Posts from the ‘Book Notes & Reviews’ category

The Pumpkin Plan – Mike Michalowicz – Book Notes

Without stating it in the beginning of The Pumpkin Plan, (Amazon) what Mike is really talking about is the 80/20 rule.

Using it to focus in on the levers that provide the most results.

Instead of trying to do everything with everyone.  Which leads to burnout.

Being different attracts attention.  Mike uses a story of walking around a pumpkin patch.  Each one looks similar and nothing really "wows" you.   Ordinary pumpkins are forgotten. Until, you come across a mega-huge pumpkin!

The one where they need a forklift to move it around and airplane wheel chocks to stop it from rolling over people.   Ending up as legends that are on YouTube and postcards.

Mike discovered that the process to growing these giant man-eating pumpkins is the same as growing successful businesses:

  1. Plant promising seeds that you know have the best chance of making it
  2. Water
  3. ID the most promising pumpkins
  4. Kill off the rest of the vine, weed like you have OCD
  5. Leave only one pumpkin on each vine
  6. Nurture ONLY the ones with the biggest potential

This more specifically translates to:

  1. Figure out your biggest natural strengths and leverage them
  2. Your most promising seed is where your best clients and the best part of your business meet
  3. Sell....sell....sell
  4. While growing fire the rotten small clients - stop focusing on quantity
  5. Keep weeds (new opportunities) from distracting you
  6. Remove more less-pormising clients
  7. Focus all attention on the top. Ask them questions on what they want from your industry, and if its something that aligns with your top strengths...provide it to them.  Then replicate that same system with another client of the same characteristics
  8. Grow to giant man-eater status

This is the path to growing something amazing, that could change the quality of your life, and make a difference in the world.  Rather than being another ordinary pumpkin that is forgotten once its time has past.

The mistake most people make is doing too much.  The real entrepreneur is someone who identifies problems, finds opportunities, then builds processes that allow other people and systems to do the actual work.  Instead of relying on them to do it.

Pumpkins have strong root systems.  We get great answers when we ask great questions.

Once you start repeatedly asking yourself these mega-life-changing questions your brain will start to work on the answers.  So make sure the mental pattern in your head is "how can I make $2,000 every day, versus.. why can I never get ahead?".

Start asking questions:

  • Who are your best/worst customers
  • How could we serve the best customers better (Ask them what concerns, wish where different, aspirations, challenges, goals, frustrates you about my industry?)  Keep mining if you don't strike gold right away.  Learn more about them beyond what you initially solve.
  • How can you turn your customers frustrations into solutions.  When you start to hear the customer ask when this solution will be ready... you're on to something
  • How can you create built-in loyalty
  • How do you stand out from the crowd (niche down into a space you own)
  • Does your business name identify with customers needs
  • How can you under-promise and over-deliver (this strategy alone will give you a massive advantage over 80% of your competition)

These are enabling questions and answers.

Have awareness around your internal monkey mind.  Ask yourself bigger and better questions. Then, you'll get bigger and better results.

When a business is struggling we go through stages

  1. Deny the struggle
  2. Stress becomes a fact of life
  3. You are broken by defeat

Most owners think they are one deal away from all their problems being solved.  And afraid to make the changes necessary.

The changes that will make you an industry leader, sound systems, and focus on the one thing you are awesome at doing.

Don't try and fix what isn't working.  Just get rid of it.

To get a model of your ideal clients.  Look at your best friends.

Your unique offering is how you approach delivering your service/product.  Your talents, experience, and abilities that come along with your big idea.

Creating a masterpiece of mojo and know-how that is not copyable.

Your numero-uno strength is something you deeply love.. brings you to your happy place.   You don't have to force yourself to do it.  You miss doing it when you're spread too thin.

Combine that with your business experience and life... and BOOM that's how you're different.

Keep in mind systemtimization.  If other people can't do the work, then you're trading hours for dollars.

More is not better, people. Better is better.

Quantity is not the game you want to be in.

You have to make space for the good to come in.

Here's how you find your top clients:

  1. List according to revenue
  2. Cross out the ones you don't like working with
  3. Look at additional factors like repeat business, enjoy working with, opens up new opportunities, sends referrals

If you sell products to tons of different customers look at revenue/profit.

To start weeding.  Just focus on the very worst of weeds.  Let the ones in the middle stay.  As they may grow into a client your want to keep, or they may become a giant weed worth starting on fire.

Raising prices may get rid of weeds.

Really focus on the top clients and how to serve them instead of trying to figure out how to work less and grow the business.  These will be natural byproducts of the former.

You can't just try and pull in new top clients on the side.  While keeping your crappy weeds.  You must pull those suckers out to have the time and energy available to nurture the big guys.

Cash is the king of your business. Start looking at expenses and thinking if it serves your best clients..best.  If it doesn't get rid of it.

Play favorites with the top clients.   Making everyone #1 is not going to work. Don't completely ignore the middle clients, but give the top a VIP line (although don't them them they are VIP.  It's just standard operating procedures).

The key to super growth is being competitive in all areas of your business, but destroying them in one category.

The Pumpkin Plan Client Questions:

  • What complaints do you have about my industry
  • What would you change
  • What is your biggest challenge
  • What would need to change to make things easier on you
  • What would you like to complete in the near future
  • Where do you/your project hope to be down the road in 5/10/20 years
  • How could things be tweaked to better suit your needs
  • What is the most confusing thing about my industry
  • What do you wish businesses in my industry would offer

Do not promise that you will solve any of these.. you're just looking for info/ideas on ways to serve them better.

Set them up as the authority.  You want to pick their brain and ask for advice.  Make sure they know you're not trying to sell them on your brilliant network marketing scheme.

Make them feel important.

Never ask direct questions about your businesses performance.  Putting them on the spot.

Just let them speak whatever is in that little golden noggin of theirs.

What are the commonalities in the answers?

Is there are way you can solve the problem profitably?  If yes.. you just struck gold my friend.

When you come up with a solution.  Talk to these people again.  See what they have to say about it.

Keep track of the responses.

If enough interest create what they want, and involve them in the process of creating it.

Maybe even have the bravado to ask for a non-refundable deposit to get them to commit to the process.

Only make a limited amount at first. Which goes to the backers to make them feel special.

Over deliver on what is promised.

Company Name

Your company name is everything.  It will seperate you from your competition.

Think.. instead of computer guys... Best Buy's Geek Squad.  The geeky, nerdy computer experts that also align with unique presentation.

Most customers are not experts, and will not be able to discern why one computer guy is better than the other.  But if you are noticeably different in a way that matters to the customer.. then you are golden.

Vendor Well

Now that you have your top clients and your like best friends.  It is possible that if they get you, and you get them, they might also have other vendors that are the same.

Ask - Besides me... who is critical to your business and someone you really like?

You want to align your work with other vendors work to serve the customer better.

When you get a list.. then ask... which do you depend on the most?

You call up the vendor.

Say client referred and you hope to get some advice on how you should be working to make their work easier.  Which will result in a better result for the client.

After you under-promise and over-deliver you then can tap the well of other clients of this vendor.

You're not a competitor to them and you are showing them you have a proven track record.

More

Build systems that allow other people to carry out The Pumpkin Plan without you.

Make it super-simple.  Like airline safety card simple.

Have your people answer three questions that will help them make decisions on their own:

  1. Are top clients served by this?
  2. Is our area of innovation maintained or improved by this?
  3. How is our profitability affected?

Ask them in order, and if they cannot give a HELL YEAH.. then don't do whatever they are thinking of.

If it is a HELL YEAH... then no need to consult with you, just let them do it.

Conclusion:

Planning on doing this with a business thats niche is something like backyard ideas.   Once seeds are planted I will stick to The Pumpkin Plan method.  Pulling out weeds and watering the giants.   Maybe even reinvent the business based on what I find.

Lets see if all these crazy farmer ideas work out!  🙂

Balance Point – Joseph Jenkins

Balance Point - Searching for a Spiritual Missing Link; Book Notes

Balance Point - Joseph Jenkins Book

Book Notes for: Balance Point (Amazon Page)

Wicca - witchcraft, craft of the wise.  They were the wise ones in villages that knew about natural healing, legal matters, and spiritual ones.  They were doctors, lawyers, and priests.

They believe in a spirituality that is completely connected nature.

Links:

https://www.wicca.com - "one of the oldest and largest Wicca, Witchcraft and Pagan sites on the Internet!  "

http://www.wicca.org/courses/library.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wicca

 

Honeybee "Robbing Frenzy" 

Humans are herd animals in small groups and hive animals in large groups.

When a hole is discovered in a hive that isn't guarded by resident bee's they start to steal all the honey from it.  It's kinda like people looting a store during a riot.  They become crazy.  Their natural thinking of sustainability is thrown out the window.

The bees will steal until there is nothing left, or the hole is patched.

 

Humans are in the middle of a robbing frenzy with the earths resources.  Someone who digs an oil well and finds oil is like finding a back door in the bee hive.

Like alcoholics we cannot control this illness.  We're taught from a young age that excessive material wealth is what we should strive for.

Our population is growing exponentially.  And is dependent on oil for food production.

Our stealing and burring fossil fuels is causing the earth to be sick and heating it up.  The natural cycles can not overcome the excess heat/waste.

The ego acts as a barrier between humans and nature. It blinds us to the destruction we are doing to the planet.  The ego allows us to think we are more important than the earth.  It's pumped up by material wealth and social status.

Just like addicts.. we are addicted to consumption and afraid to admit and fix the problem.

Global collapse at around 2040 if we don't change.

Population growth, resource consumption, waste production are all growing at an exponential rate.

 

1992 World Scientists' Warning to Humanity

Scientist Statement
World Scientists' Warning to Humanity (1992)

Some 1,700 of the world's leading scientists, including the majority of Nobel laureates in the sciences, issued this appeal in November 1992. The World Scientists' Warning to Humanity was written and spearheaded by the late Henry Kendall, former chair of UCS's board of directors.

INTRODUCTION

Human beings and the natural world are on a collision course. Human activities inflict harsh and often irreversible damage on the environment and on critical resources. If not checked, many of our current practices put at serious risk the future that we wish for human society and the plant and animal kingdoms, and may so alter the living world that it will be unable to sustain life in the manner that we know. Fundamental changes are urgent if we are to avoid the collision our present course will bring about.

THE ENVIRONMENT

The environment is suffering critical stress:

The Atmosphere
Stratospheric ozone depletion threatens us with enhanced ultraviolet radiation at the earth's surface, which can be damaging or lethal to many life forms. Air pollution near ground level, and acid precipitation, are already causing widespread injury to humans, forests, and crops.

Water Resources
Heedless exploitation of depletable ground water supplies endangers food production and other essential human systems. Heavy demands on the world's surface waters have resulted in serious shortages in some 80 countries, containing 40 percent of the world's population. Pollution of rivers, lakes, and ground water further limits the supply.

Oceans
Destructive pressure on the oceans is severe, particularly in the coastal regions which produce most of the world's food fish. The total marine catch is now at or above the estimated maximum sustainable yield. Some fisheries have already shown signs of collapse. Rivers carrying heavy burdens of eroded soil into the seas also carry industrial, municipal, agricultural, and livestock waste -- some of it toxic.

Soil
Loss of soil productivity, which is causing extensive land abandonment, is a widespread by-product of current practices in agriculture and animal husbandry. Since 1945, 11 percent of the earth's vegetated surface has been degraded -- an area larger than India and China combined -- and per capita food production in many parts of the world is decreasing.

