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


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Ration Your Passion (or) a Tale of Two Rabbits

rabbitsA few weeks ago we had a guest pastor at our church talking about marriage relationships. One of the bullet points he taught for having a marriage that rocks (as opposed to a marriage that’s on the rocks) is to be a good steward of your passion.

Years ago, I heard from a successful multimillionaire that we have a limited amount of passion that we can apply to our worthwhile endeavors.

At the conference for independent business owners I recently attended I was reminded several times about the importance of focusing your passion.

See, the universe is telling me to blog on this topic.

Passion, excitement, enthusiasm can be a driving force for your goals, dreams and visions. But it is possible to squander your passion by trying to focus on too many things at once. And not necessarily stupid things like video games and television. You might be trying to do too many good things at once.

Confucius say: A man who chases two rabbits catches neither.

Some of us may think that we are human dynamos, that our excitement and passion will never fade. Sorry, but that isn’t the case. We grow weary. We even grow weary of things we love.

We need to be intentional about applying our passion and creative energy towards things that matter. (<–Click to tweet)

I’m looking back on the first two-thirds of 2014 and thinking that I haven’t got as much done as I’d like to have gotten done.

  • My buddies and I are still struggling to iron out some website difficulties for our business/non-profit launch.
  • I’ve finally finished a ghost-writing project that really should have been done as long ago as January.
  • I plotted out a joint writing project with a friend that we still haven’t started.
  • I’m behind on some financial goals.
  • I’m behind on some business growth indicators.
  • I’m behind on completing my third book (which will drive back the dates for 4 through 7 – yes I’m up to 7 books that I plan to write).
  • I even missed blogging a couple times in the past couple of weeks. (In my defense I had a great blog post all written up to announce our business launch, I just didn’t post it because I didn’t want to drive traffic to a site that isn’t working).
  • And of course I’m way behind on meeting my dream woman and getting married.
  • I’m even behind on battening down the hatches for a pair of hurricanes that are just 36 hours away.

What’s the point of me recounting all the reasons I’m behind the eight ball? My point is my energy has been directed in too many directions. It’s like trying to light eight fuses with a magnifying glass by rapidly zooming from one fuse to the next. Sometimes you need to stick with one thing, apply a consistent amount of work towards it and give it a chance to ignite.

We have a limited amount of creative energy that we are allotted each day. Some of our best hours we are forced to spend at work, but of our remaining time, we need to make sure that we are applying it to what is most important in our lives; our vision, our purpose. You may not have the freedom to give all the time to your dream that it deserves, but be sure to give it your best time. Give it all the passion that you can muster up and stay focused on it.

Remember the Native American saying, “If you chase two rabbits you will lose them both.”

Have you ever felt like you are pouring your best effort and energy into many different things – and somehow nothing is getting accomplished?

Step back.Rabbit_Killer_Small_5885

Prioritize.

Pick a rabbit.

Kill it.

Just be careful you’re chasing the right rabbit.

 

What’s your rabbit for this week? This month? This year?


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Be Single Minded

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I’m going to expound on the subject of focus from my previous post. I rarely expound in my books so please indulge me.

A huge stumbling block for many people is double-mindedness. The human mind (well, more the human MALE mind) is incapable of focusing on two things at once effectively. Since men tend to be worse at multitasking, trying to complete two projects simultaneously often leads to inferior work in not one, but both.

This is not exactly breaking news. Lion tamers use this principle to safely fend off a lion with a stool. By holding the chair or stool so that the legs are facing the big cat, it becomes disoriented and retreats since it can’t focus on all four points at once. The stool is more important to lion taming than the whip or the gun. (I am curious if this works equally well with a lioness).

There is an axiom of warfare that says, “To confuse your enemy, give them too many options.”

The Bible in James 1:8 states, “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.”

There is an old saying, possibly Japanese, “If you chase two rabbits, both will escape.”

See? All of recorded history agrees with me.

When we have an important task we need to devote ourselves entirely to it to filter out of any distractions. We need to focus on the immediate.

Does that mean we need to rearrange our entire lives? No, but it may mean we need to rearrange a portion of our lives. If you are working on a book, a painting, or a violin concerto it requires focused creative thought and energy. Though, you probably shouldn’t quit your job to work on that exclusively until it’s completed. But you should set aside time to work specifically on that and that alone. Every other lingering thought or distracting phone call or additional rabbit will dilute the focus of your efforts.

Fifteen minutes a day of total, focused effort is superior to two hours a day of watered down, poking-it-with-a-stick think-about-it-a-thons.

What worthwhile thing do you focus on daily? And along the same lines, what worthless thing do you devote your focus to? (*cough* tv *cough*)


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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?”

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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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Set Your Mental Filters

mentalfilterThe human mind is an incredible thing. So is a DVR (“digital video recorder” for the cavemen subscribed to my blog). But if the mind is not being utilized to its potential, then it is about as amazing as a DVR being used only to record every episode of Jersey Shore. Our mind is constantly processing information and thoughts; and most of that processing power is being used on random, unproductive thoughts.

A vision causes us to focus our thoughts. It sets our mental filters to capture any opportunity, any information, any news which affects our vision.

Our senses are constantly bombarded with images, sounds, smells, and the other two senses. Because we cannot consciously perceive everything at all times, our brains have filters that only allow us to perceive what is important to us immediately. For example, when the driver in the car in front of you steps on its brakes, you immediately perceive the three red lights on the back all turned on at once–but as you slow down and prepare to stop, you probably didn’t notice whether or not his safety check was current (it wasn’t).

Ever thought about buying a new Ford Focus? If you have, then the next time you go driving, every time you pass a Ford Focus on the road you’ll notice it and realize that there are suddenly a lot more Ford Focuses (Foci?) on the road than you thought. Even though you were not consciously looking for Ford Focuses on the road, since it was something that your thoughts were recently focused on, you suddenly become more aware of Ford Focuses.

So, how do we use this to our advantage? Remember all those new years resolutions you just made? Did you think about them since you wrote them? Can you see them now? If they’re written in a journal, then re-write them onto some 3×5 index cards and post them somewhere that you see them all the time–on your bathroom mirror, on your planner, on your refrigerator, on the dashboard of your brand new Ford Focus… That way you are thinking about them on a regular basis. And if you are thinking about them, then your subconscious filters will stop blocking information regarding your vision. Then any information that is relevant and helpful to you in attaining your vision will become clear to you.

The “how” of accomplishing your vision is much less important than having the vision in the first place. Create your vision, think about it all the time, let your brain know what it’s supposed to be looking for, then stop thinking about Jersey Shore.

This week’s blog has been sponsored by the new Ford Focus.

What other simple trick or tool can you use to keep your mind focused daily on your vision?