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Financial, Relationship and Spiritual Growth. Personal Development. Leadership.


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survival… Stability. Success! SIGNIFICANCE

scale

Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty, part 3

Let me ask you a question. “How are you doing?” I await your normal, conditioned response.

Now, let me lean in uncomfortably close and lower my voice an octave and ask you again in a conspiratorial tone “How are you really doing?” Instead of just answering “fine, ok, not bad” I want you to place yourself into one of four categories.

Survival
Stability
Success
Significance

Now let me ask you again. How are your finances? How is your marriage? How is your health? How is your spiritual journey? How is your daily pursuit of joy and happiness?

survivalMaybe you feel like you are in Survival mode – fighting every day just to keep living. Either you claw, scratch and fight to escape from that condition or you’ve given up to despair and lost all hope. Nobody wants to stay in Survival mode. It’s unacceptable to the individual and unacceptable to society.

I think like most people, you’ll find yourself in Stability mode in most areas of life. That’s how we end up with the “fine, ok, not bad” answer. The vast majority of people in industrialized countries live in a state of Stability. Because that is the lowest acceptable level not just for yourself but for society. The trap though, is that once your life is in a state of Stability, there is no pressing need to keep fighting to climb higher. Only a small percentage of people take advantage of stabletheir blessings, their skills, their opportunities to move from Stability to Success. These are the go-getters, the achievers. And unfortunately they are rare. Even rarer still are those that seek to move into the level of Significance.

Most people do not seek out success principles to apply to their life because their lives are Stable. They are comfortable. They will not take any action to improve their life until after they are hit by some adversity that threatens to drop them back to Survival mode.

They begin digging their well once they see the drought is imminent.

And then their comfortable, complacent lives are disrupted. It’s like they suddenly forget that life goes through cycles; through good times, through bad; for better or for worse. And for those that spend their lives comfortably parked in Stability mode, downward pressure from circumstances – a low cycle – forces them into Survival mode. And humans are at their ugliest and most desperate when they are forced to fight to survive.

It’s like depriving someone of oxygen. We do not concern ourselves from day to day with whether or not we have enough air to breathe. If I hold your head under water, it might seem amusing for a few seconds. If you trust me, you may wait until 30 seconds pass before trying to push my hand away from your head. After 45 seconds you will begin panicking and struggling. After 60 seconds you will thrash wildly and be unable to think of anything except for breathing. After 90 seconds you will do anything humanly possible just to be able to breathe. You will kick, gouge my eyes, even take my life just to get some oxygen.

Humans are at their ugliest and most desperate when they are focused only on survival.

So for those of you who are “fine, ok, not bad,” I’m going to tell you a few things that nobody has ever told you before.

Staying in Stability mode is short-sighted. When the drought comes, those people that have spent their whole lives maintaining a stable lifestyle are the least equipped to claw their way out of the pit. Successful people bounce back quicker and Significant people help pull others less fortunate out of those pits.

Staying in Stability mode is selfish. If one day you are not thirsty, you know someone that will be. If you are just in Stability mode, you have just enough water for your own family. Stable people rarely can or will be able to help those struggling to survive. When you become a Success, the overflow from your bucket provides water for everyone around you. If you are a person of Significance, you have multiple wells that many people draw from.

successThat success overflows to others is obvious with financial prosperity but not limited to it. If you have a strong marriage, you are better able to help a friend that is struggling in his own marriage. If your marriage is only Stable you have less capacity to help. Usually the only thing you can offer is sympathy. If you have strong faith, you have a greater capacity to minister to someone that is going through their own crisis of faith. If you have a strong, positive attitude you are better equipped to bolster someone else that is depressed.

Or you can get by. Concern yourself with your own stability. Be “fine, ok, not bad.”

I end all my books with the same sentence. Be blessed in all things. By being blessed you can also be a blessing to others. When your needs are fulfilled and you have no worries about being able to continue to fulfill them, you can focus on the needs of others.

That’s my goal. To encourage you to move out of a place of Stability. To goad you towards Success and Significance. To force you to address the questions “why should I do anything different?” “why should I try to be a success?” “why shouldn’t I be content to be average?”

Because there is a drought coming.

There are two primary motivating forces in the world. Some people are motivated by positive and some by negative. The carrot or the stick. The dream or the nightmare. Most authors of motivational books focus on positive thoughts and statements to encourage you to chase your dreams. I am here telling you that there is a nightmare coming. I want to instill a sense of urgency into your life to compel you to action.

