Make Your Own Magic: How To Make Miracles Happen In Your Life

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Transcript

Make Your Own Magic:
How To Make
Miracles Happen In Your
Life
Practical steps to help you achieve the goals
you want in your life.
A Coaching Session to Help Achievers
Succeed in Their Goals
By Terry L. Brock
Make Your Own Magic: Make Your Own Miracles
Terry L. Brock
Terry Brock is an internationally recognized speaker, writer
and consultant to businesses helping them leverage
technology and marketing to increase business profits and
productivity. .
He has worked with clients in banking, accounting, real
estate, financial planning, manufacturing, distribution and
many other areas. He has a solid view of business and what
is needed to succeed today from his background.
He has taught people from organizations such as Inc.
Magazine, Marriott Corporation, Sprint, Caterpillar,
Michelin Tires, Avon Products, National Education
Association, the Federal Reserve Bank, Hewlett-Packard
(HP), Dell Computer and many others. He holds a Bachelor
of Science degree in communications. His Master of
Business Administration is in Marketing from Georgia State
University.
Terry is a regular columnist for Business Journals across
America where his column is read by business owners and
salespeople in cities such as Atlanta, Dallas, Denver,
Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Washington, Sacramento and
many others.
Some of the countries where he has done business include:
Canada, Mexico, England, France, Australia, Nigeria,
Russia, Norway, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Japan,
Hong Kong, Bermuda, Indonesia Malaysia, Indonesia and
even Texas!
Terry has taught martial arts, worked in radio, newspapers,
is studying the Russian and Japanese languages and rides a
unicycle.
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Make Your Own Magic: Make Your Own Miracles
Contents
Introduction ...................................................................................... 4
Dedication........................................................................................ 8
Chapter 1 – Living in a Dream World ................................................ 10
Chapter 2 – Identifying what you really want..................................... 25
Chapter 3 – Determining What Is Necessary to Get
What You Want ................................................................................ 44
Chapter 4 – Counting The Cost.......................................................... 64
Chapter 5 – Thinking About Tolerance .............................................. 88
Chapter 6 – Living Free In An Unfree World ..................................... 109
Chapter 7 – Making Your Magic Happen........................................... 130
Reference Section ............................................................................ 135
My Personal Articles For You ........................................................... 140
Principles For Success from General George S. Patton ....................... 150
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Make Your Own Magic: Make Your Own Miracles
Library of Congress Control Number 2034302498
Achievement Systems Press
7550 Hinson St. #15-C
Orlando, FL 32819 USA
Copyright © Achievement Systems, Inc. and Terry L. Brock
All rights reserved
Don’t even let the slightest little idea pop into your head that you can copy
any portion of this work. Yes, that means you cannot store it in a retrieval
system or transmit it by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying
recording or any other technology that whiz bang folks come up with in the
future! Well, unless you get written permission here, and that would be
pretty easy, so you probably should drop us a note!
ISBN 0-932353-1-9
To order additional copies of this book contact us as www.terrybrock.com or
call 407-363-0505 in the United States.
Enjoy!
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Make Your Own Magic: Make Your Own Miracles
Introduction
You can become the person you want to
be and have the life that you dream
about. You can achieve the goals that
you have for your life and make those
dreams reality.
Think of yourself on the
threshold of unparalleled
success. A whole
clear, glorious life lies before
you. Achieve! Achieve!
-- Andrew Carnegie
However, it doesn’t happen by wishing.
You have to make it happen. This book
is about a journey that you and I are going to take together. I’ll be your
coach and help you as we walk through what you need to create the world
that is right for you.
I’m going to say some things that will probably shake you up a bit. I’ll
probably say some things that you don’t like. That’s OK. Hang in there
with me and let’s take this wonderful ride for the adventure called, Making
Your Life What You Want. You can do it.
I must warn you at the outset that it is going to take courage. It is going to
take throwing away some of the old ways of thinking that you might have
embraced before.
You’re going to have to make some major changes to make this happen, but
I can promise you this: If you read this book and follow the steps, you will
be able to get what you want in life.
How can I make such a statement without knowing you or what your goals
are? You might be asking yourself, “Who is this guy and just how can he
possibly know what it is going to take to help me become what I want and
achieve the goals that I have?
Well, I’m just an average, normal guy. I wasn’t born into wealth or fame.
I’ve worked hard all my life to achieve what I have. I have traveled to 25
countries and 5 continents so far around the world. I’ve had the privilege to
speak with servants in Africa, multi-millionaires in the Middle East (and
elsewhere), billionaires (in the US) and many income levels in between.
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Make Your Own Magic: Make Your Own Miracles
I’ve seen very successful people and miserable failures. I’ve had the chance
to see what works and what doesn’t work on this planet. In this book, I’m
going to be your coach and share some of these ideas with you. You and I
are on a journey together that can change your life for the better.
However, you have to commit. You have to commit to yourself that you are
willing to pay the price to achieve the dreams that you have. In the final
analysis, it is all up to you. You have to be willing to do what is necessary
to turn your life around and correct those areas that need improvement.
You have to decide today, right now as you’re reading this, that you want
something different in your life so much that you are willing to work, study,
learn and, most important, be willing to change your attitudes where
necessary.
If you are willing to make those changes in your life and willing to do
whatever necessary to achieve the goals you have for yourself, you are ready
to begin.
The goals you set are going to be for you and you alone. I encourage you as
you work with me on this journey that you share what you’re experiencing
with only yourself and your personal diary or journal. Too often friends and
even well meaning loved ones can put you off and laugh at you when you
share your goals and dreams.
Achieve your dreams first, and then share with others what you planned
(past tense). Results have a way of speaking for themselves. You won’t
have to worry about convincing others what you can do once you have that
successful track record behind you.
On the other hand, if you brag about what you’re going to do, you set
yourself up for a fall.
You lose either way.
If what you’re boasting about (and it is boasting until you’ve done it) does
happen, it won’t be a big deal since you’ve already told everyone about it.
However, if it doesn’t happen either because you changed your mind or
circumstances changed or there is any other reason why you didn’t do it,
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Make Your Own Magic: Make Your Own Miracles
you’re in trouble. You’ll look really bad not having done what you just told
everybody you were going to do.
"When we see ourselves in a
You’ll want to “explain” why it didn’t
situation which must be endured
work to others but most won’t care.
and gone through, it is best to
They only want to hear about what
happened.
make up our minds to it, meet it
Bragging about what you’re going to
do and not coming through with it only
means that others will think less of you.
You don’t need that in life.
with firmness, and accommodate
everything to it in the best way
practicable. This lessens the evil,
while fretting and fuming only
serves to increase your own
torments."
Thomas Jefferson
1743-1826, 3rd U.S. President
It is far better to just keep your mouth
shut about what you’re going to do and
then tell others of your successes after
you’ve done it. This way, you don’t
lose. If you decide to attempt
something and it fails only you will know about it and others will be none
the wiser.
In other words, for your own personal goals, shut up (don’t tell everyone
what you’re planning) and put up (produce the results).
This book is designed for you to work on it a step at a time. I begin in
Chapter One to help you see life as it is and to help you get rid of thinking
that the world will provide magic to solve your problems. You might feel
your toes being stepped on from time to time. If it makes you think and
question, that is good. I welcome your feedback, comments and even
criticism. You can drop me an e-mail message anytime while reading
through this. I’m here for you as a coach.
Most of all, know that you are embarking on this journey for you. You are
the one you’re going through life with now. In the quietness of your home,
you are all alone. It is what psychologists called “intrapersonal
communication” that matters. It is talk you have with yourself, by yourself
that is so important. This book is my effort to help you as you talk with you
to see what the potential is and how you can make miracles happen in your
life.
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Make Your Own Magic: Make Your Own Miracles
If you’re ready to begin a journey that can change your life, let’s begin.
We’re on to an adventure that can and will have profound impact on what
you do, how you think and who you are.
In fact, what you do with this book will determine who you become.
I look forward to our journey together!
Terry L. Brock
Orlando, Florida
Monday, September 1, 2003
[email protected]
www.terrybrock.com
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Make Your Own Magic: Make Your Own Miracles
Dedication
I dedicate this book to several people. First, it is dedicated to you, the
reader. You are investing your time, money and effort in reading this and
going through the exercises. I congratulate you on paying the price to make
this happen.
I also dedicate this to my nieces and nephews, Heather Dillay, Johnny
Dillay, Mary Brock and J.T. Brock. You are loved very much and I hope
you don’t have to make as many mistakes as your Uncle Terry did in his life.
Yet, with all my mistakes, I’ve had a very good life thus far and look
forward to many more years ahead. You have your whole life ahead of you.
With Brock blood flowing in your veins, live life with gusto and enthusiasm
and become just who and what you want to be!
The road to happiness lies in two
simple principles: find what it is
that interests you and that you
can do well, and when you find it,
put your whole soul into it---every
bit of energy and ambition and
natural ability you have.
-John D. Rockefeller III
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Make Your Own Magic: Make Your Own Miracles
Chapter 1
Living in a Dream World
I
t is easy to live in a dream world. We’d all like to believe it is real but
we know it is not. We even deceive ourselves into believing that magic
is real and we can get what we want by wishing, hoping (really, really,
really hoping) that it can happen.
We use lucky charms, good luck ribbons, lucky rabbit’s feet, horse shoes
and all kinds of other stuff to give us an advantage. We hope against hope
that something will be real that would be laughable when looked at
objectively.
You know what I mean.
You keep hoping that someday, somehow, someway, this wonderful thing is
going to happen to you and then… VOILA! Life will be perfect.
Many speakers, singers, musicians and other professionals live so much of
their lives just hoping for that one day that someone great is going to see
them, discover them singing or performing and then everything will work
out just right.
Well, I’m sorry to be the messenger with the reality check but things just
don’t work that way on this planet. They never have. They don’t work that
way now. They never will work that way in the future. Sorry!
This is closely tied to “Someday I’ll” thinking that Dennis Waitley
described. Many people live their lives thinking “Someday I’ll have that
job.” “Someday I’ll get that new car.” “Someday I’ll have the money.”
These are many other statements are rampant.
They are also dead wrong.
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Make Your Own Magic: Make Your Own Miracles
Importance of Goals
Don’t confuse this with goals. A goal has been described as a “dream with a
deadline.” I think it is also something that has the strategy and plan laid out
and the person doing the persistent work to make it happen.
The very least you can do in your
life is to figure out what you hope
for. And the most you can do is
live inside that hope. Not admire
it from a distance but live right in
it, under its roof. Right now I'm
living in that hope, running down
its hallway and touching the walls
on both sides.
- Barbara Kingsolver
Being “discovered” takes
lots of effort. I forget who
said it, but I think there is
truth in the saying, “The
harder I try, the luckier I
get.”
Luck has been also said to
be an acronym that stands
for “Laboring Under
Correct Knowledge”. That
is where “real magic” takes
place. That is when you
really get “lucky.” You
have to work hard using the right set of principles in the right way. Even
laboring by itself is not enough. It has to be done in the right way.
I like the definition that Earl Nightingale used for luck. Luck, he would say,
is where preparation meets opportunity.
That singer that is “discovered” is one that had to practice a lot, over and
over. The successful signer or actor is one who studied their craft
assiduously and learned. They endured hardship and trials. They kept
working to be better. Then they didn’t stop there. There are lots of good
musicians out there that just haven’t made it to the big time.
What does it take to make it to the “big time?”
In today’s world I find that there are two indisputable skills that you have to
have to make it. With these, you’ll be able to grasp your dreams and make
them reality. Without one or both of them, you will fail miserably.
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Make Your Own Magic: Make Your Own Miracles
Two Must-Have Skills For Success
The two key skills you have to have are…
Unassailable Competence
and
Persistent Positive Promotion
One without the other is only going to produce disappointments. Believing
that your key to success is coming from magic is like hoping to win the
lottery.
Unassailable Competence
Competence means that you have the necessary skills for a particular
profession. It means you have the ability to make things happen.
Recently I had an injury to my knee in my martial arts class. It hurt really
bad! I’m not one to rely heavily on medical doctors, but in this case, the
pain persuaded me to make an exception! I hurt my knee on a Thursday
night and that next day, Friday morning, I was calling to get an appointment
to see Dr. Schroeder here in Orlando.
Dr. Schroeder was thoroughly competent in his craft as an orthopedic
surgeon. He also knew how to communicate with me as a layperson (who
was in great pain!). He professionally and carefully helped me to understand
what had happened and what was necessary to get it fixed---surgery--- as
soon as possible. He even gave me a strong benefit and a big promise. He
said that I would be able to use my knee just like before after several weeks.
That was what I needed to hear!
He did an excellent job on my knee during the surgery. Well, I’m guessing
that he did since I was completely under the anesthesia all the time!
However, I can tell by the results and the healing that took place that he
really did a great job.
So, Dr. Schroeder had a great deal of competence. But he also has another
thing that helps him to get ahead in his profession: Promotion!
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Make Your Own Magic: Make Your Own Miracles
I learned about him through my martial arts instructor. Apparently, I wasn’t
the first person to sustain an injury in martial arts class. Miss Young, one of
the instructors in my class, recommended him based on the good work he
had done with others.
Dr. Schroeder promoted himself by doing a great job. I’m sure he also has
promoted through other methods through the years.
I could have gone to several orthopedic surgeons in the Orlando area.
However, I went based on the recommendation of someone I trusted. Dr.
Schroeder had earned that trust of both others and me through consistently
working and doing the right things.
He didn’t get it through luck or good fortune. He had to go to many years of
school. He had to go on for Medical School. Then he had to go on for
specialty training in orthopedics. Then, as if all the schooling weren’t
enough, he had to put in residency under the careful, watchful eye of other
professionals to make sure that he was highly competent.
And frankly, I’m very glad the system works the way it does so that good
doctors like Dr. Schroeder are there to help us!
You also have to have strong competency in your selected area. You
develop competency by carefully learning the steps to success in your field.
You have to study. You have to work through the hard parts. Going to
school is part of this. Whether you choose a formal education or design one
on your own, it takes work. I know for me, getting my MBA in marketing
was a tough experience. Those 9 quarters I spent getting the degree seemed
like 4,000 years!
However, in the midst of the “4,000 year experience” I learned more about
myself than about calculus, accounting, management, marketing and other
important topics. I learned how to push myself to the limit. I learned how to
learn. That is a very valuable skill to learn!
In today’s world and the world of the future, the most critical skill you can
develop is this ability to learn how to learn. I have people ask me all the
time in my seminars what subject they should study in school. Really it
doesn’t matter.
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Make Your Own Magic: Make Your Own Miracles
As my friend Dan Burrus says, whatever work you’re going to do in the
future probably hasn’t been invited yet.
But if you can learn how to assimilate new material and make it your own,
you’ll do well. Learn how to learn a new software package quickly. Learn
how to see through problems and find the solution for people quickly and
inexpensively. Learn how to solve problems that others encounter and do it
quickly and inexpensively and you’ll have not only a job, but more
important, the skills to become as rich as you want.
I have friends that don’t have a college degree. In fact, one friend of mine,
Randy Gage, is a multi-millionaire who did not finish high school. Randy
has an education, though. It comes from years of hard work, lots of reading,
lots of seminars, and much more learning. Randy is constantly learning and
expanding his mind so he can contribute more value to his customers.
I took the easy route with pre-programmed learning and a pre-designed path.
Randy took the harder path teaching himself and learning through the school
of hard knocks. Whatever path you choose, you have to go to school, either
formally or on your own.
And remember that school is never out for the professional. It is a continual
process. You never stop learning. In today’s world things are changing so
rapidly you can’t afford to sit back and rest on your laurels.
Persistent, Positive Promotion
In addition to the competency you have to have, you must also have the
promotion. This is a larger umbrella that encompasses many areas. It is
really marketing yourself and your abilities.
A very successful way to do that for many personal service professionals is
through networking. Knowing others. More important than you knowing
them is that others know you. It is very important that the right people know
you and think very highly of you.
Brian Tracy said in his audiocassette program, Getting Rich in America,
”Your success will largely be determined by the number of people who
know you in a positive way.” The more people that think of you favorably,
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Make Your Own Magic: Make Your Own Miracles
the greater your chances of success. The “luckier” you get as you know
more people can they think of you in a very positive light.
Today we are inundated with
technology and machines. This is
not bad; it is just the way the world
works. The machines and
technology help to make our life
easier and better. I wouldn’t want to
go back to the times of yore when
people spent all day doing the daily
wash by the river with a washboard!
I wouldn’t want to live in a world
filled with disease and death like we had before cures for diseases like polio
and tuberculosis.
"Determination and
perseverance move the
world; thinking that others
will do it for you is a sure
way to fail."
Marva Collins
Yet, in the midst of all that technology we want the people connection.
Your customers want a people connection to find true worth. You have to
build your own network of people.
Your network is one of the most important attributes in your life. You
become a better person when you have lots of other people gathered around
you that can help you, correct you, and be an extension of your life.
I remember growing up in lower Mid-Michigan that my family was very
active in our local church. We were there almost every Sunday morning,
Sunday evening and even the Wednesday night Bible study. From that
association we were able to form a network.
Looking back, however, I see that we needed other networks and outside
influences that we didn’t and just couldn’t get from being in only one group.
Today, my network stretches literally around the world. Through
organizations like the National Speakers Association in the U.S., the
National Speakers Association of Australia (NSAA) and the Professional
Speakers Association of Europe (based just outside London, England), I
have extended my network of friends and contacts worldwide. This helps
me to see life from many points of view. It allows me to see things that I
wouldn’t see otherwise.
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Make Your Own Magic: Make Your Own Miracles
Your network is most important. Nurture it. Feed it. Take care of it. Do
this even when you don’t feel like it. The rewards and joy you receive will
be well worth the time you put into it.
You build a network by first contributing. Too many people think that
networking is all about giving someone else their business card and then
hoping that this newly contacted person will send business their way.
This is magical thinking at its worst!
I’ve seen many “business networking” functions where people just smile
that goofy plastic smile, try to say bland nice things about you and then force
their card on you. Balderdash! 1 This stuff doesn’t mean that I would
recommend this newly-met person to someone else.
Just this past week I went to a business function and talked with a lady about
her work. It was the “nice to meet you. What kind of work do you do?”
type of conversation. I was thinking I might be able to recommend her for
some work until she abruptly gave me her card (with certain information
scratched out with a pen and a new e-mail address scratch on it---how
unprofessional!). She never asked for my card or demonstrated any degree
of concern about what I do.
If you asked her today who Terry Brock is, she wouldn’t have a clue. She
really didn’t care about me as a person, only about me as someone who
might be able to help her. Yet, I have a good recollection of her. I’ll make it
a point to avoid her in the future!
Approach networking as a way to get to know more people. Don’t think of
it as a way to find someone who can just help you. Instead look at it as a
way to broaden your experience and learn about more wonderful people.
Even if this particular person can’t help you directly in business, you would
be wise to know them. They have sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, other
relatives, friends and numerous contacts. You want to get to know the
person as a person. Focus on how to help them and what they are about. In
time you will get more than enough of the good you want coming your way.
1
I like this word, “Balderdash!” It is similar to another expression used too often today. “Balderdash” has
more emphasis, stands out from the crowd and can be used in most any social setting!
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Make Your Own Magic: Make Your Own Miracles
I’ve always felt that I can learn a lot from everyone I meet, regardless of
who that person is and what they do.
The Japanese handle this much better than we Americans do, in my opinion.
They want to get to know you before they’ll consider doing business with
you. They want to have many different meetings. Getting to know someone
there is almost like getting hired for a job. It takes a lot of time to go
through the “hiring” process.
However, once that bond is there, once you have been “hired” you are in
with that person and your success is going to be much greater. The Japanese
are slow to establish strong relationships and also slow to let them go.
When meeting someone at one of the networking functions, or if you happen
to meet someone in another venue, be the first to find out about them. Learn
about what they do, where they are coming from and what is of interest to
them. Be a good listener. You never know where that lead can take you.
I remember a time a few years ago when I was in Germany on my way
around the world, headed for a presentation in Hong Kong. I wanted to
work out in the hotel gym so I inquired about that at the front desk. They
were polite and pointed me in the direction of the health club.
I felt great. I worked out on the weights at the health club and had a good
time. Then I was ready to head to the men’s locker room for a shower and
to head back to my hotel room.
I didn’t see it so I asked one of the attendants there where it was and she
pointed me to a room that said “Showers.” Well, I went to the door and
opened it. As I opened it two beautiful women were coming out. They were
following the German spa tradition of being nude! After my initial shock, I
said to myself, “WOW! What a country!”
Well, being an American, I thought I was in the wrong area but soon found
out that in this place, men and women went to the sauna without clothes. It
was no big deal for them.
Well, I found it most interesting to say the least!
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Make Your Own Magic: Make Your Own Miracles
However, what became even more interesting was a lovely young lady that
came in the door a few minutes later and sat next to me. She talked with
someone else and I noticed she was not speaking in German but in a
language I was studying, Russian. I asked her, in Russian, if she spoke
Russian (trying to be polite) and she lit up like a light bulb and said “Da!”
which means yes in Russian.
Well, we had a wonderful conversation in both English and Russian and
both enjoyed our time. I was planning to go to Moscow and stay at the
Intourist Hotel when I left Germany. Well, it just happened to turn out that
her uncle was the head chef at Intourist Hotel (it really is a small world after
all!).
So, she offered to call her relatives in Moscow that evening and tell them
that I was coming through and asked them to show me around the city.
What a treat!
You never know where you’re going to be meet interesting people and who
they know. All I wanted to do was get a shower and leave to return to my
hotel room after I concluded my exercise. However, by being open to
possibilities, I got a chance to not only meet this wonderful lady but also her
relatives in Moscow.
You have to be open to opportunities wherever and whenever you find them.
You will never know for sure when a great networking opportunity will
come along for you.
A friend of mine, Bob Burg, is a master at getting to know people and
helping them. He advocates finding out how they make money and who the
most likely customers for this person are. Bob says that if you show genuine
interest in learning about them and how to help them, you are more likely to
get what you want and need.
This sounds to me a lot like Zig Ziglar’s admonition to “help enough other
people get what they want and you’ll get what you want.” You have to be
the first to give real value in the relationship.
I hear the same thing from a good friend of mine in Australia, Linda
Echentille. She has been featured in many Australian Business magazines,
radio shows and recently her business received the prestigious “Service
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Make Your Own Magic: Make Your Own Miracles
Business of the Year” award for an outstanding track record and successful
business accomplishments.
Linda told me she is a member of several organizations where she regularly
and actively attends and participates. Her network stretches not only around
Australia but also in many other countries. She has accomplished more in a
few short years in business than most people do in a lif etime.
And what is Linda’s secret? She actively helps others. She is there for them
not only being nice and gracious, but she has a huge amount of knowledge in
marketing and running a business.
This is what is necessary for success today. You need to have gracious, kind
people skills and a huge reservoir of knowledge about an area that people
consider highly necessary for their own advancement.
When you’re meeting someone for the first time, don’t worry about how you
can benefit from the relationship. Think about how you can help them. If
you can help them, you’re in a much better situation. In the “favors bank”
you’ll have made a huge deposit and can ask for a favor in the future. The
more you have in the “favor bank” with many, many people, the better off
you’ll be when you need assistance yourself.
An old Arab saying said that one should “Dig your well before you’re
thirsty.” My friend, Harvey Mackay, wrote a book with this title. I highly
recommend that book on how to develop your network and get to know
many wonderful people on the planet.
You really do have to dig your well way before you’re thirsty. Just like you
don’t want to go to the bank and ask for a loan when you desperately need
money, you don’t want to ask friends for a favor when you need one. You
want to have lots of reasons why lots of people will want to help you.
This is how you work your own magic. You make your own miracles
happen when you are able to demonstrate that you have the competence and
skills that are considered important to others.
Once you have the skills you also have to have the network. Going back to
Dr. Schroeder, he has networked himself in the Central Florida area as a
competent professional. He is well known as the person to go to with
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Make Your Own Magic: Make Your Own Miracles
orthopedic problems. He solves orthopedic problems. He has branded
himself that way in the minds of many.
To be fair, there are times when a wonderful thing will happen out of the
blue. Sometimes unexpected good things can happen. But the chances of
that happening are so rare and so far between that you would be much better
off getting out there and working for it on your own. This is part of the
reason why buying a lottery ticket is such a waste of your precious time,
money and effort.
Many people are hoping that “magic” will happen. They’ve watched too
many fairy tales and believe they can get something for nothing. There is a
word that I think best describes what magic really is. Foolishness. It is
believing that, against the laws of nature, that you can create something from
nothing with no effort or work. Trusting in magic is believing in the “elixir”
that is unknown to all but a few.
The Scientific Method
Science has shown us that only by carefully applying certain principles can
we derive the truth. These principles are rooted in what is called the
Scientific Method. It consists of the following steps:
1. Observation and description of a phenomenon or group of phenomena.
2. Formulation of a hypothesis to explain the phenomena. In physics, the
hypothesis often takes the form of a causal mechanism or a mathematical
relation.
3. Use of the hypothesis to predict the existence of other phenomena, or to
predict quantitatively the results of new observations.
4. Performance of experimental tests of the predictions by several
independent experimenters and properly performed experiments.
If the experiments bear out the hypothesis it may come to be
regarded as a theory or law of nature (more on the concepts of
hypothesis, model, theory and law below). If the experiments
do not bear out the hypothesis, it must be rejected or modified.
What is key in the description of the scientific method just
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Make Your Own Magic: Make Your Own Miracles
given is the predictive power (the ability to get more out of the
theory than you put in; see Barrow, 1991) of the hypothesis or
theory, as tested by experiment. It is often said in science that
theories can never be proved, only disproved. There is always
the possibility that a new observation or a new experiment will
conflict with a long-standing theory. 2
Many would like to believe their own hypothesis is true without thinking it
through. This is simply mental laziness. We have to think. We have to
question. This requires real work. After going through the crucible fire of
testing and refinement, we then come up with the solution that can hold up
under the severest of questions and doubts.
I see so many people plunking down $5.00 or $10.00 here and there to get a
lottery ticket. They often think that they are going to be the one to win.
This is really said. They would be much better off investing that $10.00 in a
good book or for the gas to a good library to read and study. Instead of
$10.00 a week wasted in the lottery, they could spend that money learning
and developing skills that would help to generate even more money for
them.
Invest in your own personal library, not the lottery! You’ll have much
better returns!
It takes hard work and lots of smart work to create value on this planet. You
have to apply brain and brawn to get the job done. Fortunately today, with
the incredible advances in technology we’re seen, you can come pretty close
to magic, or at least what some perceived as magic years ago.
By hard work and lots of effort, you make progress. That is the way it has
been for centuries. It is the way things are going to be in the future. Real
“magic” doesn’t exist. Things only happen because we make them
happen.
I think it is part of the human experience that we want to believe that
something great can happen without much effort on our part. This is what
drives people to gamble. It is what has built cities like Las Vegas.
2
Frank Wolf on website http://teacher.nsrl.rochester.edu/phy_labs/AppendixE/AppendixE.html referencing
the Scientific Method.
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Las Vegas Thinking
Las Vegas is one of my favorite places in the world. I love to go there for
conventions as I often do as a professional speaker. Every time I go I enjoy
the excitement in the air, the great restaurants, the great shows, the fun look
so many people have when they’re there.
