15 Minutes

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

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Enthusiasm + Focus = Rocket Science

I want to talk about two driving forces towards achievement. And since I’ve been talking about universal laws in recent posts, I’ll use a physics metaphor. This is also a poke in the eye to all my critics that say “your writing isn’t exactly rocket science is it?”


What is enthusiasm? It is a fire in the belly, it is emotion, it is desire, it is primal. It is like rocket fuel.

Do you know anyone that is always wanting to do something but never knowing what to do? Someone that is always running around like their hair is on fire? Someone that is passionate about what they are doing even though they have no idea what they are doing?

For enthusiasm to actually produce any sort of meaningful movement, it requires something to narrow the outburst of energy. That is where focus comes in. Focus is like the aperture of the rocket. The aperture channels all the energy from the burning fuel and gives it direction and thrust.

ImageThe narrower the aperture is (the more focused the individual) the greater the amount of thrust.

I recommend the movie October Sky, about the life of NASA engineer Homer Hickam. The first rocket he attempted to build as a high school student, was very similar to his mentality at the time. All fuel, no aperture. Which resulted in an explosion that blew up his parents’ fence.

Too much emotion without any focus usually causes a lot of noise and a big mess but not any great results. Intense focus without any passion to drive the engine results in grand intentions and nothing else.

One important thing to remember: the enthusiasm and the focus don’t have to come from the same person.

A good organization with strong leadership knows how to tap into the power of youth and exuberance and direct it with the focus of age and treachery.

Find where your strength lies. In your enthusiasm or in your focus. Then either work on the area in which you are lacking or partner up with someone that makes up for your deficiencies.

The results of the fuel of enthusiasm fired through the aperture of focus can produce results that are astronomical.

Was that bad?
That was pretty bad wasn’t it?

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Choose the Correct Label


Last week I touched on how often much of our identity is wrapped up in what we do as a profession. When someone asks you “What do you do?” I think it’s sad that the first thing we think of is our job. I didn’t ask “What do you do for money?” But that’s always the answer I get.

Quick related sidebar story:

I’ve lived in Hawaii my whole life but it took a visiting Seattle businessman to point out a unique feature of the people living here. People in Hawaii are “ethnically aware.” Hawaii is a weird place because we have so many different cultures (and have ten times more mixed-racial marriages per capita than the rest of the U.S.). But also it is not considered a social taboo or politically incorrect to identify someone by their race.

“Go get that report from Steve.”
“Who’s Steve?”
“He’s the black guy.”

“Go get that report from Steve.”
“Who’s steve?”
“He’s the guy with the blue tie.”

Now Steve may well be the only black gentleman in a room full of white folk, but because of political correctness amped up to eleven, I am forced to spend five minutes trying to determine if a tie is blue or aquamarine.

I know the paradigm in today’s society is that we are not supposed to attach labels to people. I think that’s stupid. Society trying to convince you that there are no labels is the equivalent of saying there are no adjectives.

We all have labels.

We all label things.

Since you’re inevitably going to attach a label to yourself, make sure it’s a label that you like.

When you introduce yourself to someone, remember you will be labeled with the first thing you say. If you say you are an accountant at XYZ firm, you will be stuck with that “accountant label” immediately. Is that what you want to be known as in that peer group?

Re-think how you will answer the next time someone asks you, “What do you do?”

(momentary pause for dramatic effect)

“So, what do you do?

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(Get Out Of What You)

ImageYes, that title is a sentence fragment that makes no sense. It’s intended to be inserted into a common question to change the way you think about your life, your reason for being and your sense of purpose and personal fulfillment.

Most people when they meet someone ask “what do you do?”

Instead try asking “what do you get out of what you do?”

The first question attaches an arbitrary label to the person. The second question should make someone think. It goes toward motive, towards purpose, towards the why of life.

Some of you may have awesome, fulfilling jobs (I have yet to experience that personally). Perhaps teaching or coaching or entertaining

What do you get out of what you do?

I get to guide young lives and inspire people.

Some of you may have important, respected jobs like policemen, soldiers and surgeons (again, don’t look at me).

What do you get out of what you do?

I get to protect lives and punish the wicked.

(although that darn Hippocratic oath prevents surgeons from acting on that second part).

Some of you may have mundane jobs (like me slinging coffee for 10 years). It’s not the job in and of itself that adds or detracts value to you or your life. Your employer is not your destiny.

I have never thought of myself as working FOR Company X. Even though I may be an excellent employee for them, I am working For ME.

I’m not here for the company’s bottom line, rather I am exchanging my skills and service for a wage. That wage provides me with food, shelter, and the means to better my life and create a glorious future.

What do you get out of what you do?

I get to provide food and shelter for my family.
I get to finance personal art and writing projects that are important to me.
I get to set aside a portion of my wages to eventually earn that special item or trip that I’ve dreamed about.

If you’re not feeling motivated or purposeful or thoughtful when going to work today don’t think if it as you being in the wrong job. Try changing the way you think about what you do.

What do YOU get out if what you do?

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Success is Based on Luck, Just Ask Any Failure

luckResponsibility is a sign of maturity, and taking responsibility for your actions or inaction is the first essential step towards any sort of growth. As long as we blame our lives on circumstance beyond our control, we are living the life that someone else has designed for us. Once you accept that your life–and everything else in the universe–is a result of cause and effect, you can start initiating the causes that trigger the proper effects.

If you continue to blame other people, other conditions, the alignment of the stars on your problems, you are not only denying yourself the ability to improve your own circumstances, you’re also denying the basic physical laws of cause and effect.

Remember: change, growth, healing, success. All these things are easier if you have the universe on your side instead of working against you.