Life In The Crawling Lane

“There’s no disaster that can’t become a blessing, and no blessing that can’t become a disaster.”
~ Richard Bach~

Tell an addictive person who seems bent on self-destruction that they need to face their addiction, and nine times out of ten they will ignore the good advice of a the caring friend, concerned family member or colleague.

It seems we are only moved by shock and awe.  A heart attack, a marriage on the rocks or a firing often catch us by surprise because we are not listening to the internal and external messages warning us of an impending disaster.

The three-pack-a-day smoker walks into the doctor’s office because he’s coughing up blood.  The doctor looks at the X-ray, points to a blotch on the lung, and says frankly, “This spot may or may not be malignant.  But the truth is that if you don’t kick your tobacco habit, you better map out your final days.”

The patient often has a transformational moment upon hearing the doctor’s somber prognosis.  Knowing that his life is in the balance, he often finally sees the light and never smokes again.  The seemingly impossible task of quitting suddenly and mystifyingly makes sense.  He stops because he treasures life and the benefits of living over death and the darkness unbeknown.
Isn’t it amazing how a once impossible or improbable behavior can change in an instant when a life or livelihood is on the line?

Do your best to admit and deal with your destructive habits before they spin out of control.   You are precious and worthy of success.

Stay around long enough to reach your full potential.  You need not be a slave to your bad thoughts and habits indefinitely.  If you slip while on the wagon, don’t beat yourself up.  Start again.

We are creators and we can recreate.  Greatness for you is in the cards.  That is why you have read this thought to it’s delicious conclusion.

Opportunity Lies Between The Cracks

“Go around asking a lot of dam-fool questions and taking chances. Only through curiosity can we discover opportunities, and only by gambling can we take advantage of them.”    ~Clarance Birdseye~

In big business circles it is not unusual for the discoverer of a new technology or application to drift off into obscurity and even poverty.  Ask the McDonald’s brothers who sold out to Ray Kroc for pennies on the dollar.  Ask the Indians who sold Manhattan Island for less than $30.

Truthfully, it is not the business that makes the opportunity, but the innovative brainpower to twist and tweak mediocrity and status quo into overflowing dollars that does.

Luck does not exist.  It is the result of putting your mind to work.  The “how to” of turning our ideas into cash eludes most of us.  Many of us have had an idea or two that one day – amazingly and to our chagrin – is seen in motion making someone else a small fortune.

Our knee-jerk reaction is often to blather out:  “That’s my idea!  I just knew it would work.”  Unfortunately, there is absolutely no consolation in just knowing.  Action does speak volumes more than idle words or concepts.

Idea factories are often too caught up in perfection to ever accomplish anything.  People may call them smart or even intuitive for their schematics and broad-stroked visions, but often their bank balance sheet whistles to another tune.

The next time you have a great idea, don’t forget to write it down.  After writing it down, don’t forget to research about it – who has a similar idea and how have they or will they apply it in the marketplace..  Then, remember to network with people who are successful or who, at least, have a burning desire too succeed.  Such a mastermind group can help you see between the cracks of your great idea and make your transition from dream to reality possible.

Life principles and practices – if developed thoughtfully – can guide you no matter where you reside and no matter where you may now stand on the economic food chain.

Become the man or woman who earns the millions by putting ideas into play.  And laser focus rather than jump from one great idea to the next.

Highest energy always wins.

If You Can Concentrate, Then You Can Win

“Those who attain to any excellence commonly spend life in some single pursuit, for excellence is not often gained upon easier terms.”     ~Samuel Adams~

The Internet is a wonderful instrument for learning, applying, and ultimately accomplishing your life goals.

Whether you are a beginner or an expert in any field, what you can find in a cyber-space search could liberate you from a thankless boss and a thankless job.  It could also give you countless clues as to how to increase your productivity and find happiness whenever, wherever and whatever you do.

Here’s the rub.  There is too much to learn and too many experts and charlatans shouting for you to join their program, apply their systems, buy their ebooks or attend their seminars at bloated prices.

The trick is to know what is important for your life, and then have the strength of conviction to say No to people, ideas and events which seduce you into a state of incompetence and underachievement.

Truly these days, it is as rare as a polar bear in Maui to find someone who can concentrate long enough to achieve significant goals.

For most of us, there are far too many distractions standing between a great idea and a great achievement.  Whether it be the addictive gamer’s site, the Super Bowl, or a night out getting wasted…most people can’t stay concentrated on anything long enough to have a punctuated success.

