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Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Get Back on Track

If you can, always finish what you have begun. Never concede that you are too far behind to claw back some time to continue where you left off - you are alive aren't you? Keep your goals in view and fulfill the promises you have made.

The only way get it done is to do it, so get your mind correctly focused on what has to be done, and figure out how you are going to do, then do it. Always looking at the prize - this will make what seems difficult surprising easy, and your determination will support you all the way.

Just do it!

Don't Stop Believing

Today was a day I found myself into a quandary. I was faced with the difficulty of holding onto the truth that I know, and rejecting the circumstances that I see. For those who believe squarely the truth of the Bible - this should not be unfamiliar, in fact, it is a daily test of belief in the integrity of Gods promises to those who trust Him.

Because of the way our world is today, we ordinary folk find ourselves in unfamiliar territories in our daily lives. The level of information required for very simple transactions, purchases and services is alarming. It seems everyone wants a bit of information on us for "their records". It makes you think, that a small group of individuals that have surreptitiously amassed too much control are placing demands on us for some sinister purpose. Sounds bad - it is.

These experiences are becoming more frequent and a part of everyday life for those who reside in the western hemisphere. Want a simple life - pay cash! Really? Well cash seems to be an unclean word, and credit is more palatable. Credit provides a wealth of juicy information to the "control tower" on you and me, and cash that was once KING is now being frowned upon if used. I never thought I would hear retailer declare (as I have not seen it yet) they will not accept cash as a payment method! Horror.

To go along your merry way without any intrusion into your work history and spending habits and credit, keep away from the government and their friends - the Banks. Far from encouraging people to work and contribute to the growth of the economy, they discourage you with the MI-6 style interview and vetting process. If you apply for a job to work at a financial institution even indirectly, be prepared to bare ALL. They want to know... it all. When did traumatising candidates become a part of the recruitment process? If you have a blemish or three on your credit file - be prepared to explain then - in detail. No consideration will be given to the circumstances around the blemish, just that it is there, and the question will be asked - what about this credit entry? You can be forgiven for wanting to tell them to mind your own damn business, what has this got to do with you? But that might significantly affect you being offered that job, so a more tactful way to say it is advised.

This is what happened to today... thinking this is a terrible intrusion of my privacy, and feeling what if something comes up, what if, what if.... but then even in all the anxiety and stress, I kept holding on to the promise that all things work together for good. I will see the fulfillment of what has been promised, does not matter what it looks like, it just matters what I choose to see and believe. So don't stop believing, it will make all the difference to the final and long term outcome.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

The 90/10 Principle

Discover this 90/10 Principle.
It will change your life (or at least the way you react to situations).


10% of life is made up of what happens to you...
90% of life is decided by how you react.


We really have NO control over the 10% of what happens to us. The 90% is different. YOU determine the 90%

HOW? By your reaction.

You cannot control a red light. However, you can control your reaction.
Do not let people fool you. YOU can control how you react.

Let's see this example:

You are having breakfast with your family. Your daughter knocks over a cup of coffee onto your business shirt.

YOU HAVE NO CONTROL over what has just happened.
What happens next will be determined by HOW YOU REACT.

You curse. You harshly scold your daughter for knocking the cup over. She breaks down in tears. After scolding her, you turn to your wife and criticize her for placing the cup too close to the edge of the table. A short verbal battle follows.

You storm upstairs and change your shirt. Back downstairs, you find your daughter has been too busy crying to finish her breakfast and getting ready to go to school. She misses the bus.

Your spouse must leave immediately for work, you rush to the car and drive your daughter to school. Because you are late, you drive 40 miles per hour in a 30 mph speed limit zone.

After a 15-minute delay and throwing £60.00 traffic fine away, you arrive at school. Your daughter runs into the building without saying goodbye.

After arriving at the office 20 minutes late, you realise your forgot your briefcase.

Your day has started terrible. As it continues, it seems to get worse and worse.
You look forward to coming home.

When you arrive home, you find a small wedge in your relationship with your wife and daughter.

Why? Because of how you reacted in the morning.

Why did you have a bad day?

A) Did the coffee cause it?
B) Did your daughter cause it?
C) Did the policeman cause it?
D) Did you cause it?

The answer is: D

You had NO CONTROL over what happened with the coffee.
How you reacted in those 5 seconds is what caused your bad day!

Here is what could have and should have happened.

