Monthly Archives: September 2011

Now I begin

“So many fail because they don’t get started — they don’t go. They don’t overcome inertia. They don’t begin.”   W. Clement Stone

What are your top 10 excuses?   Yes, those pesky things that explain away all the reasons why something could have been done.

1. It was too hard.

2. It wasn’t the right time.

3. I was feeling well enough.

4. I overslept.   (the alarm didn’t go off)

5. I couldn’t find the keys to the car

6. There was too much traffic

The list is much longer than that.

What is your list of favorite excuses?  What is the excuse you’ve heard?

Why do excuses matter in the first place?   What reason do excuses serve?

“Nunc coepi” or “Now I begin”  suggests a life that isn’t littered with excuses.   Nunc coepi suggests a life where you take 100% responsibility for everything in your life.   It starts with an attitude that I am responsible and not circumstances or any other reason why you couldn’t.

Everyday is a new day to start over and start with a fresh outlook on life.   Who will be in charge today, the excuse or the powerful you?    If the alarm didn’t go off admit that you didn’t set it properly.   For almost every reason what something “can’t” happen there is a reason that it could happen.

Identify the critical things in your life.  What is being left up to chance?   Does the alarm clock have a battery in case the power goes off?   Is the battery charged?   There are simple things to do in most cases to avoid having simple things cause big problems.

Jeff Olson the author of “The Slight Edge” says the secret to success begins with your philosophy.     It doesn’t take a lot, it just takes a little each day to reshape the results you are getting.   It takes practice to get better.

“Nunc coepi”,  Now I begin.    Begin to take charge of your world.   Keep the little excuses from becoming big excuses.    Take small steps to increase your success in life and begin today.

What will you start doing:

1. Will you start eating a healthy diet?

2. Will you start exercising?

3. Will you start balancing your life so that you have the time to do the things that hold the most value?

4. Will you start improving yourself?

5. Will you start saving money?

6. Will you start restoring and improving relationships?

7. Will you start being more of who you are?

What will you start today?   When will you begin?

“Nunc coepi” … what is your “Nunc coepi”?

“The day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.’  Anais Nin

in·flu·ence

“Let no man imagine that he has no influence. Whoever he may be, and wherever he may be placed, the man who thinks becomes a light and a power. ”
Henry George

Influence is what changes the world.   A small idea that springs to life and becomes world-changing is an act of influence.   Take a look at the power of something like the iPad.  This device is becoming a force of influence and a force for change.  Schools are using iPad’s to transform the learning experience and change the next generation of learners.

What is influence and how does it work?

Influence is the ability to shift a thought, action or a belief.   Influence is a natural power that everyone has and the rules are embodied in the social fabric and culture and are seemingly invisible.

Everyday you are being targeted by people who specialize in influencing your choices.   What makes something better?   What makes the time right to make a purchase?   What creates a need?

How does someone influence you?

1. They may give you a gift.    The natural reaction is to desire to return something to the giver of the gift.   Marketers give inexpensive things to people using the idea of reciprocity (desire to give back something) as a way to create a desire to make a purchase.     The next time you do someone a favor and they thank-you for the help you gave reply by saying “You’re welcome, I know you’d do the same for me.”, and this will create an unspoken obligation.

2. Scarcity.   Anytime anything becomes rare or exclusive the desire for that thing become greater.   “Only 3 left”, “only 5 minutes left”, “almost sold out”, or “final day”, these statements create a sense that something is going to be gone or that you’re going to be left without if you don’t take action.   You only have 5 minutes before the 50% off sale ends.     People react to scarcity with an increased desire for that service or product.  It works!

3. Being the expert.   If you are an expert in a given area you will have influence.   You probably wouldn’t seek out advice from someone who doesn’t know anything about the topic you want to know more about.   The expert has credibility and that means the ability to influence.

4. Charisma or being liked.   People like to do things with people they like.  Friends have influence over you or they would likely not be a friend.  You trust others who have similar or the same likes.     People often rely on their friends for advice on making purchases as in “What kind of car would you buy?”

5. Listening to what others say.   When you are trying to make a decision there is a good chance that you’ll seek out the opinions of other people.   What is the experience other people have had with a product or service.   “Would you do business with them?” .  People look for ways to lower their risk of making a decision.   Testimonials help provide that social proof that there was positive results.

6. By creating commitments.   When you make a commitment to doing something there is a strong chance that you’ll honor that commitment.   People who make commitments to some cause will likely do the work when they are asked, it doesn’t  take much to convince them to act in line with their commitment.   Honoring a commitment is something people do to maintain their integrity.

Robert Cialdini the acclaimed expert on influence speaks to Success Magazine readers and talks about areas of influence.

What are you influenced by?   How are you influenced?

