Sitting Bull is one of my favorite philosophers. This particular statement is very profound. A good amount of people spend very little time thinking about the world past today. In this wake up, pay bills and die type culture, we are focused on how to get through the day. If we do spend time thinking about what is best for our future, we come to the realization that it is our actions today that affect our future. You want to retire? You have to begin saving today. You want to live a long and healthy life? It is the dietary and exercise choices we make today that will determine that.
How often do most people spend contemplating the generations to come? If you are a parent, you have a vested interest in how the world will turn out. Even then, life can get in the way. There are so many things to keep track of that thinking of how your actions will affect future generations might not be the first thing on your mind. Really, it should be. All of our actions affect the future because they affect the present. How you treat someone will affect how they treat others later in the day, and perhaps even further. throwing garbage on the street not only makes the world look terrible in the present, but can affect the water supply, animals may eat it or get tangled in it. Everything we do trickles down and affects everything else.
Starting this weekend, ask yourself how it will affect the future. Will it affect the attitude of the person who helps you at the coffee shop if you vent your anger on them? It may ruin their mood and they may treat the next customer poorly. That next customer will walk away with a negative attitude of the coffee shop or at the very least the person who served them. Will that piece of garbage you throw on the ground do damage to more than just the appearance of city? Conversely, if you compliment someone, how will that affect their day? If you pick up garbage on the ground, could you save an animal? Could you do more to positively affect the world for the next generation? Let us work together to create a better world for our children? Let us have a constructive conversation about this topic.
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.
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.
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!
With all the talk of the enviroment and recycling there is a lot of talk on what we leave behind.
Ironically, this thought is little transfered into our personal lives. There is so much importance placed on the here and now, in instant gratification that the absence of what effect we will have on the future is understandable. I have even heard people say, “What do I care about how I will affect the future? I’ll be dead.”
I take a view more akin to one of the great leaders of the Sioux nation – Sitting Bull, who said, “Let’s put our minds together and see what kind of life we can make for our children.”
In knowing you have done something to make the world a better place for having been here, I think that goes a great way to fostering an inner peace.
Recently, I entered a city-wide poetry contest. I, by no means, am a poet. I am a self-improvement author specializing in stress reduction. Still I wanted to leave a positive mark on the city for years to come. That was fitting because the winner will have their poem stamped in the sidewalk.
My poem won! Which of course fills me with a great deal of pride. What is more important to me was the content of my poem. In it I explain what makes a city great is not the buildings or streets, but the people that fill them both. If our desire is to live in a great city, one of the most important things we can do is to be the best person we can be.
I urge you all to think of what legacy you wish to leave behind. What will your life bring to future generations?