Forests
Tropical rain forests, as well as tropical and temperate dry forests, are being destroyed rapidly. At present rates, some critical forest types will be gone in a few years, and most of the tropical rain forest will be gone before the end of the next century. With them will go large numbers of plant and animal species.

Living Species
The irreversible loss of species, which by 2100 may reach one-third of all species now living, is especially serious. We are losing the potential they hold for providing medicinal and other benefits, and the contribution that genetic diversity of life forms gives to the robustness of the world's biological systems and to the astonishing beauty of the earth itself. Much of this damage is irreversible on a scale of centuries, or permanent. Other processes appear to pose additional threats. Increasing levels of gases in the atmosphere from human activities, including carbon dioxide released from fossil fuel burning and from deforestation, may alter climate on a global scale. Predictions of global warming are still uncertain -- with projected effects ranging from tolerable to very severe -- but the potential risks
are very great.

Our massive tampering with the world's interdependent web of life -- coupled with the environmental damage inflicted by deforestation, species loss, and climate change -- could trigger widespread adverse effects, including unpredictable collapses of critical biological systems whose interactions and dynamics we only imperfectly understand.

Uncertainty over the extent of these effects cannot excuse complacency or delay in facing the threats.
POPULATION

The earth is finite. Its ability to absorb wastes and destructive effluent is finite. Its ability to provide food and energy is finite. Its ability to provide for growing numbers of people is finite. And we are fast approaching many of the earth's limits. Current economic practices which damage the environment, in both developed and underdeveloped nations, cannot be continued without the risk that vital global systems will be damaged beyond repair.

Pressures resulting from unrestrained population growth put demands on the natural world that can overwhelm any efforts to achieve a sustainable future. If we are to halt the destruction of our environment, we must accept limits to that growth. A World Bank estimate indicates that world population will not stabilize at less than 12.4 billion, while the United Nations concludes that the eventual total could reach 14 billion, a near tripling of today's 5.4 billion. But, even at this moment, one person in five lives in absolute poverty without enough to eat, and one in ten suffers serious malnutrition.

No more than one or a few decades remain before the chance to avert the threats we now confront will be lost and the prospects for humanity immeasurably diminished.
WARNING

We the undersigned, senior members of the world's scientific community, hereby warn all humanity of what lies ahead. A great change in our stewardship of the earth and the life on it is required, if vast human misery is to be avoided and our global home on this planet is not to be irretrievably mutilated.
WHAT WE MUST DO

Five inextricably linked areas must be addressed simultaneously:

We must bring environmentally damaging activities under control to restore and protect the integrity of the earth's systems we depend on.
We must, for example, move away from fossil fuels to more benign, inexhaustible energy sources to cut greenhouse gas emissions and the pollution of our air and water. Priority must be given to the development of energy sources matched to Third World needs -- small-scale and relatively easy to implement.
We must halt deforestation, injury to and loss of agricultural land, and the loss of terrestrial and marine plant and animal species.

We must manage resources crucial to human welfare more effectively.

We must give high priority to efficient use of energy, water, and other materials, including expansion of conservation and recycling.

We must stabilize population.

This will be possible only if all nations recognize that it requires improved social and economic conditions, and the adoption of effective, voluntary family planning.

We must reduce and eventually eliminate poverty.

We must ensure sexual equality, and guarantee women control over their own reproductive decisions.
DEVELOPED NATIONS MUST ACT NOW

The developed nations are the largest polluters in the world today. They must greatly reduce their overconsumption, if we are to reduce pressures on resources and the global environment. The developed nations have the obligation to provide aid and support to developing nations, because only the developed nations have the financial resources and the technical skills for these tasks.

Acting on this recognition is not altruism, but enlightened self-interest: whether industrialized or not, we all have but one lifeboat. No nation can escape from injury when global biological systems are damaged. No nation can escape from conflicts over increasingly scarce resources. In addition, environmental and economic instabilities will cause mass migrations with incalculable consequences for developed and undeveloped nations alike. Developing nations must realize that environmental damage is one of the gravest threats they face, and that attempts to blunt it will be overwhelmed if their populations go unchecked. The greatest peril is to become trapped in spirals of environmental decline, poverty, and unrest, leading to social, economic, and environmental collapse.

Success in this global endeavor will require a great reduction in violence and war. Resources now devoted to the preparation and conduct of war -- amounting to over $1 trillion annually -- will be badly needed in the new tasks and should be diverted to the new challenges.

A new ethic is required -- a new attitude towards discharging our responsibility for caring for ourselves and for the earth. We must recognize the earth's limited capacity to provide for us. We must recognize its fragility. We must no longer allow it to be ravaged. This ethic must motivate a great movement, convincing reluctant leaders and reluctant governments and reluctant peoples themselves to effect the needed changes.
The scientists issuing this warning hope that our message will reach and affect people everywhere. We need the help of many.

We require the help of the world community of scientists -- natural, social, economic, and political.
We require the help of the world's business and industrial leaders.
We require the help of the world's religious leaders.
We require the help of the world's peoples.
We call on all to join us in this task.

A shaman is a healer.

Cacao is a seed that gives great strength and stamina.

We're all the same.  We are all connected.  When someone harms the earth they harm all life.  Our spirit is what connects our human mind to a higher mind. The more we develop the more we realize how connected we are to nature and the great mystery.

Our awareness of the true extent of life is very limited. So we have created myths to explain it all.  Or religions.

We don't have the answers.  We are just one life form in a vast universal, continuum of life.

The more spiritually evolved be become the more we notice that we are also a part of  everything outside and beyond ourselves.  We are just a tiny piece of a greater whole.

The key is reaching a balance of selflessness and self awareness.  The people who harm the earth are out of balance.

The world around us is the only part of the unknown mystery that is known to us.

We are balanced when we live in harmony with the larger whole. With all of life and the earth.

A true spiritual relationship can only exist between you and something that actually exists. 

Spiritual - We are all apart of a Greater Being.  We are linked to it.  Everything is connected.  Awareness of that connection is spirituality.  Nothing more, nothing less.

Our spirit becomes ill when we think we are apart from the rest.

We need to see that we are apart of an unlimited consciousness.

Oneness is the essence of spirituality.

Religion separates and is based on belief. Spirituality is based on awareness.

Being balanced leads to leading a healthy, productive, rewarding life that is without pollution, waste, greed that is common in our culture.

This point is different for everyone on one person may lean on one side or the other.

A spiritual person can participate in religion without actually believing the myths.  Myths are dogma.

Churches provide charity, social connection, inspiration for many. But they need to get more into spirituality and based more on reality. People need to feel a connection to what they are actually apart of.  You can't have a connection to some mythical human figure. We are apart of a living universe.

The life that continues after you die is the life on Earth.

The first step is to admit the problems exist and not feed our egos and deny it.  Then use our brains to solve the problems.

GDP is measured by money spent.  But we are not admitted we are losing wealth because the natural resources are not being replenished.

If we change our consumption habits it will cause huge shifts if it hits a tipping point and forces bad businesses out of the market.

As a business owner I can no longer pursue a simple goal of just profit.  I have to think about the rest of the world and posterity when I have any interaction with the economy.  As a consumer I can refuse to buy things that doesn't support this mission.

When you get in touch with this balance point you will know that you are in the right mix of selflessness and selfishness. You will feel it.

We who are alive today.. right now will determine the future of humanity.

Vagabonding – Rolf Potts

I finally read the book Vagabonding by Rolf Potts.

Vagabonding - Rolf Potts

Book Notes:

Vagabonding is about taking a break from everyday life and traveling the world on your own terms.  It's about improving your life not in relation to others, but to yourself.

Long term travel is about being more deliberate.  It's learning what you truly want and what adds value to your travels.   Your personal outlook is more important than money, age, race, etc.

It's about using the possibility and prosperity of the info age to provide you more freedom rather than material possessions.

It's about finding adventure in our normal lives.

It's about how we use the most precious resource we have.. time.

Earning your freedom to travel involves working.  Working for your freedom builds its value and makes you appreciate freedom more.  Working allows you time to plan, get rid of any loose ends, and teaches you to be happy in the journey to your destination.

"I don't like work, but I like what is in the work- the chance to find yourself." - Joseph Conrad

The meaningful part of your life and travels begin with work at home.  It allows you to clear up whatever needs to be cleared up before your travels.  Then, travel will not be an escape from your life, but a discovery of your real life.

"Regardless of how long it takes to earn your freedom, remember that you are laboring for more than just a vacation.  A vacation, after all, merely rewards work. Vagabonding justifies it."

Make work serve your interests.

Material investment such as health food does very little to help the state of the planet.  And a notion that it's more important than personal investment is what leads so many people to think this sort of thing is outside of their grasp.

Travel isn't something you buy.  It's something you give yourself into.  Through simplicity and using your resources wisely.

Remember wealth isn't about the things you consume, or own.  It's about having time and using it how you want.

Time is what you need to live.  Switch the game from material to time. 

Save whatever money you can make to help you meet basic survival needs, but spend your time lavishly to create the life values that you're passionate about.

As you soak in the new found time; you can't help but grow as a person.

Travel will help you simplify your life because it demands it.  You can't bring a bunch of unneeded junk along with you on your travels.

Principles of simplifying your life:

  1. Stop unnecessary consumption/expanding
  2. Optimize your daily routine to lower expenses below your means (cook instead of eating out)
  3. Reduce clutter/possessions

Get out of any debt.

Keeping expenses low while traveling is key.  Sleep in hostels, take local transportation, eat at local vendors not expensive restaurants, etc.

Traveling on the cheap may become preferred over expensive options.  The simplicity will save you money and buy you time, make you more adventurous, allows you to meet others more easily, etc.

Seeking simplicity at home and while traveling will help you find a new meaning of life.  Time.

"The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page. - St. Augustine"

Vagabonding teaches you that the most rewarding experiences are usually ones that find you by accident.  And this will help you from your worldview and develop a great outlook on life.

Most people are afraid of traveling, but after the first couple days you will most likely be kicking yourself for not doing it sooner.

The secret of adventure is not to carefully seek it out but to travel in such a way that it finds you.  Open yourself up to unpredictability. Instead of spending 10 thousand dollars on a climbing expedition bike through local towns.  Put off your destination until you get to a bus stop.  Follow your intuition.  Leave yourself open to both good and bad experiences.  Trust chance and always learn from it as you go.

Adventure is whatever you allow to find you.  Bad experiences can be seen as increasing your knowledge of the world.  Don't seek the bad, but make the best of it.

Be open to reality and accept it for what it is.

Strive to find a balance of finding yourself and losing yourself on the road.  Doing so will require some creativity. Mix things up a bit. If you have been traveling alone find someone to spend time with.  Instead of taking a plane rent a boat or walk. Take a random job. Volunteer.

Hitting the road and letting go of material is a spiritual journey.  Your choice to enrich your life with life experience and time will pay spiritual dividends.  Without all the day to day stuff that complicates our life travel forces us to look within for meaning.   It leaves you with nothing to find behind and pushes you into the present.

Jesus - The kingdom of God is within you.  It is pointless to look to otherworldly realms for revelation.

Buddha - Enlightenment comes from taking apart the conditioned personality.

God favors what we do now.

Spirituality is a process that deepens with time.  Instant results can not be had.  Just like the gym.  It requires openness and realism.

Life itself is a joinery just a your travels.  And the lessons learned in both go hand in hand. Keep the envy, fear, selfishness, vanity, prejudice at bay.  Be creative and open minded to get into adventures.  Keep things real and keep learning.  Keep your spirit growing and life simple.

Most important; keep living in a way that allows your dreams room to breathe.  Don't get tied down with debts because you never know when you will want to hit the road again.

Your travels never truly end.