So, let me ask you again. “How are you doing?”

And if your answer is, “I could or should be doing better,” then let’s explore how we can do better.

drama


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A Drought Is Coming

Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty, part 2

cosineAll things in existence go through cycles. Economies rise and fall. Technological innovations come in waves. Relationships and moods go through ups and downs. Your health can be robust and then falter. Your faith can be strong and then waiver. There is abundance, then there is drought and famine.

When you go through the low cycles, the valleys of life, through times of drought; it will either be a mere inconvenience or a life-altering tragedy. It all depends on how prepared you are.

I don’t make promises lightly, but I will promise that some day there will be a drought of some sort in your life. Whether or not that drought leads to lack is dependent on how deep of a well you have already dug. When there is lack in some area of your life it leads to discomfort and pain. Pain leads to conflict because hurting people hurt others. Sometimes it leads to death. desert

There will be an emergency, a disaster, a crisis in some area of your life. How prepared are you? How deep is your well? Do you even have one? Which well have you been spending all your time and effort digging? Is it the important one? Despite what some motivational speakers may tell you, sometimes there is a “too late.”

It is too late to start training for a fight once you step through the ropes (or once you step into the cage for my younger readers). It’s too late to study for the test once you sit down with your blue book and your number two pencil. It’s too late to gather nuts for the winter during the blizzard.

Those are frivolous examples that all of us can relate to but don’t make much of an impact. Think on these situations and see if these strike an emotional chord.

It’s too late to start getting your financial house in order after you’ve been laid off and your family is being evicted from your home.

It’s too late to start exercising and eating right when you are under anesthesia and about to have open heart surgery.

It’s too late to express to your wife how much you love her after she consummates an affair.

It’s too late to share the gospel of Christ with your best friend after he dies of a drug overdose.

Most people live with the naïve conceit that this will never happen to them. Remember that promise I made you?

A drought will come.

It’s the cyclical nature of the universe.

So why am I filling your mind with all of these doom and gloom prophecies? Because I am trying to provoke an emotional response in you, to motivate you to do something beyond just getting by. I am trying to make you aware of the very real nightmare that exists just one drought away. Because if the promise of a carrot – of abundance and health and happiness – is not enough to get you to do something to prepare for your life, then maybe threatening with a stick will work. lateMore next week.


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Dig Your Well(S) Before You’re Thirsty

“Dig your well before you’re thirsty.” digwell

This is a statement that I have heard many times from numerous motivational speakers, business leaders, coaches and salesmen through the years. It is a common sense statement that is not commonly observed—like most common sense. I like the metaphor of digging a well for three reasons.

First, even in our industrialized western civilization we know what a well looks like because we’ve seen them in movies. Wells are deep. Digging a well is hard work and takes a long time. It is a major investment of time and labor to dig a well. You don’t get to take a drink of water from your well at the end of your first day of digging. Or your first week. It takes months of hard work before you get anything at all for your labor. It is a vivid example of the Law of Delayed Gratification.

Second, once a well is dug, it provides water not just for the rest of your life but possibly for generations of people after you. Once the well is dug, you can continue to draw water out of it seemingly indefinitely. It’s not like gathering nuts for the winter where every nut you store equals one future nut you can eat. Each hour spent digging doesn’t provide you with X number of gallons of future drinking water. Digging a well, and completing it, taps into a vast supply of water that can keep you sated without having to keep digging from season to season. It’s a clear example of the Law of Increasing Returns.

Third, water is vital for life. Everyone realizes that if you wait until you are thirsty before you start digging your well, you will die. I don’t think this is indicative of any particular law of success, but it is a reminder of the urgency of preparing now for the future.

Because eventually there will be a drought.

When a speaker or author invokes the Dig Your Well aphorism, it is used most often as a warning to take care of your finances. Save for a rainy day, keep some dollars stashed away for emergencies, contribute to your 401K, buy my success seminar.

This is because most people spend the majority of their lives earning money. There is nothing wrong with being financially secure. In fact there is nothing wrong with being downright wealthy. But don’t be like the Hollywood cliché of the businessman who allows money to become his idol; who pursues it to the exclusion of all else in his life. He may have a deep, flowing financial well but a very shallow life.