But I don’t gamble. Well, not much anyway. I think in the past 5 years I’ve
spent about 50 cents total (really!) on the slot machines. I don’t even think
about playing poker, baccarat, the roulette wheel or other games. Not that I
have a moral problem with them. I feel that people should be able to do
anything they want as long as they’re not harming anyone else.
However, when I got there I look around the beautiful places and see all the
elegance and the charm. Then I begin to question how those great buildings
got there. They sure didn’t get there by having the “loosest slots in town”
and giving away lots of money to lots of gambling patrons.
They are very scientific and business like there. That is just another one of
the great things about the city. They know business. They know how to
extract the maximum amount of money from their customers in true free
market style.
Because of what I see, I’m not a good gambling customer in Las Vegas.
However, I am a excellent customer for the many hotels and restaurants that
I visit. I’m a good customer for the places that have those fabulous shows. I
also love eating at the many great restaurants in Las Vegas. But that is
usually not a gamble. You know how much it will cost and you know what
you’ll get. Most of the time, I’ve found that I get more value in
entertainment and sheer fun than it costs me. Some of the best restaurants in
the world that I’ve experienced are in Las Vegas.
Many people go there with what I call “Las Vegas Thinking.” They think
that they are going to be the one to make a fortune through gambling. They
think they will be the one that can trick the system. If you believe that, the
folks running the casinos would love to see you! Just be sure to bring
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Make Your Own Magic: Make Your Own Miracles
money you don’t need because you won’t have it for long with “Las Vegas
Thinking.”
This is the type of thinking that goes into buying lottery tickets.
It has been said that the lottery is just a tax on stupid people. I think there is
a lot of truth to that.
However, if you realize it is business, you can do much better. Think of
money spent there (for gambling, shows or other expenses) as play money.
It really is an adult Disney World. If you really want to spend money on the
lottery for the sheer joy that you get from buying a ticket, go for it! Just
make sure that whatever you spend is for fun. Don’t buy a lottery ticket or
go to Las Vegas and gamble thinking you’ll make enough to pay for the rent
or groceries. Some people do that and come away sorely disappointed.
Focus for Success
“The man who succeeds above his fellows is
the one who early in life, clearly discerns his
object, and towards that object habitually
directs his powers. Even genius itself is but
fine observation strengthened by fixity of
purpose. Every man who observes vigilantly
and resolves steadfastly grows unconsciously
into genius.” Edward George Bulwer-Lytton
(1803-1873)
Las Vegas provides enormous
benefits as a place to relax, have
fun and play. This is the business
they are in and they do a great job
of it. As long as Las Vegas keeps
satisfying millions of people like
me, we’ll keep coming back again
and again spending our money in
exchange for a good time.
But you see, “magic” as I’ve
defined it here, doesn’t exist, even in Las Vegas. Those that are successful
there, as in other places, have had to study, work, learn and press on through
tough times. This is what creates value. It is value that drives the world.
I love what my friend, Zig Ziglar says it when he says, “You can get
anything you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they
want.”
That’s the secret. And it really is no secret. It certainly isn’t magic. It is a
matter of thinking (which is really hard work) about what buyers will be
willing, ready and able to pay for. How can you generate more value in their
lives?
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Make Your Own Magic: Make Your Own Miracles
Once you have that concept it requires diligence and work to sell the idea,
the product or the service. You have to peacefully persuade others that what
you offer is of value to them.
I guess the concept of magic still exists because many people dream of it.
When I see the fools (yeah, tough term, but appropriate) wasting their
money on a lottery ticket where their chances are almost zero to win, I
realize how many people believe in magic.
They’ll even say stupid things like, “Well, somebody has got to win.” As if
that justified their thinking. Yeah, somebody is going to win (maybe, but
often it doesn’t happen) in many cases. But that argument misses the big
point---YOU are probably not going to win. Therefore YOU are wasting
your money. You are wasting your time. You are wasting your effort.
And don’t forget that in all that waste, you are wasting your life! This is the
biggest crime of all.
Instead of wasting that money on a lottery ticket, take that money and invest
it in something that will increase your skills. Increase your mind or body in
a way that is healthy and benefits you in the long run. This is a much better
way to live and to succeed.
You might not be able to find magic, but you can make your own miracles
by learning what buyers want and are willing to pay for. Then work both
smart and hard (yes, both are needed today!) to learn what works in your
selected line of business.
It is the continual efforts that you expend towards helping others find their
desires, wants and needs that will assure you of getting “real magic” in your
life.
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Make Your Own Magic: Make Your Own Miracles
Chapter 2
Identifying What You Really Want
What do you want to be when you grow up?
I
mean, really, what is it that you want to do with you life and the time
you have left on the planet? You know you don’t have forever.
I remember when I was in my 20s that I thought I had lots of time. I felt,
and still feel today, that I can live into triple digits and even up to age 120.
Many say that this is possible and it is my goal.
However, we have to also realize that at any moment life can take a sudden
turn and result in a change of events. We witnessed this so vividly and
tragically on Tuesday, September 11, 2001 when terrorists hijacked
airplanes and then crashed them into the World Trade Center Towers, the
Pentagon and into a previously little-known field in Pennsylvania.
At that moment all of our lives paused. We were all busy doing “our thing.”
We were busy living our lives and doing our normal, daily events.
However, that moment changed our lives forever. Everyone that was alive
on that day knew that it was one of those events in time that signaled a clear
departure from the way things were before and the way they will be in the
future.
I remember I was in Aspen, Colorado when it happened. We all will have
the memory seared into our minds of where we were that day. I had arrived
a day early for a conference where I was speaking to several Presidents and
CEOs of major hospitals around the US. I was there to speak to these
decision makers about technology and how to use the Internet more
effectively.
As I came down early to see people, talk with the meeting planners and get a
feel of what was happening, I was curious as to why the television was
playing. Then I saw the burning WTC towers.
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Make Your Own Magic: Make Your Own Miracles
I felt, like many others, that it was an accident with a small plane veering off
course and accidentally hitting the tower.
I realized the horror of what had happened as the events unfolded that day
and we all learned more. The world changed on that day forever. We have
not yet seen the full ramifications of what will happen to our world as a
result of those events on that September day in New York.
This is a book about you finding what your purpose is and getting it in life.
It is about depending on yourself and not “magic.” You’ll notice all the way
through that I, acting as your coach, will state that we have to make what we
want to happen, happen. There is no other way.
Some want to shy away from the real hard diligent work that is required to
succeed in life. They claim it creates too much stress. Well, a truly stressfree existence is only achieved in death. Sorry. That’s the way it works.
Stress is a part of life and exists.
That doesn’t mean you have to let stress overwhelm you. You can take
control and rule over that. I find that quiet meditation and rest help to
overcome the normal stress that we all encounter.
Sure, stress is going to be a part of life. However, it doesn’t have to be a
dominating factor. You can control stress by relaxing more, realizing that
we continually learn and grow and working hard while resting internally.
This control of stress is critical for living life successfully. We’ve all
learned a lot about that since September 11, 2001.
In light of the events of September 11, 2001, we all realize more than ever
how precarious life really is. Nothing is guaranteed except death and taxes
as Benjamin Franklin told us.
So what do you want to do with your life? What is it that makes you want to
live? What are the real joys in life for you that make you want to keep
going, living, doing what is necessary and making a life?
You have to decide what “flips your cookies” in life. What is right for you,
is not what is appropriate for others.
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Make Your Own Magic: Make Your Own Miracles
I remember when I was a child that my father once talked about a friend
named Bobby Long. Bobby was a pilot and had a job where he flew an
executive around the country. My father talked with awe about Bobby and
how he was able to travel around to many different places.
Somehow in that moment, I could see the longing in my father’s eyes to
travel and see the world. This was something that was not usually available
for a man working in the union factories of Michigan in the 1960’s. His lot
in life, as he chose it, was to have a steady job, make a regular paycheck and
not travel.
Yet, I could tell that he longed, even ached, to travel and see the world.
During vacations and holidays, Dad would take us around the U.S.A. in
whatever station wagon they had at the time (we usually had station wagons
so we could sit in the back seat and complain about my sister or brother
crossing to “my side of the seat.” I guess it was just part of the American
experience in the 60’s).
It was that thought, traveling around to different places, which sparked a
desire in me to think about traveling more and seeing the world.
I was born in the Midwest in America in the Mid 20th Century. I had
nothing to do with that. However, I can and have chosen to live my life by
clearly defining what I want to do with my life and making it happen.
Today I live the life of my dreams. I travel where I want and usually when I
want. I get to meet wonderful people all over the planet. This is what I have
wanted for my life and you can get what you want for your life. You just
have to plan for it and, in the words of Jean-Luc Picard of Star Trek fame,
you have to “Make it so.”
You have to make it so in your life the way you want it to be. We’re all
handed our lot in life. You can’t choose when or where you are born. You
usually cannot choose the way you are raised.
However, if you are reading this book, you have the intelligence and the
ability to chose what you’re going to do with your life from this moment
forward.
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You might have been born into terrible circumstance. You might have been
abused physically or mentally. You probably had some sort of problem or
you wouldn’t be human (or at least not from this planet!).
Hey, welcome to my planet! That is the way things work here. You have to
take the cards you’re dealt and make something of them. Every person I
know has something that is wrong with life. It is how we deal with that
wrong dealt to us that makes the difference.
My friend, Art Berg
I think of my buddy Art Berg. Art was an Eagle Scout and a very intelligent
young man who had a promising future. He was riding with a friend one
day on I-15 from Las Vegas back to his home near Salt Lake City.
He drifted off to sleep as his friend was driving the car that night on a dark
road. At one point on the road, for some unknown reason, his friend drifted
off for just a moment. In that moment, Art’s life was changed forever.
There was a terrible accident and Art was injured. He was injured badly. In
fact, at that moment Art Berg became a quadriplegic. The rest of his life
was changed. He had had so much promise. Now it looked like it was all
over.
However, Art Berg was not a quitter. As he often said, “The impossible just
takes a little longer.” Art was willing to put in the pain and agony of
recovery. He learned how to adapt to his new wheelchair environment. He
was able to get use of his arms, even though the doctors said he would not be
able to do that.
Art never gave up until he mastered that wheelchair and learned to live life
fully.
He went on to become a professional speaker. I had the honor of serving
with him on the Board of Directors of the National Speakers Association
after nominating him. It took Art three times being nominated before he was
elected.
I remember him saying that he would have kept on trying even if it didn’t
happen after three tries. This ole “third time’s a charm” stuff didn’t mean
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Make Your Own Magic: Make Your Own Miracles
anything to Eagle Scout Art Berg. He was going to keep trying and trying
until he made it.
I remember times when Art and his wife Dallas would come to Orlando for
meetings and his speaking. I joined them at Disney World and we had a
great time talking about technology (Art and I shared a real love of the latest
and best in technology!), life, the speaking business and more. Art never let
being in a wheelchair hold him back from living life to the fullest.
In 2001 Art worked with the NFL Baltimore Ravens helping coach and
inspire them. When they went to and won the Super Bowl Art was with
them. When they received Super Bowl rings, Art received one himself for
his work with and for being part of the team.
Later on, I was proud to vote for Art to be Vice President of the National
Speakers Association. It was good to see him elected that day. He had only
been on the NSA board for 2 years. Normally someone is on there at least 3
years and often longer, before being given the opportunity to run for office.
However, we all agreed that Art was thoroughly qualified. He never let a
little thing like being a quadriplegic hold him back! Not Art Berg!
February 19, 2002 Art Berg left us. It was a very sad day for many of us in
the National Speakers Association. He died suddenly from complications
with medicine. When I got the news that Art had left us I was very
saddened. He left behind his lovely wife Dallas and three beautiful children.
As I’m writing this book, I jumped over to www.artberg.com thinking about
my friend and feeling the tears welling up in my eyes. He still has a website
up, now as a memorial to his life and the many that he touched. I am
particularly honored that of all the members of the National Speakers
Association he had one listing of any member. That listing was for my site
and me.
Art had this listing on his website about me:
www.terrybrock.com
A friend of mine and another professional speaker. He is a
technology guru who knows how to speak in real English. He also
has some great articles.
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Make Your Own Magic: Make Your Own Miracles
WOW! Thank you, Art!
Art is still with us today. He is with us because he lived his life to the fullest
and provided us abundant examples over and over how to keep going no
matter what happens. I still sense him helping me and prodding me along as
I encounter difficulties and challenges. I think, “Hey, if Art can make it
through what he encountered, I can make it through this.”
That is the way to leave a legacy. Leave your thoughts and ideas with
people so that they remember you and their life is better because of you.
This Adventure Called Life
Life is an adventure. It is not going to last forever. We forget that in the
midst of all we’re doing. We forget the importance of living life as we
choose in the midst of the hustle and bustle.
As Art Berg lived his short 39 years and touched literally thousands and
thousands of lives so positively, you have to decide how you’re going to live
your life. You have to decide what you’re living it for and why.
It has to be a purpose beyond just making money. It has to be beyond just
living to pay bills.
Only you can answer the question but it must be answered proactively or life
will just slip by. This is your life. This is not a test. This is the real thing.
You have only a short time on the planet, even if you live to be 150!
I’ve often thought that life is like a tape recorder. Remember those old
audiocassette recorders (before CDs and MP3 players)? Life is like a tape
recorder that has play and stop. That’s it. There is no fast-forward to “peek
into the future” and see what is going to happen.
There is no rewind to “do that one over again.” Once you have done
something you can’t “take it back.” This is particularly poignant when you
say things to others. They might forgive harsh or cruel words but we seldom
forget. Remember to always be kind and in the heat of the moment, catch
yourself to say only those things that are helpful and never hurtful.
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What do you want to make of your life? What are you willing to do to make
it happen? These are the questions that we all have to address.
At the end of this chapter I’m giving you a homework assignment. You get
to complete some forms and figure out just what you want to do and how
you’re going to go about achieving it.
It is easy to just slough it off and go on without completing the forms.
However, as your coach, I’m here to encourage you in my best Marine Drill
Sergeant voice, “Complete that exercise.” Don’t pass up the opportunity to
become the best you can be.
You Have the Right To Change Your Mind
Here’s the good news. Whatever you decide, you can change your mind!
Sometimes we hold off making the decision because we think that we can’t
make a decision until we have all the facts.
Balderdash!
You can make a decision based on what you know now and then change it
later. You are not locked into only one thing to do. In fact, it is healthy and
wise to reevaluate your decisions and change your mind when you have new
data. Just don’t make it a habit and change too often or you won’t get much
accomplished.
This is part of what I call, “Smart Persistence.”
“SmartPersistence”™ 3 is a term I created to signify the type of
determination that you have to have to succeed. Merely being persistent is
nice, but if you’re persistent doing the wrong things, you’ll only suffer over
and over. You have to try something, find what works; adjust and modify
based on new feedback and go at it again and again. This is the key to
success. Being smart in your persistence means that you have that dogged
determination to never give up, but you can change tactics and strategies to
achieve your overall, long-term goal.
3
You can get more information on the concept of “SmartPersistence™” by going to the website
www.smartpersistence.comand checking out articles and other information.
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When I was in undergraduate school, I remember someone sharing about
going through some decisions she had to make. She was wondering what
major to select. She had chosen one field but after a year of studying that,
she soon realized it was not for her and she really would be happiest doing
something else.
Effort only fully releases its
reward after a person refuses
to quit. (Napoleon Hill)
What stuck with me was what
she said that it was like walking
down a corridor. Even though
she didn’t continue walking
down the corridor and took a side door, she would have never encountered
that side door if she hadn’t been walking down the corridor!
Unless you take the risk and venture out to find what is available you’ll
never be able to make progress. It is much like trying to steer a car that is
not moving. You can have the best engine, power steering and more, but if
you don’t put it in gear and move forward, you’re not going anywhere.
Start moving. The sheer act of moving and making progress positions you
to be in a better place for making positive changes later.
Your Life Goals List
OK, here is where the fun begins. You have an exercise to complete. In
fact, this is probably one of the most important exercises you’ll ever
complete in your life. It is fun so get ready to enjoy!
Your assignment is to make your own, customized, personalized “Life Goals
List.” This is a list of all the things---everything (!) that you want to do in
life for the rest of your life.
Hold nothing back on this one. Go for it with all the wild imagination and
enthusiasm that you can muster.
I want you to make a list of all those things that you want to do and don’t
worry about putting them in order. We can address that later. Right now,
this is a brain dump.
Here are some examples of real Life Goals Lists others have created:
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Make Your Own Magic: Make Your Own Miracles
??
??
??
??
??
??
??
??
I want to climb Mt. Everest.
I want to water ski
I want to fish in Lake Superior
I want to visit Japan
I want to shake the President’s hand
I want to visit London
I want to try Moroccan food
I want to go to next year’s Greek Festival in town
You get the idea. It is filled with lots of things that you want to do. Some of
them you might have already done and that’s all right to list them too. Don’t
hold anything back. Later on we’ll go back and run them through the
“reality checker” so you know what is likely and what is not likely to
happen.
This list will be on-going so don’t worry about putting everything down
right now. Some items will be fulfilled quickly. As you do them you can
date them for the date you completed the goal.
If you put something down like “I want to go to Mars” that is not possible at
this time of this writing. However, it might be possible later, so write it
down. Who knows what our technology will be in a few years?
But the most important part is that you wrote it down (OK, you typed it if
you’re using a word processor, smart alec!). Let’s say you do put down
something like “I want to go to Mars” and its not possible now. Just the fact
that you put it down and can see it later helps in two specific ways: 1) You
can see it in your journal years from now to remember it if it ever does
become possible, and 2) Even if it doesn’t happen it gets you thinking about
what you really want to do. You could find substitute ways to address it.
For instance, instead of going to Mars, you could study the Red Planet. You
could think about becoming an astronaut now to do other space adventures
later. You could become an airplane pilot to experience flying. There are
many more possibilities for you, but you’ll never know what it is you really
want until you commit it to paper. Use your word processor or even paper,
but something really powerful happens when you commit it to paper.
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Make Your Own Magic: Make Your Own Miracles
So, stop reading now, get a pad of paper and pen, or fire up your word
processor and make that list. You can use the form on the next page as an
example. Notice the importance of Date Listed and Date Completed. These
are critical to making your dreams reality.
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Make Your Own Magic: Make Your Own Miracles
My Life Goals
Date
Date
Listed Completed
Note that your actual list could take several pages. It will be a living
document so it will be updated, changed and fulfilled regularly in your
adventure through life. It is not unusual to have a list of 100 or more items.
There is no limit on this. You will add and delete later. For now, just put as
many of the goals and things you’d like to do in life as you can think of on
the list.
Have fun and begin now.
Prioritizing Your Goals
Now that you have your goals you are well on your way. Make sure you
have those listed and recorded. This is a bedrock principle for everything
we’ll do in the rest of this book.
After you have the list, in no particular order, you get to prioritize them. In
the great book, Do It by John Rogers and Peter McWilliams, they say, “You
can do anything. You just can’t do everything.”
How true.
You can accomplish a great deal in life. There are many things you can do.
However, because we are human beings, we run into a concept called the
Opportunity Cost. It is an immutable law of Nature.
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Make Your Own Magic: Make Your Own Miracles
I learned this in my Econ 101 class. What it means is that whatever activity
you select, you have to turn down many others that you aren’t going to do.
For instance, if you decide to go fishing one Sunday afternoon, that
necessarily means that you can’t ride a bike, take a long trip or go to a
movie. You could shorten the amount of time spent fishing in order to try to
accomplish the other things. However, you can only do one activity at a
time. And if you rush through trying to do all of them you probably won’t
be able to enjoy any of them.
Resource allocation was another concept that I learned in Econ 101. In
business school we learned about allocation of resources, particularly
money. You only have so much to go around. By spending money on one
area, you are taking money away from another area. In business it is critical
that you devote sufficient resources to an activity, like, say, advertising, to
accomplish a goal. Too little spent would be a waste and not serve the
ultimate purpose.
Your ultimate resource is time. How you choose to spend each precious
moment of life is your most important decision. That is why we start with
the life goals list that you just completed.
Now that you have it listed with all kinds of things in no specific order, your
next assignment is to prioritize them. We’re not talking about a single place
for each item in a ranking order (1-100, for instance for those 100 items you
might have).
A Goals
A better method I’ve found is to rank an activity as an A, B, C, or D priority.
The A priorities are those that you really, really must do. They are the
things that matter most to you. For a junior in college, this could be
something like, “Graduate with my Bachelor’s degree by next June.” If
visiting Japan is very important to you, this would be an A goal.
B Goals
The B goals are those that you would like to do but they are not as pressing.
This might be something like graduating with a 3.9 or higher grade point
average. You can still graduate with 3.5 but if you have the chance for a 3.9,
go for it!
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C Goals
A C goal would be nice, but it could take a bit longer. If it requires more
money and resources than you have now, it might have to be delayed for a
while. That doesn’t mean it won’t get accomplished. It just means that you
might have to wait a while before you manifest it in your life.
D Goals
The D goals will be for those somewhat silly, but nice, goals you put down
(and I know you put a few of those down!). These are the goals that, if they
really didn’t happen, are not a big deal. They would be nice to have or do
but you won’t be crushed if they don’t make it.
Your job is two-fold. The first job, which is more pressing, is to assign each
goal you wrote down before a rank of A, B, C, or D. Remember there are no
right or wrong answers here. This is something that you choose and do for
yourself. Only your eyes and those that you want to share it with will see
this list.
Your second job is to focus on the A goals and put a date to them. Figure
out by what date you can realistically achieve each of these goals.
The rest of this book will address some of the specific steps you can take to
make those goals reality.
Your Personal Pleasure List
Here’s another fun one for you! On this list, you list those things that bring
you pleasure and enjoyment. These are things that are more attainable in
life. Generally they are things that matter to you that make you happy.
Sometim es they will be goals that are “within sight, but out of reach.” These
give you the ability to stretch. They are doable, but it takes some effort.
Others would be easily done and you’ll do them often.
Some of these personal pleasure goals might look like this:
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??
??
??
??
??
I like to eat sushi
I like to swim
I like to eat chocolate
I like to run
I like to stay home and watch movies
Notice the difference between this list and your Life Goals List. This is a
list of things that start with “I like…” while the others are things that you
want to do.
This personal pleasure list helps you to understand what it is that you
personally enjoy. When others are demanding that you do something you
don’t want to do, you should go through a process of thinking and
conceptualizing.
Ask yourself if what they are proposing is something you might like. When
you were born you didn’t know anything about any of life’s possibilities.
Your parents or guardians had to sometimes force you to try new things that
you ultimately liked. A good rule of thumb in life is to try anything that is
safe and secure at least once. Of course, you don’t do anything foolish or
life-threatening. Jumping out of a 35 story building would not be wise – at
least not without a parachute.
If you don’t like it after at least trying it--- no problem. However if you
don’t at least try it, you can’t know for sure if you are turning down
something that could be very good. Force yourself to experiment. Now that
you’re an adult you have to become your own parent and make yourself do
things you might not want to do. Remember they have to be safe and secure
so don’t go jumping out of any tall buildings just to “try it.”
Here is a model you can use to design your own personal pleasure list.
My Personal Pleasure List
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Note that your personal pleasure list doesn’t have the dates listed. That is
because you’ll probably do them many times. This is for acknowledgement
and understanding of what you like.
This way, you’ll never be bored because you’ll always have a list of things
you like to do and can go back to that whenever you want. Pretty cool, huh?
Age Doesn’t Matter
Congratulations! By completing your Life Goals and your Personal Pleasure
List, you have accomplished a major step for life.
The beauty of a task like this is that you can, and should do it at any age. It
is a living document that will help you to see what you have done in life and
how to live your life in your way to the fullest.
Whatever age you happen to be you’ll have various goals and ambitions.
These should be recorded for you and available in your personal, private
journal.
A Note on Your Personal Journal
This is one of the best learning tools you’ll have in life. You will want to
have a personal journal that captures your thoughts, feelings and ideas.
I use my computer and word processor to record my thoughts. When I have
very jubilant and happy times I write them into the journal. If I have some
times that are really sad and down, I make sure that those are written into my
journal.
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This creates a learning laboratory for me. I am able to go back through the
years and see how I felt at certain points in my life. I’m able to understand
why I thought what I thought. I’m able to see how I felt in the midst of a
crisis when I didn’t know which way to go. With the perspective of time, I
now know how things worked out. So, when I go through another problem
I’ll remember that I solved that one before (as recorded in my journal) and I
have the confidence to handle whatever is thrown at me this time.
Another way I’ve been chronicling my life is through technology. Today it
is easy and inexpensive to purchase small camcorders and carry them with
you. I have a very small camcorder that I’ve used for quite a while. It is
lightweight enough so that I can carry it most anywhere I go. I often use this
to record my ideas, my surroundings and what is happening with my life. I
have created a Video Life Journal of things that are important to me and
what matters. This is a way to chronicle life and all the wonderful people
that you encounter.
Since carrying a camcorder is not unusual today, consider this approach to
record and value your life. You’ll appreciate the fact that you took the effort
to chronicle it years from now. It will also build your confidence to handle
whatever is coming your way in the future.
That feeling of confidence helps me to get through any problem that might
be confronting me at the time.
Think about purchasing one of the very small, inexpensive camcorders that
are on the market today, if you don’t have one already. You can use this to
record the important events of your life, the important people in your life
and more.
Use Your Personal Goals To Direct Your Life
One of the major benefits of completing your exercise on personal goals is to
give you a guideline and filter for living life. If you know what you really
want to do, you’ll be able to live your life focusing on those things that are
most important to you.
Otherwise, you can easily be sidetracked. I know that is true for me.
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I have an insatiable thirst for knowledge and learning. I love going to the
library and browsing through the books. I lust for bookstores! I love seeing
all the books, magazines and audio learning that is available.
Then when it comes to the Internet I’m just ecstatic! I can read forever and
not worry about “reading it all up.” There is always something new.
However, that creates a problem. I can’t do it all. I remember it was a sad
day for me, as a child, when I realized that not matter how fast I learned to
read, that I wouldn’t be able to read all the books in our local library. I
wouldn’t even be able to read all the books in a couple of sections because
they changed so fast.
The key word here is FOCUS. There are lots of B, B- and C+ opportunities
out there. They are not bad. In fact, what is a C- activity for you could be
an A+ activity for others. Your biggest job in this adventure called life is to
decide what is an A+ activity for you and do those. Leave the B and Bactivities to someone else.
This is why completing the Life Goals list is so important. You have to
decide what is right for you and only you can do that.
Stephen Covey talks about the four quadrants of life in his work, The Seven
Habits of Highly Effective People. It is a book that has continued on the
best-seller chart for several years for good reasons. It is powerful.
One of the most important admonitions he makes about managing your life
is to focus on those things that are important but not urgent. We are
constantly swamped with the urgent and imperative activities.
However, we can’t remain there and must quickly move from the urgent to
the important category.
I recently dealt with a client who seemed to be quite confused. Every time I
would talk with her she would complain about how things were “just crazy”
at her work. She was always so busy.
It is understandable to run into occasional times of craziness. Hey, that’s the
way things work on this planet. However, to live in that state continually is
not healthy or productive.
