Daydream Your Way To Success

laziest-man-ever

Being called lazy is one of the worst things you can call an American. We take great pride in being busy and working hard. I mean, we’re not Austria!

But, what if working really hard looks like you’re being lazy? Isn’t that what happens when you’re thinking and daydreaming? And isn’t that where we make the biggest advances in everything we do?

“Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it.”
– Henry Ford

(That’s exactly what I tried to tell my 10th grade trigonometry teacher. “I’m not goofing off and being lazy, Mr. Leaf, I’m thinking big, deep thoughts!” For some reason, he didn’t believe me. If only I’d had the Ford quote back then.)

Henry Ford told his engineers that they should spend time everyday just thinking. He knew that was how they would come up with improvements for the factory line and new models of cars. Busy work wouldn’t do it.

Everything humankind has ever made began with a thought. Everything that ever will be made, innovated, or invented will begin with a thought. There’s no other possible way to begin anything. Think about it. (Even that requires a thought.)

Einstein published his five most famous papers while working as a junior patent clerk in a Swiss patent office. He said he had more time to think at that job, than he did once he became a science professor working at a University.

We need to schedule time to think, brainstorm, let our minds wander, and daydream. It is virtually impossible to be at your creative best in 5 to 10-minute increments. You can’t invent the next best thing when you let your email, text messages, and meetings (oh, the meetings, make them stop!) constantly interrupt your flow.

(Yes, that meetings comment is aimed at you, Mr. Everyone needs to come to my 2-hour bore-a-thon so I can hear myself speak and show how important I am Guy.)

There are two types of thinking I’m referring to here.

  1. Thinking about a problem, obstacle, or goal. You focus on the issue at hand at the expense of everything else. You look at it from every angle, research it, learn about it, and brainstorm new ideas.
  2. Letting your mind wander. You don’t have an agenda here. You have blocked off some time – one to two hours – to just let your mind lead you where it wants to go. This is usually the time that all the things you’ve been thinking about, but putting off, work their way back to the front of your mind. The cool thing is, quite often new ideas start popping into your head. (It used to happen for me when I was jogging. But, I hate jogging, so I stopped that. Now it usually happens when I’m sitting on the beach or taking a shower.)

Remember, thinking doesn’t mean you’re lazy. It means you’re doing some of the hardest and best work there is.

Action steps: 

1) Block out one or two hours to think. Don’t allow any interruptions. Most of us can’t do this everyday, so pick one to three days a week to do it. It helps if you let others know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, so they don’t think you’re just goofing off.

Oh, and if you can’t stand just sitting and thinking, you can do any repetitive, physical activity that doesn’t take much of your conscious brain power to do. I’m talking about things like walking, jogging, swimming, cleaning the dishes (your spouse will appreciate it!), gardening, mowing the grass, etc. That type of activity might even spur your thoughts on.

2) Write down every thought that comes to you that could be useful.

3) Take your best ideas and spend some time thinking about how to put them into practice.

4) Take action on the new idea right away. Don’t let the idea fade.

Questions for comment: How do you find time to think? What benefits come from it?

“The world we have created is a product of our thinking; it cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”

Albert Einstein

(If this post resonated with you, share it with a friend and check out my book, GO! How to Find and Pursue Your Passionate Purpose, available in paperback and audiobook.)

Everything You Want to Become and Do Begins With a Thought

What are you thinking about all day long?

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.

Let’s GO!

(If this post resonated with you, share it with a friend and check out my book, GO! How to Find and Pursue Your Passionate Purpose, available in paperback and audiobook.)

How To Do Awesome Things

*Special Notice* I’m hosting a FREE webinar – 5 Steps to Finding Your Passionate Purpose on 7/14/2016. That’s also the date I’m launching my three month personal coaching programs with value and premium pricing and my 40-day online ecoaching course. Stay tuned for details…

Now, on to the video blog post.

We’re so busy all day, every day that we seldom take time to do an extremely important thing – take time to think.

If this post resonated with you, Please subscribe to my blog and get my free eBook — 5 Steps to Finding Your Passionate Purpose. You can also purchase my book, GO!

When Did We Decide Working Too Hard is Something to be Proud Of?

americans-working-too-hard

A new Bloomberg poll shows 27% of Americans think we have a lagging work ethic. I would qualify that belief to this: Some Americans have a lagging work ethic.

We have all seen the people who are doing just enough not to get fired, or the people who really don’t want to work at all.

I do worry that we now have a few generations who seem to think the good life is something they’re entitled to and not something you have to work for.

But there is also a danger if you go to the other extreme. When work becomes your idol and all you live for, that’s not good either.

When did we decide working too hard is something to be proud of?

I’m all for working hard and getting things done, but what about time for your family, friends, sleep, God, and relaxation? What about time to volunteer, think, read, and exercise?

Too much work will lead to you losing many of the things you hold dear. It will also lead to a reduction in the quality of your work and it could actually kill you.

Other than that, it sounds AWESOME!

My daughters really want to try out for a professional play in our city. But, when we looked at the practice schedule we told them no.

Rehearsal is from 5-10pm every weeknight. On the weekends, it’s from 8am-5pm. For three weeks. Wow.

Right now they leave the house at 7:15am and get home from school around 3:30pm. It would take 30-45 minutes just to get to rehearsal. They wouldn’t get home until around 10:45pm. They would still have homework to do. That doesn’t include piano practice, showering and getting ready to go to sleep.

That’s too much. They would not be able to give their best to the show or to their schoolwork. They would end up tired and miserable.

Sometimes it’s hard to say no to something we really want to do or something we feel we should do, but we need to give ourselves permission to say no.

It’s not a badge of honor to work yourself to death. It will actually end up hurting you, your quality of work, and the ones you love.

I’m going to spend some time this weekend rethinking how I spend my time each day. I’m going to prioritize what I need to do in all phases of my life.

If you decide to do the same, let me know what plan you came up with. I’m sincerely interested.

Yogi Berra Passes – Don’t Forget His Wisdom

New York Yankee catcher Yogi Berra poses at spring training in Florida, in an undated file photo. (AP Photo)

New York Yankee catcher Yogi Berra poses at spring training in Florida, in an undated file photo. (AP Photo)

Baseball legend Yogi Berra passed away at the age of 90. I’ve always loved his quotes. It’s hard to be funny (but not cheesy) and wise at the same time.

“We made too many wrong mistakes.”

Hey, there are good mistakes.

How about this one:

“How can you think and hit at the same time?”

Some people think it’s funny because, obviously, you have to think to hit. But I think Berra was being serious.

How can you do anything well when you’re thinking about it too much?

Of course you had to think to learn how to hit. When you were first trying to do it, you thought about everything – how to stand, how to hold the bat, how to watch the ball, how to swing, and more.

But the only way to become a great hitter is to practice so much that you don’t have to think about it anymore. It’s the only way to get in the zone or the flow or whatever you want to call it.

Isn’t that the same with everything we love to do?

How can you think and play guitar really well at the same time?

How can you think and have a great conversation at the same time?

How can you think and make a great sales presentation at the same time?

How often do we hurt ourselves by thinking too much?

Yes, we need to think, plan and organize in everything we do. But then we need to stop thinking and just do it.

That’s when greatness happens.

Thanks, Yogi.

More of my favorite Berra quotes:

You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you are going, because you might not get there.

It was impossible to get a conversation going, everybody was talking too much.

No one goes there nowadays, it’s too crowded.

The future ain’t what it used to be.

Why buy good luggage, you only use it when you travel.

You can observe a lot by just watching.

Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t come to yours.

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I’m not hungry enough to eat six.