 

 

 

 

Mastery by George Leonard

Mastery by George LeonardMastery by George Leonard - Notes (Amazon Page)

  • 1987 May edition of Esquire magazine, Ultimate Fitness section by George Leonard.  “Ultimately, fitness and health are related to everything we do, think and feel. Thus… what we are calling ultimate fitness has less to do with running a 2:30 marathon that with living a good life.”
  • Mastery - the mysterious process during which what is difficult becomes progressively easier and more pleasurable through practice.  This is not just about sports but in all of life.
  • Don’t put quick easy results over long term dedication to the journey itself. The quick-fix doesn't work in the long run is eventually destructive to the individual and society.
  • Success and fulfillment are found in the long term, essentially goalless process of mastery.  This is true in all areas of life.
  • Our current society works in ways that lead us astray, but the path to mastery is always there, waiting for us.
  • Mastery is a process, and its available to anyone willing to get on a path and stay on it. It begins when you decide to learn any new skill.
  • There comes a point when doing a activity that the truth begins to sink in.  Going for mastery in this isn't going to bring you the quick rewards you had hoped for.  There’s a seemingly endless road ahead of you with numerous setbacks along the way-and most important-plenty of time on the plateau, where long hours of diligent practice gain you no apparent progress at all.  Not a happy situation for one who is highly goal oriented.  You realize that you have a decision to make at some point along the journey, if not now.  You’re tempted to drop the activity and go out looking for a easier one.  Quit the path to mastery and just have fun with it.  Or you might try twice as hard, insist on extra lessons and help, practice day and night.  Committing to the long path to mastery.  This choice comes up in our lives all the time.  Anything that has to do with learning, development, and change.
  • Genius no matter how bright, will come to a swift burn out if you don't choose the masters journey.  It will be arduous, exhilarating, bring unexpected heartaches, and unexpected rewards, and you will never reach a final destination. You will probably end up learning as much about the skill you're pursuing as yourself.
  • The path will be one of progress, a dip and long plateau. Repeated over and over again.  You have to be willing to keep going when you don't seem to be making any progress.
  • Spurts happen because we have to keep practicing an unfimilar skill until we get it in the muscle memory, or program it into the autopilot. Not having to "think" about doing something.  We're just able to do it.
  • How do you best move toward mastery? You practice diligently, but you practice primarily for the sake of the practice itself. Rather than be frustrated on the plateau, you learn to appreciate and enjoy it just as much as you do the upward surges.
  • The dabbler jumps from one shiny object to the next because its easier to do that than commit to mastery and have to change oneself.
  • The obsessive focuses on results and puts full effort into getting ahead.  But when they hit the plateau they burn out from all the extra energy and not enough results.  They need to embrace the plateau and learn growth in spurts.
  • The hacker does only enough to get by. They are willing to settle for not growing and improving.
  • You can be all three types at different times but the basic patterns prevail.  They reflect and shape your performance, character, and destiny. Knowing these patterns can help you see why you're not on the path to mastery. 
  • Our society will make this path difficult for you.  Its a quick fix mentality that tries to appeal to using fear, logic, snobbery, or pure hedonism. They show life as a series of climatic moments. In short there is no plateau.  When things get hard we take a pill, use a crash diet, become an instant millionaire, use a credit card, buy a pre-cooked meal, etc. It's just a series of quick fixes. Business fits into this as well.  Executives are urged to cut the expenses, put assets into improving profits... at the expense of balance and growth.  Then the leveraged buyout to make a lot of money in a short amount of time.  Very little value is added to the corporation, or to the national economy in the long run. This same thought pattern is what makes people think they can learn a new skill or lose weight without patient, long term effort.
  •   Achieving goals is important, but not as much as enjoying the process and journey itself.  Value, enjoy, and love the plateau.. the long stretch of diligent effort with no apparent results. Learn to embrace and know that if you stay on the path you will hit another spurt of growth.
  • People who get into something for the money, fame, or the medal can't be effective.  You have to discover your own desire, and when you do you won't wait for other people to find solutions to your problems.  You're going to find your own. Set goals for yourself and make sure you enjoy the work.  It should feel like it is your "essential you" doing the work and if you didn't do that work it would be betraying that essential part of yourself.
  • What are you drawn to that you feel in a world of your own?  Totally focused almost hypnotized. You can easily concentrate and take pleasure in your work. Where you enjoy the feel, the rhythm, and texture of it.
  • Fame is not important.  To love your work, and willingness to stay with it even in the absence of extrinsic reward is what its all about.
  • The face of someone in the pursuit of mastery is often relaxed, serene, and sometimes faintly smiling.
  • Goals and contingencies are important, but they exist in the future and the past, beyond the sensory realm.  Mastery and practice exist only in the present. You can see it, smell it, and feel it. Loving the plateau is the love of the present, and then hitting a growth spurt and another plateau. Loving the plateau is to love what is most essential and enduring in your life.
  1. Instruction - the best first step you can take is to arrange first-rate instruction.  The self taught person is on a chancery path.  One on one instruction with a master is the best form, but you can also learn from books, classes, friends, co-workers, etc.  The search for a good person starts with knowing who the teachers teachers were.  This applies to books as well.  Once you find someone attend a session with them and view their interaction with students.  Do they use praise or damnation?  The best will strive for a 50/50 approach of praise and correction like John Wooden did. Does the teacher focus only on the best students?  Do they have the knowledge, expertise, and technical skill to teach beginners?   Most of the best students work harder and and experience more than talented students.  If a person is a slow learner and preservers their efforts they will reap the most reward because they struggled the most to learn it.  An audio or video tape can show you the correct golf swing, but it has no way of observing your swing and telling you what you need to improve.  Books also suffer the same in that they suffer from lack of feedback.  But a paragraph sometimes has more power to change the individual and the world than any number of pictures.  Good teachers are ones that can involve each student actively in the process of learning.  If a teacher doesn't seem like a good fit, first look inside.  You might be expecting more than the teacher can give.
  2. Practice - You practice in order to learn a new skill, and improve yourself to get ahead, achieve goals, and make money.   But in mastery its not about something you do its about what you are. Practice is just the path upon which you travel. Practicing something that is an integral part of your life.. NOT in order to gain something else.   But for its own sake.  Rewards are not the goal of the path, but are fine if they happen along the way.   Its about going on learning for as long as you live. People who do this goalless practice do it because they love practice and they do it to get better. The better they get the more they enjoy doing the basic moves over and over again.  Do it to enjoy yourself, not to make money, get fame, and stature.  How long does it take to become a master at _____? How long do you expect to live?  Practice is the path to mastery.  It may be a rough and bumpy path, but it will be the most reliable thing in your life.  It might eventually turn you into a winner in your chosen field, if thats what you're looking for.  But thats not really the point. Its just to keep practicing and staying on the path.
  3. Surrender - to your teacher and discipline.  And to your own hard earned proficiency from time to time to reach a higher level. Be prepared to fail at the beginning and make a fool out of yourself.  The essence of boredom is found in search for novelty. Satisfaction lies in mindful repetition and the richness in subtle variations of familiar themes.  If you want to progress at something you may have to be ok going back to the basics, trying something different getting worse for a time to get better.
  4. Intentionality - Mental practice.  Visualizing what you will do beforehand vividly. Bodybuilders and golf pro's do this and say it is the key to their success.  The movement is already engrained into their nervous system. Thoughts, images and emotions have a effect on the world of matter and energy.  Arnold said that it is that vision.. seeing himself as Mr. Universe is what gave him the "want power". Intentionality fuels the masters journey. Every master is a master of vision.
  5. The Edge - Masters work the fundamentals in small incremental steps.  The goal is to test the boundaries and push the envelope between endless, goalless practice and those alluring goals that appear along the way.  So you're choosing a lifelong path, but there are checkpoints along the way. After you have put in the time along the path with instruction, practice, surrender, and intentionality you want to test yourself and push beyond your limits.  But then afterwards its back on the plateau.
  6. Why Resolutions Fail - We all resist change. Your body adapts to the demands you constantly place on it.  And keep it there. You have to decide if you really do want to spend the time and effort it takes to get on and stay on the path of change.  Be aware that resistance internally and externally is natural when you try and change anything.  Use pain as a possible guide for performance.  Play the edge of that discomfort as it will lead to progress.  Find others that have gone through what you are going through for a support system.  If no one else has gone down that path just find others close to you for support. Keep practicing as that will bring you into homeostasis during times of change.  Devote yourself to lifelong learning.  Learn how to learn.
  7. Getting Energy for Mastery - Old adage if you want something done ask a busy person to do it. We need rest and relaxation, but the human body can wear out from lack of use. Often the best remedy is 30 minutes of aerobic exercise. The same way mental and spiritual lassitude is often cured the same way with decisive action or clear intention to act.  Human energy comes into existence through use (motion). To tap into more energy maintain physical fitness.  Acknowledge the negative but accentuate the positive.  Tell the truth. Honor but don't indulge your dark side. Set your priorities... decide what you're going to do with the energy.  Indecision leads to inaction, which leads to low energy, depression, despair. You can't do everything, but you can do one thing, then another one thing.. and so on.  It's better to make the wrong choice than nothing at all.  List everything you want to do today, and then tomorrow. The prioritize them and focus on the most important first.  Do this for long term goals as well.  The simple act of just getting it down on paper will add clarity and energy to your life.  Make commitments and take action.  The journey is goalless and you take it for the journey itself.  But there are goals along the way.  The first being to just get started.  Then there is making a goal a little further out that will give you some clarity.  Plus energy flows from commitment.  Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Then, get on the path to mastery and stay on it.  The path will lead you to an energetic life.  Keep the flow going in low and high times.  Take the proper time for action and rest.  Much of the worlds depression is discontent and unused energy and potential. Start now.
  8. Pitfalls Along the Path - The challenge is staying on the path to mastery.  Will you actually be able to balance your job and path? The need for quick results is usually the worst enemy of mastery.  When you're climbing a mountain be aware of the peak, but don't keep looking at it.  Just keep looking at the path in front of you. And when you reach the top keep on climbing.  Don't bounce around to different teachers.  Use competition to hone your hard-won skills to a fine edge. Winning is essential on the path but it isn't the only thing.  Winning and losing with the same poise is the mark of a master.  Laziness can take you off the path, but the path itself is the best remedy for this.  The best way achieve a goal is to be fully present.  Hear its messages and ride the edge for progress but don't get injured.  Don't put emphasis on external rewards.. as the reward is the journey not a championship.  Be able to laugh at yourself and not be too serious.  Be consistent and don't worry about perfection.  Its not about being perfect.  Its about the process and journey.  The master stays on the path year after year, trying, failing and trying and failing for as long as they live.
  9. Mastering the Commonplace - Zen masters will tell you that periods of sitting and meditating/chanting are the same as building a stone wall or washing dishes.  We can make the commonplace part of the extraordinary. you can do any task as a meditation by being fully present. Maintaining full awareness of your every move and your entire body. Aim for grace in your motions and breaths.  Don't hurry and think about finishing the job.  Just on the task you're doing.  You will feel better and most likely finish faster. Focus on the process rather than the product.  Practice doing regular tasks without losing composure.  Stay balanced, centered and focused on the process rather than pressing impatiently for completion.  Just as you have to work at a sport to achieve mastery the same goes for other areas of your life such as relationships.  Most of the learning will take place on the plateau.  Use all these same steps to become a master at relationships.  Because nothing in life is separate.  Your thoughts, acts and all paths of mastery all merge together.
  10. Packing for the Journey - Use a checklist of all the steps.  Then focus on balancing your body and centering your energy in your abdomen. Relax and tight muscles and do some breath work. Relax for power.  A tense muscle loses its strength. And such an overbearing attitude will fail.  Its your evolutionary destiny to use what is unused, to learn and keep on learning for as long as you live.  It's not easy but its the ultimate human adventure. The path never ends.  How do you begin then? You need to only take the first step.  When? There is always now.

