WHO IS IN YOUR GROUP? I WANT TO KNOW

Have you heard of a mastermind group? It is a group of individuals, all with different skills, working together. Napoleon Hill in his book Think and Grow Rich explains the many benefits of having a mastermind group. There are two types of mastermind groups I believe you should have and they both have unique benefits. We will call them a public mastermind and a private mastermind. Not only do they serve completely different purposes, but they are both fun to put together. We will look at them one at a time.

PUBLIC MASTERMIND

A public mastermind fits the dictionary definition of mastermind group. This category can even be further broken down into personal and professional groups, but we will keep it simple. If you would like to expand and have several mastermind groups in your life that is up to you. Begin by thinking of the purpose for your mastermind group. Is it to further an organization you are part of? Is it to help a cause you belong to? Now decide what kind of people you would enjoy having in your mastermind group. Do you need a person with skills in marketing? Would an accountant benefit you? How about an author/postal worker/DJ who happens to be rather dashing and charming? Totally hypothetical there. The idea is to meet with all of these individuals on a regular basis for brainstorming sessions.

A few things to keep in mind when forming a mastermind group. First, pick people you can count on fairly well. Second, be prepared to give more than you get. What skills will you bring to this group. Here is the best part about this mastermind group. When a group of people gather to work on a common goal, a separate person is formed. It is the collective thoughts of all of the people present. As individuals they may be able to accomplish a great deal, but collectively they can accomplish a lot more and a lot more quickly. You must also keep in mind temperament. People who are easy to get along with make everything run smoothly. You may be a great accountant but if your personality is that of a proper ass, you may not be a good fit for a mastermind group.

PRIVATE MASTERMIND

This group is a bit more esoteric. In Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill speaks of having a personal mastermind group. This is one that exists only in your mind. I must confess to being a bit skeptical as to how this could be beneficial. How can meeting with a an imaginary group of people help you? What Mr. Hill advocates is that we have an issue that may be vexing us. Go into a dark room and lay down or sit down. Get into a meditative state with our eyes closed. Imagine being in a conference room, board room, playground or wherever you would think of having your mastermind group meet. Then imagine them entering one by one. The fun thing about this group is these people can be living or dead. Why? This is only going to exist in your imagination. Now, as the meeting is called to order, imagine bringing your current dilemma to the group. Imagine how the discussion would go. What would each person have to say about it? Let your imagination run wild. Then imagine them all leaving one by one.

I must confess I dismissed this idea for quite some time. I couldn’t see the value of having an imaginary meeting with people who only existed in my head. After all, on any given day it can feel like there are several people in my head to begin with. While working on an idea for my second book the power of this hit me. Napoleon Hill alludes to perhaps some ethereal communication. Perhaps that was a bit more than I could absorb at the time. A more logical and sensible application caused me to take a fresh look at this concept. The reason you would select the individuals for your mastermind group is because they have qualities you aspire to have, admire or maybe both. In your mind you would imagine what would this person who has a reputation for being honest for example, have to say about your situation? How about the person who has the ability to work well with people? In that way you can make decisions based on these good qualities.

This will also help you in two other ways. First, it will help you take some time to relax and think in an almost detached manner about your problem. Sometimes we are so emotionally keyed up, that it can be hard to take a step back and spend quality time thinking logically about our problem. The second benefit is that by imagining how all of these different people would look at a situation, you are thinking of your problem from a few different perspectives. Even if the people you picked for your private mastermind group are similar to you, they are not you and probably have some differences.

In closing, I highly recommend forming both of these groups for the reasons mentioned above. A good way to start is with a simple pen and paper. Make two lists, one for each group. List the names of the people you would like in the group and why. Sometimes you might even have the why and need the person. For example you might want someone who is extremely productive and driven yet at the current moment most of your friends spend their free time on the couch playing video games. Then you must be on the lookout for a driven associate you can add to your mastermind group. As for the private mastermind group, think of who you would like to have in that group and why. That way your subconscious mind can create the thoughts of an individual with those qualities.