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I think many people use this expression to try to justify why they didn’t do
some other activity. The unspoken words go something like, “I would have
called you but we have been just crazy here lately.”
The problem is that “lately” happens all the time. When you see this type of
behavior regularly it indicates that something is awry with this person. This
is a person whose life is way out of balance. It is not an optimal situation for
living life to the fullest.
I remember a sign I once saw in a client’s office that said, “Your lack of
planning does not constitute an emergency on my part.” I liked that. Just
because someone else didn’t plan well doesn’t mean that I have to ruin my
life and go into a “hissy fit,” as my grandmother used to say.
I can’t speak for others, but I’ve found that in life when I’m feeling peaceful
and calm then I know that I’m doing the right thing. I can be peaceful inside
even if things are busy outside. Note that there is a difference between busy
and crazy.
Running, swimming, cycling and exercising can keep you busy. However,
you don’t have to become crazy in these activities. It is up to you to choose
how you’re going to live. For me, I choose peace and calm. According to
medical science, those that are more peaceful and relaxed live longer than
the hectic, crazy-life people.
Keep things in perspective and live your life balanced in your view. You
decide what is right for you. You decide what are your priorities and then
stick to them as long as they serve you. If you find that you need to adjust
later, make that decision in light of new evidence and new information.
As a general rule of thumb, I’ve found making decisions is easier in life
when I run it by what I call “the Peace Test.”
When I have to make a decision, how peaceful do I feel with that decision?
How comfortable am I when I’ve made the decision to do a particular
activity? Do I sense peace in that activity or event? Do I feel confusion?
Years ago I remember Pat Robertson saying something that has stuck with
me a long time. He said that when he has to make a decision he needs to
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take time off and step back from the situation. If an answer has to be given
immediately, the answer would be no. However, if he has time to think
about the decision, it could be a yes.
Gauge your activities by the peace that you feel when you make the
decision.
Summary
This chapter has helped you to establish the goals that are most important in
your life. You have listed those goals that you are reaching for and can
attain someday. Later, these were ranked with an A, B, C, or D goal.
This is one of the most important things you can do in your life. You have to
know what goals are important to you and have them clearly written down.
It helps to avoid distractions. It serves as a guide as decisions must be made
throughout life.
You have also made a list of those things that are pleasurable for you. These
are the little things in life that make it all worthwhile. Often the simple
things that cost the least are the most important.
Finally, we saw that being at peace and comfortable with life is paramount.
You can choose the life you want to live. It is up to you. By having certain
guidelines you’ll know what to do as you filter all choices presented to you
through your own personal life goals.
In our next chapter, we’ll look at what is required for you to get those things
that you want to get. This is where we start making it happen.
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Chapter 3
Determining What is Necessary
To Get What You Want
C
ongratulations! You have now listed the goals that you want and
have an idea in mind of what is right for you. No one can tell you
exactly what is the best for you. Others can provide input and ideas,
but no one but you can make the decisions for your life.
What is a “Miracle?”
When I say you can make your own miracles in life, I mean it. You are the
one that can create the seemingly impossible come true for you in your life.
Of course, you can’t do it alone. You have to get the assistance from others
that you’ll need.
That assistance will come in the form of skills, mentoring, motivation and
direction. But, you are the one who has to reach inside you and touch that
part of you that brings out the best in you.
The dictionary describes a miracle as: 4
1. An event that appears inexplicable by the laws of nature and so is held
to be supernatural in origin or an act of God: “Miracles are
spontaneous, they cannot be summoned, but come of themselves”
(Katherine Anne Porter).
2. One that excites admiring awe. See Synonyms at wonder.
3. A miracle play.
Well, I guess that means that you have to become that person that “excites”
and has “admiring awe.” As you have the enthusiasm within you and can
come up with the courage, you can work your own miracles.
4
From www.dictionary.com. This is a great resource on the Net and one that should be bookmarked on
your Internet browser.
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OK, you might ask, then how do you do that? Good question. Is just
thinking about it and citing a bunch of motivational pep talks going to allow
you to create the miracle you need?
Anyone that has been on the planet more than a few days knows that we
have acquired specific characteristics and skills. There are combinations of
factors that are needed to make it in today’s world.
Together in this chapter, we’ll explore those and see what is required to
make these things manifest themselves in your life.
Skills
This is the first tool that will be necessary for you to achieve the goals you
want. People only pay others for something that is of value to them. They
might smile at you. They might even be nice (yes, this does happen
occasionally!).
Most of the time, though, you have to have something of value you can offer
them that will be useful to them. This is where skills come into play.
I appreciate my doctor. In Chapter 1 I discussed my recent knee surgery.
This surgery had to happen because I had an injury in my martial arts class.
My knee was torn apart (or it felt that way). When I went to see the doctor
who was recommended to me, Dr. Schroeder, he said I would have to have
surgery.
When I was in the doctor’s office, his staff was kind and professional. He
was kind and professional. I was glad they treated me right. However, I
was even gladder that he had the skills to solve the pain that I was
undergoing.
The skills you develop will help you to gain what you need in today’s world.
If you want to get more in life, you have to increase your skills. The greater
your skills, the more likely you are to get what you want.
So how can you acquire more skills? There are several ways to do that and
the successful person today avails herself of these wherever possible.
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One area of skill acquisition is through college or by attending a university.
This is a great way to add new skills. Make sure that you get something that
is of value in the marketplace. Some people will go through four or five
years of college only to get a degree that is not considered worth much in the
marketplace.
I remember when I was in the MBA program that I talked with a guy who
had an undergrad degree in History. I love studying history. I find that we
can learn a lot by understanding what our ancestors did both right and
wrong. As George Santayana said, “Those who do not study history are
condemned to repeat its mistakes.”
Yet, the guy I was talking to was lamenting the fact that employers weren’t
hiring History majors. He claimed they didn’t “see the value” in having
someone on the payroll who knows about the wisdom from the past.
Well, I hope that this guy was able to grasp a spoonful of reality along the
way. Employers only pay for something that is of value to them so they can
increase their own profits. This is the way the world works. It is not good
or bad. It just is an is!
This History major would be better off taking what he knows and translating
that into valuable resources for the potential employer. Rather than deriding
the employer for not hiring History majors, he would be better off talking
about how history majors have studied the problems from the past and can
see how to avoid them. History majors can relate to his customers and
increase the potential employer’s bottom line because they understand
people better than others who do not have a sense of why we are where we
are today.
In other words, always see things from the other guy’s point of view. Take
your skills and show how they can benefit that potential employer or
potential customer (which is really what an employer is in today’s world). A
potential employer or potential customer doesn’t care about the features that
you or your product have. They only care about what is in it for them. It’s
the old saying that everyone’s favorite radio station is WII-FM, What’s In It
For Me? If you can answer what is in it for them with every feature you
present, you’ll get better job offers, close more sales and get along a whole
lot better in life. In sum, you’ll be able to make your own magic by helping
others meet their needs.
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Think about it, when you go to the grocery store, you don’t buy some apples
or cereal thinking of how you can help the employees at the apple orchard or
the farm that grows corn, or the paper company that provides the packaging
for cereal. Frankly, in most cases, none of that enters your mind.
You buy the products at the grocery store based on a few factors: 1) Your
need or desire for the product, 2) The quality of the product, 3) The price of
the product, 4) The overall value that you will receive because you have
purchased that product. You are only focused on what is in it for you. That
is not good or bad. It just is an is.
I love the way Economist Walter Williams expresses this. He says, Do you
think that ranchers in Texas take care of those cows, go through cold
winters, endure blazing heat in the summer and smell cow droppings just so
they can bring tasty morsels of steak to New Yorkers? Do they do all that
thinking, “Well, we just want those nice people in New York to have a good
steak, so we’ll endure all this?”
Williams goes on to say, Do you think the auto workers in Detroit are
thinking of Hollywood elites when they sweat and lift heavy machinery
building cars. Are they thinking of how to help beautiful people in
Hollywood? I don’t think so.
Williams is right. The only reason the ranchers in Texas endure the pain
they go through with raising cows and sending them to market is so that they
can be paid for their labors. They probably don’t even think about the
people that are going to eat the steaks. What they do think about is their
own needs. Just like the people in New York munching on delicious steaks
probably don’t think about the ranchers and cowboys in Texas that had to
endure pain and suffering to put a nice juicy steak on the dinner table in a
New York restaurant.
Everyone is focused on their own individual needs. This doesn’t mean that
the world is a bad place. It is just the way things work. To complain about
this is as relevant as complaining that you’d fall down if you jump off the
top of a mountain. It is just the way things work.
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True success comes in any field, when you develop skills and abilities to
meet the needs of others in a way that is unique, is reasonably priced and
satisfies the end buyer.
Unfortunately this concept is not taught in schools enough. Many people
come out of the government schools with a mentality that someone owes
them a living.
Balderdash!
As the ole’ boy said on the street, “Nobody owes you nothing!” Bad English
but good advice. You have to look out for yourself by looking out for the
benefit of the other person.
This is the way the free market works. In fact, it is the way things always
work. People only do certain activities because they know they will find
happiness and pleasure in it. The Free Enterprise System has always known
this and addressed it. Communism tried to ignore it and failed miserably.
This is the way life works. The sooner we can understand that principle in
life, the better off we’ll be. No one owes you anything. No one owes you
money. No one even owes you the nicety of being nice to you.
I remember Harry Browne talking about this concept in an audio that I heard
him deliver on the Internet. Harry Browne was the Libertarian Party
candidate for President of the United States in 1996 and 2000. Harry said it
was such a freeing feeling when he came to the realization that everything
that happened to him in life was up to him. He had to create value for others
in order to get his own needs met.
This is in sharp contrast to what I see in much of the world today. Not only
in the United States, but in Europe and some parts of Asia, there seems to be
a whole class of people that feel that someone owes them a living. They
feel, rightly or wrongly that they have been mistreated and therefore, the
world owes them something. They feel that something was done improperly
to their ancestors and therefore the world owes them something.
Well, I’ve got news for you: The world flat out doesn’t care about
you, your grand daddy or his daddy or anyone before him. The
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only thing the world cares about now and will ever care about in
the future is what you can do for them.
This is a truth that is undeniable. The sooner we, as human beings, figure
out ways to enhance the lives of others the sooner we’ll be able to get what
we need.
Acquiring skills that can be useful to others insures that you’ll have a better
job. The more difficult the skill and the harder it is for others to do, the
more you can be paid for it.
I remember listening to Earl Nightingale comment a while back that your
payment for any given job will always be based on three important
principles:
1. Your ability to perform a particular job.
2. The demand for your skills on that job.
3. The ease with which you can be replaced.
These three points should be burned into your mind as you look at acquiring
new skills and facing the job market anywhere at anytime.
It has nothing to do with the worth of a person as a person. The janitor in a
Fortune 100 company is worth just as much as a human being as the CEO of
that company. However, when it comes to money, things are different. The
janitor will not be paid as much as the CEO because what the janitor does is
not as valuable in terms of money.
We can argue all day about what is morally “right” or morally “wrong” but
the fact remains that this is how the world works. The skills that the janitor
has are important. They are necessary. However, we have to see how
important they are to the world and how easily that janitor can be replaced.
Sometimes, well meaning individuals will write laws that try to revoke this
inevitable law of human nature. They try to pay the top person less and the
bottom person more. They want “equality” (a bizarre term that doesn’t fit
with the reality of Nature).
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The concept of “fair” is something that is thrown around a lot. As my buddy
Bruce Wilkinson says, “Fair is an event that comes to town once a year and
has a merry-go-round. This ain’t it!”
The concept of “fair” is so relative and squishy that it doesn’t even belong in
the vocabulary of a successful achiever. Don’t worry about the world being
“fair” to you. It will not be.
Accept it.
Deal with it.
Now get on with life and provide enormous value to others realizing that this
is the only way you’ll get what you want. Organizations often try to adjust
pay scales so things are more “fair.” In essence they are trying to violate the
laws of human nature.
So, what happens when they raise the pay of the lower ranks, cutting the pay
for the top performers? Well, more people gravitate towards the bottom
positions. More people will want to be janitors rather than face the pressures
and demands of the CEO job. Less people will want the CEO job and all the
pressure and hassle it has. Why go through all that hassle when you’re not
going to be compensated for it?
This is one of the big problems with socialized medicine. Doctors are
prohibited from charging more so they leave the profession. When it costs
them much more than it is worth, they leave. When they leave, many are
severely inconvenienced or worse. It takes time to create a brain surgeon,
for instance. Those considering going into medical practice look at the
hassles and the pay and make a determination regarding the worth of
entering the profession.
I think that Ludwig von Misses discusses this very well in his classic work,
Human Action. It is a rather lengthy tome written back in the 1940s. He
discusses a concept he called, Praxeology or Human Action. Praxeology is
his word to describe how everything we do relates to economics. Economics
is about how human beings interact with each other. It goes way beyond
simple monetary exchange and relates to human behavior.
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The field of economics is recognizing the concept of behavioral economics.
In fact, the Nobel prizes awarded for Economics in 2002 went to both an
Economist, Vernon Smith and a Psychologist Daniel Kahneman.
Economists are focusing on real human behavior, not just theories and dry
concepts.
The practical way to benefit from this is to learn about how people really act,
not just what they say. You have to constantly be on look out. Try to see
what is not shown. Read between the lines. Understand what people are
really saying, not just what words they are using.
If you look at all actions that take place in life and try to think through the
consequences you begin to see the connection.
For instance, if a politician says, “We have to raise taxes in order to pay for
this care needed for the poor,” many people will feel good about that and
vote for that politician. What they don’t think about is what is involved with
that.
First, where are they going to get the money? They are going to have to take
it from those that are productive and working. This creates a disincentive
for people to work and produce. Therefore there is less money available for
other things.
However, a much worse condition also is created by this new social program
and new tax. It creates a dependent class that feels they are owed something
by the rest of society. They have learned that all they have to do is go to
their politician and demand certain goodies and they get them. The
politician knows that he can count on that group voting, en mass, for the new
program.
It has been wisely said before that if you rob Peter to pay Paul you can
always count on Paul’s support. This is how most politics works. A
politician will persuade a large enough group to elect him to office. Then to
pay back that group, he extracts money from another group (all through the
force of government and threat of confiscation or imprisonment from the
“money extractees”). If the group receiving the benefits is larger than the
group from which money is extracted, the politician can stay in office and
claim “it is the will of the people.”
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Balderdash!
This serious problem arises because many people see a certain group getting
“government goodies” and they think that their group can make a case to get
such “government goodies.” For a small amount of dollars, a thriving
economy can still keep going.
However, what has happened in the United States and much of the rest of the
world is that the burden of funding the “government goodies” for so many
groups has destroyed incentives and created masses of people that feel
someone else owes them a living.
It all starts with specious thinking. Going back to our example of the CEO
and the janitor and pay scales, it just doesn’t seem “right” that one person
would get more money than another.
The truth of the matter is that it is relatively easy to replace the skills needed
by the janitor. However, the skills needed by a CEO to run the operation
and make it profitable are more complex. That CEO cannot be replaced as
easily.
And in the free market, if the CEO is not performing as well as someone else
could, that company has the right and the obligation to replace that CEO
with another. This is how the market functions and it is a critical principle
to making the world better.
As we understand these concepts, we can move forward and reap rewards.
We have to put down some of our personal feelings about what we think is
right and wrong. In the real world skills are more important.
In fact, I’d rather be on an airplane with a great pilot who continually flies
accident free, who might be grumpy and mean than with the sweetest,
kindest pilot who can’t fly the plane without crashing.
Of course, I’m using an extreme example. However, what matters is that we
really don’t care about the niceties of the pilot. We want that pilot for the
skills in flying that aircraft safely and getting us to our destination without
incident. If he is nice, so much the better. But in this case, we want
competency, calmness and professionalism from the pilots flying the plane
we are on board!
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If you are in the job market (and if you’re an entrepreneur, you’re always in
the job market!), think of how you purchase, for instance, a new car. You’re
going to look at certain features and needs you have. You’re going to look
for quality. You’re going to look at price. You are making these decisions
based on what is right for you.
It is the same principle when someone is going to hire you. They want you
to be nice, but they are more interested in your skills.
Yet, there is another component to this mix:
The Ability To Get Along with Others
Yep! That score you got in kindergarten about “Ability to Play Well With
Others” is very important. It has been said that getting ahead in a job is 15%
technical skills and 85% people skills. I don’t know where they came up
with those numbers, but they sound reasonable.
One of the greatest skills you can ever possess is the ability
to get others to go along with you of their own free will.
This is another one of those important principles that has to be burned into
our minds in order to succeed in today’s world.
I know many in the tech world that think all they have to do is come up with
great technology ideas, program better than anyone else, invest a great
technology or something along the technical lines, and they won’t have to
deal with people anymore.
I have been in technology since 1982 and I have yet to see anyone get ahead
and make serious money who couldn’t get along with people. Even
someone like Bill Gates, currently the richest man in the world, has the
ability to communicate. He started out being more technical but he is smart
enough to know that he has to have the skills of working with others in order
to get ahead.
So, you need technical skills for your job. If you’re studying Law, you have
to know the Law. You have to be able to pass the Bar Exam and be
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accepted into your State Bar Association. However, if you want to progress
and get ahead, you must have the requisite people skills or you won’t get
very far.
That ability to get along with others thing is really important. If you
combine it with strong skills you have a winning combination.
I mentioned colleges and universities as good places to increase skills.
However, it is even more important that you learn to acquire and assimilate
pertinent information rapidly.
Two of the best skills you can acquire in today’s world are speed reading (or
rapid reading) and strong memory skills. If you can absorb information
rapidly and devour books and magazines quickly, you’ll be able to learn
more and get father ahead.
I wish they taught speed-reading at the Third Grade level. They don’t. That
is too bad. For children today, they are faced with a mountain of reading in
their lifetime. The best most schools offer is the old 17 th Century word by
word reading method.
This is the 21st Century. It is time for a change. But don’t expect that
change to come from government schools. Instead, parents, teach your
children, on your own, how to read rapidly, how to memorize and how to
grasp the essential information needed for success in the 21 st Century.
This is one reason that the Home Schooling and the School Choice
movements are increasing so rapidly. Most inner city parents realize that the
government schools have failed and continue to fail miserably. This is why
many have taken their children out of the government schools and train them
through Home Schooling. Is it any wonder that the children coming from
private schools and Home Schooling perform, on average, better on tests and
scholastic skills?
If you’re a parent, take matters into your own hands and educate your
children. Even if they are going to the government schools, make sure your
children are getting the skills and tools they need to succeed.
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Speed reading helps you develop the ability to process vast amounts of
information quickly and to retain much more than you would by the old
word-by-word method.
If you haven’t already had a course in this valuable skill, find one in your
area or on the Net soon. Remember that your area today includes the
Internet so you have no excuse for not getting some type of training on rapid
reading.
I have found that the courses from places like Evelyn Wood Speed Reading
and their competitors are marvelous for learning how to read faster and
retain more.
The skill of Memory Development is vital as well. The more you can
remember names and faces the better off you’ll be in today’s world.
Remembering phone numbers, account numbers, e-mail passwords and other
information is vital. Some people say that you shouldn’t clutter your mind
with trivial details.
I find that the brain works best when it is taxed more. A recent column in
the Wall Street Journal cited new scientific evidence that our brains grow
stronger the more they are used. This is true regardless of age.
“Even the adult brain is "plastic," able to forge new connections
among its neurons and thus rewire itself. Sensory input can
change the brain, and the brain remodels itself in response to
behavioral demands. Regions that get the most use literally
expand. In terms of which neural circuits endure and enlarge,
you can call it survival of the busiest.”5
This is really good news! The more you exercise your brain and push it to
the limits, the more it will respond positively. A great way to do this is by
memory exercises.
I’ve enjoyed going through the work of Dominic O’Brien. 6 I have read
other books by Jerry Lucas and Harry Lorayne on developing memory. Be
5
Wall Street Journal, October 11, 2002, “Survival of the Busiest”
Dominic O’Brien, Audio Cassette Quantum Memory Power published by Nightingale-Conant, 8003235522. This is a great audio program for learning how to develop your memory. It is great for business and
personal uses. I highly recommend it.
6
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sure to see the reference section of this book for more information on other
ways to increase your memory.
One of the drills that I‘ve found through the years that helps me is to go
through lists of memorized items and repeat them. For instance, I like to
remember the various individual States of the United States along with their
capitals. I also like to go through the list of Presidents of the United States
in order.
I find that going through these and other lists helps to keep my brain active.
It is like “push-ups for the brain” in that it gives the ole’ noggin a workout
that keeps it fresh and alive.
Make a list of things that are important for you. It could be a list of “10
steps to success” or something like that from a favorite author of yours.
Then regularly work through these lists.
The purpose? Much like push-ups for the body, these lists that you’ll
memorize will help you to strengthen your brain and become more alert and
creative. Remember that the brain is much like other muscles; the more it is
used the stronger it becomes.
Work your brain mercilessly. Condition it and make it tougher and stronger.
It is all you’ve got to get through life. Make the most of it.
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Learning Through the Internet
We live in a great age today. You can learn about subjects from around the
world simply by having an inexpensive access to the Internet. You can read,
listen and take courses. Today there is no excuse for not having a solid,
continuing education.
I find that I learn a lot through reading on the Internet. One of the greatest
sources is to read trade publications in your areas of interest. Find those
areas that are of most interest to you and you can research them.
A great way to do a search on a subject is through the website
www.google.com . This site is so popular is has been blended into our
colloquial terms. It is used today to look up information on someone as “Do
a google on them.” We Americans have a habit of turning nouns into verbs.
I guess that is because we are very action-oriented and want to get things
done. (Think of the phrase, “I’ll fax this to you “when fax is really a noun,
not a verb).
I find that Google is a great source for information but you can get more
from other places as well. Here are some others that would be of use to you:
1.
2.
3.
4.
www.vivisimo.com
www.wisenut.com
www.dogpile.com
www.magportal.com
I find that these provide abundant amounts of information on most topics
that I need to know.
Learning Through Your Local Library
Some of this will fall into the “Duh!” category but we need to be reminded
of it. Sure, we know that libraries have information. But, have you seen
what is out there and available today? I am spending more time than ever
before in my life at my local library and loving it enormously.
Since they’re taking money from me to pay for it whether I like it or not, I
figure I should avail myself of the service.
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You might have a service similar to what we have in Orange County,
Florida, in your local library. We can order books, audios and other Library
materials over the Internet and have them delivered right to our door at no
charge. Well, I should say, no additional charge since we’re paying for it
through our tax dollars. But this is a great service!
However you choose to get books and information, I encourage you to
saturate your mind with quality information on your topic. This is going to
give you the skills you need for success.
Many professionals take it upon themselves to read a minimum of one book
a week. I’ve noticed that those who read that much are generally better able
to think through the various problems of life. They are better able to
assimilate information quickly and provide market-valued results.
Perhaps it is much like the article in the Wall Street Journal cited about
using our brains more. The more we use them, the better they perform. You
owe it to yourself to stretch and push your brain to its limits. Since science
hasn’t yet discovered the true limits of the human brain, take it upon
yourself to push your brain farther.
What does this mean? Read more. Set a goal of a minimum of one book a
week. Listen to audio. Listen to at least one hour of quality, instructional
audio per week. If you drive in traffic in most cities around the world today,
you can do this in that “scrap” time of being in the car.
Also make it a point to regularly attend seminars and lectures on topics that
are pertinent to you and your needs. There are many good associations and
groups that are devoted to specific areas of knowledge. You could be
involved in those groups that best feed and help you to attain the goals
worthwhile to you.
Magazines and Periodicals
Situations change quickly in our world today. Knowledge is continually
being revised and modified. You have to stay updated on many different
topics. One of the best ways to do this is still through magazines and
journals. They are not as up to date as the television but they provide more
in-depth knowledge.
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Speed reading is critical here. There is no way you can read through all the
good magazines that are out there. Speed-reading gives you the ability to
process the vital parts of information from several good sources.
Newspapers
Newspapers can provide daily coverage for a target area. Usually they are
local newspapers. These are handy if you’re trying to stay on top of what is
happening in a given community.
Because I’m a syndicated columnist with Business Journals across the
United States, I have to put in a plug here for those papers. You can get
information on local business happenings and find out what is most relevant
for businesses in your community. Check out www.bizjournals.com and
you’ll see a wealth of information that is applicable for many given areas as
well as general business information.
I also enjoy reading USA Today and the Wall Street Journal. These
nationally targeted papers each provide value. USA Today is good for a
broad view of what is happening and the Wall Street Journal gives a good
handle on what is happening in the world, in business, and in personal
matters.
I remember when I was in grad school that I started reading the Wall Street
Journal and realized how important it was to grasp what was happening in
the world and in business. I remember thinking to myself, “When you’re too
busy to read the Wall Street Journal, you’re too busy.” That has been true
in my life for years.
In addition to papers in the United States, I regularly enjoy reading The
Moscow Times (www.themoscowtimes.com) for perspective and insight
into what is happening and how they think about current events in Russia.
Other international papers I enjoy include The Sydney Morning Herald
(http://www.smh.com.au/) gives me good insights into what is happening in
The Land Down Under and those wonderful people there. I also like reading
other papers from cities like London, Toronto and Tokyo. It is important to
keep a fresh perspective on today’s news from several different sources. If
you get all your information from only one source, you can become distorted
in your thinking. Keep a variety of different and opposing points of view
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flowing to your mind. This is how we learn. This will help to strengthen
your mind.
Audio Learning
I love listening to audio. When I have a longer trip ahead, I often look
forward to taking along several audiocassette programs, several CDs or lots
of MP3 files filled with instructional and motivational thoughts.
Instead of just driving along and listening to the same old songs again and
again on the radio, why not turn your time spent driving into The University
of the Car? This would be a great way to spend your time more
productively.
If you listen to 1 hour a day (30 minutes each way) you can quickly gain the
information that someone would at a college or university. Think about it:
What is college except someone speaking (through classroom lectures) and
having required reading (the textbooks for school)? Though in some tests to
make sure you’re grasping the information, you can come close to
duplicating the learning experience encountered at most universities. You’ll
just have to get by without those boring lectures from graduate assistants
who come from other countries and speak different dialects of English that
you can’t understand!
The Internet provides a wealth of audio learning also. There are many sites
that provide downloadable audio learning and instruction. You can get
audio on the Net in a few ways. These include:
1. Real Audio. This was one of the pioneering formats back in 1995 for
audio on the Internet. Instead of loading a file on your computer, you
can listen as it “streams” to your computer. You would need a device
on your computer or nearby (like a tape recorder) to record the sounds
and listen to them later, if you choose. Otherwise, you can listen as
they are downloaded through the audio speakers on your computer.
You can download a Real Audio player for free at www.real.com and
it will open a world of audio possibilities for you.
2. Windows Media. This is a format from Microsoft that comes with
Windows. It can handle various forms of audio and video. It is in
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competition with Real Audio so they keep improving it. You can get
information on this at www.microsoft.com.
3. Quick Time. This is another format for audio and video on the Net.
It is available from Apple.
4. MP3 files. These are files that are more known for music. However,
you can get lots of information on spoken word audio. Many sites
have these. For information on where to listen to books and other
learning materials, go to http://www.audiopub.org for information on
audio books available.
