Thoughts

All We Do Begins With A Thought

The thoughts that got us into our present situation will not be the thoughts that get us out of it. And — I’m talking about good situations and bad situations.

If all is well in our world, it’s easy to become complacent. Or, in simpler language, we find ourselves in a rut — the definition of which is a grave with the ends kicked out. So, we need to enhance our thoughts to move beyond where we are — to where our passion is pointing.

If all is not well in our world, then, it’s obvious to the whole world — except maybe ourselves — that we’ve engaged in some stinkin’ thinkin’ somewhere in the recent past. So, we need to change our thoughts to move out of the ditch we find ourselves, up to a solid footing and foundation, upon which to Build Something — Special.

Heredity

We come into this world hard-wired in certain aspects of our worldview. Some babies seem to be, just naturally, happy — others need a little more attention to their self-inflicted dramas.

As a result, I believe our minds come pre-tuned to certain wavelengths — or, channels if you will. Just like in the olden-days when AM radios had a dial for a tuner, slowly, we can move the dial to find a better channel to influence our thoughts.

As a hero of mine quite often said, “For the same reason we shower every morning, our minds need a daily dose of motivational thoughts.”

Environment

We are affected by our surroundings and the people in them. Without any thoughts, whatsoever, old beliefs and habits move us through the day. A lot of individuals are on autopilot — they’re not thinking about anything. As a result, Thought Influencers can have their way in the lives of the zombies.

In addition to the 24/7 propaganda from television and social media channels, friends are part of the list of our chosen Thought Influencers. Unconsciously (to us), they can tear us down — or, build us up.

If our life has become cluttered and chaotic, there is a solution — we must be ruthless in taking out the trash.

Big Idea

Change nothing — Nothing changes

There are two ways to change our thoughts:
• By do-it-yourself (DIY) Reading.
• By asking for compassionate Coaching.

The school of hard knocks is a very effective institution for higher learning. And — it’s true — we can reinvent the wheel every time we want to learn about a new method of transportation for our lives.

On the other hand, why DIY when someone else has, already, whacked their way through the thicket? They can suggest safer routes for YOU.

Click right Here — to schedule 60 minutes with the Best Coach. 🙂

Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.

Opinionated Feedback

The last step in the Journey to build sterling Character is to welcome and accept Constructive Feedback.

Constructive Feedback is the other side of the coin from Reinforcing Feedback. We all love the feedback that sings our praises of a job well done, that acknowledges a situation handled nicely, or that recognizes the dent we’re making in the world.

So, those are the two kinds of feedback — between two people with knowledge of facts, situations, and measurable observations.

What about the third kind of feedback — which comes out of the blue from a third wheel, loose cannon, if you will — from someone with a badge that reads, Sidewalk Superintendent?

Opinionated Feedback (or, OF)

Tiny, little, powerful, two-letter words — aren’t they something? One of my favorite expressions, “If It Is To Be, It Is Up To Me.”

of
to indicate a point of reckoning
to indicate origin or derivation
to indicate the cause, motive, or reason
to indicate the component material, parts, or elements
to indicate the whole that includes the part
to indicate belonging or a possessive relationship
to indicate the relationship between a result and function
to indicate something from which a person is delivered
to indicate a particular example belonging to a class
to indicate apposition
to indicate the object of an action
to indicate the application of a verb
to indicate a characteristic or distinctive quality
to indicate the position in time of an action

So — if the last step in the Journey to build sterling Character is to welcome and accept Constructive Feedback, what about the Sainthood effort required to accept Opinionated Feedback?!

And — when I say, “Accept,” I define that as, “Accept it for what it is, glean the kernels of truth, and let the chaff blow away on the winds of fickleness.”

Feedback That Never Was

This story, so far, has been framed around the beneficiary of feedback. But, what about the individual offering the feedback? If you’ve ever been in a role which required formal feedback to be given, you know how difficult it is — To Do.

