You Are The Product


“Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.”    Jim Rohn, 50-year millionaire and life coach

Do you realize that you are a truly unique individual and that that is something to be proud of and grateful for?

Each day I meet wonderful people.  They often have eloquence, thoughtfulness, prestige in the workplace.  In most cases, they seemingly maintain a stable family life.

But the sad part about many of them is that they don’t take their self-education with the same seriousness as their obligations to their bosses and companies.

For far too many people, life becomes “The same old same old.”

Education was given and received as a means to the end.  The notion that education should be a lifetime experience may be mouthed by many people, but in reality most in adulthood rarely read a book of depth unless it is thrust upon them in a professional capacity.  Most never attend seminars nor spend time in deep thought or creative mode.

In fact, if you packed all the Tokyoites or New Yorkers together like sardines and told them to scream if they had thought independently and deeply or spent private time in a creative mode that day, the open land would probably be so silent you could hear the bubbling sound of a stream.

One of the great minds of the Twentieth Century, Earl Nightingale, once said:  “Your world is a living expression of how you are using and have used your mind.”

How are you using your mind?  It is believed that your net worth is equivalent to the average of the five people you hang out with most.  Your mental prowess is duly rated according to the last five books, seminars or workshops you have utilized.

Get your mind in gear starting today and make conscious learning a part of your everyday life.

I Just Knew It


“Remember, when your intuition and your logic are in conflict, your intuition is always right. Depend on it!”     ~Bob Proctor, Entrepreneur and Life Coach~

A fine line exists between being negative toward something or someone while putting out bad vibes toward it or him/her, and being acutely intuitive and able to avoid unhappiness, disaster and tragedy.

It all comes down to how much you trust yourself and whether you are grounded and focused on a goal or vision.  If you have spent the majority of life following the crowds and obeying orders mindlessly, then your intuitive attributes will not function well, even when you find yourself in dire straits.

“I just knew it,” “I told you so,” “I can’t understand why you did that,” are great examples of the unrefined, intuitive qualities we all possess being misused or abused for egoistical reasons or to cover ones tracks.

Telling others why they were wrong or telling yourself that you had a hunch (which you failed to act upon), is both counter-intuitive and unproductive.

This message to you pains me because just this past week I took a back seat to my hunches and let someone else take the lead in a business negotiation with a Japanese businessman I had believed to be a train wreck from the get-go.  My hunch was 100 percent correct, but I sat in silence or nodded agreement while my ally forged ahead with negotiations.

Trust your intuition – those diamond-in-the-rough hunches.  As Bob Proctor has also said in The Science of Getting Rich:

“Prayer is when you talk to God.  Intuition is when God talks to you.”


Belief in yourself starts inside.  Only you can know what is best for you.  Only you can sniff out a rat, avoid it, and ultimately come up smelling of roses.

What Animals Can Teach Us About Marketing

Just a few week’s ago I had the fortune of finding a cute stray cat.  My wife and I brought it home and slowly introduced it to my two-year-old, gentle dog.  They quickly grew accustomed to each other and now often sleep snuggled up together.  Touche to the theory that cats and dogs are arch enemies.

Point one:  If two seemingly opposing animals or ideas are slowly and consistently given a chance to interact, they can be blended together in a synergistic manner – each deriving pleasure and profit from such intermingling.

And then a second pattern in their relationship emerged.  Marc, my dog, being spoiled by two years of undivided attention from me, suddenly noticed she had competition from a furry creature who was a non-stop ball of energy we call Scratch.

Every time Marc left a toy for a minute or went to grab a bowl of water, Scratch happily came to the plate.  Marc was distressed by this and would pull every toy or rag from his play book to get back my attention.  She (that’s right, Marc, is a she) often was able to bring me back to her sense of justice, and I would tug the towel or throw the ball.

But mealtime for the two was the real eye-opener.  I fed the kitty on the table using small food and water bowls.  At the same time, I would put a much larger portion of both on the floor for Marc.

Until Scratch came into our family, Marc often looked at her food indifferently and made me dump the plain-Jane canned food for some sumptuous chicken liver or another gorgeous entree.  Once Scratch finished his dish on the table, she would ravenously fly through the air to Marc’s bowl and immediately Marc would shove her aside and gobble down the food – which moment’s before had no appeal to her – like there was no tomorrow.

Point Two:  In all animal interaction, the feeling of potential loss brings out an instinctive desire to not be left behind or left out. The quickest way to get a potential customer to buy a product which he or she needs (in your sincere estimation), is to create a sense of scarcity and urgency.

While some people may call this manipulative, I say if you have created a product or service which you stand behind absolutely, then encouraging a prospect with good advertising copy is both ethical and essential for your economic survival.

You must not be ashamed to ask your customer to try what you believe is a product or service of great benefit to them.

Choose your business and products with tender loving care.  Then, throw caution to the wind in your marketing efforts.

Acknowledging Simple Acts of Kindness

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”     ~Marcel Proust~

In our frantic rush to get the economic prizes for our hard work, quite often we never look up or around at the people who make our lives just an increment easier and more enjoyable.