I contend that this statement, dig your well before you’re thirsty, is applicable to every area of your life not just your financial statement. That there are many aspects of your life that can and should be insured against disaster. There are other wells that need to be dug before the eventual drought comes.

You have a marriage well. You have a health well. You have a faith well. You have an attitude well. You have a personal development well.

Being able to provide for yourself financially is not an adequate substitute for a deep spiritual well when you have a crisis of faith. It will not help you to salvage an estranged relationship with your spouse if you have allowed the marriage well to run dry. Especially if your focused dedication to chasing after wealth is what caused the rift to begin with. Nearly every wealthy man on his death bed would gladly trade all his riches for another day of health. How many executives do you know who have traded their health for their career? Traded their relationships with their families? Traded their spiritual faith? How many people have dug so long and so hard in their financial well that they no longer have any joy in their life?

thirstThey spent their lives digging a financial well and found themselves unprepared for drought in another area of their lives.

Perhaps some of your other wells have been neglected. Maybe some of them you haven’t even begun to dig. Some of them have been poisoned by your neighbors. The reason there are so many unhappy people, so many marriages ending in divorce, so many people falling out of God’s favor—so much violence, hopelessness and despair—is because there are so many people that are thirsty.

What are you doing today so that you, your family, and your descendants will not be thirsty?


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Where Would I Be Without Mentorship

mentorAs a thought experiment, let’s take a theoretical look at where my life would be right now if I didn’t have someone take an interest enough in my life to take on a mentorship role.

The mentor/student relationship used to be the norm in society. There used to be masters and apprentices in the skilled trades prior to the industrial revolution. That was traded in for the queen bee and worker drone business model that most of you are participating in right now. But mentorship as a concept has been making a huge comeback lately (although not enough of a comeback that the WordPress spell check recognizes it as a real word).

The first time I ever heard of a life coach that sounded pretty weird to me. And now it seems like anyone can become a certified life coach online as easily as they can become ordained in some quasi-religion.

Did I have any mentors growing up? Not really. Neither of my parents (or none of my parents if you count step-parents) ever taught me a thing about religion, politics, finances or relationships. Which left as my only source of information on those topics: government schooling. And the default state government position on those topics is:

  • Religion. Your life is meaningless because you are a random accident of the cosmos and it is illegal for you to discuss religion except to belittle it.
  • Politics: The only moral choice is the political party that the teachers union supports because they will give us pay raises in return for a unified voting block and aside from that truth you may not discuss politics.
  • Finances. Rich people are evil. Your government should be your sole source of dependence.
  • Relationships. Have sex with whatever you want and if it happens to be female abort the accidents that will invariably happen.

Thank God I met my mentors (also, that sentence is illegal at a high school commencement speech today).

I wasn’t looking for mentors, I just happened to find some when I began my business. Of course I wasn’t even looking to get in to business, some things just happen because random circumstance sometimes has to be shoved out of the way to make room for God’s plan in our lives.

But enough digression. Based on my life and the values that I was brought up with:

I would have no desire or prospects of prosperity. I never would have started a business. I probably never would have had a job for longer than a year, because I was brought up not to take responsibility for my actions and if I got bored with something it was alright to just quit. I’m sure that I would have worked only in menial, low-paying jobs because I did not have an ambitious bone in my body. In fact my dream job would be one that I never have to innovate or take initiative or take any work home with me.

I was decidedly apolitical, so I never would have bothered registering to vote. I also never watched the news so at least I wouldn’t be wasting time with the latest media-enabled cause du jour. *cough*occupy*end cough*

I would probably be spending 40 hours a week on television and gaming. I certainly would not have read another book beyond high school (hey, I made it completely through college without reading a book). So age 17 would have been the height of my learning.

I would be a devout atheist looking down on religious people as weak-willed sycophants.

And with all that going for me I would have been trying to find a girl willing to cohabitate with me as an exclusive sex partner.

The one thing that might be similar in my life is that I might still be writing – because that’s something I’ve been good at for nearly as long as I can remember and it’s been easy for me. But, rather than writing on success principles I would be writing Steven King-esque horror fiction or possibly philosophical works on why there is no God and life is meaningless; possibly condemning some otherwise good, open-minded people to hell if they agreed with my writing.

That’s the direction I was heading in. In fact I was pretty much already there in a lot of areas. And it took a long time to change direction; to change from that useless slob of a human to a man with a vision to help one million people to improve their lives financially, relationally or spiritually.