Now, imagine the poor fellow who is sharing his thoughts with a couple of new friends and is, then, accosted for asking a few simple questions.

Remember the Story about me and the two women — the cute one and the other one? We’ve already discussed how I responded to the challenge from the other one, who asked me to be her Accountability Partner (after, I clearly communicated on a public forum that my partner must be a “brave soul.”)

What is it that YOU want from this email? To point out? To challenge? To encourage the why + what do I want thinking?

For the students of communication theory, all of their mental bells, whistles, and alarms have been triggered. “Email?! Doesn’t he know that only 7% of communication can be accomplished with words?” Yep, I knew it going in — but, that’s my modus operandi — going where even the angels fear to tread.

The cute one is a very successful Life Coach, with a variety of programs that she offers for the benefit of those individuals wanting to expand their horizons, improve levels of accomplishment, and grow into better Citizens. My kind of gal — so, since I was invited to her game (Program), I signed up.

When I zinged my serve over the net, the other one caught the ball to examine it for defects. Life Coach patiently waited through the other one’s challenge of my intent and then offered this.

I value feedback from people I know, I am always looking to improve in my life and my work, and I am also a huge proponent of done being better than perfect. The Program is what it is and serves its purpose for most people. It is not meant to be the answer to everyone’s problems, nor is it meant to be a spiritual based program.

Say what?!

So, I went back and read, again — very slowly — my original email to see if I had used the word Feedback, or made any reference to the Trinity. Nope, not even once.

Communication Is What The Listener Does

Although, in my email, I had asked this question, “What is the passion at the core of everything you do?

During those 35+ years serving the public as a CPA, I learned to ask this question of every prospective Client. Those who were animated in their response enjoyed working with me. Those with a deer-in-the-headlights response were graciously ushered back to the door from which they came.

So, I fully understand the responses I received from the Life Coach and the other one. One was scared silly because I dared to ask such a question — the Life Coach felt threatened.

For most of my life, I have been overly concerned about everyone’s feelings. Recently, however, the light came on, “Other people’s feelings are beyond my control. Unless, I’m rude, or crude, they have the responsibility to manage their own dang feelings.”

And, it’s true — no one can make us mad, sad, happy, or glad. It’s our individual right and responsibility to create the emotions pleasing to us.

It’s perfectly fine that the Life Coach wants no part in my philosophy, or efforts, to be a Conduit of Goodness.

What Did You Learn?

Because — she did offer this.

You’re kind enough to offer feedback to others, my feedback to you might be to include a bit of framing when you give that feedback so others better understand what your intention and expectation is – especially when they don’t know you well.

As a builder, I know exactly what she’s suggesting. After establishing a solid foundation, framing is the next phase to Build Something — Special. And, with no apologies to the Life Coach, or anyone else, my way of preparing a foundation on bedrock is to ask questions. The one question about “the passion at the core” is the first of thirteen initial steps to a foundation.

In visiting with a long-time loyal friend, on the phone last night, she asked, “So, what did you learn?”

Oh, we laughed! Because — I’ve lost track of the number of verses to this same old song. She gently teased that maybe the time has come for me to learn the lesson. 🙂

The beauty of Opinionated Feedback is that it comes from an outsider, who is not encumbered by the “Curse of Knowledge.” Reinforcing Feedback and Constructive Feedback happens between two individuals, who know all the “facts.” The outsider is not burdened with any preconceived notions about the Ego, Expectations, or Emotions. They can be honest in offering their opinion.

I did not offer feedback to the Life Coach — I did, however, share my thoughts which were perceived by her to be feedback.

Her feedback to me is spot on correct. I know it, and I’m working on getting better at it. It defined as — stop scaring the living bejeezus out of timid souls, with too much, too soon.

I’ve had people suggest that I wear darkened eyeglasses — because my gaze is too intense. It’s true — I’m intensely passionate about my purpose in life. And — I thoroughly enjoy that far-left lane, designated Speed of Trust.

