FIRM IN YOUR GOALS, FLEXIBLE IN YOUR APPROACH 

Be firm in your goals, but flexible in your approach. That is a mantra i have heard many times! This morning while occupied at my day job a fine example of this occurred to me.

Before I share this example with you let me begin with a question. Have you ever heard somebody say “I’ve tried a million different things but it just won’t work!” It always amuses me to ask them to name the million things they have tried. After which they usually reply “well ok it has been hundreds.” When pressed to name them we usually discover the individual has tried a few things, usually things they have done in their past, and they didn’t work. This always makes me question the importance of the issue at hand. If it is a problem with their relationship you would think they would keep trying until they return to love.

When a baby is trying to walk they just keep at it. Why? Because walking is that important to them. Perhaps it is all the disappointment we experience as adults that lowers our level of persistence.

Here is another way to look at this. As I mentioned earlier, I was working at my day job when I started thinking how much I’d like to go to Fiji. My thinking is my lady and I would fly there first class and spend time relaxing and mixing with the local culture. What would happen if I was invited for a speaking engagement there? Maybe instead of flying I win a cruise? Perhaps Tony Robbins invites me to his resort to work on a project together? Would I say no because it was not exactly what I had envisioned? Of course not. The goal is to get to see Fiji, how it happens could vary.

My point here is you have to keep trying until you find something that works.  It may seem impossible at first, but so did walking as a baby. Just keep trying and you will succeed. Oh, and if you happen to have an extra ticket to Fiji…

I DON’T NEED SELF HELP!

I really dislike the term self-help. To me it always sounded as if something was wrong with the person. Then again, the word ‘help’ has a bad reputation. Especially for men help seems to be associated with being weak. Personally I do not see it that way. One thing admitting you could use a little help in a certain area shows you trust the people you are sharing that information with. It also shows a true desire to better one’s self. Both of those I find to be admirable qualities.

Another aspect of working to improve yourself is that you are growing. Without growth we are left with a feeling of discontent. One of the best ways to be happy with yourself is to progress in respect to any goal you are working on. In short – progress equals happiness.

If there is a certain area you are not particularly strong in that does not mean you are weak as a person. On the contrary, recognizing the fact that there is an area you could improve on and working to do just that takes a great amount of courage. Looking for self-help, or as I prefer to say self-improvement does not mean you are bad at something it just means you are trying to get better.

As we are working at these goals it is also important to remember our strengths. Everybody is good at some things and not at others. My lady can create amazing cakes, I cannot. I have a better grasp of history than she. Does that make either one of us less than the other? Not at all. Last post I quoted the great scientist Albert Einstein. I am going to do so here again. “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” This quote may sound silly, but it is as true with humans as it is in fish.

As we continue in the season of spring which is often associated with rebirth and renewal, allow yourself to be reborn. Grow your strengths and acknowledge your weaknesses. Ask for help when you need and don’t feel ashamed. Here is one more thing to keep in mind as you do ask for help. How do you feel when you are able to help someone? If you are a person who reads a blog like this, I imagine you feel quite good. When you don’t ask for help from someone who cares about you think of the good feeling you are depriving them of.

Feel free to share the ways you are working to improve yourself in the comments below. I wish you the greatest fortune in all your endeavors.

WHAT WE CAN LEARN FROM THE FARM

My grandfather was a farmer. I used to pass farms on the way to work when i was a postmaster. There is a great skill I have learned from the farming life even though I myself struggle to keep houseplants alive. That skill is patience.

Here is what farming has taught me. When a farmer plants a seed in the ground and waters it he does not come back the next day expecting a crop. In fact, he will go out every day to continue to water and fertilize that seed with little or no result to show for it. When the plant pokes through the ground he also does not expect to harvest right then and there. He nurtures that plant. He protects it from being attacked by outside forces such as insects and fungus. He continues to water and work with the plant as it grows.  Finally when harvest time comes he knows just the right way to harvest the plant for Maximum return. Even after the harvest is over the farmer realizes that one year will not sustain him and his family and begins to think about the following years planting. He begins to prepare the soil for the winter and store crops to last during those cold months.

What does all this have to do with anything other than farming? A lot of us when working on a goal whether that be losing weight, or starting a business have a tendency to give up way to soon. We, in essence, put the seed in the ground and come back the next day looking to harvest. Some of us even look at the ground after a few days and think “when I see a plant I’ll go back to watering”. Meaning if we do not see any results on our goal we stop putting forth the effort. Much like in the farming example, if we stop ‘watering’ our goals they will never grow.

There is also the temptation to want to harvest to soon. Just like the farmer who finally sees a plant begin to sprout after weeks of waiting and working, as we see our goals begin to manifest we may be tempted to want to stop working and look at what we can get from all that effort we have put forth. Of course if we do this again, the plant will not bear all the fruit it can and we will not receive all of the benefits we could. By knowing that we still have to nurture our success and build it up as it continues to grow we will resist the temptation to harvest too soon.

