Your Environment and Success

Your Environment and SuccessWise mentors tell us that to be successful in life and meet our goals, it is supremely important that we prepare our environment in a way that maximizes our potential to succeed. Jim Rohn once said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” The Bible tells us, “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” (Proverbs 13:20).   Pretty important, therefore, to choose carefully those who inhabit your orbit.

Both positive and negative mindsets tend to be contagious. I’ve observed that the tendency toward being negative, defeatist and pessimistic is a little more “natural” than the opposite tendency—that is, towards finding the good in life. This is a by-product of living in a fallen world. But it does not have to be that way. It just takes effort. And it is worth it.

Choose wisely what and with whom you associate. “Like attracts like.” This I’ve found to be true. If I’m angry, sullen, mad at the world and depressed, I tend to attract people just like me—without even trying! My anger somehow validates them. And of course such anger is usually cloaked in righteous sounding garb. But it is a downward spiral and simply has never worked.

I’ve discovered that as my thinking is positive, loving, cheerful and optimistic, I attract people with similar thinking and outlook. And I’ve noticed that what appeals to the optimistic and cheerful tends to repel the pessimistic and angry. Want to find out something really interesting? Look at those who were drawn to Jesus and those who were repelled by him. Invariably, those who were repelled by Jesus were angry, punctilious, religious people whose view of God was ultimately evil. If you are ultimately more focused on evil than on good, you are demonstrating what one author calls “practical atheism”—that is, you have more faith in the supremacy of the power of evil than the power of good. Hmm….

Some suggestions:

  • Read and listen well. There are all sorts of helpful resources in the digital universe, as well as library and bookstore shelves, that can help you on your way.  Avail yourself.  I’ve been particularly helped by books, video and audio by people like Brian Tracy, Malcolm Gladwell, and Jack Canfield.
  • Choose friends carefully. You must approach friendships aware that those whom you surround yourself with will affect you for good or ill. Both optimism and pessimism are contagious. Some friends will feel threatened when you become healthy.       Become healthy anyway. Love them but understand you may have to, for both your sakes, limit your involvements.
  • Look for good in every situation. You generally find what you’re looking for.

Now go succeed!

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Afraid? Take the Plunge

AfraidI grew up in the country, working and playing on farms.  There’s scarcely anything more adventurous for a kid than the things he can find to do on a large dairy farm.  Climbing silos.  Throwing apples at passing cars.  Pitching manure and playing in it.  Some of it was permitted.  A lot of it was not and we got yelled at from time to time.  But it was great fun.

When you are young, you don’t always use your head.  Some of our exploits involved jumping out of hay mows and walking on really high beams above cattle, mangers and bales of hay and straw.  I have to admit I got anxious at times.

The key to doing these things—which were quite scary for a boy—was simply doing them.  If you sat at the edge of the mow or straddled a beam and thought about it, your courage would flag and you wouldn’t take the chance.  A victory for brains; a defeat for derring-do.  (We were young and dumb, so daredevilry usually won the day.)

Our heroes in those days were people like Evel Knievel and Billy Jack.  One can understand why.

In 1988, a book appeared with the provocative title Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway.  Susan Jeffers authored this important work.

Feel it….but then do it.

Jack Canfield has referred to this book and the principle it highlights.  I’ve adopted the idea with good results.

We all face fears and anxieties over different things.  For some it’s flying.  For others, public speaking.  Most of us shy away from difficult conversations, whether in sales or conflict resolution.  The key is to own the fact that you feel the emotion of fear but decide to do the thing you fear anyway.  And then do it.  Fear is, after all, a feeling.  It may have validity.  I have a good friend, a career Army guy who’s jumped out of a lot of planes.  There is real fear launching out of a C-130.  Good sense for a paratrooper is to make sure his parachute has been properly prepared.  But he still jumped.  Over and over and over again.

Most of us will not be leaping out of moving aircraft or tackling pythons.  But we can all grow by feeling it.  Then doing it.

It’s really simple.

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Taking Charge

Taking ChargeThe opening chapter of Jack Canfield’s remarkable book, The Success Principles, has this challenging title: “Take 100% Responsibility For Your Life.”

The chapter is worth the price of the book.  Easy.  It is slowly but surely changing my life.  The concept will radically alter your destiny if you embrace it and practice it.    And great mentors talk about this as the fundamental step that will reinvent your life.  Jack Canfield.  Stephen R. Covey.  Brian Tracy.  All attest the same.