You’ll need a player that can be downloaded to listen to MP3 files on
your computer. One of the best is a product called Winamp and is
from Nullsoft. You can get a free copy of it by going to the site:
http://www.winamp.com/ and downloading the latest software.
5. Flash Audio. Flash is a software program from Macromedia which is
very popular on the Internet. It provides audio and video of very high
quality. For the Internet it is particularly good because it is small in
size. Consider this for recording your own programs and audio.
6. Other formats. As technology changes, there are more and more
formats becoming available. Flash from Macromedia is a burgeoning
technology that allows audio and video on your website. For more
information on this and other possibilities you can check my site for
information on some of the latest information, or drop me at e-mail at
[email protected] and I’ll let you know what is going on now
with some of the latest in this area.
Text to Audio
One exciting way to listen to e-mail, your favorite websites and any text you
have on your computer is through software that converts text to speech. I
use a program for this and listen to great marketing articles and e-mail
newsletters that come my way.
Just this morning, I took some recent e-mail newsletters that I had received
and converted them to audio. Then I listened to them while I was working
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out with my morning calisthenics and exercises. What a great way to
exercise both my body and my brain.
You can get lots of programs that will handle this conversion. Contact me
through e-mail about what is the best on the market today.
Hiring Experts From Anywhere
Not only can you learn from books, tapes, CDs, magazines and other
sources, you can gain from experts anywhere in the world.
For instance, I told you earlier about my experience with Dominic O’Brien
and his Memory Development techniques. Dominic is the #1 Memory
person in the world as recognized by the Mental Sports Olympics in London,
England.
After I listened to his program I wanted to find out more about him and work
with him as a coach. I wanted to call him on the phone, pay him for his time
and learn from the best. Well, I wasn’t able to get in touch with him directly
but by searching a lot on the Net, I was able to come up with a company
called Learning Technologies, Ltd. that provides training in Memory
Development, Speed Reading and Mind Mapping (a technique for learning
material and remembering it). I was able to get through to Phil Chambers
who has helped me in study of various topics related to memory and speedreading.
Phil happens to live near Birmingham, England. I live in Orlando, Florida.
However, that doesn’t prevent us from working together. I made it a point
to call him for scheduled meetings where we would talk over the phone. I
would record our sessions (with his knowledge and permission) and then go
over the material for enhanced learning.
Think of how you can reach experts in given topics wherever they live in the
world. Your knowledge and education is worth the price of a phone call!
Think about how much you would pay to be with that person in person! For
the mere price of a phone call and their hourly rate, you can get access to
just the people you need to reach without leaving the convenience of your
home.
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Of course, this is up to you to make it happen. You have to be proactive to
get in touch with the people that have the specific knowledge you want.
With phone costs at a historic low and Internet connections at their fastest
levels ever, now is a great time to create and craft your own personalized
university learning just what you need in your life.
Go back over the list of Life Goals that you created in Chapter 2. These are
going to drive you forward. How many of them are going to require money?
How many of them will you be able to attain by acquiring specific
knowledge?
Now think about what steps you’ll need to get the necessary knowledge that
you can receive from the various sources cited in this Chapter.
Exercise
Here’s your exercise for Chapter 3. Go over your list of A Goals from your
Life Goal list. Write down specifics on what you’ll need to do to make your
top priorities a reality in your life.
Think of the steps that will be necessary to attain those goals. Break down
the project into bite-sized chunks. This is a process called “chunking” to
break a large and seemingly insurmountable task into various attainable
pieces.
What sources of knowledge do you need to yet accomplish your goals?
What new pieces of information are you going to have to acquire to make
your goal a reality?
Do the hard thinking part and you’ll see many opportunities that start to
open.
This is discussed more in Chapter 4 where we talk about the important
subject, “Counting the Cost.”
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Chapter 4 – Counting The Cost
“There is absolutely no inevitability as long as there is a willingness to
contemplate what is happening.” Marshall McLuhan
I
t is time to contemplate what is happening. It is time to think about what
you want and what it is going to take to attain it.
Nothing great in life was ever attained without effort. You have to put forth
that effort. If you’re with me this far into the book, you are serious about
making the magic happen in your life by creating your own miracles.
You’ve laid out your goals (Chapter 2) and you’ve looked at resources
available (Chapter 3).
Now it is time to do some serious thinking and serious talking with yourself.
Are you willing to pay the price that is going to be necessary? Chapter 5
will deal with Paying the Price and what is going to be required for you to
do that. This chapter is a time to sit down and decide if you are willing to do
whatever it takes to make your goals happen. Are you willing to pay the
price to make the magic happen in your life?
That is a question that only you can answer. No one can do it for you. You
have to go into it with your eyes wide open, knowing the ups and the downs,
the pros and the cons. You also have to be willing to persist through the
hard times that are going to come that you don’t even know about!
However, what will keep you going is the dream of attaining your goals.
Making the magic happen in your life is dreams that can help you achieve
what you need.
One of the things that has helped me a lot is a quote by my friend, Brian
Tracy who said that when you are getting started you do a lot of work for
little pay. Then as you get better and better and your skills are more in
demand you do little work for a lot of pay.
It is called leverage and you gain that by knowledge from experience and
your personal learning and growth.
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You do have to pay a big price. There are a lot of requirements for success.
Your requirements will consist of Time, Money and Effort. Let’s look at
these individually to see how we can best arrive at the solution needed.
Time Requirements
“Does thou love life? Then
do not squander time; for
that's the stuff life is made
of.” Benjamin Franklin
Life is made of time. It is all we
have. Each of us has 24 hours in a
day and no matter how much money
you have, you can’t add one second
more. The poorest person still has
time to accomplish their goals.
How Long Will It Take?
This is a question you have to ask for each of your major goals. You have to
estimate how long it is going to take to accomplish what you need to do and
how long it will be required.
If you have a goal to be a brain surgeon, figure about 4 years for undergrad
work, 4 more years for med school, another 2-3 years for specialty training
and then 2-3 more years for your residency. Then on top of that, there could
be extra requirements (just in time alone!).
You can see why it is important that we pay brain surgeons well to keep the
incentive for new students to go through the programs. However, that is a
long, long commitment to get a profession.
There are other goals you’ll have that won’t fit well into the time frame. For
instance, if one of your goals is to find the right soul mate and be with that
person, you can’t necessarily pinpoint a time. However, you can commit
that it is important to you and budget time to be around people that can
likely fill that need. Either way, it is going to take a strong commitment of
time to make worthwhile things happen in your life.
The events of September 11, 2001 brought home the importance of living
life now, rather than waiting forever. We saw people that were working,
doing their job suddenly have their lives come to an end. We all realized
that we can’t put off living forever. In fact, we have to make it happen now
and stop fiddling around!
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This is not a test. This is your real life. You have to live it now and stop
waiting for the future. Enjoy each precious moment that you have. Savor
life as you would each morsel of a carefully prepared delicious meal. Life is
way to short to waste it on trivial activities and involved in those things that
don’t support you or fulfill your goals.
However, here is the paradox. We can’t just live for the moment. Yes, we
savor that delicious meal. But we don’t live as hedonists living only for the
moment. We have to plan for the future.
As the wise poet said before, you have to plant seeds for a tree under which
you will never sit. You have to invest for the future, both your future and
those that will follow you.
So, how do we match these two seemingly contradictory goals? We have to
budget. We have to budget our time and all our resources. Carefully invest
some in enjoyment for the moment. Carefully invest some in fulfilling those
long-term goals. Carefully invest so that years from now you’ll be able to
enjoy even more.
This takes planning. It takes preparation. It takes lots of thinking.
As you’re planning be sure to leave that legacy of who you are. Benjamin
Franklin, one of America’s Founding Fathers said, “If you would not be
forgotten as soon as you are rotten, either write things worth reading or do
things worth the writing.” Make your life count.
What is the Cost in Money?
Money is a way to get things done. It is a way to acquire possessions that
are important and valuable. It is one of, but not the most important things in
life.
Many of the goals you have will directly or indirectly relate to money. If
you want to take a trip somewhere, this is obviously going to require a lot of
money, depending on the distance. You have to have a means of generating
income. This will come by generating value for others. The more value you
can generate for others, the more they will be willing to part with their
capital to purchase the products or services that you provide.
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It has been said by many that there is “no such thing as a free lunch.” This is
true. Somebody has to pay. You are either getting a lunch at someone else’s
expense (meaning they are the someone paying the bill) or you’re paying for
it yourself.
This is important to know in life. Too many people think that someone else
will be there to provide for them and take care of them.
This goes back to the sickness called, “the world owes me a living.” It is a
sickness and can only lead to someone being hurt and hampered greatly in
life.
Because there is no such thing as the free lunch there is another important
principle. You get what you pay for. One of the misguided policies that
many people and many organizations attempt is to try to get great value
without spending.
I remember a few years ago I had the honor to spend some time with Tony
Robbins, the motivational speaker and coach. He and I talked about a wide
variety of topics including life, current technology, politics and what really
is important in life. He stressed the importance of being willing to part with
our capital in order to gain new information and acquire knowledge. I
thought this was interesting as he demonstrated how he was doing that in his
life.
Tony has his detractors. I don’t know him personally other than from
spending several hours alone with him as he prepared for the next day’s
presentation. I can’t speak for his detractors or their accusations. I just
know that what he told me rang true. In order to get ahead in this world you
have to be willing to invest in yourself. You have to be willing to part with
your capital to gain something more.
Many people will not give a second thought to spending money on frivolous
things. Worse yet, they borrow money on depreciating things! Rather than
do that, invest your money first and foremost in your own education and
learning. Invest in making your skill set stronger and more marketable.
Invest in those areas that are going to be value to others.
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One thing I have always found amazing is the people that complain that they
can’t afford health insurance. They think that all health insurance has to
come from their employer or they won’t pay any of it for themselves. Yet
these same people sit home watching a rather expensive television, tuned
into cable with several premium channels and talking on their cell phone!
Hello!
Maybe they need a lesson in priorities rather than more marching on the
government to demand a “fair” wage or so-called Universal Health Care
(Socialized Medicine).
Benjamin Franklin said something else that I think is quite valuable. “Use
the coins of your purse to fill your mind and your mind will overflow your
purse with coins.” This is so true. The money you invest in learning and
growing your skill set will pay rich dividends for you later on. Of course,
you have to carefully think about where you’re investing your money. This
comes from experience. Lean towards learning and education and you
won’t go wrong.
When purchasing goods and services you are always better off to get top
quality rather than go for just the lowest price. Lock in quality and then look
for price when buying.
It is better to be cheated in the price than in the quality of the goods. This is
an old saying from a wise person of years ago. It is hard to believe at first
but we are better off paying too much for fine, quality merchandise rather
than getting cheap merchandise for a bargain. The price that we pay is soon
forgotten but what remains is the quality.
A friend of mine, Dr. Gene Griessman, told me once about an attorney that
he hired to help him with some legal matters. He selected one of the most
expensive lawyers in the city to represent him. He told me that he did this
because an expensive lawyer will save you money where a cheap lawyer
will cost you more.
Gene said that you pay more with the cheap lawyer because first it can take
the cheap lawyer more time to do the same work that the expensive lawyer
can do quickly and easily. Secondly, you are more likely to lose the case
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and forfeit everything you have plus the legal fees if you have a more
inexperienced lawyer representing you.
In matters that are critical, go with the best. Borrow if you must, but invest
in the best when it matters most.
At the same time, use your judgment. (There’s that word again!) For things
that don’t matter go for the best prices. For instance, I find that I can buy
certain non-perishable products in bulk at a local Sam’s Club here in
Orlando and save a lot over having to make several trips to pay for the same
item at a regular store. Sam’s is good for some items. The other stores are
good for other items. Judgment is the key and that comes from learning and
from experience.
On the flip side, I’ve learned the hard way about buying way too much in
bulk that I don’t ever use and end up discarding much later. Yes, I saved on
a per unit basis, but my overall savings would have been greater if I had just
purchased small quantities as needed. Judgment is the key here again.
While we’re on the subject of cost, I think we also have to think about what
is the best use of our money. When I was younger I thought about getting
more and more possessions. I wanted to fill my home with luxurious
possessions and then get a bigger home for them. Of course, the bigger
home was then filled with more possessions and created a desire for a bigger
house. This lead to a spiraling upward problem.
It is the same situation discussed by the philosophy Dennis Diderot (17131784) . He talked about getting a new item like a wallet. The new wallet
was particularly elegant and fancy.
Once purchased, he knew that he had to get pants that were of the same
quality. How could you carry such a nice wallet with less than elegant
pants? Of course, when you purchased the pants, you had to get a new shirt
to go with it. That new shirt led to purchase of a new overcoat.
The new overcoat required the purchase of new shoes. From there you had
to put them in a nice closet, which had to be in a nice house, etc. etc. The
continuing upward spiral never stopped.
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Diderot then gave away the wallet as it was way too expensive. Rather than
accumulating more and more stuff many today are choosing to invest their
money into things that matter more like experiences and helping others in
their lives.
It was James Gilmore and B. Joseph Pine II that wrote The Experience
Economy. In their work they cited references showing that our economy has
gone through accumulation of possessions and now we value experiences
that are created far more.
Think about yourself. After you have so much stuff, you really don’t need
any more or desire any more. Yet, experiences are always in vogue.
Capturing these through digital photography and digital media devices
provide a way to relive great moments with friends and loved ones over and
over.
Personally, I find that things are nice. I like to have them but I don’t need
them. I find it curious that as I grow older I value things less and less and
put more value on experiences and building memories with friends and
loved ones.
If you had asked me when I was 25 what I would do with a sudden windfall
of $1 million I would have thought of many items. Today, I think of
investing it in experiences with friends, learning, classes, trips where I can
learn and other people. I guess this is the way life works for us.
You have to decide how much money you are willing to invest in various
areas of your life. What is it that is important to you? Think in terms of
long-term benefits and you’ll make wiser decisions.
Many of us today are trying to “de-stuff” our lives. We have lots of clutter
and things from past accumulations. These things are largely being divested
or thrown away. It doesn’t mean that we don’t buy things. I’m a strong
advocate of the free market and the ability to acquire as much money as you
want. I also find that wisdom through the ages has focused on kindness,
beauty and truth more than material things.
You have to make your own choices of what is right for you. This is the key
to living well. It is hard because it requires a lot of gut-wrenching, honest
thinking.
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But it is well worth it!
What is the Cost in Effort?
Anything worthwhile is going to take effort to accomplish. Without
significant amounts of positive, effective effort you’re flaying against the
wind.
Part of counting the cost is looking at how much effort is going to be
required to accomplish a given task. You have to decide if it is worth it for
you in the long run.
You have to ask yourself if it passes the “so what?” test. Is the amount of
effort going to pay off in something worthwhile and big for you?
Sometimes the effort is worth it not only for the end results but for what
you’ll gain in the process. Going to school is a good example of this.
In school you have to take a lot of courses that seem like a waste of time. In
undergrad school, it is not uncommon to hear students complain about
having to take a given class because “it doesn’t relate to my major.” They
might be studying, say, biology and desire to be a medical doctor. They
complain about being required to take, for instance, history, seeing no
relevance to knowing when a battle occurred in some distant past moment
and how that will help them ultimately to save lives.
The magic is in the process. The big benefit of taking history, or any other
subject, is not just the value from learning about history, although I could go
on for a while about the benefits of studying history. We learn what human
nature is like through the ages. We learn about the mistakes they made years
ago. We learn, as George Santyana told us, that those who don’t learn from
history are condemned to repeat its mistakes. There are many more benefits
of studying history, but this is not the place for those arguments.
The benefit, though, for a pre-med student to study history (to use that as an
example) is the training and the learning how to learn that comes from it.
When the mind is subjected to the rigors of study and learning, amazing
things happen. You broaden it to see the big picture of what life is all about.
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You learn how to deal with difficult situations. You build different parts of
your brain that wouldn’t be touched by other disciplines.
The magic is in the process of learning how to learn. I studied all kinds of
things that were required when I went through my MBA program. I studied
things like Differential Calculus, Integral Calculus, Durbin-Watson
statistics, Chi-Square Analysis and more gobble-de-goop (at least it seemed
like gobble-de-goop at the time!). I don’t remember much of it at all now,
although I’m sure I could do a quick review and refresh my memory on it.
However, the benefits of studying that stuff came from disciplining my brain
to learn new things that were tools for solving other problems later. If I
didn’t understand some of that stuff, I would never have been able to grasps
the more important concepts we studied in marketing (my major in the MBA
program).
One technique I remember learning is called linear programming. It is a
marvelous tool used in business to determine optimal quantities needed for
input, constraints upon the process and the ultimate output and price for this.
I’ve since come to realize that life is just one big linear programming model.
Everything you do requires certain inputs (time, money, effort, etc.). You
have a desired output (rewards achieved, feeling good, money in return and
other benefits). You have to find the optimal combination that works for
you.
And the trick is that it keeps changing! Just when you figure it out for one
set of variables, you have others that change and effect the whole thing.
This is all part of living life. It is just the way things work.
Besides, there is another benefit to studying things that you don’t think
you’re going to use. You don’t know the future. You never know what it is
exactly that you’ll use in the future or what opportunities lie ahead.
Benefiting From Hard Experiences
When I had just entered the MBA program at Georgia State University I
came from an undergrad degree in Communications. I knew lots about
radio, newspapers, television, advertising, etc. I had worked for six years in
radio and for about 10 years in various newspapers. I enjoyed those and
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wanted to learn more about how to apply the principles of business to what I
knew about being on the radio and writing newspaper reports.
The first class I took was an introduction to Accounting. It was a prerequisite for the MBA program since you needed to know a lot about
accounting in order to go through the rest of the MBA core program. Well, I
entered that Accounting course with gusto and enthusiasm! I was going to
learn this stuff, even though I knew I wouldn’t use it much.
As I got into the course, it became increasingly difficult. I was not doing
well. In fact, I completely failed the first test. I just couldn’t wrap my arms
around this topic called Accounting.
I was beginning to feel discouraged. I was feeling miserable because if I
didn’t make it through this course, I wouldn’t make it through the rest of the
MBA program. I had all those downward spiraling thoughts about not being
worth anything, not being able to make it, being a fool as I told all my
friends I was going for an MBA and then to get thrown out of the program
was the ultimate embarrassment.
I consulted with the professor. He was kind and gracious to help but I still
didn’t quite get it. I finally ended up getting a grade of D in that course. It
was devastating to me personally! I knew that I couldn’t continue like that
and get my coveted MBA degree.
Then the letter came.
It was the letter from the administration of GSU that said I would have to
retake the course or drop out of the program. I couldn’t continue with the
program unless I pulled up my GPA (grade point average).
I felt the shock of having reality setting in around me. Where was I going to
go with my life? My then wife was working on her Masters in Counseling
and I knew that I would be left behind working at some job I probably didn’t
like and having to carry the burden of flunking out of the MBA program.
That December, when I got the letter, was a very, very difficult time in life. I
was having all kinds of nasty thoughts about what I was going to do about
the course, my MBA, my career and even life. For a young man in his early
20’s my career was very important at that time. I can understand why many
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people get depressed and want to give up on everything when something
doesn’t work the way it was supposed to work.
On top of all the psychological pressure, there was a lot of financial
pressure. We both had debts up to our earlobes at that time. We were living
on student loans. Our net worth was in negative numbers. We owed money
to our parents as well. Things didn’t look super bright for the future.
It was at that moment that I made the decision to go for it. I was going to
take that Accounting course again. I was determined to make it this next
time no matter what. Besides, I had already been exposed to the material so
it would be a piece of cake, right?
Wrong.
I took the course again. Once again I had a very good instructor who
graciously helped me through many of the difficulties.
So, you’re probably wondering how it all turned out? I was planning on
getting an A in that class. Yeah, I’m an optimistic little rascal!
Well, I didn’t get an A there. However, I did manage to squeak by with a
university-accepted grade of B. I was still on academic probation, but I
knew I was coming out of it.
My confidence was building and that was the most important part. It is
amazing what happens as you build your confidence. You do this by
achieving small tasks and overcoming them. Then you try other, small, bitesized tasks and accomplish them. Each step along the way, you learn more
and more about what it takes to be successful. You learn about these various
tasks.
Most important, you learn about yourself and your abilities. You learn how
to stretch your abilities and become more than you thought you could be.
That is the real benefit.
So, I had made it through that second accounting class with Norman Dressel.
He was a well-respected Accounting professor at GSU. He had taught me to
keep going no matter what.
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It was a couple of quarters later that I had another awesome task. Another
one of the required classes in the MBA program was Cost Accounting. This
is where they teach you about how accountants calculate the true cost of
plant and equipment, depreciation and other important stuff related to
business.
This time I entered it with a fresh and renewed frame of mind. I had finally
gotten a B in Accounting. This time I was more determined than ever to do
well.
Once again, I had a good professor who helped me as this Communications
undergrad kid learned about the world of business, numbers and that dreaded
Accounting!
I worked my little butt off in that class. I would go over the examples they
gave us time after time. They would give us an example of how to perform
a certain task. Then the assignment was to do one on our own.
Well, I took the pre-done example and went over and over it. I drilled on it
at least 100 times (literally!). I guess some are more thick-headed than
others and it sure took me a while, but I would not give up. I kept drilling
and drilling on those examples until I could do them from memory.
It took a lot of time to make that happen. It took a lot of discipline to give
up other activities and redo those costing examples, even though I had done
them before. There was a little voice in my head that would say, “You don’t
have to do this. You already know it. Besides, you owe yourself a break.
Take it easy. Relax. Don’t worry, you’ll be just fine.”
I realized that that little voice was the voice that would harm me. It would
take away the goal I had of first successfully completing this Cost
Accounting class. Secondly, it would keep me from getting the MBA
degree that I wanted so much.
Well, I kept on keeping on and honed discipline skills that I didn’t know I
had. When the course was over, I was delighted and thrilled to get a solid
grade of A in that class! I was ecstatic! I had conquered the nemesis of
Accounting! If I could conquer those debits and credits, those costing
models and all that other stuff, I could take on anything!
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As you apply yourself you’ll learn more and more about not only the tasks,
but about you personally. You’ll build character and discipline. These are
two of the most important skills you’ll need to accomplish anything that is
really worthwhile in life. This is another benefit of learning and growing.
Well, the MBA program continued and I worked hard on the courses. I
can’t say that I got all As in every course. However, I made sure that I
learned a lot about many aspects of business.
One particularly important class was Finance. This was another one that
required a solid knowledge of numbers and how they all relate.
Remembering what I had done in Cost Accounting, I decided to go
overboard in learning this also. Remember, all this time I was a Marketing
major and knew that I wouldn’t have much use for all the details of
Accounting later on in life. However, I took it as a challenge and a way to
have fun. I know that Accounting and fun don’t seem to go together in the
same sentence, but I decided to make that happen also! I was a determined
rascal!
In Finance class, I discovered new concepts and ideas. I tried the same
practice of looking at models that were done and working properly. I would
then go through these models over and over. I remember going over them at
least 100 times (no exaggeration!) till I could do it from memory. I went
through a lot of paper and had to empty the wastebasket a lot. But that’s
OK. I was able to learn this stuff.
Life has a habit of presenting many different choices and you don’t always
see the connection between them. Much like Jacob Brownowski’s BBC
program, Connections, we can’t see how things relate at first. They seem
like they aren’t related at all. Yet, I’ve continued to be amazed at how
having skill in one area helps in another. It is amazing how knowing one
person helps to relate to another even if there doesn’t seem to be any
connection! We have to be ready and open for the excitement and joy that
life will bring, if we are ready for it.
One of the concepts they introduced was that of a Cash Flow Model. It
describes how to treat cash coming into and flowing out of a company with
the proper accounting rules. I thought it was a fun challenge so I built the
little models on paper (we didn’t have spreadsheets available at that time)
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and made sure everything added up properly. I went through it repetitiously
over and over.
Again, that little voice came back in my head. “You don’t have to work so
hard. You should take it easy and relax. Besides, isn’t life to be enjoyed?”
Once again, I had to tell that little voice to shut up and I blocked it out of my
mind. I persisted and carried through no matter what.
When the final exam for that Finance class came, I looked at the test and
smiled. The final question was to design a cash flow statement using the
model that had been introduced in class. After practicing over and over, I
could close my eyes and do it! Well, I kept my eyes open but went through
the model I had memorized and plugged in the various numbers. I made
sure they added properly and felt very good about the test.
Well, the bottom line (to use a good business phrase) was that I got an A in
that Finance class. I felt elated again knowing that I had a system that
worked for me.
See, that is one of the biggest benefits of studying and learning. You
develop a system that works for you. Each person is different. You might
not have to go through the examples 100 times or more to learn. However,
you have to come up with the system that works for you and you only learn
that by trying and trying and experimenting over and over.
Well, by this time in the program I had completed the required Accounting
and Financial classes and could turn my attention to my beloved Marketing
classes.
I enjoyed them and learned a lot. One of the highlights for me was having a
class with Dr. Tom Stanley called Strategic Marketing Planning. He was
fun and made the class most enjoyable. He later went on to write a book
with William Danko entitled, “The Millionaire Next Door.” In that book
Dr. Stanley expressed many of the principles that he had taught to us young
starry-eyed MBA students. Thank you, Dr. Stanley, for your help!
Then graduation finally came. It was a very emotional moment for me. I
had made it through the program and knew that I could conquer the world.
Yes, I felt good!
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See, life has a way of continuing. It is like that tape recorder I mentioned in
Chapter 1. There is no Fast Forward. There is no Rewind. There is only
Play and Stop. You hit play when the doctor smacked you on your bottom
when you were born. You can hit stop prematurely. However, when we
persist through the difficulties we learn. When we gather more information
and get help during the tough times, we become better people for it. Life
just seems to have a way of operating that way.
Oh, there is more to this story. Soon after I got out of the MBA program I
was in management consulting. At the time (early 80’s) there was a new
tool emerging called the Personal Computer (PC). I was intrigued by these
little rascals and took it upon myself to learn how to use an old Apple II Plus
sitting in an office. I got permission to work on it for long stretches of time.
I found that the electronic spreadsheet on that computer, called SuperCalc,
was quite helpful in putting together formulas and worksheets. I was able to
put together a Cash Flow Statement like we did in Finance class on the
computer. This was helpful with clients as I could change just a few
numbers and get results for them incredibly faster than the old pencil paper
and calculator method. What would take weeks before could be done in a
matter of hours. This was a major breakthrough.
Well, as things turned out I began teaching others about computers and how
to use these in their practice. Accountants loved learning about a new
technology that gave them a strong, competitive advantage. They loved the
new way of doing things. That is most Accountants did. Some resisted it
and clung to their own columnar pads and calculators.
However, I kept on persisting (there’s that word again!). I kept doing more
and more and learning about these new things called spreadsheets.
About that time a couple of new spreadsheets hit the market. One called
MBA from Context Management Systems. Another one was called 1-2-3
from Lotus Development Corporation. I looked at both of them and decided
that I would throw my efforts into learning Lotus 1-2-3. I spent a lot of time
and effort to learn the product. I got involved in a computer club so I could
get to know others who also used computers.
