“All achievements, whether in the business, intellectual, or spiritual world, are the result of definitely directed thought.” – As A Man Thinketh

Have you ever heard the expression that most people spend more time planning their vacation than they do planning their lives? I would expand that expression by adding that most people spend more time “thinking” about their vacation than they do thinking about what’s important in their life.

While rest and relaxation are a must in living a balanced life, it’s not what we were created to do. After all, the Master Creator took his R&R on the seventh day, only after six days of “definitely directed thought.”

Wallace D. Wattles wrote “There is no labor from which most people shrink as they do from that of sustained and consecutive thought; it is the hardest work in the world.” And yet it is the first and primary labor of achievement.

Have you given some “definitely directed thought” to your life’s purpose or your personal mission statement? Is it written down? Do you review it and think about it often? Is your life organized around your purpose and a set of goals that support that purpose? Are the actions you take everyday in harmony with your purpose?

Without purpose and goals – definitely directed thought – you are like the proverbial “ship without a rudder,” wandering everywhere while going nowhere. There is power in your purpose and in your goals. It is the power that takes you over obstacles, the fuel that propels you toward the life you envision. As Bob Proctor says, “Purpose gives meaning to WHY you’re doing what you’re doing.”
And that’s worth thinking about.

101 Best Ways to Be Your Best

I’ve read over 1,000 personal development books in the last few years. A few weren’t that interesting, some left me with a new idea I hadn’t thought of before, and a few — the must reads — radically altered my thinking forever.

I recently reviewed a book for my friend Michael Angier before it went to print. Here’s the testimonial I wrote for 101 Best Ways to Be Your Best:

“I’ve always thought Michael Angier was one of the very best web-based personal development authors. His new book proves once again he clearly understands and communicates the keys to maximizing personal performance. Buy it. Use it. Live it.”

The book has just been released and as part of their launch promotion they’ve lined up over $800 worth of real bonuses for all purchases made in the next three days. One of the bonuses includes exclusive interviews with gurus Mark Victor Hansen, Jack Canfield and Robert Allen. Worth checking out now.

Master the power of belief

“A person cannot cling to anything unless she believes in it; belief always precedes action, therefore a person’s deeds and life are the fruits of her belief.” – Above Life’s Turmoil

While there has been some controversy surrounding Marion Jones, there’s no questioning that she’s one of the fastest women of all time. And Marion has spent her life BELIEVING she would one day become an Olympic Champion. At eight years old she wrote on a chalkboard in her bedroom: “I will be an Olympic champion.” When she was in the sixth grade she wrote the following note (you can see it at http://algonquin.com/marionjones/): “My plans for the future are to be in the 1992 Olympics.” Even though she missed her goal by eight years (she won at the 2000 Olympics), her life has become “the fruits of her belief.”

What can we learn from the belief of an eight-year-old girl?

Since belief always precedes action, simply changing your beliefs can change your actions to those that will result in living our wildest dreams — like being an Olympic Champion.

It’s not as complicated as you might think. In fact, taking these five steps can make anyone a “Gold Medalist” in their chosen endeavor.

1. Prepare to win. Nothing will strengthen your belief system more than knowing you’re prepared. Her training was the key to Marion’s belief that she could achieve her goal. Also in her sixth grade note she wrote, “I’ve been training a lot, and the boys at my school are good practice.”

2. Take control of your thoughts. It’s your choice what you think about. Think success and that’s what you get. Think failure and that’s what you attract. To help in controlling your thoughts, make it a habit to affirm yourself. I had a box of business cards with an old address that I was going to discard. Instead, I flipped them over to the blank side and wrote affirmations on them. I had two identical sets, one for my car and one for my office. Throughout the day I would read my “flash cards” aloud. (If you’re in your car, only read while you’re stopped for a traffic light. 🙂

3. Re-evaluate your situation. One of my mentors, Bob Proctor, teaches that “our belief system is based on our evaluation of something. Frequently when we re-evaluate a situation our belief about that situation will change.” And when you re-evaluate, spend more time looking at the positive side of your circumstances. In Why Some Positive Thinkers Get Positive Results, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale quotes “one of the wisest utterances I have ever heard in my lifetime:” “Never build a case against yourself.”

4. Don’t worry about “how-to-do-it.” One of my early mistakes was trying to figure out how I was going to do something before I’d believe I could do it. Start by believing you can do something and the “how-to” will follow. David Schwartz, author of the classic The Magic of Thinking Big, wrote, “Belief, strong belief, triggers the mind to figuring ways and means and how-to. Those who believe they can move mountains, do. Those who believe they can’t, cannot. Belief triggers the power to do.”

Interestingly, Dr. Schwartz wrote in 1959, “Currently, there is some talk of building a tunnel under the English Channel to connect England with the Continent. Whether this tunnel is ever built depends on whether responsible people believe it can be built.” Even though they had no idea of “how-to-do-it” at the time, enough “responsible people” maintained a belief in this project and we have the famous Chunnel today.

5. Finally, you must act. The New Testament writer said, “Faith without works is dead.” Until you act you’re not committed and belief is not cemented. As world-class mountain climber W.H. Murray wrote, “Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness.”

I’ll leave you with some counsel from Dr. Maxwell Maltz, the author of another classic, Psycho-Cybernetics: “Within you right now is the power to do things you never dreamed possible. This power becomes available to you just as soon as you can change your beliefs.”

And that’s worth thinking about.

Get out of your comfort zone

While sitting in my office in deep thought, I was gazing out the sliding glass door to the deck and noticed a wasp that was trapped in the space between the glass door and the screen door. I have no idea how he found himself in that predicament, nor why he simply didn’t backtrack and exit the same way he entered. But after watching for quite some time I realized that without some help he’d probably perish in his self-made prison. So I carefully opened the glass door just enough where I could slide the screen door back by a foot or so, thinking this would give the wasp an easy escape route. But to no avail. The wasp continued to try to escape by flying at the screen mesh, bouncing back, and trying another spot on the mesh. He could see freedom, but he could not fathom how to get there.

There was no questioning his desire: his repeated bursts into the screen had to have given him a pretty good headache (if wasps get such things). It was interesting to note that several times he was within one inch of flying to freedom. But like many humans I know, he was within his comfort zone and not about to venture out. Finally, with some more “careful” assistance on my part, the wasp was finally able to fly away.

Albert Einstein said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. If your head’s been hitting the screen door (or the glass door) for quite some time now, perhaps it’s time to fly a different route. Your desired result may be a lot closer than you think, if you’re willing to venture to new territory.

Attitude is everything

Several years ago a long-time friend of mine shared with me the following quote on Attitude that has been attributed to Pastor and Author Chuck Swindoll:

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do.

It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company … a church … a home.

The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past … we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude.

I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you — we are in charge of our Attitude.”

No one I have ever met…and no teacher, speaker or author that I know of…personifies that quote better than my friend Jeff Keller. If your attitude could use a tune-up, I know you’ll want to check this out….