Wed, 17 June 2015
Events don’t have meaning - We give the events meaning
The meaning of events exists only in our mind. Outside of our mind, the events have no meaning at all.
Our emotional response to events comes from the meaning we give them and the way we FEEL about that meaning. So, given the fact that our emotions are based on our reaction to the meaning of an event and we create the meaning of the event, then we control our emotions.
Peace doesn’t come when we have peace around us, but when we have peace within us.
See, we give events meaning in our minds. Our emotional response to events is based on the meaning they have. So when we have peace within, it doesn’t matter what happens outside of us, we will have peace. Peace is independent of what is happening around us.
Let’s look at how one may react to a particular situation given our internal state.
Saturday morning, you open up your weather app and you see that it’s supposed to be 95 degrees with nothing but sunshine. How do you react to that?
If you were planning on going to the beach and spending some time in the water with your family, that’s a fantastic event. This means the water is going to feel great and the sun will help us get a tan.
If you were planning on pulling out some old tree stumps in the yard, that’s a horrible forecast. It’s going to be hot and the sun is provably going to burn you.
The event is the exact same thing… a weather forecast. The meaning of the event is determined internally.
If you just planted some grass seed and it starts raining, you react with happiness. This will help.
If your lawn needs to be mowed and it starts raining, you react disappointed, as you won’t be able to cut it until tomorrow.
There’s a verse in the the book of Matthew that says the rain falls on those who are good and those who are bad. The rain has no meaning. One sees the rain as good and the other bad. Tomorrow it could be reversed. The rain has no meaning.
Here’s a Personal Example - My View of Myself as Not Good Enough.
I’m in my late 40’s and my entire life, I’ve had a limiting belief that I was inferior to others. I wasn’t as good as my brothers and pretty much anyone else who I worked or lived life with.
I’ve shared this with you before, I’m the youngest in my family and honestly, I don’t have a lot of memories of my parents telling me I wasn’t good enough, but I do have a LOT of memories of that being associated with my older brothers. They’re about a year apart in age. This means, they did a lot of things at the same time. Tying shoes, riding a bike, hitting a baseball and learning to throw a football.
I was 4 and 5 years younger than them which isn’t a big deal at age 47, or even 27, but when you’re 7 and they’re 11 and 12, that’s a lifetime of difference, almost literally twice my age. They had learned twice as much as I had and they were at least twice as good as I was.
Because kids that age were able to go further from the house, our street would often have teenagers playing football or baseball with kids from several streets over. There never were that many kids on my street that were my age. So I was trying to fit in and play with kids who ere almost twice my age.
You can imagine how this made me feel. The one thing everyone valued, throwing or catching a football, or throwing, hitting and catching a baseball, I sucked at. This made me feel like I wasn’t good enough.
My brothers, like a LOT of older siblings, were pretty much forced to watch their little brother if they wanted to go do something. Mom and dad would say keep an eye on your little brother.”
But I wasn’t bad at everything, only the thing that this group was really good at, sports. As I got older, even in middle school, I never wanted to play team sports. I always opted to run laps around the baseball field instead of actually playing baseball. In high school, I didn’t try out for football or baseball, but instead, I joined the track team where I could compete on my own. I was good at running.
I was also good at being goofy and entertaining people. But that wasn’t really valued when you’re trying to beat the kids from the next block over. In fact, it was seen as a negative. “Come on, be serious, focus!”
Focus? I was the "King of Imagination.: I could take my GI Joe Command RV center and play for hours on end in my room. I remember having a rock fireplace and I would take my little army men and have them mount massive battles that would last two or three hours. Focus? That means turning off my imagination.
Imagine if we had a street full of kids all doing a talent show, with magic, juggling, ventriloquism and puppets. How much of an expert would that jock feel like? They can throw a ball, big deal, that doesn’t win you much in a talent show. All of a sudden they would have thoughts like “I’m not good enough."
I Gave Meaning to That Event.
There was no meaning in those footballs games other than the meaning I gave them in my own mind. Because I wanted to fit in with my older brothers and their friends, the meaning of the football game was HUGE. It determined whether I was good enough or not.
This is why it’s SO important to invest in offering your kids activities in which they can do well. Have a boy who loves to dance? Don’t take him to try out for baseball, even if you played it and you can’t wait to coach the team. He’s going to grow up feeling like he’s not good enough, in general.
Have a little girl who loves to build stuff in the garage? Mom, you need to take her to Home Depot for those fun weekend DIY workshops, even though you really wanted to help choreograph the dance recital because you loved to dance.
Know Your Real Identity
To this day, I have moments when I struggle and am influenced by my inability to do the things my siblings and peers are capable of doing.
I will say, I’ve become a LOT stronger than ever and I understand my gifting and where my talents lay. I know my gift is in communications and entertainment, not in piecing together the electronics needed to put on the show or course or whatever.