Coffee splashes over you. Your daughter is about to cry.

You gently say: "It's okay, honey, you just need to be more careful next time."
Grabbing a towel, you go upstairs and change your shirt.

You grab your briefcase, and come back down in time to look through the window and see your child getting on the bus.
She turns and waves. You arrive 5 minutes early and cheerfully greet the staff.

Notice the difference?

Two different scenarios.
Both started the same.
Both ended different.


Because of how you reacted.

You really have no control over 10% of what happens in your life.
The other 90% was determined by your reaction.

Absolutely everything we do, give, say or even think, it's like a Boomerang.
It will come back to us.

If we want to receive, we need to learn to give first...
Maybe we will end with our hands half empty, but our hearts will be filled with love.

And those who love life, have that feeling marked in their hearts...

by: Stephen Covey

Sunday, 21 February 2010

The Effects of Choice

Where you are today is directly related to the choices you’ve made up to this point; one month, two weeks, last year and even a decade ago.

There are so many choices that we make everyday, some big, some small, conscious or subconscious. However, in our lives the choices we make dictate the path we take or the journey we are currently on. What books to read and learn from, mentors and role models, when to get married and have children, where to live and work.

“It’s a choice, not a chance that determines your destiny.” J. Nidetch

First, understanding and deciding what direction you are moving in or knowing your desired outcome will help you in making better choices.

For example, let’s take the popular weight loss goal. All of your meals and food choices need to be congruent with you desired outcome of losing weight. Not planning ahead is a choice and may cause you to make poor diet choices; the salad vs. the quick pickup burger. Some of this may appear to be very short term but what is the long term affect on your health is you are over weight or ignore the few pounds you put on each year?

Ignoring decisions is a choice. What declarations in your life have you been putting off? Are there any situations that need new outcomes? The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. What needs to change in your life? What are you taking a stand on and deciding on today?

In summary, the key to making good choices is to know your desired outcome or the direction you are headed in. Without knowing that, it’s like walking around blind folded. Know where you are headed or your intentions and it becomes easier to make congruent decisions based on your desired outcome.

The Golden Rule

"So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you"
Mt 7:12 - NIV

We have all heard the Golden Rule but do we really understand it, particularly with regard to our daily interaction with others?

I have been reading the discussion of "The Golden Rule" as presented in Chapter 16 of Napoleon Hill's "Law of Success" and have had an epiphany! I always took the Golden Rule to suggest that you will receive the same (or similar) response from others in similar fashion to the way you treat them. Treat people nicely and people will treat you nicely (and who doesn't want to be treated nicely?). Treat people poorly and expect to be treated poorly.

Is this, however, what is meant by "Do unto others ..." and, more importantly, who does it REALLY benefit the most?

Day to Day Interactions

In our day-to-day lives, we all interact with people; family, friends, business associates and strangers. And, so much of our day is influenced upon the outcomes of those interactions or, more specifically, how we respond to those outcomes.

If we take the transit system or, as an even more emphatic example, an elevator to work, we are very familiar with the manner in which we stay isolated in our separate world, interacting as little as possible with those around us. We have our protective barriers erected against possible interaction. We read books or the newspaper, plug ourselves into our iPods or work on our lap-tops. No end to the ways in which we can communicate the fact that we don't want to ... well, communicate.

If we have an exchange with a taxi driver, vendor or just bump into someone in the street, depending on the nature of both their response and our own, such an incident can set a "mood" for an entire day, if we let it. Some days, simply getting up "on the wrong side of the bed" in the morning can spoil a day, if we let it.

These are, I suggest, examples of how we might "manifest what we visualize into our lives", examples of how "attraction" and "magnetism" colours our interactions with people, how the "Law of Attraction" works when dealing with "mankind". Our mind set, our disposition dictates how we treat the world and, in return, how the world treats us.

"Such as are thy habitual thoughts, such also will be the character of thy mind; for the soul is dyed by the thoughts. Dye it, then, with a continuous series of such thoughts ..."
Marcus Aurelius Antoninus

Classic Examples

As an extreme example, let's consider the character Scrooge in Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol". The story begins by defining Scrooge's character as "... a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner!" ... before he meets Jacob Marley and the three ghosts. As Scrooge moves through every aspect of every day, his interactions with one and all are confrontational and distasteful. He is an entirely unsavoury character with whom to associate and overpowers everyone he encounters with his self-, or more accurately, money-centred consciousness. There are some exceptions, the most notable being his nephew who exudes Christmas cheer despite his uncle's ugly disposition. Scrooge exemplifies the definitive bad attitude toward his fellow man. It is very enlightening that his disposition is a direct result of his money centred consciousness.

