Entries Tagged 'Thoughts' ↓

How Many Paths Are There To Your Goals

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I have been evaluating my goals and looking at where I am compared to where I was a few months ago and a few years ago.  It got me thinking about the paths we take.

following the pathThis summer I took my kids hiking a few times.  We always had a trail to follow and we always knew what our destination was. We did not know how the path would look along the way or even how to get there except to follow the trail.

My 8  year old son was always looking for a short cut. Often he would cut a corner on a switch back which did save him time. Other times he would climb over rocks and we would have to wait for him to catch up.

Most of the time he was able to make his way through his short cuts because the two youngest couldn’t keep his pace.

When we are going through life with a goal, how often to we take detours for follow other paths in hopes of reaching our goal faster?

As I thought over the many paths I have followed to reach some of my goals, I could help laughing at some of them. You see, some of the shortcuts I followed took me not only back to where I started, but beyond.  I had ground to make up, just to get back to where I was.  In some cases these short cuts put me back over a year.

Now before I take any potential short cut I ask myself these questions:

  • Will this get me closer to my goal
  • If this is a “dead end” how long will it take me to get back on track
  • Will the path create value for me and for others regardless of the outcome
  • Will I follow the path to the end

If I don’t like the answers to those questions, I pass on the short cut. Sometimes the short cut may take some extra time, but the knowledge gained is worth it. Other times the money and time lost is not worth the risk and those resources could be applied to better uses.

If you are going through life following the crowd not knowing where you are going or why, you are not living life.  Set goals and go after them like it is life or death.  After all, if you are not growing and moving towards something you are stagnant. Just like you should never drink from stagnant water, you should never have a stagnant life.

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Be a Hero or be a Villain

Flash getting interviewedWhat do you think? Who is stronger, the hero or the villain? In fairy tales the hero always beats the villain, but in reality are they equally matched?

I was reading a report about a study done at Harvard where doing a good deed or an evil act can actually increase will power and physical endurance.

I thought that having a noble purpose would increase one’s abilities or at least swing their results in their favor.  I have always wondered how swindlers and others that seemed so dishonest to the point of evil were able to prosper and perform so well.

The article got me to reflect back on my life, specifically events or periods of time where everything was going my way.  I remember those times as positive and happy.  I felt like I was on a mission and what ever I need would be granted.

Where things going my way because I took on the role of the hero?  Was I trying to be the hero for my family and that is why things worked out better than other times when things were hard?

I believe in action and positive thinking in order to get the expected results. Without action all the thinking in the world is not going to feed you and your family. However, action alone will not always produce the expected results.

If I were a salesman knocking on doors trying to sell the latest and greatest product and my trainer told me that for every ten people that said no I would get one sale, I could knock on 100 doors and not make a sale if all I do is knock on a door simply for the sake of odds.

I like to play football just about every Saturday and one thing I noticed about myself is when I am on a team with players who are just okay, if I make the decision that I need to step up an be the best player, I do amazing. I can get open and catch tough throws.  When I am on a team with good players and I don’t feel that I need to “be the hero” I play average.  It isn’t that I don’t run as hard or try, but I think it comes down to whether or not I put myself in the role of the hero.

Going along with the football scenario a little longer the same is true on defense.  If I need to be the hero on defense (or the villain from the eyes of the offense), I can swat the ball down or intercept it many more times than in regular play when the other players are good.

In the study, participates were given a dollar and told they could keep it or donate it to charity. Those who donated the $1 could hold a 5lbs weight 10 seconds longer on average than those who kept the dollar.

A second study was done and participants were asked to hold a 5lbs weight and write a fictional story about them doing either something good for others, something that had no impact on others or something that harmed others. Those that wrote something good or harmed others were able to hold the weight longer than those who wrote something that had no impact on others.

It isn’t even the actual act that seems to be the trigger to grant one more strength, but instead the intent or even the thought about doing it.

In what ever situation you are in now whether it is financial, physical, or anything else. Be a hero. Decide right now that you are going to be the hero at work… at home… or wherever else a hero is needed.

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The Power Of Checklists

checking them off the listI often use checklist to help get done more in my day.  I write down the 6 most important tasks I want to accomplish and then check them off as they are complete. I often complete my list by noon.

Have you ever made a daily checklist? Did you know that the act of checking off an item actually produces a chemical response releasing endorphins?  Have you ever done something that wasn’t on the checklist and then written it down and checked it off?

Checklists give us a sense of completion and from that we gain satisfaction.  We can see what we accomplished and don’t feel like our time was wasted.

Here is a thought. Instead of a list of things to do or a “To-Do” list why not create a “To-Be” list?  A list of things to become may not be able to be checked off everyday, but by writing down who you want to become you will put into motion the necessary steps to accomplish that list.

On my facebook status I put, “Instead of a To-Do list I’ll create a To-Be list.”  One of the comments stuck out to me.  Here it is:

I’m going to make a Not-To-Be list.

I am sure it was written out of fun and not seriousness, but where would your focus be placed if you made a Not-To-Be (NTB) list?  You would focus on everything you do not want to be!

Let’s say that one item on the NTB list is “Not to be angry”. Is not being angry the same as being happy?  Absolutely not.  Just like not being fat isn’t the same as being healthy.

Many would argue that if your list consisted of Not to be angry, Not to be fat, and Not to be poor you would end up being a fat angry broke, because our unconscious mind does not understand negative words like no, not, etc. It hears be angry, be fat, be poor.

To-Do lists help you cover all the things you deem important. A To-Be list helps you become the person you can be proud of.

You Have To Use The Right Tool

use_the_right_toolI was picking my daughter up from preschool today and saw the funnest thing I have seen in a while.  The next door neighbor was beating a mattress with a spatula!  She was trying to dust it off I think, but it was very ineffective.  I wish I had a camera at that moment.