The Master and the Fool - Let yourself be seen as a fool to learn a new skill and become a learner.  Let yourself be playful and free to make mistakes.

Are you willing to wear your beginners badge with honor?

Fitness Confidential – Vinnie Tortorich – Book Notes

Fitness Confidential - Vinnie Tortorich I have to admit I was not a huge fan of Vinnie after listening to him on Rich Roll's podcast.  But, the guy grew on me.  I listened to his podcast for awhile until I felt it lacked actionable information besides don't eat sugar and grains. I've had his book Fitness Confidential for awhile now and finally decided to read it.

Why?

Well through following a plant based diet I noticed fatigue, bloating, muscle loss, etc.. and decided to look into a white colored and hairy tongue (gross I know).  Long story short it lead me work on healing my gut from leaky gut, Candida yeast, and parasites.

After reading a few books I have subscribed to the GAPS diet. Low and behold that author also recommended a no refined sugar or carb diet.  You can have a little natural sugar from fruits like berries, and natural carbs from vegetables, etc.  I will write another post all about this when I see results or not. So after reading everything about how the gut works.. I am now convinced that plants are cleansers for the body and animal meat provide energy and building blocks.  To be optimal one need both.

Figured I would actually read Vinnie's book Fitness Confidential as he may have been on to something with the diet, and I am also studying for my personal training certificate (Vinnie is a personal trainer in LA).

Book Notes:

Vinnie usually trains people from 4am to 10pm.  He feels like a psychologist as people are in their homes in private and tell him many personal things. He strives to show up on time, be reliable, and pay attention with what mood and personality they are in so he knows how to motivate them. He loves his job and exercises with his clients.

Whether its hiking up a mountain, biking 60 miles, running through town, etc. All without a 9-5 schedule. Strive to give clients a little something extra. If he bikes with them for six hours he only charges them for one.  This comes back to a basic law of success that states.. provide more value than you get paid for. Provide a service that is unmatched by anyone.

A pro trainer has to be a combo of running, weight lifting coach, nutritionist, streching instructor, amateur orthopedist, motivational speaker and life counselor. Success isn't measured by money or material.  It is through the success of clients. Many popular diet programs like Weight Watchers, or Jenny Craig are actually in the food service industry.  They want to keep membership low to get you in the door and buy their food system for the rest of your life.

Doughtnuts = Instant fat pills.

Counting calories or relying on will power will not be a long term solution.  Eventually will power will win and no one has the will power to starve. Weight loss = Don't eat sugar and grains How long will it take me to lose weight?  Why are you going to stop when you get there? With this diet you can lose weight easily and maintain it fairly easy. You will lose weight if you cut calories and they are coming from proteins and fats.  If they are coming from carbs you will lose less.  The body responds differently to different foods. Sugar and grains create an insulin response in the blood and stores glucose in cells as fat. Natural sugar from fruit is better because it gives you the short term burst but it slowed down by fiber. The refined sugar and grains give you the spike, but then you crash and you want to eat MORE!  It creates a cycle that just keeps you eating and storing fat.

Fat is our bodies long term energy source. Fat is used for energy, fruits and vegetables are used for short term energy, and protein is to rebuild our cells. When you stop the insulin cycle you stop becoming a bottomless pit.  You will feel full much quicker. How many fat carnivores are there in the wild? NONE Don'f follow fads, just follow results!  Be quick to study, but slow to change. If clients don't look good the trainer goes broke. You body may feel a little lethargic after starting this way of eating since its transitioning from the sugar roller coaster its been on to the way it was meant to function.

After a day or so you should have more energy than ever.  Your body will start to release fat stores and use them for fuel. Leaving you feeling great and losing weight at the same time. This doesn't mean you can never have a treat again, just don't do it everyday.

Exercise goes hand in hand with healthy eating. If we don't get exercise naturally throughout our day we need to get it another way.Exercise is what changed Vinnie's life. He training with a guy named Joe.  What was interesting is that Joe told him that he is to train there 5 days a week.  If he missed a day don't ever come back. Exercising can start with simply walking and not being a couch potato.

The body will adapt to whatever it does.

GYMS - They are not in the business of making people healthy.  They are basically a collection company.  They want your credit card so that they can keep billing you when you don't come anymore. Shop around and look for discounts and coupons they may be running. Pay for an entire year up front for a discount. Join during October when membership is over.  I would guess its really not beach weather anymore so people stop coming in for awhile.  Once new year hits they are back trying to get in shape for the following beach season. How do you get the most out of a gym membership?  SHOW UP and workout.  Most people quit after a few weeks. For workouts do 40 minutes of cardio and then do 20 minutes of resistance training 3-5 times a week. Sweat does not equal fat loss.

Only by working on your diet will you get fat loss.

So you don't have to exercise to loss weight.  Which is most peoples goal. So why do it?

Because to obtain optimal health and fitness we need to move our bodies and exercise.

There are all kinds of health benefits by doing so.  Most people don't care and we need to appeal to their vanity to get healthy and toned/muscled up. Exercise gives you better looks and health.  Two for one! Putting on lean muscle mass will help you look better.  You don't want to look like a drug addict.  But lean muscle mass isn't cheap and you can't buy it with money.  You have to put in the work.  The more days/work you put in the more you will get back.

For lower body focus on leg press, squats, and lunges.  Goal is to do three sets of ten.  When you can do three sets with the same weight and 12 reps.. up the weight so you can only do 10 again. Upper body - Bench, shoulder press, and lat pull downs. Put some variety in there though.  Once day all cardio, one day two leg exercises.. etc.

Gyms take 50-70% of the money a personal trainer makes.  So why would one be training there?  Because they are not good enough to get clients on their own. Use a cheap daily multi-vitamin and get a all in one electrolight capsule from a running or cycling store.

As if you sweat a lot you will need them. Stay away from supplements and just get your nutrients through food.

Best piece of fitness equipment is the jump rope.

Its easy to say you're going to do something but hard to actually do it when it's not a matter of life or death, so we look for excuses not to. Excuses are given daily, but if its a physical problem its game over.  Health is the number one priority.

Help people lead by example by looking and feeling great. Fitness is more of a mental game than a physical one.

There is no reason a workout shouldn't be fun.  In fact a good trainer should make sure it is.  When the brain is having a good time the body won't focus on the pain of the workout as much.

We do things that are worthwhile, not because they are easy, but because they are hard. Riding is Vinnies passion.  And he has always looked for someone to share that passion with him than try to change it. The other person needs to understand this passion. Taking money out of a sport like Ultra keeps it pure.  Its just about you and the sport.

Just like the economy is losing the middle class we are losing the middle class of fitness.  There is more ultra athletes or obese people and less in the middle.  Vinnie says to do so we need to stay away from sugar and grains, exercise and cut the crap (do things that are hard).

Linchpin – Seth Godin

"The only way to get what you're worth is to stand out, to exert emotional labor, to be seen as indispensable, and to produce interactions that organizations and people deeply care about."

This book is different. It's about a choice and it's about your life. it challenges you to rethink how you do your job.

Stop settling for what's good enough and start creating art that matters.  Stop asking what's in it for you and start giving gifts that change people. Then, and only then, will you have achieved your potential.

You have brilliance in you, your contribution is valuable, and the art you create is precious. Only you can do it, and you must. I'm hoping you'll stand up and choose to make a difference."

I thought Linchpin was just for someone in a cubicle looking to find ways to get up the corporate ladder faster.

Man was I wrong.

The lessons and information can be applied universally across many work situations and life itself.

To me.. another Seth Godin slam dunk.

Linchpin Notes/Nuggets of Wisdom:

  • The world has changed and companies are headed in a direction of hiring you to a faceless cog in their machine (business) for as cheap as possible.
  • School prepared you for this scam.
  • Most people are afraid to chart their own path and want to be told what to do out of fear. Fear of standing out, or up for something.  This economy is punishing the fearful and rewarding the bold artists. You need to ship your art even if it isn't perfect or finished completely.
  • Organizations are trying to high a high percentage of easily replaceable laborers. Workers that are competent, obedient, and as cheap as possible.The danger in this is that one cog that doesn't care about the company can destroy a companies brand.  Think Youtube videos of the kids making Domino's pizza.
  • Making jobs (even white collar ones) obsolete by replacing them with machines and outsourcing their jobs to cheaper labor in other countries like China and India.
  • If all things (businesses are equal) the customer will pick the cheapest one. They have less time to make a choice than any other time in history.
  • Unions tried to fight back against becoming a commodity by collective action, but every union worker is the same as one another and it's no different.
  • It' unprofitable to establish a career around just doing what the manual says.
  • There is a choice not to become a cog, you can choose to chart your own path. You're a unique human being with something to say/do.
  • Don't let the lizard brain keep you average and safe. Just putting your head down, doing your work, and hoping to get picked.
  • Be fearless, but not reckless.  Feel the fear, acknowledge is and do it anyway.
  • You can actually enjoy what you do.  And in the process make a difference to your co-workers, customers, and release the genius in you.
  • "A genius is someone who looks at something that others are stuck on and gets the world unstuck."
  • Companies can succeed by giving workers a platform to be a linchpin, faster service, more human and remarkable. Instead of cheaper, standard, good, ordinary.
  • Becoming a linchpin is connecting, innovation, creating order out of chaos, connecting people and ideas, embracing a lack of structure to find new working paths, being generous, doing more than required, caring, original, creative, passionate, rare, solving problems that other people haven't predicted, in a league of their own, and making a difference in other peoples lives.
  • This is a skill that with daily practice of gift giving, making art, and human connections in a linchpin type manner you will become more and more indispensable.
  • Be an artist.  Give gifts.
  • Chart your own path and do not try to copy someone else's.  That is not art.
  • Having a face to face connection to others is the best form of human connection.
  • You no longer need the factory.  The means of production today can be had with a laptop and a internet connection.
  • Linchpins world view says that exceptional insights, generosity, and productivity make markets bigger and more efficient.
  • Being an expert in your field allows you to know the status quo better and gives you insight to reinvent what everyone else assumes is true.
  • Emotional labor is the hard work you do to create art. It involves having vision and doing something about what you see. Making choices.
  • Emotional labor is rarely held as a competitive advantage. But it is available to all of us.
  • Your job can be a platform for expression, generosity, and art. Every interaction with a customer, or coworker is an opportunity to practice this art.
  • Challenge structure, expectation, and the status quo.
  • Troubleshooting is an art. A gift from the person with the trouble and the person solving it when everyone else has given up.  Putting himself on the line, and giving energy to the cause at hand.
  • " If it wasn't a mystery, it would be easy. If it was easy it wouldn't be worth much.
  • Good isn't good because its not remarkable and perfect isn't good because you can't get better than perfect. You want nonlinear, remarkable, game changing, artistic.
  • Optimism is the change agent artists need, because is allows them to believe they can make things better.
  • Transferring your passion to you job is a lot easier than finding a job that happens to match your passion.
  • Being good with people is a form of art.
  • All you have to sell is relationships. You can never always be the lowest priced. But you can change someone, connect with them, or make a difference in their life. (How to Win Friends and Influence People, would be a good read to learn more about this)
  • Creativity - Personal, original, unexpected, and useful.
  • Unique Creativity - Focused and insightful with domain knowledge, position of trust, and generosity to contribute. Most important is delivering unique creativity and shipping.
  • If you are not the best in the world at your unique talent its not real.  You need to develop other attributes, or get a lot better at it.
  • Your job is to make something happen by making your own map since you know your subject so deeply, and leading.
  • The act of deciding is the act of succeeding.