I’ve become so confident in my own ability in my own areas of expertise that I’m no longer intimidated by the pressures put on my by others. So much so, I was recently told I was being riightously indignant because I wouldn’t allow someone else to tell me I wasn’t as good of a person because I wasn’t talented in the same areas they were talented. It hurt, but I know why it was said. I’m ok with it. But, I’m not going to leave the door wide open to it.
You Are Good Enough
Understand, you may have a very narrow area of talent, but that talent is important if you make it important. Surround yourself with people who don’t value it, and you’ll feel like you’re a worthless excuse for a life.
When you shift over to a group who value your very narrow and specialized gift and you’ll suddenly feel like the world couldn’t go on without you.
My life and my sense of worth changed 180 degrees when I went from working in a lab inventing electronic material compounds to being the goofy sidekick on a morning radio show. I was told I had an amazing talent for connecting with people emotionally and that I would go far with that gift. WHAT? I thought that gift was a burden… at least it seemed like one when PhD’s were in a lab doing experiments and I was cracking jokes. Haha…
Call to Action
So, understand your place and don’t let others values determine your value. Remember, the events in your life have no meaning other than the meaning YOU put on them.
Tue, 16 June 2015
Truth is, you’re incredibly unlikely to reach any goal you set if you don’t have the habits needed to make it happen. If it’s going to be grueling work the entire time, you’re increasing your chances for failure several times over.
Last Wednesday we talked about how we can lose our willpower and self-discipline when it’s needed in numerous areas at the same time.
Discover Where You’ll Need Will Power
Let’s say you set a goal of “fitting into your old prom dress before your class reunion in 9 months."
If that’s your goal, you’re immediately going to start doing some things that probably aren’t habits for you at this point. Thinks like:
If you try to do ALL of those things at the exact same time, you’re probably going to fail. Your willpower and self-discipline is going to be so incredibly fatigued that you will probably fail.
But, most of us don’t really sit down and think about those things when we set the goal of “Fit into my old prom dress before the class reunion in 9 months."
Break Down The Goal Into The Needed Habits
Look at any one of your biggest goals, maybe launching a podcast, or starting an online business, or maybe learning to play the guitar. Look at that goal and write down the habits you’d need to have in order to support that goal.
Honestly evaluate whether each one of those items is already a habit of yours.
Make the Habit The Goal First
Once you have the list of habits, decide if any of them will support or help learning additional habits. For example, if reading 15 minutes a day is a habit, that might be a good one to focus on first, because it can help support your habit of writing every day. But don’t do them both at the same time. Make reading a habit then work on making writing a habit.
Spend your willpower energy on one habit at a time until the energy it takes is so small, you can easily start the next habit. Some say it’s 21 days and others say it’s over 60, on average. Some things may take even longer.
As you do this, you’ll find that the goal you had set will start to take care of itself.
The pieces will all fall together and it will seem that you’re barreling towards your bigger goal at a speed you never imagined and it’s seeming like it’s taking no effort at all.
One desired habit until it’s developed, then go on to the next one. This means you may have to project out a bit further when it comes to the ultimate goal, but it’s well worth it when you realize your chances for success have increased dramatically.
Habits Cross-Over and Benefit Future Goals
That’s more good news in this, the more you develop habits to support your goals, the more habits you’ll have for future goals.
There are some habits that will cross over into other areas. In the future you won’t have to develop those ones as they’re already there for you.
This is why it seems successful people can be successful at so many things in life. I mean the really truly successful, not just the ones making a lot of money. Remember, money doesn’t define success.
This is how some people are said to have “the Midas Touch” which means “everything they touch turns to gold.” It’s because they’ve got the core habits already in place.
Call to Action
Look at your biggest goal up ahead.
Write done the habits you’ll need to accomplish the goal
Focus on the one habit which will have the greatest impact on the other habits and the eventual goal.
Mon, 15 June 2015
If you're anything like me, you do your best work when you're facing a very real deadline with serious consequences or when you're part of group who you need to keep up with cause the entire group to fall behind.
In this episode, we look at ways we can capitalize on this for increasing our daily productivity. Give these a try in your day and let me know what worked best for you.
Hire an employee who runs faster than you. Someone you have to work at to keep up with.
Someone who is nipping at your heels and ready to do your job.
This will make you feel like you’re falling behind every step of the way. Talk about last minute… talk about forcing you to do more.
Join a Group Who Are Doing More Than You.
I experienced this lesson myself this past year, with this podcast.
I went with a friend of mine, Jeff Brown, the host of the Read to Lead Podcast, which I highly recommend you listen to regularly, to New Media Expo in Las Vegas. Jeff, my friend, was a superstar at this event.
People were walking up to Jeff, excited to meet him and talk to him about how he does his show.
Even people who were incredibly successful with their business were thrilled to say high to Jeff.
AND THEY SHOULD BE.. he’s an incredible talent and does a great job.
