How to Use Pleasure and Pain to Your Advantage

Taser Photoshoot

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.

–Anthony Robbins

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?

Great question.

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:

  • TV
  • Food
  • Alcohol
  • Movies
  • Social Media
  • The Internet
  • Sports
  • Clubs
  • Hobbies

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?

You’re welcome.

Let’s GO!

(I now offer one to one coaching and an online coaching program for various budgets. Click here for more details.)

I Tried To Change And It Didn’t Work

failure2

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.

Let’s GO!

How to be Happier at Work

And, no, it's not about office chair races (although that sounds fun) It’s All About Your Focus

happy-at-work-06032017081952-1000x0

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.” 
–B.Black

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?

Action steps:

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.

8) Repeat.

9) Celebrate by wasting some time on Twitter.

Let’s GO!

(I now offer one to one coaching and an online coaching program for various budgets. Click here for more details.)

Almost Every Success Started as a “Failure”

 

“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:

Perseverance.

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.”
W.C. Fields

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. 

Action steps:
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.
4) GO!
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?

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!

How to Recession Proof Your Life AND Enjoy It

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?

Let’s GO!

(I’m now offering a 40 day online coaching course to kick start finding and pursuing your Passionate Purpose.)

How to Take Control of Your Past and Your Circumstances

calm

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?

Action Steps:

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.

Let’s GO!

(I’m now offering a 40 day online coaching course to kick start finding and pursuing your Passionate Purpose.)

How to NOT be a Victim

victim

Everything that goes along with being a victim is in direct conflict with what you need to succeed. When you see yourself as a victim you are helpless, hopeless, depressed, self-pitying, blaming, negative, and unlovable.

Other than that, it’s a gay old time.

Definition of a victim: a person to whom life happens.
–Peter McWilliams

We’ve all been through times when we felt like the victim. I still have times where I throw myself a pity party. Because even though victimhood holds us back from moving forward to the success we want, it also holds rewards for us.

It’s a lot easier playing the victim than taking responsibility for our own life and working hard to achieve something. It can also be a great excuse.

  • You are not expected to do much of anything, certainly not work hard and succeed.
  • You have no responsibility for what happened to you.
  • You have a right to be depressed and angry.
  • You are entitled to a bottomless pit of sympathy.
  • You have a right to be rescued.
  • You may win millions of dollars in a lawsuit.
  • No one can question you or they are “blaming the victim.”

But that small pleasure and avoidance of working on fixing our problems comes with a huge cost.

Once you believe you’re a victim at the mercy of circumstances, what’s the point in trying? You are not in control of your own destiny, so why put in the hard work it takes to change, grow, and achieve what you want?

If you have no power to change your life you’re doomed to whatever life, other people, chance, or fate does to you.

Gee, sign me up for that life. That sounds super.

Victimhood is Self-Sabotage

When things aren’t going well for us it’s easy to play the victim:

Divorced three times? Your parents were bad role models.

Didn’t get the job? The boss must be racist.

Lost your job because you keep showing up drunk? It’s not your fault. You’re an addict.

Didn’t make the sale? The customer hates fat people.

You might be thinking to yourself right now, Greg is a moron. Some people really are victims. Sometimes it’s really not their fault.

And you know what? You’re right (except for that Greg’s a moron part). Sometimes you are a real victim of racism, or fatism, or sexism, or whatever other -ism you can come up with.

But even if you are a true victim, how is being a victim going to help you make your life better? It won’t. It can’t. So it’s up to you to say, No matter what has happened to me in my past I am not going to let that become my future. I am not going to let anyone or anything have the power to ruin my life.

That doesn’t mean all the pain and depression will go away overnight. But realizing that maintaining your victim status will do nothing to help you overcome your current situation is absolutely necessary to getting you back on the path to success.

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?

Action Steps:

1) Realize that believing you are a victim, regardless of your situation, will not help you reach your goals.

2) Change your mindset to an internal locus of control – where you believe you are in charge of what happens in your life. Your past and current circumstances don’t control your future, you do.

3) Reframe everything in your past in the most positive way you can.

4) Choose to make everything in your past part of what is making you stronger and better. Believe it’s helping make you who you need to become to create the life you want.

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.)

Do You Believe in Luck?

Greg, all your talk about finding your Passionate Purpose, finding a strong why that supports it, creating goals that go with it, then creating action plans to support those goals, and then taking consistent daily action sounds like a lot of hard work. Besides, we all know it really comes down to how lucky you are.

Well, it is a lot of hard work. If it were easy, everyone would do it. But the hard work is worth it. And, when you’re pursuing your Passionate Purpose, even hard work can be enjoyable.

