Career or goals in life. Just have to have faith that it will happen for you!

The String Story: One Step at a Time

So this is a story that I heard from Jim Vaughan, editor of Learn From the Giants, that I think that anyone can put to use in their life. It’s called “The String Story”. Basically in Jim’s long career, he has done many jobs. He almost sounds like Mike Rowe to me. One of those things that he did was help install electrical lines. In Florida, where he is a native, you might be aware, that they have swamps like crazy down there. Well, one day, he and the group that he was working with was tasked in getting an electrical line across one of these many swamps.

Now, personally, I never thought of how one could do this until Jim told me the story. I mean, I suppose if I had thought about it, I would have assumed that they would have used a helicopter. Well, they might in some places or when they’re installing the tower, but they didn’t when putting up the actual wire. Apparently, instead of taking the entire electrical wire across the swamp (which the size of this wire is ginormous) which would be almost impossible, they have a strategy for doing so. They get in a small boat with a spool of string. They take that string across the swamp to the pole. Next, on the other end, they tied twine to the end of the string and pulled that across, next they tied rope on the twine and then pulled the twine across!

Eventually, they got large enough rope going across that they tied the wire on and then pulled it across. After which, they installed the wire and moved onto the next tower.

Now, this is a rather simple story, but it can be applied to so many things in life. For one, it can be applied to sales in the matter of the upsale. Just get someone buying something for $9.99 from an infomercial and the next thing you know, you have them buying a $100 or more for a deluxe set of knives or $200 or so for jewelry.

Or it can be applied to building a strong relationship. As you might or might not know, I have a “traditional” view on relationships. I think the reason so many people have problems with their romantic relationships is because they put about as much time and effort into a relationship as they do in their finances. Many people are in financial debt and what I call “romantic debt” (which I’ll talk about in a future post). If they would start with a sound foundation, and work on building it up from the ground up, people could get anything they wanted – financially AND romantically. However, society has taught many of us not to think this way. Most of us don’t know how to put off the good for the great.

I’m sure there’s other uses of “The String Story”, but I thought I’d give you these examples so that you can figure out ways to implement it in your life. Speaking of… what are some instances where you might use it?

The Teenager Principle: You Just Leveled Up!

When I became a freshman in high school, I believed I knew everything. As an 8th grader, I, like you, felt like I knew everything there was to know about the world. I felt unstoppable. The older I got, the more unstoppable I felt. Until I moved on to the next school.

When I moved to the next school, (high school and later college) I remember thinking as a freshman that seniors just didn’t “get it” and that they were just off and/or mean for no reason. While I felt like nothing could hurt me, I also tended to feel that I was worthless. Talk about ups and downs!! Things kept happening to me and I just couldn’t understand why. Heck as a sophomore in high school, I remember getting on Yahoo! chat and acting like I was certain seniors. Later in college, I would play it off as if I was somebody that everyone should be familiar with and you were lucky to have me as a friend. But the truth was that I was not acting or comfortable with myself. Society was telling me that I had to be popular and do certain things – but when I did them, it always backfired. What’s funny now though, as I graduated and have had time reflect over the years and met younger and/or less experienced people, I’ve started realizing how brash, judgmental, and naive I must have seemed.

You Just Leveled Up!

There’s a saying that says “If you feel like life is harder, you must have just leveled up.” If you’re unfamiliar with this phrase, it’s simply referring to a a role playing video game in which you get new quests as you level up. The more quests you do, the more experience your character has and the more powers he has. In life, like the game, you must go through quests that take a lot more stamina than you’re used to. However, as you might know from playing those types of games, you get more rewards for sticking with and accomplishing them.

So in a nutshell, the Teenager Principle is simply believing that you’re good at things that you’re really not, but being overly humble about things that you’re good at. When I was told about this principle, things started making sense as to why my confidence was all screwed up. I now know why I felt the world didn’t make sense as a freshman in high school and college. It’s because I had just leveled up. I was taking on a new level of quests. Quests that, while they might seem similar, were at a completely different complexity. A complexity that I would not understand unless I had understood the adventure for what it was and kept moving forward.

Thoughts, questions, comments?

So how about you? Are you going through a period where you seem to be out of your comfort zone all the time? Have you ever noticed this phenomenon? When was the last time you leveled up? I’d love to hear from you. Also, if you’d like me to put you in contact with Mark Boersma, who has helped me discover this principle, feel free to email him at [email protected]!

The Baby Elephant Principle: Breaking the Chain

What’s the Baby Elephant Principle? Basically it’s the idea that an elephant that is tied to a stake as it’s growing up will think that it can’t move even when it most definitely can. Want the full gist? Check it out.