Remember, when we were first learning to drive, how we had to keep staring at all the gauges to make sure our speed was right, the engine had oil pressure, and the coolant was staying cool. Now, we seldom think about it — we glance, every now and then.

Same song, second verse — I’m operating at the Speed of Trust — not by sight, but — by feel. Because of the Curse of Knowledge, I assume (yes, I know, makes an ass out of u and me) everyone else is comfortable with their hair blown back. (As a side-bar, that’s why I wear my hair in a crew-cut.)

What We Learn, Together

Coach John Wooden — in Pyramid of Success — has this encouragement, “What a leader learns after you’ve learned it all counts most of all.

As a believer in the ASK Principle — Ask, Seek, and Knock — I hope you will help me: Ask, so love can be given; Seek, so wisdom can be found; and, Knock, so doors of opportunity swing wide open.

I’ve noticed that my friends are reluctant to give Feedback of any kind. Yet, my enemies, are eager to bury me in Opinionated Feedback — and, I appreciate it very much.

Please, share with me in the Comment section, below — your Thoughts.

Or, better yet, give me a call — 406.855.8384 🙂

Leadership

Money does not a leadership problem fix.

In fact, a problem is simply an opportunity in disguise.

We grow — when confronted with the impossible. It is that defining moment of decision. Many will quit. A few will do what others say can’t be done.

Leaders

Leaders will accomplish what has never been attempted, before.

Those who do are the leaders among us. Those who talk are not necessarily the followers. Talk is cheap and those who blather, generally, complain about all of their problems. Unknowingly and unwittingly, they are complaining about themselves.

For the entirety of human existence, the accumulation of wealth has been the measure of empires. The Golden Rule has been disenfranchised into a barbaric slogan, “Those who have the Gold make the Rules.”

Rules and regulations do not an Empire make. In fact, Empires come and go — because, their leaders abdicate the responsibility to set an example. We — the People — learn by doing.

Passion

Leadership is not a cult-like mission of forcing others into compliance. Leadership is a deep-felt passion of guiding everyone to the best individual choices.

Say what?! Doesn’t a leader, by default, need followers?

For a moment, forget about following and let’s focus on leading. Leaders believe in the power of one. They understand life is best experienced from the inside, out. They are true to themselves, by constantly improving the character at their core.

Leaders make absolutely sure they have much to give. What they offer to the whole wide world is the Three-E Formula to Enlighten, Empower, and Encourage.

Enlighten

We don’t know what we don’t know. Leaders share the best of what they have learned with all who are accepting. The story of their journey is the inspiration for broadened horizons and myriad options of choice. Leaders communicate their saga — and, they color that vision of abundance with broad strokes and vivid detail.

Empower

Knowing what to do and doing it are two, entirely, different things. Leaders offer the tools to build something special. We all want and need something different. Leaders are the ultimate teachers through explanation and demonstration, then asking for imitation, offering correction, and expecting repetition.

Encourage

The best teachers have humbly learned from the School of Hard Knocks. They can share many lessons learned the hard way and know, for an absolute fact, their Students need a few of the same experiences. Leaders patiently wait for new lessons to be learned, all the while supporting that effort.

The Legacy

True leaders always have a following. Hundreds, maybe even many thousands, are watching the silent example of their heroes. Actions speak so much louder than words. A life of sterling character generously offered to others — through consistent choices to build mutually beneficial dynamic relationships — is the legacy of leaders.

The choice is free, for us to make.

The results are priceless, for future generations.

Let’s accept the challenge of leadership.

Slap It Back

If you think the World is out to get you, you’ll make that come true.

If you believe in making a dent in the World, that’s what you will achieve.

Same YOU and same World. What’s the difference?

Attitude

Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right.
~ Henry Ford

It all begins with The Want To.

What do “Y-O-U” want?