BONUS: As I work on forming my own mastermind groups I thought I would give you a few examples of just ‘some’ of the people I think would make a good fit. I would include my friend Curtis. He is driven, we think alike and has mastered the skill of interpersonal relations. My friend Nick and I meet for coffee and have great conversations. My coworker Amanda has some great thoughts on self-improvement and spirituality. My friend Sharon, who first taught me the skill of journaling, would be included. My soul friend Shannon and her stimulating knowledge would be a must. My friends Alisa and Anna would offer great insight and help with writing. Of course I would have to include my creative, funny and eager lovely lady Margie in this group.

As for my private mastermind group, I would have an eclectic group of people. Lao Tzu comes to mind as I like his way and manner of thinking. I admire Abraham Lincoln’s restraint and manner of speaking. Nat King Cole is not only my favorite singer, but a snappy dresser, loyal family man and had a great way of looking at life. Several Native American leaders such as Sitting bull, Black Elk and Chief Dan George spring to mind for their outlook on life. Think about all of those folks sitting and chatting with me?

Who would be in your mastermind groups and why? I would love to hear!

BETTER FRIENDSHIP THROUGH CHEMISTRY

Who wouldn’t want better friendships? Friendships filled with more understanding, more love and more productivity. It would be safe to say anyone reading a blog like this would. To do so we are going to take a brief look into the world of chemistry. Don’t let that scare you. We are going to keep this very simple. In school chemistry was not my best subject, so nothing here will be too complex. We are going to look at one of the most basic equations of chemistry and that is water. When two molecules of hydrogen and one of oxygen get together, it is not just 3 molecules getting together for coffee and hanging out. In this case a fourth thing is created and that is water.

You may be asking, and for good reason, what any of this has to do with friendship. It works the same way with people. In Napoleon Hill’s timeless book Think and Grow Rich, he mentions forming what he calls a ‘mastermind group’. That is a group of different people, all with different talents, that are working towards a common goal. The author claims that when these people gather together a new person is formed. One who is the combination of the thoughts of all the people present in that group.

One of the highlights of any day for me is to share conversation with someone who shares my passion in self-improvement. I always walk away with so much more knowledge and a different perspective than I had before the meeting. In the past week, I have had the pleasure of having 2 such experiences. The first came when a friendly and wonderful fellow named Ricky offered to buy me a cup of coffee for my birthday. It was the first time the two of us had an opportunity to sit down and chat. Ricky owns a local fitness studio called Peak Physique here in West Allis, where I live. Not knowing too much about each other I was wondering how the conversation might flow. It was amazing. We both spoke at length about topics in both the fitness and self-improvement industry. I left with a great deal of new information about the world of fitness as well as a new self-improvement book to read by an author we mutually admire, Jocko Willink.

The best thing about this meeting to me was the actions taken by my new friend Ricky. I am not sure why this is, but not many adults find it easy to make new friends. This gentleman thought that it might be beneficial for us to meet and become friends. Not only was this a very astute thought, but it took some courage to reach out and put into motion. I commend and thank him for taking this action. Not only did we both make a new friend, we discovered we also shared some amazing friends in common. Jodi, whom I have had the honor of knowing for some time, teaches yoga at his gym. Curtis, the gentleman who served us coffee, as well as several compliments, was a mutual friend. I want to take a second to recognize Curtis is also a man with a brilliant mind when it comes to self-improvement and I am eagerly looking forward to sitting down to a conversation with him.

Another divine new connection I made was with a very talented journalist, Carole Meekins. She had reached out to me to inquire if I would be interested in being interviewed for the show she hosts called Positively Milwaukee. It appears on WTMJ, the local NBC affiliate. As you can imagine, I am a big fan of this show which highlights the positive aspects of the city. Carole is a well-established journalist who is amazing at what she does. I was excited and honored to be part of this show. Little did I know, that would be just the tip of the iceberg of what I would get out of this meeting. I spoke on the phone with Carole a few days ahead of the planned day of filming to exchange information. I learned that not only was she a talented interviewer but had a warm and thoughtful personality. She was well read in the field of self-improvement and we talked for a good while about different authors and speakers we were familiar with.

