesses expand and contract, grow and die, I think of how we can borrow the lessons from business to find more growth and expansion in our lives, as well as renewal and sustainability.  Businesses are not static.  Neither is life.

Asking the right questions.

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“Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.” — Anthony Robbins

Why are you stuck? That’s not a very empowering question. You’ll just figure out reasons for why you’re stuck. Instead, ask a question like “how can you move forward?” or “how might you accomplish that?” The key is to ask “how” questions over “why” questions.

Key Take Aways:

Choose “how” questions over “why” questions.
Don’t dwell on what’s wrong, focus on what’s right.
Find a way to move forward.
Good Communicators Move Forward
Good communicators focus on moving forward over rationalizing why something’s wrong.

GOOD COMMUNICATORS AREN’T INTERESTED IN RATIONALIZATIONS OF WHY SOMETHING IS GOING WRONG. THEY WANT TO FIND OUT HOW TO DO IT RIGHT. THE RIGHT QUESTIONS WILL LEAD YOU IN THAT DIRECTION.

Choose “How” Questions Over “Why” Questions
You should choose “how” questions over “why” questions. Robbins writes:

HERE’S ANOTHER IMPORTANT FRAME. CHOOSE “HOW” QUESTIONS OVER “WHY” QUESTIONS. “WHY” QUESTIONS CAN GET YOU REASONS AND EXPLANATIONS AND JUSTIFICATIONS AND EXCUSES. BUT THEY USUALLY DON’T COME UP WITH USEFUL INFORMATION. DON’T ASK YOUR KID WHY HE IS HAVING TROUBLE WITH ALGEBRA. ASK HIM WHAT HE NEEDS TO DO TO PERFORM BETTER. THERE’S NO NEED TO ASK AN EMPLOYEE WHY HE DIDN’T GET A CONTRACT YOU WERE BIDDING FOR. ASK HIM HOW HE CAN CHANGE SO YOU’LL BE CERTAIN TO GET THE NEXT ONE.

Chasing Excellence

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“Excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way.” ? Booker T. Washington

What are the beliefs that are the breeding ground for personal excellence?

Success leaves clues.  By looking to the beliefs, we find the cornerstone of greatness.

Great results are the by-product of great actions  Great actions are the by-product of great beliefs.  If your beliefs don’t serve you, or worse, work against you, you’ll have a hard time generating the results you want in your life.

We can learn a lot from the people that have been there, done that, and blazed trails for us.   To “stand on the shoulders of giants”, we can look to the patterns of great minds that have produced great results.

Beliefs are the Cornerstone of Personal Excellence

In the book, Unlimited Power: The New Science of Personal Achievement, Tony Robbins shares 7 beliefs that are the cornerstone of personal excellence you can use to grow more greatness in your life.

Here are the 7 beliefs:

Everything happens for a reason and a purpose, and it serves us.There is no such thing as failure.Whatever happens, take responsibility.It’s not necessary to understand everything to be able to use everything.People are your greatest resource.Work is play.There’s no abiding success without commitment.

Let’s take a deeper look at what each one really means …

1. Everything happens for a reason and a purpose, and it serves us.

Robbins writes:

“TAKE A MOMENT TO THINK AGAIN ABOUT YOUR BELIEFS.  DO YOU GENERALLY EXPECT THINGS TO WORK OUT WELL OR TO WORK OUT POORLY?  DO YOU EXPECT YOUR BEST EFFORTS TO BE SUCCESSFUL, OR DO YOU EXPECT THEM TO BE THWARTED?  DO YOU SEE THE POTENTIAL IN A SITUATION, OR DO YOU SEE THE ROADBLOCKS?  MANY PEOPLE TEND TO FOCUS ON THE NEGATIVE MORE THAN THE POSITIVE.  THE FIRST STEP TOWARD CHANGING THAT IS TO RECOGNIZE IT.  BELIEF IN LIMITS CREATES LIMITED PEOPLE.  THE KEY IS TO LET GO OF THOSE LIMITATIONS AND OPERATE FROM A HIGHER SET OF RESOURCES.  THE LEADERS IN OUR CULTURE ARE THE PEOPLE WHO SEE THE POSSIBILITIES, WHO CAN GO INTO A DESERT AND SEE A GARDEN.”