The Hierarchy of Value

  1. Lift
  2. Hunt
  3. Grow
  4. Produce
  5. Sell
  6. Connect
  7. Create/Invent

Tons of people can do the low level work, but rare is the person creating and inventing.

Example of value creation.

Think of France and the hand made Louis Vuitton bags, the Hermes handmade saddles, wine makers, etc.  They embraced custom and hand made.  "Made in France? came to mean something that "Made in China" doesn't.  Mechanizing and cheapening the process would make it easy to copy.

They relied on humanity which made it hard work which was scarce. Scarcity creates value.

Worth noting is the Purple Cow argument.  In the past companies made average products, and interrupted us in hopes we would buy.  But, we have stopped buying.  The only way to grow now is to stand out by creating something that people are happy to talk about to others.  Treating people with respect and letting word of mouth grow your business.

People don't talk about things that are the same as everything else.  They talk about things that are different. An organization that is built around creating interactions that people deeply care about.

Consumers will say they just want the cheapest price for a commodity.  Although if they had the choice Seth thinks they would choose art.  Seeking out products and experiences that deliver more value, connection, experience, and change people for the better. Which is a learned skill set that you can learn how to do.

In a world that loves to race to the bottom the only way to win the race is to race to the top and stop playing by their rules.  You can't out Amazon, Amazon.

Going to the top requires an organization to become more human, remarkable, faster, and has a personal connection with its customers. You then hire and develop linchpin workers by giving them freedom, responsibility, and respect using their own best judgement you have an indispensable company that people love. Workers will rise to unseen levels and customers will be delighted.

What a School Should Teach

"We teach people to take initiative and become remarkable artists, to question the status quo, and to interact with transparency.  And our graduates understand that consumption is not the answer to social problems."

Schools need to teach people to produce innovative work, deep insights, and art.

Schools teach fear.  Fear to not fit in, fail tests, obey authority, show up everyday, don't ask questions, memorization is important,  fear of not getting into college, etc. It's not necessarily the schools fault.  Thats just how the system is setup.

Often being good at school doesn't mean you will be good at your job.

The opportunity is changing the game.  Changing the interaction all the way down to chaining the question.

Schools need to be teaching people to:

  1. Lead ( be socially smart, open to connection, understand how to build a tribe)
  2. Solve interesting problems ( not to memorize dates, but questions like "what should I do next?"

Seek out new interesting problems at the one you are working on is solved.  And take on harder and more interesting problems as you go.

Law of Linchpins and Leverage

Capitalist need workers who will work for less than the value they create. They difference of what they are paid and what the company takes in is the profit.

The law of a linchpin leverage states: The more value you create in your job, the fewer clock minutes of labor you actually spend creating that value. Most of the time you will be doing what ordinary workers do, but you will also create brilliance in tiny bursts.

Its art, insight and bravery of creating something valuable that is rewarded.

There is no security in mediocrity.  Being only slightly better than the next person is insufficient.  It will wear you out.

Being worn out and exhausted makes it tough to do the work at the same time.  The insecurity of your job wears you out of the confidence and energy that you need to do your job.

Does Every Company Need Linchpins?

Some companies and industries really do not need linchpins.  Organizations that are monopolistic, static, safe, cost sensitive, and centralized should hire drones as cheaply as possible.

Cheap drones can be scaled, replaces, and disrespected.

This strategy is fine, but it is unlikely to lead to customer loyalty.

Also if you're looking for a job, why would you want to work for a company like this?

If they are saying "You'e a cog, you're replaceable, there's someone coming in right behind you.  Hey, we don't even have to meet you!" its time for change.  Move on and find a company that will let you become a linchpin. Don't play the game if it is designed for you to lose. Play a different one. Don't wait for the perfect opportunity to become a linchpin, or it is unlikely you will never get it.

If your boss won't raise the bar, you should. The linchpin says "I don't want a job that a non-linchpin could get".

Don't sell yourself so cheaply.  Giving away a day of your life for a few bucks.  When you are selling your time for money you cease to be an artist that you could be.

A days work is your chance to do art, to create a gift, to do something that matters.

Find a new solution to a problem that has caused others to quit. The art, genius, is to reimagine the opportunity and find a new way to lean into the problem.

As your art gets better and more important, demand for it will go up.  You can then be choosier to who you give it to.

When at the end of a day the day's work doesn't equal a days pay, that means that at the end of the day a bond is built. You have given a gift that has been received, and people are drawn closer to you.

There are three situations where an organization will embrace and reward someone with a depth of knowledge:

  1. The knowledge is needed very quickly and bringing in an outside source is risky, or time consuming.
  2. Knowledge is needed on a consistent basis and the cost of bringing someone from the outside in is too high.
  3. Knowledge is used in decision making and internal credibility and organizational knowledge go hand in hand with knowing the right answer.

It's better to build a team that knows what to do.  Rather than waiting around waiting to be told what to do.

The future of an organization depends on motivated human beings selflessly contributing gifts of emotional labor.  The danger is trying to measure and improve this. It needs to happen organically.

Ruthlessly limit the number of people needed to coordinate a project, and have a linchpin run it.

 Resumes

If you are a linchpin you don't need a resume.  It will just give the employer what they need to reject you. They just scan for keywords to fit into the cog profile.

What should you have instead?

  • Great letters of recommendation from people the employer knows or respects
  • A project they can see or touch/experience
  • A insightful and compelling blog

If you don't have anything like this, what makes you remarkable?  You may just be brainwashed into compliance.

Great world class jobs don't get filled by people sending in resumes. Projects are the new resumes.

 The Gift of Emotional Labor

The gift is to the giver, and comes back to him.." - Walt Whitman

When you give something away you benefit more than the recipient does.  It makes you rich beyond measure.  Successful people race everyday to give away their expertise and spread their ideas.

You will benefit from emotional work.  Not just your company, but yourself. There is great reward in making someone smile, connecting to a human, being creative, taking initiative, putting on a show, or being surprising.  You won't necessarily get more money for it though.  You are after the intrinsic reward.

Art = Anything that is passionate, creative, and personal. Its a personal gift that changes the viewer.  The more it changes someone the more effective it is.

Art is original and human through the work of emotional labor. It's a gift and you can't do it for the money.

The most visceral art is face to face, one on one with the artist and viewer.  Its also in the interaction and what you do.

Causing someone to change their mind is an art.  What if you were great at it?

Art challenges the status quo through something new and unique. It is taking a risk and doing something through emotional labor that is difficult.

Making a connection that is not in your job description is a gift. It is being open.

Gifts allow you to make art.  Given with no reciprocity in mind is key.  You can give gifts in anything you do in life and create art.  Even though you need to push down your selfish impulses, the gift is still for you as well as the recipient.

A gift brings tribe members closer together. A gift can make you indispensable. The best kind of gifts are art.

The reason giving a gift makes you feel uncomfortable should make you want to find out why.

Generosity generates income.

The lack of money being made in a transaction brings the two parties together and creates a community or tribe.  A bond is created.  And the giver usually comes out ahead.

When art is created with the sole purpose to be sold it becomes a commodity. Think of people charging for smiles.

Giving a gift is about the joy it brings. Its not about what one gets from the gift. Although in the future you may get something back in the form of a true gift from someone else.  It will make you like giving the gift even more.

The only way to successfully live in this world is to give a genuine gift.

Passion

"Passion is a desire, insistence, and willingness to give a gift. I will not feel complete until I give a gift.". It's an insistence on doing important work.  Even in the face of people not accepting your gift you still need to push forward with relentless to make a difference, solve a problem, and create change that would help people.  Chose to make a difference instead of following a manual.

You may need to give up parts of your art in order for it to spread and make a difference.  While still having enough passion about it to not let go of the parts that truly matter. There is a middle ground that needs to be taken sometimes.

"Wait! Are You Saying That I Have to Stop Following Instructions and Start Being an Artist? Someone Who Dreams Up New Ideas and Makes Them Real? Someone Who Finds New Ways to Interact, New Pathways to Deliver Emotion, New Ways to Connect? Someone Who Acts Like a Human? Me?

Yes"

Art has made its way into so many common items in our lives.  Think about the iPhone and how its design and function transform millions of people.  It is now in all industries and most products.

The reason to choose creating art as a path is because now it is the path to security.

For example, look at corporate layoffs.  The people who can be outsourced or easily replaced are laid off.  The safest job belongs to the artist.

Passion isn't project specific.  Some get their sense of self from acting passionate.  Your challenge may not be finding a better job or boss, but getting in touch with what it means to be passionate.

Making things happen is what passionate people do.

When someone is a linchpin they combine art and passion.

Art is what you do when no one can tell you exactly how to do it. You take personal responsibility, challenge the status quo, and change people.

Can Your Work Become Your Art?

What needs to change to allow you to create art during the time you spend at work? Creating connections, giving gifts, inventing, and finding joy? In every job there is a way to create art.

The job is not the work.  What you do with your soul and heart is the work.

Can you expand the same amount of emotional energy on the job as you do off it?

Marketing

In the past marketing was thought of as a scalable, predictable, measured way of reaching an audience.  Urging people to buy with discounts and coupons through as big of distribution as possible (read to interrupt as many people as the company could afford).  But, it is really the job of an artist.

Marketing is changing people through your work.  Seeing things as they are, and then creating pictures, stories, and interactions that change the marketplace.

Successful marketing isn't learned by following what is laid out in a book. You won't get great growth by following a spreadsheet that everyone else is using as well.

If it is easy to quantify, it's worth less.

Case study - Jones Soda. The owner doesn't care what any other companies do. He just does what he needs to do and does it in a unique way.  Putting customers pictures on the bottles, weird flavors, sayings, etc.  Jones peaked in value at 300 million.

This sort of an artist work can be done with virtually any product.  Even Tofu.

To dive more deeply into branding and marketing, Seth's book called All Marketers Are Liars / Tell Stories is a great read. [Add link here once I complete notes on that book.]

You're not born to do a certain kind of art. You can do all kinds of art.  Writing a blog, the way you interact with a person, a different way to use technology.. its all art.

Focus on an audience that you choose, and listen to them, and exclude others.  Make this sort of customer happy.  Forgetting about the people who don't like what you are doing.

Just do something awesome. Its easy to get caught up in the crowd that wants to keep you like everyone else.

Think - What do I want? What do I want to see in the world?  And then create that.

The moment when someone wants someone to pay them to do something, or a boss to tell them what to do they are no longer creating art.  They are a person taking orders. Their job is to please their boss.  They lose the goal of changing their customer. When someone is in control of your outputs and movements you are a cog and apart of their system.  You're not an artist.

Customers don't care how hard you worked on something.  They care about themselves and if a product, service, or interaction changed them for the better.

This is why emotional labor is so much more valuable than physical labor. The emotional labor is what changes someone. People care about that.

Art is not created outside of a box with no rules. Because then you have nothing to react against. You can't ship if you are too far outside of the box. You need to think along the edges of a box. Thats where things get done, an audience is, and the means for production is that can make an impact.

"the greets shortage in out society is an instinct to produce. To create solutions and hustle them out the door. To touch the humanity inside and connect to the humans in the marketplace."

 Resistance and the Lizard Brain

The lizard brain only wants you to be safe and eat.  Fit in to the tribe for survival. It's the reason your scared and not doing art right now. Why you're not shipping.

Its the source of resistance. It wants you to shut up, sit down, and do your day job.