I’m talking about the barber or hairdresser who listens patiently to your lament, then simply says in his unique style:  “I know you can handle it.”

I’m talking about the child you scolded for not cleaning his or her room who suddenly presents you the cutest kitty clay candle made at elementary school.

I’m talking about the extra round trip to the station by your wife because you forgot a necktie.

I’m even talking about the person standing in front of you in the checkout line with a mountain of groceries who graciously smiles and gestures for you to go first. with your single loaf of bread

I’m talking about the policeman or the stranger who takes it upon himself or herself to walk you to your destination when you are lost.

Yes, there are rude and obnoxious people in our paths each day, but it is the barbers, fellow shoppers, strangers and our family that should make our day.

Open your eyes.  There is so much subtle warmth in the cold winds of our lives.

Staying In The Present Moment

“Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand.”      ~Thomas Carlyle~

In broad daylight and in front of cameras, the celebrity or “benevolent” politician (using taxpayers’ money, of course) tells the world that they are on the side of justice, equality and eliminating poverty.  Everyone claps politely and mindlessly as the ribbon for the new orphanage in India or AIDS clinic in Africa or job training program is cut.  Then, in a termite’s blink, another successful photo opp becomes history and the celeb becomes an indelible, instant hero.

Every one of us wants to shine and get our just dues.  Even the preacher or mullah on the pulpit gets a real high by being thought of as being inspirational or even powerful to his or her congregation.

These heady moments of greatness are often intertwined, however, with huge chunks of time when we are not being noticed, appreciated or treated fairly on our terms.

As American patriot Thomas Paine once stated:  “These are the times that try men’s souls … He that stands it now deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.”

When we feel down, unloved, and unappreciative, the usual root of this despondency rests in how we are thinking at that moment.

Inevitably, if you are thinking about the past, then you are not empowered.

And if you are daydreaming or fretting about the future, you also are not in an empowered mode.

The only place to be is in the present moment.  That is where we touch people and things…and that is where we can make a real difference.

Whenever we dwell in the cloudy here and now, our tomorrows become brighter.

The next time you feel down or out of sorts, try to create your own ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Get interested in your world, your children, your boss, your company or anything else within reach of your senses.

Touch them or it in a manner which shows you care.  Leave your mark in this world, and your hereafters will take care of themselves.

Start now, by shutting down your PC and talking with a smile to your child, your wife or a neighbor in your rear-view mirror.  Or simply and wondrously water the flowers in your garden and sing “You are my sunshine.”

Work Around Your Imperfections

The story goes that Sir Henry Royce, the founder of the Rolls-Royce automobile and legendary engine, once overheard a couple of workers on his exacting assembly line discussing the workload.  One of them said:

“That’s good enough.”  Royce came unglued.

He walked up to the young worker, tapped him on the shoulder and took him far away from the other worker.  Then he sternly stated,

“Young man.  It is never good enough.  There is always room for improvement.  I hire you to not only watch over the assembly of a car, but to make certain that this vehicle is of the highest quality in the world.  Now get back to work and do your job with pride and passion.”

Rolls-Royce has stood for excellence and pedigree for over a hundred years since that legendary story was first hatched.

In your life is everything just good enough and passable, or do you have the mindset of a Henry Royce?  No doubt your product, service, dreams and goals could always use a tweak or ten.

Truth be it, we are not capable of perfecting ourselves and the goods and services we work with unless we ask for feedback and help.  And once we get that feedback, we need to make a monumental decision.  The decision is whether or not to do whatever it is on a “that’s good enough” basis or hire someone to get it done for us excellently, as Mr. Royce would.

My suggestion is to work around imperfections and not let vanity or pride stand in the way of your success.

Take a smaller share of the pie, if you must, in order to insure excellence.  Make your job, your company, your life resonate with the sounds and sights of excellence.

Run your life as if everything you sell or make must pass the ruthless inspection of a Joseph Stalin or your own worst enemy.

And hang this accurate Henry Royce quote over a snapshot of your family or loved ones:

“Strive for perfection in everything you do. Take the best that exists and make it better. When it does not exist, design it.”

Living To The Final Breath

“Every man dies. Not every man really lives.”     ~William Ross Wallace~

There are great men and woman…and then there are great ones.  One such man has just passed away at 47, but his wisdom, courage and intelligence lives on.  Randy Pausch’s final lecture at Carnegie Mellon University.  I was touched by the speech in a very deep way.

We all need to think of our legacy.  What would you want people to say over your casket?  Write down ten ideas of what you would want others to say about you.  Look at it.  Picture it in your mind.  And then go out and do your best to make it true.

Time is long and time is short.  Live it fully to your last breath.  Get inspired now by (re)watching that special moment at Carnegie Mellon.  It can’t help but touch you in a profound way.


Leveraging Your Time for Success

“Time is the most valuable coin in your life. You and you alone will determine how that coin will be spent. Be careful that you don’t let other people spend it for you.”     ~John Dryden~

Undoubtedly, we live in a world defined and confined by time.  When we use our time poorly or in a disorganized fashion, the result is usually discouraging or disastrous.

