Nov 042013
 
Why aren't you doing (or have quit doing) something worthy? ...

… There’s a strong likelihood that the reasons are deeply seated, below the surface of your life, and in need of being brought out so you can dedicate your days to something that will leave a mark in our dark world. Being a candle in such a world isn’t the easiest thing you’ll ever embark on doing, however, it will have the most worth — by far.  ( I am living testament to this truth. )

From a fantastic audio recorded from a talk that I had the utmost pleasure to hear and experience in person,  below I’ve recapped the Top 10 reasons ##.  The reasons are fully from the speaker’s vast experiences in working with people for years upon years; the commentary below them is mostly my own, tying to my own ongoing journey taking the road less traveled.

**

10 > Pride

Prideful-ness is a major contributor to many negative traits and decisions. Often, it is connected to crowd-satisfying peer pressure, or negativity of some type. Study ways in which you can learn how to remove pride from your life to the greatest extent.

9 > Besetting sin(s)

In most anyone’s closet, there are skeletons from the past. After all, man is not by nature “good”, he (she) is a fallen sinner. We all have done, or perhaps are still doing, things which are sinful. Many quit something of value to avoid conflict, or to avoid having to confront thing(s) which are unpleasant.

8 > Lack of character

Resolution 2 from the highly regarded book, ‘Resolved’ includes an equation:  Integrity x courage = character. Do you know someone who quit before the finish line?  Perhaps he/she simply lacked the former, integrity itself. Or, on the other hand, maybe there was a shortage of courage at the root. Either way, character counts, as Os Guinness taught us in his short, and profound book of that name.

7 > Distractions

Broken focus. Ah, what was that you said again?!.  Yes, your focus was just broken. Maybe it was the lure of “lesser things” ( good > great , reversing the order ); or, was it a lack of sorting out your priorities from your urgencies and obligations?  Regardless: Distractions hurt the pursuit of the worth (-y).

6 > Comfort.

Odysseus fell prey to a siren song, did he not?  Have far too many modern day Americans, let alone most of the ‘First World’ citizens done the same as this well known Greek legend? Yes, I say — the verdict is in. Entitlements?  You’re entitled to very very little, except which is transmuted to you via natural laws. Comfort comes in many forms – if you want to join the 2-20% of society that is far ahead of the rest, avoid it! Have lots of fun, and restore yourself — self-care, so to speak, but don’t get comfortable!

5 > Dream is too small

The cure for this at the very root?  Three fantastic books:  ‘The Magic of Thinking Big”, “The Dream Giver”, & “Visioneering”.

You have to dream. And dream often & consistently. Please, though, do not confuse this with fantasy, or wishes, or the ‘SFN’ (Something for Nothing) club. Dreaming is a discipline, a requirement to be successful, and very invigorating to the soul, spirit, and mind. Be sure yours are B-I-G. !

4 > Relational challenges

We all have them, or had them, including me. It’s part of life in many ways – people are … people! And, since the 80-98% don’t study, learn, and practice human relations/people skills as a matter of due course, chances are, they have these challenges more often. To fix this instead of quitting something valuable to your legacy, study conflict resolution first. Best books in this area?  “Courage” & “The Anatomy of Peace”

3 > Personal responsibility

You’re the project. Simple as that. You cannot change others, and never, ever should you blame another person, let alone something inanimate, such as a golf club, for what you alone control. Personal responsibility is a brother to personal growth/change; it is the antithesis to dependence. Jump over independence, and move into the interdependent level of action & thinking to really learn how to get better on this point.

2 > Selfdoubt / low belief

Belief, and its companion faith, are imperative in everyone’s life. Quitting, being the opposite of success, easily can tie into missing the ‘belief’ coin. Let alone letting self-doubt, or being in a valley reflect your day to day living. Doubt is cured by plugging into better information — stopping listening to yourself — and, finding better association. One’s ‘tribe’, community, or platoon/foxhole should be shared with only those who are going to edify, uplift, encourage, and coach/mentor you to greater things. Get your hands on the new in 2013 book, “Confidence of a Champion” as a key add-on. It is stellar!

1 > Lack of mental toughness

A leader armours him/herself – tough skin required. Toughness is an ingredient in large quantities. The best read to counter-act this reason for joining the ‘quitter’s contingent’?  “Toughen Up!” — Mr. Hamilton pushes all the right buttons in this 2013 tome. In a world of correctors, cynics, discouragers, and unhealthy skeptics – many of whom do not read, or grow themselves in any other discerning way, adding layers of toughness, while keeping a soft heart, is the right way to prevent quitting due to this reason.

**

My hope is that this list & the books/tidbits tied to them, added a large measure of value. As always, comments & shares are deeply appreciated & welcomed. Gratitude in abundance is how I live.

