Ugh. I first want to apologize again for letting the buffer get this low. I wasn’t going to allow this to happen, but it did. I am sorry.
I realize its just one day, but that’s one day that I haven’t posted content to you and I’m sorry.
I do have a few ideas queued up in my head for a blog. I’m going to get a few posts in the can and get one up by Wednesday. Thank you so much for your understanding.
Michael Hyatt offers a terrific method for planning and organizing your week called The Importance of the Weekly Review.
Now this assumes that you are already being intentional about your life. If not, it is a great way to keep things organized while you are getting that figured out. Here is a brief rundown of his process (I keep a check list with these items in my Evernote, feel free to steal it and put it in yours)
i. Gather all loose papers and process.
ii. Clear Computer Desktop and sort into folders (I added this one)
iii. Process my notes.
iv. Review previous calendar data.
v. Review upcoming calendar
vi. Review my action lists
vii. Review my @WaitingFor list.
viii. Review project lists.
ix. Review Someday/Maybe lists
He recommends doing the weekly review late on Sunday, and really anytime at the beginning of the week or the very end of the week is good, but I offer a different tack.
Five Reasons why you should do your weekly review at 5 AM on Sunday Morning
Literally no one is up at that hour. Even if you are blessed with children, most likely they aren’t going to be up that early on Sunday. Your spouse is probably going to stay asleep as well unless they are a productivity nerd like you and I are.
That time of the morning is absolutely distraction free and calming. You are able to hear yourself think. The distractions aren’t around so you can focus more readily.
Jesus got up that early, so should we. Mark 1:35 Gives us the proof of it. I won’t recite it here, but it gives us a moral imperative to do the same. In case you can’t tell, this reason is tongue in cheek.
Your energy is the most untapped that it will be for the entire day. I realize that Sunday is a day for recharging. But why not recharge before you recharge?
You will make the most use of all seven days this week if you get up as early as possible on the first day. You can get Sunday figured out, and you can get the rest of the week figured out! That way you create a system where everything is accounted for and aligned with your goals.
Real reason number five you are able to get a more objective perspective when evaluating how well your week last week aligned with your goals and how you are going to adjust to make this week work.
What would doing your weekly review at 5 AM on Sunday make possible for you? When do you do your weekly review?
So many times we look at a failure or a setback as final, at least I know I have had that tendency. You need to be able to look at setbacks and failures as a fluid part of reality and not something static. The only thing that makes you a failure is if you resign yourself to that state and never get back on the horse.
The September 29th 2013 Bears Game is a great example of this. The Bears and the Lions were tied up in the First Quarter 3-3. In the 2nd Quarter, the Bears Defense failed and so did the offense, putting the score at 30-13 Lions, creating a wide margin against the Bears. The 3rd the Bears kicked back in and the Offense was able to score some points putting them at 16-37 Lions. In case you were wondering I was starting to get worried at this point.
In the 4th quarter the Bears Offense kicked back in, narrowing the gap to 32 40 for a final score. Although the Bears did fight valiantly in the end, it wasn’t enough. In my opinion it was a more respectable loss than the alternative. And they ended the game graciously as well.
Now, that was a long introduction, here are the three reasons why it is important to go down swinging when face with failure.
It builds character turning failure into an immediate success
This is often difficult to see especially if the failure has do with business or economic concerns. When I was a painter if I didn’t get a client I was often frustrated because I was bootstrapping the business and every appointment had to count. My tendency as the time was to mourn the loss and it was difficult for me to pick apart why it happened, and it would create spill over into my other interactions.
Now the appropriate course of action is to look at the situation and to ask where did it go off the rails? Often times, the offering wasn’t compelling enough, they were just fishing for prices, or they wanted it done cheap because they felt they could do the same job for less cost. Also, learning to handle no leads you to be able handle rejection across the board.
You might end up winning in a way you didn’t expect.
This is aside from the character building element. Had the Bears had more time or ran their offense more efficiently they may have been able to force overtime. In business, if you demonstrate the value of your product persuasively and you demonstrate that you are not taking it personally, that person may end up calling you back to actually do the project. Or they may even giving you a referral.
You gain wisdom from the experience of loss
Often times, this is unexpected win. You understand what it is you need to adjust to get better. This applies not just in business but it also applies in life change. If you do end up getting into the cookie jar when you are trying to lose weight, you may figure out what the trigger event was and empower yourself to avoid that trigger or change the event that the trigger caused, setting the stage for forming a new habit.
The reality is there is no setback or failure that is final or could be overcome. The only two setbacks that are final are if you chose to make it final or in extreme cases death. So keep going! If you are still breathing and moving you can make changes to your life and get to where you know you need to go!
