The Blame Game

“When you blame others, you give up your power to change.”     ~Robert Anthony~

Accusing others of hurting you – even when undoubtedly true – is usually an act in futility.  Very few people have intention to do you wrong, though many will (at least, in your mind) during the course of your life.  Moreover, most people become unreasonably strident when made to feel accused or guilty.

I truly believe that being caught up in the blame game and holding grudges in bitter silence will shorten your life and your chances for success on all levels.

While spread out on an operating table for emergency angioplasty several years ago, all the blame and disappointment in my own life became a moot point.  I saw my occluded heart arteries on the screen and in a surrealistic flash became aware that you create your own reality.
My heart problems were caused by internalizing anger – a poison – and holding on to it for a lion’s share of my adult life.  In some ways, I had been like a deer caught in headlights for half a century.

When I returned home from the hospital, I finally appreciated the sweet essence of life.  In my remaining years I resolved to not blame and to not get unnecessarily angry about the petty wrongs I perceive others do to me.  Most of them are only in my head and, if left unchecked and unattended, will eat away at my heart again.

Smoking and overeating are signs that we are at dis-ease.  They are not truly the cause of sickness and premature death.  They are obvious signals of an unhappy internal engine which has never learned to cope with the pains and setbacks associated with being a human being.

If this short musing doesn’t hit home with you, certainly pass it on to someone with whom it might.

We can change and reprogram our minds to find the good where we used to find bad.  Ultimately, we will no longer need to beat ourselves up about the small stuff.

It doesn’t matter who or what is at fault for your shortcomings.  What matters is realizing where you are and making the changes necessary to feel good about yourself at all times.

Sleep well and wake up tomorrow with a zest for life.

Defining Your Success

“We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched.  Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the
rooms of our lives … not looking for flaws, but for potential.”                                                              ~Ellen Goodman, NY Times columnist~

Every day I am astounded by the herds of people – Japanese and foreigners alike – holding onto small, manageable, unchallenging dreams and life goals.

How small can a dream get before the spark of life extinguishes?  Pretty damn small.

Yes, I can’t be Warren Buffett or a Super Bowl quarterback, but I do make a difference.  What I don’t start because of fear of failure and fear of loss assures that both negative outcomes will come to pass.

I cite as an example, my own attempt to form a mastermind.  Sixty-one people expressed interest in this dynamic concept, yet fewer than five have ever done more than fill out the signup form.  Making a commitment and following through takes guts and a certain mindset.

Truth has it, that success means stepping into the wilderness of possibilities.  To believe that you or I can ride a wave to the top without ever having to shake hands in the flesh or sell ourselves to a skeptical public is absolute nonsense.

Online marketing gurus and network marketing whiz kids often do a disservice to aspiring entrepreneurs.  They give off the impression that riches can be gathered simply by following an online system that sells the cash cow product for you for just a mouse click..

No way.  To become worthy, you must step out of the comfort zone, meet people, and speak with confidence unavailable from any software application, beauty care product, or dynamic compensation plan.

Commit to excellence, even if you sense that your mind and life may be knee-deep in doggy poop.  One constant of successful people I have followed is that they rebound from adversity.  Another constant is that each of them sometime in their less successful past sat down and mapped out a strategy for success.  They left nothing to chance.  They frankly analyzed their strengths and glaring weaknesses…and adjusted course.

Every one of us wants to be seen in the best light by others.  This often leads to lies, deceptions and false pride.  When someone offers you a chance or even a bone, we often tend to pull away in shame.

“No, thank you, I’m doing just fine.”

“Yeah, my job is great.  Barb (fiction) and I just bought a second home up in the woods.”

The title of this article was Defining Your Success.  And my definition is that success is when you can be genuine with others and with yourself.  Until you can be real, all victories ring hollow.

Tightening Our Fiscal Belts

“First master the fundamentals.”     ~Larry Bird, former NBA star~

Wouldn’t it be an exhilarating moment if most humans suddenly believed passionately that success was a given?

For a majority of the inhabitants of this planet, the barometer for success is set on survival.  Yes, we do mouth words of motivation, hope, and encouragement to each other, but we don’t really believe that a life above the rat race is anything more than a whimsical notion.

We talk of getting a great education and a great job for ourselves and for our family members, but education alone is just a ticket into the waiting room for upward mobility.  Once inside, you must perform…and the competition is more keen with every passing hour.