Your genius is where great insights, ideas, love, connection, and kindness come from.  Resistance keeps this part of us squandered.  It lives in the lizard brain.

You need to allow your genius from within to flourish.

Anguish will be in you if there is conflict between your ideas and the outside world.  The gap between the lizard brain wanting to be safe, and your genius wanting to speak out to the world.

Every time you take orders, and not create the manual yourself you are surrendering to resistance.

Resistance is really good at rationalization to keep you from doing things.  It is a constant daily battle.  Creating conflict on what needs to be done and what feels good. This is why people who know smoking is killing them continue to smoke.  The lizard brain is winning and they have no training to beat it.

The trick is to create an environment where the lizard brain sleeps.  Create new patterns and habits that controls the lizard brain.

This is likely why most people procrastinate.  They need the adrenaline, and sense of urgency of the deadline to push them to deal with the fear.  They can't deal with the fear of completion until the fear of failure is greater.

Public speaking is the number one thing the lizard brain is scared of.  It will get you noticed and have massive eye contact. You could get criticized.

You can't really reason with the lizard brain.  It is very difficult to change.  The best option is to invest in systems that help weaken resistance.

The voice in your head is often the lizard brain trying to teach your genius a lesson. It will often tell you that you are not good enough.  It's afraid of being more productive so that you will actually have to ship. When you hear this in your head you have to not listen to it.  Stop doing the tasks to waste time and avoiding shipping.

Resistances main worry is that you might fail. In reality you will fail.  Probably a lot of times.  You need to embrace it as a learning experience.

You become a winner because you become good at losing.  You learn what doesn't work each time and it brings you closer to what does work.

Don't give up.

The people who seek out discomfort are the ones that make a difference.  Discomfort means something is changing and others are unlikely to do it.  Because they are busy hiding due to giving in to their lizard brain.

When you have a great backup plan.. you end up settling for the backup. When you say "I will try" instead of "I will" you let the lizard brain in and most likely he is going to win. The backup is a sabotage waiting to happen. You start to ask why you should take the risk when there is a comfortable backup plan.

People who succeed normally have nothing to lose, and no backup plan.

If you're not willing to have bad ideas, you will never have good ones.  Every creative person will have a ton of bad ideas to every good one.  Keep creating bad ideas, and eventually some good ones will pop up.

You need to accept that you are a genius.  And recognize that voice in your head trying to squash it.  You are as capable as the next guy of inventing, great insights, and making a connection that makes a difference.

When you allow resistance to win and follow the rules your value goes down.  Because others are simply following the rules as well and you are easily replaceable.

"Well-paying employment requires that workers possess unique skills, abilities, and knowledge.  It also requires that the labor must be non-commoditized.  Most journalists share the same skill sets and the same approaches to stories, seek out the same sources, ask similar questions, and produce relatively similar stories.. The result is extraordinary sameness and minimal differentiation. "

Doing more of the same things you were doing is not the answer.  You need to throw out the rule book and do things differently.  To do so requires facing resistance.

Temptation to kill the new things is because the new things might work.

Living without a map is scary.  The fear makes us follow someone else's map, because if it was wrong it wasn't our map.

Effort and planning are two tools to beat resistance before it beats you.

There are many books and classes that can help you reach your goals.  Although the failure rate of people that use them is very high.  Why? Resistance is stronger.

When resistance tells you not to do something, listen, read, attend, etc.  GO! Just do it.  Any route you take that doesn't lead to success is the result of resistance.

Say what the lizard brain is doing out loud and it may help quiet it.

Whatever way the resistance is coming from is the way to go.  Head straight into it.  The closer you get to a break through the tougher resistance will fight you.  Do what your lizard brain is afraid of.  The thing you need to do is what the resistance wants to stop you from.

The goal is to quit the tasks you are doing because you are hiding.  Due to the lizard brain. Quit and push through what the lizard brain fears.

If art that you are going to create isn't worth the effort you need to dream bigger.

People with great ideas are no good if you give in to resistance and don't continue to fight it.  If you embrace the challenge you will have results and make a difference.

Refuse to do any sort of busywork like check email, and twitter. Don't distract yourself with anything but your work.

It's that race to completion after an idea is born that makes all the difference.

Get used to the feeling of resistance and don't let it control you.  Don't try and immediately get rid of it by eating that food, etc.  Just let it sit there and reality will show you that it wasn't needed.  And you will stop worrying about things that cause anxiety.

Don't scratch the itch. Don't run from it or bargain with it.  Stay put. If the challenge is important enough you must overcome resistance.  Don't keep going back for forth fleeing.  You must stay and sit with it. When the lizard knows you won't back down it will back down.  You will then get control back.

Unchecked anxiety is the biggest barrier to your goals and yourself.

To launch a project successfully you want to sketch out the entire thing ahead of time.  Do all your changing ahead of time with a written deadline.  Then, you get the approvals you need and feedback. Start working and finish it.

Setup a system where you are playing the game you want to play.

Example - Grateful Dead didn't want a gold record, their music on the radio, etc.  Their system was resistance proof because it allowed them to avoid having a judge and jury for their work.  They only played with people they liked, and enjoyed.  This didn't alert the lizard brain.  This art can then be leveraged into more art.

Build a habit of writing things down, prioritizing the ideas, building them, and shipping it. Start now, today, and ship.

 Map Making

We must forge our own path and make our own map in this economy.

The first step is seeing the world as it is.  Keeping in mind our own world view and approaching reality with as little bias as possible.  You need to accept that people are difficult to change, and embrace their uniqueness that they bring to the table.  If you can do that you will go through the world with more bliss and effectiveness. While making better decisions.

It's good to know that there are certain things that you are just not going to change. It maybe can't be changed and may hurt your own goals in the process.

Accept the world as it is, and don't be attached to any outcome, or how you want it to be.

Scarcity creates value. It is scarce to accept things the way they are, and then take action and work to change it for the better.

Successful people can take the past and future and put them together into something manageable.

The truth is that there can be no map.  If there was it wouldn't be art.

Making the Choice

Sometime you don't need to find a new job to get a new one.  Just stand up and start looking for more opportunities to lead, put yourself on the line, push through the dip and make things happen.

You have a choice to fit in, or stand out. You can't do both.

If you give your boss the gift of art, initiative, insight, or connection they will be less likely to shop around and replace the commodity (you).

If your organization can't live without a map, and you can't change it, should you leave?

Find a boss that can't live without a linchpin.  Who values your contribution, and will reward you with freedom and respect. Do the work and make a difference.

Every day is a new chance to choose.

You can choose to respect everyone, have dignity, and give the gift of art. Open yourself up to feedback on your art to help it spread. Focus on the constructive criticism.

If it doesn't work and you are not changing anyone keep giving gifts.  Make more art and keep learning from it.  The only other option is becoming a cog again.

If you work for a company that insists that you be mediocre and conform, why stay there?  What are you building? It won't be any challenge, or joy there.  Your skills are not increasing.  Your market value will actually be decreasing.

If you try to monetize your art and that thing you love to do most likely you will corrupt it.  Its important to do your art with no regard to money.

Doing what you love is important as ever.  If making a living at it needed.  The niche you choose should already have money flowing around and if you are successful will have money flowing to you. Loving what you do is almost equal to doing what you love.

The goal is to find a job, career, or business you can fall in love with.

If you choose wisely you can end up loving what you do to make money. If needed take a day job that allows you to do your art for free.  If you find your art is not paying the bills.  Just keep doing it, and you may find money starting to come in after that shift.

"What you're doing might not be working, and you might not be able to do what you're doing and get paid for it.  But I am certain that if you give enough, to the right people in the right way, your gifts will be treasured and your journey will be rewarded. Even if that's not why you're doing it."

You can choose to change everything if you want to. You're a genius and the world needs your contribution. Anyone that can overcome the voice in their head and has the insight to make the right map can become a successful linchpin.

Art will feed us, enrich, and gives us the security that we have lost.

Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway – Susan Jeffers, Ph.D. Notes

If you like the notes on Susan's Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway book I would recommend getting yourself a copy.  Here is the Amazon link

We all have fears.  As they say the two things that rule the world are fear and greed.  This is a great book that deals with fear.

Maybe fear of:

  • speaking
  • being assertive
  • making decisions
  • intimacy
  • changing jobs
  • being alone
  • aging
  • driving
  • losing a loved one
  • ending a relationship
  • staying stuck
  • change
  • success
  • failure
  • living
  • I would add ill health to this list

The problem isn't only in your mind.  You can change.  And you can do that by educating yourself and knowing that fear is simply a fact of life, and not a barrier.

Letting go of fear can allow you to see your life as someone who has a purpose, and experience love.  Rich roll has a great post on the art of living on purpose.

Rich Roll - The art of living on purpose

Here are some of my favorite passages from that post.

“What makes your heart beat hardest?”

Answer this question for yourself.  Then move in that direction with every fiber of your being.  Because in truth, nothing else matters.

Open your eyes and heart to the world.

I never set out to become anything in particular, only to live creatively, and push the scope of my experience. For adventure. And through passion.

Heavy waves, waves with weight. They coax from comfortable routine. Ignite the imagination. Convey some divine spark.  Whisper possibilities.

If I only scrape a livin’, at least it’s a livin’ worth scrapin’. If there’s no future in it, at least its a present worth rememberin’. For fires of happiness. And waves of gratitude. For everything that brought us to that point on Earth at that moment in time. To do something worth rememberin’.

Transcendence.

This is the passion and purpose I seek. 

This is the passion and purpose we should all seek.

I am inspired.

But inspiration is easy.  Implementation and action-based change isn’t.  In fact, it’s the hardest thing imaginable. Fear, logic, ego, friends and family dissuade. Every aspect of the thinking mind in revolt. Because pursuing freedom premised on faith and passion isn’t about thinking — it’s what thinking was designed to prevent. It’s not logical in any way shape or form. It threatens every dark corner of selfhood and status quo.  A terrifying reveal of “identity” as pure fiction — mere stories we tell ourselves about who we are and why we do what we do to comfort us against the paralyzing unknowable — that forces us and others to confront the truth about choices made.  

A truly objective look in the mirror usually isn’t pleasant.  Armed in denial, we go to great lengths to avoid this act.  I know I do.  It takes gigantic balls to quiet external noise. Even bigger balls to quell the internal rebellion — the voice of the mind that destroys imagination, levels wonder and clutches to fear and illusion with an impossible death grip.

Faith stands in denial of reason. In order to pursue a life of passion, the mind must be destroyed.  Comfort in unknowingness.  An embrace of the void.

And fear is not your friend.  Not now, not ever.

 To be clear. I’m also not promising anyone that a heart-based life will result in financial reward or notoriety.  Only that it will infuse your life with meaning and purpose.  Happiness — not in a blissed out unicorns and rainbows sense — but rather a deep satisfaction that your life has value.

And so the question I pose is this: What are you doing with your life?  And more importantly why are you doing it?

A wise man that Rich Roll!

So lets continue to dive deeper into fear using this book.

Whenever we take a chance and enter unfamiliar territory or put ourselves into the world in a new way, we experience fear.  This is the fear that keeps us from moving ahead in life. The trick is to feel the fear and do it anyway.  Do not choose the path that is the most comfortable.  Don't accept excuses for "staying stuck", and take control of your life. This can be done simply by shifting your thinking.

If you're not where you want to be in life something needs to be changed.  And you haven't been able to take the steps until now.  Whatever the circumstances of your life.  You are ready to start taking charge of your life.