Question: What would going down swinging make possible for you?
Look at the situation
Look for ways to make it work
Adjusted amounts to match reality
This little formula can be used to make anything work. But you have to be open to what you can do, not just what’s creating barriers.
The First Reason is, you have been told otherwise and you can tell yourself differently.
Conditioning for good or for ill has played a role in our lives, all of our life. The good thing is you can use the power of conditioning on yourself. It can be something as basic as reading a book on a new perspective can change your outlook. Possibly something as involved as learning to meditate. Or, simply choosing to believe otherwise.
The Second Reason is: You have the power to make yourself
According to Dr. Stephen Covey in 7 Habits we are made to act and not be acted upon. Also Sean Webb and Pat Flynn during the latter’s 70th podcast, they both came to the conclusion that through meditation and brain training techniques, we aren’t lying to ourselves, but we are making ourselves
Pat Flynn: Dude, I’m so glad you mentioned that last part about you’re not just, you’re not fooling yourself. You’re actually making yourself.
Sean Webb: Right, exactly.
Pat Flynn: What you feel and what you think is reality.
These methods and processes for remaking the human person have been given to us by God and have been around for 6,000 years or more, and we aren’t getting it. It’s not from lack of efficacy of these traditions. It’s our unwillingness to persist in them or go further in them. If we were all really honest with ourselves, we would conclude that we are our greatest barrier in life change. That’s ok though. Its something to celebrate, because it puts us back in the driver’s seat.
The Third Reason is: You haven’t stopped listening to the negative forces in your life.
This is the second biggest barrier other than ourselves. It’s not something we can control directly. We can influence how much of an impact others have on us. And of course you can control it directly by cutting out the really bad negative forces.
When you are dealing with a negative force, remember how they got to where they are and realize, they really don’t have the answers. Tom Hopkins recommends that we take the pledge to never take advice from someone who is more screwed up than we are.
However, when we are interacting with them, we should play nice and pretend to listen and say we are taking it under advisement, and even thank them for their concern.
An even better method is just to fill your life with positive people. The way to make this work is to be the positive person first.
Some of the negative forces will change into positive ones overtime, but realize some are just stuck.
Being the positive person will enable to acquire relationships that are positive and personally enriching because it will be a mutual process because you are building into their life too.
The Fourth Reason is: You haven’t tried
We already talked about this.
The Fifth reason is: You do it everyday unconsciously
It usually starts with conscious effort. But eventually you just start doing a certain thing out of habit.
The Sixths Reason is: You can do it everyday consciously
Traffic on the way to work causes you to change course. Things change at work and you have to adapt.
Many great people have started from the bottom and have improved their lives drastically
John D. Rockafeller started life with a wondering and morally profligate dad, but through his mother’s guidance and direction became a serious business man leading him to found Standard Oil. But he had to go through a lot to get there. Here is his Wiki.
Napoleon Hill according to Wikipedia,
“According to his official biographer, Tom Butler-Bowdon, Napoleon Hill was born in a one-room cabin near the Appalachian town of Pound, in Southwest Virginia. Hill’s mother died when he was nine years old, and his father remarried two years later. At the age of 13, Hill began writing as a “mountain reporter” for small-town newspapers in the area of Wise County, Virginia. He later used his earnings as a reporter to enter law school, but soon he had to withdraw for financial reasons”
Here is also his Wiki.
While some of you folks from the South may get angry that I’m listing him as a success story, never the less he is one. He is a man who went from poverty and obscurity to fame and lasting historical impact, regardless of what you may think of him personally. He is another shining example of someone going from relative obscurity to greatness. Again, I give you a Wiki.
Those people all had a working brain and a body. They did it. You can too!
Here are the free resources I promised
What would engaging in life change make possible for you?
Christians or people of another faith or spirituality, tend to “specialize” in a particular dogma because of a psychological hang up we have regarding it. In Christian circles the issue of money is one of these hang ups. Sometimes it’s a passive aggressive offhand “letting the Lord handle it” kind of an attitude rather being actively engaged in economic activity. We might have a job or even a business, but we often times will feel bad about our success or act as though it is somehow wrong to safe guard those assets. In short, we may subconsciously feel that money or building wealth is evil.
