Saying One Thing and Doing Another

 “If we want our children to value education,
Then we must show our appreciation for knowledge.”
— Brad Sherman
[Classic post from 03-29-11]
If we want our employees to value customer service, then we must show our appreciation for customers. Whatever we want others to do, or value, we must lead the way.
I remember my parents telling me when I was young, “don’t do as I do, do as I say.” You see, that doesn’t fly very well. In one ear and out the other, and even more than this, it causes a lowering of respect for the parent, boss, teacher, spouse, or other.
I encourage our team to read books or listen to audiobooks because I know it will be of great benefit to them. At the same time, I lead the way at least 10 books ahead of them. I value and appreciate knowledge and lead by example. It works better too.
My parents told me not to smoke as they were puffing on their cigarettes. They did a lot to try to discourage me, but it was just more of their don’t do as I do things.
I used to see that at work where the manager was saying to do a certain thing one way and then he did it another way, and so on. There were numerous situations where that applied and it never made any sense.
Better to not give any advice than to say one thing and do another, yes?
What’s Good For The Goose…
Spread Some Joy Today–Forget about what others are doing or not doing and just focus on what you want and how you want to be. There’s so much more joy in that.

The Mirror Of Change

“Everyone thinks of changing the world,
but no one thinks of changing himself.”
— Leo Tolstoy
[Classic post from 3-30-11]
Isn't it so true how we want to change the world, the other, the system, the outside, and not think about changing ourselves, our outlook, our attitude, our view instead.
There's a phrase I love to say when I'm trying to change the world that helps me remember what I'm doing. I say that I'm swimming upstream. I love the analogy of life being like a river and that everything we want is downstream and we just need to not worry about things so much and stop struggling with other people, things, and events, let go of the oars and just enjoy the journey.
Many of us have been brought up with the philosophy that the struggle is important and that without the struggle, there can be no true success. Just as in bodybuilding, they have that silly phrase, “no gain without pain.” So, we've been brought up to have this work ethic where we “make” things happen, because there is no real success or gain without the pain and struggle of work.
I used to believe that and live it. I'm thinking now that I've accepted an idea that just never felt quite right, but I just kept on doing it for so long. Now I'm thinking that the struggle and/or pain is entirely self-inflicted and needless, or even self-defeating.
What if we went back and did it all over again, but this time we decided to let go of the oars and experience the journey with eyes wide open? What if we adopted a single goal in our daily lives of experiencing as much joy as possible? Some would say (because I've heard the argument) that nothing would ever get done. But, I'm not accepting that premise either. Joy doesn't mean that nothing gets done, what it means is there is no struggle or pain! When you do what you love to do, there is copious amounts of joy. Having a passion for serving others can be so effective, rewarding, and yes, even profitable.
Truth is, we can't rewind and start over, and the good news about that is that we don't need to do that because we can change any time we decide to do so. And, it is in the changing of ourselves instead of everything outside of us that will change everything in our world just by accepting that premise and responsibility.
It Is Not An Idealistic Idea, Just A Better One . . .
Spread Some Joy Today–by playing with the idea that you can have joy every day, even all day if you choose to. It's empowering.

Association Has Risks and Rewards

“I owe my success
to having listened respectfully
to the very best advice,
and then going away
and doing the exact opposite.
— Gilbert K. Chesterton
“Attitude is greatly shaped by influence and association.”
— Jim Rohn
[Classic post from 1-18-11]
The is a quote from one of my all-time favorite books, Failing Forward by John C Maxwell. If you haven’t read it, I absolutely recommend it, and if you have read it, I recommend reading it again every few years. It is totally inspirational. Here is a short section that I found enlightening and so interesting:
“Business professors Gary Hamel and C.K. Prahalad have written about an experiment that was conducted with a group of monkeys. It is a vivid story of failure.
Four monkeys were placed in a room that had a tall pole in the center. Suspended from the top of that pole was a bunch of bananas. One of the hungry monkeys started climbing the pole to get something to eat, but just as he reached out to grab a banana, he was doused with a torrent of cold water. Squealing, he scampered down the pole and abandoned his attempt to feed himself. Each monkey made a similar attempt, and each one was drenched with cold water. After making several attempts, they finally gave up.
Then researchers removed one of the monkeys from the room and replaced him with a new monkey. As the newcomer began to climb the pole, the other three grabbed him and pulled him down to the ground.
After trying to climb the pole several times and being dragged down by the others, he finally gave up and never attempted to climb the pole again.
The researchers replaced the original monkeys, one by one, and each time a new monkey was brought in, he would be dragged down by the others before he could reach the bananas. In time, the room was filled with monkeys who had never received a cold shower. None of them would climb the pole, but not one of them knew why.”
Now, this whole story is so familiar to me, only it was people, not monkeys. Now, I get it. . .
Association Has Risks And Rewards.
Spread Some Joy Today–Take confidence in your own counsel. More than anything, it is your own belief that matters.