But, Jeff and I have very similar backgrounds in broadcasting. We have been coached by the same people and even done national radio shows on the same exact network. He ran one station on our network while I ran another one… a bigger one… with a bigger audience. Not because I’m better, it’s just because there’s a larger potential audience.
This was my peer and he had jumped WAY ahead of me… I had fallen behind.
What was his secret? What was the magic ingredient that put him further ahead?
Jeff consistently, without fanfare put out a very high quality show every week. Nearly without fail.
This motivated me to make that a priority for me. Consistently put out a great show, for me, every day. That was going to be my one singular focus. That is what comes first for me each day in my business. Do that show and then when that’s done, do whatever else fits in.
SO… Surround Yourself With People Ahead of You.
Create Deadlines with CONSEQUENCES
Another way to do give yourself the sense that you’re falling behind is to actually have deadlines which you risk missing.
Have you created deadlines for your tasks or just dates when you hope they’ll be done?
This is especially important when you’re self-employed. You set the deadlines.
Of course, clients can do that for you too, but what about when your clients quietly disappear when you miss a deadline? IF you’re a blogger or podcaster, or maybe you have a YouTube channel? What about when you can say “Well, that’s ok, I’ll just skip this week…. “ ?
You have to create deadlines with consequences.
A great way to do this is with an accountability partner or group. A mastermind...
This is one of the huge benefits of a mastermind group. When you say to your peers “I’ll have X done by next weeks meeting.” You then have to put your character on the line. You have to put your ego on the line.
If you’re mastermind group or accountability partners aren’t challenging you to keep your bond, you have to find another group. You need people who aren’t afraid to call you out in a very serious way when you repeatedly fail.
You have to create a false boss who you fear failing as much as you would a real boss.
This is why a personal trainer will help people get into shape -
If you work out five days a week and meet with a trainer one day, you will put more into those other 4 days because you don’t want to have to face them and say “I didn’t do what I told you I would do.”
There are some apps available that will help with this as well. They create very real consequences for failing to hit your goals.
I’m going to save these for this Friday’s episode. Each Friday I like to share a tool or resource which you can try out over the weekend. This last week, I shared the Hours and Jiffy apps for tracking your time during the day so you can find out what’s causing so much of it to seemingly disappear.
I’m still using Hours even as I write these notes. It’s helped tremendously.
This Friday I’ll share a few apps for keeping yourself accountable for what you promise you’re going to do.
Call to Action
Force yourself to fall behind today. Not by doing nothing… fall behind by surrounding yourself with people who are just ahead.
Create or join a mastermind or accountability group. Do something to help you feel like you have very read deadlines.
Create task deadlines and tell someone about them so you have to fess up if you don’t achieve them.
Sun, 14 June 2015
Drug Addicts Didn’t Wake up and Think I”m going to get hooked on coke today.
It comes in tiny little incremental baby steps.
One line with a friend because it’s going to be a great night out and you haven’t had that in a while.
That leads to two…
Then to buying a bit of your own so you can share next time (nobody likes mooch).
Then just a bit the next morning to help you get started on your day.
… and so the story goes.
These small little baby steps over time will lead to a major change in your life.
There's something similar in the aviation world
I’m a licensed pilot and one of the things we learn as pilots is just about every accident begins with one or more minor shifts outside of the safety area. One extra bag of souvenirs from the trip that put you near the weight limit. Knowing you still have plenty of fuel from the day before so you don’t need to do a visual check. Pushing on to the next airport because there’s a storm coming and you want to beat it.
See, we push ourselves just a tiny bit outside of the complete safety zone. It’s a minor shift...
The Good News
The same works in the opposite direction as well.
Small little baby steps in the right direction, over time, lead to huge positive changes in our life.
Deciding to make one little change in what you eat each day.
Just 150 calories less each day, over time… makes a huge change.
Bringing a healthy lunch to work each day instead of “figuring something out when the time comes."
The same happens with fitness.
It doesn’t take you becoming a gym rat who spends 3 hours a day working out, for you to get fit.
Just a small shift like taking 10,000 steps per day.
Downloading and using daily the 7 Minute Workout App. 7 Minutes! That’s small.
Doing as many push ups as possible each day and then adding 1 more each week. Just 1 more per week.
In a year, you’re doing 52 more push ups than when you started.
The same can be applied to our knowledge.
Reading 15 minutes per day before you go to bed. Just 15 minutes..
In a year, that will be over 90 hours of reading.
If the average person reads 200 words per minute, you’ll have read over a million words.
The typical book is about 60,000 words
That means, in one year, with one minor shift… you’ll have read 18 books. MORE THAN NOW.
The Same Happens in Relationships
Do the same minor incremental change with your loved ones.
Tell you wife something she did that you appreciate just once per day.
See how that change will affect your relationship in a year. Try it.
Spend the time it takes to play for 15 more minutes with your child each day.
What about spending 1 meal per week together with the entire family. No TV… Just one a week.
What about a minor change with what goes into your mind?
Just one less 30 minute TV show each week will give you 26 hours a year to do something beneficial.