If you’re ever in need of a conversation starter, just look right into the eyes of another person and ask this question, “What is the passion at the core of everything you do?”

One of two things is guaranteed to happen: Immediate animation, as the person begins to share that passion with you. Or, a deer-in-the-headlights look, with a really long, awkward, pause, as the individual painfully looks for a way to escape.

Escape from what — their own life?! All we want is to understand what makes them tick — that which empowers them to take a licking and keep on ticking.

Can YOU answer the questions, above, quickly, boldly, and confidently?

The Match

Recently, I was invited to participate in an open-court event. Rarely do I get invited by a beautiful woman to play games, so, naturally, I accepted. As I showed up to play, there were two women on the other side of the net. So, being a guy, I thought, “Double the fun!”

We volleyed back and forth to warm up. Everything was grins and giggles. Then, it’s time to begin. So, naturally, being a guy, I zinged one over the net.

And, that’s when the ship hit the sand…

What is it that YOU want from this email? To point out? To challenge? To encourage the why + what do I want thinking?

Now, my idea of tennis is, “When the ball comes to you, slap it back over.”

Nope, the beautiful one watched her friend catch the ball, study it for defects, and then cheered her for questioning my “intent” behind the serve.

I thought the idea was for us to have fun and improve our game.

Silly me!

My Response

Dumbfounded, I stared at that email wondering, “What the H-E-Double-Toothpicks just happened?” Then, I remembered, “This is just a game. Let’s have some fun with this. So, I grabbed another ball and slapped it on over.

I want nothing — from you. I was “sharing” my thoughts. After clicking Send on the email below, I discovered your recent Upload into our portal, Rohn Guide To Goal Setting. So, I downloaded a Copy, highlighted areas important to me, and uploaded my Copy back into the Portal.

I am pointing out that the theme of Jim is consistent with the diction of Kim.

I am challenging nothing, and nobody, (to a duel, or otherwise). I am stating my beliefs — boldly and confidently.

I am passionately offering my Three-E Formula — Enlighten, Empower, and Encourage — to the whole wide world. You are a beneficiary of that. I know for a fact: Some people will love it — and, others will hate it. That choice is theirs. Either way, I’ll continue to give — my Best.

Because I loved this graphic when I first saw it, I shared it with them, too.

When I Give

Three Types Of Players

There are those who take up space, rigid as a post, frozen in time, and watch the ball dribble right on by. There are others, like the two above, who catch the ball and stop the fun. And, finally, there are those who are determined to improve — themselves, their game, and the other participants.

There’s another way to state (in reverse) the available Options, above.

1.) Do it right ~ Have fun and slap the ball back over the net.
2.) Do it wrong ~ Catch the ball and examine it for defects.
3.) Do nothing ~ Absolute Void – Mother Nature hates that.

So, you see, my experience with the two women could have been worse.

With time to feel their way through the logic of my response, each of them replied graciously — and, the Game continues.

 

These Three

Success – Happiness – and, Love

What do these three concepts — Success, Happiness, and Love — have in common?

Yes, I agree — we want all three.

What else?

They can’t be bought with money, they can’t be chased down, they won’t magically waltz into our lives — and, if found, they can’t be captured and bound.

Yet, what is the most important facet of these three gems?

The Answer

We must create them.

Yep, it’s that simple — to say; much harder To Do.

The secret, though, is just that — We Must Do.

You ask, “Where do we begin?”

I say, “Let’s take a flying leap of faith into the future we desire.”

Eyes Wide Open

I was going to say, “Now, close your eyes…” but, wait, don’t do that, not quite yet. Keep reading, first.

When you do close your eyes, imagine the world of your dreams. It’s your dream — paint it your way — in vivid colors for some and in more subtle hues for others. Once the Background is in place, set all of the Things where they belong — and, then, for the most important feature of your dream, invite the People with whom you want to share your life.

Whatever the mind can conceive, it can believe and achieve.

Baby Steps

Do you believe?