How Many Joyous Days Can We String Together?

“Those who improve with age
embrace the power of personal growth
and personal achievement
and begin to replace
youth with wisdom,
innocence with understanding,
and lack of purpose
with self-actualization.”
— Bo Bennett
[Classic post from 1-19-11]
I used to talk about learning plateaus. It seemed to me that I would be learning every day, building up experiences over some period of time, then, what would seem all of a sudden, I felt like I just had a big jump, and then I was on a whole new level of confidence, wisdom, skills, etc., and then begin building again toward the next plateau. I never knew when, or how much time these plateaus would take to be noticed or realized, and it seemed like it was sometimes months, other times maybe even years.
Something I’ve noticed recently is that these plateaus are beginning to come more frequently and with less time in between. I’m not sure what that means, but this I do know: it is way cool and fun and exciting at the same time.
Well, you might have already guessed, I had one today. I’ll tell you, today I felt dang near-invincible it was that much fun. It started early this morning with a truck training class at a dealership. I’ve given this class at least a couple of hundred times to well over a thousand people. I know it by heart very well. It is a two-and-a-half-hour class that is full of great information. Today, I changed it up a bit and spent more time in certain areas, and didn’t even cover other areas. I think it actually worked better, and what I learned from that told me to cut the class at least in half regarding the material, and maybe even break it up in more pieces. But, that’s not the main thing to share.
What I want to share is that when you do a thing often enough and you know what you’re doing and do it well, the confidence level continues to increase. In addition, you can pay more attention to what is going on in the class and less to what you are doing. This alone yields more insight. But, that’s still not the main thing.
So, as I do this class, even with some time in between, I still find it very exciting and fun and I do everything I can to show that in my body language and my voice, and actions. After class, we went out on the lot to look over trucks and point out features on each one. Everywhere I walked on this large lot, I walked with enthusiasm and purpose and determination, and confidence. It was absolutely joyous! What a thrill. To top it off, the sun came out today after over a week of overcast. What could be better?
That’s the main thing I wanted to talk about: the feeling; the joy; the fun; the enthusiasm; the learning; the thrill; the excitement. I was hot and loving it and I think we all need to do that as often as it is possible to have it happen. Don’t you? A day like today can very easily overshadow several off days.
Let’s Challenge Ourselves To See How Many Joyous Days We Can String Together! It’ll Be FUN!
Spread Some Joy Today–There is nothing quite like loving what you are doing–even if it is just for today.

A Spirit Of Approval

“I have yet to find a man, however, exalted his station,
who did not do better work and put forth greater effort
under a spirit of approval than under a spirit of criticism.”
— Charles M Schwab
“There is more hunger for love and
appreciation in this world than for bread.”
— Mother Teresa
[Classic post from 1-22-11]
Having studied Andrew Carnegie for some time, it is impossible to miss getting to know his right-hand man, Charles M Schwab. In fact, there is a book very much worth reading about Mr. Schwab called Steel Titan. In getting to know Charles Schwab, it was clear that he was an artist at dealing with people and he was famous for getting people to do things well through a spirit of approval instead of a spirit of criticism.
Love and appreciation have to be at or nearest the top of what people really want in virtually every situation. That subject is the basis for one of the world's most helpful books, How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. It is also a must-read that never will go out of style and is full of value to the reader.
When I saw these two quotes together, I thought about these three leaders, and I also thought about the need and desire for approval that we all have. I thought about it specifically about myself and my own desire for approval that was a driving force in my life. What I realized in looking at this is that most of my life I felt that I was lacking in enough or the proper approval and I used to find that frustrating. At some point in the very recent past, I've let go of the need for it. It's not that I don't appreciate it when it is given to me, it's just that I no longer crave it as I did before.
What's also interesting to realize is that the need for approval has dissipated since I decided to give it to others everywhere I go. It might be an approving glance, a thank you spoken aloud, saying I love you aloud, showing love by doing something courteous or nice or unexpected. I just sent notes to people out of the blue to tell them I was thinking of them and was appreciating them, and those are always very well received. I am always looking at what I can compliment someone on. Maybe they have a new hair style, have lost weight, look especially sharp that day, have a wonderful smile, exude confidence. I seem to always find something to compliment people on and they just love it.
And, guess what? Now that I'm not looking for it for myself and giving it away in droves, I find that I feel more love every day, so in effect, it is coming back to me in greater quantity. Who knew?
Focus On Others For Your Own Benefit.
Spread Some Joy Today–there is such joy in spreading it around you.