We think wealth looks like this:
But really, it looks more like this:
The New Testament never said that money was the root of all evil. It is the love of money is the root of all evil. The phrase in 1 Timothy 6:10 “love of money” is philarguria and a according to some scholars has the same overtones as lust or ardent desire. But this does not make money or wealth evil of itself. Money is an amoral object, just like guns or knives. The morality or immorality comes from the person’s relationship with money. That morality or immorality also extends to attachment or aversion. I say this now because if you lust after money you are wrong regardless of your ability to get it. If you are averse to money and consequently are resentful toward those have it, regardless of the others relationship to it are equally wrong. The reason being is that we are called to be free of both lust for money, hatred for it, or hatred of those who have more than we do.
Earlier this week, I listened to a podcast where Dan Miller interviewed Rabbi Daniel Lapin author of Thou Shalt Prosper on the subject of wealth. One of the first questions on that podcast that was asked is does God want us to be rich?
Interesting question. Rabbi Lapin and Dan go on to address the aforementioned negative paradigms regarding money. I’ll let you listen to the podcast which I will link to at the bottom.
Rabbi Lapin goes on to make the argument that God has facilitated the environment for people to become rich. God wants us to be obsessively preoccupied with attending to one another’s needs, wants and desires. He’s created the environment where human economic interaction is rewarded. The interaction is based on the following factors.
The demand for the product you are offering is the first thing. You have to have a market. It is also based on the number of people who know, like, and trust you. This directly correlates with how rich we become. As a result, the natural consequences of serving the needs of others, we become wealthy. They went on to talk about other points, which I will not go into here, but this first part of the podcast really rattled my thinking.
Here are the Key takeaways from this part of the podcast.
The first is God wants us all to be rich. Not gonna sugar coat it, He wants us to be rich. I don’t mean this in a health, wealthy and prosperity gospel type of way. I mean this in the sense that he has created a system where work, demand, and interaction are rewarded over time. We aren’t all going to be Bill Gates, but we can all win, even if it is to a lesser extent. It’s relative. For instance, I may only make and keep 5 million dollars. But if I watch my expenses I can retire on that. I can invest it and make it more, or I can invest it in a very conservative annuity and make almost $4200 a month and still be fine. And I can still take the surplus from that and reinvest it. If expenses stay modest it can be done. Or you may make 42 million dollars, put it in the annuity at 1% and make 420,000 a year. It doesn’t matter, its relative, and there is plenty to go around. It’s not a win-lose paradigm since wealth is created and perpetuated.
Now, I am going to make some people mad. If we aren’t rich or at least trending in that direction, something is wrong. But let me explain why.
According to JM Demarco in the Millionare Fastlane he talks about buying into the conventional wisdom that if you work for 50 years, are mindlessly frugal, you’ll come out a winner on the other end. That is the paradigm of the previous generations. And it is a paradigm that doesn’t work anymore because corporations are cutting or outsourcing jobs.
The solution that Demarco proposes is getting into a market that you are passionate about, with high demand and solving the problems more effectively than your competitors. Doing this does several things. The first is it puts you in control of your life and not your corporation. The second the potential for retiring while you can still enjoy it is relatively high. Beyond the next several steps, you need to let go of the mentality that the j-o-b is going to make us rich. It isn’t because there are too many factors beyond our control. Income cap depending on the job you have, the fact that the corporation could lay you off at any time, and the stock market could tank, annihilating your 401k. Changing this situation is a prerequisite to the others I list below.
Now if you are a business owner and you aren’t getting the traction you want it’s one of these problems.
We are not well known enough. In other words, you have a marketing problem. You are focusing too much on the craft and not enough on marketing the business. Now in the business that I come from, which is the construction business, specifically painting, you have to be at the top of your game. You have to have compelling reasons for your prospect to pick you over the others. One of the ways to do that is to be everywhere. Get on the internet, blog about your product, make little freebies that you can give to clients and other people to get your name out there. This isn’t an exhaustive post on marketing, but the key is to get your name out into the marketplace. Be known!
Another potential problem is that we are not trusted enough. Now in the construction business, especially painting, this is a problem. There is just a negative halo effect that surrounds contractors of all types unfortunately. It is because of the tendency to reduce cost, be late, or change things at the last second. Now, there are several out there that I know are trust worthy, and I know them personally. I’ve collaborated with them in the past, but they are far and few between.
One other issue is that we are not liked. You may have a quality offering, you may be a trustworthy person, but if you don’t have the soft skills to be able to build rapport, you aren’t going to get the repeat business or referrals to be sustainable. So you have to have a level or respectable salesmanship when you are in business. Or the other problem can be being too shy can demonstrate a lack of confidence, and that can lead the prospect to not being confident in you. Being likable must be in place. I realize that those who are trusted are ultimately loved, but you still have to have the soft skills.