It won't be easy, and it takes courage but you will learn:

  • there is no wrong decision
  • let go of negative programming
  • say yes to all circumstances of your life
  • raise your self esteem
  • be more assertive
  • create more love, trust, and satisfaction
  • how to deal with outside resistance
  • make your dreams come true
  • see yourself as having purpose and meaning

There is something inside you that wants to let  all this stuff within you out.  Now is the perfect time to open the door and let love and power in.

Three Levels of Fear

 Level 1 

Those that happen:

  • Aging
  • retirement
  • alone
  • natural disasters
  • loss of money
  • change
  • dying
  • war
  • illness
  • losing a loved one
  • accidents

Those that require action

  • going back to school
  • making decisions
  • changing a career
  • making friends
  • ending or starting a relationship
  • using a telephone (a strange one that I can relate to.. well I can relate to pretty much all of these)
  • being assertive
  • losing weight
  • being interviewed
  • driving
  • public speaking
  • making a mistake
  • intimacy

Level 2 - these are not situational and deal with ego and your inner state of mind. Your sense of self and your ability to handle this world.These fears can greatly impact many areas of your life and could cause you to close out the world around you.

  • rejection
  • success
  • failure
  • being vulnerable
  • being conned
  • helplessness
  • disapproval
  • loss of image

Level 3 - The biggest fear of all that really keeps you stuck.

  • I CAN'T HANDLE IT

At the bottom of every one of your fears is simply the fear that you can't handle whatever life may bring to you. So in level 1 and 2 fears you are basically saying that you can't handle that fear.

If you knew that you could handle anything that came your way, what would you possibly have to fear?  ......... Nothing! 

You cannot control anything outside yourself.  But, what you can control is trusting yourself to deal with whatever comes your way. Whenever you are afraid you are not feeling good about yourself and you need to build yourself back up and trust that you will be able to handle anything.

Fear comes through nature and helps keep us safe from getting eaten by a lion, but it also conditioned in us.  A parent may say "be careful" which says "the world is really dangerous out there" and "you won't be able to handle it."

You see.. that parent is only passing on her lack of trust in her ability to handle what comes her own way.  And if anything happens to you, they will fall apart.

Don't get to stuck on analyzing your mind and where these negative patterns come from. It is almost impossible to figure out, and even if you do know the knowing doesn't change anything.

Simply start from where you are and take the necessary action to change it.

So now you know that lack of trust of yourself is stopping you from getting what you want out of life. Knowing this creates a laser like focus on what needs to be changed.  Don't scatter your energy wondering why.  It doesn't matter.  What matters is that you develop trust in yourself, until you can reach a point and say;

Whatever happens to me, given any situation, I can handle it!

As you begging to take action on small steps you will begin to see some self confidence bloom.  It most likely won't be comfortable and you may fall a few times your confidence in yourself will grow.

The fear will never go away as long as you continue to grow. 

If you keep pushing yourself out into the world, stretch your capabilities, continue to take risks to make your dreams come true, you are going to experience fear.

the fear will never go away.

So if you're waiting for them to go away before taking action on something you will never do it. Consider it a relief that you no longer have to work so hard to get rid of it.  It is not going away so there isn't any need to worry about it. Just keep building your confidence in yourself.

The only way to get rid of the fear of doing something is to go out and do it.

This works by the action.  Continually doing something you fear will eventually beat that fear into submission until you no longer fear it.  Again thats not to say you will never have fears.. as when you again transition into a different change you will feel it again. Which is why if you continue to grow you will always have fear.

The only way you will feel better about yourself is to go out and do it. You will feel a sense of accomplishment in pushing through fear and doing things on your own.

Again, to quote Rich Roll;

"Somehow I found the means to cast aside the endless chatter of the thinking mind. To be fair, fear retained a foothold of precious real estate in my consciousness. But I found the wherewithal to nonetheless move forward in the face of it.  And ignore the often unbearable social pressures relentlessly driving to derail me.  I focused on the heart.  I relied on faith.  I got comfortable with the uncomfortable.  I embraced the mystery of not knowing what the next day might bring.  And at every turn, I focused on how I could be of service to others.  Because there is gigantic, undeniable truth in the edict that when you give, you get back tenfold.

As a result, I have somehow persevered. Broken through into a new life.  An impossible astounding life beyond what I previously thought possible."

Not only are you going to experience fear whenever I'm on unfamiliar territory, but so is everyone else.

 

You need to keep telling yourself these things over and over to change you sub conscious mind.

Pushing through fear is less frightening than living with the underlying fear that comes from a feeling of helplessness.

The more helpless we fell the more dread there is that comes with knowing there is situations in life over which we have no control.  Such as death, loss of a job, etc.  What if's stay engrained in our minds.  It is far better to take the risk and feel the fear by taking the steps necessary to make them less helpless.

Different ways to hold fear

Pain = helplessness > depression > paralysis

Power = choice > excitement > action

Power means to have power in yourself, your perceptions, how you react to situations, will power, create joy, and act with love. It is a healthy self love.

The key is not to have the power to get other people to do what you want. It is the power to get yourself to do what you need to do.

Becoming powerful you can become your authentic self and loving to those around you.  Love and power go together. Once you have power you can really open your heart.

What can help is the repeat these three phrases

  1. I am powerful and I am loved
  2. I am powerful and I am loving
  3. I am powerful and I love it!

There will always be new experiences that challenge your sense of personal power.  Always ask yourself if the decisions you are making are bringing you closer to pain, or power.

Using certain words can help.

Pain words:

  • I cant
  • I should
  • Its not my fault
  • Its a problem
  • Im never satisfied
  • Life's a struggle
  • I hope
  • If only
  • What will I do?
  • It's terrible

Power words

  • I won't
  • I could
  • I'm totally responsible
  • Its an opportunity
  • I want to learn and grow
  • Life's an adventure
  • I know
  • Next time
  • I know I can handle it
  • It's a learning experience

The goal is to use the right frame of mind, and vocabulary to make one small risk a day.  Venturing into a unknown comfort zone which leads to feeling good afterwards.

Expand your comfort zone 

Original comfort zone >risk 1 > risk 2 > risk 3> risk 4 > New comfort zone.....then repeat. The more you expand your comfort zone the more powerful you become.

These risks are only for empowering risks that are made with integrity and love.  For one's self or others.  Which is crucial to having a sense of self worth. These are the risks that build your self worth. And enhance your ability to deal with your fears. EXPAND, EXPAND, EXPAND!

All the power needed to do this is already inside you waiting to be used.

Taking responsibility for your life experiences means never blaming anyone else for anything you are being, doing, having, or feeling.  You control everything that goes on inside your head. And if you don't understand that you will never be in control of your life.

When you blame any outside force for any experience in life, you are giving away all your power and thus creating pain, paralysis, and depression.

Also never blame yourself.  Nothing is your fault.  You're simply on the path toward greater fulfillment, and it is a lengthy process of trial and error.

When we blame others we don't have to take responsibility and create our own happiness.   When you realize you are mad about something.. simply ask yourself " what am I not doing in my life that I could be doing that I am blaming someone else for not doing for me?". It's amazing how perfect life becomes when you stop expecting others to handle life for you.

You are the only person that can make you happy in a relationship.

This is not to say some basic needs are not needed to be met such as:

  • your need to be supported in your growth
  • the need to be nurtured at times
  • to know there is caring for you

When you are not handling your own life, no amount of caring and nurturing is enough.  You become a bottomless pit.

Sometimes a persons needs won't be met.  And it is important to know that they are doing the best they can at that point in their life.  And you chose to get into the relationship and you can chose to get out of it to find a more compatible person.  As long as you know that you're taking responsibility for your own life experience.

A great clue that you are moving along the right way is when you feel no angry towards the person.

Signs to look for in any area of your life that you are not taking responsibly:

  • anger
  • upset
  • blaming others
  • pain
  • vengeance
  • lack of focus
  • self-pity
  • envy
  • helplessness
  • constant state of limbo
  • impatience
  • joylessness
  • fatigue
  • intimidation
  • attempt to control others
  • obsessiveness
  • additions
  • judgmental
  • disappointment
  • jealousy

If you feel any of these look at your life and what you are not doing in your life that is causing the sign to appear.

Turning off the chatter box of your mind is the key.  The chatter box is what causes doubts and makes you a victim.  Commit to replace it with a  loving voice.  Once you get rid of your negative chatter box you will really begin to enjoy being alone.

Notice the payoffs for remaining a victim.

If someone is not satisfied with their job it is because they have become comfortable. Don't have to face rejection in the search for a new job. Know they can handle their old job, and didn't have to question their skills, or put in any additional energy.  The job is entirely secure.  Those are the payoffs for staying there.

Once aware of these payoffs there is three choices:

  1. Stay there and keep being miserable
  2. Stay there and choose to enjoy the job
  3. Choose a more satisfying job

In the book the person choose number 3, because she realized she was staying due to the payoffs, and not because of her "if onlys"... if only the economy was better.. if I had more money saved.. etc..  she was able to move.

Taking responsibility means figuring out what you want in life and acting on it

Set your goals and then go out and and work toward them.

Figure out what kind of space you want to live in, then create it.

Do this with every area of your life.

 

Don't be afraid to make the wrong decisions.  Because we LEARN through our mistakes.  And if a mistake is made we needed to learn something in order to make the correct choice in the future.

Despite the outcome of a situation both choices are a experience to live life a different way, to learn, grow, and find out who you are and who you would really like to be and what you would like to do in this life.  Its all an adventure no matter which way I turn.

Finding out what you don't like is just as valuable as finding out what you do like.  And with each one you can whittle everything down and know for sure what you do and don't like.

At each fear is the lack of trust in ourselves.  Just look at despite the outcome of a situation it is an opportunity to learn to trust yourself and provide for your own needs. Trust that you will survive no matter what happens and you can handle it.

When you can handle all your "what if's?" with "I can handle it" and you can approach all things with a no-lose guarantee then fear will disappear.

 

Before Making a Decision

  1. Focus immediately on the no lose model. You will learn and growth no matter what.
  2. Do your homework.  Learn as much as you can about the opportunity.  Ask for help from other experienced in this situation.  Talk to those that support your learning and growing.
  3. Establish your priorities.  Really think about what you want out of life.  Which pathway is more in line with your overall goals in life at the present time?
  4. Trust your impulses.  Your spirit may be telling you something even though something is a more logical choice.  But again there is no wrong choice.
  5. Lighten up.  Nothing is that important. Whatever happens as the result of a decision you can handle it and course correct along the way.

After Making a Decision

  1. Throw away the picture.  Unexpected opportunities can create more value than what you thought of originally.  So don't get stuck on an outcome of something you have set out to do.
  2. Accept total responsibility for your decisions.  First find the opportunity in a decision and then accept responsibility for making it.  You will become a lot less angry at the world and yourself.
  3. Don't protect, correct.  Its important to give a decision everything you have.  But, if it doesn't work out change it if its not for you.  Move on to something else.  The trick in life is not to worry about making a wrong decision, its learning to course correct.  The two most obvious clues that you need a course correction is confusion and dissatisfaction.

 

Reminder of the behavioral process. JUST BEGIN! Keep working on it.  Keep reinforcing the new way of thinking until your confidence grows.

 How Whole is Your Whole Life?

Don't put too much into one area of your life.  Such as a relationship.  Because, when that relationship ends you will feel completely empty.  Whereas if your life has many positive aspects to it such as:

  • Contribution - this is where much of your satisfaction and self esteem come from.  This is as simple as just looking around and seeing what needs to be done and doing it.  It could be in your family, friends, community, country, world, etc.
  • Hobbies
  • Leisure
  • Family
  • Alone Time
  • Personal Growth
  • Work
  • Relationship
  • Friends

Now with that sort of life if your relationship ends.. it won't be as big of a deal because you still have all the other parts. But you must be 100% committed to each area of your life. Things don't have to last forever, but while you in the present of something... be there 100% and act as if you count. And a feeling of satisfaction and aliveness results.  When the time comes where something comes to an end.  At least you will know you gave it 100%.  There is nothing to regret.