You conceived it.

If you believe, how can  “IT” be achieved?

The secret is to focus on small steps.

Mile by Mile it’s a Trial
Yard by Yard it’s Hard
Inch by Inch it’s a Cinch

A month ago, I got tired of my Wranglers® being tight. So I made an appointment to visit a Nutritionist. She explained away some long-held mysteries about food and “we” formulated a Plan. My next session with her was scheduled for a month away.

Silly me, for the first three weeks, I cleaned the cupboards of unhealthy food — but, pretty much kept doing what I’ve always done. And, I got the same results that I always have. Purest definition of Insanity, right?

Doing the same things over and over again, expecting a different result.

I thought, “How hard can this be? I’m a smart guy (more thinking). Surely my mind can bend the rules of physics into submission!” Nope, didn’t work. So, I went to Target and bought a Digital Scale.

To manage, we must measure.

So, now, I’m making the pounds come off ounces at a time.

Baby steps, my dear.

These Three

For the scholars among us, they have rushed ahead and spoiled my conclusion — because, the Good Book talks about these three — Faith, Hope, and Charity.

Same song, second verse.

We must create — and, then live — them.

These three — and, the greatest of them is Love.

All In

If you have the passion for building something special (Attitude) and you have done the challenging work to define who YOU are (Boundaries), then, the final step to success is YOU must go All In (Commitment).

Success

Success is not going to magically waltz into our lives. It is not a destination, at which to arrive. Daily, we must create success — the unique version each of us has determined to be right — for the benefit of ourselves and the rest of the world.

The reason people join cults and gangs is that they want someone else to provide the answers to Life. In other words, they want to shirk the responsibility of making their own choices — and, of being held accountable for their own decisions and actions.

All I can say is, “Good luck with that.” I’ve seen how those stories end — and, it’s never pretty. There is a better way. We get our Attitude right and we get our Boundaries right. Then, we go All In — by sacrificing all of the other options, for a single choice — with Commitment.

Got Me Thinking

When I challenged my son, Ryan, recently as to “why” he was letting customers use him as a banker and “why” he was not asking for a deposit on larger projects, he pushed back with, “Well, you’ve always said people want to pay for results.”

As much as I love hearing my own words quoted back to me, I had to grin — because a complete response was going to require some time for thought.

Rest of the Story

Yep — it’s true — people do want to pay for Results, rather than pay by the Hour. However, there’s more to the psychology and ethical business practices than letting the customer determine the degree of our success.

People only do business with those they know, like, and trust. Ryan is a lot like his Grandpa Jim Foard — in so much both of them ooze charisma. Men and women were naturally attracted to my Dad — and, I’ve watched Ryan bask in the glory of his aficionados.

So, for those two men, the Know and Like elements are a given. Trust is a matter of character. I do not have a single memory of my Dad ever saying one thing and doing another.

If Ryan is uncertain about being trustworthy, then I can understand his reluctance in asking for money, before the work is completed. However, if he builds a reputation of being true to his word, then, in the minds of his customers there will be no concern if the project will get done. It will, only, be a matter of when — and, they will know the ETA of that will be ASAP.

In time, Ryan will learn that the very best way to test the commitment of a customer — to the engagement — is to ask them for money. The good customers will already have a check written — and, the bad ones will whine.

Old English

Generally, I steer away from the old King’s English, but because of childhood exposure to the Good Book, my memories of that are recorded in KJV. So, when I did the Google Search for “double-minded man” an authorized version was discovered.

A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

What caught my eye is that the word “is” is italicized — as in absolutely no doubt about it.

New World

Now, I know that I can attract narcissists like moths to a flame. By definition, they are chameleons. Love bombing their victims, today — and, kicking them to the curb, tomorrow. I’m curious, though, have you, too, experienced a plethora of bad actors, lately? For me, in a single month, there was the Pet Dragon gal — and the Trust Fund Baby geezer.

