Archive for June, 2007

Don’t Waste Your Potential, Sweat for a Vision adds Taste and Flavor to Life

Saturday, June 30th, 2007

We are all designed to thrive. The key to thriving is to have a vision that adds flavor to life. Most people live tasteless lives because they have not sweated enough for a vision statement that defines who they are. A good vision statement defines your purpose and gives meaning to your life. It adds color to life and brings vibrancy to one’s existence. A life without a solid purpose is a life being wasted. Sweat on your vision and you will avoid wasting your potential.

A vision statement answers the questions “Who am I?” It enables us to really define the essence of what our contribution to society is. It allows us to distinguish ourselves from the mass of human beings who each have a personal purpose. Vision allows you to ask yourself, “What does my exceptional life look like?” When we stretch ourselves in this manner, we begin to expose ourselves to our true potential.

Having a vision statement adds flavor and taste to life because it enables to clarify what success really is. Redefining the meaning of success in life begins with our understanding of our unique purpose in life. This is powerful because it enables us to avoid the trap of thinking that success is about making money, acquiring property or being famous. Your vision statement enables you to define for yourself the critical path that is essential for your personal life. Such an exercise is powerful. It sets you up for your true greatness.

I have mentioned the need to ‘sweat’ on a good vision statement. Writing out a vision statement is not an easy task. It requires deep self-exploration to get in touch with our higher selves and hone in on our truest desires. The process of discovery becomes as important, if not more important, than the final output. Vision statements are meaningless unless we invest significant sweat equity in their creation. Start sweating today. Sweating today will keep you from wasting your potential tomorrow.

Dream-Sense: Power Up Your Vision for a Better Future

Friday, June 29th, 2007

This afternoon I’ve been thinking of the idea of destiny and how we have the potential to sense that which we were born to accomplish and then make it a reality. Stories abound of how people have pursued their dreams and made them real life experiences in their personal lives. If someone can dream of accomplishing big things as an eight year old boy, then go on to pursue that dream and make it a reality, isn’t it possible that we can do the same? What’s your dream? Can you sense it? Can you touch it, feel it, smell it and taste it? Can you hear people congratulating you for pursuing and making your dream a reality? I call this dream-sense.

Dream-sense is that ability to live in your dreams today. It is the faculty of experiencing the life today that you know is coming toward you tomorrow. Most people live for the world that is past instead of the world that is coming. Dream-sense is about living for that which is coming. It’s about making tomorrow a reality in your experiences of today. It’s about enlarging your thoughts so that your mind can fully grasp and experience that which the eyes are yet to see. Dream-sense is being able to see yourself being and doing today that which you are yet to manifest in your life. Go ahead. Generate your dream-sense.  

The Power of a Good Hunch

Thursday, June 28th, 2007

Earlier today, my wife and I were talking about how many times we get hunches to do something but fail to indulge in those hunches for one reason or another. Many hunches are treated as passing thoughts when in reality they can become powerful ideas with life changing implications. A good hunch, if acted on and carefully pursued, can lift one up from obscurity and into the limelight. A good hunch has the power of significantly altering the direction of one’s life. Hunches should therefore be taken seriously. Here’s an exercise:

Write down a list of all your past hunches you didn’t indulge in. Rate them on a scale of one to ten on possibility factor. Beside each, write down why you think the hunch has that rating. Now write down your present hunches. Rate them one to ten on a possibility factor. Now, act on those hunches that have high possibility rates.

Happiness is not a place; it’s an attitude

Wednesday, June 27th, 2007

Many times we have this false idea that we will be happy if we go to a certain place or spend time with certain people. When I was a kid I would see other kids in the neighborhood base their happiness on the toys their parents bought them or the places they went to. I’m grateful that my parents helped me avoid this trap of basing my happiness on things and events. In High School and College I saw many kids who would say things like, “I can’t wait to graduate? I’ll be so happy!” When I started working, I would meet so many people at work who would say, “I can’t wait to go home. I’ll be so happy!”.