He treats everyone he encounters with the character resulting from his money centred consciousness, every human interaction is based on an extreme "cost benefits analysis". In return, he receives cautious, timid, thoroughly cowed responses from his employees, disbelief and disappointment from businessmen (seeking charitable donations) and contempt from his business peers when informed of his death (Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come).

At the other extreme, let us look at another Christmas classic - "It's A Wonderful Life". George Bailey goes through his life (as reviewed for Clarence, his guardian angel) always giving of himself for his family, friends and "Building and Loan" clients, even going so far as to extend loans to his clients immediately after his wedding in response to a desperate financial crisis. He is presented, in many instances, as resenting his circumstances (but, tellingly, not resenting those he has helped). These responses are consistent with the core beliefs of his character. When life presents him with his own desperate, individual crisis, his family, friends and even strangers all come willingly, even eagerly, forward in order to provide the necessary assistance, far in excess of his actual requirements.

"A man reaps what he sows ... Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up"
Gal. 6:7 and 9

Admittedly, these are carefully constructed plots for story purposes, however, they do portray contrasting examples of the human experience and, more specifically, they exemplify "The Golden Rule". Both characters get back responses from their fellow man consistent with the core beliefs of their characters which dictate the nature of their interaction with their fellow man.

Where Scrooge presents a miserly disposition to those whom he encounters, he receives a similarly negative response in return. In contrast, where George Bailey exemplifies a generous and caring disposition in his daily life, he is offered respect, admiration and, when desperately needed, generosity in return. This generosity, as I stated above, was far in excess of his actual needs.

So, when we go about our lives on a day-to-day basis, what is the nature of the character we exemplify toward others; our family, friends, business associates and the strangers we meet. If we typically offer the world an unfriendly disposition, should we not expect, over time, to develop an unfriendly character? On the other hand, if we make active attempts to greet those whom we encounter in a friendly manner, should we not expect to develop a friendly disposition in our character?

"Manifest the Change You Desire in the World"

To be clear, all I am proposing is a simple smile, and possibly a "Hello", to the people we meet in the course of our day. A little daily courtesy to the coffee vendor in the morning. Simply small acts of courtesy and kindness in your day. It has been said that smiles are contagious. Perhaps smiles are similar to love in that it might be very hard to give them away as they are always given back.

"... our brains become magnetized with the dominating thoughts which we hold in our minds, and ... these "magnets" attract to us the forces, the people, the circumstances of life which harmonize with the nature of our dominating thoughts".
Napoleon Hill

If we are going about our day with a cheerful disposition, we should reasonably expect to get cheerful responses from those whom we know. We may not get a cheerful response from the strangers we meet, however, give some thought to how someone you didn't know, passing by with a smile, may have been a ray of sunlight in your day. Furthermore, it's hard to have a bad day if you are smiling.

Who Really Benefits?

In the scenarios presented above, all those involved in the proposed exchanges realize some emotional response out of the exchanges. However, I suggest that you are the greatest (or worst) beneficiary of the exchanges. I believe we reap what we sow. If we present a pleasant and outgoing (positive) demeanor to those we encounter in our day, we become pleasant and outgoing and develop a corresponding positive attitude.

If, on the other hand, we present a disagreeable, negative demeanor to the world, we will drive people away and develop a negative attitude to the world over time (to match our negative demeanor - negative response feedback loop).
To take this argument further, in order to develop the character traits we desire in ourselves, we need to be actively exemplifying them in our daily lives. If these character traits are foreign to us, then we need to initially act" them out in order to eventually possess them. I believe this is what Napoleon Hill suggests in "Think and Grow Rich" and "Law of Sucess".

If we walk around, day-in and day-out, with a frown on our faces, how long until we develop a frown on our heart (if you will permit the metaphor)). Conversely, if we pass our day with a smile on our faces, acknowledging and relishing the good things we encounter every day, how long until we develop that same smile in our heart.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control"
Gal. 5:22

At the very least, begin and end your days with a smile and good word for the members of your family. A smile from your wife or husband as you head off to work and smiles from your children goes a long way to easing the stress and tension in a day.