When time to harvest the fruits of our goals we will do so in the manor that allows us to get the most out of them. Just like the farmer harvesting enough that it will allow the plant to continue to grow as long as it can. Also like the farmer we should begin to think about the future. Storing the rewards from our harvest and beginning to ‘prepare the soil’ for next years crop. In other words, know that one success will not last a lifetime. It is progress that creates a sense of happiness and fulfillment in each of us. Let us look forward to our next great adventure and our next crop we must plant.

So when it seems as if you have been working towards a goal and you have not seen any results, think of that famer watering that seed for weeks without seeing any result. We never know what is happening ‘underneath the ground’. When we start to see our goals begin to manifest let us resist the temptation to stop working. Just as if the farmer stopped watering the plant once it broke the soil it would still die. Let us also harvest smart, knowing we must sustain ourselves for when the hard times or the ‘winter’ of our lives comes.

So enjoy this lesson from the farm. Maybe even plant a garden this spring and let it serve as a reminder of all these valuable lessons.

HOW NOT TO GET FRUSTRATED WITH YOUR GOALS

Quite often I hear the resignation in people’s voices after not obtaining a goal. Quite simply they give up. Worse than that is people who try to justify the lack of success in achieving their goal by saying things like “Maybe it just wasn’t meant to be” or things of that nature.

While it is true in a small amount of cases what is far more likely is you may need to change your approach. I once heard Tony Robbins say something that really struck a cord with me. Ok, I have heard him say that more than once, but one that referred to what we are speaking of here. He said, “God’s delays are not always God’s denials”. Now whether you believe in a supreme being or the universe or anything else is not my business. What is interesting is the possibilities this opens up. Perhaps we are not being denied our goal, but just being delayed. Maybe something in the universe has to change to make the situation better? Perhaps there is some very important knowledge we need to obtain to make it an even greater success. Maybe our approach needs to be adjusted to find a better or more rewarding path.

This not only works with material goals, but even more so with personal situations. See if this sounds familiar. You are in a disagreement with another party and you really want to solve it but everything you try seems not to work? You could find yourself thinking “I am never going to make him/her happy”. Again, most of the time the goal of coming to a successful and peaceful resolution is not wrong or never going to happen, we just need to change our approach. Each person and each situation requires a different approach. A fair amount of the time finding the right approach is the hardest part of the struggle. You would not sooner try to run your car on cough medicine than you would drink gasoline to cure your cough. That does not mean either one is useless. They just need to be applied in the right way at the right time.

So when you feel your goal may never be reached take a step back and try to look at it from a different angle. As important as developing a determination to achieve the goal is being flexible in your approach.

When it comes to personal relationships this is even more important and more difficult to remember. Have you promised ‘until death do us part’? Then you made a determined decision. If that decision seems more like a sentence at times perhaps taking a step back and considering a new approach could be the answer. Enlisting the other person can be key. After all it is hard to just be angry at someone who asks “I just want to get back to loving. I feel what I am trying is not working. What to you think we can do to get back to love?”.

So stay determined in your goals and flexible in your approach my friends.

THE SECRET TO A PASSIONATE LIFE

Everyone wants a life filled with joy and vitality. I believe the quickest way to accomplish that is to increase your passion. How do we do that? Find a ‘why’ to your life. What does that even mean? What it means is finding a reason you want to get up in the morning. Why going through all the tough times will be worth it.

I have asked a lot of my good friends what their ‘why’ is. When asked most of them don’t know. Some give me answers such as “If I don’t I will be fired”. That is not very motivating.  Ask yourself that very question. What is it that gets you out of bed in the morning. I must confess there are days not much will get me out of bed. Still most days I have a compelling reason to put both feet on the floor and begin moving. This blog is part of it.

We all need something that stirs our soul. Usually it is something bigger than just ourselves. I am not advocating you quit your job and move to the tropics, although I must admit that thought crosses my mind several times a day. No, you don’t even have to change your career. You may eventually want to, but you can always begin chasing a dream part time. Maybe begin writing that book you have always wanted to? Start your own YouTube channel doing videos on a topic that excites you. (Mine can be found by searching Neil Panosian). There are also plenty of volunteer opportunities. My mother recently retired and will begin volunteering at our local zoo.

The point is all of us, I don’t care who you are, were born to do more than just pay bills and die. We each have a unique gift and passion to share with the world. Nelson Mandela once said “Action without vision is only passing time, Vision without action is merely dreaming, but vision with action can change the world”. I don’t care if your passion is attending state fairs. Perhaps you can recommend ways in which they can be improved. Maybe write a book about your different experiences, or create a photo book? The point is no matter what your passion is, sharing it with the world will accomplish 2 great things. One, it will bring joy and fun to countless people who share your passion and most importantly it will set your soul on fire. These are two things the world desperately needs, people sharing their passions and people living their passions. Once you start, your life will never be the same!