That’s why I’m so passionate on the subject of personal growth. Growing your mind means expanding your vision. Expanding your vision allows you to see multiple possibilities rather than the one that was spoon-fed to you by Hollywood and government schools.

mentor2

I should probably insert a note about how someone can take on a parental role in your life even if they are not related to you by blood but you get that, right? See the dog teaching the ducklings how to swim? Precious, right?

Thank God, that someone cared about me enough to take me under their wing and teach me some important lessons about life.


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Beta Testing

alohacardAfter our initial site was lost due to carelessness I am now attempting to rebuild AlohaPin from scratch. Think of this as the site in Beta mode.

“How long will you be in Beta mode?” I hear you cry.

“Forever.” Is my answer.

I am all about the idea of embracing perpetual beta mode. We are always in the pursuit of perfection, we are always striving to improve, we are always trying to iron out the glitches and bugs. We are always in beta mode.

The important thing is that we don’t wait for perfection to begin.

Execute.

Make mistakes.

Get better.


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Ready For a New Season?

horizonI’ve been quiet the last few months and I thought I should probably explain why. My last post, right before I dropped off the blogging and Facebook grid, was an update on my fasting progress – and I’m sure a few people may have assumed I just wasted away. Not the case.

Like I explained previously, I was fasting not to lose weight, but because I wanted some spiritual enlightenment regarding my future path. So I fasted for three days. I spent most of the first couple days just being really woozy, then on the third actually felt mostly fine. I also set aside a half hour or so each day for meditation and prayer.

For myself, one of the principle purposes of prayer is to thank God for my blessings, which I did (and still do). But for these three days I spent most of my prayer time asking questions.

  • Who should I spend my life with?
  • What cause should I champion?
  • Where is the best place for me to apply my treasure and talent?
  • Am I living my life for Your glory or for my glory?
  • Am I wasting my life here, here, and here? And a little there

I don’t think I was expecting the audible voice of God to issue me an edict (although I wasn’t ruling it out), but at the end of my fast I didn’t have any particular insight on my future path. I did have a new appreciation for food though.

It was a couple weeks later that I would receive my answer. I was having a one on one counsel session with one of my business mentors; discussing my financial goals and where I wanted to be in the upcoming year. He laid out a goal for me, and then added on this recommendation: “If I were you, I wouldn’t publish another book until you hit that goal.”

Which was probably the last thing I was expecting to hear. My first instinct was to justify that writing doesn’t consume much of my time. After all I wrote my first book in 15 minutes. Maybe other people have a problem with being double minded but surely that doesn’t apply to me.

But about 5 seconds into that train of thought, I derailed it without raising a single verbal objection. Why?

Because I asked God for direction, and after a period of fasting and prayer I received an answer from a Godly mentor. Someone who is a friend. Someone that I trust. Someone who has a financial interest in my success. Someone (along with his wife) that I dedicated my first book to. So, it’s not exactly like I could just ignore his suggestion.

And the last reason, because I once wrote “If you only do what your mentor says when you agree with him, then you don’t have a mentor. You have a buddy.” Although, for the life of me I can’t find where I wrote that. It might have been a tweet.

So it really wasn’t a huge sacrifice on my part to give up writing books – temporarily. I’ll put my future books on hold for now, concentrate on developing my business. I think one of the things about writing books that appealed to me was that I could reach a greater number of people than I can training individuals in business development. It’s something that’s easier for me as an introvert. But easy, is not a virtue. And working with people individually I can impact their lives much more than I can through writing. Besides, there’s plenty of time to write books after I retire. Especially if I retire this September.

For those of you that continue to tune in here, I’ll be reducing my blogging frequency to once a month.

And lastly…

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

fireworks


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The Closest Thing To A Drunk Text You’ll Get From Me

drunkSo, I’m not actually drunk but I am impaired. So I thought it would be fun to write a blog post while I’m lightheaded and partially coherent and see what it looks like next week.

“How much have you had to drink?” I hear your cry. Nothing. I’m actually fasting.

On a spur of the moment decision (Monday) I decided that I would fast and pray for the next three days. And while it’s only been 36 hours, this is what I have to report so far. First, that I’m not even hungry. Which seems strange to me. That should happen when you don’t eat, right?

And second, when I don’t eat I get dizzy and lose motor skills rapidly.

My immediate conclusion is that my brain uses up like 90% of my normal calorie intake, because I am seriously having trouble functioning, speaking coherently and I keep drifting in and out of a semi-conscious state. Sounds pretty close to drunkeness, right?