Happiness is an attitude. It’s not about where we are or what we are doing but about the kind of mindset we live with. We can choose to be happy regardless of our situations, circumstances or engagements. Choosing to be happy means making a decision that we will not allow our present reality define our state of mind. We can, and should, be happy regardless of our circumstances.

Just Do It!

Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

Entrepreneur Estee Lauder once said, “I didn’t get to where I am by thinking about it or dreaming about it. I got there by doing it.” Estee Lauder is famous for being a cosmetics queen. In her own words, she once said that she thought she “was growing a nice little business.” And that it is. A little business that controls 45% of the cosmetics market in U.S. department stores. A little business that sells in 118 countries and last year grew to be $3.6 billion big in sales. The Lauder family’s shares are worth more than $6 billion… and she got there by simply “doing it”.

Over the past couple of days I’ve been asking myself, “Am I really doing things that are leading me towards my ultimate desires or am I thinking so much about my desires and not doing enough to get me there?”. Victory and success don’t come through thinking. Granted, thinking is essential but massive action is the key to unlocking the fulness of our potential. Many times we short-change ourselves by not working enough or acting enough to make our desires a reality. Action separates the boys from the men, the girls from the women and the performers from the spectators.  

Becoming a More Efficient Person

Monday, June 25th, 2007

We all want to be efficient in life. I’ve never met anyone who simply wanted to sit idly and waste their time and effort. People want to know that their efforts and labor are not in vain. We want to demonstrate that our skill has tangible rewards. The key to all this is being efficient. There are two key qualities that enable efficiency are self-discipline and focus.  First and foremeost, you have to make yourself do the things that you must do. Self-discipline is the first step towards being efficient. Many times after we have started a task, different distractions will come our way and we have to make ourselves extremely focused on the task at hand. Lack of focus is perhaps one of our greatest failures as human beings. Staying focused and being self-disciplined go hand in hand. They are the keys to efficiency. 

Embrace the Hard Things

Sunday, June 24th, 2007

Have you ever been told by someone to “take things easy”? This happens a lot when people are parting and one says to the other “take it easy”. Is life supposed to be easy? Life has challenges and difficulties. Every day we face myriads of obstacles that make it impossible to take things easy. I think the right advice should be “embrace the hard things”. It’s the hard things that bring reward, fulfillment and joy in life. It’s the hard things that shape our character and mold our attitude.

If everything we ever wanted in life was easy to attain then everyone would be saying, “Open Sesame”. Even fulfillment and happiness come the hard way. We have to work at each of these. We have to labor to enter into the rest of enjoying the things that we really want in life. So, don’t take it easy today. Go hard!

Learn to BEHAVE

Saturday, June 23rd, 2007

When I was a kid growing up, my parents used to urge to “learn to behave” so many times. This post is not about that. This post is about mind-sets and how we form them. Stay with me because I know you will thoroughly enjoy this one. I just want to whet your appetite with six key elements of mindset that can elevate your life.

The main thing that determines what we do in life and whether we will be successful at it or not is our mindset. Our mindset is a combination of our Beliefs, Experiences, Habits, Attitudes, Values and Esteem (or Self-Image). So, basically, in order to succeed in life we need to learn how to BEHAVE. I’m not disqualifying the need to develop skills, expand knowledge or develop goals at all. All those are very important things and it is important that we do them. However, in order to attain all those other things, we need to have a solid mind-set. Having a winning mindset sets you apart from many other people who attempt to do great things but have not taken the time to learn how to BEHAVE – you have to BE before you can HAVE.

Have you learnt to BEHAVE? Over the next couple of days I will be posting on these six elements and how you can incoporate them into your life. Remember, BE,HAVE! 

Heads or Tails?: Make Your Choice

Friday, June 22nd, 2007

Here’s a simple allegory: “Heads we win, tails we lose”.