**

## – that talk was from Mr. Chris Brady. You’ll find his blog in my blogroll, and numerous books that he authored, or co-authored, reviewed and recommended on my second (Tumblr) blog, also linked in the corner of the main splash page.  All the best to him & his family at all times, as his example is one that I wish to emulate as a lifelong self-directed student.

Aug 032013
 
Mindset -- Thick skin, soft heart > Soft skin, hard heart --

Your mindset is a very large input factor – its impact is much like a rock that ripples the standing, still waters on a lake once a person skips it across the surface.

So, after hearing a talk by a very accomplished business owner/entrepreneur about 6 weeks ago, and re-visiting my notes from her ** talk, I was inspired to blog about some of the contents of her talk, adding some of my own color to her words.  It was a very enlightening perspective!

First >

Being offended.

Have thick skin & a soft heart when it comes to being offended. Our culture is far too close to the soft skin, hard heart than it should be, which causes needless friction in relationships. Let alone, one’s mindset is impacted, as he/she is always either carrying a chip on his/her shoulder(s), or is always being overly concerned about what to say & when to say it. Manners matter, yet having empathy and grace are better.

Second >

Credentialism.

If someone has more credentials, certifications, or other ‘flair’ than the person next to you, please don’t have the mindset that this individual is more intelligent, smarter, or more impactful to society. There’s nothing at all amiss about pursuing these as you go after what you want ( ‘Define’ step ), however, your mindset must be centered on the value of people as far more than their career/occupation/job. The latter is just a small part of our lives. Let alone, the fact that self-directed (liber/leadership) education doesn’t bring with it any of these “tokens”, however, this path is just as valuable,and unquestionably so.

Third >

Being an employee & lacking understanding of being an owner/entrepreneur.

As with the second, neither of these pathways are “wrong”, however, oft-times, with the last century having been a force-shift culture rather than the previous 125 years, there is a mindset that someone who is an owner has to put their entire life on the line by signing a stack of papers, or having a name on a building. Let alone that entrepreneurship is ‘risky’, or requires a ton of time to get ahead versus a 40 hour employee’s average week. Not the case!  Here, again, mindset makes all the difference. Have thick skin if you are an owner facing questions like this; have a soft heart if you are dealing with an owner who is chasing his/her dream of freedom

Fourth >

The desire to always win an argument.

Dale Carnegie taught us all about four score years ago that one never really wins an argument. Sage wisdom from the past, as usual, is timeless. However, when your skin is not thick, you may be far more defensive, less humble, et al., so I can clearly can tell why she included this in her talk about mindset.  Instead of winning an argument, and losing the battle, let alone the’ ‘war’, how about digging into people skills books, audios, and surround yourself with those whom will make you better?

Fifth >

Image.

One possible way to approach image is to compare it to one’s reputation, as opposed to what one truly is, inside-out. A person is far more than how he looks on the surface, how much schooling/education she has, etc. Being materialistic, judgmental of someone’s choice of clothing without knowing details, critiquing his way of talking; all of these are image-conscious. It’s far more valuable to re-focus your mindset on something that will edify and glorify others.

and, lastly, Sixth >

Excuses.

We’ve all made them; in fact, Dr. David Schwartz, in his landmark book, ‘The Magic of Thinking Big’, dedicated a whole chapter to ‘Excuse-itis’!  So, let’s not reflexively judge others, nor beat ourselves up if we’ve come up with excuses. These are signs of the latter from this blog’s subject – a hard heart and thin skin. Rather, turn the excuses into reasons! And, have a thick skin and grace when it comes to dealing with others who have not yet reshaped their mindset to one of solutions, rather than problems.

_________

** – all credit for the outline/core themes from this post to Mrs. Terri Brady. Her talks are always a value add to my life. Visit her blog @ http://terribradyblog.com for an excellent dose of success, wealth, and interpersonal development thinking.

Jul 292013
 
Habits do make (or break) you ...

… in this case, financially.

I recently came upon a post in social media-land that made me stop, read, bookmark it, print it off, and begin to share w/ others.  That’s saying something, in a virtual oasis of information that never ends! There is so much information out there in our modern world, much of which eludes our eyeballs. In many cases, this is for the better, since the information is of 90% (below par) quality per Sturgeon’s Law (Five Levels of Decline/FLD), however, I’d say what I’m going to reference and point the readers to below fits into the 10%.

What do the rich do daily that leads them to financial success that the unsuccessful don’t? Mr. Corley+ lists 20 separate things (see below URL/link for the citation). For the purposes of this post, am going to pick several of them that stood out to me based on my ongoing personal/professional/leadership journeys.

First, let’s use a disclaimer. If you listen to too many politicians, or those who lack results, you may think that the rich are to be disdained. Certainly, some of them lack people skills and don’t properly manage their wealth/good fortune; others earned it through less than admirable means; and a small handful inherited their money, and likely have zero per cent appreciation for where it came from. Put these 3 categories aside. This post has nothing at all to do w/ them.