The day of filming arrived and we shared some more great conversation. I hope this is also the beginning of a great friendship. It has always been my goal to host my own television show interviewing people and I cannot thank Carole Meekins enough for the opportunity to be a part of a show that displays how to do this better than any show I have watched in recent memory. From my new friendship with Carole I have gained a few different resources to explore as well as a renewed passion for exploring my dream of finding a medium in which to explore my desire to interview and uncover the beauty in all of the amazing people that surround us every day.

If you are thinking that you might like to establish a friendship with someone new, I encourage you to pursue that friendship. Both parties will walk away with far more than they started with. It seems comical to me that children seem far more adept at making friends than adults. If you need a little trick that might make it easier, I have one for you. As you are thinking about asking someone new out for a cup of coffee, a drink or just a great conversation, think of how you would feel knowing someone finds you valuable enough to want to pursue a friendship. You will never know the gifts hidden inside someone’s soul until you choose to unwrap them with friendship.

STOP THE FEAR

With all of the recent issues to become concerned about it is understandable that people are upset. There is the coronavirus, the stock market taking a tumble and even people running out buying more toilet paper than they will use in the next 6 months. A lot of this fear is fed by mass media. There are sensible precautions to take such as washing your hands, staying home if you feel sick and exercising some common sense. It is good to see major sports are taking precautions as well.

The trick is not to go from precautious to living in fear. If you are running low on toilet paper or even think you may need to spend 14 days at home, but enough for 4 weeks just to be safe. If you are feeling ill, call your doctor and tell them your symptoms. Remember the chances of us getting this terrible illness are slim. Even if you are unfortunate enough to contract such a condition, remember that fear and stress lower your immune system. It is best to confront any illness with a positive attitude and thoughts of healing while taking the necessary steps to heal. I have 2 conditions (asthma and a bad heart) that make me a person who could have problems. I am aware of that. I take precautions and live my life accordingly.

What about the financial fallout of this virus? Yes, stocks are falling. However, now is a good time to invest. Prices are low and as the formula goes – “buy low and sell high”. As Napoleon Hill once said, “Every adversity, every failure, and every heartache carries with it the seed of an equivalent or greater benefit.” Invest in toilet paper companies. Invest in airlines and the travel industry, their prices are also taking a hit. Most of all, look for opportunities to serve. When people are struggling it is when we can help the most.

When you turn on the television to hear how the sky is falling or some other crazed chicken little statement, turn off that television and remember to take care of your corner of the world. Feel free to look up such information as How to protect against the coronavirus. Then take those actions and know you have done the best you can do. Do not become part of any mass hysteria. Instead, take a calm, sensible approach to protecting yourself and others, look for ways you can help and remember to keep a positive outlook. We are all in this together and that is the only way we will make it out.

WHY IT WORKS: REREADING THE SAME BOOK

It is important to know more than just what works, but why it works. If you are anything like me, knowing why something works provides more motivation to actually do it. If you are like me you also like to crank 80’s glam metal at 4am on your way to work, but our post today is more about the first point.

I have been advocating reading powerful books for years. Personally, I read my favorite book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, at least once a year. People may think I’m crazy. “You’ve read that book like 5 times already! You are good at making friends so why read the book?”

After I inform them I have read the book 8 times and that is why I am good at making friends, then they assure me that I am crazy.

My sanity not withstanding, there are several reasons I do this. First is because my mind tends to wander. I read something and start thinking about it. Before you know it, the next few pages have gone by and I don’t recall much of what I read.

Here is another reason that was just made clear to me this morning. When we read a book for a second time it is not just because you may have missed something, but because you are someone different.