There must be and is more than one way to skin this success cat.  Rising up the corporate ladder or making it as a professional athlete are certainly admirable vocations for a scant few of us.  But life tells me that not everyone has the mental and physical stamina to get up from a knockout punch or the one hundredth.

Resiliency and resourcefulness are probably the most significant attributes of all well-adjusted, financially successful people from all walks of life in all corners of the planet.

To be resilient and resourceful requires the proper moral and fiscal education from early childhood.  Here are five suggestions to make our children and our societies truly successful:

1) Delay gratification.  Much to my dismay, the modern child in the affluent countries/families of the world are often permitting their children to scream and cry and pout until they will get what they want.  I suggest saying No to such familial terrorists before they become undisciplined monsters as adults.

2) When a child wants new clothes, buy them only after the child has designed and made the same by him-/herself.  That’s rough, yes, but the point is to teach children economy, conservation, self-sufficiency and creativity.  Be an example for your children.

3) Economics and money management should be taught in the schools from the first grade onward.  This financial training will allow educators to comfortably cut math classes in half.  One of the reasons why so many people in affluent societies claim they are struggling is because not a flaccid soul ever taught them the basics of money management and how money works.

4) All communities should employ retired tradesman such as carpenters, plumbers and car mechanics to teach free or low-cost children/adult classes on how to repair things.  Citizens who complete such seminar-based classes will be entitled to a tax reduction or a stipend for completion.

5) We must read – not just trash or time-killing magazines and comics – but books which are called classics.  If you don’t read, you can’t write.  If you can’t write, you are at a profound disadvantage in the marketplace.  Words are power and lead to advancement.

This a tough, competitive world we live in.  The job and security many of us were taught to cherish has never been anything more than smoke and mirrors.

It is now a defining moment in our aging industrial societies which are so dependent on the “easy” and the “convenient.”

If our children and grandchildren continue their addiction to a soft, undisciplined life based on cheap oil and endless opportunities arising, then both will be taken from us shortly.  There is only enough to go around when we are resourceful, prudent, economical and concerned with the common good.

Ten Things Money Can’t Buy

Why is it that so many people who rise to the top of their game eventually sabotage their achievements?

Entertainers and sports figures are notorious for hitting bottom.  But so are managers, board directors and other less conspicuous achievers who may be rolling in fresh cash and the toys that money can buy, but mysteriously find their only solace in booze, drugs, gambling and cheating on their spouses or mates.

Tragically, you also find among those moving southward in life the swarm of people who may have risen modestly above past levels of personal achievement, only to swoon into a death roll at the first ripple of adversity.

Could it be that having money and the trappings of a so-called good life are the antithesis of what we really seek – happiness and acceptance?

Is it possible we are all being brainwashed and manipulated by an illusion that money and what it can buy will make you cool(er) and more lovable?

Many years ago I read a book which, although it has become somewhat dated, still gives an intimate glimpse into what life may be all about.  The title is “14,000 Things to Be Happy About ,” by Barbara Ann Kipfer.  It has an American flavor to it, but many of those happy things can be plugged into any culture at any time.  Give it a read for the cost of a dime.

Let me leave you with a list of my ten absolutely free tickets to feeling happy.

1.Lying on the lawn of your elementary school of years’ past on a breezy autumn day

2.Lazing back to Peter Frampton Live

3.Writing a love letter to yourself

4.Singing in the rain

5.Making the most ornery person you know break into laughter

6.Breaking routines

7.Doing much more than is expected of you.

8.Listening closely to a little child or a senior citizen in the mood to chat.

9.Belly laughing to Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s On First?

10.Understanding the power and gift of not always having to be right

Now it’s time to make your own happy list and then keep adding to it.  Your altitude is a state of mind, so do your best to put happy thoughts and actions into your life.  The more of them you have, the less likely you are to go into a tailspin.

Saying What You Mean

“Life is too short to be little. Man is never so manly as when he feels deeply, acts boldly, and expresses himself with frankness and with fervor.”
~Benjamin Disraeli~

Methinks life is too short to walk through it tiptoeing.  There are people and events which must be endured, but most of what we do is by raw choice only.  Job is bad?  Change it.  Mate is bad?  Change or leave it.  Too fat?  Take one less bite of the cake.