What if you invested that into the lives of a local non-profit, as a volunteer?
That’s a small incremental change that is invested in a small way into someone else’s life and look at the potential ripple effect that could have.
SMALL TINY CHANGES… In the right direction, over time, will leave you with a dramatically different life.
Remember that example.. you’re walking in the desert and you decide to shift to the right by just a small amount, 5 degrees… after 12 feet, you’ve shifted about 1 foot off your original path.
After 100 feet, you’ve shifted by almost 9 feet.
After just 1 mile, you’re shifted over about 450 feet from where you would have ended up. In ONE mile..just one.
In 10 miles, you’re almost one mile off from where you started.
What if you compounded this and every mile, you shifted by 5 degrees. Small incremental shifts…
This would lead to exponential change… massive change down the road.
If you’re a math expert, let me know… I don’t want to give you bad data.
Call to Action
Make one minor change today. What is it going to be for you?
Keep it small… but commit to it for a long time. So make sure it’s something you can do for an extended period of time.
Fri, 12 June 2015
It’s Friday and we’re going to look at a few tools you can use to keep track of your time each day.
If you go back and listen to Episode 131 this past Tuesday, we talked about how we can find lost time in our day.
That’s what these apps are used for. They’re kind of like the diet or fitness apps that keep track of the food you eat each day.
Most of us don’t realize how many grams of protein, fat or carbohydrates we eat each day. But when we track them we can see if things are out of balance.
Same thing with your time.
If you don’t measure it, you won’t know if you’ve improved on it. Measure.
If you’ve ever used Mint on your computer or smartphone, you’ll understand this process.
You have to know where your money is going before you can really lay out an accurate budget.
You have to know where you time is going before you can really lay out an accurate schedule.
So, let’s look at two apps that I think will help you track your time, without being a time drain themselves.
That’s something you always run into when you are trying to improve. You have to make time for “sharpening your saw."
So Let’s Take a Look
This seem kind of basic, but it works great for quickly discerning where your time goes.
Don’t go crazy with too many colors.. that defeats the purpose.
Clients - Projects - Tasks
If you have clients you’re billing, this is very useful, but even if you don’t, this is still very usable because it helps when you’re looking at your reporting.
You can set the time tracking increments to as few as 6 minutes… that works perfect because it breaks each hour into 10 chunks. It also forces you to not worry too much about the accuracy. Don’t get crazy.
You may even want to track in 15 minute blogs. I talk about this back in Tuesdays episode. Go back and listen if you missed it.
You can manually sort where items are on the front page so the most frequently used are at the top.
The worst thing is making time tracking a task in an of itself that needs to be tracked.
These apps, both Hours and Jiffy, make it about as easy as possible. I love that.
Reminders! So you don’t miss time tracking
If you don’t have a task being tracked by a specific time each day, Hours will remind you.
I set mine to remind me every day at 7am and stop reminding me at 9pm.
It will also remind if I go 15 minutes without a task being tracked.
You can adjust all of these time.
This has helped me on a couple of occasions.
Of course, if you do forget to track a task, with both Jiffy and Hours, you can VERY easily go in and manually add it or start it and adjust the time it should have began.
I’ve done this a couple of times with driving. For some reason I get very narrow in my focus when I’m heading out somewhere.
The whole reason for tracking your time is so you can go back and see where your time is being spent and any areas that may surprise you.
The reporting looks like it’s a little prettier on the Jiffy app for Android.
Jiffy offers a more graphical reporting, while Hours just gives you the data
Both of them allow you to look at your time over the past day, week, month, year, all time or even a custom time window.
Another advantage the Jiffy app has is the ability to use Jiffy Tags.
These are physical tags which you can attach to certain items such as your computer screen, maybe your microphone (if you’re podcasting) and maybe something in the kitchen.
When you touch your phone to a Jiffy Tag, it will automatically change the task it’s tracking on your phone. Maybe put one in your car so you don’t forget to track your driving time (something I did frequently).
Jiffy also offers stickers which won’t change the task on your phone, but they will remind you to change it. This could help as well.
Not a Lifetime Commitment
I don’t think you need to track your time for the rest of your life.
I think a good typical week is probably enough to find any glaring time wasters in your average day.
Then you can refine your daily schedule, become more aware of those time wasters and become more efficient.
In a few months, you may want to go back and make sure nothing else has popped up taking more of your time.
But, basically, once you have it under control, you’re going to be done with this app.
Just like tracking your food, it’s a lot about awareness and making changes based on that data.
I Can’t Believe You Didn’t Mention TOGGL!
I know… if you use Toggl, you’re outraged I didn’t mention it.
Honestly, I didn’t really dig into but I do plan on giving it a try at some point.
Toggle looks great because it is a cross platform time tracker which allows you to start tracking on one device and stop tracking on another. This could come in VERY handy in some work environments.
Toggl also works great with team environments. It’s really meant for billable hours on projects.
