15 Minutes

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

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Let’s Start With Something Easy

purposeIn Napolean Hill’s classic tome, Think and Grow Rich, he lists the thirty major causes of failure. I want to spend a little bit of blog to address just one of those thirty, because I feel it is the one that holds most people back in life (even though it is only listed as #2 on the list).

2. Lack of a well-defined purpose in life. There is no hope of success for the person who does not have a central purpose, or definite goal at which to aim. Ninety-eight out of every hundred of those whom I analyzed, had no such aim.”

I like the word purpose. You can have a purpose-driven life and know that you are achieving a great work. Someone can walk with purpose into a room and you know that they are about to do something important, or possibly violent. It’s also a word that if you read it about a dozen times it starts to sound really funny. Try it.

If you are not living your life with purpose, by default you are living by accident.

And few people become a success accidentally.

Like, about 2%.

If you want to separate yourself from that group labeled as failures, then the first and best thing you can do is determine a purpose for your life. That single change will increase your probability of being a success by 50 times.

And we haven’t talked one bit about work, or talent, or discipline, or character. Someone could have an abundance of each of those, and yet never rise up to any level of success simply because they have no direction, or vision, or purpose.

You may have a great work ethic inherited from your parents, but never have more than a mediocre income because you are content to let someone else call your shots. You may have great talent in art or music and never produce a thing because it was never a dream of yours to have the spotlight. You may have incredible discipline and never use it to achieve something that a lesser man would never be able to accomplish. You could have exemplary character and never leave a lasting impression on a single other soul.

Without having a definite major purpose in your life, you may be wasting not just your own potential but the potential of dozens, hundreds or thousands of others that you could have influenced.

So before you pass through another day, before you spend another twenty four hours investing your life into fulfilling someone else’s purpose (possibly your boss), ask yourself “What is the central purpose of my life?”

If you don’t have an immediate answer, then you have a 98% chance of failing.

The good news is, you can decide in an instant that your life has a purpose. You can determine what your purpose is in the next few minutes, and that will drive you closer to success than any amount of hard work, talent, discipline or character will. I’m not saying you don’t need those things, just that without purpose, they’ll end up being applied towards some other purpose besides yours.

There are people born with incredible gifts that will never achieve anything worthwhile because they never had purpose in their lives.

Question: What’s the central purpose of your life?

Question 2 (if you answered: “I don’t know?): Would you like to have a purpose in your life? (Y/N)

If you answered Y, then leave a comment below and let’s start a conversation on your life’s purpose.

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Get Serious About Happiness

If your house catches fire, your wife leaves you, your business goes bankrupt and you are falsely condemned by the media as an unholy monster… there’s no point in compounding your problems by also being unhappy.

ImageOne of my favorite books of all time is Being Happy by Andrew Matthews. Why? Because every single person on Earth wants to be happy. When someone writes a book about being happy, it should be required reading for every human of every age.

The problem of happiness is that darn individuality. Every one of us has our own notions and conditions for what it takes to make us happy. Let’s address that issue right now.

Since we as individuals determine our own parameters of what exactly constitutes happiness, then happiness is just a construct of our own thoughts. Happiness exists in your mind. Ultimately, you choose whether or not you are happy. You. Right now. You choose.

No other person, no other circumstance, none of those notions and conditions that you think will bring you joy and happiness are truly requirements for joy and happiness. They are phantom requirements concocted from your imagination. In point of fact, they are what is keeping you unhappy.

If you say that some person, or some condition, or some law, or some disorder is why you are unhappy… that is wrong. It’s a lie.

Any prerequisite in your mind for your own happiness is what makes you unhappy.

Like Abraham Lincoln said, “Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

Decide to be happy.

It’s okay to be ambitious, to strive, to want more. It’s okay to be discontent. But be happily discontent.

Be happily discontent with your current circumstances and you will have an easier time changing them for the better (you should totally tweet that, I know I will).