As to the second point that it’s really just luck, for just a second forget about whether that’s true or not. Let me ask you a question. If you really believe that your success is out of your control and is determined by luck, will that belief help you achieve your goals?

If you believe you’re not lucky enough you will be right.

How would you ever expect to succeed with those beliefs holding you back?

Unfortunately, we are bombarded daily by so-called leaders, experts, and friends telling us how we will never be able to fulfill our dreams and accomplish our goals. Some of them are trying to help. Some of them are jealous (consciously or unconsciously). Some of them are trying to excuse themselves for not reaching the level of success they’d once hoped for.

Regardless of their reasons for feeding us that defeatist philosophy, if we believe them, they will be right. But if we reject those negative beliefs and stay focused on our Passionate Purpose we will achieve more than we ever thought we could.

If you believe you can find the husband or wife of your dreams, you’re right.

If you believe you can run a marathon, you’re right.

If you believe you can become a financial success, you’re right.

If the American dream really is dead, then how are people still going from rags to riches every day in this country? How are some people able to go from nothing to super successful in one generation?

Luck?

I believe in preparing yourself to take advantage of opportunities that will appear as you stay focused on your goals.

If you are constantly thinking about where you want to go and improving yourself in every way to be the person you need to be to achieve the success you are working towards, you will see opportunities appear with increasing frequency. Is that luck? No. It’s the result of hard work and taking consistent action.

Some people would rather believe that it all comes down to luck. For them, believing in luck is a way to feel better about themselves when they don’t reach their goals or someone else is achieving the success they want.

Before and after I had my own syndicated radio talk show, I guest hosted for other national programs. I can’t tell you how many people would comment on how lucky I was to fill in for so many big-name radio stars.

The truth is luck had nothing to do with it. I worked hard at becoming a good host. I asked for, and acted on, the constructive criticism that I received and kept getting better. I kept making demos and sending them to program directors all across the country.

Then I started asking the producers and hosts of the national shows if I could fill in for them when they were on vacation or whenever they needed someone on short notice.

Now, when one of these hosts got sick and they needed someone to fill in at the last second, was it luck that I often got the call? Once I filled in and they liked what they heard, was it luck that I was asked to guest host again?

When a smaller syndication company was looking for a new national host, was it luck that I was one of the ones they interviewed for the position?

I like what Don Sutton says: Luck is the by-product of busting your fanny.

Let’s GO!

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

Your New Mindset

Glowing_Brain.slider.right_2_crop_630x306

Extensive research shows that most successful people have a mindset that is positive and optimistic. They believe they have control over their lives, not that events control them. They believe that being successful helps everyone and exploits no one.

Most successful people have a mindset focused on growth and learning what they need to achieve all their goals. They have a mindset that asks, “Why not?” “What can I learn from this?” “What if?” They have confidence in their abilities to do what is necessary to win.

Most successful people don’t believe they are in competition with everyone they meet. They understand they are creating the extraordinary life they want. They don’t have to take from someone else to do that. They don’t believe everyone is out to get them.

I have declared myself a Dionarap.

dionarap
noun [dye-oh-nuh-rap]
* One who believes that everyone is out to help him.
(OK, it’s just paranoid spelled backwards. You got me.)

 

Did you hear about the optimist and the pessimist living next door to each other? They both had to get up at 6:00 a.m. to get to work on time at similar jobs. The optimist jumped up when he heard the opportunity clock go off. He pulled the blinds open and yelled, “Good morning, God!” The pessimist hit the snooze on his alarm clock five times before he finally dragged himself out of bed. He peeked through his blinds and growled, “Good god, it’s morning.”

Who do you think is going to have a better day?

Get ready for an amazing insight coming at you. People with a good, positive, optimistic attitude tend to enjoy their day more and accomplish more than people with a negative, depressing, pessimistic attitude. See, I told you—deep insight. You’re welcome.

Growth and Fixed Mindsets

Carol Dweck’s book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, suggests there are two types of mindsets. A fixed mindset believes that your intelligence, talents, skills, and personality are largely set and there is little you can do to change them. A growth mindset believes that you can learn, grow, and improve anything through effort, experience, and practice. There may be upper limits we can reach based on what we were born with, but nothing is set in stone.

Guess which mindset Professor Dweck’s research showed was seen more in successful people?

Mindset explains that people with a fixed mindset play it safe to protect their positive beliefs about themselves. If you’re smart, things come easy to you. So if something is hard, it’s better not to do it. Otherwise, you will have to conclude you’re not smart.

Dweck found that when these people didn’t do well at something, it threatened their belief in their fixed intelligence so much that some of them would even lie about their performance to protect themselves.