The Holy Realm Of Passion

“Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news.
The good news is that you don’t know how great you
can be! How much you can love! What you can
accomplish! And what your potential is!”
— Anne Frank
“If we did all the things we are capable of doing,
we would literally astound ourselves.”
— Thomas A Edison
[Classic post from 1-25-11]
The other night I watched an older VHS that I had in my eBay store called Calle 54. It is a documentary from 2000 showing Latin Jazz players and groups from all over the globe. It is nothing short of amazing to watch these players play their instruments. It is especially interesting as a musician myself to watch people who really know how to play do something that seems so far away from what I do that it is as if I don’t play at all. I am in awe watching them, and in joy as well.
It made me think a bit about the question of how good can we get at something. The right answer is probably, who knows? Limits are always being expanded–and indeed, it seems that they are meant to be expanded.
This one aspect I think I’ve figured out about this, and that is that it is not desire that can achieve these levels as much as a love of doing a thing. It is beyond desire, and in the holy realm of passion!
Perfection Is An Elusive Thing, Though Many People Do Flirt With It Regularly.
Spread Some Joy Today–watching someone else sharing their passion is very satisfying and encouraging.

The Heart Of Creativity: Innovation

“The ability to innovate is at the heart of creativity–
a vital component in success. University of Houston
professor Jack Matson recognized that fact and
developed a course that his students came to call
“Failure 101.” In it, Matson assigns students to build
mock-ups of products that no one would ever buy.
His goal is to get students to equate failure
with innovation instead of defeat.”
— John C Maxwell, Failing Forward
[Classic post from 1-26-11]
Innovation and the concept of being the best we can be is at the heart of my there's-no-such-thing-as-competition philosophy. Who has time to look around at what others are doing when you're so busy doing yourself? And innovation is always looking at things in different ways, backward, forward, inside out, upside down, up close, and off in the distance. Consider this quote by R. Buckminster Fuller about innovation: “Pollution is nothing but the resources we are not harvesting. We allow them to disperse because we've been ignorant of their value.” I think that is a fascinating thought.
I love that quote by Mr. Fuller because it is like a Mike Rowe's Dirty Jobs way of looking at innovation: people love doing the strangest, but most necessary things that most of us choose to never think about. Pollution is certainly one of those things, and learning to love pollution is a way to find a solution that creates value from something previously with a minus value. Innovation will never occur by ignoring the problem, but by looking at it completely differently.
The worst thing to hear is some version of, “that's the way we've always done it.” There are lots of versions on that theme. Innovation requires two things: one, a letting go of previously held truths, and two, an opening of the mind to perhaps radically different ideas. Of course, the ideas need not necessarily be radically different in order to be innovative, but many certainly will be, such as the case with pollution becoming of value.
There's Always Another Way, And Some Of Them May Change The Game Completely.
Spread Some Joy Today–Laugh often and much.

The Need Is Not The Seed

“The soil says, Don’t bring me your need,
bring me your seed.”
— Jim Rohn
“God has the tough end of the deal.
What if instead of planting the seed,
you had to make the tree?
That would keep you up late at night,
trying to figure that one out.”
— Jim Rohn
[Classic post from 1-27-11]
One thing that has become extremely clear to me about life is that it is not need that drives, it is desire–and even more than desire, it is expectation, which is the foregone conclusion of desire. Sometimes that is called faith or belief.
I love how Jim Rohn puts it about the soil not caring at all about the need, yet is ready, willing, and able to deal with the seed. Indeed, the second quote about God having the tough end of the deal (as if anything is tough for God. . .) puts our physical abilities in perspective by asking us to make the tree. All we know is the seed that becomes the tree, but we don’t have anything to do except plant it. The rest is not our domain.
I’ve shared this before, but I have a sign I printed out on my wall so that I can see it every day that says: “What is MY job! How is GOD’S job!” I need to remind myself very often that I control desire and what I want to do or have or be, yet I DO NOT need to know how to do that. Exactly like the tree and the seed. I plant the seed, which is my job, but the building of the tree is not my job.
I’ve recognized many times in my life past where I have tried to help build the tree. I get in there and try to change circumstances and events to speed the process along, or to make it better somehow. It becomes clear in a relatively short time how poorly I am equipped and skilled to get that job done. I somehow think that it is my actions that will reap all the results when it is much more me aligning with my desire and focusing there, especially the end result as if it were already done, not knowing a thing about how, or needing to know. The more I stick to my job, the better things turn out.
To The Power That Builds Galaxies, My Desires Are Mere Child’s Play. Better In Those Hands Than Mine.
Spread Some Joy Today–let go of as much of the struggle as you can. It won’t help. Relax and concentrate on planting and enjoying the sunset, the breeze, and the wonderful shade of the tree.

