15 Minutes

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


My Cup of Tea is Stronger Than Your Cup of Tea

It’s time for a new feature I think I’ll call Simile Day.

“A person is like a bag of tea; you find out what is inside of them when they are placed in hot water.”ImageIt’s easy to be calm and impressive when you are well fed and groomed and comfortable. It’s altogether different in a crisis situation.

Will you panic, will you sell out, will you give in to temptation? Or will you stand strong and stick to your principles when you are under pressure? That’s a question that haunts some of us. What us my true character? Will I stand true to my convictions when it would be easier to fold?

The thing about the tea bag though, is that it is not mystery tea from some magical village. We are very familiar with the tea bag. We take care of it on a daily basis. We control the content of what is allowed to be put in there.

Take responsibility for the seeds that get sown into your mind, by controlling what you watch, who you listen to, what you do. You develop your character, it is not developed for you by tea growers in China. This is the subject of my next book. It’s not about developing your skills or personality, but your character.

Your character is who you are behind closed doors, what you do when no one will find out, how you behave when it will not hurt your reputation. Your character is what is exposed when you are put in hot water.

Maybe sometimes you feel that society places too much importance on talents, skills, reputation; and not enough on recognizing character. I’d like to see a generation of people that are taught about substance over glamor, content over packaging, character over reputation.

So that’s what I’m writing about for the subject of my next book. I’ve also been tweeting about character all this week (which should have society back in alignment in no time!). The book is scheduled for release in July of 2013. The title is TBA; I know what it will be, I’m just not announcing it publicly yet. I am coy that way.

Last couple of questions to ponder:

1. Which do you think is more important: character or talent?

2. When is the last time you complimented someone on their character Vs. their talent?

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Imagine You 2.0

The greatest hindrance to most peoples success is a poor self-image. Often when we are ground down by life we allow circumstances to depress us or define us. And that’s a lie; a trick of the enemy. Your worth is not determined by your environment but by your character. Your value comes from what is inside you not from what is around you.

A gold coin in a pile of cow dung is still inherently valuable. Sometimes it’s just hard to recognize its value because of the smell. Likewise, outside circumstances do not determine your self-worth. Your self-worth is inherently priceless and is not dependent on the approval of your boss, a bank, a loved one or a stranger.

You are unique. No one else in this universe has your exact same thoughts, mind and ideas. You have skills and abilities that no one else has. Emerson said, “Every man I meet is in some way my superior.” The problem is that we rely on our present, what we currently see and hear and feel, and allow that to become our reality of self. If that happens, then we cannot rise above our current circumstances, because we are not just struggling against the world, we are struggling against ourselves.

A couple posts back I described the process of creative visualization as a means of helping you to accomplish tasks successfully. This same method can be used to elevate yourself into the person you want to be. Utilize the power of your imagination to hold a picture of yourself in your mind. The person that you really want to be, not a prisoner of your circumstances, but the master of them.

Healthy, wealthy, wise. Visualize yourself as physically fit, living in a beautiful home, living a comfortable life. Imagine what your life is like on the average Tuesday. What do you do in the morning, afternoon and evenings? Imagine the way you talk to people, the way you conduct your daily activities, the relationships you have. Imagine a life of purpose. What do you want? Imagine it. Hold it in your mind. Allow that image to crystalize into a vision and you are on your way to becoming that version of you.

Once again, I hear the objections, “your advice to people is daydreaming?” Why not? You will be much better off doing that than spending your day berating yourself and complaining about being out of shape, broke, and stupid. Work on you first.

Emerson again: “What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.”

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Pink Floyd Was Right

(…we don’t need no education)

I’m working on a 15 to 30 minute lecture for high school kids. The idea is to teach them what they really need to succeed in the world that they have never been taught in school. Please read and give me your feedback. Also, I have a well-deserved reputation for slamming the public school system, so if anyone feels that I’m being slightly too belligerent let me know and I’ll ease off. Maybe.

Consider a poll of ten business owners: A mechanic, an architect, an engineer, a restauranteur, a bartender, a doctor, a dentist, a car dealer, a barber, and an art gallery owner. They are given the task of imagining the ideal employee for their company. Not just an average employee that shows up and gets their paycheck everyday. The absolute perfect employee, someone who is so good for business that the owner would adopt them and leave them their company when they retire. When visualizing that perfect employee, write down 5 words that describe that perfect employee.

Consider also a poll of the rest of the 95% of people who are not business owners but employees. They are given the task of imagining the ideal boss. Not just an OK boss that pays you on time and doesn’t make you work overtime. A boss so inspiring that you would volunteer to work hard, to take on extra work and to move into their house with them just to car pool with them. When visualizing that perfect boss, write down 5 words that describe that perfect boss.

Now there are three things I want to point out.

First, is that these lists will end up being mostly the same. Honest. Fair. Fun. Caring. Industrious. Capable. Loyal. Generous. Energetic. Enthusiastic. Encouraging. Respectful. Talented. Reliable. Open-Minded. Considerate. Kind. Patient. Secure. Appreciative. Adaptable. Assertive. Cooperative. Diplomatic. Determined. Ethical. Persistent. Optimistic.

The second thing, is that none of these attributes (with the possible exception of “capable”) are things that are taught to you in our schools. When have you ever been taught the value of Honesty in one of your classes? Even if you are the owner of an engineering firm, which would you rather hire, an honest man that is average at math, or a compulsive liar that is excellent at math? Have you ever taken a class or listened to a single lecture on “Loyalty 101?” Do not get me started on public schools and “Open-Minded.”

The bottom line, is that we are never taught the essential skills to succeed at life in our 13 years of compulsory education. For the most part, those of you who continue on to college will also never be taught the essential skills to succeed in your respective careers. And yes, these are skills, because these are all traits that can be learned. No baby was born honest, or fair, or especially generous (but most are born fun).

The third and final thing I’d like to point out, is that these words don’t just describe the ideal boss or the ideal employee. They also describe the ideal child, the ideal parent, the ideal spouse, the ideal pretty-much-everyone-you-would-ever-want-to-associate-with-on-a-regular-basis type person. Wouldn’t you want all the people in your life to be this list? Well, since you can’t change them, the best thing that you can do is to change yourself, and try your best to be this list.

I’ll probably close by providing a recommended reading list and offer a copy of How to Win Friends and Influence People to any student that wants one. Anyone have any thoughts or recommendations?