Along with the multitude of other Zombies, the modus operandi of these two was identical — refuse to make up their mind and then explode, when I ask, “Why do you say one thing and do another?”

Mother Nature and Vacuums

Mother Nature hates a vacuum. No, it’s not that she has anything against a clean Earth. She refuses to allow nothing to exist. In any field, we have a choice, plant good seeds — or, weeds will grow.

Our minds are fertile beds waiting for us to tend them. Plant productive thoughts — and, success is guaranteed. Leave our minds unattended — and, vile imaginings will appear.

The choice is ours. Either go All In — or, the world will go All Out to destroy our potential. In other words, we either draft a Blueprint for our lives — or, others will have a game plan for us and our resources.

This is more important than any other “game” we will ever play. This is not a hand of cards in a Poker game — that even if we lose, it is only money. This is the real deal — the future of our Life.

Choose A Master

Each of us will serve someone, or something — either by choice, or hand of fate. If we go All In, we will achieve one, or the other, of these results: 1) a goal will be accomplished, or 2) a lesson will be learned.

Either way, we will be growing, learning, and loving the adventure of discovering who we are — and, the value of our contribution to the world.

Pearls and Pigs

Attacked, Condemned, and Trampled

Have you ever been attacked for offering goodness?

Have you ever been condemned for doing right?

Has another person ever trampled you into wondering, “What’s up with that?!”

A Better Way

There must be a better Way.

In the realm of human nature, there is nothing new under the sun. Things today are about like they have always been. Amazingly, though, when it’s our pain, the hurt is real.

When managing our emotions, this one encouragement is a reminder of the power that is ours.

We get what we allow.

In other words: If we do what we have always done, we will get what we have always got.

This Is The Way

Tired of being attacked? Sick to death of being condemned? Crawled out of the mud, for the very last time?

Do you want to know about a better Way?

Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy.
Don’t throw your pearls to pigs!
They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you.

Pigs

Who are PIGS?

People
Intently
Glorifying
Self

Pearls

What are PEARLS?

Precious
Exquisite
Arrangements
Reflecting
Life’s
Secrets

The precious gem of your multifaceted life Story deserves to be shared with the world. Because a few ugly creatures are ungrateful, does not diminish the value of YOU.

Please, accept the responsibility for never again offering your gifts to the wrong people, move beyond the pen of PIGS, and boldly share your PEARLS of wisdom — Your Life Story — with those patiently waiting for the one and only, unique, courageous, and priceless creation of YOU.

The CARE Credential

Alphabet Soup

At one time, I was quite proud of all the initials behind my name —

  • CPA ~ Certified Public Accountant
  • CITP ~ Certified Information Technology Professional
  • CGMA ~ Chartered Global Management Accountant
  • AMM ~ And Many More…

Yes, they demonstrated the discipline and commitment to play the game of achieving recognition in the eyes of academia.

Yet, no one other than I knew, fully, the extent to which sacrifice was made to achieve these designations.

And, the humorous point of this whole exercise, in bragging rights, is how times have changed. Now, another meaning for the acronym of CPA — in the realm of Digital Marketing — is Cost Per Acquisition.

Student, or Trailblazer?

When we play the game of Credentials, we are simply going where others have gone, before. Or, we seek the approval and acceptance of those in authority — with the power to grant acknowledgment or dash the dreams of the inspired.

For those who have matured beyond being overly concerned about what others think, they are the Trailblazers going where no one has dared go before — sometimes, to places where even angels fear to tread. However, they will make the discoveries crucial to the progress of humankind.

People don’t care about what we know — until, they know how much we care.

CARE Defined

This is one Credential for which the world begs to be in front of every thought.

Compassionate
Aware
Responsive
Empathetic

Compassionate

The contrarians among us might find the use of a C-word — like Compassionate — too sissified, for their taste. In that case, I challenge them to choose from one of these: Cooperative, Competent, Committed, and Confident. Pardon the pun, but, Contrarians must care about someone other than themselves — the focus is outward, not inward. This is a Spiritual endeavor.