You may have several team members working on one project and they all need to account for their time.
You can also use it just to make sure you’re pricing your services properly. Even if you’re not billing per hour.
It’s available for iOs, Android, Windows, Mac, and even Linux.
It will integrate with project management software like Trello or Asana.
It’s free for teams up to 5 people and unlimited projects.
If you want the ability to put in billable rates for each project or task,, or you need bigger team sizes, you’ll need to go up to the Pro version which is $5 per user.
Don’t COMPLICATE THIGNS
The last think you want to do is complicate this process. It shouldn’t become a burden.
Don’t stress if you don’t have the tracking down to the exact minute.
Also, don’t overanalyze your time or track time for too long.
Unless you’re required to track time for billing, this is going to be a short lived project for most people.
Thu, 11 June 2015
I’m a generally a positive person and I tend to look on the positive side of things in life. It’s odd though, most people who don’t know me think that means my life is without any down times or painful moments.
Nothing could be further from the truth, at least for me.
If you’ve ever thought, “Yeah, I’d be positive too if I was living their life, but I’m not. My life is a mess and I’m the one who messed it up!” Well, good news, ME TOO!
But I’m still positive.
So, as someone who is considered a generally positive person, I want to share with you some truths about us positive happy people that you might not know.
5 Things you didn’t know about positive people.
1. We’re Flawed
Yep, I’ve got a lot to work on in my life still. This is something I openly share on this show all the time. In fact, I’m working to set myself apart from most people who are teaching in the Personal Development space. I want to be very open about the fact that I don’t have it all perfected.
Yes, I’ve studied all of this stuff a LOT more than most people, but honestly, that’s because I have had a lot to figure out about myself.
I guess one difference with me and obviously with you (because you listen to this show) is that we want to get better. If I was just as flawed but didn’t care about getting better, I wouldn’t have learned all I have over the years.
As I say this, I do realize I’m not the same as the masses. I work at getting better, I put what I learn into practice, but that just means I’m going out swinging the bat instead of sitting in the dug out. It doesn’t mean I’m hitting home runs every time.
This is what leads us to number two:
2. We’re Still Good Enough
There are some people who look at the flaws they have, some more than me, some less, and think “I’m doomed. I have nothing to offer the world because I’m pretty dang messed up.”
I remember one of the things I learned years ago when I used to be involved in a multi-level marketing business… the people in the big giant houses with the fancy cars are broke too. They end up with the same amount of money as you do at the end of each month. Most of them.
I used to be intimated by talking to those people until I realized that they needed more money just as much as I did. That’s when I realized I was good enough to talk to them about what I was doing.
Now, I’m not in that type of business any more, but it was a great lesson to learn.
I’m good enough to share with you what I know and you want to know. That doesn’t mean I know more about everything than you do. You probably know more about electrical systems than me. Or you may know more about how to grow your own vegetables than me. But when it comes to what I’m focused on… I’m good enough.
3. Our Life is Flawed
Tony Robbins went through a divorce. Yep, Tony Robbins, the guy who taught people about personal power, went through a divorce. His life isn’t perfect.
I’ve spent years in Christian radio and I’ve met and hung out with all the major artists. I won’t name names, but I will tell you, that guy up on stage singing about how great God is in their life… they’re on anti-depressants because their life is falling apart.
If I turned on my camera on my laptop right now and left it on for 24 hours, you’d probably be a little frightened… not just tomorrow morning when I wake up and look horrible, but you’d see my wife come in and tell me what one of the kids did that day. Or you’d see me composing myself as I try to figure out how I’m going to get everything done that needs to be done today.
Maybe you’d hear us talking about tragedies in our past. Dealing with the after effects of sexual abuse, and betrayal, seeing family members arrested and visiting them in jail. Having other family members say hurtful things about me because they don’t know the whole story. It happens regularly.
But you know what… it happens to everyone. You may not have had to deal with arrests, you may not have had to deal with sexual abuse, but you’ve had to deal with something.
Just like Tony Robbins who had to deal with divorce and the Christian superstar who has dealt with suicidal thoughts. We’re all dealing with stuff.
This is really getting into number four:
4. We Know You’re Flawed Too
See, when I know you’re flawed and I’m open about my flaws, I suddenly become a LOT less judgmental. That’s what helps us be positive.
When I try to hide my flaws and even go so far as to shine a spotlight on your flaws so people won’t notice mine, I tend to always be looking for the negative in others. I have to look for it, or I won’t know where to shine that spotlight when I need it taken off of me.
The most judgement people I’ve met in life are typically the ones who are most frightened you’ll find out what’s wrong with them.
This is why, when we’re open about our flaws, we don’t have to worry about finding yours. In fact, when I’m open about my flaws, you’re a lot more willing to openly share yours. I don’t have to search for them, you serve them up for me. That leads to a much happier life…
When we share our flaws, we also aren’t afraid to admit we need your help, which is number five.