Most people would question my reasoning for fasting in the first place. Mostly because I am like thirty pounds underweight for my height. I had to explain to my office staff today that I’m not fasting to lose weight, I’m fasting for spiritual reasons. People in the bible used to fast and pray all the time. I’m sure some churches do it today, even in Fat America. I’m fasting because I’m seeking guidance from God on the direction of my life and my vision.

I was prepared to be hungry, what I wasn’t prepared for was my brain just kind of shutting down.

Looking over the last couple of paragraphs, I think that I actually sound quite clear in my writing, but that just might be my “fasting goggles” talking. Next week when I read this, we’ll see how it looks.

I know in my last post I said that I was going to write a post on overcoming fear, but that will have to wait until next week. Tonight I’m drunk texting. Besides, I covered it in the second chapter of my first book, you can download it and read it on Smashwords here.

Look at me, fasting impaired and still able to insert a hyperlink! I think I would do awesome on a field sobriety test.

As part of this experiment in blogging while undernourished, I think I’ll post again tomorrow. Hopefully, I’ll at least be hungry. And later, I’ll post on the results of my time in prayer and fasting.

Let’s hope I don’t post anything I’ll regret.

drunk2

I also did not proof-read this before hitting the publish button. The only editing I did was on-the-fly. Well and I went back and inserted this caption into this photo.


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Why We Don’t Set Goals

route

Having this app track my jogging route with a moving red line makes me want to fight Nazis.

The first chapter of my first book is all about goals. How to set goals, how to keep your goals updated and relevant and in front of you all the time. A whole slew of reasons on why it makes sense to have goals. They keep you enthusiastic, they keep you focused. If you think and dwell on your goal you are drawn towards it.

I think everyone understands the concept that if you aim at nothing you will hit it every time. I’m sure most people have heard of the case studies comparing classmates that set goals absolutely obliterating the accomplishments of those that didn’t set goals. Yet there are still very few people that actually set precise, specific goals for their lives. If they do have a goal then it is a vague, indistinct goal.

I’m guilty of this. Even very recently, despite the fact that I wrote a chapter on this very subject.

I finally healed from various injuries enough to start running a few months ago, and I’ve been semi-regular at it since then. But I never set an actual precise, specific goal. Just kind of getting out the door to “get in shape.” Which is of course better than sitting at home with a bowl of ice cream, but with the vague, indistinct goal of “get in shape” it’s easy to lose focus, lose enthusiasm, and skip the occasional day. Or week.

I was advised (thank you, Cinda) to set some kind of running goal, like to enter an upcoming 5K race. But I never did. I dragged my feet (which probably accounts for my slow jogging speed) and just sort of slogged through my workouts. I didn’t set a goal because:

  • I didn’t feel that I knew enough about fitness to set a running goal. Which is dumb because I have access to a personal trainer and I could have asked.
  • I was lazy. Which is also dumb because I was expending the energy to go outside and run but not willing to exert the mental effort to figure out a goal.

So, ignorance and laziness were my two reasons.

Last night however, as I was leaving my front door and turning on my running app trying to get a good GPS signal… My phone app threw down a challenge! It invited me to accept the Echo 50K Challenge.

The Challenge: “Track 50 kilometers with Runkeeper over the course of a month. They can be runs or walks, they just need to be GPS tracked!”
The Reward: “Get $20 off any Magellan Echo watch and three free months of Runkeeper Elite for completing!”monk

Now, I have no interest in a watch of any kind (because it hampers my kung-fu skills), but I thought that it was a cool idea to force people to move 50 kilometers to qualify for a discount on anything, so I hit “accept challenge.”

And just like that, my little free app tricked me into having a goal. A precise, specific goal. 50 KM in 1 month. And after consulting with a Canadian, I learned that kilometers are way shorter than miles!

So, to readdress those two lame excuses from before.

Ignorance is no excuse for not setting a goal. Make up some arbitrary number and make that your goal. If it’s too easy, you’ll know to set the bar higher next month. If it’s a statistical impossibility that you didn’t realize is utterly impossible, you’ll still be much better off striving towards perfection than ambling aimlessly.

Laziness is no excuse for not setting a goal. If anything, having a goal will empower and energize you. It gives you something to always strive towards. It’s what makes video games so addicting, because you are constantly trying to reach the next level or unlock the next badge. Not having the goal actually just adds to your burden.

