15 Minutes

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

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Make The Ending Glorious

I can’t remember where I read this story. The author was reflecting back to childhood, to his or her piano lessons. The instructor spent roughly 50% of their time on the finale of a piece in preparation for a recital. When asked about this, the instructor said, “It doesn’t matter if you make mistakes during your performance. If you make the ending glorious, the audience will remember that.”

I compare that story to some oral presentations and speeches I gave in college and I can see where I went wrong. I spent most of my time learning and preparing the beginning. Same with some dramatic pieces I did working in theater. But with a strong opening and a weak ending, the result is usually a disappointed audience, an unimpressive argument or a failed debate.

I also think about that story when I hear people talking about “the good old days.” I think about that story when old friends get together and always talk about the same events over and over. I am amazed at the number of people that think that the best days of their life are already behind them. I am especially saddened when I hear those same complaints from kids just out of college.

I’ve also heard that my generation (Gen X) is the first generation of Americans that the majority do not believe that their children will enjoy a better standard of living than they did.

What happened? Why the defeated attitude in this country? I’ve heard it said, and repeated it often, that you don’t start getting old until your memories are greater than your dreams.

And we live in a society that despises the dreamers.

So, my message of the day is: It is not too late to make your ending glorious. To finish strong. To strive. To achieve. To dream. Make it your resolution; your mission; your most sacred promise; that you will make your ending glorious.

Looking at my life prior to publishing my first book, nobody would believe that I would be qualified to teach on success or personal growth. The reason I went forward anyway is simple: I know that my future is bigger than my past.

I’m in the process of ending gloriously. Every day I am improving my life in some way. When it’s all said and done, I know that I will have left something behind that will outlive me, and I will hear the words “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Dare to dream of a great life. Dare to live a life of purpose and significance rather than eking out an existence day by day. Dare to expect excellence in yourself rather than just get by with mediocrity. Dare to rekindle the passion in your past dreams that you’ve given up on. Dare to pursue a new dream no matter what your age or what your present circumstances look like. Dare to conceive, believe, and achieve an ending that will be glorious.


Lessons To Unlearn From School, part III


“Education is the key to success”

Most of us were taught from an early age that to succeed in life you need to go to school, get good grades, so you can get into a good college and get a good job.

According to one study, the average college graduate over the course of their entire life will earn roughly one million dollars more than the average high school graduate. In another study, it was reported that if the high school graduate set aside the amount of money they would have spent on tuition and invested it at a modest return, they would end up earning roughly an extra million dollars at the end of their life.

In other words, college has zero influence on how much income you will make. Is this true? It has to be, Grissom from CSI said so.

There are of course exceptions. Some high-paying fields with specific education requirements like doctors and lawyers earn much higher salaries than average. But I also happen to know high school graduates (barely) that make millions in businesses of their own or in professional sales.

Higher education is big business. It is a multi-trillion dollar industry like coal, and oil, and automobiles and all those other industries that they teach you to hate in public schools. Like all other businesses, they sell a product. To increase sales, they create the false premise that in order to succeed in life you require their product. They created such a huge demand for their product, that the cost of it skyrocketed well beyond the pace of inflation. Thank God the government stepped in to ensure that it’s easy to get a student loan. The net result? Hundreds of thousands of young people with a college degree, $30,000 to $50,000 worth of debt, and entering the workforce four years behind the kids that decided not to pursue a degree.

Let’s pretend you are a business owner. Who would you rather hire, a young man with four years of work experience or one fresh out of college with a four-year degree in Sociology? It seems to me that most people would prefer the high school grad to the college boy who probably expects to be paid more because he has that degree. There is such an abundance of degree-carrying young men and women today, that a four year degree doesn’t even begin to distinguish you out of a crowd anymore.

The next time you stop at Starbucks, ask your barista what his degree is in. (I had a BA in Art while working at Starbucks).

Of course, the answer if you ask those multiple-billion dollar education factories is simple: Go back to school and get your masters degree.

Question: Are you working in the field that you received your degree in?

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Unlock your Victory Badge

We as humans are hardwired for victory. We need to achieve in our lives. In Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, “Esteem” comes after “Love,” “Safety” and “Biological” needs (like air and food). Esteem comes from achievement, status, responsibility, reputation. Victory may not be as important as air, but it is still an important part of being a healthy human.

Each of us seeks and recognizes achievement in different ways, but the desire is there in each of our hearts. It is this desire that compels athletes, students or professionals to excel.

It is why video games are such an addictive pastime in today’s world. Because you are constantly achieving; Defeat the monsters, gain treasure, gain fame, gain stature. There is some sort of victory to be attained, then once you reach it there is yet another level to pass, boss to defeat, treasure to claim. Video games is a way for people to attain that feeling of victory without having to risk anything in real life. If anyone doubts that video games are addictive, check the statistics. Video games as an industry passed Hollywood several years ago. Why? In a movie you get to watch someone else achieve victory. In a game, you get to achieve the victory yourself.

I’m not going to point fingers and accuse anyone of wasting their lives (since I spent decades playing Dungeons & Dragons), but the point is, we crave victory. And when we don’t get it in life–by succeeding financially, athletically or personally–we seek it out in our virtual life. Or in our kids accomplishments. Or in softball leagues.

I know this metaphor may not be for everyone… But live your life like a video game. Always strive for victory (defeat the boss). When you achieve a victory in your life, set a goal for your next victory (level 65!). When you fail, get back up immediately (call it a “respawn” if that helps).

Remember that victory is inevitable if you keep on playing the game. I’m still talking in metaphor here, quit playing the actual video game and start setting some goals for your real life.

I almost hate to ask this, but here goes: What other life lessons can we learn from video games?