The years are going to pass by regardless of whether or not you define your life’s mission and act upon it. Concentration combined with unbending determination could put you light years ahead of the impatient, get-rich-quick schemers hell-bent on getting something for nothing.

If you feel yourself always distracted and always underachieving, you need to reprogram your mind. You need a master who lives on the high-value side of life already.

Whoever you chose, you must put your mind and vision in proper order before moving up the success ladder.  Take the art of concentration seriously every day.  Pay attention to people.  Pay attention to events.  Note hidden opportunities.  And most importantly, take the people and their messages you experience with deadly seriousness.

Catch your most important learning experiences in a symbolic bucket and then use this watershed to launch your life into high gear.

What Everyone Needs…And You Can Give

“The work of an individual still remains the spark that moves mankind forward.”
~Igor Sikorsky~

There have been times where being kind was the last thing on my mind.  People all around me would be screaming and calling for revenge.  But I never found it to be empowering to join the mob and lynch the bum.

For we all have 24 hours a day to live and to dream.  Why mortgage your happiness for an event or person or people that has brought you unhappiness?

Many of us have been taught implicitly that business and life is a dog-eat-dog reality.  Those of us who want to make it, must put sentimentality and caring behind us, so we are told.  Otherwise, they warn, the wolves will devour us.

I write to empower people, myself included.  I can’t climb into your skin and walk your mile, but I can give you the tools and networking opportunities necessary for you to attain excellence.

That’s my part.  And I will not let you down.  I’m an honest broker.

If each one of us can touch even one person a day with encouragement, unselfish attention and a smile…then we can move this planet.

Tell someone today that they are somebody of worth.  Mean what you say.  I guarantee you – all sentimentality aside – that you will have made a positive difference and a friend.

Six Degrees of Separation

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“Winners compare their achievements with their goals, while losers compare their achievements with those of other people.”     ~Nido Quebein~

The general principle of Six Degrees of Separation holds that we are only six people removed from meeting the right person or people to help us achieve our goal or objective.

Thus, if you wish to meet a famous person or have an interview at a prestigious company which has already rejected your application, then you must only persevere to that sixth degree in order to meet Michael Jackson or get the inside track on a job with a large stock brokerage house.

Thinking back, my most stunning accomplishments or victories over nay Sayers have come when the Six Degree Principle was followed.

Sometimes it may take more steps to the finish line, but if you are fed up with being a victim or a loser then that thorn in the side shouldn’t phase you.

The jewels in this world go to those willing to stick around long enough for success.

Surprisingly, though Six Degrees works far more often than it fails, most people live in fear of challenge and avoid it at all cost.  Far too many complainers and skeptics never get beyond the first degree of separation before the dream-stealers, critics, know-it-alls, and neggies step in to strip them of their determination.

Nothing stands between your well-thought-out dreams, aspirations and goals other than your belief in what is possible.

Guard that gate to your mind vigilantly.

Tiger Woods was as close to a natural as you’ll ever witness.  So was Babe Ruth.  And so may have been Michelangelo and Rembrandt.

One might say that they had the luck of the genetic draw, and few might disagree with that assessment.  But that just isn’t enough to explain why they rose to extraordinary heights while others tragically crashed.

If one took all the raw and precocious talent in the world and matched it up against the raw and dumb bunnies of the world, my guess – based on 65 years of breathing and awareness – would be that the dumb bunnies will consistently rule the roost.

You just can’t measure determination, character and follow through by simply classifying people by their DNA pool, their inherited wealth, or even their circumstances of youth.

Many intangibles are at work when an individual is being chiseled into an adult.  The final work cannot be understood only by measures such as wealth or number of fans, though these are components which convey the adaptability and creativeness of the person.

What really determines the luck of an individual is how he or she deals with adversity and barriers – some self-imposed – which hold him or her back from the glory of success and realization of goals on a consistent basis.

The comfort zone – a place of refuge from challenge, pain and failure – is the choice of many people of intelligence.  They would rather talk a good game than play in one.

Thus, the dumb bunny wins because he or she doesn’t know or care about the self-imposed limits which the educated class smugly cling to when the winds’ of change approach.

If you are too smart for your own good, why not start today by taking the dumb-bunny approach?  Don’t let your brain and your elitist pride stand in the way of your success.  It’s OK to fail and lose because both are elements of victory in the final lap.

The Missing Element

I can’t count how many times I have said or heard others say, “I’d give anything if I could play the piano /draw pictures/ hit a baseball/ invest in real estate/get women/get men like you.”