I took some additional courses at GSU just to learn about computers more. I
had studied them a little during the MBA program but they were starting to
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take off and move. I felt something major was happening and I didn’t want
to be left out.
As I began to learn more and do classes I had the opportunity one day to
teach a class that would change my life. These opportunities come along
and you don’t realize them when they do. The “magic” is not something that
is supernatural. Remember that “luck” is where preparation meets
opportunity.
This day when I was teaching a regular class on Lotus 123 there was a
person who heard me and wanted to talk about doing other things in the
future. Her name was Katrina Street and she was with the Georgia Society
of CPAs. When I went through my little cash flow example on Lotus 1-2-3
she lit up seeing the possibilities for her CPAs to learn this new technolo gy.
She asked me to speak for a special conference they were holding in a few
months and I agreed. I was able to show some of the things that could be
done with Lotus 1-2-3. I enjoyed being in front of people, talking, laughing,
and making something that could be dull, like accounting, cash flow
statements and electronic spreadsheets fun! And yes, you can use the words
fun, spreadsheets, cash flow statements and accounting all in the same
sentence!
Because I had practiced over and over on how to present and how to use the
electronic spreadsheets the program I did for the Georgia Society of CPAs
went very well. Katrina Street then talked with me further about doing more
classes with them.
Well, to make a long story short, that was the beginning of my speaking
career. Katrina Street started the first lab of IBM PCs and Compaq
computers for any State Society of CPAs in the country. I was the lead
instructor and we trained thousands of CPAs over the years in how to use
Lotus 1-2-3 and other software programs.
So, the lesson is to keep learning. Don’t give up. When I worked with
those Accounting classes at the beginning of my MBA program I was very
discouraged because I just couldn’t grasp these principles. Accounting was
quite different from what I had before with radio, television and newspapers.
Hey, I wasn’t even going to do anything with accounting once I got out of
the MBA program (or so I thought).
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Interesting how the thing that I thought I wouldn’t use, but forced myself to
use and learn and make fun (important concept!), helped me to establish my
speaking career.
And here’s the real kicker: After I had worked so hard on developing that
Cash Flow Statement on Lotus 1-2-3 I used it to train literally thousands of
accountants. Here I was, training accountants when I was the same guy that
had struggled and almost fallen because of Accounting. Smart Persistence
paid off!
It was interesting when the prestigious Journal of Accounting asked me to
write the very first article they had ever run about electronic spreadsheets
and Lotus 1-2-3. I used my Cash Flow Statement as the model and wrote for
about 750,000 accountants around the world how to do accounting and Cash
Flow management with Lotus 1-2-3.
I had gone from getting a D in accounting class to being featured as a noted
expert on how to perform a task in accounting.
Can I hear you say, “YES!!”
Feels good when those things happen!
That wasn’t the end of the story either. I had to keep changing and growing.
Microsoft Excel has displaced Lotus 1-2-3 as the leader in spreadsheets
around the later 80’s. I taught classes on Microsoft Excel later, building on
my knowledge of Lotus 1-2-3. Then I gradually began speaking on more
and more topics related to technology, computers and other tools.
Eventually I started speaking about Marketing, Management and other key
issues that businesses need to get ahead. Today, as I type this, I’m getting
ready to speak to about 600 business owners at a convention here in Orlando
about how they can revolutionize their business and increase sales through
the proper application of key marketing principles.
Today I no longer teach Lotus 1-2-3. I don’t even teach Microsoft Excel.
However, I’ve taken the principles that I learned (the hard way) and have
applied them to where I am now. As of today, I’ve been in 25 countries
around the world, have spoken on 5 continents and have friends around the
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world. I have been on the Board of Directors for the National Speakers
Association and am a proud Past President of the Georgia Speakers
Association.
Do I tell you this to pat myself on the back? Not at all. I’m just one guy
who has done some interesting things. The biggest point is that you, dear
reader, can accomplish your own tasks.
What is it that is your “Accounting Class” challenge? What is it that is
weighing down on you and seems like it will crush you?
Whatever it is, you’ll need a lot more than “a smile and a shoeshine,” as
Willie Loman said in the great book Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller.
You can’t make it on sheer lungpower and “a Positive Mental Attitude.” 7
“Look at a stone cutter hammering away
at his rock, perhaps a hundred times
without as much as a crack showing in
it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it
will split in two, and I know it was not
the last blow that did it, but all that had
gone before.” Jacob A. Riis, 1849-1914
It takes lots of
effort.
It takes lots of
determination and
persistence (that
magic word!). It
takes “Smart
Persistence.™” You
have to be able to
try and then correct
when you’re doing things wrong. I was doing Accounting all wrong. Even
though I had enthusiasm at the beginning, I needed direction. I consulted
with my professors. I went to several others. I realized I couldn’t do it
alone.
Not only did I need their help, but also I had to get it several times. One
shot didn’t cut the mustard! I had to go over and over it multiple times all
the while getting their professional help and expertise.
7
I am all for being positive. I think that Norman Vincent Peale was right on target with his philosophy of
seeing the positive. However, he would have agreed that positive thinking alone, without the right skills
and action is worthless. You have to have the skills, resources and a never-say-die positive attitude to
make it!
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You might consult with an expert and not see results the first time. Don’t
give up. Sometimes you have to consult with an expert multiple times and
even with multiple experts multiple times to get it right. But don’t stop.
Keep using “Smart Persistence™” and you’ll reach your goal.
I had to leverage knowledge. I studied something called Accounting that I
knew I wouldn’t use much (or that is what I thought about it at the time!)
and learned discipline from it. Even if I had never worked with CPAs and
taught them about electronic spreadsheets, I would be thankful for the
discipline and determination that I learned from applying those principles.
Today you face challenges in your life. You have things to do and things to
study. Some of them seem like they have no hope of helping you in the long
run. Always learn. Never stop acquiring new knowledge that is useful and
might be beneficial to you in the future. You don’t know what the future
holds or what you are going to do. Circumstances in our world change
quickly. You have to be adaptable and willing to change your approach
based on feedback from competent professionals, colleagues and the real
world.
It takes a lot of effort to be successful. But it is in that effort that you make
the magic happen in your life. This is how you work your own miracles!
Concept of Opportunity Cost
One of the key economic principles I learned about is that of opportunity
cost. This means that in selecting one activity you are necessarily
precluding doing another.
This is going to be with you always because you can only be in one place at
a time. You can accomplish a wide variety of tasks in life. There are lots of
opportunities for many choices. However, you have to say no to more than
you say yes to.
Persistence alone is not going to help. In fact, after all the good things I just
said about persistence, you might think that it is the only thing that matters.
Not so, grasshopper!
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As with so many things in life, it is a combination that makes the difference.
You need persistence, but persistence for the right goals. Situations change.
The world changes. People move. People die. People leave you. This is
part of the real world. What worked before is not as it is now.
I would have loved to keep teaching Lotus 1-2-3 forever. In fact, it would
have been great if the United States Congress had passed a law requiring
everyone to get instruction on how to use Lotus 1-2-3 and requiring
instructors to have had extensive experience in it. Hey that would be great
for me (or so I would have thought). However, it would ultimately have been
a bad thing. The market needed to change. We would have frozen
technology in its tracks and not progressed.
In fact it would have hurt me as well. What would have seemed like a great
thing (US law now allowing me to rake in masses of money!) would have
hurt me and stifled my ability to stretch and grow. This stretching and
growing took a lot of pain and effort but it is worth it.
Don’t wait for some sudden windfall to come your way. That kind of
“magic” doesn’t happen. You have to make your own magic in the day-today quotidian (look it up!) world. You have to face each day with the
mundane, boring, tasks that help you to get ahead.
George Leonard talks about this in his book, Mastery. It is a must-read book
which discusses the importance of doing what we know we should do, even
when we don’t feel like it. This is the only way that true Mastery is
achieved.
I remember as a kid that my Japanese Judo instructor would teach us a new
technique saying we should, “Do it 1,000 times till it becomes natural. Then
do it another 1,000 times.” It is from the practice and perfecting over and
over that one gains true skill.
Yet, when you’re doing that you are denying other areas. This is the
importance of focus. You have to focus on something with laser beam
intensity to get it done. You don’t accomplish much if you give it a half hearted effort.
So how do you handle all the things that need to be done in life? You can’t
be off balance, can you? You have to have life balance, don’t you?
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Well, yes and no.
For a given time, to accomplish a certain task, you have to be off balance.
You have to realize the rules of opportunity cost and focus on that task at
hand. You will necessarily forgo other tasks, even those that are
pleasurable. During this time, there will be lots of thoughts about “don’t
work all the time.” And you’ll hear “All work and no play makes Jack a dull
boy.” What they don’t tell you is that all work and no play for a while can
make Jack very rich. They also will not tell you that too much play and not
enough work makes Jack very poor!
Think about a medical student. Here is a person that is exceptionally bright.
She is working to become a medical doctor. She has to put in long hours for
studies and school. She has to work hard on an internship. She has to do
many different tasks in order to get that medical degree. She has to be off
balance for a long time in life.
However, once she has acquired that knowledge base, has her medical
degree and is in practice, she can have a much better life. It is perfectly all
right to be off balance for a while to reach a specific goal. You have to do
that to achieve something worthwhile.
In fact, life is a series of off balance moments. We work out a bit more,
concentrating on dropping a few excess pounds to attain some health goals.
Doing that means that we aren’t reading and studying as much then. We
also aren’t relaxing watching movies as much.
See, this stuff called living is not always easy. It takes work. It is painful at
times. Hey, it hurts like Hell sometimes!
However, those that are wiling to pay the price attain Mastery (yes, it should
be capitalized). It is by devoting yourself to those areas that are right for
you and paying the price, that makes the difference.
Words of Wisdom from Vince Lombardi
I remember a few months ago I had the opportunity to speak in Wisconsin to
some bankers. We were holding the meeting in Appleton, Wisconsin.
Before I left Orlando to travel up to Wisconsin I called the meeting planner,
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as I regularly do, to make sure all the logistics were in order, everything was
in order and to do a final follow-up with her.
After we found out that everything was going as planned and all seemed
well, she mentioned that they had decided to go with a football theme for
that conference. Appleton, Wisconsin is close to Green Bay, Wisconsin and
it is deep in the heart of Green Bay Packers country. This football legacy is
strong there largely because of the great football legion, Vince Lombardi.
The meeting planner asked me to join them for a dinner at the Vince
Lombardi restaurant in the hotel. The hotel where the meeting was being
held had a restaurant with pictures and memorabilia of Vince Lombardi
when he was a coach at Green Bay. This seemed appropriate.
Well, when I learned they were going with a football theme and we were
going to have dinner at the Vince Lombardi Steakhouse, I thought of a
contact I had through my involvement with the National Speakers
Association, Vince Lombardi, Jr., the son of the famous coach.
Thoughts that ran through my head were “He won’t be there. You shouldn’t
call. He probably won’t want to talk with you, anyway.” You know that
kind of thinking. Just when you have a great opportunity that little voice in
your head starts telling you how you can’t do something.
Well, I told that little voice (once again) to shut up. This is something you
have to do regularly in life!
I picked up the phone and called Vince Lombardi, Jr. Well, surprise,
surprise, Vince answered the phone himself! He was most gracious and
kind. I asked him if he would say a few words that I could record on the
phone and then play them the next day at the meeting.
Vince was very professional and very gracious. He gave a personal greeting
to the group (which made them feel great!). Then he mentioned something
about his father that is important for us today.
Vince, Jr. said that many people associate a lot of sayings with his father.
One of them often associated with his father, is “Winning isn’t everything.
It’s the only thing.” But Vince, Jr. went on to say that when he thinks of his
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father, he clearly remembers his father saying that success means paying
the price. You have to pay the price to achieve the goals you want.
This is so true. Many people write their goals. They really, really, really
wish for them with enthusiasm. Yet, they aren’t willing to pay the price.
They aren’t willing to put in the long hours necessary. They aren’t willing
to put in the extra time, do the extra push-ups, run the extra laps, read the
extra books, etc. Whatever field of endeavor you embrace is going to require
lots of work to get ahead. If you’re willing to pay the price, you make your
own magic. This is how you work your own miracles.
Thank you Vince Lombardi. And thank you Vince Lombardi, Jr.!
It was Samuel Smiles, the great original positive thinker, based in England
in 1840 who said,
“It is the repetition of little acts which constitute not only the
sum of human character, but which determine the character of
nations. And where men or nations have broken down, it will
almost invariably be found that neglect of little things was the
rock on which they split. Every human being has duties to be
performed, and, therefore, has need of cultivating the capacity
for doing them; whether the sphere of action be the
management of a household, the conduct of a trade or
profession, or the government of a nation.”8
What About What Others Think?
Ever since we were in grade school, we have wondered what others think
about us. Will the other kids think we are “cool?” Will we be in the “inside
circle” with all the others?
Grade school and high school are filled with these kinds of questions. As we
get older, we tend to wonder if others think we have enough money, are “in
with the in crowd” as the 60’s song said.
Yet, I find those that are happiest in life are those that live life by their own
dictates and don’t worry about what the others think or say. I have a quote
8
Samuel Smiles, Self Help published in 1840.
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on my wall that reads, “Choosing to live your life by your own choice is the
greatest freedom you will ever have.” Shad Helmstetter said that and I have
to agree with him.
When you get down to it, it doesn’t matter what others think. I remember
seeing the title of a book in a bookstore that was very profound. The book’s
title was It’s None Of My Business What You Think of Me. I wish I could
remember who the author was but that title says it all. It really is of no
consequence what others are thinking and saying.
Little children on a playground like or dislike someone based on what
they’re wearing, what was said or other childish observations. We can
logically look at it as adults and realize that they are wrong. Yet, we are
sucked into that thinking ourselves way too often. What others think about
us is really not up to us. It is up to them.
What is up to us is the requirement to live our lives according to our own
purpose. I believe that we should live our lives as we want doing anything
we want to do, as long as we don’t harm others. I put the word anything in
italics to emphasize that because I mean it. Use your imagination. Any
activity you can contemplate that someone else might do, is perfectly fine
for that person to do, as long as two conditions are met: 1) They don’t harm
anyone else or restrict another from doing what they want, and 2) They take
full responsibility for their actions and the ramifications.
This simple libertarian philosophy seems to work for me. I’ve talked with
people from many different cultures around the world and no one has had a
problem with it in my experience.
I wish I had said this originally but it is has been advocated by many
throughout the centuries.
One of the first was John Locke, the English philosopher in the 1600s. John
Stuart Mill, another English philosopher in the 1800’s, said, “Each man
should be free to live his life as he wants as long as he does not inhibit
another from living on his own terms.” Saying it in even more simple
terms. Leonard Read said the philosophy of life that works best is,
"Anything that's peaceful."
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Chapter 5 – Thinking About Tolerance
O
ne of the best things you can do to live life by your own terms is to
build and develop a high level of tolerance for others to live their
own lives the way they want. This takes lots of practice.
It has been a tough road for me. I was raised thinking that certain concepts
are always right and others always wrong. This made thinking almost
unnecessary. Everything was black or white, right or wrong.
As I get older I find there is more and more gray. Sometimes I even wonder
if there is any black and white and if it is all gray. Then I realize that there
are some absolutes in life and we have to hold to them.
However, I find that these absolutes are more for personal philosophy and
not in how to deal with others. When dealing with others, I find that life
usually goes better when we exercise a great deal of tolerance.
This leads to living life freely as you want.
Living Life Freely
Living your life as you want is the highest achievement any person can
attain. The key is to live your life as you wish, doing anything you want, as
long as you don't impinge on the rights of others to do the same.
This simple statement seems to be straight-forward. Yet, in its simple nature
is a world of complexity that can deal with humans problems and questions
that have plagued human beings since the dawn of time.
This work shows how this philosophy can change one’s life and provides the
power to attain the goals you want. More importantly, it deals with the real
world, not just some esoteric, hypothetical illusion that might or might not
apply in each situation.
I've discovered this philosophy after reading from giants, speaking
professionally in 17 countries, talking with people from many different
nationalities and cultures and just plain living life. It is a philosophy that
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seems to hold up no matter what is thrown at it, and that is the true test of a
philosophy. If it can stand the intellectual assaults from various quarters and
still retain its premise, the truth is worthy of consideration. This is
implementation of the scientific method.
I’ve discussed this libertarian philosophy with various people on my own in
several countries around the world. It is a universal ideal and has widereaching applications.
From a scientific viewpoint, all our philosophies and concepts must
continually be questioned. This is healthy and contributes to a growing
mind individually and a strong database of knowledge collectively. If we
don’t question the status quo we can never grow beyond it.
However, there comes a point where certain hypotheses have stood the test
of time that they eventually rise to the standard of being accepted as truth.
Such a hypothesis was that the earth is round.
At one point in time this concept was unproven, but suspected by a few. It
was not until brave men like Columbus, Magellan and other explorers
proved beyond the shadow of a reasonable doubt to thinking scientists
around the world that the world was not flat. Moreover they demonstrated
conclusively that people are capable of travel without fear of "falling off"
the earth.
This is scientific and provable by our senses. But what about concepts and
ideas that are in the realm of human relationships and ideas about how to
live? These are more "squishy" and can't be proved by a round-the-world
trip or in a chemists laboratory bottles. Yet, that doesn't diminish their
efficacy or reliability.
So what does it mean when we hear "Do anything you want as long as you
don't harm anyone else?" That statement should probably be refined more to
deal with possible "Yeah but what about when...." situations.
A Brock-Expanded Version
Each person should be able to engage in the activities that he or she wishes
as long as they assume complete responsibility for their actions. This means
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to not engage in an activity that would physically harm another or deprive
that other of their rights to life, liberty and property.
It is key to note that each adult must assume responsibility for his or her own
actions. Responsibility is the key that makes freedom and liberty possible.
I like the way Denis Waitley says it when he suggests we need not only the
Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor but also a Statue of Responsibility in
Los Angeles or San Francisco Bay. Liberty without responsibility is
destructive and harmful. If you have responsibility coupled with liberty you
have the perfect combination for individual successful living and for a
society at large.
Let's look at this and think about where and how it applies.
Practical Examples
Let's start with an easy one: Suppose I like classical music (which I do).
Suppose I also like classic rock music (which I also do). I have the right to
listen to this music, enjoy it and play the CDs I've purchased with that music
often.
I can listen to it on my CD in my car, at home or in a portable CD player.
As long as I have acquired the music I'm enjoying through legal, legitimate,
peaceful means, it is mine to listen to and enjoy according to the agreement
the CD publisher has stated.
However, if I want to enjoy my CD at a volume level that bothers you, that
enters into a different matter. I have the right to do anything I want, as long
as it doesn't bother someone else. If my volume level is bothering you, then
I have the obligation to either turn off my CD player, adjust the volume
downward to a level comfortable to you or move from you a sufficient
distance so as to not aggravate you. Of course, you have the same set of
constraints regarding not only any CD you choose to listen to but the volume
you generate with your voice.
Think how peaceful and orderly our world would be if all people lived by
this rule. People would be more concerned about how what they are doing
effects others. We don't live our lives worried about offending others as
much as we live it caring about others and how our actions will affect them.
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A Little Deeper
Let's go a little deeper. Here is another real-world example that illustrates
the point. Suppose someone likes to drink alcohol and another does not. As
long as neither bothers the other physically, each can and should respect the
rights of others to drink alcohol.
The adult drinker of alcohol has the right to consume the type of alcohol
desired so long as he doesn't endanger the non-drinker. Yes, the drinker
even has the right to drink too much, either at a single event or over a period
of time.
However, if this drinker consumes too much and decides to drive her car
while intoxicated, that is endangering the life of others. That is where we
need an objective, outside force (like the local police officer) that can and is
willing to stop the intoxicated drinker from harming others. If the drinker
chooses to take a taxi, there is no reason for the police to bother this person.
If the drinker chooses to become inebriated at home and just fall onto the
sofa at home, not bothering anyone this is his or her choice as an adult. 9
You might be thinking, "Well, Terry, that is fine to say, but what about the
person who becomes an alcoholic and develops sclerosis of the liver, kidney
failure or other physical problems related to drinking too much? Shouldn't
we have a law prohibiting that?"
First, I have to say I agree with your sentiments. You're saying that people
shouldn’t harm their own body. I have to agree. Personally I'm seriously
into health and nutrition. I watch very carefully what I eat even when on the
road as I travel a lot in my work as a professional speaker and syndicated
columnist.
Yet, who is to say what is "too much?" and who is designated as a "Nanny"
to another adult? Who is any of us to take it upon ourselves to tell another
adult what to consume, how to live and what to do (again, as long as they
don't physically harm another)?
9
All discussion here is about consenting adults. Where children are involved it is another matter and that is
why parents or guardians are involved. This goes beyond the scope of this work. Suffice it to say that all
statements regarding the rights of what is and is not permissible relate to consenting adults in this work.
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Recently I had a good friend die who didn't drink but did have bad eating
habits. This person overate, ate foods that have a high fat content and ate
foods that ultimately caused his death. I tried to share my perspectives with
him about eating and drinking properly. Each time I suggested a change and
modification it was met with an obstinate rejection of my thoughts and
laughter directed at my “health nut” attitude.
I wish I could have extended his life through better eating, healthy exercise
and more. However, it was not my place to force my will on him.
That is the tough part. I knew that certain behavioral changes would help
my friend. Eliminating certain foods from his diet would have extended his
life. Eating the right kinds of food would have helped. The proper amount
of exercise, rest, relaxation and stress management would all have helped
him to live many years longer. I have lots of scientific evidence to back up
those feelings.
Yet that is not the issue. If he was not open to receiving the advice and
information all I could do was to lovingly share what he could do. Then it is
up to him to decide how to handle it all.
You might have a loved one that is engaging in some activity that is harmful
to them. You have the right to share your thoughts, but if they refuse to
hear, you have to back off. They have the right, as an adult, to live their life
as they choose. Raising children is different as mentioned earlier.
This is really a freeing effect. You don’t have the responsibility to make
sure someone else does what is necessary. The truly free person realizes that
they don’t have to evangelize or “save the other person.” It is ostensibly
based in love, but it is not the responsibility of one adult to tell another adult
how to live and force them to do something against their will.
Persuasion and discussion are valid. You can talk with someone about what
they are doing and try to help them become better in a particular area.
However, if you have a friend or acquaintance that is harming himself or
herself in a particular way, your role is to share, if you want. But after a
certain point you have to drop the subject realizing that this other person has
made a conscious decision to live a given way. It is not your responsibility
to force them to do the “right” thing.
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Live your own life. Be in charge of it and you’ll keep yourself busy 24/7.
Besides, when you run into people who are deluding themselves this is a job
for professionals. Do not attempt to resolve this one on your own. That
would be foolish on your part. Take care of your own stuff and you’ll keep
very busy. You’ll also live a fuller, richer life.
Still Deeper
Let's go even deeper. Let's take the political hot potato of smoking. If this
activity were invented today it would be banned before it hit the market.
Here is an activity that we know causes death. Not only that but it can lead
to emphysema, heart failure, lung cancer and bad breath! It is a disgusting
activity. You might be able to gather that I don't smoke. I did once.
"I have sworn upon the
altar of God, eternal
hostility against every form
of tyranny over the mind of
man." --Thomas Jefferson
One time, when I was four, my dad,
who smoked at the time, asked me if
I'd like to see what cigarette smoking
is all about. He didn't want me to
ever smoke so he used reverse
psychology. Well, I tried one tiny
puff and spent the next 10 minutes coughing and in agony. Dad smiled and
said, "See, smoking is bad. You should never do it." Well, that cured me
right then and there. Dad has since quit smoking long ago and I never took
up the habit. Thanx, Dad, for providing an excellent example of what not to
do with reverse psychology.
Yet, many people smoke. I won't go into the complications of how it is
physically addictive, psychologically addictive and just flat out hard to quit.
If you smoke and really desire to quit, get professional help. This is
something that can be impossible to solve on your own. Getting that
professional help can be one of the best decisions you'll ever make. This is
true for not only smoking but many areas of life.
Not only will you be healthier, probably live longer and get rid of that
smelly breath (!) but you'll have the satisfaction of knowing you conquered
something that is tough and proved you can do it!
This work is not about health and smoking. If you can benefit from that
feature, good for you. I say this so you'll know where I'm coming from.
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Yet, from a liberty point of view, going back to "Do whatever you want as
long as you don't physically harm another" what is the thing to do? If an
adult chooses to smoke, that is that person's business. Aside from the issue
of second-hand smoke, only the person involved can make that decision. If
however, the smoking that you do causes harm to another or their property
(smoke odors damaging carpet, draperies, etc.) you have the obligation to
refrain from smoking when you're around those that are harmed by it. If I’m
in your home and you ask me to not smoke, it is only natural that I’d refrain
from that out of respect to you and your belongings.
“You have the God-given right to
kick the government around- don’t
hesitate to do so.”
-Senator Edmund S. Muskie, 1968
But a deeper question
emerges here in our
philosophical journey.
Should the government
pass laws prohibiting
smoking? You know they
would if there were fewer people smoking and there wasn't as much money
involved.
If smoking didn’t bring in lots of money for the government (at the federal,
state and local levels) you would see it stopped immediately. This is
hypocritical, but then, government has practiced selective hypocrisy since
the first tribal leaders got together in the caves eons ago and decided to take
the saber toothed tiger from Og in order to feed the rest of the village.
That is the reality of how government works. Principles fall way behind
what is perceived as practical for today’s immediate need. This is not the
ideal way to live, but I accept it as reality.
Government doesn't have to tell adults how to live their lives. Government
doesn't have to tell adults what they can and can't put into their bodies.
This is based on two major principles: 1) It is not in the Constitution. 10 If it
is not in the Constitution, it is not government's role. This is simple and
straightforward. Government does get involved in many areas where it has
no business. However, for the purposes of this work, and in the U.S., let's
10
I speak here for the United States Constitution. I don't know about all other countries, but I doubt there is
much there to give governments the legal power to tell their citizens what they can and can't put into their
own bodies.
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just stick with what the Constitution says and refrain from bothering people
in any other way.
This is true but it is more important because of reason number 2) No one,
your neighbor, your friends or any government has the right to tell a grown
adult what they can and cannot do with respect to his or her own body
(again, as long as you don't harm another).
Excessive smoking and drinking are bad for your health. But just because
something is bad doesn't mean that we should have laws telling us how to
treat our own bodies. This is not the role of government.
Here Come the Fat Police
Besides, where do we stop? High fat content can clog arteries and veins and
bring on a heart attack---the #1 killer of Americans. Do we now need "fat
police" running from place to place stopping adults from putting fat into
their own bodies? I don't think so. What about sugar, which can have
negative side effects? Do we need the "sugar police?" You can bet that
politicians would be happy to initiate such a force if they felt it would help
them get elected or stuff their own coffers with cash.
Here's the way it can work: You study and learn what is good for you and
right for you. Make sure you do what is best in your own estimate for
yourself and your loved ones. If you are doing something that brings no
harm to others, then it is probably the best way to live.