Most people don’t use their heads as much as they sit on their tails. We prefer to sit comfortably in the couch with a remote in hand rather than invest time in thinking about our lives and our true passions.

If we are going to unleash our true potential, we must use our heads more than we use our tails. Heads we win, tails we lose. Make your choice. 

Your History Should Not Control Your Destiny

Thursday, June 21st, 2007

Your past does not determine your future. When I was a kid mom used to tell me that once milk was spilled, it was gone. Many times we agonize over things and events that may have happened in our past when our life is really in the future. Don’t allow the past to be a stumbling block. The best is yet to come. It’s in the future. Yesterday has no governing power over tomorrow.

As a leader in my student’s body in college I used to tell fellow student’s that if I made a mistake, no one should come back to me and tell me that I should have done things differently. I’ve never been a fan of history lessons. My passion is about the future, about tomorrow, about what we can do differently today in order to ensure a better tomorrow. What happened in the past has already happened. Let bygones be bygones. Now, what can we do today to make a better tomorrow?

Continual Learning: How a know-it-all attitude robs us of the fulness of life

Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

A mentor once taught me that it’s what we learn after we know it all that counts! That was an eye-opener! It really made me think about how becoming a man has robbed me of so much that I had as a child. Many times we advance in age and so much changes that we lose touch with the things that make life worth enjoying. Certain activities and pursuits are shunned because they are for ‘children’. But being childish and being childlike are two very different things. Children are learners. True learners never say that they know it all. Childish people are stuck in their mannerisms. I want to go back to my childhood days because that is when I learnt the most. I want to walk in the rain, I want to jump in mud puddles, I want to collect rocks, I want to enjoy rainbows and roses once again, I want to smell flowers, I want to blow bubbles, I want to stop along the way just for no reason, I want to build sandcastles, I want to say hello to everyone, I want to go barefoot, I want to go on adventures, I want to act silly, I want to fly kites, I want to have a merry heart, I want to talk with animals, I want to sing in the shower, I want to read childrens’ books, I want to take bubble baths, I want to get new sneakers, I want to hold hands and hug and kiss, I want to dance, I want to laugh and cry for the health of it, I want to wonder and wander around, I want to feel happy and precious and innocent, I want to feel scared, I want to feel sad, I want to feel mad, I want to give up worry and guilt and shame, I want to say yes, I want to say no, I want to say the magic words, I want to ask lots of questions, I want to ride bicycles, I want to draw and paint, I want to see things differently, I want to fall down and get up again, I want to look at the sky, I want to watch the sun rise and sun set, I want to watch clouds and name their shapes, I want to watch the moon and stars come out, I want to trust the universe, I want to stay up late, I want to climb trees, I want to daydream, I want to do nothing and do it very well, I want to learn new stuff, I want to be excited about everything, I want to be a clown, I want to enjoy having a body, I want to listen to music, I want to find out how things work, I want to make up new rules, I want to tell stories, I want to save the world, I want to make friends with the other kids on the block, and do anything else that brings more happiness, celebration, health, love, joy, creativity, pleasure, abundance, grace, self-esteem, courage, balance, spontaneity, passion, beauty, peace, relaxation, communication and life energy to…all living beings on this planet.

Audacity, audacity-always audacity

Tuesday, June 19th, 2007

There’s a popular politician who has written a book titled, The Audacity of Hope. His story has been an amazing journey of hope and I think all our stories can be stories of hope and audacity. Every great enterprise in the history of man has been built on the backbone of bravery, courage and hope. Step out in hope today and build your future. Dare to go forward. Allow courage to be your guide. Audacity, audacity-always audacity!

Your Opportunities Are Within Your Problems

Monday, June 18th, 2007

This past week has been extremely challenging. I’ve had a couple of problems but each time I’ve discovered that the answers were right there waiting for me to sensitize myself to them. 

