The secret of success is learning how to use pain and pleasure instead of having pain and pleasure use you. If you do that, you’re in control of your life. If you don’t, life controls you.
I received some emails last week about my post, I Tried To Change And It Didn’t Work. They said, Greg, I understand that we don’t change because we think we’re getting more pleasure and less pain out of staying the same than we would get out of changing, but how do I use that knowledge to convince myself I need to change?
Let’s use pain to our advantage. Let’s amplify the pain of our current situation and what that pain will become if we don’t change.
We need to do this, because we often find ways to avoid the pain we’re living in. We have all kinds of ways to distract ourselves. Here’s a partial list:
- Social Media
- The Internet
Not all of these are bad for us, but they can be if we use them to escape and dull the pain of the rest of our life.
We’re going to use the Christmas Carol technique. (If you’ve ever seen Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, you’ll have a pretty good idea of what you should be trying to do.) I learned this one from Anthony Robbins years ago. I still use it to maintain my motivation anytime I start to think things are getting too hard.
To do this right, you should spend a good fifteen minutes going deep into your thoughts and feelings to make it seem as real as possible.
Close your eyes and imagine what your life will be like if you do not change to follow what you were created to do. If you’re lucky, you will bounce from job to job chasing the paycheck to take care of your family. You will go to work every day with a feeling deep inside you that you aren’t doing what you were put on this earth to do. You will spend 40-60 hours a week doing a job you don’t like, or maybe even hate.
Think about doing this job you hate and all the things in your life that bother you. Imagine this is as good as it will ever get. Imagine all the dreams you have dying unfulfilled. You never get that dream job, never pursue that Passionate Purpose burning inside you, never make more money, never get closer to your loved ones, never travel to new places, never improve your relationship with God, never help the people you care about, never move into your dream home.
You never grow. You never change. You’re stuck like this until the day you die.
Imagine that you don’t do anything you’ve been dreaming about. You do nothing different so nothing changes a year from now. What would that feel like? What would it look like? What would it sound, smell, and taste like? Does that create emotional pain for you?
Now imagine nothing has changed and it’s five years from now. You keep doing the same things every day. You’re no closer to your dreams and goals than you were five years ago, but you’re five years older. You’re going through the motions 40 to 60 hours a week.
You live for the weekends and two measly weeks a year of vacation—if you’re lucky.
But it pays the bills and you’re doing “OK.” Years go by and you feel like the life is being sucked out of you. You aren’t the fun-loving, optimistic person you used to be. Your kids and spouse aren’t getting the best of you anymore. You realize sometimes you are taking out your frustrations on them. You feel depressed with where your life is. You keep putting off the things you know you should do and you get angry with yourself for not following through. Your self-esteem keeps sinking lower. How does that feel? Is it painful yet?
Now do it again and project your life out ten years, twenty years. Think about your life with no growth and no changes thirty years from now. Make it as real as you can and feel it right now. Spend five to ten minutes really feeling this. I’ll wait. …
(Man this kettle corn microwave popcorn is really good! Oh, you’re back. Hey!)
OK, how scary are those feelings?
And what if becoming stagnant where you are is the best-case scenario. What happens if your company lays you off? What happens if the job you do becomes obsolete? What happens if you don’t work on your marital relationship and that leads to divorce?
You’re either growing or dying. Which one sounds better to you?
That fear we just created needs to be greater than the fear you might fail at following your Passionate Purpose. If you approach this as if you can’t afford to fail, as if your future depends on it, you will succeed.
Now let’s get a deep emotional feeling of how much pleasure the life of our dreams could be.
Do the Christmas Carol exercise again. But this time think about what your life will be like when you start pursuing your Passionate Purpose every day.
What will you have accomplished and what kind of a person will you be one year from now? Write down every good thing you can about what that would be like.
What will you be earning an income doing?
What will your family life be like?
What will your physical and spiritual fitness be?
How eager will you be to jump out of bed each morning?