A funny thing happened as I began running. The Runkeeper App sounds off every 5 minutes with your distance and pace. I usually keep my phone in my pocket with the volume turned way down, but at the 10 minute mark I managed to hear it say “distance 0.0 miles.” I fished my phone out of my pocket and sure enough, even though it showed I had a good GPS signal, for whatever reason it wasn’t counting the distance I had just run.

I had set a goal just ten minutes prior, and already adversity was conspiring against me! Which made me think of another reason that people don’t set goals: Fear. Fear of not attaining your goal, fear of failure, fear of looking foolish. Sometimes just the fear of standing out. How many times have you talked about some dream, goal or vision for your life to a group of “friends” and had them just belittle you for it? Remember, having goals is a rare thing, and being rare necessitates being different. Being different means facing opposition. And sometimes obstacles will be placed in your path to test your resolve.

Ignorance and laziness are dumb reasons that I had. Fear is not a dumb reason. Fear is a very real, potentially damaging force in our psyches. Fortunately it can be cured by a simple step: Action (which is coincidentally the second chapter in my first book, it’s almost as if my book has life lessons that are applicable to my daily life).

I’ll write next week on the subject of overcoming fear (look at me setting more goals), but in the meantime I want to encourage you to set a goal. Set a goal this week for something that you’ve never done before. And if you’re afraid to start, tune in next week for a blog post on overcoming fear.


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Analyzing The Cause of Death of Your Dream

hello-my-name-isWhen we are children we have big dreams and goals. We have zero understanding of finance, or economics, or world anything. All we know is that we want it all. Sports cars, space ships, a team of racing camels, a mansion in the clouds; all while being both a rock star and the king of Norway. Of course some of those things are possible, some are dependent greatly on your bloodline, and some are ridiculous and frivolous. But that’s okay, you’re a kid and it’s your dream.

The real danger is when you are an adult, or at least old enough to understand a little bit about how the world works. It’s dangerous to develop a dream at that point later in life. Because when those dreams die it kills what’s left of the child inside you; which is another way of saying it pushes you that much closer to death.

Do you have a dream that you’ve given up on?

It may not have been a big, honking, audacious dream.Maybe you just wanted to complete your doctorate. Be a full-time spouse or parent. Travel to Israel and walk in the footsteps of Jesus. Be able to support your parents in their old age. One of these things leapt into your heart one day as more than just a “oh, that would be nice if…” but rather as a “I will, I shall, I must one day…”

But if it’s something that you were passionate about at one point, then you have to ask yourself, “How did it die?”

Was it murder? Did someone kill your dream? Either someone in a position of authority that forced you to abandon it. Or someone intimately close to you that made you choose between your dream and your life together.

Was it disease? Perhaps something in your environment killed it. Usually the number one environmental cause of the death of a dream is ridicule. If enough people around you make fun of you for having a dream, it can get slowly whittled away.

Was it attrition? Did your dream just starve to death? A great slayer of dreams is “busy.” Busy keeps us from accomplishing so much in the way of personal relationships and achievements, because it keeps us focused on now, focused on a survival mindset. We neglect our dream and it wastes away.

Did it just die of old age? Procrastination kills more dreams every day than any other enemy, we just don’t realize it because it started killing them years ago. We delay, we put off, we hesitate, until finally it just makes more sense to not think about it anymore.

I want to give you two insights about dreams.

  • First, treat your dream like it’s a baby.baby

Babies are vulnerable and fragile. You can’t set it aside in the woods for a few hours and just hope that a pack of wolves doesn’t find it. You need to protect it from the wolves. Nothing is as fragile as a newborn dream. People will attack your dream for one of two reasons. A friend may push you to test your resolve. Someone else may push you just because they’re a jerk. Either way, don’t expose your dream to anyone unless you’re prepared and willing to fight for it.

Babies require care and nourishment and warmth and love. You need to think about your dream, talk about your dream, be emotional about your dream. As you feed your dream, it becomes stronger. It’s immune system gets stronger and it becomes more resistant to disease. You don’t have to keep your dream swaddled forever, eventually you can start sharing your dream with others. Some of those people will be good for your dream and they will help guide and nurture it. Some people will hate the fact that you have a dream and you should never bring your dream around them again.

  • Second, dreams can be resurrected.