2. There is no such thing as failure.

There is no failure.  Only feedback.  Each experience is a learning opportunity or a learning experience.

Robbins writes:

“PEOPLE ALWAYS SUCCEED IN GETTING SOME SORT OF RESULTS.  THE SUPER SUCCESSES OF OUR CULTURE AREN’T PEOPLE WHO DO NOT FAIL, BUT SIMPLY PEOPLE WHO KNOW THAT IF THEY TRY SOMETHING AND IT DOESN’T GIVE THEM WHAT THEY WANT, THEY’VE HAD A LEARNING EXPERIENCE.  THEY USE WHAT THEY’VE LEARNED AND SIMPLY TRY SOMETHING ELSE.  THEY TAKE SOME NEW ACTIONS AND PRODUCE SOME NEW RESULTS.

THINK ABOUT IT.  WHAT IS THE ONE ASSET, THE ONE BENEFIT YOU HAVE TODAY OVER YESTERDAY?  THE ANSWER OF COURSE IS EXPERIENCE.  PEOPLE WHO FEAR FAILURE MAKE INTERNAL REPRESENTATIONS OF WHAT MIGHT NOT WORK IN ADVANCE.  THIS IS WHAT KEEPS THEM FROM TAKING THE VERY ACTION THAT COULD ENSURE THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF THEIR DESIRES.  ARE YOU AFRAID OF FAILURE?  WELL, HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT LEARNING?  YOU CAN LEARN FROM EVERY HUMAN EXPERIENCE AND CAN THEREBY ALWAYS SUCCEED IN ANYTHING YOU DO”

3. Whatever happens, take responsibility.

You are the maker of your reality.  Own the experiences you create.

Robbins writes:

“ACHIEVERS TENDS TO BELIEVE THAT NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS, WHETHER IT’S GOOD OR BAD, THEY CREATED IT.  IF THEY DIDN’T CAUSE IT BY THEIR PHYSICAL ACTIONS, MAYBE THEY DID BY THE LEVEL AND TENOR OF THEIR THOUGHTS.  NOW, I DON’T KNOW IF THIS IS TRUE.  NO SCIENTIST CAN PROVE THAT OUR THOUGHTS CREATE OUR REALITY.  BUT IT’S A USEFUL LIE.  IT’S AN EMPOWERING BELIEF.  THAT’S WHY I CHOOSE TO BELIEVE IN IT.  I BELIEVE THAT WE GENERATE OUR EXPERIENCES IN LIFE – EITHER BY BEHAVIOR OR BY THOUGHT – AND THAT WE CAN LEARN FROM ALL OF THEM.

IF YOU DON’T BELIEVE YOU’RE CREATING YOUR WORLD, WHETHER IT BE YOUR SUCCESSES OR YOUR FAILURES, THEN YOU’RE AT THE MERCY OF CIRCUMSTANCES.  THINGS JUST HAPPEN TO YOU.  YOU’RE AN OBJECT, NOT A SUBJECT.  LET ME TELL YOU, IF I HAD THAT BELIEF, I’D CHECK OUT NOW AND LOOK FOR ANOTHER CULTURE, ANOTHER WORLD, ANOTHER PLANET.  WHY BE HERE IF YOU’RE JUST THE PRODUCT OF RANDOM OUTSIDE FORCES?”

4. It’s not necessary to understand everything to be able to use everything.

Learn to pick the fruit.

Robbins writes:

“YOU CAN SPEND ALL YOUR TIME STUDYING THE ROOTS, OR YOU CAN LEARN TO PICK THE FRUIT.  SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE AREN’T NECESSARILY THE ONES WITH THE MOST INFORMATION, THE MOST KNOWLEDGE.  THERE WERE PROBABLY PLENTY OF SCIENTISTS AND ENGINEERS AT STANFORD AND CAL TECH WHO KNEW MORE ABOUT COMPUTER CIRCUITRY THAN STEVE JOBS OR STEVE WOZNIAK, BUT THEY WERE SOME OF THE MOST EFFECTIVE AT USING WHAT THEY HAD.  THEY WERE THE ONES WHO GOT RESULTS.”