Onto the list >>>>>>>>>

First:  63% of the wealthy listen to audio books during their commute v. 5% of the poor.

* Personal testimonial. I used to be part of the latter. Now, I always use my vehicle and commute time, regardless of time spent (3 min. drive, or many hours) as a rolling university. Over the past 3 years, I’ve listened to somewhere b/w 500 and 1,000 audios, inc. numerous books. What it’s done for my thinking, habits, and results is very clear.

Second: 88% of the wealthy read 30 mins. or more each day for education / career reasons v. 2% of the poor.

* Personal testimonial. Again, I was part of the latter. I would read a book here & there, usually a political ‘screed’ that just made me angry at one politician, party, or law, or sometimes a fiction book. Now, I read from many different genres: I presently have 4 books in progress:  1 economics; 1 finances; 1 leadership/history; and 1 human relations/people skills. And, over the past 3+ years, I’ve read over 100 different books, several of them multiple times. Again, the difference that it’s made is beyond obvious.

Third: 67% of wealthy watch one/1 hour or less of TV/daily v. 23% for poor.

* Personal testimonial. Up until 2 1/2 years ago, I watched (or had in the background for sound) roughly 4 hours of TV most days, and sometimes, 8-12 hours if I was home and didn’t have anything else to do. (!?!?!) – and in that time, my financial success was very limited. Programming, advertising/PR, and marketing only encourage consumption and you’d have to search far and long to find anything on the tube that teaches wealth principles. Now, I watch zero hours of TV/day, and with very limited exceptions due to the mobile web & the internet, I do not miss it. And, I’ve learned a ton of principles, lessons, and nuggets that will lead to far better financial results.

Fourth: 79% of the wealthy network 5/five or more hours/month v. 16% of the poor.

* Personal testimonial. The value add for focused networking is unquestioned. Meeting new people leads to bigger networks, and in the connected age in which we live ( read Godin and Gladwell to better understand. ), this is a crucial component of growing wealth. I used to watch all that TV — see above — and my circles of influence were stagnant. Now, I have stacks of business cards, numerous new friends, and I am out there at various events on a recurring basis.

Fifth [ and last, for this post. ] : 86% of wealthy folks believe in life-long educational self improvement vs. 5% for poor folks.

* Personal testimonial. This is tough to hear for those who have minds that are finite – perhaps they made excuses for their situation; or, they believe that their credentials (degrees, certifications) mean they have “arrived” and there’s nothing else to know/learn; or, they have a fixed mindset (instead of one of growth). Any of these can easily be overcome, however, it will take changing the information at the front end x increasing humility x adding honeability. Toss in a bonus of understanding the crucial difference between investment and expense, and you will easily grasp that learning and deep seated education, which is often self-directed, never ends. ‘What we know is but a drop, and what we don’t know is an ocean.’

 

I hope you, the reader, found this post to be very insightful!  Learn from it, and make the changes right away – don’t “try” them, just “do” them!   All the best at all times!

——-

+ http://www.richhabitsinstitute.com/ = Mr. Corley’s site ( the article URL was cited by Dave Ramsey )

Mar 182013
 
Do social capital & mental fitness overlap?

To answer the question in the post header …  my answer is an unqualified ‘Yes’.  Of course, as always with my blog, comments are most welcome, however, first, let’s discuss this in more detail:

( note that these are core topics that can fill entire books, so the post’s purpose is to encourage sensus plenior = metaphorical, systems based type thought, reflection, and focus. May it make you a better person too! )

 

Social Capital

Social capital & a related ‘twin’, community building, both cover some similar ground. One way to describe is putting a premium on voluntary association in/with groups of like minded people. Rebuilding of organizations that focus on positive social capital creation & maintanence is imperative in order to restore a key building block that made America what it used to be in the time of the Founding generation, and well into the 19th century.

I could cite a litany of groups that fit under this vast umbrella; to wit:  YMCA/YWCA; 4-H; Red Cross, Salvation Army, PTA, church youth groups/Sunday school, and even local governmental bodies / positions within like a (low or non paid) city manager or mayor, council member, or volunteer fire fighter.

Regrettably, as our culture and society has fractured due to various reasons over the past century, participation in these groups has not kept up with population growth and the aging of those who made time spent in/with these groups central to their lives. I’ve nothing against technology, as its march into our lives will continue forward and has brought us numerous positives, however, I’d cite it, a too relentless focus on trading time for money, and too many hours spent on personal entertainment (mass media) as the main culprits to lift time spent building social capital and community to where they need to be.