This may sound absurd but it is true. Since you have last read the book you have had countless life experiences that have forced you to grow and evolve. It doesn’t even take that long. As it was said about Napoleon Hill’s great book, Think and Grow Rich, the hand that turned the last page is not the same hand that turned the first page. The person has learned, has experienced more of life. They are a different person.

The more you learn and live life the more valuable information becomes to you. The more you are exposed to it, the more it becomes a part of your life. Do yourself a favor and pick up your favorite book again. Trust me when I tell you the person who reads it will be entirely different.

It is important to note this works even more in regards to audio books and programs.

WWJD? MORE TO THE POINT, WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO?

Chances are you have seen a version of this bracelet somewhere. The letters on the bracelet stand for the words “What would Jesus Do?”. For Christians it helps remind them to act as their savior would. In that particular case, it would include love and acceptance for all. It would include preaching faith by actions and not mere words and it would include living life with a great deal of love.

This principle will work for anyone, Christian or not. While reading Napoleon Hill’s legendary book Think and Grow Rich, I came across and idea he used that we can all adapt into our lives. Mr. Hill would relax and get into a meditative state. In this state he would imagine walking into a board room full of the people he admired. The list included people like Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and others. In these ‘meetings of the mind’ he would pose questions to these figures he so admired.

He claimed he would receive advice and words of wisdom from these individuals. Whether this was just his mind using the aggregate of knowledge he already had on these people to compose what their answers might be, or whether it was something far more esoteric he would not say. Even from the more logical previous option, this can help us. Is there people that you admire? Qualities they embody that you wish you had? I would suggest having this ‘meetings of the mind’ could really be helpful.

This may not be for everyone but you do not have to go to such extremes. Having a picture somewhere you can see to remind you of the qualities that you are aspiring to could be helpful. I admire how Walt Disney was told ‘No’ by over 300 banks but still pursued the idea of Disneyland. Thomas Edison had well over 1000 failures before finding what worked to create the light bulb. If you were to have a mental meeting with these wonderful gents, I would assume they would encourage you to push on and persist when it comes to your dreams. Simply having a picture of that person by the coffee maker say, could remind you daily to chase your dreams with a fiery passion.

In short, whether you wear a bracelet that reminds you to live and not just speak your faith, whether you have mental meetings with figures you admire or even just have a picture of someone whose qualities you admire posted to admire, using these reminders can help us emulate positive qualities while remaining true to ourselves. I would love to hear about who inspires you and why.

PICK YOUR WHAT?

In my first book, A Happy Life for Busy People, I had a section titled “Pick your posse” which discussed the importance you should place on the people you choose to surround yourself with. I approach it again in my second book with an updated and expanded look. Again, look for that book to arrive February 2019. We are going to give it a fresh look today.

What exactly is a posse? Around the turn of the century a posse was a group of armed men on either side of the law that looked out for and protected each other. Sometime in the 1980s the hip-hop culture used this definition for the people in their ‘crew’ who also had each other’s back. In short, a posse is trusted associates who watch out for each other and share like-minded vision.

I cover the importance of carefully selecting these people in the afore-mentioned two books. Today I would like to discuss another benefit of having a posse. Napoleon Hill, great author and self-improvement guru referred to a posse as a ‘mastermind group’. Loosely defined, that is a group of people with their own unique talents that work together to work on a project or often projects. They pool their own talents with those of others in the group. This helps compensate for weaknesses some members might have.

This seems to all make sense, but there is something far more magical that transpires when a group of people get together to work on a project or common goal. Something else is created. When two people get together and share thoughts and ideas a third person is actually created. That person is the aggregate of the other two people’s thoughts and ideas. By putting their minds together they can accomplish far more that each of them working separately.

Working with positivity and in the field of self-improvement I noticed that those in this field do not work together often enough. It would seem each person is content on developing their own strategy for improving life. It is as if they are leaving the putting the different theories together up to the reader. If two accomplished members of the motivational community were to work together I believe we could discover many more ways in which the average individual could live a more positive and rewarding life.