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Today Is The Good ‘Ol Days

“…of all the ages of civilization, this is the most favorable for the development of the imagination, because it is an age of rapid change.”

This was written by Napoleon Hill in 1950-something. This was before the personal computer, before the internet, before iAnythings. Hill didn’t see ANYTHING in terms of rapid change, compared to what we see today.

Today brand new things innovate, advance, and become obsolete all within our life times. Watching new smart phones come and go is like watching the life cycle of a fruit fly in a lab.

Things change.
Things have always changed.
Things will keep changing.
Things will change faster than they ever have before.

Things change so fast that 2-year old companies that have no product are bought by ten-year old companies also with no product for 2 billion dollars (YouTube and Google for those wondering).

Today, right now, this particular day that you are reading this and inhaling and exhaling and in the process of being alive, is the most favorable day in the entirety of the rest of your life for being a success in any area of your life.

Today is the most important day of your life, for positively changing your life. How can I be sure that it’s today? Take a look at your weekly calendar:


All those days that have past by already? It’s too late to do anything with those days. They may have been unproductive and wasted. Or perhaps they were productive, and rewarding, maybe even spectacular. But they are past now. The rest of your life depends on today.

The rest of your life also can never depend on tomorrow, because tomorrow never comes. That’s how a local pub can get away with posting a sign on the wall that says “Free Drinks Tomorrow.” Tomorrow is promised to no one. Tomorrow is perpetually fleeing from your grasp. Living in anticipation of something that “could be someday” is committing suicide gradually.

Today matters.
Today matters more than any other day.

All of your history and all of your future is made up of a series of todays.

Today, do something to better your life, to bring joy to someone, to grow your self, your family or your community.

But do it TODAY.

If it’s five minutes to midnight before you decided to log in and read this and your today is virtually gone. Then the absolute minimum that I expect of you is this: spend the next five minutes brainstorming some thing that you really wish you had done today. Something you should have said or would have done if you had the time, if you had the insight, if you had the guts.

Then at 12:01 you may go to bed and make a promise that you get that thing done TODAY.

Come back and tell me what you did with your today.

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The Razor’s Edge of Excellence

excellenceThere is very little difference between mediocre and amazing. Between average and spectacular. Between common and superior. (Those are adjectives from Spider-Man titles by the way).

Consider the difference between a professional baseball player with a 260 batting average and one with a  360 batting average. The 260 player will probably make the league minimum wage, possibly wander around the minors, likely be traded around from team to team. The 360 player has fame, a fan base, people looking for his rookie card; and also commands a salary ten times more than our 260-er.

But what is the difference between these two hitters really? The difference is one extra hit every ten times at bat.

That extra hit doesn’t even necessarily contribute to the scoreboard. A lead off hit followed by three strikeouts results in a net gain of no points for that inning. Yet that extra hit every ten times at bat is worth millions of dollars to the team.

The thing that you need to understand, is that just a small increase in performance compounds greatly over the course of time. If a baseball season were only ten games, the contribution of the 360 hitter wouldn’t be that significant. But since a baseball season is roughly 3000 games, that extra hit every ten times at bat, potentially leads to an extra hit every nine to twelve innings, which could lead to an extra victory every ten to fifteen games.

Full disclosure: I have no actual statistics to base these numbers on, but the theory is sound. In fact I’m not even sure how many games are in a baseball season. I could have probably looked it up in half the time it took me to explain my lack of research, but I’m not really a numbers guy anyway. I don’t even like baseball.

So in conclusion, if you wish to be a man or woman of excellence, you don’t have to be a superman or wonder woman. You just have to be slightly better than your competition over the long term. This is true in business, in sports, in entertainment. And if you are trying to improve yourself, concentrate on slight improvements, every day, over the course of time. You may not see the results immediately, but eventually, through persistent effort, you will push over that razor thin edge from middling to excellent.

Is there an area of your life where you would like to make the shift from average to excellent?