How does the ‘twin’, community building, come into the picture?  Community building is a focus on growing your own leadership ability to lead someone to follow you. Cast a vision, focus on one’s purpose, coach/mentor/counsel, and bring out the best in everyone, and you have the core “tools” to build a community. And if you compensate it, that’s the icing on the cake 🙂

Mental Fitness

Mental fitness. A broad category/classifiation, indeed. For the purposes of this post, let’s define as a focus on strengthening your ability to handle what life brings your way – for instance: building relationships (esp friendships); generating the right mindset/attitude; how to handle conflict & adversity.

What vehicle are you using to grow your mental fitness ‘muscle’?  Are you even growing it, or is it weakening?  It is really important to realize how important it is to be humble, honeable, and hungry  to get better; no one who understands people skills will think any less of you if you admit that you can be a better person through conscious focus!

The mental fitness of our society overall, I believe, has been weakened by the very same forces that I discussed above: technological over-dependency; mass media over-entertainment, and too much focus on making money over making memories and putting time ahead of dollars instead of trading them. Like the re-generation of social capital, this can be fixed, and there are people out there who realize this – anyone from Peter Block, Robert Putnam, John StahlWert, Chris Brady, Dan Hawkins, and Charles Murray, to name just a few.

Some concluding thoughts >

The overlap gives those who want to restore a foundation in America (let alone other Western nations) a ring of bulls eyes to focus on. Does this mean that someone who wants to improve his/her mental fitness or rebuild social capital cannot ever entertain him/herself?  That he/she cannot have a smartphone, or social media accounts?  No! It just means that you have to parcel out your time more wisely:  We have the exact same 24 hour day as all the men and women who have walked the Earth before us, yet there is far too many who say they are “busy”. That is a time allotment and prioritization issue, and nothing else, at its direct core.

Recommendation:  Find a mentor & join a group that is focused on building communities & instilling mental fitness and social capital in our society. By definition, it’s a voluntary decision and quite often, the decision is the best thing that you’ll ever do. Why?  You are growing yourself personally, and given tools to bring out your inner genius, so you can, over time, pay it forward to someone else. Your legacy won’t be written by how many hours of TV you watched, how many songs you have on your iPod, how much O/T you worked, or how many times you posted on your Facebook:  these are all part of the fabric of your life, however, your real legacy is reflected back in how many people you edified; how many marriages you helped improve, how many you helped to get out of debt & grow their financial literacy, how much better you handle conflict and adversity, and the revival of the numbers who are joining you in whichever social capital groups that you are part of.

These are part of a mission which has completely revolutionized my life, and I extend my hand to others to ponder it in depth as I did/have. Many kind regards, blessings, and success to you!

Feb 282013
 
How much are you reading?  How much are you growing?

“The keys to life are running and reading. When you’re running, there’s a little person that talks to you and says, “Oh I’m tired. My lung’s about to pop. I’m so hurt. There’s no way I can possibly continue.” You want to quit. If you learn how to defeat that person when you’re running. You will how to not quit when things get hard in your life. For reading: there have been gazillions of people that have lived before all of us. There’s no new problem you could have–with your parents, with school, with a bully. There’s no new problem that someone hasn’t already had and written about it in a book.

Will Smith

 

********
Reading. Such an imperative activity for making one’s life better, yet why aren’t more in the West making it a habit?   There are many reasons, although I’d posit that the vast majority of them are dressed up excuses which are actually reasons to read, once unraveled and consider in depth.
So many of us know Will Smith by his many many successful movies, perhaps his old TV show, or even his time as a music mogul, rapping with DJ Jazzy Jeff 😀  However, were you aware of his love of reading, and how much he values it?   The quote is powerful in its own right, and its shines as a truth beacon.
How often have we spoken with, heard, observed, or been pulled into an unfamiliar or tense situation in any area – say with a friend, a manager, your kids, even a perfect stranger, and not been able to handle it well?  Would not having read some world class books on people skills, leadership, faith, or history have given you the tools to learn from those who had those same situations in their own lives?    Undoubtedly!
I strongly urge all readers to think about this – please don’t react; think. Self-improvement, personal change, and lifelong growth don’t just happen:  They require intentionality, determination, focus, humility, and courage. None of these are talents, though, they are skills, learnable skills. The question that you have to ask yourself tonight is:  Am I willing to make a difference in the lives of everyone I encounter, and in my own mirror, and start to read from quality books?
I hope the answer is ‘Yes!’.
May you be blessed in your days ahead.
Thank you for reading.
Jun 282012
 
Today's Spotlighted Quote

You don’t build trust by talking about it. You build it by achieving results, always with integrity and in a manner that shows real personal regard for the people with whom you work.

– Craig Weatherup

 

The book, ‘Trust‘, by Les Csorba, is an absolute winner and ties in perfectly with this quote. You can find my recommendation of this book from the fall/winter of 2011 at my other blog,  http://tumblr.com/follow/thisrascallovesfreedom