5. People are your greatest resource.

The way to success is to work together.   Play off, integrate, and leverage other people’s capabilities to expand what you’re capable of.

Robbins writes:

“TO SAY YOU TREAT PEOPLE WITH RESPECT AND TO DO IT ARE NOT THE SAME THING.  THOSE WHO SUCCEED ARE THE MOST EFFECTIVE IN SAYING TO OTHERS, ‘HOW CAN WE DO THIS BETTER?’ ‘HOW CAN WE FIX THIS?’ ‘HOW CAN WE PRODUCE GREATER RESULTS? THEY KNOW THAT ONE MAN ALONE, NO MATTER HOW BRILLIANT, WILL FIND IT VERY DIFFICULT TO MATCH THE COLLABORATIVE TALENTS OF AN EFFECTIVE TEAM.”

6. Work is play.

Long ago Confucius said, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”   Those that turn their work into play, enjoy the journey of excellence, where every day they get to practice their art and master their craft.

Robbins writes:

“DO YOU KNOW ANY PERSON WHO HAS ACHIEVED MASSIVE SUCCESS BY DOING WHAT HE HATES? I DON’T.  ONE OF THE KEYS TO SUCCESS IS MAKING A SUCCESSFUL MARRIAGE BETWEEN WHAT YOU DO AND WHAT YOU LOVE.  PABLO PICASSO ONCE SAID, ‘WHEN I WORK, I RELAX; DOING NOTHING OR ENTERTAINING VISITORS MAKES ME TIRED.’

… RESEARCHERS ARE FINDING SURPRISING THINGS ABOUT WORKAHOLICS THESE DAYS.  THERE ARE SOME PEOPLE WHO SEEM MANIACALLY FOCUSED ON WORK BECAUSE THEY LOVE IT.  IT CHALLENGES THEM, IT EXCITES THEM, IT MAKES THEIR LIFE RICHER.  THESE PEOPLE TEND TO LOOK AT WORK AS THE WAY MOST OF US LOOK AT PLAY.  THEY SEE IT AS A WAY TO STRETCH THEMSELVES, TO LEARN NEW THINGS, TO EXPLORE NEW AVENUES.”

7. There’s no abiding success without commitment.

It’s not the smartest or the fastest, it’s the most committed.

Robbins writes:

“INDIVIDUALS WHO SUCCEED HAVE A BELIEF IN THE POWER OF COMMITMENT.  IF THERE’S A SINGLE BELIEF THAT SEEMS ALMOST INSEPARABLE FROM SUCCESS, IT’S THAT THERE’S NO GREAT SUCCESS WITHOUT GREAT COMMITMENT.  IF YOU LOOK AT SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE IN ANY FIELD, YOU’LL FIND THEY’RE NOT NECESSARILY THE BEST AND THE BRIGHTEST, THE FASTEST AND THE STRONGEST.  YOU’LL FIND THEY’RE THE ONES WITH THE MOST COMMITMENT.  THE GREAT RUSSIAN BALLERINA ANNA PAVLOVA ONCE SAID, ‘TO FOLLOW WITHOUT HALT, ONE AIM: THERE’S THE SECRET OF SUCCESS.’  IT’S JUST ANOTHER WAY OF STATING THE ULTIMATE SUCCESS FORMULA – KNOW YOUR OUTCOME, MODEL WHAT WORKS, TAKE ACTION, DEVELOP THE SENSORY ACUITY TO KNOW WHAT YOU’RE GETTING, AND KEEP REFINING IT UNTIL YOU GET WHAT YOU WANT.”

Are There More Beliefs that Foster Excellence?

Of course.  And you can continue to find them throughout your lifetime.