A quick side-note: You might detect that I’m against government. Not
exactly. I think we need government. We need it to focus on three specific
functions that only government really can and should do. The first is to
provide mutual defense from outside forces trying to take over. That would
be the form of a military. The purpose of the military is to protect is from
outside forces from attacking and harming us. The second function of
government is related to the first. It is the need for police to protect us from
individuals or groups that would try to harm us or our property within the
boundaries of the country. The third function of government is for a judicial
system, or rule of law. Rather than a rule of man or a small group of people,
we need government to administer certain laws and have these laws to be the
ultimate rule of the land. That is all government needs to do. The private
sector will handle the rest. Volumes could be written to back up that
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statement but space doesn’t permit it here. However, e-mail does. Write me
at [email protected] and I’d love to hear your perspective.
If you wish, you can share ideas with others in a non-obtrusive, non-forceful
way. Debate about it. Discuss it. Advertise for your opinions, etc. To quote
Leonard Read again, Do "anything that's peaceful." Persuasion, yes.
Initiation of Force, never.
Keep in mind there is a big difference between initiation of force and use of
force. You have the right to defend yourself. If someone attacks you, you
have the right to meet that force head-on.
You also don’t have to wait for the other party to physically harm you with
the first blow before responding. If you see another aiming a loaded gun at
you, it would be foolish to wait for the bullet to hit you before you respond.
The other party had initiated the force by aiming the gun at you. In today’s
world a government or organization is initiating force when they plan
destruction and death of another.
The rule must be, Defense yes. Initiation of force, no.
This philosophy takes a lot of tolerance. If I feel that something is "right"
and I even have the scientific evidence to back it up, I can feel justified in
using force to stop someone from engaging in that activity. Of course, the
real tricky way to do it is to get government through its police force to
enforce the decisions that I feel are right.
Historical Perspective
Throughout history governments have used police to try to stop adults from
doing whatever was considered illegal at the time.
A good example of this is the travesty of the U.S. Government's activities
during Prohibition in the 1920s and early 30's. A little bit of history here can
help.
For many years caring, well-meaning individuals saw the terrible results that
can occur when someone drinks too much. Not only can harm come to the
person drinking too much, but often spouses, children and others around
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them are harmed, sometimes physically, abused and everyone around the
person can suffer.
Organizations like the Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) saw
the travesty. Many of them experienced the problems first hand and wanted
to "do something" about it. This is a valid, human concern. Their desire to
do something was admirable. However, the problem came in the way they
implemented their desires. They wanted the government to do something. It
seems that this is always the first sign of making a problem a huge travesty –
getting the government involved.
They passed a law prohibiting the "consumption or sale" within the
boundaries of the United States.
The 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads as follows:
“After one year from the ratification of this article the
manufacture, sale or transportation of intoxicating liquors with,
the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the
United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof
for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.”
Well, I'm sure they must have celebrated when that law was passed
(probably not much alcohol involved, though, in the celebration). The
experiment had begun. Could government pass a law and prohibit people
from engaging in an activity (consumption of alcohol this time) that certain
groups felt was wrong? They even made it the job of police to enforce this
law so that no one anywhere in the U.S. would be able to have a beer, a glass
of wine or any liquor.
Well, history tells us the sad and devastating results when government tries
to impose good intentions through the force of law.
People still drank alcohol. Surprise! Just because there was a law passed
didn't stop people from doing what they had been doing, what their parents,
grandparents and generations before had been doing. They went to places
called the Speakeasy where alcohol was known to be available. Local police
looked the other direction when some nice large bills were put into their
hands. They knew that peaceful people celebrating good times (the
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"Roaring 20s" were times of strong economic activity in the U.S.).
However, the dark side was that a previously unknown organization came to
fruition, the Mafia. People began killing each other because the money
associated with alcohol and its trade skyrocketed. Innocent people were
killed. Many joined the Mafia because it provided family, a purpose and
plenty of money and a lifestyle that generated many illegal activities.
The 18th Amendment was ratified January 16, 1919. It was repealed by the
21st Amendment, December 5, 1933. President Herbert Hoover signed the
21st Amendment repealing the 18th amendment. He called Prohibition "A
noble experiment." I disagree.
It was not noble. It showed the fallacy and the abomination of government
trying to force people to refrain from an activity that they wanted to
peacefully engage in with friends.
I’m sure that the ladies of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union felt
right and justified in their efforts to pass the 18 th Amendment. I’m sure they
were very happy when it passed. However, the results were devastating.
The WCTU was right when they saw the devastation that alcohol abuse can
have on lives. However, they way to attack the problem is not through force
and certainly not by involving government. Instead, they could have used
education, persuasion, and even love (hey, there’s a concept!). They could
have used other means to bring about change in individuals (which is where
all change has to originate anyway!). Instead, they resorted to using the
force of government with disastrous effects that we are seeing even today
(keep reading).
This is another clear example of trying to force one group’s desire and will
onto another. Intentions are usually good at the start. However, they usually
end up with catastrophic results as we saw with Prohibition.
But the worst part of Prohibition was that the U.S. never learned from this
"experiment" even after many people died and suffered.
By the way, when alcohol was suddenly legal, prices dropped and the level
of alcoholism remained the same. There was no rash epidemic of an entire
nation becoming alcoholics. Responsible people lived their lives in a
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responsible way. They could drink in moderation and enjoy themselves if
they chose to imbibe with alcohol. If they chose to refrain, that was their
business also.
Responsibility And Tolerance
Responsibility is the key. You are free to consume alcohol as an adult. You
are free to consume the quantities you want. However, you are also
responsible for your actions when you choose this course of action. If you
harm another while intoxicated, you are fully responsible for the
consequences of your actions. Don't blame someone else for any negative
reactions from what you choose to do freely on your own.
Real strength of values is tested when we allow someone to engage in an
activity that is peaceful, even though we vehemently disagree with what they
are doing. Descartes’ statement comes to mind, "I might object to what you
say but I will defend to the death your right to say it."
This is called tolerance.
It is fundamental and critical in a free society. Society is a group of people
that come together for specific purposes of living, defense, and just doing
better with each other than without. There are going to be differences
between people because of their backgrounds, their experiences and more.
It is a hoot to be able to learn from many different cultures. In my
experiences as a professional speaker I’ve been able to travel to many
countries around the world. From that travel I have learned a great deal
about others, their way of thinking and how they view the world.
We as Americans, often loose sight of the rest of the world and the benefits
that come from learning about their ways.
I’ve been to Japan several times (one of my favorite countries). I find that
their appreciation for established ways of old along with an excitement for
the new is appealing. Areas like Shinjuku and Akihabara, two districts in
Tokyo on the west and east sides have some of the latest in technology
anywhere on the planet. If you want to see what is coming to the U.S. in the
next few months, you can often see the early test releases in Shinjuku and
Akihabara.
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The way they think and act there demonstrates a love for new, exciting ways
of living. For instance, I see they work hard during the day but relax and
play (a lot!) in the evening. These people know how to party.
In fact, the Japanese are known for waiting to see someone in the party
environment, relaxed and after the effects of a few too many drinks of sake
before they really trust them. Yet, even in the midst of the partying and
celebrating, it is important to remember what you are there for and what is
being said.
This is something that other cultures will do also. I find that I can learn
much from the Japanese and their traditions.
Tolerance is also about free speech. I might not agree with what you are
saying. I might find a gut-level revulsion from it. However, you still have
the right to say whatever you want as long as you take full responsibility for
your actions and don't harm others.
This is backed up by the famous quote from former Justice Oliver Wendall
Holmes, Jr. This was where he expressed the majority position in the 1919
Supreme Court decision in Schenck vs. U.S. In that decision he said, “"The
most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man falsely
shouting fire in a theater and causing a panic." The cause of the panic would
be in violation of others’ rights and therefore not be permissible.
You have freedom of speech but not the freedom to yell fire in a crowded
theater. That could cause a stampede and seriously injure or hurt others.
You've done what you want but you have hurt them and that violates the
fundamental principle of living freely with responsibility.
Drug Re-Legalization
This brings us to the hot-button of the day---re-legalization of drugs. Much
has been said about this in contemporary American society. Like the issue
of abortion, people are divided on both sides of the issue and not much can
be said that hasn't been said already.
Personally, I have never taken illegal drugs. Really. Unlike former
President Clinton, I didn't smoke and I didn't inhale.
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Because I'm very much interested in health and healthy living, I think it is
stupid and irresponsible to take drugs that can seriously harm your body,
your mind and your life.
I even avoid legal drugs like pain killers, etc. whenever possible. During my
recovery from knee surgery that I mentioned earlier, I had the prescription
ready to go for massive pain killers. However, rather than use the drugs, I
used other means to keep the pain at bay (relaxation, meditation and a wee
bit o’ vodka!). I would have used the prescription medicine, if absolutely
necessary. But I prefer to stay away from drugs.
Yet, I feel that all drugs should be re-legalized. I say re-legalized rather than
just legalized. Drugs like marijuana, cocaine and others were legal at one
time in our nation's history. In fact, Coca-Cola had cocaine as a small
ingredient long, long ago. They have long since removed it from the drink
but when it was part of Coca-Cola it was a legal substance.
At the same time that I feel drugs should be re-legalized, I feel we need
private civic groups (not the government) to fund advertising campaigns,
treatment centers, "get off drugs" programs and things like that. I feel that it
is a horrendous waste of someone's life to consume such substances. I don't
do it myself. Yet, because others have the option as free people to do
whatever they want, they have the right to do it.
Someone has the right to take a table knife and stab himself or herself
repeatedly in the leg. This is stupid to do this. They shouldn't do it. But,
peaceful adults have the right to do things that I consider stupid or repulsive;
again, as long as they don’t harm others.
The so-called "War on Drugs" is a loosing battle. The film "Traffic"
illustrated the futility of this insane policy very well.
People don't study history. Each election year, saying they are going to “get
tough” with drugs and “stop this menace to our children” elects politicians.
Have you ever noticed that all someone has to do is bring in the subjects of
children or drugs and the Constitution of the U.S. is thrown out the window?
Go back and read the 10th Amendment. Part of the Bill of Rights, it states
that anything else not mentioned already and given specific authority to the
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Federal government is specially, unquestionably and without any discussion,
left up to the States. We have moved far from that with dire consequences
through the years.
You might ask, "But Terry, if we legalized drugs, wouldn't more people use
them and then we would have more murders, crime and lost lives?" Good
question. It would seem like unleashing this monster of drugs onto the
public, as a legal substance, would create untold problems.
I would answer by first asking, Are you going to take drugs if they are legal
when they were illegal before? Most reasonable adults would answer no. If
they made all drugs legal tomorrow there might be some that would
experiment but they would have to know the full consequences of their
actions.
We would be able to take the trillions of dollars that have been and are being
invested in this utterly senseless and harmful "War on Drugs" and leave it in
the hands of law-abiding taxpayers. Those who feel strongly about the
consequences of drugs can take their own money and use it to fund treatment
centers, anti-drug advertising campaigns and other peaceful means to
persuade others to stay off drugs.
Responsibility Is The Key
The initiation of force against another would still be punishable. No one has
the right to harm another whether or not they are under the influence of a
substance. Prohibiting the substance starts with good intentions but the
results are of this in the so-called "War on Drugs" have been devastating.
We need to end this insane, wasteful, deadly "experiment" immediately and
completely. Let free people live their lives as responsible adults. Private
charities will be able to deal with the real problems of substance abuse more
effectively than any government program ever will, no matter how well
intentioned that program may be.
If someone is not fully responsible, that is where the law will come into
play. If they harm others, we need police to check that. However, police
would have more resources to spend time tracking down real criminals if
they were not focusing on citizens that are engaging in peaceful activities.
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Whatever consenting adults choose to do, which doesn’t harm another, is
perfectly acceptable in a truly free society. Remember, government’s role is
not to be a “Nanny” to us and tell us what is right and what is wrong. Its
role is severely and strictly limited and controlled by the U.S. Constitution.
Accept Reality
Yeah, it is tough. Life is not meant to be a place where everything is always
wonderful and great. There are real setbacks and problems. I like the way
Willie Jollie, a professional speaker and author from Washington DC says,
"A setback is just a set up for a comeback." I have found that this attitude
works best in life.
We all have tough times. I have yet to meet someone who didn’t have some
story of how things went bad in their life at one point. The difference is how
we handle what happens to us.
My friend W Mitchell, a professional speaker, lives his life in a wheel chair
and is scared over most of his body due to not one, but two terrible accidents
earlier. He can’t walk. His fingers have been burned off his body. Most
people would say that Mitchell (the name he prefers to go by) is in bad
shape.
Not so, says Mitchell. He continually reminds his audiences that it is not
what happens to us that matters. It is how we deal with it that matters. This
is the key to living life fully and wholly.
Accept reality for what it is. Work towards changing it in a positive way to
make it better for the world. This is the best way to approach life and have
the lifestyle that you want.
I found that if I expect things to always go perfectly I'm usually
disappointed. However, when I expect problems to occur and also expect
that I'll have the ability, the wherewithal and the courage to blast through
those problems I do well.
Robert Ringer said this is called "The sustenance of a positive attitude
through the expectation of negative results." This might seem strange at first
brush but it makes a lot of sense. If you expect there is going to be tough
times and setbacks first you are ready for them. Then if you know that you
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are going to overcome it somehow, some way, you are going to have a
positive attitude no matter what happens.
I’ve found enormous energy and power to continue with the regular
problems of life when I look at problems as an expected bother that I can
deal with easily. I often say to myself, “I laugh at you, you little problem!”
I then find ways to get around it, go through it, blast it away or someone get
it out of my life.
Expect that there are going to be problems in life. This is normal. If you
think that there will be a time when everything will be nice and comfortable
with no problems coming your way, you’re in trouble. Old man Murphy is
out there and ready to pounce on your plans in many ways.
I’ve learned this lesson even more by reading many of the great books
written by US Navy SEAL Captain Richard Marcinko (Retired). He calls
himself a Rogue Warrior ™ and talks about his missions and what he
encountered in his work as a Navy SEAL. He has also written several
novels that, like a Tom Clancy novel, take truth and what has happened in
the real world and create a fictional story around it.
Marcinko often talks about old man Murphy being there to try and stop your
plans. We have to expect Sir Murphy and make our plans accordingly. Lots
of contingencies and lots of “if this happens, I’ll do this, however, if this
happens, I’ll do that” kind of planning are essential for success in today’s
world.
I encourage you to pick up some of Marcinko’s works and enjoy how things
are done when life and death are in the balance.
Goal setting and positive thinking are good. In fact, they are absolutely
critical to attaining what you want in life. Yet, we know there are going to
be problems, challenges and difficulties along the way.
Successful people think and plan for probable obstacles that can come their
way and figure out, in advance, how to deal with them. Successful people
are not without problems. Quite the contrary. They have just as many, if not
more problems than unsuccessful people. The difference is that successful
people plan for problems, learn from those problems and keep going towards
their goals no matter what problems hit.
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We have to live in the real world. We can't live in a dream world hoping
that things will just somehow go our way. It doesn't work that way.
As I’ve mentioned previously, Harry Browne talked about how his life
changed, for the better, when he realized that no one owed him a living.
This I had accepted for years. It is what Harry said next that helped me
enormously. He said that he was much freer when he realized that no one
even owed him the decency of being nice. No one owed him the courtesy to
be kind. Harry said that when he realized that, his life changed for the
better.
When we realize that fact we do much better. The only way we get what we
want is by providing value for others. The world doesn’t owe you a living.
It doesn’t even owe you being nice. In fact, they don’t care what happens to
you. However, if you want to get ahead and succeed in today’s world, find
ways to help others achieve their own goals and you’ll assure your success.
That is the paradox of life.
We have to provide enormous value to others to get ahead. Think about it.
When you go to the grocery store to purchase food, you purchase what you
need based on your needs. You might like the owner of the store. You
might think he or she is a good person if you knew them. But that doesn’t
matter when it comes to you getting the food you need. When people buy
from you, either in the products or services you sell or your skills that you
sell to your employer, they are looking out for their own interest.
This is the way the world works. It is the way the world has always worked.
The free enterprise system is based on helping others.
When Richard Nixon met with Nikita Khrushchev in the late 50’s they had
what was termed the “Kitchen Debate” about the Soviet system of
Communism vs. the U.S. system of Capitalism.
Khrushchev chided Nixon saying that the U.S. system was based on greed.
Yet, what Nikita missed, and ultimately was proven out in the dismantling of
the U.S.S.R, is that people naturally pursue their own selfish needs.
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Just this past week I listened to that debate on audio. It was a thrill to hear
the voices of Khrushchev and Nixon debating the various systems. It is even
more amusing now to know that the Soviet system of forced collectivism
crumbled without the U.S. even firing a shot! The Free Market reigns!
What is even more amazing is that as of this writing, the country of Russia
has a lower top marginal bracket (13%) than the United States (35% with the
new tax law enacted in 2003). Maybe they not only got the point, but also
are setting out to establish a financial system second to none. Good for
them! In the spirit of Free Market Enterprise, we welcome them to the
game!
Ayn Rand was one of the best writers not only in the 20 th Century but of all
time. She wrote many ground-breaking books that provide insight into
human nature and the way things really work. Her books, Atlas Shrugged
and The Fountainhead remain best sellers today, years after they were
published. As part of being a well-rounded reader and person, you owe it to
yourself to read those classics. But, brace yourself first. They are rather
lengthy tomes, but well worth the reading and re-reading.
One of Ayn Rand’s other works is The Virtual of Selfishness. This might
seem like a strange title, but it is appropriate. Selfishness is focusing on
taking care of yourself and not burdening others with your needs. You have
to produce value and take care of yourself. To paraphrase one of the
characters in her work, The Fountainhead, “I will not sacrifice my life for
another nor will I ask that anyone sacrifice their life for me.” Live your life
taking care of yourself and freely give to others when you want. Taking care
of yourself first, provides you the ability to help others through voluntary,
non-forceful means.
The Free Market System (has to be capitalized) provides for a way to
allocate resources and provide goods and services where they are needed. It
is based on principles of human nature, not wishes and “ought to be” ideas.
You don’t sleep for anyone but yourself. You don’t eat for anyone but
yourself. You don’t breath for anyone but yourself. This is not bad, it is just
reality.
When we align our lives with reality we go farther and do better than when
we fight it.
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My ancestors, the Native American Indians (Cherokee for me, from both my
father and my mother’s ancestry) said it very well that we have to walk a
mile in the other man’s moccasins to understand his way. See things from
the other person’s point of view first and cater to his or her need. This is a
fundamental principle that exists internationally and has existed for
centuries.
As you find what others want and then provide that for them, you are in a
position to enjoy favor from them. That doesn't always mean money.
Usually it is expressed as being kind or helping them with something they
need. This is the key to getting ahead.
But you have to be very careful what you provide to others. If you just give
them something that you think if wonderful, they might not accept it with
equal joy.
Dr. Tony Alessandra calls this the Platinum Rule. This is in contrast to the
Golden Rule that we have heard about.
Under the Golden Rule, you "do unto others as you would have them do
unto you." This sounds nice on the surface.
Pretend with me for a moment. Suppose you really, really like hockey. In
fact, let’s pretend that you're a fanatic for the local professional hockey
team. Because you like hockey, you can't expect that everyone else likes it
just the same as you.
Let's say you have a friend who thinks hockey is mildly OK but really loves
baseball. If you gave your friend season tickets to all the professional
hockey games for your local team, your friend might think it is OK, but not
great.
The better approach, as the Platinum Rule expresses is to 1) find out what
your friend really likes (in this case baseball) and the 2) give your friend
tickets to the baseball team (if that is something your friend would like--remember you have to find out and not assume).
Knowledge of and practice of the Platinum Rule can change the way you
interact with others.
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In our next chapter we’ll get even more down to the brass tacks of living and
what you have to do in order to make your life a success as you want it to be.
It is all part of living free in a world that is quite unfree.
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Chapter 6 – How To Live Free In An
Unfree World
I
carefully chose the words of this chapter. They are borrowed from
Harry Browne’s book that he wrote years ago. It is one of the greatest
books I have ever read in my life and I highly recommend it to you.
Whoever will be free must
make himself free. Freedom is
no fairy gift to fall into a man’s
lap. What is freedom? To
have the will to be responsible
for one’s self. Max Stirner
You have to live your life your
way. Each person experiences
time on the planet and he or she
learns how to make it and
survive in a world that is hostile.
Well, maybe it’s not as hostile as
it was before with everyone out
to try and kill you. Today most
people just flat out don’t care about you and what you are doing. They are
more interested in themselves.
Life is messy, confusing, not perfect and doesn’t always work the way we
want. Welcome to my planet! It works that way here. You only get what
you earn. You have to produce to get anything. You have to offer value.
Sometimes we don’t start with as much as others. Make do and get ahead no
matter what is hitting you.
As I’ve said before, this is not a good or bad. It is just an is. It is the way
the planet works and the sooner someone figures out this important truth the
better he or she will live.
In this chapter I want to give you some specific, real-world examples of how
to deal with the world as it is and to attain the freedom that you want in your
life.
Realize the World Ain’t Perfect
You might have noticed that. The world has a long way to go before
everything is just the way it is supposed to be.
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Excuse my bad grammar in this section but somehow the word “ain’t” just
delivers the message better than “isn’t.”
Have you noticed that people
often get excited about their
particular candidate during an
election? They are almost
stupid when you see them. I’m
not referencing any particular
political party because all of
them (yes, all that I’ve seen!) do things that are really stupid.
We win half the battle when we
make up our minds to take the
world as we find it, including
the thorns.
- Orison S. Marden
Their candidate will say something like, “We should stand up for our
country,” and they all cheer, wave flags and act like little children.
They have given up their responsibility to think for themselves. They have
instead embraced a wish (thinking that someone else can work their magic
for them). They often fanaticize that if this particular candidate is elected
that the world will be wonderful and everything fine.
Coupled with that belief is that if the other candidate gets in office the world
will end. Often people of both major parties in the United States say things
like, “Well if that other guy is elected, I’m moving to Australia.” They can
change the country they are bound for, but the feeling is the same.
Well, the world ain’t going to be perfect even when your guy is
(occasionally) elected. If the other guy is elected, the world is not going to
end.
I remember when I was in 6th grade back in elementary school that I just
knew we had to get a certain slate of candidates into student government or
it would be disastrous for the school.
Well, it turned out that every one of the people I favored was not elected.
Every one that I didn’t want in office got elected.
Today that school has closed and is no longer an elementary school. I can’t
say there is a connection, but I think the facts pretty much speak for
themselves! (Just kidding)
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Well, not really.
Actually, it didn’t matter who was elected to the student council when I was
in 6th grade. The
Do you think you can take over
school shut down about
15 years later because
the universe and improve it?
there just weren’t
I do not believe it can be done.
enough students in that
area to justify a
The universe is sacred.
separate school. The
You cannot improve it.
School District went
through consolidation
If you try to change it, you will
and moved all students
ruin it.
to another school
If you try to hold it, you will lose
across town.
it.
So sometimes things are ahead
and sometimes they are behind;
Sometimes breathing is hard,
sometimes it comes easily;
Sometimes there is strength and
sometimes weakness;
Sometimes one is up and
sometimes down.
Therefore the sage avoids
extremes, excesses, and
complacency.
Lao Zi
So, what’s my point?
In the big picture it
really doesn’t matter.
The world ain’t perfect
and we have to deal
with it. The way we
want things to work out
doesn’t always happen.
The older I get the
more I realize that if we
take a “roll with the
punches” idea we’ll do
better than if we fight
and claw for what we
believe is right.
Thomas Jefferson was
the third President of
the United States. Many of his ideals are dear to those of us that love
freedom and liberty for individuals. He said something about this that bears
repeating here: “In matters of style flow with the currents. In matters of
principle, stand like a rock.”
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I agree with that statement. Yet, I find as I read more, learn from more
people and get a bit older and (hopefully) wiser, I find that more and more of
life is a matter of style and not principle. Even deeply held political beliefs
often are more style than principle.
We’d like to think they are principle but they really relate to how we are
going to deal with certain issues.
Does that mean that we abandon our principles and just “go with the flow”
on everything? That word everything is a dangerous word. It allows for no
leeway. “Everything” is a powerful word that should be used only carefully.
All you have to do is find one exception to the “everything” label and
you’ve destroyed the concept of “everything.”
Since the world ain’t perfect it means that we have to create our own world.
We have to decide what it is that we want. Then we have to go for it. We
have to live it to the fullest.
This is the simple key to success in living life. It is simple but it is not easy.
We have to work at it to make it happen. Each of us is here in the planet for
a given amount of time. We don’t know how long that time will be. As we
go down the river of life we’ll meet lots of varieties in the people store.
We have to decide how we’re going to invest our precious short time on this
planet given all that is happening with it and to us during our stay.
Time for a Reality Check
Don’t believe everything you see or read. All is not as it appears.
If you’re getting your news and information about what is happening in the
world from television, cable, radio, newspapers, the Internet or other media
source, use filters. Always remember that whatever you hear comes from a
person who has a bias in one way or another.
That bias, that we all have, leaks through into our expressions and how we
communicate. That is not good or bad. It is an is. That’s right, it just is an
is; one of those things that exists and has no good or bad attached to it.
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Therefore, you have to arm yourself with the benefits of being a skeptic.
You have to think critically at all times (yes, the word “all” is important
here). Always question where the source got their information. Did they see
it? Did they talk to someone? How do we know they weren’t deceived and
are giving us false information, even if they think it is true.
Yet, in the midst of all the questioning, you have to also accept some things
as they are. You can’t delve into all the stories that you read in newspapers
or watch on television. You simply don’t have enough time.
Instead you have to have a sound base of knowledge from which you draw
your own conclusions. Yet, you have to be open to new ways of thinking.
See, this making your own magic stuff takes work, doesn’t it?
You can accept everything that you hear from others. But you can’t reject
everything you hear. Ouch! Life would be much simpler if we could just
accept everything without question that certain people said. We wouldn’t
have to think for ourselves.
Ah, there’s the rub, my reader. You have to think for yourself.
The reality check you have to give yourself every day is to think about what
is happening.
There’s a saying out in the country that is appropriate here: “Always alert,
never get hurt.” That means you have to be mentally alert to what is
happening. You have to continually feed your mind with good information
that helps you make your own life and those around you better.
Be Addicted To Reality
So what can you do? If you have to question everything and be skeptical
about everything how can we live. Or in the words of the late great
philosopher Francis Schaeffer, “How Should We Then Live?”
I think we have to be addicted to reality, not what we think is reality.
Reality exists. It exists apart from what you or I might believe.
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We can see things incorrectly. We can hear something that wasn’t really
said. Distortion happens.
So, how do we deal with that?
Multiple sources.
This is what we have to do in journalism. In the columns I write for papers
around the United States, I find that it is necessary to verify facts and check
them out. I have to do more than just hear what one person says is true.
Corroborating support is critical. You have to have several autonomous
sources saying the same thing before you can accept it as true. Even then,
all those sources could be deceived as well (ain’t life tough???).
In most cases the best you can say is that you “have reason to believe” that
something is true. You have to check your facts, then recheck, then recheck
again. Yes, it takes work but this is what being a seeker of the truth is all
about. Otherwise, you’re left with a
In everyone's life, at some
mushy-brain ineptitude that bounces
like a ping pong ball from one opinion
time, our inner fire goes out.
to another.