Recently, I have begun such and undertaking. I joined a Facebook group called Truth for Thought (TFT) This group at its core is about spreading positivity and promoting productivity amongst people who are struggling to find their way. I was happy to share what knowledge I offer to that end on this site with the group as well. I was happily approached by one of the gentleman who run the group, Brian, who asked me to take a more involved role. Currently several of us are setting up a roundtable to discuss our pages and issues that we would feel would be beneficial to highlight. In other words, working together for the good of mankind. We will not only be teachers, but students of each other. Blending all of our knowledge together will most certainly lead to some brand new insights.

I recommend in any endeavor you are working on to form a mastermind group, or more colloquially, a posse, that can help you get there sooner. It doesn’t even have to be anything more formal than a group of friends all committed to the same goal. If Truth for Thought seems like a group you may be interested in, give them a look, as well as my Facebook group Fall in Love with Life for additional motivation and inspiration.

3 LEVELS YOU MUST MASTER

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What you are about to read will change your life. That is not hyperbole, it is not an exaggeration. If you are to really understand what I am about to share with you it will transform the way you view the world. It applies, and can be utilized in every area of your life. Personally, I am just beginning to grasp the power and magnitude of what I am about to share with you. Since coming across this knowledge only a short time ago, it has revolutionized how I write and teach.

There are three levels to every person. You, me, Michael Jordan, Bill Gates, Mother Teresa all have three levels. How we use and become aware of these three levels will affect every area of our lives. Want to be a great parent? There are three levels to that. Want to get healthy? Three levels there too. Want to have a great relationship? Three levels of love. I am going to share with you what these three levels are, how I came across this information and then we are going to scratch the surface of how we can put this to use to transform our lives. I say ‘scratch the surface’ because I could write and entire book on this subject. I also say that because I am only beginning to work with this information and I am continuing to learn and find new and exciting applications for it daily.

Without any more build up, here are the three levels you, me and the rest of the world share.

  • Physical
  • Mental
  • Emotional/Spiritual

This may not sound too profound at first, but stick with me and I think you will become as excited as I am.

First, allow me to share with you how I came to understand this principle. On a Wednesday at my Post Office job I had a very physical day. Sadly, that night I had to work as a DJ as well. Fortunately for me, my lovely lady was kind enough to put together a dinner as I took an hour nap. I slept well the physical nature of the work was exhausting. Thursday work at the Post Office was slightly less physical. I left and went to write and work on my upcoming book. I tried to do some self editing, which I enjoy slightly more than getting a root canal. I also created and worked on some posts for this website. I came home feeling even more tired than the night before. The following day, Friday, I planned to have a nice relaxing day. I arrived at work only to be told my job was looking at being eliminated. Something the Post Office seems to like to do rather often. I was informed by a coworker that not only was this the case, but the boss had also called into question my work ethic. Which, next to my integrity, is one of the most important things to me. You can imagine how frustrated, disappointed, and to be quite honest angry I was feeling. I few hours later the boss returned from lunch and I asked if I could speak with him. Knowing the discussion he had with our coworker he informed me that he expected to talk with me. To make a long story short, he cleared up that both issues were not at all true. My job was safe, for the time being, and he appreciated the job I did. You can imagine the change in emotions then. I went to back feeling relief, gratitude and a sense of pride in my work. I also felt something else – exhausted!!!

While pushing around a pallet jack, I stopped to share what I noticed with a coworker who happened to be standing there. I inquired whether she had noticed you can be tired in three totally different ways, physically, mentally, and emotionally or spiritually. Being that she is what we could safely say as not the most self-aware person, she stared and said, “Umm… I guess so.” Being that I was just kind of thinking out loud, I nodded and moved on.

As I was letting this information bounce around in my head as I worked, one of the benefits of having a job that does not tax me to mentally, a quote suddenly came to mind.