We reap what we sow. With these words in mind, I suggest we go out and sow a cheerful day. Doing so will place a cheerful disposition on ours souls and, over time, we will reap cheerfulness from those we meet.

"A man passes for what he is worth. What he is engraves itself on his face, on his form, on his fortunes, in letters of light which all men may read but himself. ... "Emerson.

Rick Walker

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Clean up your YOU image!

Have you checked yourself out lately? How do you see yourself? How do you look at yourself? Do you look at yourself with approval, what about with admiration. Do you like what you see? These questions can be tough to hear and hard to answer.

This is about the most personally thought-provoking question anyone can ask: "How do I see myself?" How we see ourselves dictates how we approach life, our relationships, our jobs, our families, and comprehensively our lives--all to a very large extent. We reflect how we feel about ourselves directly onto our relationships with others; yes, it's true!

And the answer to this above question--if it lines up with the reality, that is, other people's perceptions--can be a key to inner happiness. In it we achieve congruence, and therefore peace.

The greatest disservice anyone can bring to themselves is to have an inaccurate self-image. Regarding our happiness, the alignment of our goals, dreams and desires with our actual abilities and capacities in achieving these should be obvious but it isn't to most people. No wonder there's so many disappointed people in life! Life never quite measures up to their lofty (but misaligned) self-images.

For instance, if someone sees themselves as a leader yet they don't act like a leader i.e. they don't realise much, if any, influence, they'll naturally become disappointed--the results regarding the outcomes of life need to be reconciled and any significant gap can only produce dissonance. When the image we produce for ourselves is inconsistent with what we experience in life we'll yearn for a better match.

Fact is fact and the cold hard facts of life are difficult to refute. Sooner or later the person who thinks they're especially gifted for the leadership role, for example, will discover that perhaps, in reality, they're not. Or at least they're not as far along the development curve as they'd like to be. It's a humbling truth.

The sooner denial is dealt with (as part of the normal process of grieving) the sooner the person can adapt their self-image to the manifest truth before them. Embracing the truth births a freeing foundation where both a stabilising peace and an emergent growth can commence simultaneously.

If an inaccurate self-image is a grievous missing-of-the-mark for one's life, surely an accurate self-image (in humility) is a great blessing.

This person is always seeking feedback, and more than that, they actually listen because they're fervently (even aggressively toward themselves) seeking to reach continual self-image alignment with other peoples' perceptions i.e. the evident reality.

How we see ourselves is huge in life. The better the alignment we have regarding our natural desires at good compared with our actual delivery in real terms, the happier and more blessed we'll actually be.

Should You Trust Your Gut Instincts?

Should you rely on your intuition by trusting your instincts? Going with your gut instinct may feel like the right decision to make, but are there other factors you should consider? Have you ever come to an intersection and you turned left, but felt you should have turned right? Then you realise your gut instinct was correct. Instinct is reactionary to certain stimuli. The animal kingdom shows us this in feeding habits, mating, and fighting. These are not things we learn, these are things we do. Unlike a reflex that is controlled via the nervous system, instincts come from the brain and are felt in your stomach.

These instincts are felt in your gut. When you are nervous you may feel nauseous, when you are in love you may feel butterflies in your stomach. Trusting your feelings is important when making decisions and will give you good advice. Think about making a first impression, the first time you meet someone you invoke an opinion about them, an instinct. When you hire a contractor like an electrician, a painter or a housekeeper, you get a gut feeling about the person you will be inviting into your home. This advice from your inner-self is as reliable as reading an advertisement.

Tap into this natural mechanism by breathing deeply and letting your stomach relax. Dr. Christiane Northrup, author of Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom, says, "You can't tell what's going on if your belly is always hard as a rock and flat. You've got to have your belly rounded a little bit to be in touch with your gut instincts." Yeah - an excuse to NOT do sit-ups!

Using your instincts as a tool, with all other available information will make you more successful negotiating the choices and decisions we are faced with every day. However, do not rely entirely on that gut feeling. Allowing your instincts alone to make your decisions is a bad idea. When making important decisions it is critical that you take the necessary time and access every available resource to weigh the pros and cons. The more important the outcome, the less you should rely on your instinct. This explains why making hasty decisions are often wrong. Be aware that your instinct is worth listening to, and take time making life's more important decisions. When you seem to be at an impasse and are considering using your instincts - go with what your gut tells you to do, especially if it just feels "right".