My greatest need this week was for headphones that I could use with my computer for my online teaching classes. I was in the process of planning to go buy one but hadn’t taken time to really do my research. At the same time I also discovered that I had an old camera that I had always wanted to get rid of. I decided to post it on a site for free give aways that I’m a member of. Within a few hours I got an email from someone saying that he wanted it. I gave him directions to my place and he came for it. As he walked up to my house, he had a set of headphones in his hands and asked me if I wanted them. I was startled! That solved my problem.

Problems are opportunities in disguise. Allow your problems to lead you to their solutions. Problems should never be treated like obstacles. They are not meant to stop you but to inspire you. Nelson Rockefeller once said, “Wherever we look upon this earth, the opportunities take shape within the problems”.  

The Secret Power of “Time-Outs”

Sunday, June 17th, 2007

One of my favorite sports is basketball. I’ve always loved the game, even though it took me a long time to understand the rules and grasp why they did things the way they do them. One of the features I never understood for a long time was the concept of time-outs.

A time-out is simply a short interruption in a regular period of play during which a referee stops the clock so that the players may rest, deliberate or make substitutions. I always thought that time-outs were unnecessary and that players should play continuously. My thinking was that time-outs robbed the game of it’s continuity. 

However, as I’ve grown and developed in my thinking, I have come to realize that time-outs are absolutely essential. Not just in sports, but also in regular every day activities of life. Time-outs allow us to think. Thinking is one of the mental exercises that very few people ever engage in. Many would rather be caught doing other things rather than thinking.

Time-outs are essential for a basketball team to refocus and review their game plan. Take time today for your time-out. Go to the balcony and reflect. Take a walk and ponder. Go to the back yard and meditate. Think about your life; the journey towards your destiny; etc. Enjoy your time-out. Don’t be in a rush to get back into the game. The game can wait. Go think. 

Navigating the Journey of Success

Saturday, June 16th, 2007

Life is a journey. Success is a journey, not a destination. I came across a quote that beautifully captures how to navigate this journey towards success. This is from Jack Canfield, author of Chicken Soup for the Soul. He says, 

“Think of a car driving through the night. The headlights only go a hundred to two hundred feet forward, and you can make it all the way from California to New York driving through the dark, because all you have to see is the next two hundred feet. And that’s how life tends to unfold before us. If we just trust that the next two hundred feet will unfold after that, and the next two hundred feet will unfold after that, your life will keep unfolding. And it will eventually get you to the destination of whatever it is you truly want, because you want it.”

Where are you in your journey towards success? No matter where you are, continue to trust that everything is unfolding in a pre-determined manner. You will make it to your destination if you will just continue to stay focused. The best is yet to come.  

Six Keys to Success

Friday, June 15th, 2007

We all want to achieve success. Human beings are designed and born for success. Success, however, is not automatic. There are certain key things that we have to do consistently in order to really attain that which brings significance to our lives. Here are six key things that I believe will usher in success to anyone who applies them.

1. Set big goals and dreams and go after them – Every worthwhile pursuit in life begins with a dream. Dreams are the substance of life. Once you have a dream, you need to create step by step goals that will allow you to get that which you desire. Goals must be pursued diligently. Diligence is the guidepost to fulfillment in life.

2. Learn from every problem or obstacle you face – Problems, challenges, obstacles and crisis are great teaching schools. When problems arise, take notes and study them. Learn from your mistakes and that will enable you to not repeat them. True success comes through challenges and trials. The road to success is littered with problems and obstacles that were conquered by winners.

3. Learn the key skills you require for success – Skills separate the winners from the losers, the successful from the successful. One of the things that has helped me a lot over the years is studying the lives of successful people. They have all been people who amassed great skill at doing what takes them over the top. Learn the necessary skills and you will definitely make it to the top.

4. Get the support and cooperation of others – No man is an island. The day of the lone-ranger is over. Teamwork makes the dream work. If you will truly reach your potential, you must embrace the power of teaming up with others. The support of people around you is crucial. Develop an inner circle of people who will support you. Find mentors and learn from them. Create networks with successful people and add value to them.