Moving Into The Impossible

“The only way to discover the limits of the possible
is to go beyond them into the impossible.”
— Arthur Clarke
[Classic post from 1-30-11]
Let's look in the rearview mirror not very far back in history and look at just a few of the things that were impossible for hundreds and even thousands of years, and then they somehow not only became possible but became actual realities.
1. Bridging the Mississippi river.
2. To travel faster than a horse will run.
3. Hauling hundreds of tons of material smoothly and efficiently.
4. Breathing underwater.
5. Flying through the air in a machine.
6. Radio.
7. Television.
8. Computers.
9. The Internet.
10. Worldwide instant communication.
11. Cellular phones.
12. Automobiles.
13. Refrigeration.
14. Air Conditioning.
15. Washing machine.
16. Clothes dryer.
17. Space travel.
18. Landing a man on the moon.
19. Microwave cooking
20. Electric light and appliances.
21. Recorded music.
22. Electric Guitar
23. Rock and Roll
24. Instant Video Recorders.
25. Robotics.
This is such a shortlist of the seriously long list of things that were impossible for hundreds and thousands of years and then became possible and then became actual things in just the last 200 years. I did this off the top of my head and I'm sure I could come up with a couple hundred items and that list would be small compared with what really transpired.
Next time something seems impossible, pull out this list or make your own to remind you that nothing is impossible really. It is just a matter of time and more important than time is someone beginning to believe in the possibility rather than the impossibility. It is amazing what even one person who believes can do to change the world.
We Owe Our Entertainment, Transportation, Food Delivery Systems, And Creature Comforts To A Few Believers.
Spread Some Joy Today–become more of a possibilitarian. You don't have to know how–just know.

What We Pray For. What We May Receive.

“Let me ask you something.
If someone prays for patience,
do you think God gives them patience?
Or does He give them the opportunity to be patient?
If he prayed for courage,
does God give him courage,
or does He give him opportunities to be courageous?
If someone prayed for the family to be closer,
do you think God zaps them with warm fuzzy feelings,
or does He give them opportunities to love each other?”
— God
as played by Morgan Freeman
in the movie, Evan Almighty
[Classic post from 1-31-11]
Do we just give our kids money, or do we show them ways to earn it and thereby have some respect for it and understand value more clearly? Do we allow our children, our sales staff, our employees to learn by allowing them to make mistakes so they can learn better ways? Or, do we step in and do it for them, so that we know it is done according to our own plan regardless of how little they learn that way?
Or, how about ourselves? Are we longing for the easy way, when we know full well that the other way will create a foundation to step up on? Are we looking for a savior?
If you were starting up a company from scratch and using your own capital or bootstrapping it, would you constantly long for enough money to pay people and be done with the struggle? Or might the struggle have some of the most valuable lessons of the whole journey?
I used to long for all those savior moments, wanting it to be over and someone else to do the work or make things happen. Then recently, something changed. All of a sudden, it became clear to me that these things weren’t struggles at all. It was just a challenge to be able to view it differently; more creatively. Then, it became even more clear that it was not even so much of a challenge as an advantage. Now, just look at that transition! Did it go from a struggle to a challenge to an advantage? Maybe I’m losing it!
Truly, I’m beginning to see some of the things that I go through in my business and my personal life as advantages instead of the struggles that once were. It is this change in thinking that I am so very excited about because it is showing me the value of travel that I would have never seen otherwise.
I now know for certain that it is all perfect.
I Now Have An Advantage: My New Perspective.
Spread Some Joy Today–Everything is really how you perceive it. We indeed create our own individual realities.
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