One of the problems that I’ve dealt with recently since graduation is letting my past dictate what I can or cannot believe that I’m capable of. Recently, however, as I’ve been working with Mark, I’ve started to regain an understanding that we can’t really do anything until we’ve done it. The opposite holds true too as well. We can never know we can’t do something until we attempt it. Not everyone is going to be an NFL star, but they don’t know that until play football and give it their best.

Recently I was reminded of this several times as I have gained several students who think that they can’t do math because somewhere in the past they had a negative experience. Perhaps someone told them that they were bad at it or they had several tests in a class (which could have had a bad teacher) that just gave them a bad taste for math. But regardless of what the actual cause of the attitude is, we can address the attitude directly.

How would we fix this particular problem? Well, for one – it would probably help if they wanted to fix their problem. 🙂 But after that, it would help if they actually put effort into it. People learn at different rates. Some people, including myself, have incredibly slow learning curves – where others grasp an idea right away. Personally for me, I always had trouble with Algebra – especially when I was in college. I never got anything higher than a C. At the time I thought it was my teacher’s fault. But when I wanted to start teaching math, I found that reading the material thoroughly actually worked for me. I basically self-taught myself how to do Algebra… something that no teacher could have ever done for me.

The same thing can work for students – but again it’s if they’re willing to believe they can do it and take the time to learn how to do it. If they don’t do one or the other, chances are they won’t be able to accomplish the goal of passing the class to eventually get to graduation to potentially have a better life.

So what things in your past are keeping you from achieving goals you want to achieve?

plague of millennials

The Plague of the Millennials: Impatience

Recently I became a certified John Maxwell Coach, Trainer, and Speaker. I did this by taking a trip to his home town of West Palm Beach and had a week long training session of learning the basics of being a coach and a speaker. It was a really unique experience and one that I had to do something I hadn’t done in 7 years – fly! (Which in itself as an experience getting down there, but that’s another story altogether!)

One of the things that I was thinking during the trip was what my niche is going to be in the near future as I start this very interesting career of adding value to others. I had several ideas, but I kept coming back to one main one: creating leaders in the “Lost Generation”.

What makes up this generation? Mainly Millennials. They are those who are commonly thought as Gen Y’ers or to employers: those who want to do little work but get big rewards. I know I’m guilty of having this mentality – it’s why I knew I needed a coach. And in return, I want to be the coach for those who realize they need that help as well. So I know there’s a market – and this post I read recently reinforces that.

I like to think of myself as a Gen XY’er. And while Jason has good points, one thing I disagree with is his perspective of Tim Ferriss. To me, what little I read from Tim’s book (I’m getting better at reading books all the way through!) – he’s pretty close to the ideal world of the Gen Y’er. However, it’s not Tim’s fault that they want this – it’s the environment of the current generation. People are products of their environment.

True, many Gen Y’ers don’t know what it’s like to have to work for something. And when they do, they expect results quickly (again, I understand this perspective from first hand experience!).

However, I do understand the “farmer’s” perspective. You put enough seeds in the ground then you’re going to get a harvest. The more seeds, the larger the harvest. Meaning, anything you stick with for a long time and consecutively work at, you’re going to get good at it – at least. The problem I see is that people aren’t patient. They never learn fully how to use the farming equipment. Furthermore, if those people have kids, then those kids are even less patient.

This is what happened with many Millennials. And I believe it can completely be altered into something productive. However, too much patience can be a problem as well (as I’ve found out).  Why? Well, going back to the farming analogy, if you spend too much time with one seed and not planting others, there’s a good chance you might not any harvest at all. Put that impatience to good use and you can get reward from the ideas of the “4 Hour Work Week” – just like Pat has.

What are your thoughts in impatience in Millennials? Is that’s what “wrong” with them?

Class Warfare 101

I listen to and read a numerous amount of sources about politics. One of those sources is reddit. If you don’t know what reddit is, I highly recommend you take some time to make an account and explore it. Whatever your interests are, you probably can find a subreddit there.

One of the subreddits that I follow there is the “political” one. For the most part it’s full of progressive thinkers.You can find that out yourself by checking it out at reddit. As a follower of this blog, you probably know that I take the opposite stance of that perspective. I don’t understand how people can think that the economy can be fixed by just spending money… the government spending money – that we continuously have to raise the debt ceiling. I mean, we might as well raise it to a Gazillion dollars, ya know?

Today there was a post that was shared from a lefty blog that just made me laugh. (Here’s the link to the reddit link.) It just boggled my mind. Basically the writer of the post was going on about how there’s more of an income gap between classes here in the US than there are Egypt.

Well, duh. Yes there is.

Egyptians were under a dictatorship… we’re not. I would assume they were forced to be in certain income brackets – where, we’re not. No one is stopping anyone here from starting a business and making more money… other than the Bush and Obama administrations taxing and spending more.

