Saturday, December 20, 2014

What Are You Thinking?

"First comes thought; then organization of that thought, into ideas and plans; then transformation of those plans into reality. The beginning, as you will observe, is in your imagination." -- Napoleon Hill

It all begins with a thought -- but it is what happens afterward that makes the difference. While we literally have thousands of thoughts on any given day, we must ask ourselves; what is the significance of those thoughts and are they serving to help or hinder our efforts to lead a successful life. In previous posts, we've discussed the importance of thinking positive in order to give the subconscious mind its blueprint for action. But how many times do we really decide to take definitive action on a conscious thought? This post is an example of taking action on a thought that passed through my head as I was preparing to get out of bed. "If it all begins with a thought, where can it go from there?"

In his classic book, Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill outlines the power of our thoughts in transforming desire into reality. But, he clearly indicates that the thought itself will not necessarily bring it to fruition. We must have the courage and the persistence to take focused action and be willing to risk failure after failure to achieve what we first merely believed. This is what went through my head during my morning reflection:

"It all begins with a thought, which then becomes a desire, which then becomes a burning passion, which then becomes a definite decision, which then becomes an all-consuming purpose, which then becomes a meaningful mission, which then becomes a step of faith and hope, which then becomes journey, which then produces a result, which in turn impacts lives, which in turn changes destinies, and finally -- cements a lasting legacy for he or she who merely had the thought."

Of the some 70,000 thoughts you have today, will one of them motivate you to make a decision to take an action step in the direction of your passionate purpose and ultimately fulfill your God-given mission that will leave a permanent legacy for you, your family, your community, your country, and your world? It all begins with a thought.

So, what do you think?

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Leaders Are Readers -- Do You Have The Habit?

“Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” -- Harry Truman

Although terribly unpopular when he left the presidency, Harry Truman's legacy has cemented his place in American history as one of its greatest leaders. He was also one of its most prolific and dedicated readers. Although he never earned a college degree, Truman's love for reading and learning started early and continued throughout his life. He was especially fond of history and said: "In reading the lives of great men, I found that the first victory they won was over themselves... self-discipline with all of them came first." There is no doubt his love for reading served him and in turn, the America people, very well. It is said that his decision to drop the atomic bomb to end WWII essentially saved the lives of thousands of American soldiers. Being a child of a WWII vet, this is especially significant as I look at the impact and legacy of that decision. 

Like Truman, I have a love for history and devote a large part of my reading time to historical leadership and to studying the great men and women of the past. What about you? What are you interested in? What, or who do you want to know more about? What part of your life or occupation would you like to improve and develop? That's the beauty of a self-directed education. We get to choose what we want to learn about and the pace at which we learn it. The question is: Are we taking full advantage of that choice and like the great leaders of the past and present, committing ourselves to a true self-directed education?

Reading is a great path to discovery and its discipline can have a wonderful effect on our lives, the lives of others, and on the fulfillment of our purpose. Did you know that by reading just 15 minutes per day you can finish an average book in about a month? That translates to approximately 12 books a year. Think about what that can do for your life, your career, your relationships -- and even the world around you. Are you ready? Grab a book and get a firm grip on your own self-directed education. I'd love to hear about what you're learning. 

Be a leader and be a reader!

As always, your comments are welcome!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Green Mind

"When you're green you're growing. When you're ripe, you rot." -- Ray Kroc

In today's environment, there seems to be a big emphasis on "going green" -- and justifiably so. Taking care of the world we live in makes sense both now, and in the future. After all, it's the only world we're going to get and how we treat it today determines the legacy we leave behind. But shouldn't we also be concerned about the sustainability of a much more personal resource -- our mind?

Today, we have more information available to us than in any other point in history -- and as I see it, that is both good and bad. There are some tremendous resources that can help shed light on just about any subject, but there is a whole lot of junk out there too. Science fiction writer, Theodore Sturgeon once said that "ninety percent of everything is crud." His revelation originally applied to the science fiction genre. However, taking it a step further, it can be said that this observation holds true in other fields, and most likely, any field. We now know this to be, Sturgeon's Law -- and a simple trip through the Internet should confirm it is true.

This leads us to what may be a larger concern; and that is the question of where we get our information and how do we validate its usefulness and more importantly, its truthfulness. From the baby boom generation forward, we have become a society of mass media and mass communication. The entrance of cable television and an ever-expanding online world have redefined what mass communication is and what effect it may be having. Trying to take in what is now available via social media alone is like drinking from a fire hose -- it may leave us wet and cold and well, still thirsty. I believe many people today are thirsty for information, but I also believe people may be getting lazy and complacent. After all, there are plenty of outlets that are more than happy to tell us what to think. So why not let them? Isn't it easier to simply listen to what's being said and then simply recite or more to the point, regurgitate the information? The problem is, it takes the critical thinking component out of the equation -- and just as standing water becomes stagnant, so does our mind.

We were made to think, to create, to solve, to build, to improve, to reason and to ultimately leave evidence that we were here. Long after our bank accounts and properties have been distributed to others, the power of our thoughts and mobilization of our minds will speak for us -- if we choose to expand them now. But how? Find those who have results -- and do what they do and read what they read. More specifically, find those who have results in the area or topic in which they are speaking or writing about.

Some of the best and most influential books I've read over the last two years are books I would never have chosen on my own. Through my monthly subscription, I receive books and audio CDs that have been read and/or produced by a group of leaders who definitely have "the fruit on the tree". This saves me considerable time and expense in choosing the material that will help me grow in my life and in my business. I would highly recommend that you do the same.

However, all the books and great information in the world will not help one bit if it is not consumed -- and consumed regularly. By devoting just 15 minutes per day to thoughtful reading, you will finish the average book in 30 days or less. Think about it. You can read 12 new books over the next year -- and you can do it in as little as 15 minutes per day. That's a huge return on a small investment of time.

Another great learning strategy is to turn your daily commute into a "university on wheels". Turn off the radio and turn on the flow of quality information that comes from great audio books and CDs. I haven't had the radio on in well over two years. Instead, I am redeeming the time I spend in the car by turning it into a daily opportunity to improve myself, my business, and the lives and businesses of my clients and associates.

With a little creativity and determination, you can make the most of your travel times, wait times, and spare moments. Try keeping a book or MP3 player with you at all times. Redeem the time and you'll reap the reward of a "green mind".

Perhaps Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. said it best: "A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions." And if I may add, its former state of "ripeness".

May your mind stay forever green. Your comments are always welcome.