She laid the mattress on her driveway and picked up one corner of it.  Then the hand previously hidden came into view wielding a spatula which she used to wail on the mattress a couple times before realizing it didn’t have any significant effect.

She then placed it down beside her and proceeded to hit the mattress with her now empty hand which didn’t last long before she wore tired of hitting it.  She dropped the mattress and went inside.

I wasn’t there long enough to see what her next weapon of choice would be, but it made me think about how we choose the tools we use for different tasks.

Choosing the right tool involves some planning.  First, you need to decide on your desired outcome and then you can better plan on how to proceed.

Once you know what the tool needs to do you can go through a variety of tools to find the one that will work best for your situation.  There could be several tools that can accomplish the result, but you need to choose one that will work for you and you are comfortable using.

For example, a broom or baseball bat would work better and beating the bust out of an old mattress than a spatula, but if you wanted to dust off a fine lace tablecloth, a spatula might be a more delicate tool for the job.

Whatever the job whether it is Internet marketing, teaching, building, or baking using the right tools will help you get better results quicker and nobody will laugh at your from their car.

How Bad Do You Want Your Desire?

Man, have I got to pee! I was at a convention center that I have never been to before. It was a rather long drive and with all the water I had been drinking lately, I really had to go. I entered the doors and looked around. Usually the restrooms are near the front doors aren’t they?

I went up and down the hall way looking in every door opening for that restroom. I couldn’t find it anywhere. I ran up some nearby stairs hoping I would find it at the top, but there was nothing there. Nothing I was looking for anyway.  I was certain I was going to find that restroom.  I knew there was one in the enormous building.

Finally when I only had seconds to spare I decided to give in and ask somebody. I found the first worker I could and he politely directed me to the restroom. I listen to his directions carefully, because I didn’t have time to take a wrong turn.

Off I went turning where he said to turn and counting doors before the next turn. Finally I found the restroom!

What a relief! As I walked out of the restroom and started to find my way to the conference room I noticed what a lovely building the convention center really was. They put a lot of time and money into details and they did a wonderful job.

They had live plants inside that gave the area a clean, fresh smell and was quite relaxing. I was amazed that I missed all this when I first entered the building, but I did have something more pressing on my mind, or bladder.

I was reminded of this while talking to a good friend about some goals she had. She said that she had some great goals and was really excited about them, but as soon as anything didn’t go her way she would give up and go back to old routines.

I thought for a second and then asked her if it was like this: I then walked over to a closed door with my head held high and confident. As I approached the door and saw it was closed, I immediately dropped my head and slumped my shoulders over and in a defeated voice without touching the door know said, “Oh well, the door is closed. I wanted to leave the room, but I can’t since the door is stopping me.”
quit_at_door
I then turned to her and asked her if that is what it is like. She quickly cheered up and exclaimed, “Yes! That is exactly what it is like. I get to the door and don’t know what to do next.”

I suggested that she turn the door knob and then pull. She replied that to do that she would have to get up out of her chair and walk all the way over to the door, then reach her hand out and decide which way to turn and then pull the door. But what if the door was locked or stuck? She would have wasted all the time getting up and walking to the door only to have to turn around and go back.

She was laughing and joking by this time, but there is truth in those words. It really made me think. How bad did she want to reach her goal if an untested closed door would stop her?

If she wanted to achieve her goal as bad as I wanted to find that restroom she would have knocked down that door if she had to in order to achieve her goal.

There is more to this story than the determination to achieving your desire.  In the first story, notice how I went about trying to find the restroom myself for quite some time before finally seek someone out that I thought could help me find what I wanted.

That is also an important part of achieving our goals.  I am sure I would have eventually found the restroom, but had I asked someone right away it would have saved me time, stress, and pain.

A mentor can guide us to our desire because he or she has done it before and knows how to get there. Sure you could do it by yourself, but having someone there to help you avoid the wrong turns will help you get where you want to go much faster.

How bad do you want your desire?  Will a closed door stop you or will you get it no matter what?

Hang in there!

This statement is often used to motivate people to not give up. I have heard it my whole life for various reasons with out ever giving it a second thought.  That is until my grandmothers funeral a few months ago when a well-meaning aunt told me to hang in there.

I mighty change has occurred in my life and in my thought processes.  Before that change, hang in there was a cliche that held no meaning whatsoever to me.  After that change I realized that phrase does not inspire one to excel, but instead promotes stagnation.  If you are “hanging in there” are you bettering your position? Are you moving forward or growing? Are you living abundantly and being prosperous?  Not at all!  You are staying right where you are in your current situation hoping you don’t fall to your death.  Just like in the plant world, if you aren’t growing you are dying.  That isn’t very motivating to me.

Don’t “hang in there”!  Instead move forward and climb higher.  Don’t settle for mediocrity when abundance is within your reach!  And please don’t tell me to hang in there, instead take the advice of Spock: “Live long and prosper.”

Are cars people or objects?

I was driving down I-15 on the way to work listening to the audio book for “Leadership and Self-Disception” when I just wondered how I viewed other people in those cars. Do I see cars or do I see people driving cars? Often I think I see cars in my way rather than people trying to get where they need to go just like me.

Cars or people in traffic?

Cars or people in traffic?

I wonder how many crashes we would have and how many incidents of “road rage” would occur if we drove down the road viewing the other cars as our neighbor instead of some annoying jerk, supposing you don’t view your neighbor that way. This can apply to other areas of our lives as well, like those rude telemarketers, dumb customers, irritating employees, bratty kids, etc.

Next time you find yourself annoyed with someone, remember they are a person too and may be annoyed with you!