5. We Know We Need Your Help
This comes when we have the first four things down correctly. When I’m open about my flaws, I know you have your flaws, and I also know that because I’m good enough to help you, that means you’re good enough to help me too.
See, this is where we become humble and stop placing ourselves on a pedestal. I feel the personal development world is filled with people who are saying “follow me and I’ll help you be as awesome as I am.” That sounds great initially and they probably build their audience faster than me, but I know that’s going to be short-lived.
If I told you, follow me so you and your life will be as awesome and amazing as mine” in 2 years you'd still be flawed and your life would still had flaws in it. You’d think I was a horrible teacher and you’d move on to the next one to promise the "streets of gold."
Instead, I say “let’s go on this journey together. What you learn, I’d like to learn, and what I learn, I want to share with you.”
I need your help to make my life the best I can make it.
Why Bother? If Life Isn’t Better for Me
YES, I truly believe my life today is pretty darn good, but flawless? No way. Better than it was in the past? Well, I certainly handle it a lot better than I did in the past.
Peace in our lives doesn’t come because we have peace around us, it comes because we have peace within us.
We need to realize exactly what I say all the time, we change the world AROUND us by first changing the world WITHIN us. This doesn’t mean we suddenly have butterflies flittering around our head and birds singing over our shoulder, but it means we have a healthy approach towards all that life sends our way.
When that happens, the world tends to throw a lot less crap our way. I believe the energy we put out is the energy we cause the world around us to vibrate with. If you hit a tuning fork on a table, get it humming and then hold it next to one you haven’t hit on the table, it will eventually pick up the vibration and match it. If you’re putting out negative vibrations, the world around you will match it.
Call to Action
Be ok with what’s happened in your life and all the scars and flaws on and around you.
Commit to being open about your life and all what you’ve been through.
Give up the facade we all want to put out in order to seem “good enough."
You’re still good enough.
Yes, if you have things you’re doing which aren’t healthy, stop. But, your past doesn’t determine your worth today.
Be happy… be positive. Life is great and when we start thinking that way, it’s only going to get better.
Wed, 10 June 2015
Our brains can only handle a certain number of decisions before they just slow down.
There’s a fascinating study put out about prisoners facing parole boards. Here's an article about in the New York Times. They looked at 1,100 decisions over the course of one year.
Prisoners facing the parole board in the morning were paroled about 70 percent of the time.
Prisoners facing the parole board in the afternoons were paroled less than 10 percent of the time.
The study indicated, the judges ability to make sound decisions wore down as time went by in the day.
A closer look at this study shows decisions in favor of parole would spike up right after a lunch or afternoon break.
A lot of decisions - or big difficult ones.
Last Wednesday in episode 127 we talked about how we could increase our self-discipline if we focused on having it in one area alone. So instead of trying to cut smoking, learn a new skill, eat healthier and start exercising, just focus on doing one of them at a time until it becomes a mindless habit and then move to the next one.
But, this idea goes beyond just our projects. It applies to all of the decisions we make each day.
The less we have to make, the more disciplined we’ll be in making good ones.
Eliminate the unnecessary decisions
I saw a very successful Facebook friend of mine the other day posted a photo of what he eats every day. No, not a bunch of photos showing each item, but one photo with the food he eats every day… as in the same thing.
This friend said, “By eliminating the need to decide on what I’m going to eat, I free my mind up to focus on important decisions that matter more than what I’m going to eat.
Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and President Obama
This same friend said he owns 20 or more identical polo shirts other than the color. He wants to eliminate that as a fatigue factor. The same pants, the same shirt… every day. No need to agonize over what goes well with what and if you have a pair of shoes to match.
Mark Zuckerberg was once asked “Why do you wear the same exact T-Shirt every day? His response was, and I quote:
"I really want to clear my life to make it so that I have to make as few decisions as possible about anything except how to best serve this community,” He went on to point out that every decisions is using our “decision energy tank.”
President Obama said “I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing because I have too many other decisions to make.”
Steve Jobs wore his iconic black shirt everywhere he went. Whether it was to introduce the brand new iPhone or going in for a normal day at work, he had that same black shirt on. It was for the same reason the president and Zuckerberg cited. Decisions fatigue.
If you’ve ever spent a day at the mall, you know this decisions fatigue is real. in fact, I’m suspecting this is how Cinnabon has made a fortune. By preying on mentally fatigued shoppers who would normally say no to something like a sticky gooey cinnamon bun. Brilliant!
Just for Decision Days
This doesn’t mean you throw out all of your fun clothes, but it means, when you wake up Monday morning, you’re going to go into the closet, grab a shirt (they’re all the same) pants and shoes and go into work. No decisions no fatigue.
You can have another section of your closet where you keep your fun going out clothes. That’s fine on the weekends or for an evening event. But, for daily work… keep it to the same thing and save that decision energy for the important stuff.
