WHAT’S RIGHT? WHAT’S WRONG?

Does this picture resemble your brain at any given moment in time? We are going to use what we learned yesterday to help us here too. This website is not to tell you what to believe morally or spiritually. I think as long as you are trying to better yourself without harming others, whatever path you choose is up to you.

That being said, how then can we know if what we are doing is right, wrong, moral, pushing us in the right direction or leading us down the wrong path in life? Goals. As I have discussed in previous posts this word used to send chills down my spine. Maybe it reminded me too much of homework in school? Maybe the fear of ‘failure’ was causing me not to set goals in the first place. The last few years I have learned to not only embrace goals, but failure as well. Here is the secrets I have learned. Goals can be both a motivator as well as a compass. Failure? It is not an adversary so much as a teacher. It can also present us with new opportunity. One of the biggest failures I read about was at 3M. An employee was making a permanent adhesive. When they put it to use it was anything but. What happened to that adhesive that didn’t adhere to perfectly? Sounds like the definition of failure, right? We now use them as ‘post it notes’.

When you set a goal as to who you want to become it can help you with everything from your moral compass to the correct action to take on a project. Say you wish to become a great film producer, then learning about different cameras could be helpful while learning about bug spray not so much. Wanting to become an exterminator? The story would be the opposite.

Tomorrow we will look at one of my favorite exercises to keep you motivated and on track for the rest of your life. It will be a little dark, a little scary to some, but very enlightening to all. I look forward to talking with you all tomorrow.

DEFINE YOUR SUCCESS 

Success, each person’s definition of success is different. To some it is material acquisition, for some it is a sense of joy and peace of mind. This is a challenge to someone trying to come up with formulas anyone can use regardless of their definition. In an effort to discover what makes some people successful at what they do and prevent others from doing so, I have studied some of the greatest minds in the self-improvement industry.

The best definition of success I have ever come across is from Earl Nightingale. Earl is  often referred to as “The dean of personal development” as his scope of knowledge and experience is hard to rival. Earl was on the USS Arizona when it was bombed at Pearl Harbor. 1500 people died on that ship. Earl was one of 100 to survive. He went on to own several business and have his own radio program. He recorded a message to help his salesman called The Strangest Secret. Without much fanfare or advertising that message launched what is now known as the spoken word industry. I cannot recommend highly enough you get your hands on a copy of this valuable message.

This post is not just about Earl Nightingale, but the message he brought the world. His definition of success is “The progressive realization of a worthy ideal.” Read that quote a time or two more. Let it sink in. What it means is that a person who knows who they want to become and is working towards it is automatically a success. Why is that? It is because of goals. Having a concrete definition in mind of where you want to go and putting forth effort to get there. Even if it may seem you are momentarily moving backwards, you are still learning valuable lessons allowing you to move forward.

Once you pick your goal (mine is to help individuals reduce stress, increase joy and become the best versions of themselves) you will be able to know if what you are doing is working or not. Even if it happens not to be you are still learning what does not work. It was Edison who said “I never failed. I just learned 10,000 ways not to make a light bulb.” When you goal is clear, confusion is minimal and motivation is maximum.

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.

NEVER TELL YOURSELF YOU CAN’T DO IT!

This is a picture of my lady and I before a charity run we did recently. It is before we ran as if I shared the one after it may not be safe for me to come home. There are many things about doing a charity run/walk that lead to an amazing life. You take good care of your body, you help a good cause and you meet other souls doing the same thing.

In this post we are going to discuss another important aspect and gift we both received from this event. First let me inform you it was hot…very hot out. Second it involves a distance of over 3 miles. Leading up to this event both of us had our doubts. My lady especially had been through some personal challenges and was not able to train as much as she would have liked. She even mentioned that she was not 100% confident she would make it. That wasn’t her exact words as they tend to be a little more dramatic. I swear she is going to be the next author in our household.

So what was the gift? The gift was the challenge itself. As we both made our way through the course watching others go by, and the heat refusing to do the same another partner joined us on the course. That partner’s name was doubt. Voices in our heads told us how hot it was out, how people would understand if we bowed out. It is funny how when your body is preoccupied with pain and suffering your mind is free to come up with all kinds of things. Keeping the demons at bay when trying to suck in hot and humid air is a very unique challenge.

Crossing the finish line was a victory on many fronts. Testing yourself to limits both physically and mentally draws strength out you in ways nothing else can. The feeling you get when you finish knowing you shut those voices up, when you overcome physical challenges you own your body, you own your mind. Next time those voices come up you know you can tell them to sit down and shut up. You know you can accomplish more than you know so test yourself today!

Feel free to share your ideas for testing yourself in the comments below and feel free to share this post as well.

HOW TO BE A SUCCESS EVERY DAY!

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I love this quote because it reminds me of something I often forget. A lot of us, myself included, are focused on becoming a success. Personally, I am always focused on reaching more people. This could be how can I have more people attend my seminars, how can I get my book in the hands of more people. Even while I am DJing or bartending I am focused on how to reach more people and inspire them and bring them joy.

This in itself is not a bad thing, but we must remember that true success, like abundance should be felt in every area of our lives. We need to pay as much attention to our personal goals as well as our professional goals. Are you wanting to be the best parent? The best spouse? Perhaps you are looking to become healthier? A better listener? A better communicator? Success takes work in a lot of areas in life.

This may seem like a lot to work on, but that is only half true. What do I mean by this? There are so many opportunities to achieve success. How does that translate to an effective life strategy? Simple, every day you have a chance to be a success. Maybe you were not number one on the bestseller list, but you really made your wife feel loved. You are a success. Maybe you ruined the diet you have been doing good on, but you taught your children a very important lesson.

What this all means is every day there are so many ways to succeed and so many things to feel grateful for. So let us all notice what we can improve on, but let us focus on what we succeed at. It will not only keep us wanting to do more of that, but also make us feel very good about ourselves and what we do for the world.