How much more freedom to pursue your desires will you have?
How great will it feel to be highly valued for what you are contributing to others?
Visualize what your life will be like. Feel the feelings that come with that life.
Now do the same exercise for imagining your extraordinary life five years from now. What have you achieved already and what are you pursuing now? How big an income are you generating? What kind of home are you living in? How have you improved your most important relationships even more? How has every area of your life improved? What are you most thankful for now? Go deep into your imagination. Feel the emotions well up inside you.
Use the same prompts about your life we have been using and look out ten years. Now 15 years. Now 20 years. How extraordinary is your life now? Visualize achieving every goal you have for the next 20 years of your life. Everything you’ve ever wanted to do, be, learn, earn, and give has come to pass.
Your relationships are better than you thought possible. You walk with your Creator. You are giving abundantly to the people and causes you believe in. You are living in your dream home and taking vacations around the world with your loved ones and making priceless memories. See it, feel it, and experience it as if it has already happened. Get deep into it. Convince yourself it’s real.
How do you feel right now?
(I now offer one to one coaching and an online coaching program for various budgets. Click here for more details.)
Are you ready for some tough love? If you have tried to change before and it hasn’t worked, there is really only one reason. It’s not because you don’t have talent. Talent is overrated. You see unsuccessful people with talent all the time. It’s not because you aren’t smart enough, don’t know the right people, or don’t have enough money to get started. It’s not because you don’t have enough time. We all have the same 24 hours in each day.
The real reason you haven’t followed through on what you say you want is this: You get more out of not changing than you think you would get out of changing.
I know that’s hard to hear. But it’s true, and all of us struggle with it. I have to tell myself this every time I start to back slide.
Tony Robbins puts it this way: You believe you get more pleasure and avoid more pain by staying the way you are than by doing the work necessary to change.
I know this sounds crazy but think about it. Why don’t we all eat healthy and never overeat? Isn’t it because we like the pleasure we get from the taste of the foods we know aren’t good for us? Isn’t it because of the pleasurable feeling we create in ourselves when we eat too much?
Sure it makes us gain weight and maybe even feel sluggish, but doesn’t the short- term pleasure overwhelm the long-term pain? I know it does for me more times than I’d like to admit. Our actions speak louder than all the diets we’ve ever planned to live by.
Why do you think alcoholics and drug addicts continue to use even though it’s destroying their lives? Obviously addiction is a factor, but it’s also because they believe the short-term pleasure they get is greater than the long-term pain. They use substances to temporarily change the way they feel, to avoid pain in their lives, to distract themselves from their problems, and to self-medicate.
Even when they are losing their jobs, their spouses, their children, their friends, their homes, and their health, they keep using for the short-term pleasure and the short-term escape from their pain.
Yet, many do kick their habit. How? They do it when they hit rock bottom. When they convince themselves the pain of their addiction is worse than the short-term pleasure of using and they decide they must change. That’s when they start the difficult recovery process.
How Do Some People Do It?
Let me ask you a question. How do we have people making average salaries starting new businesses every day in this country? How do legal immigrants come here with nothing and open a business the first year they’re here? I’m talking about people who do it without a loan or investors. How do they do it?
They convinced themselves they had to. They decided that to not put out the effort and money necessary to pursue their goal would be more painful than doing it. They stayed focused on the long-term pleasure they would get and how they would avoid the long-term pain of never pursuing their dreams. They found a way.
Some saved money for years that they could have used on other things. Others found a way to start it in their home and slowly build it. Others found a way to do it all online for almost nothing. The bottom line is they found a way. You can, too.
Could You Do It If?
Imagine your child has a fatal illness. The doctors say she only has six months to live. But if you get her the right medicine, she will be completely cured. One problem: The medicine costs $10,000 and you’re broke. No one can loan you the money. Do you think you could earn an extra ten grand in six months to save your child?
Of course you could, and you would, because you would have to. With that kind of effort and commitment nothing could stop you.