100% responsibility.

Think about it.  Aside from obvious things over which we have no control (planes crashing into our house, forms of disease, tornadoes, and such), we really have the marvelous opportunity and ability to craft a life.

To do this, you must become a good swimmer.  Why?  Because the current of our society flows against personal responsibility.  It has strong undertows of victimization, blame-shifting and an unrealistic sense of entitlement.  And it has kept leaders from emerging.  You must swim against it.  And you are well able to do it.

I heard Brian Tracy say today that assuming complete responsibility for our lives is the mark of adulthood.  It means being a grown-up.  As kids we long for that moment.  Now, we can maximize all the possibilities.

Here are some challenges for the next year:

  • Every day embrace the reality that you have the God-given ability to better your life and circumstances in some wayViktor Frankl learned this in Hitler’s death camps.  He realized that the Nazis had no power whatsoever over his thinking and inner life.  Unless he gave it to them.
  • Every day work to improve your skills of attention, concentration and laser-like focus for whatever task you happen to be doing.  Be all there.  Be fully in the moment.  If it isn’t worth doing with all your being, is it worth doing at all?
  • Write down your goals.  There’s something about putting pen to paper that sets a course in motion within you towards the fulfillment of those goals.  Your subconscious mind engineers reasons and plans for achieving what you’ve set as a target.  Dream it, write it and be very specific.  And then work your plan.

This is your time.  Hold nothing back.

Image Credit

Feel the Fear (and Do It Anyway)

I grew up in the country, working and playing on farms.  There’s scarcely anything more adventurous for a kid than the things he can find to do on a large dairy farm.  Climbing silos.  Throwing apples at passing cars.  Pitching manure and playing in it.  Some of it was permitted.  A lot of it was not and we got yelled at from time to time.  But it was great fun.

When you are young, you don’t always use your head.  Some of our exploits involved jumping out of hay mows and walking on really high beams above cattle, mangers and bales of hay and straw.  I have to admit I got anxious at times.

The key to doing these things—which were quite scary for a boy—was simply doing them.  If you sat at the edge of the mow or straddled a beam and thought about it, your courage would flag and you wouldn’t take the chance.  A victory for brains; a defeat for derring-do.  (We were young and dumb, so daredevilry usually won the day.)

Our heroes in those days were people like Evel Knievel and Billy Jack.  One can understand why.

In 1988, a book appeared with the provocative title Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway.

Feel it….but then do it.

Jack Canfield has referred to this book and the principle it highlights.  I’ve adopted the idea with good results.

We all face fears and anxieties over different things.  For some it’s flying.  For others, public speaking.  Most of us shy away from difficult conversations, whether in sales or conflict resolution.  The key is to own the fact that you feel the emotion of fear but decide to do the thing you fear anyway.  And then do it.  Fear is, after all, a feeling.  It may have validity.  I have a good friend, a career Army guy who’s jumped out of a lot of planes.  There is real fear launching out of a C-130.  Good sense for a paratrooper is to make sure his parachute has been properly prepared.  But he still jumped.  Over and over and over again.

Most of us will not be leaping out of moving aircraft or tackling pythons.  But we can all grow by feeling it.  Then doing it.

It’s really simple.

Image Credit

FTFADIA

I grew up in the country, working and playing on farms.  There’s scarcely anything more adventurous for a kid than the things he can find to do on a large dairy farm.  Some of it was permitted.  A lot of it was not and we got yelled at from time to time.  But it was great fun.

When you are young, you don’t always use your head.  One of the things we did was to jump out of hay mows and walk on really high beams above cattle, mangers and bales of hay and straw.

The key to doing these things—which were quite scary for a boy—was simply doing it.  If you sat at the edge of the mow or straddled a beam and thought about it, your courage would flag and you wouldn’t take the chance.  (A victory for brains; a defeat for derring-do.)

In 1988, a book appeared with the provocative title Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway.

FTFADIA.

Jack Canfield has referred to this book and the principle it highlights.  I’ve adopted the idea with good results.

We all face fears and anxieties over different things.  For some it’s flying.  For others, public speaking.  Most of us shy away from difficult conversations, whether in sales or conflict resolution.  The key is to own the fact that you feel the emotion of fear but decide to do the thing you fear anyway.  And then do it.  Fear is, after all, a feeling.  It may have validity.  I have a good friend, a career Army guy who’s jumped out of a lot of planes.  There is real fear launching out of a C-130.  Good sense for a paratrooper is to make sure his parachute has been properly prepared.