We are not in a market where we are solving a real problem. In other words, we’re just like our competition. Nothing that really sets us apart. I mentioned this earlier but he key to being successful is to do something 10% or more better than your competitors. A common problem in construction is lateness to the job site or just not showing up at all. One commonsense way to fix this is to call the client the night before to confirm, and call while you are on the way there or if they are comfortable with it send them a text the day of! There are other ways to do this in the industry, but that one is at the top of my mind.
We are in an industry or job market where this more supply than demand. This is a huge problem, especially for our college graduates.
The big corporate jobs are highly competitive, and everyone is going after them. The way to get into a saturated market is to be either cheaper or better than the competition. However jobs involving independent skilled labor are starting to have a shortfall and as a result they are becoming unsaturated. Now I realize this varies from place to place and you have to do your own research. But that is the problem with trying to find the silver bullet for success in finding work. There is no silver bullet. Previously, going to college was the silver bullet. But all that did was saturate the market. It isn’t the college’s responsibility to make sure you are marketable. You have to do that by connecting with your God given calling and following that, not just trying to “see what’s out there.” You have to do both.
We lack the skills necessary to attain wealth. I’ve touched on this briefly but I’m going to revisit it in detail. The first area is Soft Skills, and the second is Hard Technical Skills.
Character, respectability, and likability are absolutely necessary no matter what industry you are in. Yes, even the would be gear head has to be able to communicate with the shop manager. Or the accountant. Or the computer programmer. The second area is hard technical skills.
Even if you are a salesman, you have to have hard technical skills as well. Communication is both an art and a science. You also have to be able to command a high amount of product knowledge in order to sell to the client. In an area on the opposite extreme like accounting your computer programming, you have to be highly competent at those technical skills and be able to collaborate with other accountants or programmers or (insert name of introverted highly technical industry here). I realize that I’m swinging back and forth between extremes here, but you get the point. You have to be excellent at what you do or else, the market won’t want you.
If we are not going in that direction, we need to take inventory of what we’re not dialed into, God’s not obstructing me, and we are.
For myself I know what the issues have been. I previously had a lack of vision dictating my career goals and objectives.
Those of you who know me, know what that all entailed. I’ll boil it down to that I was listening to men rather than God.
Getting back on point, the other problem for myself personally aside from vision the following.
I have a tendency to be a spend thrift. I like things that money can buy. The other issue is that I previously lacked rigorous financial discipline. Demarco in his book talks about being frugal being both a good and a bad thing. You want to build discipline into yourself. That is absolutely vital. But doing it to the point where life is a constant misery is no way of doing things either.
The key in my case, and perhaps in yours is to drill down and take action in forming new habits. Remember, we can’t break old habits. We have drown out the bad ones with good, new ones.
The next thing we need to realize from these two positions on money is that avarice and aversion are equally wrong, as they are the same attachment just polarized the other way.
Avarice is an attachment to money, whether you have it or not. Aversion is attachment polarized the other way, we don’t have money so we hate it and judge others who do have it as being evil.
You don’t get rich by being evil.
People aren’t going to buy from you if they know you are underhanded. If you are a swindler, the word will get out about you eventually and it will hurt your ability to expand. However, If you have great soft skills, are an expert in your field and are trustworthy, people will flock to you!
And you can’t be in business if you believe that what you’re selling is underhanded, you have to believe in yourself. You need to find a new product, improve yourself or change your attitude about yourself or your product.
Oh and here is that link to the podcast.
What is your attitude toward money? What would changing it make possible for you?
Star Trek will always be one of my favorite series out there. While Mr. Roddenberry would have us think that the spiritual or “unknown” is simply that which is scientifically unexplained, the entire series from Pike to Janeway and back to Pike and Kirk is still an epic of our life time. The only series to rival that in my mind is Star Wars. And, no this isn’t going to turn into a Star Wars versus Star Trek discussion this is a review of Star Trek: Nemesis. Which was released in 2002… so I’m twelve years late.
Now as of today the show ranks 31% on Rotten Tomatoes and other reviews are mixed and average. The movie was competing directly with several other blockbuster films at the time it was released, and there were some problems with the fact that Stuart Baird didn’t watch and of the films. Jonathan Frakes even said that the film would’ve been better had he been able to direct the film as he had done in First Contact and Insurrection, which did much better than Nemesis. I wonder why?
The movie starts off with a meeting of the Romulan Senate. There the military commanders talk with the Senate about Unifying with the Remans in a bid to destroy the Federation. Keep in mind this hair brained idea is coming off of the tails of the Dominion war from Deep Space Nine and the return of Captain, now Admiral Janeway from the Delta Quadrant. The Praetor being in no mood for such non-sense dismisses the military commanders and resumes business as usual.