“Every adversity, every failure, every heartbreak, carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” – Napoleon Hill

Suddenly, the light bulb started to glow. I would say it lit up, but sometimes information takes a moment to develop in my brain. I thought to myself, “If there are three forms of exhaustion, there must be three ways to energize!” This simple thought has began to change my life. Here is what I came up with. Let us say you are having a day where you are sleep walking through everything you do. You could stop at your local Starbucks and grab a double espresso, the caffeine would give you a little boost. If you are anything like me, there are days where I swear my body laughs at my feeble attempts to bring it to life. Perhaps that same day you come across an article on a subject that really interests you, or you have a conversation with a friend about a project you are working on. Now you are mentally stimulated. The body will more than likely come along for the ride. Here is where things get interesting to me. If, on this day of working with an energy deficit, you come home to find your spouse has surprised you with tokens of affection you totally did not expect. Maybe a friend calls you to tell you how much they appreciate you. Suddenly, your soul is on fire! Nothing can top that. Sleep? Who needs it.

This applies to more than energy. Trying to lose weight? If you just try to eat better foods (Physical) your chances of success are slim to none. If you study the effects of being overweight (mental) such as less years in your life, complications that can arise as you age, your motivation will be better. If you really want to improve your odds of success, you may want to look at your children or grandchildren and realize you might not see what they will become in life. Maybe you will think about how much you will miss doing with them while you are here because you will not be able to keep up with them physically. This will cause a powerful emotional response. Your motivation then becomes part of your spirit. When that happens, you will change your thinking (mental) and change your actions (physical)

This works for healing too. Let us say you were in a car accident. Your cuts, scraps and bruises will heal. It may take a while for you to remember that your odds on being in another accident are rather slim. Still, in a traffic jam it may take you a while not to have your heart race and your nerves be on edge.

There are so many more areas of life and examples we could touch on, but I wanted to introduce you to this principle and allow you to begin to work with it in your own life. I would be elated to hear what areas you can think of where you could use the knowledge of the three levels and how you can put what we are learning into practice.

A GREAT READ!!

This is a book my lady bought for me for my birthday. It was written in 1938, but not published until 2011. Why? The author’s family thought it be too controversial to publish.

Why would that be? This book questions a lot of what we think about education, religion, and thinking in general. Which I feel is healthy. No matter what you believe spiritually, this book speaks to the inner devils we all fight with.

It gives us practical advice to fight the evils of fear, doubt, and anger. I highly recommend reading this.

PICK A HERO..

I was reading a very interesting book entitled “Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude” by Napoleon Hill and W. Clement Stone.  In it they give a great idea for staying motivated and providing us an extra tool in living an amazing life.  Pick a hero, someone you aspire to.  If your goal is to give of yourself to those less fortunate, perhaps a picture of Mother Theresa would be good.  If you wish to be a fine leader of men, maybe George Washington or Abraham Lincoln.  Even a picture of your father or mother if they represent the person you wish to become.  Then when challenges arise, as they must in order for us to grow, pull out your picture. If you have it hanging on the wall so you can see it every day, so much the better.  I might suggest hanging it next to your Vision Board.  That way you can have a double dose of inspiration right away.  If you are not sure what a vision board is I welcome you to read that blog post from earlier.  If you need a picture of me, feel free to use the one from my profile page on this site.  In all seriousness, when you are troubled, look at your picture and picture what the person you have chosen would do.  Of course you may need a few of these ‘heroes’ depending on what advice you are seeking.  You may even ask, the picture “Mr. Lincoln (or whoever you have chosen) what would you do?”  Now obviously the picture will not answer and if it does, come back when you have had less to drink, or seek professional help.  What this does do, however, is get our minds both conscious and subconscious focused on the person, who really just represents a set of ideals and values we aspire to, and our own situation.  An answer will not usually come right that second, but sometime throughout the day it may just pop in your head when you least expect it.  I cannot tell you how many times a day things just pop in my head, but in this case it will be something useful.  You may have to ask several times, or sleep on it, but it will sure keep you focused on the way to act that would best achieve your goals. Enjoy your weekend and I will see you on Monday with more secrets to an amazing life!