Call to Action
I have to admit, I’m entrigued. I’m working on so many things at once, I’m always feeling this decision fatigue and I know I would benefit from something like this. I’ve already started this with my weekday breakfasts and I may even do the same for lunch.
This isn’t easy for me… i love food. My wife could do this without any problems, but I thrive on variety in my food.
The clothing I think would be much easier for me. It just means I’ll have to buy a week of identical clothes so I don’t have to think about it.
Will you try this with me and report back on how it worked for you? I really want to see if this will help with self-discipline.
Now.. to decide what that one piece of clothing is going to look like. Haha…
Wed, 10 June 2015
Have you ever seen one of those time-lapse video’s in a bus station or maybe in a big city intersection? Everybody is flying all over the place in this jumbled mess of massive activity. They all have somewhere to go or something to do, but when you look at it from that level, it looks like something that borders on chaos.
This is how our day can look when we glance back at it and wonder were all our time went and why we didn’t get all of our stuff done. We see a mass busy-ness with what seems like a lot of productive activity.
When you slow it down, zoom in and see what actually happened, you notice, there’s one person in the train station who walked up to the newsstand and stayed there for about 30 minutes, just flipping through magazines. You notice another person who ran into a friend and 40 minutes later, said farewell and continued on.
This is what happens in our day. From a distance, it’s a mass of activity, but when we really look closer, we see the Devil in the details.
Start An Activity (or Productivity) Journal
If you ever want to know why you can’t lose weight, even though it seems like you’re trying, start a food journal.
Write down every single thing you eat and what time you ate it. Make sure you record the quantity as well. There are apps that can do this for you, including one I like called MyFitnessPal. You can use it to see if you’re staying within your calorie goals and if your macro nutrients (Protein, Fat and Carbohydrates) are in alignment with your desired diet plan (I won’t get into what I think is best… too controversial).
The same thing is often recommended when someone starts a household budget … and certainly with every business, they need to be tracking where every dollar goes and comparing it to their budget.
In households, you start by writing down EVERY penny you spend. Do it for a given period of time so you can capture as many of the infrequent items as possible. Today, we have apps like MINT which will do this automatically. Just make sure you’re assigning everything to a category and you’re including your cash expenses.
If this works for food and for money, it will work for time as well. But I’ve only met a handful of people who take the time to do this. Most people believe their too busy to spend the time it would take to write down everything they do all day long, for a few days.
BUT, I DON’T HAVE TIME
Honestly, you don’t have time because you don’t take the time to figure out where your time is going.
I was reading about someone who broke their day up into 6 minute blocks and wrote it all out on a sheet of paper and then started filling out where each 6 minutes went. 10 blocks per hour.
You can even set a reminder on your smartphone to ask “what have you been doing the last 6 minutes.
Maybe 6 minutes is too detailed… don’t let that stop you. Begin by looking at every 15 minutes just four times per hour. If it’s really tough, do 30 minute increments.
I think anything bigger than that wouldn’t give you a clear idea of what happens with your time.
You only have to do this for a few days.. a week at the MOST and it will give you SO much insight, you’ll instantly know where your time is going and you’ll be able to adjust what you expect from yourself each day.
Categorize The Results
Break down your results into several different categories.
I would definitely include something called “LOST TIME.” This is down time that wasn’t intentional. You just saw someone in the hallway and you started to chat about the NBA finals or something. Next thing you know, 20 minutes are gone.
Some other suggested categories are:
You may have a few others that work for you.
Tools to Use
There are some great tools you can use to keep track of this, but honestly, I’m going to keep those for Friday’s episode.
Call to Action
Do this today… even if it’s just during your work hours, write down what you’re doing every 6, 10, 15, 20, or even 30 minutes. Take action
Also, go back to episode 66. I talk about creating a Time Budget. It’s really the next step after doing today’s project.
Mon, 8 June 2015
I love auto racing. I used to dream of doing some cross-country rally racing back when I was in my early 20’s. I loved the complexity of it. With a rally race, it’s not like other types of auto racing where you’re on a track, you drive fast, turn left, drive fast, turn left, drive fast… and continue like this until you see someone waving that checkered flag.
If you’ve ever seen Cannonball Run, a movie from back in the 80’s, you know what a rally race is like. It’s a real race that happens every year. In Europe there are Rally races through towns and cities all the time.
In a rally race, you drive for days over long distances. You have to know where you’re ultimately going and your checkpoints along the way. I thought this was a great analogy for this episode…
Sometimes Lost is Good
Sometimes feeling lost is great. We must have down time - Sometimes our spirit our soul will force it upon us by causing us to feel “lost” or to remove our drive for a specific destination. Consider this a rest area in life. Don’t set up camp here, but but realize, you need a break from time to time. So, rest.
Sometimes we even need to just go out for a drive without a particular destination. Just go out, start driving and enjoying what’s right in front of us without being worried about where were going, if we’re on the right path to get there, whether we have enough gas, and if we’re making good time or not.
We need the mind clearing drives sometimes.