That’s the kind of commitment you will need because deciding you must change is just part of it. You also must decide you are willing to do the work required to make the change.
I can give you ideas and techniques to change your life, but I can’t change you. All true change will come from you.
Maybe the reason you aren’t happy at your job isn’t because you’re in the wrong career, or you aren’t paid enough, or you aren’t appreciated, or your benefits stink, or…fill in the blank.
Then again, that could be it. You could have the worst job in the world, or maybe you’re doing something that you just don’t like. If so, go here.
There are a bunch of extrinsic and intrinsic work rewards that can make you happier. Read my earlier post about that here.
But after you’ve looked at all that, maybe the real reason you’re not happier at work is because in our “short attention span you must respond to me instantly” society most of your time is spent doing superficial work:
- Reacting to emails, text messages, and phone calls
- Putting out other people’s fires
- Going to meetings that seem to accomplish nothing
- Being interrupted every 5 minutes when you finally get to focus on your real work
Gee, I can’t understand why you don’t wake up with a smile on your face every morning and race back to your cubicle for more of that!
“You are what you do. If you do boring, stupid, monotonous work, chances
are you’ll end up boring, stupid, and monotonous.”
While I was working on this blog post I allowed myself to be interrupted by emails, a phone call, and an Internet search on when and how Bill Walsh died. (Background: I watched a documentary on him last night and was curious. It turns out he was 75 and died of leukemia in 2007.) I even allowed myself to be distracted by a video on how to introduce yourself.
How do we get anything done anymore?
This type of fractured, distracted, superficial work environment can lead anywhere from mild unhappiness, to frustration, anger and depression.
Think back to the last time you were doing real work and someone kept trying to talk to you or ask you to do little, unimportant things. How did you respond to them? How did you feel?
Now think back to the last time you were in the flow or the zone and you knew you were doing great work. You knew you were at your best and Getting. It. Done.
How did you feel after a couple of hours of that? Even if it wasn’t your favorite part of your job, the fact you did it well and got it done felt good, didn’t it?
If it was something you really care about and you kicked butt, then you were on a high, weren’t you?
So, how do we get more of that?
The answer is focus.
If you can focus on the most important goals in your job and avoid the distractions of lesser tasks, you will be killing it at work and enjoying the great feelings that come from being in the flow.
If you focus on all the superficial, busy work that most people focus on, you’ll be the average, disengaged, unhappy worker bee.
So, where’s your focus?
1) To learn more about how to be in flow or the zone, read Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (say that five times fast).
2) To learn more about the importance and results of focusing on your best work, check out Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, by Cal Newport.
3) Get clear on the most important goals in your business and in your role in the business.
4) Set time aside to focus on those goals without distraction.
5) Explain to others how and when you will be in focus mode and unavailable except for emergencies.
6) Set a timer for 50 minutes, turn off all distractions, and GO!
7) Take a break, talk with friends, check messages.
9) Celebrate by wasting some time on Twitter.
(I now offer one to one coaching and an online coaching program for various budgets. Click here for more details.)
“Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” – Denis Waitley
The more I learn about the success of others the more I see how much they failed first.I have come to believe that the biggest determinant in failure or success is this:
It sounds too simple, too cliché, too corny. But, it’s also true.
How else can you explain how people with less talent, experience, education, intelligence, money, and connections succeed where others fail?
I documented numerous examples of this in my post, Be Encouraged by Rejection and Failure.
The problem is, most of us follow this advice:
“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There’s no point in being a damn fool about it.”
That’s when dreams die and real failure occurs.
But there are so many examples to prove that almost every success started as a failure. Quitting would have cheated the world of so many big and small achievements.
Don’t cheat yourself – and us – of all you can achieve. Keep GOing!
Have you ever heard of Rocket Chemical Company? It started in 1953 with just three employees. They were looking to create a rust-prevention solvent/degreaser for the growing aerospace industry.