But by all means stop blaming the world for your ills, unless you are trapped in dire poverty not of your own making with goose stepping soldiers outside your door.

Otherwise, speak up to those who wish to control you.  If you know what you stand for, you will stop falling.  Your voice and actions will be aligned with your absolute best interests.  And your best interests are for the best.

Speak with conviction and truth.

Commencement

“Graduation is only a concept.  In real life every day you graduate.  Graduation is a process that goes on  until the last day of your life.  If you can grasp that, you’ll make a difference. ”     ~Arie Pencovici~

How can we stop the past from effecting the present and the future? That’s not an easy question to answer.

If you have gone through separation or divorce, perhaps you have gone through a difficult period where you always judge a potential new partner against the old one, despite the unhappiness that that previous mate may have brought to you.

If you are a marketer who keeps going to the same market with the same offer and getting meager results, what holds you back from trying a new approach?

Life patterns, if well developed, are  great navigating tools to help you separate the wheat from the chaff. They allow us to measure progress and determine according to a set of concrete criteria whether doing something or being with someone is beneficial to our growth.

Some of you may think that our moral obligations must be chained to us forever. Such mindset encourages us to feel guilty and to suffer at the expense of our personal growth.

You hear such people say things as “I’d love to take that new job but I can’t leave my husband to fend for himself. He can’t even fry an egg.”; “My kids steal all my time, so I have none for myself”; “If I left the firm, it would go to seed.”

Let’s rephrase these mental mind traps:

“It’s time for my husband to graduate to self-sufficiency. My personal growth is not subject to his”

“I love my kids dearly, but love must be a two-way street. I am a multidimensional being whose pleasure and accomplishments are(at times) independent of them”

“Firms will come and go, as will I. It’s time to move on to new challenges. I’ll find my replacement this week.”

This article’s title is “Commencement,” which is often misunderstood as graduation. Commencement means “To begin,” not to finish.

Have you stopped questioning your status and condition in the scheme of things? Are you commencing with your life every day? Are you victimized by the random ebbs and flows of life? Are you not never endingly educating yourself to be a bigger and more successful you? Are you relegating your fate to the whims and fantasies of others?

Then please get a grip. Dedicate yourself to education and action. Truly, the best is yet in front of you once you take the reigns. Let’s commence.

Are The Best Things In Life Free?

A few years ago I had the pleasure of visiting the Philippines on business.  What struck me most was the huge divide between the rich and the poor and the generosity and kindness of the latter.

In Davao, the gateway to the southern part of the island-nation, my business brought me to a rural area.  In the comfort of an air-conditioned office of a relatively rich businessman, I ate lunch and then talked shop.  Afterwards, I asked my host to take me on a short walk to meet and mingle with the locals.

There were no pretensions, no fancy cars, no cellular phones, no anything other than the bare minimums of a Twenty-First Century life with a roof over your head.  Yet I was intrigued by the simple and basic style of life these natives led.

Then we ran into a group of small. giggling elementary school children playing on a dirt road.  They had a broken bottle, some bottle caps and a host of other “trashy things” that most westerners, especially Japanese, would feel embarrassed to touch or play with.  It seemed that they were involved in a sort of sand-hockey game, but the nature of the game is not really the point of this story.

The point being that you needn’t have a fancy car, a 17-carat diamond ring and a summer home in Monterrey to have happiness.  All these things are the gravy and cream only if you are happy in your skin to begin with.

What’s interesting is that the poorest people in the world – including the Australian Aborigines – have the lowest incidence of suicide.  It could be said that they have something to live for – the dream of having an education, a car, a trip to Europe or whatever – but there seems to be more to this phenomenon than meets the eye.

We of the comparatively rich countries on this planet have many of the amenities of the “good life” covered plus alpha, and yet many of us have this gnawing sensation that something is missing in our lives.

And that chasm between our desire for happiness and finding happiness grows with each distracting toy and throwaway of affluence we buy for our immediate gratification and to impress others.

I’m not advocating the good old days were really all that much better than those we now live through.  What I am saying is that a broken bottle and a bottle cap seem to bring more intrinsic value than an X-box, a Gucci bag or a trip to Spain do for the more well off of our brethren.

Smell the roses.  See the sky.  Get fascinated with the eyes of your mate or child. They and an infinite number of objects and experiences are there for the offing.