Aware

In the busyness of business, how often do we purposefully pause to breathe — to stop and smell the roses — to be Aware of the opportunities for service? The funny thing about offering assistance is how much we benefit from the effort. Whatever we choose to give is returned many times over — probably not from the beneficiary in receipt of the goodness we share. But — Karma is 100% accurate in delivering what is earned. This is a Mental endeavor.

Responsive

There is an ancient Proverb, “Faith without works is dead.” We may believe we are compassionate and aware of the needs of others — yet, only with Responsive action is the benefit delivered. All we Do begins with a Thought. There is intrinsic magic in the thinking — there is discernable value in the doing. Maybe, IT has never been done before — and, maybe the world will laugh in the beginning. Yet, the reward is worth the effort. This is a Physical endeavor.

Empathetic

My friends are quite familiar with the Three-E Formula defined as: Enlighten, Empower, and Encourage. You probably have a similar mantra, which is your Empathetic cry. We are, after all, engaged in a Crusade to ensure that the goodness from above flows through us for the benefit of the whole wide world. As conduits of goodness — similar to lighthouses for the protection of vessels — we can silently do our work. This is an Emotional endeavor.

Our Choice

We can place alphabet soup Credentials behind our names — or, we can anchor CARE in front of our thoughts.

I hope you will join with me in leaving behind the Three Evil E’s of Ego, Expectations, and Emotions — which are attached to limiting Credentials.

So, that we can boldly state our belief in The CARE Credential — as we courageously lift up those in our sphere of influence.

Seeds of Opportunity

When adversity, failure, and heartache are part of my day, the first reaction is not, “Oh, great! What a wonderful opportunity to learn and grow.”

Yet, the definition of opportunity is:

When the situation is right for you to do something you’re interested in doing, you have the opportunity to do it. The word comes from the Latin phrase, ob portum veniens “coming toward a port” which refers to a favorable wind blowing ships into the harbor. Think of an opportunity as something a good wind blew your way.

When problems raise their ugly, fire-breathing, dragon heads, I’d much rather gather up the black balloons, invite some whiners, crawl off into a cave to lick my wounds, and throw a grand ‘Pity Party’ — all for me.

Timeless Principles

Recently, however, I fumbled into an old audiobook download in my Audible library, by Napoleon Hill, of Think and Grow Rich fame. When I use ‘old‘ as an adjective, it’s because the season of his major thoughts and famous books was from the late 1920’s through the late 1930’s.

Although, in keeping with the principle of, “There’s nothing new under the sun,” I’ll mention that the concepts presented by Napoleon Hill are timeless. Read through his biography and notice how many times he, in the eyes of the bystander ‘failed.’ Yet, he — like Thomas Edison — simply, believed he had found one more way that doesn’t work and had discovered a stepping stone to future success.

All of the great Thinkers share this one noble premise, “Success is a State of Mind.”

Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.

Two Very Different Worldviews

I know you’ve heard the story about the two boys on Christmas morning. One boy is taken to the barn by his Dad and surprised with a pony. The young fellow is upset — because, he wanted a motorcycle. The other boy, when the stable door is opened, is greeted by a large pile of sh!t. Excitedly, he jumps right in and announces to his Dad, “Somewhere in this large pile of manure must be a big horse!”

Or, in the words of Napoleon Hill,

Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.

Odds are good our young entrepreneur didn’t find a horse in the dung heap. Yet, his Dad probably commended him for his attitude and effort. And, then, introduced him to a steed beyond the boy’s imagination.

All We Do Begins With A Thought

When we’re confronted by a Problem, can we immediately turn our minds from thinking, “Oh, darn!” — to believing there is a hidden Opportunity?

If we’re struggling a little, we can listen to this encouragement.