Just like a magnifying glass captures diffused sunlight and turns it into a red-hot laser beam capable of burning a piece of paper, our life efforts can do likewise.  But to get the most punch from our efforts, we must be willing to delegate responsibility and outsource those activities which we are not adept at and don’t pay well before they drain us of the energy we will need to create and maintain our fortunes.

Several years ago an ethnic restaurant opened in western Tokyo serving New Orleans-style Cajun food  The owner, a Ghanian man with a great work ethic, could cook up a storm of spicy delicacies while his wife and one part-time assistant would prepare side dishes and wait tables.
All went well for him.  His small establishment, which at first attracted mostly foreigners and their friends, became a regular haunt for many Japanese people as well.  A few years after his launch, he moved to more spacious locale with great expectations for opening another branch shortly thereafter.  Less than a year later he went bankrupt.

What happened I will never know for sure, but I have a sneaking suspicion it was caused by his unwillingness to trust anybody.  I said he had cooked up a storm for 11 hours a day, six days per week, yet he never wanted to train anyone.  He told me that nobody could do things quite the way he liked.  So now he was jobless and scrambling in Tokyo.

The moral is that we need to leverage our time as entrepreneurs, because if we don’t our businesses become exactly what we wish to escape from…an hour-for-wage hell.  The idea of having a business online, offline or both should be to gain a semblance of financial and time freedom.

That can be done by finding qualified people who work on a freelance basis.  Many excellent resources are available online for this purpose.  For writing, software creation or web designing, try and

Whatever you can do well and which can clearly lead to a revenue stream, deserves your greatest attention.  Otherwise, outsource using the resources just mentioned.  The idea is not to cook up a storm until you die, but to teach others to do so.  That is a system which can leave your family well-provided for long after you pass from this world.

Discarding Political Correctness

“Speak your mind, even if your voice shakes.”     ~Maggie Kuhn~

Being a great listener is certainly an essential element of all fully-integrated adults.  You have been given two ears and one mouth, it has been said, so that you will listen twice as much as speak.  A virtuous idea indeed! which should be consistently in your mind during every waking hour.

But…you must stand for something and be willing to defend your values in order to give true meaning to your life.  Be respectful to others while being true to yourself.

This is a tough balancing act.  And when we speak our minds full force, there is a new tripwire to deal with called political correctness.   Every word we say – the anal retentive claim – should be measured by whether it has, does or could offend some group of people.

That may sound Utopian, but in fact it is a dictum of fascism.  Language is spicy, dicey or offensive according to which group you are speaking to.  Language is our inexact attempt to express clearly and understandably to others how we feel about issues and people and to explain things with clarity.

Wouldn’t you rather hear racial slurs from a racist?  Or would you rather hear something like this:  “Some of my best friends ARE Jews (Negroes, Arab, etc.)?”  Just hearing that often makes me believe that the man or woman is a closet racist with a dollop of whip cream covering the truth.

“Oh darn” is really “Oh dammit” dressed in a bonnet.  You fool nobody by saying the former because the latter is what you wish to say.  So say it, and let the chips fall where they may.

Wars and other human relation difficulties are caused by obfuscating our real mind and real intentions. When a person’s trust has been called into question, then every utterance which follows this judgment will also be doubted as a lie or a manipulation.  This same principle can be extended to relations between nations.

So spice your language when it reflects your true sentiments.  Some arching, self-proclaimed pious folks may raise their collective eyebrows, but at least they know where you stand. That’s a big plus in a world of smoke-and-mirrors.

Life In The Past Lane

A line in a song says it precisely,

These are the good ole days.

Whatever you are doing and feeling at the present moment is a result of the actions or inactions, thoughtfulness or thoughtlessness of that water under the bridge of your life.

You can bring up what happened in a nostalgic moment – the people you met and the things you did – but not one moment of history and be changed or removed by recalling it.

The good ole days belong in the trash heap.

We all have demons, regardless of whether we want to admit it or not.

The door to the past is a strange door.  It swings open and things pass through it, but they pass in one direction only.” ~From Loren Eiseley’s The Immense Journey~

It is not a matter of whether mamma liked your brother best.  It is not a matter of who got what for whatever reason or who didn’t get their fair share.

It is a matter of learning how to deal with the lessons of life in a constructive manner and stop desperately clinging to the should, could and would haves that can haunt us.

Present moment living is always where the action is.  If your present moment is clouded or distorted by fear, rage, regret, disorientation or total apathy – then consider yourself to be living in the past and strangled by the future.

The time to come to grips is now.  Take action.  Talk to the customer.  Meet the prospect.  Get that webpage designed and operating.  Search out true-north alternatives to the life you secretly loathe yet inexplicably claim.

Make today’s decisions with an understanding that the flower never blooms until the seed is planted and watered.  There is a time lag between bold, positive, present-moment living and happiness at the end of the road.

Resolve in your mind to sacrifice immediate gratification for long-term empowerment.

Change lanes while you can.