Their only product was first used to stop missiles from rusting. Then they found household uses for it.
You know this company by the name of its invention – WD40.
Do you know what WD40 stands for?
Water Displacement – 40th attempt.
The first 39 tries failed.
Imagine if they had given up after the 10th failure, or the 15th, or the 22nd, or the 39th. How many nuts would still be stuck?! Thank you, Norm Larsen – founder of WD40 – for not giving up.
If you really want something, keep trying.
1) Do some deep thinking about something you’ve wanted to do, invent, or achieve that you “failed” at.
2) Decide if it’s something you are still passionate about.
3) If the answer is yes, get started on a goal and a plan to get there.
5) Keep GOing.
Questions for comments: What did you fail at before you became successful at it? What do you do to maintain your desire when you temporarily fail?
Following your Passionate Purpose doesn’t mean you only do one thing to earn a living. What happens if that one thing changes so much you can’t or don’t want to do it anymore? What happens to you and your family then?
The days of getting a “good” job and working there until you retire are over. The global economy is so dynamic now, it’s difficult to predict what’s going to happen in the future.
We need to start by figuring out what we want and why. Then, follow our lifelong process of pursuing our Passionate Purpose.
I can earn money while helping people and pursuing my Passionate Purpose by writing books, eBooks, audiobooks, giving speeches, creating seminars and DVD courses. I’m still cultivating other ideas off my Passionate Purpose as well. My plans include writing more books as well.
I’m continually learning how to:
- Find new ways to follow my Passionate Purpose
- Fully enjoy my dream occupation
- Master new skills in my field
- Develop new income sources with what I love to do
- Grow spiritually
- Keep my marriage full of love
- Connect with my children
- Become fluent in Spanish
- Play guitar
- Improve my physical health
- Read and understand financial statements
- Buy and sell houses, apartments, and commercial properties
- Negotiate deals
- Trade and invest in the markets
I do all this to be prepared for my future, to take care of my family, and to get where I want to go. Most of this is fun stuff that I actually enjoy doing. Don’t get me wrong, everything isn’t rainbows and unicorns, but I refuse to work my whole life doing what I hate.
This is also the smart way to go in the so-called New Economy. The bottom line is you never know what’s coming. I found this out the hard way.
I thought I had arrived. Everything was going according to plan. I had achieved my dream of becoming a nationally syndicated talk radio host. I was on more than 60 radio stations nationwide. I had a safe, two-year contract with my syndicator. Everyone at the company told me they loved my show. They told me I was the future host for them.
Then the recession hit, the company lost tons of advertising revenue, and I was informed they couldn’t afford to renew my contract. No one had lied to me or treated me poorly. They still loved my show, but the economics didn’t work anymore. Circumstances had changed.
Thankfully, I was already pursuing my Passionate Purpose and had options. My wife and I had put enough money away in our emergency fund to last eight months. I was working on a documentary on wasteful government spending, beginning to write this book, and working on investing more in real estate. Unfortunately, I didn’t have all these sources of income up and running before I lost my job.
Because I was already thinking this way, I was able to find work as a guest radio host for nationally syndicated talkers when they were out on vacation, and for talk shows all around the country. I filled in as the interim music leader at my church, and got my real estate license. All that, and my wife’s job as an elementary school teacher kept us going until I landed my next full-time gig as a radio talk show host in Kansas City.
My situation absolutely confirmed for me the need for all Americans to change their mindset on what the American dream is and how to get it.
Your motivation will rise and fall throughout your days, months, and years. It happens to everyone. The key is to figure out how to stoke your fire and keep yourself motivated.
Focus on your why. Do what you love. Keep learning new things and developing new skills. Stay focused on your most important goals. Revel in the joy that comes from pursuing your Passionate Purpose and living thelife you’ve always dreamed of.
Attend seminars from people you respect in your field. Keep growing and developing yourself every way you can.