IT ONLY TAKES A LITTLE

Last post we looked at the practice of celebrating each other and turning our lives into one long party. Tomorrow we will look at how to never lose in life again (I recommend checking that out) so sandwiched in between is the secret to accomplishing these or any other goal you might be trying to reach.

So what is the secret to accomplishing goals? Think of the journey. What do I mean? Imagine your goal is to hypothetically travel from a cold northern climate to a warm and sunny tropical climate (Ok, this is really not hypothetical here) You cannot expect to take one step and go from your location to the one you desire. No, you have to cover the distance that lies between you are your destination. Just like you have to cover all the distance that lies between you and your goal. Now some means of travel are fast, like an airplane or  high speed train. Others are slower like a bicycle or walking. All of them get you closer to your goal if you keep going. Remember that most things take time. It is going to take you longer to make it to Jamaica than to the grocery store down the street. Unless of course you live in Jamaica and are going to the store down the street, in which case I would love to be your neighbor.

So my friends no that the journey is where the joy can be found. Knowing that no matter what pace you are going, each and every moment you are getting closer to your goal. Every day is a new adventure!

LOOK TO THE FUTURE 

Yesterday we discussed one way in which people are able to meet and overcome challenges . Today we are going to look at another way. As a bonus this will not only help you not get overwhelmed by your challenges, but also give you some motivation. Sound too good to be true? Let us take a look.

One of the things that became evident when looking at the difference between those who maintain a positive disposition and those who find their mood at the mercy of their circumstances is whether or not they have one thing. This one thing can make the difference on what you feel like when you get up in the morning, how everything that happens to you during the day, be it good or bad, feels. What is this powerful secret that can give you inner strength and motivation?

A COMPELLING FUTURE.

Stop and think about what that means to you. Do you have a compelling future? Of all the people I work with at the Post Office I would say 90% of them do not have a compelling future. When I asked them their plans for the future I received such answers as “I just want to make it to retirement”, “I want to get out of debt for once”, and the ever popular “I just want to make it through today”. With future plans like that it is hard to live an inspired life. If you notice most of them are focused on their challenges. Whether the years they have left to work, the debt they have or even the challenges of the day. They are pushing their way to their future. Think of pushing a boulder up a hill, not even knowing what is at the top of that hill. When I asked these people what happens when they do retire, or get out of debt or even make it home at the end of the day most of them gave me some version of the same answer, “I don’t know. I guess I will figure it out then”. They didn’t even know what completion of their goal would bring them. Not very inspiring to say the least. When you do not have a clear and compelling goal for the future and suddenly you face a challenge it can seem overwhelming.

Now let us look at the other 10%, the group we become part of with a compelling future. When I asked them about their plans for the future I received answers such as “I am saving to buy a ranch to raise horses on when I retire” and “I plan on opening up my own travel agency”. One person even have a different take on the ‘make it through the day’ answer. They said “I’m looking forward to going on a date with my wife tonight”. Notice the difference. These people all had a goal, or ‘prize’ if you will at the top of the hill. Instead of pushing that boulder up a hill not even knowing what they may see when they get there. These people knew clearly what would be there and it pulled and compelled them to keep going. Although what they were doing presently may not have been that enjoyable for most, which included driving around in the snow delivering mail. Those who had a clear goal of why they were doing it were better able to make it through and do so with a more positive disposition.

So what about your future goals? How can we stay inspired and use them to keep going when the going gets tough? I asked the man who was wanting to buy the ranch did he just think of the ranch when needed to be inspired? Obviously he didn’t have all of the funds he needed right now. He told me another little secret. He told me he did little things he could do now. He thought of names for his ranch. He looked at designs for cabins he might like to have there. He even drew maps with the layout of the ranch. He also had decided what part of the country he wanted to locate his ranch. He also began pricing the things he would need fences, lumber etc. I asked him if that became overwhelming and depressing when he added it all up? He told me it actually inspired him to contribute to the savings account he set up for just such a purpose. He also told me it inspired him to work harder and not mind extra hours that he sometimes had to put in, knowing he was getting closer to his ranch.

This would obviously work for the person wanting the travel agency or any other goal you might have. Do the little things you can at the moment. Design a logo, develop a business plan, set up a saving account, do your research and make connections with people who could help. Even the man who was looking forward to his date told me he thought about his wife, how beautiful she was, how much he was looking forward to the meal and the relaxing time they would share. My only caution here is the motivation will only last the day, but that is better that not having any at all.

So feel free to share your compelling future plans as well as the things you do right now to work towards them. As always feel free to share this post as well.