Regardless of what you think about Garth Brooks — or, his lifestyle choices — there is undeniably a resonance with the lyrics of that song for each of us.

There have been times in each of our lives when we thought we knew best. Other times, when we asked, “Why me Lord?” And, many times when we endured the laughter of the judgemental enjoying the pain of our mistakes.

One Man’s Mistake Is Another Man’s Harvest

Were they, really, mistakes, or seeds of opportunity?

Think about it. If you’re a gardener, you know seeds are necessary to grow anything. To have a harvest, seeds must be planted and nurtured. It’s a small leap of faith to see that we are given seeds — for our personal growth. What we do with them is our choice.

Speaking of gifts, here’s another thought. If flesh and blood, imperfect specimens of earthly Fathers have an aching desire to give the best to their children, it’s pretty easy to imagine a Higher Power having our best interests at heart.

The Man In The Arena

Speaking of heart, here are the words of a hero, Teddy Roosevelt.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Cold and timid souls will delight when we stumble. They will envy our success — and, the galactically stupid of them will, literally, swear at us, as we offer to help them in their journey.

At the very best, 50% of the world will love us — and, the other 50% not so much. If we boldly share our beliefs and courageously defend them, guaranteed, we will make enemies of those with different beliefs. Because — birds of a feather do flock together.

It is not the end of the world when we face adversity, failure, and heartache. It is, simply, the end of one, very long, bad day.

Framing Is What Builders Do

Because success is a state (or, frame) of mind, all we need to do is ‘re-state‘ — or ‘re-frame‘ — the situation from a Problem to an Opportunity.

And, “No,” this Story is not about defining Success by how much Money can be accumulated in a bank account. Remember, you are a unique creation — and, quite capable of defining Success in your way and on your terms.

Later in the life of Napoleon Hill, he had this to say,

Only by working harmoniously in co-operation with other individuals or groups of individuals and thus creating value and benefit for them will one create sustainable achievement for oneself.

We do that by planting the seeds of opportunity harvested from adversity, failure, and heartache. Then, we tend them with the greatest gift (love), which is a chosen, purposeful effort — often done in the face of fear — to nurture our own growth and the growth of others.

Catch A Gear

Generally, I write at a PG-13 level — for minds of an impressionable age.

However, this article is intended, only, for mature audiences.

My definition of that, for this conversation, is anything north of 30 years old. By the age of thirty, we have gained a wealth of education and experience. We have been suckered into believing things that, simply, were not true — by people who intentionally wanted to cause harm. And, we have, probably, been betrayed at least once.

Searching and Speeding

As a result, we have searched for that fine line, between — wanting to believe the best about everyone and protecting the integrity of our soul. For each of us, that fine line of distinction will be different. So, our search for answers will have been unique.

During that search for answers, odds are good that we read a few books. One of them might have been Speed of Trust, by Stephen M. R. Covey.

Catch a gear is my euphemism for —

grab a gear
turnin’ and burnin’
runnin’ full stack
mashin’ and a gassin’

All of which are Trucker terms of endearment for — going faster.

Marbles In The Jar

As twenty-somethings, we were invincible — with no thought for tomorrow. In fact, we didn’t even think about the end of days, because we were consumed with squeezing every last drop of fun out of each day.

The idea of going faster was a joke — because, we were already running around with our hair on fire, billowing black smoke, and going in big circles. Yet, past that doorway threshold of thirty into a bit of dimness in energy, the light came on.

As thirty-somethings, using the math of Threescore and More (score is twenty), we felt a sense of urgency and discovered a jar half empty — or, half full. Either way, time became a more precious resource and priority in our thinking.

Imagine A World

Think about what our world could, should, and would be like if, only, the truth was spoken, there was adherence to moral principles, and sincerity of belief accompanied every action. In other words, rather than some individuals striving to be characters, everyone became self-disciplined in nurturing righteous character.

Just imagine the new frontiers…

Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.

Let’s catch a gear. 🙂