Robbins writes:

”ARE THERE OTHER BELIEFS THAT FOSTER EXCELLENCE?  SURE THERE ARE.  WHEN YOU THINK OF THEM, SO MUCH THE BETTER.  THROUGHOUT THIS BOOK, YOU SHOULD BE AWARE OF ADDITIONAL DISTINCTIONS OR INSIGHTS THAT YOU CAN ADD.  REMEMBER SUCCESS LEAVES CLUES.  STUDY THOSE WHO SUCCEED.  FIND OUT ABOUT THE KEY BELIEFS THEY HOLD THAT ENHANCE THEIR ABILITY TO TAKE EFFECTIVE ACTION CONSISTENTLY AND PRODUCE OUTSTANDING RESULTS.  THESE SEVEN BELIEFS HAVE DONE WONDERS FOR OTHERS BEFORE YOU, AND I BELIEVE THEY CAN DO WONDERS FOR YOU IF YOU CAN COMMIT YOURSELF TO THEM CONSISTENTLY.”

If there’s one thing to keep in mind, it’s that if at first you don’t succeed, keep trying.

Just remember to change your approach if it’s not working.

the man in the Arena

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The Man in the Arena is a famous passage from the speech  Citizenship in a Republic, given by by Theodore Roosevelt.  It’s about standing strong when tested.

 

It goes like this …

 

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

I hope this inspired you to search for Greatness!

You grow, by putting yourself out there.  If you’ve ever been in a situation that requires great courage, skill or tenacity, then, you know what it’s like to be “the man in the arena.”

 

If you’re going to fail, then at least dare greatly, and remember, it’s not the critic who counts.

 

Act Yourself Into a New Way of Thinking

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“Few of us ever live in the present. We are forever anticipating what is to come or remembering what has gone.” ? Louis L’Amour

You can’t think yourself into a new way of acting.

But you can act yourself into a new way of thinking.

Most people try to think their way into a new way of thinking and then hope that their behavior will change.

A better approach is to behave your way into a new mindset.

When you start acting differently, you build a new frame of reference, and your thinking will follow.

In the book, Anticipate: The Art of Leading by Looking Ahead, Rob-Jan De Jong shares eight practices you can use to act yourself into a new way of thinking.

You Can Act Yourself Into a New Way of Thinking

You can change yourself with new actions faster than you can change yourself with new thinking.

Via Anticipate: The Art of Leading by Looking Ahead:

“My good friend and actor Bruce van Barthold once explained how actors can learn ‘to live inside the character.’  His acting instructors taught him that you cannot think yourself into a new way of acting, but you can act yourself into a new way of thinking.  He had to repeat it to me twice, but once I got it, it made a lot of sense.”

You Can’t Just Tell Yourself to Be Better

Just telling yourself to do better or be better is not enough.  You have to practice the actions that build the muscle to be different.

Via Anticipate: The Art of Leading by Looking Ahead:

“Developing a mindful mindset is similar: There are behaviors and practices that can help you.  You can’t simply tell yourself to start re-categorizing from now on, or to be open to new information, or to stop taking a single perspective.  That wouldn’t work, and Langer’s three elements of mindfulness would remain purely theoretical.  But you can use a repertoire of behaviors and practices that, through repetition and perseverance, will help you develop that mindset.”

8 Practices for Developing Mindfulness

You can grow your mindfulness by developing three behaviors through eight specific practices.

According to Langer, growing your mindful state boils down to three behaviors: 1) creating new categories, 2) welcoming new information, and 3) adopting more than one view.

Rob-jan De Jong provides 8 practices we can use to help practice these behaviors and develop our mindfulness so that we can re-categorize information, stay open to new information, and stop taking a single perspective.

3 Behaviors for Mindfulness 8 Practices for Mindfulness
1. Creating new categories 1. “Yes, and …”
2. Break the pattern
2. Welcoming new information 3. Powerful questions
4. Appreciative inquiry
5. Radical exposure
6. Unblind your blind spot
3. Adopting more than one view 7. Learn to listen
8. Opinion swap

 

Here is a quick overview of each of the eight practices for growing your mindfulness.

1. “Yes, and …”

Swap out “but” with “and.”