It is then burst into flame by
Always be in pursuit of reality and
what it really is, rather than taking the
easy way out. This strategy can save
your life. You can’t wait to find out
that what you thought was right turned
out to be wrong.
an encounter with another
human being. We should all
be thankful for t hose people
who rekindle the inner spirit.
- Albert Schweitzer
You are responsible for what happens
to you. It is your own choices that put you in the place where you are today,
for the most part. After you’ve been on the planet for a few years and can
think and make your own decisions, you are responsible for what happens
and how things work out in life. You can’t blame someone else for what
happens to you forever and ever.
Part of being addicted to reality is that you’re willing to accept things as they
are, not as they “should be.” Each of us can come up with something
different on how things “should” be. That doesn’t matter.
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In my work I do a lot of marketing consulting to help professionals and
companies get more sales and strengthen relationships with their target
markets. I say over and over again that it doesn’t matter what Terry thinks.
It doesn’t matter what they think. The only thing that matters is what buyers
think and are willing to buy. 11 Ideas and opinions are nice.
Sitting around a conference table is nice. Many people in business love to
voice their opinions about what “should” be done with the advertising
budget or the product, etc. None of that matters until we see things happen
in a tangible, ring the cash register, sort of way. That is what matters and it
is the most important thing in business.
It’s just like my friend and accountant Tom Snook, CPA, says, “It’s all trash
until you count the cash.”
Be addicted to reality. You’ll be glad you did.
See Things As You Wish, Not As They Are
What? I just got done telling you to be addicted to reality in the previous
section. Now I come up with the idea of seeing things as you wish they
were rather than as you objectively see them now.
Has Brock gone off his rocker?
Many have said that for a long time. But, no, I haven’t.
Let me explain. While you have to look at life as it is and see things the way
they really are, you can’t become disillusioned with what could be in your
future. You have to have the dream to keep going. You have to have the
reason to stay motivated.
Never give up your dream.
11
If you’re interested in how this principle applies in business contact me about my Sales and Marketing
programs that can help your business move to the next level of success. Ask for your Free Report on
“Boosting Sales in Any Environment” as a reader of this book.
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When Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous “I have a dream” speech it
was compelling. He lived a life where he dreamed for a world where people
would be judged by their character and not their skin color.
Did he see that happen in his lifetime? I don’t think so. However, because
he courageously laid the foundation for civil rights and for accepting people
as they are based on what they do, not their skin color or their heritage, we
have a different world today.
You have to have your dream that goes beyond just you. You have to have
your dream that helps you grow and become the person you want to be.
That dream for you might be something like getting your education. It
might be getting a certain level of sales. It might be attaining a certain level
of success as you define it and what is important to you.
Never loose site of your dream. Keep pushing forward, regardless of
obstacles to get the dream that is right for you.
Sometimes you have to adjust and change. Many students start out in school
with the dream to get a degree in a certain field. However, as they progress
in that field they discover that getting a degree in that area is not what they
really want. They have come to realize that they don’t really want it.
That is fine as long as you adjust to those things that are right for you.
My niece Heather for years talked about being a veterinarian. She loved
animals and adored them. She applied to and was accepted by Michigan
State University and began her pursuit towards a degree in veterinary
medicine.
However, like many students, she discovered that being a veterinarian
wasn’t really what she wanted to do after all. Instead she wanted something
completely different. That’s perfectly all right.
She would not have known that she shouldn’t pursue a career in veterinary
medicine until she tried it. By trying, she learned a lot about what she really
wanted in life. As I write this she is on track to complete her Bachelor’s
degree in Applied Materials. This is a long way away from veterinary
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medicine but she is doing what she wants to do and loves it. That is most
important.
You have to do what is right for you, but you won’t really know until you
get in there and go for it. You have to try some possibilities before you
know if they are just the right work for you.
The Joy Is In The Journey
You find that you gain a lot of information about important routes to follow
when you follow a select path. Your ideas will change. Your dreams can
change. That is fine also.
But you need that dream, like a guiding North Star, to pull you along.
Expect to have setbacks. Expect to have times when things are rough. This
is normal and part of the way things work on this planet.
However, you keep moving towards that guiding star in your life. If you
have to switch to another star, that is fine. It is normal, particularly for
students in college, to switch majors a few times. Ultimately you do have to
select something and pursue that, if for no other reason than just to prove to
yourself that you can accomplish something that is worthwhile that takes
work.
Have your dream and go for it.
It is Up to You
Yes, there are powers outside that will try to control your every move. A lot
of this comes from the powers of government. Since the dawn of time,
people have banded together in governments and concerted great force to
control what others do.
However, even with the power of government at obnoxiously brutal levels
today, you are still in control. A wise person can decide how to live life and
how to move.
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You have more power than you might think. You have the ability to
accomplish things that are in line with your purpose. You just have to be
wise and aware of the world.
I think it was said very well by James Murphy in his book, Business is
Combat. He talks about the concept of “Situational Awareness.”
“Situational awareness – SA for short…is a state of mind, a
level of awareness that’s almost superhuman. For a fighter
pilot, having a good SA means that…you see it all in the past,
present and future. You know where you’ve been. You know
where you are. You know where you’re going. You know
your fuel state and your weapons status. You see what the three
bandits are headed, you know their weapons engagement zones
(WEZ) and you intuitively sense their plan.” 12
You have to think about life that way. As a fighter pilot looks at all going
on constantly, you have to be aware of your environment. You have to be
mentally, physically and emotionally alert and ready for whatever comes at
you at any time.
It is almost like the phrase that “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”
The exact quote is from John Philpot Curran.
“It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become
a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given
liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break,
servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the
punishment of his guilt” .—John Philpot Curran: Speech upon
the Right of Election, 1790. (Speeches. Dublin, 1808.)
Your individual freedom and liberty are the most precious possessions you
have. You have to guard them diligently. There is never a time when you
can “let up” or “relax” your guard.
The good news is that no one out there can control everything you do. The
even better news is that, for the most part, they really don’t care what you do
12
, James Murphy, Business is Combat, Regan Books, , © 2000, p. 62
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– they are more interested in what they are doing! You have the freedom to
do your own thing in your own way.
It All Comes Down To Individual Responsibility
As we have individual freedom and liberty, we also have individual
responsibility. As you interact with others, you have to provide value for
them to get what you want.
Then that wonderful miracle of life happens. You achieve what you want
and become a better person by supplying the needs of others.
To get more, give more. To give more become more of who you need to be.
It really is that simple.
But it is not easy.
Be Realistic In Your Dreams—And Stretch!
This is also called reality. Don’t think that you can jump out of a 40 th story
window and fly. I don’t care how much you think and pray and hope and
wish---it ain’t gonna’ happen.
I’m 5 ft. 7 inches tall. That means that I’m not going to be starting center for
the Orlando Magic (our local basketball team). There are a number of things
that I won’t be able to do in my life, no matter how long I live.
However, there are literally millions of other wonderful choices that will
bring others and me around my happiness and joy. These are the things on
which I have to focus my attention. I can’t waste time wishing and hoping
for those things that will never happen.
In fact, dwelling on those things that can’t happen keep me from attaining
what I really could have.
However, the flip side of that is that people often hold themselves back from
what they really could achieve. They stop short of what they could do
because they just don’t think that it is right for them.
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What a sad commentary on life!
You owe it to yourself to become the very best you can and should be. You
should stretch and grow to be the person that you were meant to be. So, yes
it is a continual challenge and a wonderful adventure!
Ah, that stretching comes into play here. Stretching means that you’re
reaching for something that is within sight but out of reach. Think of it like
a martial artist who has to stretch those legs to develop more flexibility in
kicking.
It hurts! Ouch! I know from personal experience. Your body is screaming
“No, No” but your mind is saying, “Yes.” You have to let the “yes” of the
bigger goal win out over the temporary hurt of the “no” in anything in life
that is worthwhile. If you don’t push yourself, you won’t be able to achieve
those things that you were meant to reach.
T.S. Eliot said it well, “Only those who risk going too far can possibly find
out how far one can go.”
I love the way William James, the great American Psychologist at the
beginning of the 20th Century, put it: “Most people never run far enough on
their first wind to find out they’ve got a second. Give your dreams all
you’ve got and you’ll be amazed at the energy that comes out of you.”
Be smart about it. For instance, in martial arts you can’t stretch your leg
muscles too far or you will tear a ligament. This puts you in worse shape
than you were before. You have to go about the stretching under the
supervision of your instructor or a trained pro. A little at a time. Day by
day.
How is it that Robert Schuller says it, “Inch by inch, everything is a sinch.
Yard by yard it is always hard.”
Break your tasks down into byte-sized chunks. Deal with each one in a
manageable way. As you string together a series of successes, you’ll be able
to achieve the goals you want. However, you have to have the discipline to
break them down into achievable objectives and maintain the discipline to
see them through.
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Living Life In Your Own Way
In the final analysis it is all up to you. Robert Ringer is one of my favorite
authors. He has a theory that he calls the “One to a Box” theory. He says
that he never went to a funeral with two people in the same box. They
always have just one to a box.
In the final analysis the human experience is a lonely experience. Being
with family and friends makes it more tolerable and worthwhile. That is
why we need friends and family with whom we can associate and get honest
real feedback.
You have to live your life your way. What others say you should do doesn’t
matter. You have to do what is right for you.
But, but willing to accept the consequences. I know some people that refuse
to go beyond their banal existence and won’t see anything new in the world.
Their small, secluded world is to watch television every night, stay within 25
miles of where they live and never deviate from their own prosaic lifestyle.
What a waste!
There is so much to do and learn about in life. Stretch! Go for it and make
yourself burst out of your comfort zone. You learn that way. You only
grow by going through those things that help you to gain more.
In my speaking and coaching business, I’ve learned about people, what they
like, what they don’t like and how we are all pretty much the same on Planet
Earth. Most of us just want to live in peace and not bother anybody or be
bothered by anybody.
For me, this traveling and learning is most important.
You have to learn what is best for you. I challenge you, dear reader, to go
beyond what is normal for you. Grow and stretch to achieve those things
that are best for you. Make it happen.
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Potential Obstacles
Remember that life is not easy. Success in life really is simple, but it is not
easy. You have to do simple things that might be difficult. They will be
painful in many cases. However, you have overcome them.
One of the best ways to deal with those obstacles that are out there is to
examine them head-on and face them. Sit down with a pad of paper or on
your word processor and list all the obstacles that can get in the way of your
goal.
Think of all the things that you’re going to have to accomplish to achieve the
goal you have and live your life the way you want it to be.
For example, it might be that you realize you have to have a job that pays a
given amount of money. Well, to get that level of money, you have to put
forth extra value to the marketplace. You have to be worth more than you
are now to get more than you are getting now.
If you’re in sales, or own your own business, you’re in a really good
position. You are able to go out and get a raise anytime you want one! You
don’t have to ask anybody for a raise, you just go out into the real-world
marketplace and provide extra value to the right people. You get a raise
based on your own productivity and the value you generate for the market.
Success is not measured by the
position one has reached in life,
rather by the obstacles overcome
while trying to s ucceed
- Booker T. Washington
Take the responsibility
of living your life into
your own hands. This
means you face the
obstacles that are there
and those that are
potential and deal with
them. Come up with strategies and plans to deal with each potential
challenge as it exists.
For instance, if you want to lose, say, 40 lbs., you have to have a strategy to
make it happen. You can’t just wish it away. After all you didn’t acquire
those 40 pounds overnight.
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A first step might be to visit your doctor to get a complete, thorough
physical. Get all fluid levels checked. Let them whack you on the knee,
peek into your ear and make you say “Ah” with that terrible wood thingy
(yeah, its called the tongue depressor but to me it is a “wood thingy”).
Ask your doctor for a reasonable, medically sound plan to reduce the weight.
Get diet information and exercise information that is prescribed for you.
If you don’t do it through your medical doctor, you should consider some of
the excellent services that are available that have helped millions to lose
weight and get to their right condition.
Once you have the plan laid out, think of the temptations you’ll face with
trips to the movies, picnics, and parties with friends, etc. that can cause you
problems. Think of how you’ll deal with each of these situations. If you’re
offered something that is fattening and not part of your diet, you might
decide to politely, but firmly, say, “No Thank you. Not today.” Then go
over and have another bottle of clear, fresh, clean, refreshing water instead
of that fat stuff.
See the fat rolling off you. See it melting away. This is going to help you
achieve the goals that you want, the way you want.
Another obstacle you’ll face is the “why try” argument that comes when
you’re a few weeks into the program. You don’t think you’re making as
much progress as you should so you just give up. Deal with that obstacle
and face it before it happens. Have a pre-written card answering that
objection that you can read to yourself if that becomes an issue.
Make it a point to meet regularly
with supporters. Groups like
Weight Watchers have a
marvelous way of combining the
social support group that is so
necessary. People are there
helping each other and cheering
each other on to achieve their
goals. Make a support group
part of your strategy.
Security can only be achieved
through constant change, through
discarding old ideas that have
outlived their usefulness and
adapting others to current facts.
- William O. Douglas
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See how attaining a goal can be fun, amidst the work? You’ll be able to
accomplish what you want and still have fun if you plan for it and take the
right steps.
Remember that any worthwhile goal you undertake is going to have
obstacles and hardships. You have to recognize these and deal with them.
Many of them can be dealt with before you being. Address those potential
obstacles and make sure they are dealt with.
Dealing with the Unexpected
On this planet, there are lots of unexpected things that come up and bite us.
Ouch! This has been the norm throughout the human experience. It is the
way things are today. And guess what? For the next 1,000 years there will
be unexpected events happen.
We can’t control the events. Things are going to happen that we didn’t plan
for. However, we can control our reaction and how we’ll handle them. We
can’t control the problems but we can prepare ourselves to be ready for
whatever happens.
How do we do that? By continually preparing.
I’ve found that to live free in an unfree world requires being continually
ready. That means constantly preparing mentally, physically and spiritually
to handle whatever happens.
The SEM Power Formula
To live free in an unfree world means that you are better prepared for those
unexpected events that come up – way before they come your way. Know
this: you are going to face obstacles. You are going to be hit with things that
you didn’t plan for. Emergencies WILL happen. Disasters WILL happen.
It is just a matter of time.
However, if you are prepared physically, mentally and spiritually, you’ll be
able to handle whatever life dishes out with aplomb. You’ll be victorious
because you stacked the odds in your favor way before the events occurred.
You will be able to make a difference.
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Here is a formula that can help you the rest of your life; no matter what age
you happen to be. It has helped successful people to achieve their goals and
become the type of people they want to be.
I call it my SEM Power Formula™. It really is quire simple, but, like many
other things, it is not easy. It requires discipline and the determination to do
it every day of your life.
The S stands For Study
Each day you have to strengthen and stretch your mind. Each day learn
something new that will better your life and make you a better person.
Each day you should read something of value. This can be a good book, a
magazine or some great e-zines on the Internet. Go to www.terrybrock.com
and click to sign up for my e-zine which is packed with ideas that you can
use to build your business and improve your personal life. It’s free and a
great way for us to stay in touch.
It might be that some days you are so busy (can you relate to this?) that you
feel you just don’t have time to read. Ah, those are the days when it matters
the most.
Successful people differ from the unsuccessful not by their desires. Both
groups of people have similar desires to get ahead and accomplish certain
things. However, the successful people are willing and actually do what is
necessary to pay the price while the unsuccessful can list many reasons why
they couldn’t do what is necessary.
In today’s world, your brainpower and the actionable knowledge that you
employ is power. You have to have a continually renewed powerful mind
that is teeming with ideas. The only way this is going to happen is if you
take the time, money and effort to make it happen. You have to get up 30
minutes earlier to read. You have to turn off that TV set to read. You have
to give up some other activity in order to read.
Discipline is the critical link
between thinking and
behavior.
- Karen Boscaljon, M.S.
Yes, it will be difficult sometimes.
Yes, you’ll be swamped with lots of
other things to do. However,
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remember that in the moment when you don’t want to do it and your brain is
feeding you lots of “excuses” as to why you can’t do it today, that is the
moment when you have a chance to succeed and rise to the top.
Think about what you’re willing to give up in order to feed your mind. Is it
a TV show? Is it a little sleep? Read and program your mind with good
quality information that helps you attain the goals you want.
The E Stands For Exercise
Physical exercise is vital for a healthy body. If you don’t like to exercise,
I’m sorry. I didn’t make the rules. This is one of those laws of physics.
Your body needs regular periods of three essential activities: 1) Stretching,
2) Muscle Strengthening and 3) Aerobic activity. Let’s look at each of these
here.
1. Stretching. This means that you carefully stretch those muscles.
Don’t force it or you can do serious damage. You would be best
advised here to get help from someone who can assist you in learning
what to do. I regularly practice touching my toes without bending my
knees. I make it a point to sit on the floor with my legs outstretched.
I slowly lean forward and grab the balls of my feet making my legs
stretch out to their fullest. I then slowly lift my feet off the ground
and hold that position for 30 seconds. This helps me to open up
physically and I find the mental juices start flowing then also. Try
stretching and get assistance where needed.
2. Muscle Strengthening. This is the fun part. I love doing push-ups
and sit-ups. I find the pain is where I get my gain! How many pushups can you do? Check with medical professionals and health
exercise professionals and find out how many you should do. I’m
reminded of Richard Marcinko, a former U.S. Navy SEAL Captain
who talks about doing 1,000 pushups and 1,000 sit-ups every day.
WOW! I’m not up to that level (not yet, anyway). But think of the
power you develop doing that. You will be ready for lots of
unexpected things that can happen. Plus you’ll feel great about
yourself. Lifting weights is another excellent way to build muscle.
Get the advice you need, but make it happen.
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3. Aerobic Activity. This is where you do your walking (fast walking,
not just strolling), jogging, running, swimming, cycling and other
activities that make that heart beat faster. Yes, you will need to sweat
and perspire. Sorry. That’s just the way it works. You want to get
your heart rate up to the accepted level for your age. Make sure you
get the cardio work done regularly. I like to walk/jog sometimes and
then swim other days. Some days I like to ride my bicycle and other
days my stationary cycle. Vary what you do so it stays fun and
interesting.
By regularly engaging in physical activity you’ll find that you feel better and
perform better in life. You’ll be able to become more of the person that you
want to be when you’re feeling good physically and in good shape.
This is where you need a good coach. Your medical care professional can
be a wonderful resource for you here. A physical therapist can help
enormously. A membership at a local health club or Y Center can be one of
your best investments.
Come up with a varied and multi-faceted program that can work for you and
keep your interest. You have to live in you body as your home while on this
planet. You don’t get another one. Make the best of it. Be willing to
endure some pain to become more of the person that you want to be.
The M Is For Meditation
The older I get the more I see the value in quiet thinking and reflecting.
Medical benefits are profound for those that regularly take time to relax and
be still.
Many people find a source of strength from prayer. If that works for you, go
for it. Some find transcendental meditation to work. Yoga is a powerful
way of enjoying peace and accomplishing many physical and mental goals.
My point here is not to tell you which method of meditation you have to do.
My point is to encourage you to find the one that works for you and DO IT!
Take time every day (yes, every day!) to meditate. Even 10 minutes can
help you enormously.
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Many people find that 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes in the
evening give them a perspective on life that is clear, focused and purposeful.
This time for me, helps clear my mind, and focus on those things that matter
the most.
In the quiet time of meditation and relaxing you will find your strength.
Benefits of the SEM Power Formula
You will find that as you build SEM into your daily life that you become
more of the person you want to be. It doesn’t happen immediately. It will
take persistence and doing it day after day, no matter what happens.
Some days you’re going to be so busy that you just won’t get it done. On
those days, don’t beat yourself up, but encourage yourself to correct and go
after it again the next day.
You will find your body getting more toned. Your mind will be sharper.
You will begin to get new insights that you wouldn’t have had otherwise.
This is a powerful, life-changing concept that has resulted in many people
getting their lives under control and being the people that they want to be.
Embrace the SEM Power Formula and you’ll see things happen in your life
like:
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
More restful sleeping
Weight control
Increased insight into what is important in the world
Increased knowledge of important information in your world
Better business knowledge
More relaxed approach to life
Superior knowledge and information
There are untold more benefits from using these principles. Try them and
notice how your life improves and stretches to help you become more of the
person that you want to be.
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Serving Others
It is a paradox of life that we only get what we want when we help others
attain what they want. This is one of those laws of life that can never
change. No legislature or parliament in any nation can change this law.
As you increase your worth and value that you have for others you will find
you are able to attain what you want.
As you’ve prepared yourself individually and personally with the SEM
Power Formula™, you’ll be positioned to help others as never before. The
service that you render to them will give you the income to achieve the
monetary goals you have for yourself.
Always think in terms of how you can help the other person achieve their
goals and objectives. What problems are they encountering that you can
eliminate and deal with? Follow the pain they are experiencing and figure
out a way to vanquish that. You will then be able to succeed.
If you apply these principles, you’ll find that you can live free in an unfree
world. You’ll have the freedom to enjoy what is most important. You’ll be
free from most of the diseases that afflict people. You’ll be free of the lack
of knowledge that holds most people back from achieving their goals.
You’ll have peace of mind in your life no matter what happens.
This freedom leads to a life that is worth living. It is what makes life
worthwhile.
In giving to others, you will find yourself blessed.
It's a universal law, you have to give before you get.
You must plant your seeds before you reap any harvest.
The more you sow, the more you will ultimately reap.
The giver's harvest is always full. Be a giver.
Everything worthwhile in life will come to you freely,
when you learn to give as freely.
Nature does not give to those who will not spend.
-Unknown Author-
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Chapter 7 – Making Your Magic Happen
We’ve come to the end of this adventure together. You and I have spent
some time thinking about life in general and your life in particular. You
know that you can achieve lots of things. Jon Rogers and Peter McWilliams
said in their book, Do it “You can do anything. You just can’t do
everything.” Here is a simple plan of action that can help you make your
life what you want it to be:
1. Determine what it is you really want. This is the toughest part. It is
also the part that keeps changing regularly. This is particularly true
when you’re young and deciding what to do. In today’s world we
change a lot because we have to. The Wall Street Journal ran an
interesting story the other day about Norm Sprang. Norm is 60 years
old and is starting over. Again.
It seems that Norm, like many others today has been forced to adjust
and change. Even at 60 he is not finished. The company he works for
is going out of business. So, Norm has to adjust. This is typical in
today’s world. We have to continually change and adjust. There is no
stability. So, in the midst of this confusion and chaotic mess, you get
a golden opportunity to be what you want. Hey, if one job really is
terrible, you can change and get something much better. 13
But you have to decide what is right for you. You have to think
carefully about what you really want to do and what brings you the
most happiness. Oh yeah, you also have to find a way to make money
doing it. See, you might enjoy sitting on the beach sucking down Pina
Coladas but there aren’t many people that are willing to pay you to do
that.
With so many options available, it is difficult to decide the right thing
to do for you. However, there is nothing more important that you,
figuring out what is right for you in your life and making it happen.
13
New Job, New Tasks Proving Yourself Again, The Wall Street Journal, Wednesday, July 2, 2003, page
B1.
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2. Calculate the cost of getting what you want. This cost is in terms of
time, money and effort. Anything worthwhile is going to cost a lot of
each of these to you.
You are going to have to part with your capital to make things happen.
You are going to have to invest in yourself, your continual education
and your tools. Hire people that have the skills to teach you how to do
what you need. That is what a college or university is all about.
They have a collection of smart people that work there. These people
are called professors. They have paid lots of time, money and effort
themselves to get what they currently have. They have agreed to enter
the workforce to help people like you and me improve ourselves. But
we have to pay the price in terms of time, money and effort.
You don’t have to go to college or a university only to get that
education. In fact, you need to create your own university of learning.
Create the environment around you to acquire the skills and resources
you need. Attend seminars and conventions regularly in your areas of
interest. Read lots of good magazines, books and special reports on
areas that are of interest to you. Regularly read articles and ideas on
the Internet. Know what is happening.
You’ll also want to saturate your mind with quality learning material
when you’re traveling. As Zig Ziglar said it, “When you’re riding,
listen. When you’re sitting, read.” Always saturate your mind with
quality, educational information that can help you get ahead and
achieve your goals.
Determine what the cost will be to get what you need. You’ll then be
in a better position to make those things happen that are important to
you.
3. Develop a burning white-hot desire to achieve your goals. This is
going to be necessary. There are going to be lots of obstacles in the
way as you proceed towards your goal. You’ll have too many times
that are tough. However, if you have that burning desire to keep
going no matter what, you’ll do what you have to do to make it
happen.
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Different people are motivated by different things. For many a picture
of a new car, just the kind they want, will be taped to the refrigerator
door. Every day they see this object of desire and do whatever it takes
to keep moving towards that goal.
Some might have a goal of being a certain weight. They’ll put
pictures of slim, trim and fit people on the refrigerator to help them
achieve their goals.
Others do what they do to overcome a current obstacle. It was Victor
Frankel, M.D., who discussed this in his seminal work, Man’s Search
For Meaning. As a Jewish Psychiatrist right before World War II, he
saw the horrors of the socialistic Nazis (National Socialist Party, in
Germany) as they trampled over the rights and lives of millions all in
the name of doing things “for the common good.”
Dr. Frankel suffered through both Dachau and Auschwitz, two of
Hitler’s death camps. Frankel saw, up close, how some simply gave
up thinking there was no reason to keep going. These despondent
people soon died. No one can blame them for the choice they made in
that situation. However, others kept going because they had a reason
to keep going. That is the key. Some only had a reason to keep going
so they could get back at the hated guards who brutalized and killed
so many. Others had a reason to get back and see a loved one or
accomplish a special task.
Dr. Frankel’s work Man’s Search For Meaning is a classic about how
human beings need a motivating, compelling reason to keep going, no
matter what happens. This is a book that everyone should read at
sometime in life. We have to remember what happened and never
allow it to happen again. We also have to have a strong, compelling
meaning that keeps us moving forward in life.
You have to have a reason to keep going. This is what will fuel your
fire. If you’ve lost that fire from earlier days, you owe it to yourself
and to others to rekindle that flame. Think about what is most
important and what you have done to let that flame flicker. Take the
steps to make it happen. Find that reason to keep going and do it!
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It was Somerset Maugham who said, “It is funny about life; if you
refuse to accept anything but the very best you will very often get it.”
Refuse to be stopped in your goal. Recommit to making your dream
become a reality.
4. Take the first steps towards accomplishing your goal. You can’t
do it all at once. The old Chinese saying that “The journey of a
thousand leagues begins with a single step” is right. You have to take
that initial step. Then take the next. Then the next. Keep putting one
foot in front of the other. This is how progress is made.
There’s an important psychological principle here that can help as you
work towards those goals. It is called “chunking.” I’ve found that I
can do lots of things if I try doing it a piece at a time. If I try to do
everything all at once, I inevitably fail. However, by going at it a
little bit at a time I can accomplish the task.
Think how you can break the overall project and assignment into little
“bite-sized chunks.” Getting a degree at a university does this process
very well. You start with the basics of any discipline in your first few
years. You gain a broad knowledge base of many different areas.
Then you gradually and slowly proceed into more advanced level
classes in your chosen area of discipline.
Make your own “University of Me.” Call it the U of M. When I was
a kid, I grew up in lower mid-Michigan. We were about 30 miles
from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. I didn’t go there but
now wish I did. However, I now create my own “U of M” which
allows me to get just the education I want and take the classes I want.