One of the Senators excuses herself and leaves a strange device at her seat in the Senate. The device goes off and kills everyone in the Senate. This leaves a big question mark in everyones mind. Then we cut to another scene.
The movie shifts to the wedding reception of Commander Riker and Deanna Troi. After a very witty toast by Captain Picard the attendees begin dancing with each other. Data offers the newlyweds a very humorously a conjugal gift. He sings the song Blue Skies for them. Everyone is impressed. But for some reason Commander Worf hates it. After the party the crew heads for Betazed where they will participate in a very naked Betazoid wedding ceremony. Worf expresses his concern only to be rebuffed by Captain Picard saying that the strapping young lad has nothing of which to be ashamed. Picard promptly leaves “Commander Troi” in charge and heads to the gym.
They are then diverted to the planet Kolarus III because the are picking up positronic readings. Picard and company go to the planet and discover one of Data’s “Brothers” B-4. After an adventurous encounter with the Kolarans they return to the ship to investigate the new find.
When they return to the ship they are diverted to Romulus where the new government wishes to “Talk” (spoiler alert). The whole thing turns into a huge cluster when they discover that Shinzon a clone of Picard has taken over the Romulan Empire.
Picard begins some peaceful negotiations with Shinzon and agrees to pursue things further after Shinzon has earned the Federation’s trust. It all goes downhill from there
I’m going to conclude the review at this point. Wikipedia has a very short review of the movie which I will direct you to for more details about the movie, or you can watch it yourself, I highly recommend it. Let us now turn to the themes of the movie.
There is one major themes in this movie, Nature verses nurture. This shown in Picard and Shinzon, as well as Data and B-4.
Picard and Shinzon
While both of them had the same DNA and were more or less indistinguishable from each other barring the nasty side effects of Shinzon’s cloning, they were never the less different individuals with differing values.
The reoccuring theme until the end of the movie was what happens when you take responsibility for becoming more than what you are, or what happens when you allow your conditioning to dictate your destiny.
Picard had become an accomplished starship captain, explorer, and even warrior for the good guys. Shinzon on the other hand had become a malevolent revolutionary, intent on destroying the Federation and using the Romulan Star Empire in his quest for personal aggrandizement.
During one of the final debates between Picard and Shinzon, Picard told Shinzon that even now he can change and fight the evil that he has become, that there was a part of his humanity that wasn’t nurtured and could. This would result in something even better for Shinzon. Shinzon objected and said that he couldn’t fight it and that he would show Picard his “true nature” before too long.
Data and B-4
Externally, Data and B-4 were identical. Much like Picard and Shinzon. Time would tell often humorously that they were very different. Data had spent years and years improving himself beyond being a mere android. It was even said that he succeeded in his quest to become more human.
B-4 on the other hand appeared content to prattle about and be the pawn of Shinzon and let his circumstances dictate his destiny, or so it seems. At the end of the movie, B-4 seems to be showing some signs of hope as he begins singing.
Here are the key takeaways from the movie. We are presented with three choices in life. Continual self-improvement and self-actualization for the good, the choice to bring about tremendous evil, or sit in the mediocre middle.
Often times we don’t choose either extreme. Many of us choose to sit in the mediocre middle. We are driving, but we are also being driven, making nothing happen than our day to day routines. It truly is a sad waste to see that happen. I’m sure that you’ve encountered so many potentially bright people, that they never do anything with themselves beyond the quest for pleasure and survival. I often worry about myself if I’m not caught in this trap. The result is very little in the world changes because the majority isn’t moving and shaking.
Think of what the world would be like if everyone who was capable of doing it optimized or even maximized their full potential? It would put politicians on notice not to lie to their constituents. It would put businesses on notice to treat their employees well and produce products of only the best quality. Everyone would find their place in life. We would be willing to help each other, and a Utopia would effectively come into being without government intervention.
The truth is though, it would take a very long time for all of us to learn the spiritual and psychological tools needed to attain to such self-actualization, mostly because we are imperfect and we don’t see our blind spots.
Think also what would happened if everyone maximized their abilities, but acted out of their conditioning. The world would be plunged into darkness. We would constantly be fighting each other. And while it may not seem like it that is the state of the world now. Many countries have developed highly sophisticated weapons systems. Yet, we still haven’t learned to see that we are all the same, and we all at the core of our being want the same things.
The final take away is that we all have a choice, all of us do and it is my hope that we won’t choose the mediocre middle, or tremendous evil, but that we take the never ending path to enlightenment and self-actualization.
Question: Have you seen Star Trek Nemesis? What did you think of it? Have other movies impacted you profoundly? Please leave your comment below.