Face it, the reason we have an income inequality gap is because the wealthy isn’t doing anything with their money (smart thinking!!) because they don’t know what to invest in because the past two administrations suck and the poor needs that money flowing otherwise they get poorer.

The writer of this post simply was wanting people with less money than “wealthy” people to envy them. Make them think that they’re the problem. That they’re the ones to blame. This has all the makings of class warfare ala Nazism vs the Jews.

I mean according to this blog… apparently all rich people are bad. So you best not try to be one yourself!! You’ll be bad too!

This is silly.

In my experience, money is simply an amplifier of a person’s personality. If the person is bad, they’ll do bad things with the money, if they’re good, they’ll do good things with it. In either case, they shouldn’t be forced to do anything with it. That’s essentially what taxes look like to everyone. However, taxes are needed – but definitely not in the percentages we see today through different classes. If they are forced to, others should pay their fair share of taxes if we’re gonna tax the heck out of the wealthy. People who are willing to work for that money shouldn’t be penalized because they were successful in obtaining it. Most often than not, they weren’t shaisters to get it. Most wealthy people become wealthy by actually helping others in selling a product a service…

The Solution:

Let’s just have a flat tax on everyone so the job making wealthy know what they have to earn to out earn their taxes so they can buy that new mansion and the middle class can figure out if there’s indeed a need for new mansions – which would probably provide 3 or 4 jobs for a good part of two years for those who can’t start a business right now!

If you don’t start your own business (you’re own safety net), you’ll always be dependent on someone else for your income. It’s your decision to make more money than you’re paid on an hourly basis – not someone else’s. Maybe you’ll never make as much as them, but you won’t know unless you try. But you shouldn’t tear others down, just to build yourself up. Don’t blame others for your situation. Hitler did – it didn’t end up working out so well for him, did it?

A True Navigator: Making Logical Decisions

“Anyone can steer the ship but it takes a leader to chart the course.” – J.C. Maxwell

I like the fact that I have the same first initials of one of my favorite authors. 🙂

So… Here’s a situation for you. Let’s say that you are at the helm of a yacht setting out from California and you’re on your way to a great getaway location in the Caribbean.  You’ve been told that this place is the best place that you could ever be based on a conversation with a best friend that is on the yacht with you. The catch is that this particular place has a festival that is only going on long enough for you to barely make the last couple of days of it. Now you realize that to get to this location, you have to pass by several places that you wanted to check out including the coast of Mexico, the Panama Canal, and the Gulf Coast. Your destination sounds great and it’s the best time of the year to go, but you’ve personally always wanted to check out each of these places. You’d rather do all of it, but you have limited time. You would have more time to see everything but you know if you spend time elsewhere, you won’t make the festival. Which would you do? Would you check out the other destinations or try and make it to the festival?

Logic should say that you can go to the festival first and as you sail back, if you had time, you could check out the other destinations in reverse. I ask this question because it is very relative in how you live your life. How do you make decisions in your life? Do you generally make decisions on emotion or by logic?

Logic can be defined as the formal systematic study of the principles of valid inference and correct reasoning. Or, to put it into context, it’s the process of thinking about what you (or your organization) really want in the future and determining if your past actions and short term goals will get you there.

Naturally, everyone wants to make decisions based on emotion. We all want to do what makes us feel good. There’s nothing wrong with that. We simply can’t stop making emotional decisions because we, as humans, are indeed emotional. But sometimes if we make decisions without following a course, then we might miss bigger and better things. Sometimes we have to miss out on things right now to get to all the destinations. Sometimes we have to make decisions with logic and planning so that we can get the better rewards. We have to put off the good for the great.

If you’re not familiar with charting a course for your decision making, then here’s a strategic way for you to do just that.

The Secret to Navigating: PLAN AHEAD

The secret to navigating really isn’t too far out there. Yes, you have to “Plan Ahead”, but what does that mean? Well it just so happens that this is actually an acronym:

P – Predetermine a course of action: If you’re going to climb a ladder, make sure you’re climbing one that’s on the building you want to get to the top of. In the yacht trip example, we determine that we want to go to the Caribbean for the festival.

L – Lay Out your goals: Determine what you really want to accomplish. Which are initial higher priorities? Do you have time to make it to the different coast lines or do you have to go straight to the festival?

A – Adjust your priorities: Are your priorities correct? If they aren’t change them according to what you’ve heard, seen, and past experiences. You realize that if you want to make the festival, you have to set sail directly for it.

N – Notify key personel: Have a meeting with those in your life or organization that your decision directly affects. On the yacht, it would probably be a good choice to tell your friend who was wanting to go to the festival that you are indeed going there. If there’s anyone else on board that should know right away, tell them.