The raw truth for most of us is that the  “giving anything” is a blatant self-deception.  We live in a world which treasures immediate gratification over sacrifice and determination.

This trend took hold with the great centuries’ of invention –  electricity, radios, steam engines, combustion engines, cars, planes, TVs, washing machines, dishwashers, microwave ovens, electric typewriters, word processors, computers, cell phones and a host of other quasi-necessities and creature comforts of modern life.

Most of us would give next to nothing and want to pay next to nothing for excellence.  I’m guilty too of searching the Internet for the latest gadgets and shortcuts to wealth and happiness.

The story goes that a woman who married wealth and dabbled in the arts one day entered a five-star restaurant and ordered a delectable meal from the renown chef.  The meal came, she devoured it with gusto and then asked to meet the chef in the kitchen.  He reluctantly agreed.

The patron congratulated the chef on the excellent ragout, wrote down the recipe crudely, then went home gleefully to try out her newfound delicacy.  It tasted rather plain when she did it.

A few months later she went back to the same restaurant, ate another delicious meal, and asked the waiter to call out the chef.  He came, she praised him, and he turned to go back to his duties.

The rich woman then quickly said:  “Excuse me, sir.  I tried out your recipe that you gave me a few months ago and it didn’t taste as good as yours.  I followed your recipe to the letter.”

The chef looked at her ironically and said:  “Yes, madam, you did follow the recipe as prescribed.  But you must have left out one vital element…you forgot to throw yourself into the the act.”

If you lack passion and enthusiasm, don’t expect your customers or prospects to catch on fire about you or your company.  For some unfair reason most people can see through fraud and deception perpetrated to turn a profit.

Throw your heart and soul into what you do and let the chips fall where they may.  I’m reasonably certain you will eventually come out.

The Last Day

Come to me.
Hold my hand.
My life is falling through the sand.

Whether you are 22 or 92, make sure your life doesn’t fall through the cracks unnoticed.

Angry?  Then air out.

Tired?  Then stretch out.

Stressed?  Take time out.

Laugh till you cry, and don’t ask why.

Every moment could be your last.  Don’t count on more.

Say your hellos before you have to say your goodbyes.

Be the best you can be, so you never have to relive the nightmares of doubt and regret.

Be the friend you want to have.

Make peace with those you feel have failed you or those you think you have let down.

Build flexibility into your schedule.  The birthdays, anniversaries, graduations and whatnot are always more important to your well-being than a golf date to close a big deal.

You do attract to yourself what you dish out.  So dish out respect, love, tolerance, generosity, forgiveness, laughter, humor, camaraderie, thoughtfulness, respect, honesty…you get the idea.

Live fully in the present moment.  It’s all you have and all you ever will have.  It’s over in a blink.

As my favorite trainer and business philosopher, Jim Rohn, said:
We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.”

On Being Right

“War does not determine who is right – only who is left.”     ~Bertrand Russell~

Some people see life as a war, with winners and losers clearly defined.  Any life lost because of stubbornness and inflexibility is a tragedy.  Most wars are certainly avoidable without serious consequence.

On a microcosmic level, relationships are also often treated as a war between good and evil.  The man is a beast, while the woman is always assumed to be the sensitive beauty.

Let me ask you a question:  How many ways can you slice up a pie?  Yes, an infinite number of ways.  But perhaps your perception and bias limits you to just a few available options or even only one.

If someone slices up the pie into bite-size pieces, another person may just go ballistic and say something to the tune of:  “How could you be so thick and insensitive?  Pies must be sliced in the familiar triangular fashion, stupid!”

Sometimes these words are voiced while at other times the person whose sensibilities are challenged will silently seethe and froth at the mouth.

Wars find their roots in the minds’ of the rigid.  Seeds of intolerance are often planted in the family living room or the schoolroom where stridency and undue bias paint a picture that the pie can only be sliced in one style and dimension.

In mathematical formulas, this one-way-thinking may hold water.  But in what color the drapes should be in the kids’ bedroom or which section of a territory is mine or yours…more intelligence and flexibility is desperately needed.

I hope we all can learn to accept the infinite positive outcome.  Our world is changing at a dizzying speed and our only hope for survival of our species is to think out of the box and allow for difference in opinion.

This is my pie-in-the sky dream.  Give peace a chance.