It’s too much

“The sheer availability of information… has launched a tsunami of seeking… at the same time, the information glut contributes to pervasive cynicism, fragmentation, and a sense of helplessness. ” Michael J. Gelb

It seems that more and more people are suffering from the effects of “too much”.   “Too much” information, too much work, too much busyness, too much stress, too much …

The “too much” symptoms look a lot like ADHD when you start peeling the onion a bit.    People start losing focus,  are unable to manage time effectively, forget simple things, and generally feel overwhelmed with their world.   The Wall Street Journal just published an article that talks about the fact that many people may be approaching some practical limits of the mind.

Executive function impairment which is thought to be the central issue in ADHD is now impacting a greater part of the population.   Recent ADHD statistics show that ADHD is rising in the population.    With the rapid increase of information (games, TV, video, internet, etc.) the ability for the brain to process all that information is resulting in stress and decreased brain function.

Looking at the ADHD statistics you can see that there is an increase in overall ADHD incidence.    The rate of increase of ADHD could be tied to many factors but one thing that is probably the most pressing is the rate of information growth and information saturation in the lives of young people.

While the appearance of ADHD seems to be growing along with the growth of information it could also be tied to a  linear logical system of education where the creative and physical aspects of education are being eliminated.   When executive memory function starts decreasing there is a rise in negative behaviors in teenagers and young adults.   Finding ways to reduce brain overload is going to be critical as we move towards a more information rich society.

In children executive memory function is increased  by taking time to engage in physical and creative arts.    It is precisely the things that are being pulled out of the education system marginalizing more and more children.  If there was a resurgence of arts and physical activity there would be a wholesale improvement in the education system.

Take this a step further and we see adults being inundated by information and not having the time to take a break from the onslaught of data.    Moving away from strict linear logical work would have great benefits.

What do you do?

1. Take creativity breaks

2. Exercise and increase your oxygen uptake.

3. Work on exercises that focus on short term memory work.

As the influx of information increases the symptoms of ADHD will likely increase as the more right brained thinkers slip under the tide of more information.   The rate of information growth isn’t going to stop it is only going to increase and in order for children and adults to thrive in this new age more focus and more energy should be applied to practicing things that increase the executive memory function.

Paul Saffo noted that, “Point of view” is that quintessentially human solution to information overload, an intuitive process of reducing things to an essential relevant and manageable minimum.  In a world of hyper abundant content, point of view will become the scarcest of resources.”

What do you think?  Are we teetering on the edge of information overload?  Are we damaging the next generation of leaders by removing the arts and physical activity from our education process?   What would you do?

 

what is your personal mission?

“Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life; everyone must carry out a concrete assignment that demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated, thus, everyone’s task is unique as his specific opportunity to implement it.” – Viktor E. Frankl

What is your purpose?   For  many people having a purpose other than getting through the day is a thought that they have never entertained.   What is  your purpose?

Purpose is a driving force, a reason, a passionate desire, a legacy, a story and an internal motivation to do something that matters.    It is amazing that most people haven’t taken the time to discover their purpose.   Without a purpose life loses some of its meaning.   Work becomes a way to pass time, to collect some money and to continue to exist.   Life becomes a series of routine activities that has no meaning.   Eventually those without a purpose wake up one morning and wonder what life is all about.   What is my purpose?

There is an intrinsic purpose to life of course but there is also something deeper and more meaningful to purpose other than to exist.    People without purpose feel like they are lost.   They feel like they are just going through the motions of life and feeling less and less engaged in life as each day passes by.      That often means that whatever they are doing they are doing because they feel like they “have to”.

Where do you start?   If you have no idea of how to identify what your purpose is then it’s time to take out a piece of paper.   Divide the paper in half along the vertical axis.    On the left hand side of the paper list your strengths, the things you are naturally good at.  Identify the things that come easily to you.    Those will be things that just are easy for you to do or to learn.

On the right hand side of the paper list the things that you like to do.  These will be interesting things, perhaps reading, exercising,  or whatever those things are that you like to do.

Now you have a list of things that come naturally to you, or strengths, and a list of things that you like to do.

From those lists circle the things that are the most interesting, most energizing and most consistent in  your life.   What do you find yourself naturally doing?  What things do you do that makes time just fly by?

For those things that didn’t get circled put a box around the things that you would do if money or time were no object.   Maybe these things are things you are curious about that you want to know more about but just haven’t found time to do.

Using your core strengths which ones speak to “who” you are the most strongly.  These could be things that go to the core of your being.   They might be, your “to be” statements.    My purpose is to be ” _____________________ ” something.  What is that something?

Next, define what it is you want “to do”.   What is the activity that you will undertake.    “To do work that makes a difference in the world”  or “to work with people ” or ___________________.

And then we take the to be and to do and culminate with a “so that”.  Why do you want to do that.   ” … so that I can positively influence those closest to me”  or “so that I can make a difference in ____________”.   The “so that” summarizes your ” to do” and “to be” statements into a result.    That result is your “why”, your purpose and that will be your unique contribution.   Your purpose lived out will be your legacy.

“My life is my message.”  Gandhi