A – Allow time for acceptance of any changes: This part takes patience. In change management, we realize that the transition phase is going to be the longest part of change. There are three parts of the transition and should be done in three separate meetings. 1.) Announce the idea; 2.) Expand the ideas through determining the Pros and Cons with others; 3.) Summarize the plan with the people who helped determine it…

H – Head into Action: Most leaders want to start here without planning before hand. More often than not, this is a bad idea. Just because the Nike slogan is Just Do It! doesn’t mean that everyone should just start working out without consulting a physician first. Or in the yacht example, we want to make sure that everyone knows where we’re going before we go!

E – Expect Problems: Build in wiggle room. Again no one is perfect and perfection shouldn’t be expected of anyone – not even yourself. Even with the best thought out plan, we can’t control everything. In the yacht example, we might run into a storm on the way there or the engine might fail.

A – Always Point at Success: Be reassuring when needed. Make sure you remind yourself or the people you’re with of overcoming a challenge that was similar in magnitude. In the yacht example, talk about stories of the past in where you had to make a similar decision where you made it just in time to deliver a passenger on time for their flight.

D – Daily review your plan: Reflect on how things are going by thinking about three things: 1.) Review the goal 2.) Review the current situation and external forces 3.) Review the people involved – are they all ok? On the yacht trip: remember why you’re bypassing other destinations, check the weather and the condition of the boat, and make sure you’re keeping moral high if there’s any problems with the other passengers.

Now that you have a plan for your planning, make it a habit to make logical decisions in your life based on what you want in 5 to 10 years from now!!

The E4 Project – Not Just for Glenn Beck Fans

I don’t really listen to political talk too much any more. That’s kind of sad considering at one time I was a political junky. I might just still be, but I tend to stay away from it. On occasion I will listen to your typical political talking head just to get an idea of what’s going on out in the world. For the longest time I used to listen and watch Glenn Beck all the time. From time to time, I’d also check out what Rachel Maddow had to say.  Totally too opposing points of view. But to be honest, I started thinking that both of them eventually had the same thing to say over and over. Plus, I started instilling a rule into my life: if it’s something I can’t do anything about, then I’m not going to worry about it. Thus, I simply stick to my standards (as mentioned in the last post) and live life.

But as I said, I do tend to turn in from time to time and heard Beck talking about this new project of his not too long ago: The E4 Project. The E4 Project is called as such because it focuses on 4 words each starting with an E – Enlightenment, Education, Empowerment, Entrepreneurship. All of which I think are important to know and think about.

In a squidoo post I found on the web, Brooke Allen discusses what each word means as a Beck fan. But I’ll go over them fairly quickly and mention their importance in self improvement.

Enlightenment – Faith. To me, Faith can be understood in two ways. It can be understood in the spiritual sense. That if things are meant to be, then they will happen. Or if you’re more of a numbers person, then Faith would be a single term for the phrase “chances are…”. If you have faith, it will happen! Understanding the fact that if certain things are done with a certain result in mind, then chances are that result will happen.

In the world of improving ones life, it should be known that a fundamental change of a person’s life isn’t going to happen over night. Faith is illustrated over an expanded period of time that a goal will be achieved if you continually work towards that goal. Faith is simply knowing that the crock pot is going to cook the food; that the seed is growing to grow into a plant and letting time and a process do its thing.

Education – We’re all familiar with this term. Personally, I love learning. I always have. I’m just naturally curious about the world and whenever I have a question, I find the answer. Just like in everything else, you can never know too much about yourself, others, and self improvement in general. You can spend your entire life learning how to better yourself and those around you but you’ll never know it all.

Empowerment – Once you have a basic understanding of how people and life works, you need to put it into practice. Start making your life better. (For example, make your own list of standards and start living by them!) Start making the lives of others better by adding value to them. Go out of your way if you need to at times!

Entrepreneurship – If you’re unemployed, underemployed, or not making enough money – then perhaps another job isn’t the answer! Even in this economy, there are so many opportunities out there that aren’t being taken advantage of that is no excuse not to be able to develop “side” income. However many people don’t even think outside the box. It’s a major case of “Who Moved My Cheese?”. To put it simply, the old system is broken and not producing money where we’re used to finding it.

With that said, it doesn’t always take money to make money. I almost find it amusing when people limit themselves based on the lack of money is the reason they don’t do something. “Uh, duh! That’s the reason you’re in this spot in the first place! You haven’t figured out a way to make additional income. This is your chance!” If people just simply start adding some habits in their life that can make them money outside of a job, then they won’t be upset because their job doesn’t pay them. Especially with the advent of e-commerce, the sky is the limit. If you can find a need, fill it, make a profit, and do so with a passion, then you might just have your real career at your fingertips.