Sometimes we get so caught up in achieving our goals that we miss out on what’s happening to us along the way. Don’t let that happen. Enjoy all that the process will bring you. As you pursue your Passionate Purpose you will improve and become more than you used to be. You will develop new skills, gain experience, and gather new information. You will grow into a better person.
It’s impossible to truly achieve your goals without improving yourself. Remember to enjoy achieving your goals and to enjoy the process you went through to achieve them. It’s your life, after all. Shouldn’t you make it awesome?
(I’m now offering a 40 day online coaching course to kick start finding and pursuing your Passionate Purpose.)
The way you respond to being victimized can determine whether you recover and move forward with your life or stay locked in a cycle of blame, resentment, and depression.
You can see this in the way people responded to the devastating tornado that hit Greensburg, Kansas, in 2007.
A powerful F5 tornado destroyed the town of 1,500 people. The storm hit just before 10 o’clock at night. Thankfully, the residents had some warning and only eight people lost their lives. Almost every building and tree was knocked down by the tornado.
Yet, by morning, almost every road had been cleared of debris. Local government agencies helped some. Volunteer fire departments arrived almost as soon as the storm ended.
But most of the clearing of the roads was done by ordinary citizens of Greensburg and nearby towns. They grabbed their chainsaws, jumped in their pickup trucks, and started working to help their neighbors and friends. They didn’t wait for someone else to save them.
They were real victims of a natural disaster, but they didn’t act like it. They couldn’t change the fact that the tornado had destroyed their town, but they knew they were in control of what happened after the storm. They knew they had the power to control what happened next. They knew they could choose to be victims or to become victors.
Dennis Boyles wrote about this type of attitude for National Review Online as he covered the aftermath of the tornado.
“Not long ago, while I was working on my book about the Midwest, I met a woman in her 80s in McCook, Nebraska, who told me about how she and her family had escaped the Republican River flood of 1935. That was the flood that hit in the middle of the Dust Bowl, dropped ten years’ worth of water in a few hours, and turned the nearly dry riverbed into a sea nearly four miles wide.
She and her mother and father had survived by running to a nearby farm situated on the only hill around. When the water reached the farmhouse, they ran for the barn. When it reached the barn, they ran for the machine shed. When it reached the machine shed, the climbed into the rafters. They won by inches.
When they finally climbed down, they were like the people in Greensburg: Alone, with nothing, on a big, flat, hostile plain. I asked her what the government did to help them out. She looked at me like I was nuts. ‘The government? We never even thought of that. We just went back to work.'”
We just went back to work. That’s the attitude we need whenever we feel like a victim. It’s not easy, but it gets amazing results.
You cannot be a victim and live out your Passionate Purpose. You must understand that you – not your parents, society, your government, or anyone else – you have the power to determine what your future will be.
It doesn’t matter if your victimhood is real or phony. Tune out the voices in your head that are blaming, complaining, and whining about your lot in life. Reframe everything in your past in the most positive way you can.
Even the worst circumstances can teach us something. That doesn’t mean that everything that has happened to you was good. It means you are choosing to use it for your good in the future. You are choosing to make everything in your past part of what is making you stronger and better. That’s empowering.
Get it deep in your soul. Until you give up blaming other people or circumstances for your failures and change your mindset from victim to victor, you will never truly succeed.
I readily agree that it’s not “fair” that everyone doesn’t start from the same point in this world. Some people have it harder than others. But all of us have something we must overcome in order to achieve the outcome we desire. And all of us are born with something that makes us unique and something that will help us succeed. The key is deciding not to be a victim and to fully exploit all the opportunity we have in this country.
Those who succeed are the ones who do not let their disadvantages define them. They’re the ones who don’t waste their time complaining about the hand life dealt them. They understand that living life as a victim limits your true potential and comes with strings attached that curtail your freedom.
Circumstances, event, tragedies, and what people have done to you do not have the power to make you a victim unless you give them that power. You get to decide. Your responses, your attitude, and the way you frame things in your mind can help or hurt you. What will you choose?