Why We Sometimes Feel Lost
Usually, at least for me, we feel “lost” because we’ve become distracted.
If you’ve ever been driving somewhere with someone and become so engaged in conversation, you completely miss your exit, you know what this is like.
When this happens, you have to first become aware of the fact that you missed your exit. Awareness of where you are at this moment. Then you have to figure out how to get back on track.
Sometimes you get so far off track, you actually have to pull over and stop while you get your barrings right, pull out a map and rechart your course.
In life, this could mean pulling over for a while… a vacation or just a day when you can get away from all the “traffic” in life… no distractions. You may even just set up an afternoon to go to beach and collect your thoughts, evaluate your destination and reassess the path you’ve chosen to take.
The last thing you should do is to try to keep driving while you pull out the map and figure out where you are and how you need to get back to where you were going. Doing this could cause a lot of issues for you and completely derail your journey.
Take the time to STOP… clear your mind.. and get back on track. STOP… that’s important.
Using a Navigator
Continuing with the “driving” analogy, you may want to consider bringing a navigator with you. Someone who will keep track of where you’re going at all times and alert you BEFORE you get off track.
A couple of ways you can do this is through a coach, accountability partner or even a mastermind group.
This is the purpose of these people in our lives. But, you have to make sure they know where you want to go and they know your plan on how to get there. We also have to make sure we give them the authority in our lives to give us direction. You can NOT argue with them and challenge everything they tell you.
In cross-country rally car races, there’s a driver and a navigator. The driver drives… watching what is right in front of them and making sure they don’t crash. The navigator looks further ahead to see if there are any detours on the horizon and get the driver ready to react to them.
Listen, if you’re just cruising along in life, you’re not racing towards a goal, you don’t need a navigator, but if you want to accomplish something amazing, you’re going to need to really stay focused on what you do well… driving the car.
At Least Use a Map or GPS
I understand if you’re “car” isn’t big enough to accommodate a navigator at this point. At the very least, use the tools which will let you know if you’re on track and where you need to go if you do get lost.
Your long and short term goals will do this for you.
Your long term goal is like the finish line in this rally race. It doesn’t mean this is the only race you’re run in your lifetime, but it’s the one you’re in right now.
Your short-term goals are where you need to go to get to the next gas station, or next check-point. Rally races usually last several days. This means you check in each night, the timer stops and you refuel, rest and recharge your body. You also make sure your map is still accurate.
Call to Action
Grab your map… designate a navigator (maybe you can navigate for them if they’ll navigate for you).
Know where you are today and where you need to be tonight, if you’re going to make it to the finish line in a few days/weeks/months or years.
If you’re lost now… PULL OVER AND STOP. Get your earrings together.
Do this today. Don’t wait… don’t keep driving aimlessly as you fiddle with your map and try to get re-reouted.
Sat, 6 June 2015
There’s an old Russian Proverb that says “If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one."
This is the way life can feel for people like us. We’re idea people and we have ideas popping into our head all the time. We want to catch every single one of them and we end up catching nothing.
I just finished it up today and I can tell you, this book was MADE for people who listen to this show: Mindset - Productivity - Self-DIscipline - Purpose
These are all major heading in this book.
The authors do a great job of illustrating why it’s vital we focus on and FINISH The ONE Thing in our life at this moment which will make all other things unnecessary or a lot easier.
The Domino Effect
Gary and Jay talk about the Domino Effect. In fact, today I saw a video where someone illustrated this perfectly.
You have a MASSIVE goal, but you just have to finish the ONE thing that’s most important right now. When you know over that domino, by finishing that one thing, it will help knock over the even bigger domino that’s next. Then by finishing or knocking down that domino, we help knock over the next bigger one.
Watch the Domino Effect Video.
Pereto Your Tasks
If you go back to this past Tuesdays episode (#126) How to Pereto Your Way to Productivity, you’ll hear about he method Jay and Gary use to focus our attention on the tasks that are most important.
They use a tool I used as a development engineer in the semi-conductor industry. The Pereto Effect.
The 80-20 rule.
Why Discipline is Important
The authors scared me initially because they said “Discipline wasn’t important.” Well, I thought they said that.
They share why so many of us can’t sustain our discipline. Because we’re trying to be disciplined in too many areas.
Maintain your discipline in ONE area, until that area becomes a HABIT.
Once something is a habit, it is a lot less taxing on our discipline. Then we can use that energy on another area we’d like to make into a habit.
The Focusing Question.
This isn’t just a book of theory, there are real tools you can put into play right now. Like the Focusing Question.
The question you need to ask yourself in order to figure out what you should be focusing on RIGHT now.
It’s in Chapter 10 of the book…
This book is a book YOU would benefit from reading right now.
I listened to it on Audiobook and I’ve loved every minute of it. I’ve implementing the processes they outline and I’m feeling a lot more clarity about what I should be doing right now. Like this Podcast… my ONE thing for today.