Most of us will not be leaping out of moving aircraft or tackling pythons.  But we can all grow by feeling it.  Then doing it.  It’s really simple.

Image Credit

Crafting A Life

I heard a challenge today.  If you invest 3% of your annual earnings into self-development, your earning potential, if acted upon, can increase exponentially.

It hijacked my attention very quickly.

Story was told of a young man, 23, who begin investing 3% of his annual income in materials that would help him improve in his career.  The first year he went from making $20,000.00 to $30,000.00.  While he began investing 3%, after a few years he began investing 10% of his earnings in self-development.  Books, audio/visual materials, seminars, etc.  After 10 years he was making $1,000,000.00.

A million dollars a year.

If you will take the time and develop your skills, your earning potential will increase.  On average, for every hour Americans spend on education and self-development, they spend 50 hours on entertainment in one form or another.  Begin reversing this ratio and you will upend your life for the better.

Here are some tools that will help you craft a career.  And a life too:

Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers From Everybody Else (Geoff Colvin) – This book effectively dispels the myth that people like Mozart were born to write music and Tiger Woods to play golf.  Both these luminaries, and others so profiled, got where they were through years of hard work and deliberate practice.

The Success Principles: How To Get From Where You Are To Where You Want to Be (Jack Canfield) – With chapters like “Success Leaves Clues” and “Commit To Constant And Never-Ending Improvement” you won’t go wrong with this read.  Canfield, co-author of the hugely popular Chicken Soup For The Soul series, gets it right every time.  Practical and down-to-earth.

The Magic of Thinking Big (David Schwartz) – A great book.  Dr. Schwartz effectively demonstrates the difference between winners and losers: What one thinks about.  Good thinking will launch you.  Poor thinking will weaken you.

Twelve Pillars (Jim Rohn & Chris Widener) – I read this in an afternoon this past summer.  This is a parable illustrating basic truths, which followed, will improve your career and your life.  Short, but potent.

The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You (John Maxwell) – An ace on leadership, this book should be in the library of every leader.  Maxwell, who has written countless books on leadership, boils leadership down effectively to 21 principles.  Buy it.  I had the privilege of seeing John speak on the tour that promoted this book in 1999.  Outstanding.  The chapter on “The Law of Influence” alone is worth the price of the book.

Have at it.  2012 is your year.

 

Assuming Command

The opening chapter of Jack Canfield’s fantastic book, The Success Principles, has this challenging title: “Take 100% Responsibility For Your Life.”

The chapter is worth the price of the book.  Easy.  It is slowly but surely changing my life.  The concept will radically alter your destiny if you embrace it and practice it.    And great mentors talk about this as the fundamental step that will reinvent your life.  Jack Canfield.  Stephen R. Covey.  Brian Tracy.  All attest the same.

100% responsibility.

Think about it.  Aside from obvious things over which we have no control (planes crashing into our house, forms of disease, tornadoes, and such), we really have the marvelous opportunity and ability to craft a life.

To do this, you must become a good swimmer.  Why?  Because the current of our society flows against personal responsibility.  It has strong undertows of victimization, blame-shifting and an unrealistic sense of entitlement.  And it has kept leaders from emerging.  You must swim against it.  And you are well able to do it.

I heard Brian Tracy say today that assuming complete responsibility for our lives is the mark of adulthood.  It means being a grown-up.  As kids we long for that moment.  Now, we can maximize all the possibilities.

Here are some challenges for the next year:

  • Every day embrace the reality that you have the God-given ability to better your life and circumstances in some wayViktor Frankl learned this in Hitler’s death camps.  He realized that the Nazis had no power whatsoever over his thinking and inner life.  Unless he gave it to them.
  • Every day work to improve your skills of attention, concentration and laser-like focus for whatever task you happen to be doing.  Be all there.  Be fully in the moment.  If it isn’t worth doing with all your being, is it worth doing at all? I did this last night as I walked for two miles in the bone-chilling cold air of winter.  I embraced the frozen air and punishing wind.  And became stronger because of it.  I enjoyed it and improved my physical and mental life as a result.
  • Write down your goals.  There’s something about putting pen to paper that sets a course in motion within you towards the fulfillment of those goals.  Your subconscious mind engineers reasons and plans for achieving what you’ve set as a target.  Dream it, write it and be very specific.  And then work your plan.

2012 is going to be your year.  Hold nothing back.