Via Anticipate: The Art of Leading by Looking Ahead:

“In the next few days, try catching yourself when you say ‘Yes, but …’  Nine out of ten times you will be stopping a thought or an idea that isn’t in line with your current thinking and is blocking a creative idea or alternative perspective in the process. 

To combat this tendency, immediately rephrase your action to ‘Yes, and …,’ allowing you to make your point by remaining open rather than closed.  Keep up this practice until ‘Yes, and …’ becomes your default reaction.  It should not take you more than two weeks of practice to make this saying a habit.  Remember, just one word can make a huge difference.”

2. Break the pattern.

Do the opposite of what you normally do.

Via Anticipate: The Art of Leading by Looking Ahead:

“A deceptively simple practice to increase your chances of seeing things differently is to deliberately break your normal pattern of working, communicating, thinking, reacting, and responding.  For example, if you are normally the first to volunteer, hold back.  Or if you are always the one who holds back, now volunteer.  If you’re very punctual, arrive late (as confronting as it might sound). “

3. Powerful questions.

Ask better questions.

Via Anticipate: The Art of Leading by Looking Ahead:

“Artfully designed questions generate curiosity, are thought-provoking, challenge underlying assumptions, and invite creativity.  Moreover, they give us energy, making us aware of the fat that there is something to explore that we hadn’t fully grasped before.  So train yourself to catch poorly designed questions, asked by you as well as others, and reformulate them.  Keep the three dimensions in mind: 1) why, what, how constructions, 2) scope, and 3) underlying assumptions.”

4. Appreciative inquiry.

Ask questions that appreciate what’s going well.  Help reveal why things are going well.

Via Anticipate: The Art of Leading by Looking Ahead:

“Develop a set of appreciative questions aimed at discovering what is going well, and why.  Use them when analyzing problems, withholding the temptation to first ask what went wrong.”

5. Radical exposure.

Expose yourself to radically different people, experiences, and events.

Via Anticipate: The Art of Leading by Looking Ahead:

“The radical exposure practice promotes a deliberate effort to engage, with some frequency (e.g. once a month), with a subgroup that is profoundly different from the usual suspects you hang out with.  Visit a conference of a very different profession, hang out with skaters, join an arts club, buy a magazine randomly off the shelf, things like that.”

6. Unblind your blind spot.

Reveal blind spots by putting more options on the table and looking for the non-obvious.

Via Anticipate: The Art of Leading by Looking Ahead:

“Group dynamics often make what’s on the table appear as though it’s the only possibility.  But it rarely is. It’s just what the group is most comfortable with; once an option is chosen, the group is unlikely to consider anything else.  Whenever you engage in a conversation aimed at clarifying or making a decision, ask, at the appropriate moments: 1) What other options exist? 2) What are we not seeing or saying?”

7. Learn to listen.

Get curious and develop your curiosity.  Don’t treat information like a broken record, find a new groove.

Via Anticipate: The Art of Leading by Looking Ahead:

“Consciously and deliberately go into listening mode.  This means not taking over the conversation with your idea or observation, no matter how much you want to.  Just keep asking questions, and don’t dismiss anything your conversation partner mentions, no matter how odd it sounds or how disconnected the person’s views are from yours.”

8. Opinion swap.

Try another perspective on for size.   This will help you see things from new angles.

Via Anticipate: The Art of Leading by Looking Ahead:

“Choose someone at work who is least like you — not someone you dislike, just someone very different.  You two might differ in character, taste, thoughts, or actions.  Think of a subject you normally disagree on.  It might be something simple, like a product, marketing message, or television program that you avoid or find trivial and the other person really likes.  Imagine yourself adopting this person’s opinion, like you’d try on an outfit.  See things from this person’s point of view and come up with some reasons why he or she loves what you hate, or vice versa.”

Naturally, you’re probably already thinking about these practices, and whether or not they’ll work.

And that’s exactly the opposite of what to do.

The whole point is to actually do the practices and then notice how your thinking changes in unexpected, and perhaps, profound ways.

That’s right … act your way into a new way of thinking.