Plan B
“When planning for a year plant corn.  When planning for a decade, plant trees.  When planning for life, train and educate people.”     ~Chinese Proverb~

Yesterday I sat down with my friend Tom, a man in his fifties who is contemplating retirement.  Like many people of our age, he has had parents and in-law parents pass away.  He came into modest sums of inheritance, leaving him and his wife feeling somewhat stable, at least for the time being.  That is, unless he lives as long as many Japanese do.

As a child, few of us – including yours truly – had any real training in how money works and how it can work for you.  Like “sinful” sex, it was often left to a crap shoot.  There are many losers and a few winners in a crap shoot.

Did your dad or mom, even if they were relatively well off, give you any clear information on how to financially plan?

If they did, then you have the table set properly to feed your children with the same beneficial information.  But if you didn’t have the vaguest notion about how money works, then probably money is still not working well for you.

Many people feel that if they are living on let’s say $150,000 a year now, that they can live on a quarter of that in retirement.  In researching this article, it became clear that to maintain your present lifestyle (taking inflation into account) will take about seventy percent of your present income.

I’m not prepared, quite frankly.  Are you?  If you are chasing dollars as a wage slave and spending the money at almost the same pace as it comes in, then you must see the scenarios clearly.

The first is that you will die and your surviving spouse may have enough to live comfortably without you from the inheritance and insurance payouts.  The second is the opposite, you will die and your spouse will have a pittance and a small pension; likely she/he will need public assistance in a big way a couple of years down the line.

But here’s a third choice:  reconstruct your thinking and strategy about making and saving money, even if you are in your fifties or sixties and you can feel the financial noose tightening.

If all of your income comes from going to an office and punching a time clock, then you are an indentured slave.  Yes, you may receive a gold watch and, if lucky, a lump-sum retirement payout from your company when you retire, but your money flow will totally dry up when you stop punching.  Government pensions, meager as they usually are, will not in themselves keep you more than barely afloat.

You and I need to become creative and re-create our image of who we are and how we relate to money.  We need a Plan B.  Plan B is your residual income, money that flows in through a leveraged vehicle.  By leveraged, I mean “other peoples’ effort and funding.”  We must learn how to work money, rather than spend it frivolously.  An online business or even a networking (MLM) business is possible to begin and prosper till death do you part, and even beyond.

While you may feel unable to work independently and build a sales team selling your book, your original soap or your knitting goods, to cite a few examples, the alternative of not trying can be dark indeed for your future.

Get started with your Plan B today.  Take yourself out of the picture in how to create a retirement lifestyle.  Use other people to leverage your time and money constraints.  Stop trying to be a one-man/woman show.

Make this your best year ever by changing strategies, however painful or scary that may be.

The “Get Rich” Shuffle

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“I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor. Rich is better.”     ~Sophie Tucker, U.S. (Russian-born) vaudeville singer~

God only knows how many times people I’ve met people – including myself when I self-talk – who tell you that they don’t care about money.  They then put some obscene labels on it as being evil or sinful, and flippantly dismiss all those with big ambition as being selfish and frivolous.

God only knows that most of these same people are being dishonest to the extreme with themselves, often without being aware of that fact.

As Zig Ziglar, a noted motivational speaker, philanthropist-entrepreneur and life coach has said:  “Money isn’t the most important thing in life, but it’s reasonably close to oxygen on the ‘gotta have it’ scale.”

People with small or no dreams are poor in more ways than in just the money sense.  When they awaken in the morning it is only to drag themselves to the job and pay off those damn bills and mortgage or to lounge around and forget that weekday grind on weekends.

This is called poverty living, even if your income tops $100K and you drive a Maserati sports car.

Our values about money are often derived from our contact with people who don’t have it.  They don’t understand how to obtain it, so they condemn those who haven’t yet demonized the green stuff and still find it to be a worthy measure of adult achievement.

Then there are those who will tell you that their Bible or holy scriptures clearly call money the root of all evil.  Mother Teresa was made a saint, yet her good works were totally dependent on…MONEY.  Without it, this saintly woman would have died obscurely in a slum.  While she may never have counted it herself, the nuns and fathers of her church and other followers religiously did!

What is your attitude towards money?  Is it a means to an end or the end?  If the latter be the case, no doubt you lack and you have alienated many.  If it is the former, then no doubt you have a dream bigger than yourself and money is a way in which you can fully express your heart.

Our flicker of time alive can and should make a difference.  Until you follow your heart, however, life will be a meaningless, incongruent ebb and flow which expresses nothing of your essence.

Money is a measure of just how much you have achieved and just how much you will achieve.  Don’t demonize it.  Use it to become a full expression of YOU.