5. Focus on priorities and concentrate on key tasks – Priorities are the pathways to success. Your priorities in life determine the quality of your results. Goals should be prioritized. High impact goals should befirst on your goals list. Clear set-up of priorities enables you to develop a powerful focus that directs your pursuit of your goals. The objectives that bring you the most reward in life should be the center of focus.

6. Develop persistence and unshakable self-confidence – Persistence and self-confidence go hand-in-hand. We all encounter obstacles in life but it is those who persists through the obstacles who will attain their full potential. Self-confidence sets you apart. Most people sabotage themselves by second-guessing their abilities and strengths. Don’t let doubt, uncertainty and societal barriers stop you. Success is yours for the taking.

Go for it!

Crisis – The Crucible That Shapes You

Thursday, June 14th, 2007

Many people fear crisis situations but the truth is that crisis is the furnace that truly tests a leader and reveals what kind of substance she is made of. Greek philosopher Epictetus once said, “Circumstances do not make the man; they merely reveal him to himself.” A crisis is the genuine test of courage and effectiveness in a leader. Crisis reveals what we are made of. Rather than shun crisis situations, we should embrace them because they allow us to grow and develop our character.

What challenges are you facing today? Are you approaching them with a proper attitude? Even more important, think about the future. What challenges do you anticipate in the future? By thinking keenly about them now, you can choose how you will respond to such situations. Allow your crisis situations to develop maturity and leadership substance within you. Remember, crisis reveals who you are.  

The Power of Reciprocity

Wednesday, June 13th, 2007

Zig Ziglar famously said, “You can get anything you want in this world if you can just help enough other people get what they want”. The truth is that if you do something nice for someone else, they will feel obligated to do something nice for you. That’s the power of reciprocity. I learnt this with a friend of mine the other day when I invited him and his family for a fully paid tour of an exhibition in our city. He was so delighted that all evening he kept on asking if there was anything he could do to help me.

You should always be looking for opportunities to help other people. Make it your goal that you will go the extra mile in helping people attain what they desire. Make it your personal goal to do more than you are paid for. Be committed to putting in more than you take out. When your input exceeds your output, your upkeep will be secure. By extending yourself, you improve your positioning in the other person’s mind. Few people have a concrete philosophy for helping others. Develop one for yourself and you will stand head and shoulders over many.

Simple words can change a life

Tuesday, June 12th, 2007

A few months ago I met a speaker from the Bahamas, Dr. Myles Munroe, who said a few simple words to me that had a great impact on my life. After speaking at a seminar in Omaha, Nebraska, Dr. Munroe went to the back to sign books and meet with his audience. After signing a couple of books that I had bought Dr. Munroe hugged me and said to me, “May you die empty”. These simple words had a powerful effect on me. I’ve continued to pursue my goals with the desire to ‘die empty’.

My reason for sharing this today is to remind you that simple words, a few short simple words, can have a tremendous effect on someone’s life. People need encouragement and empowerment. Every day we are faced with situations that disempower and rob us of our full potential. You never know what that lady or gentleman is going through. That’s why it’s important to always share positive, powerful thoughts with those we come into contact with. A simple appreciation, a simple statement of affirmation, an encouraging comment, simple words of validation can change people’s lives. Choose today to share words that will empower those you come into contact with. 

Laboring Under Correct Knowledge

Monday, June 11th, 2007

People sometimes attribute other’s successes to ‘luck’. Luck, to me, is a term for the uninitiated. True success comes only through smart work. Luck therefore is Laboring Under Correct Knowledge! When we have the right knowledge and apply ourselves in implementing it, luck will be the output of our smart efforts. Achievement does not come out of the blue. It comes from laboring under correct knowledge. Gain the right kind of knowledge and apply yourself and doors will surely open.