1) Reframe everything in your past in the most positive way you can.
2) Choose to make everything in your past part of what is making you stronger and better. That’s empowering.
(I’m now offering a 40 day online coaching course to kick start finding and pursuing your Passionate Purpose.)
We all get down at times. Sometimes, it’s for good reason. I don’t think the idea of trying to push that away with positive thinking or special exercises is healthy – if you don’t address the underlying problems.
It’s virtually impossible to feel deeply depressed when you take on the body posture and facial expressions of someone who just scored their dream job or who just won the lottery. Try it. Really act it out.
Imagine you just inherited five million dollars. How would you stand? Would you be slumped over or erect? Would you jump up and down? Pump your fist? Scream? Hold both arms up? How big would your smile be? Would your muscles be tight or slack? Really get into it and let your body and face do what they would do if you had truly just come into that much cash.
Are ya feelin’ a little giddy?
Hold that posture and that feeling. Now, feel as sad as you possibly can. Right now. Get sad! If you were able to change your positive feelings to negative ones that quickly, how do you look? Did your body posture change? Did you facial expressions change? I bet they did. It’s virtually impossible to feel sad and look ecstatic at the same time.
Try it the opposite way as well. Can you feel like you’re on top of the world while you’re slouched down in a chair with the most depressed body posture you can imagine and a facial expression that says your favorite dog just died? Not really. (Wait, you’d be really sad if any of your dogs died, right?)
That’s why, sometimes, it pays to “fake it until you make it.” Yes, you can sometimes shake yourself out of a small funk by walking, talking, and smiling as if you’re happy and ready to take on the day.
Remember, this doesn’t mean that we are constantly pretending we’re happy no matter what. That would be insane and cause you other problems. We need to deal with issues that are dragging us down and fix real problems we have. But the more you emulate what a positive, happy, optimistic person looks like, the more you actually will become one.
Amy Cuddy has given a great Ted Talk on her research on this. She found that our body postures can even change our hormones. When people in her research performed one of the “power poses” for as little as two minutes, their testosterone levels increased 20 percent and their stress cortisol levels decreased 25 percent. These positions made the participants feel more powerful and confident. What’s more, neutral observers who did not know which people had done the power poses rated the people who had done them as more powerful than the ones who had not practiced them. It seems your body doesn’t understand that you’re just faking it.
But wait, there’s more.
Erik Pepper’s behavioral science research shows that how we sit, stand, and move impacts our energy levels and how we feel. When we sit up straight, it’s easier to think positive thoughts. When we’ve been sitting for a while, getting up to stretch, skip, and “wiggle” boosts our energy levels and our ability to concentrate.
This type of research has been around since the late 1800s, so isn’t it time you took advantage of it?
(I’m now offering a 40 day online coaching course to kick start finding and pursuing your Passionate Purpose.)
“Well we’re movin’ on up,
to the east side.
To a deluxe apartment in the sky. Movin’ on up,
to the east side.
We finally got a piece of the pie.”
–Theme from the television show, The Jeffersons
We live in a country with unparalleled opportunities to achieve financial independence. There is unlimited wealth to be created. And yet most Americans believe there is a finite amount of money available. If “the rich” take more it leaves less for everyone else.
This “if you get more pie I get less pie” myth has done enormous damage to our economic success as a country and discouraged countless Americans from achieving their financial dreams.
I know the theme song of The Jeffersons talks about a limited income pie, but George Jefferson didn’t believe in that. He created wealth for himself and others. He provided a service (dry cleaning) people needed for a good price.
As his business expanded, he provided more jobs for his employees. He paid more rent to more landlords in the areas he placed his dry cleaning stores. He helped his vendors by purchasing more equipment and materials to run his business. He invested his money and that money was used to start new businesses and expand old ones.
He didn’t make other people poorer because his dry cleaning stores succeeded. He made people richer. He made pies.