I challenge you to keep your billfold in your back pocket for a few days and discover the cathartic essence of being free.

Look Beyond Your Nose

“Appreciating each other is a true family value, one that will bail out much of the stress on the planet and help strengthen the universal bond all people have.”     ~Sara Paddison, Hidden Power of the Heart~

One of my favorite thinkers and writers is a man named Robert Ringer.  In a recent article he was analyzing why mass killers snap and what, if anything, we can do about it before a tragedy strikes.

I agree with Robert that there are some things we can do to avoid having a killer mow down innocents in a mall or a school classroom.

The Million-Dollar Habit we all need to nurture is to say “Hi” with a smile.  This is not be the robotic social convention “Hi,” but one where we try to brighten another’s day.  Taking very depressed people up even a notch can make all the difference between them acting out aggressively and violently or seeking counseling and cathartic prayer.

Horrific massacres do not come out of the blue.  They usually stem from years of alienation and isolation.  Granted, some of it is self-imposed by the psychopath, but part of it comes from their fear of rejection to the umpteenth degree.  Because of their locked-in bad attitude, inevitably they harbor a self-fulfilling philosophy which often leaves them in long cycles of misery, depression and paranoia.

So between your dashes to that next business meeting or soccer practice for the kids, take a moment and reach out to those who may be troubled…and that could include each of us at times!

That little tweak in your daily pattern could save a life or thirty.  Use your two eyes to see beyond your nose.  Someone somewhere desperately needs your smile.

Set A Money-Generating Goal

“Let your hook always be cast; in the pool where you least expect it, there will be a fish.”  ~Ovid~

Let’s face it, being an entrepreneur is not for everybody.  It takes hard work, discipline and perseverance to the extreme.

One of the easiest ways to fail is to just drift from week to week with only a vague sense of what you want to accomplish and where you want to go with your life.

If you flew an airplane like you probably lead your life, then you would most likely crash in a remote jungle village.  So set the compass of your life this week.

Decide that you are going to create a certain amount of extra money – let’s say $50, for argument’s sake – and then test the plan all week without giving up on your target.

At the very least, you may develop a long-term strategy for success based on your effort.  In the best-case scenario, you will not only earn $50 or more, but you will also have a boost of confidence which can sustain you.

Five years from now those modest monetary goals may be laughingly minuscule.  Give this method a chance and write to me about your successes.

You can get better and better at all endeavors with consistency and persistence.

We Have A Right To Be Rich

“Virtue does not come from wealth, but. . . wealth, and every other good thing which men have comes from virtue.”       ~Socrates~ 

Yes, we do have the right!  Not simply to acquire money for money’s sake, but to fully express our God-given uniqueness and full potential.  

I guarantee you – and I speak from the school of experience – that if you lack money, then you have a crappy attitude towards it.  

Perhaps that attitude stems from your religious upbringing.  Or perhaps it is derived from having been born into poverty and having hung around with impoverished people living in squalor and feeling that it is God’s will that we should all suffer until Heaven.  

Perhaps, perhaps…but I feel that most people who would read the headline above and want to read on are suffering from lack-itis.  Anyone with me thus far has more money and opportunity than 95 percent of the world’s inhabitants. 

Lack of confidence, for starters, leaves us in the starting gate or  peeking in the upscale toy store at Christmas.  You get what you deserve.

Lack of developed imagination, to dig deeper, leaves us feeling incapable of finding a niche or something we can excel at and be paid to do. We slave on and complain until Kingdom comes. 

No game plan, for the main course, leaves us adrift and chasing one scamming opportunity after another.  This leads to cynicism on a large scale. 

Lack of a vision that you can be rich and deserve to be in that picture leaves us bitterly bankrupt of thoughts and cash. 

The thread in this message is that if everything (or most things) in your life come from a poverty mindset, then expect the worst.  Not even a huge lottery jackpot can save you from yourself. 

Yes, lack kills dreams and leads to surrender before the phantom enemy ever attacks. 

So why not think huge?  Entertain yourself as being royalty.  Treat others as if you are already rich.  In other words, be generous, forgiving and engaging with every soul you come in contact with.  Everyone is on your team, so trust before you shut the door to possibility. 

You have a right and a duty to have the most and give the most.  That thinking style cannot but help lead to unimaginable riches which can’t be measured in coin.