It is on-going and never stops.
Create your own U of M and bring in (and pay for) the best instructors
and professors you can find. Become the best at what you want to be.
Take the steps towards your goal one at a time. This is the way to true
mastery.
5. Get feedback and correct, as you need to. No one is perfect.
You’re going to make mistakes. It’s part of being human. But that’s
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all right if you get good feedback (this is where you get good
“professors” from your very own “U of M.”
When those mistakes come, don’t beat yourself up. This is a natural
and understandable reaction. Instead, step back; think of what went
wrong and how you can correct for the future. Get the help of your
support system. Have people around you that can support and care for
you, helping you to mend and grow. This is most important.
Find what new skills and resources you’ll need to accomplish your
task. Then bring those into your life in a way that supports you and
helps you to achieve what is important to you.
Locker Room Talk
You and I have come to the end of our journey for today. We’re sitting here
in the locker room and it is time for your coach, me, to give you some
parting words before you head out to the field for today’s game.
I’ve given you a lot of information. Some of it might be a bit difficult to
handle right now. However, I ask you to think. Think about it. Critically
think about all that I’ve said and all that you hear anyone say.
You have to exercise your own mind and make your own decisions in life.
You can’t sit back and ask someone else to do it for you. You get the glory
and you take the blame.
You can make your own magic. You have to do it. No one else can do it for
you. As you practice the principles laid out here, you’ll find that it is easier
as you practice. Stay with it and keep going.
Let me know how you’re doing. You can send me e-mail, which is the best
way to reach me as I bounce around the planet. You can reach me at
[email protected] and I’ll get back as soon as I can.
Now get out there on the field and make your own magic!
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Reference Section For Magic-Making Stuff
Here are some good resources that can help you as you move through your
own personal journey. Try these and let me know what you think.
Books
WOW! Where can I start? More importantly, where can I stop. There are
literally thousands of great books out there. Here are some that I have found
particularly beneficial to me.
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. This novel changed more lives in the 20th
Century and is still changing lives today. The battle of good and evil, right
and wrong and how “men of the mind” take matters into their own hands to
live freely.
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. This novel, turned into a movie in 1949
with Gary Cooper and Patricia O’Neal, sets the stage to live life by your own
terms and not by what others say you should do. This is a must read. The
movie is a must-see. Yeah, it’s black and white and old. However, see
through that and grasp the message – particularly the courtroom scene
towards the end of the movie.
Anything written by Alan Weiss. Great ideas on business, speaking and
consulting. The man is a genius.
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. This classic has changed the lives
of millions. Learn how very successful people have made it and what you
can do also. Classic how to succeed that is a must-read.
How to Raise Your Own Salary by Napoleon Hill. This lessor-known work
is one of his best. Hill interviews my hero, Andrew Carnegie, and gets realworld, nitty-gritty advice on how to success in a tough world. Priceless.
Anything by Peter Drucker. This great thinker and management consultant is
a national treasure. His works span several decades and presented some of
the best thinking on not only business but how to live life.
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Human Action by Ludwig von Mises This book helped Mises win the
Noble Prize in Economics in 1949. It helps to understand how life really is
all about what he calls praxeology or human action. Very insightful.
The Art of Worldly Wisdom by Balthasar Gracian. This book was written
by a Jesuit priest from Spain back in the 16 th Century. Yet, its wisdom and
practical real world advice ring true for us today.
A Manual for Living by Epictetus. This Roman-era philosopher penned so
many good sayings and wisdom it is difficult to digest it all. Read this over
and over and you’ll find you gain much wisdom in life.
The Demon-Haunted World by Carl Sagan. Carl was one of my heros. He
chose to embrace science, not mysticism. His book lays out a clear guide to
thinking and developing our critical thinking ability.
The Road to Serfdom by F.A. Hayek. This classic in economic thought
presents the case for freedom and liberty. Priceless information.
The Lessons of History by Will and Ariel Durant. This easy-to-read book
provides a concise summary of the great themes that can help us to
understand our own world.
As A Man Thinketh by James Allen. This is one to read annually. How you
think and what you think will ultimately determine how your life is
arranged. Change your thoughts and you’ll change your life.
Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty by Harvey Mackay. Learn how to get
along well with others and get what you need from others. This man knows
his stuff and lays it out in this excellent work.
Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankel. Read about the horros of
Nazi concentration camps and how this brilliant Austrian psychiatrist
survived the Holocaust. This is a must-read book for everyone at sometime
in life.
There are many other profound books. Check my website for new additions
as they come about. I love books. They contain the wisdom of the ages and
information we all need for our own life.
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Websites
These change so often that putting them in a book is almost silly. To get
updated information on great websites, check my website at
www.terrybrock.com and you’ll see lots of references to get sources. If you
have questions about a specific resource needed, please drop me an e-mail.
DVD/Video
Lots of good movies are out there. I find that movies and video learning tap
into another part of our brain and help us to experience life as we would
never do it before.
Here are some of my personal favorites. If you’re near a video rental store
or drop by your local library sometime, check and see if they are available
and enjoy a good evening.
Fiddler On the Roof – This has to be one of my favorites. You’ll run the
gamut of human emotion and see life as it is for many through the ages.
Ayn Rand, A Sense of Life. This video captures the life of America’s
greatest philosophy and writer in the 20th Century. You might not agree
with all she says, but you’ll gain enormously from learning what she lived
through and how she approached life.
The Rocky Series – Triumph of good over evil and importance of pressing
on regardless
The Blues Brothers – The original set back in the early 80’s is my favorite
musical of all time.
Patton – This Oscar-winning film from 1970 shows a capsule of how one
man courageously led an army against fierce opposition. Good principles
for living your own life.
Independence Day – Science fiction and a great escape for a few hours. Fun
to watch the good guys win!
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The Star Trek Movies – Yeah, I’m a real Trekkie and love the principles of
the television shows and the movies. My favorites? Hard to say but Star
Trek II, IV and all with the Next Generation rank at the top for me.
How The West Was Won – classic from the early 60’s shows the struggles
and triumphs of early America. Not only do you learn about history but
you’ll laugh, cry and cheer along the way. What a good movie is supposed
to do!
Places Ya Just Gotta Visit Sometime in Life!
New York City. This place really never sleeps. Having a weekend or
business trip to NYC is something that everyone should experience at least
once, if not many, many more times in life.
Las Vegas, Nevada. What a great place! You can do just about anything
you want there. You can even smell the freedom in the air. Even if you
don’t like gambling, this is a city teeming with excitement.
Sydney, Australia. This has got to be one of the most picturesque cities in
the world. Prices are reasonable (for those with American dollars), the
people are some of the best in the world and I love it every time I get a
chance to visit.
Tokyo, Japan (be sure to see Shinjuku and Akihabara for all the cool
electronics!)
Los Angeles, California. This city has its problems but at the heart of the
city is a teeming atmosphere that is energized and full of life and excitement.
Be sure to check out Venice Beach and see the fun lifestyle there.
Orlando, Florida (my town! Disney Word for kids of all ages is a must-see)
South Florida (Palm Beach south through South Beach in Miami) I love the
energy and excitement here. Be sure to see South Beach and experience all
the different cultures and various kinds of people. It is a sight like none
other on the planet.
Moscow, Russia (dramatic changes going on now. Stand in Red Square and
absorb the magnitude of what has happened throughout history in that place)
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London, England (great fish n’ chips. Get the fish n’ chips with mushy peas
and be sure to order “a pint.” )
Fukuoka, Japan (In Southern Japan, this capital city is teeming with energy
and life and has some of the best sushi in the world!)
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My Personal Articles For You
Here are some additional resources for you, some of my columns that have
received a lot of positive feedback. Hope you enjoy them!
Push Through The Pain – The Key To Success
By Terry L. Brock
“Look at a stone cutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as
much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I
know it was not the last blow that did it, but all that had gone before.” Jacob A. Riis,
1849-1914
This morning it was especially nice here in Orlando. I love these summer mornings when
it is quiet and cool outside. I particularly like getting up early to get more done.
Today I was going through my morning routine of studying, meditation and exercise.
When it came to my push-ups I was doing my normal set and then had the idea to push
just a bit harder.
You’ve been there, I’m sure. You go through the normal stuff you have to do in life and
you do OK. That’s about a B of B- performance level. You don’t get fired for it. You
don’t make any more sales, but you do just enough to get by.
While I was doing my push-ups and nearing my mark that I aim for in each set, I had the
idea to push just a bit harder and do 10 extra. You’ve heard all about that “No Pain, No
Gain” that we see in the gym. Yet, this morning, I was thinking that this could be
especially good to push a little farther.
And guess what happened? In a split second that voice came into my head (you’ve heard
it before) that said, “Oh no. You can’t push any farther. If you do, you’ll be sore, you’ll
fall down, you won’t make it, etc. etc.” You know the voice. It’s that one inside your
head that stops you from getting what you really want.
It was Orison Swett Marden, the Founder of Success Magazine who lived from 18501924 who said, “Most of our obstacles would melt away if, instead of cowering before
them, we should make up our minds to walk boldly through them.” Well, he was right.
So, as I was doing those push-ups, I told that negative voice to “Shut up.” I didn’t say it
loudly because I was about out of breath! However, I said it where it matters most – in
my mind. I was going to do those extra 10 push-ups no matter what.
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My arms were hurting. My chest was hurting. Everything in me was screaming to stop
and just quit, but my spirit inside said to keep going, no matter what. Well, you know
what happened? I made it through the extra 10 push-ups and felt victorious!
When I finished the pain that I felt was not too bad. It only lasted for a couple of seconds
and then went away. What didn’t go away was the thrill of knowing that I had pushed
through the pain. I had done something that was good for me and very instructional.
Well, after I finished with my morning exercises I had some time of quiet thinking and
reflection. I like to do this after working out just to relax, think about the day ahead and
focus my thinking on what’s important for the upcoming day’s tasks and for life in
general. I thought about that little exercise of doing the extra 10. Many things happen
like that in life.
If we just push beyond the pain we can accomplish a great deal. Yes, the pain is there but
as long as it is not an injury, where you seriously will need to stop and possibly get
professional help, the little extra pain is actually good for you.
What about that sales call that you know you should make but just keep putting it off?
You’ve let the imagined pain in your mind hold you back. Blast through it by getting the
necessary information that is going to b e different from what you’ve done in the past and
highly valuable and useful (very important!) to your prospect. Rather than just calling to
ask if they’re still thinking about it (yeah, right!), send them something that will be of
value to them. Even if they don’t respond right away, you’re helping to move the sale
along and helping yourself to be more creative. The skills you learn will be highly
beneficial for the next prospect you encounter.
What about that challenge with a relationship you have? Push through the pain.
Recognize that anything worthwhile in life is going to require effort and work. Stay with
it and don’t give up too soon.
So, here’s my challenge to you: Find something in your life where you see yourself
doing a B- or B performance and you know you could hit an A or A+ level. It might be
in your physical workout. It might be in your number of sales calls. Whatever it is for
you, find that important area where you can make a difference.
Then set that stretch goal. Find the goal that is “within sight but out of reach” as Denis
Waitley talks about. Don’t try to do 100 extra push- ups. That would be too much.
You’d probably not make it and be discouraged that you missed it. However, the 10 little
extra push- ups from your normal set can empower you. Remember the pain is going to
be there.
Expect it.
Welcome it.
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Then use that pain as a learning tool and a personal empowerment tool to reach a greater
goal that is meaningful and worthwhile for you.
By being what I call “smart persistent” you achieve new goals. Even better, you push
yourself to a higher level to bring out the best you can be. Smart persistent means you
adjust and correct with feedback. You use your head and get help when needed. You
achieve the goals that are best for you.
Thomas Fuller said in the 1600’s, “An invincible determination can accomplish almost
anything and in this lies the great distinction between great men and little men.” Today,
we know this principle applies equally to men and women, boys and girls. Develop your
own invincible determination to accomplish your worthwhile goals.
Find one area in your life today where you can push through. You’ll be amazed at what
can happen as you’re “smart persistent.’
Terry Brock is an internationally recognized professional speaker, consultant and author
in the fields of business productivity, technology and marketing. He is a syndicated
columnist for Biz Journals across America and can be reached at 407-363-0505 , by email at [email protected] or through his website at www.terrybrock.com
Copyright © 2003, Terry Brock, All Rights Reserved Internationally. No portion may be
reprinted or used in any way without prior written permission. Permission granted to Biz
Journals to use in regular publication.
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Get What You Want in Business and Life
By Terry L. Brock
Want to get more in life? Want to have more of the things you want? Here is the simple
(but not easy) process:
Zig Ziglar was right that you can get anything you want if you help enough other people
get what they want. However, the real crux of the matter is “How do you help enough
other people?” What do you do to help them? What value can you provide for them that
they are willing to pay you serious money?
That is where you have to be prepared. Zig would be the first to tell you that blind
enthusiasm by itself will get your nowhere. It is nice to feel good for a while, but
eventually we have to produce. We have to have something of lasting significance that
will help us to achieve what we need.
So what are the steps to help others and by that help you?
Ayn Rand, the 20th Century philosopher and author of books such as Atlas Shrugged and
The Fountainhead had it right. We can help others by first helping ourselves. Her
philosophy was one of empowering the individual. You succeed in life to the level that
you think and create excellence in your life.
Here’s a simple process that can help as you reach for greatness and the things that are
most important in your life.
1. Commit to being the best. You have to pay the price. Vince Lombardi, Sr. told
us that being the best means paying the price. Anyone can do the push-ups and
the sit-ups when it is easy. But the real winners, the real champions in life are
those that do what needs to be done, especially when it is hard. That means
getting up early, before the sun rises, when its cold outside, when it’s too hot,
when its raining, when you just flat don’t feel like doing it---and doing it! This is
paying the price and you have to commit to it.
2. See the vision you want. You have to see the goal. It has to be real in your
mind. It has to be something that you can see, taste, feel, hear and smell. You
have to have vivid, rich details of what that goal will be like. Is your goal to have
your children educated? See them graduating with honors. Is the goal to pay off
your debts and be free of financial encumbrances? See what your life will be like
when that is accomplished. Is your goal a better body that is fit, slim and trim?
Paint a vivid picture of that as the first step to attain it.
3. Determine the cost. Find out what it is going to take to achieve your goal. If
you want to become a medical doctor, you have a long road ahead, but it is worth
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4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
it if that is your goal. Get outside help and expertise because none of us is as
smart as all of us. Determine what course of action you’ll have to take.
Constantly acquire new skills. We’re in a world where things change very fast.
To just stay even you have to continually pour rich new ideas into your head.
You get these best through readying, studying, listening to quality instructional
audios, attending lectures and seminars, hanging around successful people and
never giving up. It is never-ending. Too many people look on education as if it
were an inoculation. You’ll hear losers say things like, “Oh, I took that in school
and don’t need it anymore.” Education is on going and never stops. Reading a
minimum of a book a week is one of the components I regularly hear from
outstanding people. Make it a point to stretch your mind with new material in
some way every day.
Find what others want. You might be an expert in areas that are nice, but if
there is no demand for that, you’ll have a hard time in the marketplace. You have
to provide what people want. To get the things you want, you have to study and
constantly look for what others want. This requires constant, never-ending
devotion to helping them achieve their goals.
Work to make people want to be around you. The more you can make other
people happy and feel good around you, the more they’ll want to be around you
and buy your ideas, your concepts, your services and your products. Laughter and
humor are great tools for opening up relationships. This doesn’t mean telling a
bunch of jokes. It doesn’t mean being silly either. It means making a serious
business of studying funny. Learn it and use it. Humor is one of the most
powerful tools you’ll have on your side to achieve your goals in life.
Anticipate Their Needs. This is what Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer did. They
created products that people would need. In the late 70’s you didn’t see a lot of
people running around asking for an operating system. Yet, slowly and
persistently the folks at Microsoft created, improved, had setbacks, improved,
failed, improved and kept learning to make what they had better. They
anticipated that everyone would have a computer on their desk to accomplish
everyday tasks. The rest is history. Think about what your customers will want,
even if they’re not asking for it yet. Be prepared to have some setbacks, but more
importantly, be prepared to learn from your experiences.
Grow Rhinoceros skin. Anyone in sales (and that is all of us!) knows that the
world is not a very nice place. People can be rude. They don’t return phone calls.
They take advantage of you. Hey, welcome to my planet! This is the way it
works here. You have to be tougher than all that. The best sales trainers tell us to
not take rejection personally. Step back from it all and smile thanking the person
for educating you. Even if someone is rude, you have learned some lessons.
You’ve learned to watch out for that person. You’ve learned that maybe they are
just having a bad day. You’ve learned that you are better than that and don’t have
to succumb to their problems. This is being smart. John Wayne said it well,
“Life is tough. Life is tougher if you’re stupid.”
Remember Eric Idle’s words. You might remember one of the actors in the
British troupe Monty Python who wrote a song:, “Always Look On the Bright
Side of Life. “ It was a hit a few years ago and is a classic. Sing a few bars of that
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song and you can’t help to put things in to perspective, smile and enjoy. Life is
too danged short as it is. Enjoy the process. Enjoy the journey.
Recently, a very good friend and professional speaker colleague passed away. Pat Vivo
was an outstanding lady who demonstrated caring, compassion and passion. Last night I
spoke with one of her sons and he told me that her philosophy of life was very simple, yet
profound. Everyday we should do three things: 1) Laugh, 2) Think, 3) Cry. I think that
sums up living the good life and getting what we want.
In business and in life the formula is simple. You’ve probably seen these before.
However, it is not easy. It takes diligence and work every day. You can never give up.
Develop your vision and stay with it. You’ll find that it is the best way to live and the
best way to get ahead.
As Eric Idle sang, “If life seems jolly rotten, there’s something you’ve forgotten. And
that’s to laugh and smile and dance and sing.” Being in a positive state of mind attracts
others to you and that helps you to achieve your goals both in business and in life.
Time for Change; Time for Smart Persistence
By Terry L. Brock
“This is no time for ease and comfort. It is the time to dare and endure.” Winston
Churchill
It is a time of change. Many small business owners and mobile professionals are seeing
that the old models of what worked before are crumbling today. They are not valid for
today’s world.
In High Tech, the realization is slowly settling in Silicon Valley like the fog enveloping
the Bay Area that times are really, really different. It is not just a matter of sitting this
one out with a couple of lattes until it returns and everything is like it used to be. Instead
we are seeing fundamental changes in society and what works in business.
Even what was new and cool just recently is no longer in vogue in marketing. A couple
of years ago e- mail marketing was touted as the way to make millions. “You can send
out millions of e- mail messages [many have done that] at no cost and reach masses on the
Interne,” they would claim. What they forgot about was a law that hasn’t been repealed,
the Law of Supply and Demand.
With all that e- mail out there and being inundated with it, most e- mail messages have
been relegated to the bins of “junk” and the mentality has shifted. That mentality is the
thinking of your target market and buyers.
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It is a time for change. We have to think fresh thoughts. We have to adapt and be
different.
Yet, at the same time, it is time also for what I call “smart persistence.” I define smart
persistence and the willingness to diligently pursue a noble goal while adjusting our
tactics and direction based on intelligent feedback, changes in the environment and new
infor mation becoming available. If you’re banging your head against a wall, and your
objective is to break through the wall, maybe you should consider a new technology
called a hammer! Continue with your mission but change tactics in a smart way.
George Leonard wrote a powerful book a few years ago entitled Mastery. In it he makes
the case for staying the course and doing what you know you need to do, even when you
don’t see massive progress. He says that we have to enjoy the plateau. Those are the
areas where you’re doing what you need to do, in an exercise program, for instance, and
yet don’t see real substantial progress right away. Sometimes you even see some
slippage as reality sets in.
It is in those real- world moments where mastery comes into play. You keep doing what
you know you need to do, even if you’re tired, worn out and just don’t feel like doing it.
You keep doing the push-ups and sit-ups even when your body is whining and
complaining that its “too early” or “I don’t feel like it” or other pathetic moaning.
Couple this with smart persistence where you don’t push through if you have sustained an
injury. Use your head for thinking, not bashing walls! This means getting help and
feedback not only as you perceive it from the environment but from others around you
and, at times, from competent professionals.
How does that translate into marketing?
Right now is a golden moment to seize the day. Many economists are pointing to a
recovery and seeing changes in a positive direction by the end of this year and first part
of next year. Be ready for that surge in growth.
Now is the time to have a regular e- mail newsletter that provides real value and solves the
problems that your target market is facing. Real value is the key term. We want
substance, not glitter.
A good example of that would be the phenomenal growth of Blogs or Web Logs. In
contrast to flashy websites that deliver lots of glitter and little substance, Blogs have to
have content to be noticed. The content of a Blog comes from words and ideas, not flash.
Every small business should have a Blog today for customers.
I’ve recently added audio to my Blog, which you can experience and see how it applies to
your business. Go to http://yoursuccess.blogspot.com and click on the audio icons you’ll
see. These are audio messages delivered over the Net to computers that can play audio
files (most computers today). You create the message via a phone call. For $3.00/month
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you can have 12 2- minute messages to provide powerful, relevant information to your
target market. Check out www.audblog.com to blend this into your marketing campaign.
This is not flashy and elaborate. To use it you need to have a touch-tone phone and know
how to speak. It is that simple.
In an age of confusion and clutter (think too much e-mail) simple and compelling ideas
win the day.
Here are some simple, yet powerful marketing ideas every small business can employ
today for great results now and in the future:
1. Have an e-zine. This is your e- mail newsletter that helps you stay in touch with
customers who want (key point) to stay in touch with you. Answer their
questions and provide solid, real- world answers.
2. Use postcards. I’m continually amazed at the power of a hand-written postcard.
It is personal. It is economical. It can’t be thrown away without reading it. It
stands out. Get a stack and experiment. You’ll see amazing results.
3. Letters. Remember those old things? Yeah, the first-class mail letter gets
attention and can deliver your message clearly. When most of your competition is
using e- mail, letters can target the need of customers and make a difference.
4. Phone calls. A short, personal phone call that answers questions and provides
relevant information is always welcome. As I’ve traveled around the world in
different cultures speaking and consulting, I’ve noticed a common thread among
very successful millionaires, regardless of the culture: They use phones a lot.
They talk to a lot of people. Stay in touch. A quick “How ya doin?” call can
yield enormous benefits.
5. Personal Visits. In an age of e- mail and technology the value of a face-to-face,
“I’m really here” visit makes a huge difference. Be there for important trade
shows. Be there for client visits. Make it a point to schedule face-to- face visits
when you’re visiting a distant city. It will make a difference.
Now is a time for change. It is also a time to be smart in our persistence of doing what
we know is right. The payoffs will come as we persist in a smart way.
Terry Brock is an internationally recognized professional speaker, consultant and author
in the fields of business productivity, technology and marketing. He is a syndicated
Columnist for Biz Journals across America and can be reached at 407-363-0505 , by email at [email protected] or through his website at www.terrybrock.com
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Personal Power Outage – How to Avoid It
By Terry L. Brock
This past week we saw the power go out in much of the Eastern United States. I was in
Michigan and experienced some of it. The small country town where I was experienced
30 seconds of no power but then it roared back on only to provide television coverage of
the blackout around the country.
Personal Power Outage
What can you do to avoid a personal power outage? Without the energy and drive to
maintain your personal stamina and health, your business will surely suffer.
You need to have lots of energy to succeed in today’s highly competitive world. James
Loehr and Tony Schwartz discuss this in their new book, The Power of Full Engagement:
Managing Energy, Not Time, is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal. In
that work they cite numerous examples of how, what they call “corporate athletes”
perform better when applying the principles of professional athletes. One of the key
principles is to think like a sprinter, not a marathon runner. Go in spurts and have plenty
of renewal and refreshing time in between to rebuild. Push hard and fast for a limited
period of time and have abundant, healing times in between to rejuvenate.
You have to create lots of ways to rejuvenate your power. Life is a regular drain on our
resources in many ways. You have demands at work. You have demands at home. You
have demands in many areas of your life and all these demands create a strain on your
personal resources and ability to respond optimally. It is vital to renew yourself regularly
and in a smart way to not only remain competitive but to thrive in today’s world.
Here are some key ways to avoid a personal power
outage:
1. Devote resources to maintaining your optimal energy levels. What is more
important than your physical and mental health? I can’t think of anything. If you
don’t have your health, you can’t operate fully in business, with your family, in
your personal goals, in your chosen spiritual area or other areas. Devote the time,
money and effort to maintaining optimal physical and mental health.
2. Take time to renew yourself. Quiet thinking and relaxation are vital components
in the self-renewal business. Yes, this means taking that vacation (sorry,
workaholics. You really do better after a break!). It also means taking many
mini-vacations or an extended weekend, a special evening, even a longer lunch.
3. Have a mission bigger than yourself. We have to have something bigger than
ourselves to keep us going. What is the overall purpose of why you’re doing what
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Make Your Own Magic: Make Your Own Miracles
4.
5.
6.
7.
you’re doing? What is it that keeps you going? Find that mission and keep it
always in mind.
Renew yourself mentally reading a book a week. Many professionals find that
a book a week stimulates their mind and helps to add fresh, new resources to their
capacity. It is also a part of renewal as you learn about different areas of life.
Don’t just read from your chosen field. Read from a variety of areas to see life
from the perspective of others. Reme mber that fresh unusual ideas (the kind that
help you succeed in today’s world!) usually come from different sources than
those to which you normally exposed.
Have spiritual (value -based) ways to renew your energy and drive. Nathaniel
Brandon defines spiritual as the values that we hold dear. Each person is unique
so you have to find what it is that works for you. These spiritual values will help
you create meaning and be the person you want to be.
Work hard when working, rest well when resting . Whatever you’re doing, do
that activity well and without hesitation. Be in the moment and focus. I love the
way my hero, Andrew Carnegie said it, “Work hard, play hard, sleep well.” Good
philosophy!
Keep renewing as long as you’re alive. This is a life-long process. Build
renewal and regeneration into your lifestyle. As your needs change throughout
life, you’ll want to try alternate forms of renewal and rejuvenation. You can push
for a short period of time, but you have to have times of refreshing and renewal.
We were made acutely aware of the importance of energy during the past power outage.
Successful people learn from those kinds of experiences that we have to have backups
and renewal plans in place. This creates winners and it will sustain you through what is
to come in the future.
Terry Brock is an internationally recognized professional speaker, consultant and author
in the fields of business productivity, technology and marketing. He is a syndicated
Columnist for Biz Journals across America and can be reached at 407-363-0505 , by email at [email protected] or through his website at www.terrybrock.com
Copyright © 2003, Terry Brock, All Rights Reserved Internationally. No portion may be
reprinted or used in any way without prior written permission. Permission granted to Biz
Journals to use in regular publication.
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Make Your Own Magic: Make Your Own Miracles
General George Patton’s
10 Leadership Principles
1. By physically fit, spiritually strong
2. Acquire professional expertise
3. Lead by example
4. Cultivate influential friends
5. Go for the jugular
6. Communicate well
7. Select capable, loyal subordinates
8. Publicize your accomplishments
9. Know your competition
10. Be audacious
Still, Richard J., Patton’s Ten Leadership Principles: Personal
Observations. Fall, 1990
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