There is more than enough for everyone. It’s like that old Doritos commercial: “Eat all you want, we’ll make more!”
Even better, get this through your head:
There is no pie. There are unlimited possibilities for all of us.
Think about this logically for a second. If there is some limited pie, how does our economy keep growing? How does the median income for Americans, adjusted for inflation, keep going up? Yes, we do have recessions in the business cycle, but overall our economy keeps growing.
Think back to the first job you had. What was your salary? What is your yearly income now? I bet it has more than doubled, right? You can double it again with the right plan—and help people at the same time.
Didn’t George Jefferson help a lot more people every time he opened a new store? (Um, Greg, hold up, George Jefferson is a fictional TV character…Yes, I know, just go with it.) The best way to help people is to become as successful as you can at serving others with your Passionate Purpose.
You can become a millionaire without taking anything away from anyone else. In fact, as you become a millionaire you will be adding to the wealth in America. You will be creating, investing, saving, producing, and spending. You will be creating new jobs. Everybody wins.
Think back to all the jobs you have had. Have you ever worked for someone poorer than you? I haven’t. I am thankful that richer people created those jobs for me and helped me provide for my family.
As long as we believe there is some finite amount of money out there, some pie, we are going to remain at each other’s throats scurrying around for crumbs while complaining that the rich are stealing the choicest pieces. That belief in scarcity and greed is going to make it much more difficult to achieve your goals.
When you believe there is a limited pie, everyone becomes your competition. Everyone becomes your enemy. What they gain, you lose. Their successes are your failures. You become paranoid and think that everyone is trying to take some of your pie.
You won’t want to work with someone or share an idea because you might have to give up some of your pie. It’s truly a miserable existence. It leads to a great deal of envy, jealousy, anger, and frustration.
None of this helps you succeed. In fact, it breeds and grows the idea that your current and future financial standing is not up to you. It is determined by outside factors far beyond your control—things like who your parents are, where you went to school, and who you know. You believe the myth that only the rich get richer. Of course, the more you believe this, the more it is true—for you.
Become a Benevolent Millionaire
“You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”
–Zig Ziglar, author and motivational speaker
I’m talking about becoming wealthy the right way, by helping people like George Jefferson did. (It’s a TV show! He wasn’t real! Stop with the George Jefferson analogy already! … Sorry.)
You can become a benevolent millionaire. You can help lift others as your success grows. Your success will come from helping other people get what they want. That is a great service to your community. While you’re doing that, why not do it the best way you can?
If you are starting your own company, you can treat your employees well with how you relate with them, what you pay them, and the benefits you provide for them. No matter what you do to earn your income you can become generous with how you spend and invest your money. You can choose to give to charities that you believe in.
You can become a mentor for someone and pass on all that you have learned. Invest in the next generation and you will be amazed how good it feels and how much you get out of it.
Imagine what would happen if everyone striving to multiply their income became a benevolent millionaire.
Take a look around you right now. What do you see? A couch, a chair, a computer, walls, furniture, lights, windows?
Everything manmade was once nothing more than a thought. Someone had to conceive of the couch you’re sitting on before the plans were made, the materials were gathered, and the work was done to make it and ship it to the store where you purchased it.
Someone had to dream up the house you’re living in before it was built. I had to think of every word in this blog post in order to write it.
Everything that gets done in this world begins as a thought. From the first automobile to manned spaceflight to the Internet to cancer treatments to magnificent symphonies and works of art, everything had its origins in a thought.
I find that incredible.
The same holds true for who you are. Everything you do and everything you are begins as one of your thoughts.
What you think about leads you to who you are, who you will become, what you do, and what you will do.
What have you ever done that didn’t begin with a thought?
When have you ever made changes in your life that didn’t begin with a thought?
We have to change our thoughts before we can change our behavior. If we keep thinking the same things we’ve thought every day, we will keep doing the same things.