Dreams are like a metaphorical baby not an actual one. A dream that has died can be brought back to life. Usually this involves removing the source of what killed it in the first place. That’s why the dreamicide post-mortem is so important. If your dream was murdered, then lock away or banish the murderer. If it was diseased, then change your environment to a healthier one. If it was attrition then start spending time and effort on the act of dreaming again; take 15 minutes to write down all of your dreams and goals. If it died of old age… well, I hate to say it, but some dreams do have an expiration date. For instance, I always thought that I would be married and have started my family before I turned thirty. I still dream about a wife and children, the time frame just has to be adjusted because I waited so long.

So if you have a dream: Protect it. Nourish it. And make it a Priority in your life. Treat your dreams like they are a matter of life or death; because in reality they are.


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Increase Your Value by 52.5% In Less Than 1 Second

pareto2I don’t remember exactly where I first heard of the Pareto Principle, a.k.a. the 80-20 rule. In fact I don’t even remember who Pareto was, possibly an economist (if only there were a convenient way to instantly look up information without having to leave my computer keyboard… oh, well).

The premise of the rule is this: you will get 80% of the effect from 20% of the cause. Or 80% of results come from 20% of the effort put in. This principle applies not just to your personal activity, priorities and time management, but also to large organizations and businesses.

pareto1Some examples of the principle in action:

  • 80% of your work will be completed in 20% of the total time spent (for those of you who procrastinate, it will be in the final 20% before deadline).
  • 80% of your satisfaction at work will come from 20% of your job duties.
  • If you own a business, 80% of your profits will come from 20% of your product line. And 80% of your sales will come from 20% of your salesmen.
  • In your church, 80% of the donations will come from 20% of the people.
  • In any book you read, 80% of the content will be found in 20% of the pages (the obvious exception being MY books which have incredibly valuable tips and information condensed into every single page including in the copyright information right next to the title page).

According to leadership expert John Maxwell this rule even applies to picnics.

  • 80% of the food will be consumed by 20% of the people. Also, 20% of the people will provide 80% of the food, but those two groups are never the same 20% people.

Usually when I talk about principles of success, I focus on the idea of slow, gradual growth, of changing our daily habits, of internalizing change and becoming rather than just behaving successful.

I’ve said many times that the idea of a quantum leap to success is largely a myth. Well, today I’m going to admit that I was wrong. Instant success is possible, and using Pareto’s Principle I will share a method that will instantly increase your profit, or relationship, or happiness, or whatever you choose to apply it to.

Stop spending time on the 80%.

End of seminar.

Well I suppose I could expound on that idea just to prove the point of Pareto’s Princple.

Legendary life insurance salesman, Frank Bettger, wrote a book called How I Raised Myself From Failure To Success in Selling (and by the way, no one ever asked him “What’s your book about?”). In Chapter 2, he carefully analyzed his records of 12 months of his daily activity (interviews, sales calls, and commissions). He came to the realization that when he took his total annual sales commissions divided by the total number of sales calls he made, his average phone call had a value of $2.80.

This realization had a major impact on his thinking, because it made him realize the value of his time, and the value of every phone call, regardless of whether the person bought or not.

Here’s what his records further revealed. 70% of his sales were made on the first interview. 23% were made on the second interview. However, he was spending roughly 50% of his time with prospects on the third interview or later. In other words, he was spending most of his time chasing 7% of his total sales.

So here’s what he did: if his prospect did not buy a policy from him after his second sales interview, he stopped calling them.

Whoa, that’s pretty drastic. What if that customer seemed like he was right on the verge of buying? Sure, there was a chance that the customer might buy. And that chance was 7%; he had the records to show it. Whereas a brand new customer that he was calling on for the first time had a 70% chance of buying.

That single decision increased the value of each call from $2.80 to $4.27. That’s an increase of 52.5%… in case you were wondering about the blog title.

pareto3Your time is valuable.

Your time is less valuable when you invest 80% of your activity into 20% of your results.

Spend your time on the valuable things first.

If you spend all of your creative energy in the 20% of activity that yields the 80% results, you would increase your productivity by four times (at least I think that’s what the chalkboard shows). Math only accounts for 20% of my GPA so I skipped it. In fact, it took me quite a while to figure out that increasing something from $2.80 to $4.27 is a 52.5% increase.

So I have two questions for you:

  1. How can you apply Pareto’s Principle to your life, and
  2. Which 80% of this blog was unnecessary?
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