Have you ever had a boss who took all the credit but none of the blame? If he received constructive criticism, he would blame the messenger? When you brought a new idea, he would reject it immediately and even become angry with you for trying to move the company to keep up with the times? Those are some of the traits of a fixed mindset manager.

People with the growth mindset are more willing to try new things and struggle with hard tasks. They get excited about learning and getting better. They’re willing to take more risks because every little failure they might endure isn’t proof that they’re not smart. It’s just a bump in the road as they learn, grow, and become smarter. Growth mindset people actually enjoy that process.

This type of manager welcomes new ideas and sees them as opportunities for everyone on the team, including him, to stretch, learn, and grow. He can take criticism in stride knowing that we all have weak spots and with hard work we can develop new skills and get better where we need to. He can share credit with his employees because he doesn’t have to prove he’s the smartest person in the room.

Which type of manager do you want to be, or work for?

The growth mindset leads you to try new things, take on new challenges, learn from criticism, share credit with your team, and keep pace with changes in your field.

The fixed mindset leads you to play it safe, react angrily to criticism, blame others and circumstances for your failures, and avoid new challenges and new ideas for fear of having your intelligence and abilities questioned or threatened.

Well, that’s just great, Greg. Reading this, I have figured out that I’m a fixed mindset person. So I guess I’m not going to succeed.

Whoa, tap the brakes, Speed Racer. That type of thinking is the fixed mindset thinking. You’re born one way and that’s it. Well, I have good news for you. Almost no one has a totally fixed mindset; we are all somewhere on the continuum between fixed and growth. Here’s some more good news: You can choose your mindset. It’s not set in stone.

When you are about to try something new, get yourself into the growth mindset before you begin. Tell yourself you are about to learn and grow. You might not get it right immediately, but if you put in the effort you will succeed. When you make a mistake, tell yourself you just learned something and you’re now one step closer to reaching your goal.

Then pay attention to your self-talk; you can catch yourself making limiting, fixed mindset statements and stop them in their tracks. Imagine you have an opportunity to lead a new project at work. There are some new concepts involved in it and you’re not sure about it. Your fixed mindset thoughts might say, This is risky. What if I fail? I’ll be a failure. Maybe I’m just not smart enough or talented enough to do this.

When you notice these thoughts yell, Stop! Replace those thoughts with growth mindset thoughts. Say to yourself, This is a great opportunity for me. I may not know everything about this right now, but with hard work I can learn what I need. This will be a great chance to grow and expand my skills.

Let’s GO!

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

Life is a Near Death Experience – So, Let’s GO!

Happy-Full-Of-Life1

Imagine you’re 24 years old. You’re young, healthy and full of life. The world is out there waiting for you and you can’t wait to create your future.

Then, things start to go sideways. You go in for your annual physical and you get a call from the doctor’s office. They want to know if you can come in for a couple of tests – not in the next couple of weeks – tomorrow.

Uh, oh, this can’t be good.

You get the tests done and the doctor, who usually jokes around with you, comes in with a very somber look on his face. He tells you the tests show that you have Stage IV cancer.

Whoa, what? I’m 24. I’m in great health. Can you fix this?

The doctor says they have a range of treatments, but you need to get your affairs in order just in case.

That’s what happened to a friend of mine. He said the first thing he thought was, what have I done with my life? He didn’t like the answer. He realized he had been selfish, focused on himself his whole life, and really hadn’t made much of a difference.

He’s a Christian, so he started thinking, when I stand before God what will I tell him I did with the gift of my life? It totally changed his direction and intention.

Thankfully, aggressive treatment saved his life. And he’s making every bonus day count.

How many times have you heard stories like that? Near death experiences that change people forever. But, have those stories changed how you live your life?

For most of us, the honest answer is no.

Why does it take a near death experience for us to truly live?
Why can’t we pretend we’ve had one and start living now?
Why not live like everyday is a near death experience? When you think about it, it kind of is.

Here are some questions to think about tonight:

Are you using the limited time you have left to live the life you dreamed of?
Are you making the difference you want to make?
Are you doing the work you want to do, work that moves you and stirs your soul? Are you loving whom you want to love – and letting them know how much you love them?
Are you volunteering where you want?
Spending time with the people you want?
Living where you want?

If not, this is your near death experience calling. You have Stage IV cancer. If you treat it aggressively, by finding and pursuing your Passionate Purpose, you can be cured and live an extraordinary life.

It’s time to make the most of this gift you’ve been given.

You can do it.

Let’s GO!

(I’m now offering a 40 day online coaching course to kick start finding and pursuing your Passionate Purpose.)