So what are you thinking about all day long? Are they your original thoughts, or are they thoughts other people put in your head? Are they positive or negative thoughts? Are they helping or hurting you?
Whatever you focus on, you will tend to get more of it. Your conscious and subconscious minds will get the message that this is important to you. They will work all day and all night to help you with whatever it is you’re thinking about.
Isn’t that amazing?
All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become.
–Gautama Siddhartha, the founder of Buddhism
Your subconscious mind doesn’t care if you’re thinking negative or positive thoughts. Since you’re focusing on it you must want more of it, right? That’s the way your brain works.
Earl Nightingale, in his seminal work The Strangest Secret Ever Told, relates it to how a farmer and his field work together. Whether he plants corn or poison ivy in his field, the field doesn’t care. It will grow one just as well as the other. The field doesn’t judge what you’re planting. If the farmer plants corn and cares for it, the field will yield a wonderful crop of corn for him. If the farmer plants poison ivy, the field doesn’t listen to the farmer say, “No, I don’t want poison ivy, I want corn.” All the field knows is the farmer planted poison ivy, so that is what he is going to get.
What are you planting in your mind every day?
If you constantly think negative thoughts, don’t be surprised if you get negative outcomes. I’m sure you’ve seen this in your own life. When you get in a funk and start complaining about things you can quickly get in a downward spiral that is difficult to get out of.
Most of us have also experienced the opposite. We’ve had something good happen, we’ve focused on it, and then we’ve gotten on a roll. We feel like we’re in the zone and everything is working out for us.
Questions for comments:
What are you telling yourself in your head all day as you keep repeating your habits?
What are you thinking about all day long?
That is what you are and what you are becoming.
What thoughts do you need to focus on to create the change you want?
Choose your thoughts carefully. Choose your focus carefully.
You understand that you have to delay gratification sometimes. You put your head down and work hard on your goals so that when you achieve them you will reap the rewards. And you have a lot of goals.
You have goals at your full time job. You have goals for a new career that you’re starting on the side. You have relationship goals, personal goals, physical goals, spiritual and financial goals.
Oh, is that all?
Do you ever get tired of working so hard for the hope of future happiness? I know I do.
If we’re not careful, and all we do is deny the now for the future, we can lose our motivation and give up on the goals we truly want.
I’ve been thinking about that as I’ve been building my professional speaking business.
I have some ambitious goals on who I want to present to, how often I want to speak, where in the world I want to speak, how much I want to earn, and more.
To achieve those goals, there is a lot of work to do. Some of it I don’t enjoy very much. I don’t really like creating my website, editing my demo video, cold calling prospects, following up on the cold calls, and tracking every contact I make.
It’s a lot of work without a quick payoff. Staying focused on my why helps. But, if I don’t get some instant gratification as I go, I might give up before I reach my ultimate goal.
I have to be more than goal destination oriented. I need to be process oriented as well.
The good news is there are a bunch of things I love about being a professional speaker. I can choose to focus more on those things, and enjoy what I’m doing now, while also continuing to pursue my long-term goals.
- Creating presentations that positively impact people’s lives
- Presenting to people and organizations about the importance of purpose in and out of the workplace
- Helping businesses create more engaged employees and a better bottom line
- Helping people find and pursue their Passionate Purpose
- Meeting new people before and after each presentation
- Seeing people change because of my speech
- Getting referrals for more events
- Traveling to new places to give my talks and seminars
- Signing my book for people who are all in on living extraordinary lives
I can go a step further and even find things I enjoy inside the things I don’t.
I can turn cold calling into a way to meet new people and offer ways to serve them – not sell them.
I can focus on the fun parts of creating my web page and demo video. I enjoy making those look good and being great resources for people.
When I get my focus right, I can enjoy my journey to my long-term goals. And that makes all the difference.
Questions for discussion:
What destination goal is frustrating you?
What parts of working toward that goal do you love?
What could you do to make the journey more enjoyable on a daily basis?