Set daily goals in each area and remember 100% commitment and that you count.

Keep asking yourself - "how whole is my life?".

Say Yes to the Universe

Agree and say yes to whatever the universe hands you.  See how things change as new possibilities of seeing the world and not negative outcomes.  It is a miracle tool for dealing with our deepest darkest fears.

When the universe deals you something unexpected that is tough - say yes!

Don't make the death of a loved one a catastrophe, but instead be grateful that you had that person in your life.  Things always change and don't last forever.  It is enriching to leave one beautiful experience and look forward to other beautiful experiences.

When someone says no to the universe.. the universe doesn't suffer.  Just the person. The pain of no leaves them powerless.

Say yes to the universe including pain.  Accept it.  Saying yes to pain will allow you to know you will get to the other side of it.  And gain something in the end if you look for it.

In the book Man's Search for Meaning is a great example of this.  Viktor was in a concentration camp, but he had decided to say YES to what the universe gave him. He was able to create a positive experience out of what life handed him.  He was able to find personal meaning, growth, and a way of seeing the world that created value from the experience.  It is obvious that he would have chosen to not go through the camp if given him a choice.  But, that is what life gave him.  It was then up to him to create his reaction to the situation.  We can't control the world, but we can control our reactions to it.

Saying yes means getting up and acting on your belief that you can create meaning and purpose in whatever life hands you.

Find value in everything that happens to you, and let it go.  Ask yourself what can you learn from this experience?  How can you better yourself?

The only time you will fear anything is when you are saying no and resist the universe.  Nod your head yes and relax your body.  Think, lets see what good can come out of this situation, and be patient with your new yes attitude.

The Thank You Exercise

Say "thank you" to your spouse or closest family member.  If the thought of this has you hesitating you may be on a hidden barter system.  You do this for me.. and I do that for you.  And you may not know how to truly give without expecting anything in return.

If all your giving is about getting think how fearful you will become.

Giving with the expectation of getting leads to thinking am I getting back enough?  This will lead to trying to control others so you don't feel shortchanged.  Makes you angry, and creates resentment.

Genuine giving is not only altruistic (selflessness is the principle or practice of concern for the welfare of others), it also makes us feel better.

Why is it difficult to give?

First it requires an adult.. which most of us have never grown up.  Second it is a skill most of us have never mastered.

Giving is one of the most important lessons we have to learn in this life.  We grow up as kids with a selfish attitude and its all about me.  As we reach a point were we are somewhat independent we are still really afraid of no one will come help us with food, money, love, praise, and so on if needed.

We can't support another person if their needs conflict with ours.  We become manipulative because our survival is involved.  And then we become fearful. People who are fearful cannot give truly.  There is a sense of scarcity in the world for them.

You become fearful because you are dependent on them.

When we give from a place of love, rather than from a place of expectation, more usually comes back to us that we could ever imagined.

If we are constantly expecting we will spend a great deal of our lives disappointed that the world isn't treated us right.  When the author was in her thirties nothing would ever be enough.  The more she had the more she wanted of love, money, praise, etc.  She had to do the opposite of that to fix it.  Start letting go, and giving things away.

Say thanks to people who have helped you  in your life with nothing in expectation.

With an ex-spouse or someone who has caused you a lot of pain.. go into a state of meditation and then picture them in front of you and then rays of healing white light.  Tell them that you wish them all good things, everything they could possibly want in their lifetime. Thank them for whatever they have given you, and keep doing this until you feel negative emotions leaving.

A movie that helps with this sort of thinking is http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/you-can-heal-your-life/

You must become what you want to attract.  Be the kind of person you would want to surround yourself with.

Giving does not mean in a relationship that we should never have our needs met.  If a relationship isn't working out end it with love and move on to someone that fills those needs.

When you know you count, and when you act like you don't is huge to your sense of self worth. If you feel like you don't simply act as if you do.  Go around and say.. if I really counted, what would I be doing in this situation? How would I be acting? And it will work.

Create a Blessing Book.  Buy a great notebook and fill it with only things that are positive in your life. Keep writing everyday everything positive that happens that day.

You will see so much more than you do already.

I RELEASE MY FEAR OF LACK AND ACCEPT THE ABUNDANCE AND PROSPERITY OF THE UNIVERSE.

The trick in life is not figuring out what you can get. Its what you can give.

George Bernard Shaw

"This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one, the being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish little cod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making me happy.

I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and, as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be throughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live.

I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no brief candle to me.  It is a sort of splendid torch which I've got to hold up for the moment and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations."

 

Summary of tools talked about so far:

  • affirmations
  • saying yes to the universe
  • positive thinking
  • taking responsibility
  • no-lose decisions
  • choosing love and trust
  • learning to truly give

Your higher self is capable of being tuned into the flow of the universe.  It is the container of trust, intuition, creativity, love, inspiration, aspiration, caring, giving, and everything in our hearts we would like to experience.

Many of us search for something outside of us to make our lives complete.  This only means we are off course.  The solution is not in a new car, mate, job, etc.  We are all searching for the divine essence in each of us.

What the higher self is.. is a place of loving, kind, abundant, joyful, and others.  Unless you tap into your higher self you will feel a disconnection and look for solutions outside of you.

When you are operating out of your higher self you will feel centered and abundance.  And in this state of mind your fears will vanish.

Ultra Simple Model of Being

The Higher Self is a source of positive thoughts and energy   OR The chatterbox is a source of negative thoughts and energy

Either of these options leads to :

The conscious mind chooses its source of information and energy and sends this information to the subconscious mind

The sub conscious mind listens to the conscious mind and carries out the interactions given

From this you get the flow of external universal energy and internal body, emotions and intellect.

The goal is to get your mind to listen to your higher self and not the chatterbox.

Learn to trust in yourself and the universe whenever you feel fear.  And know that you can handle it and the universe is on your side.

 If we don't consciously and consistently focus on the spiritual part of ourselves, we will never experience the kind of joy, satisfaction and connectedness we all seeking.

Every day set aside time to work on tapping into your higher self using the tools available.  Preferably in the morning so it sets the tone for the day.

It also helps improve every other area of your life.

Guided visualization can be a great experience.  You can learn to push aside the chatterbox

The Choice Is Yours

When I am tuned into my higher self:

  • i trust
  • i appreciate
  • i love
  • i care
  • i am at peace
  • i am creative
  • i count
  • i attract
  • i make a positive difference
  • i give and recieve
  • i am involved
  • i am filled up
  • i am confident
  • i give and receive
  • i am involved
  • i am filled up
  • i am confident
  • i am content
  • i see big
  • i live now
  •  i am helpful
  • i am joyful
  • i of with what is
  •  i forgive
  • i am relaxed
  • i am alive
  • i love getting older
  • i am powerful
  • i am protected
  • i am on the path
  • i let go
  • i have so much
  • i am connected
  • i am excited

 Don't be impatient on your journey.  It will only be a way of punishing yourself.  Creating stress, dissatisfaction, fear.  Whenever you feel impatient think "whats the rush, its all happening perfectly. Don't worry, when I am ready to move forward I will.  In the meantime I am taking it all in and learning.".

It may not look like things are changing. But, they are.  Trust that it is all happening perfectly. There are only two experiences in life.  Those that stem from our higher self, and those that are meant to teach us something.

If we are coming into something difficult it is just the universe trying to teach us something. Giving you the opportunity to learn.

Life is an on going process of learning. Joy is in the figuring of it out.  You will know you are on the right path by your feelings.  If the path you're on isn't providing you joy, satisfaction, creativity, love, and caring.  Your mind needs to be changed before the external! Then, all that is right will follow.

There is always more to learn and experience is our greatest teacher. With age becomes a beautiful thing.

Learn to bring your loving and powerful higher self to whatever you are doing in life.  As you live this way.. moment by moment, day by day, in perfect time you will find yourself moving closer and closer to home.  When you stay close to home you can go anywhere and do anything without fear.  Homesickness of being disconnected with our higher self disappears as you find the place where we are all connected as loving human beings.  And whatever it takes you to get there.. Feel the fear and do it anyway!

Books to explore:

Psychosynthesis - Assagioli

To teach how high you can fly - Bach

key to yourself - Bloodworth

The Tao of Psychology - Bolen

Anatomy of an Illness - Cousins

Giving in to get your way - Dobson

Actualizations - Emery

The power of affirmations - frankhauser

What we may be - Ferrucci

Chop wood, Carry water, - Fields

16 Golden Rules of Financial Safety by Harry Browne

Looking around for investment advice I can across Harry Browne's permanent portfolio strategy.  It is basically a mix of assets that allow for gains in any economic condition.

Harry died in 2006, but I am really enjoying his work.  He has some books that can be found on Amazon, and he also recorded some podcast episodes before he passed.

I am thinking about giving the strategy a try and see how it goes.

Below is some advice for those just started in investing found at http://www.crawlingroad.com/blog/2008/12/17/the-permanent-portfolio-and-the-16-golden-rules-of-financial-safety/

16 Golden Rules of Financial Safety

Your Career 

Rule #1: Your career provides your wealth.

You most likely will make far more money from your business or profession than from your investments. Only very rarely does someone make a large fortune from investments.

Your investments can make your future more secure and your retirement more prosperous. But they can’t take you from rags to riches. So don’t take risks with complicated schemes in the hope of multiplying your capital quickly. Your investment plan should be aimed, first and foremost, at preserving what you have—preserving it from investment loss, government intervention, or mismanagement.

Your Wealth May Be Non-Replaceable

Rule #2: Don’t assume you can replace your wealth.

The fact that you earned what you have doesn’t mean that you could earn it again if you lost it. Markets and opportunities change, technology changes, laws change. Conditions today may be considerably different from what they were when you built the estate you have now. And as time passes, increasing regulation makes it harder and harder to amass a fortune.

So treat what you have as though you could never earn it again. Don’t take chances with your wealth on the assumption that you could always get it back.

Investing vs. Speculating

Rule #3: Recognize the difference between investing and speculating.

When you invest, you accept the return the markets are paying investors in general. When you speculate, you attempt to beat that return — to do better than other investors are doing — through astute timing, forecasting, or stock selection, and with the implied belief that you’re smarter than most other investors.

There’s nothing wrong with speculating — provided you do it with money you can afford to lose. But the money that’s precious to you shouldn’t be risked on a bet that you can outperform other investors.

Forecasting the Future

Rule #4: No one can predict the future.

Events in the investment markets result from the decisions of millions of different people. Investor advisors have no more ability to predict the future actions of human beings than psychics and fortune-tellers do. And so events never unfold as we were so sure they would.

Yes, there have been forecasts that came true. But the only reason we notice them is because it’s so exceptional for even one to come true. We forget about all the failed predictions because they’re so commonplace.

No one can reliably tell you what stocks will do next year, whether we’ll have more inflation, or how the economy will perform.

Investment Advice

Rule #5: No one can move you in and out of investments consistently with precise and profitable timing.

You’ll hear about many Wall Street wizards, but the investment advisor with the perfect record up to now most likely will lose his touch the moment you start acting on his advice.

Investment advisors can be very valuable. A good advisor can help you understand how to do the things you know you need to do. He can help call your attention to risks you may have overlooked. And he can make you aware of new alternatives.

But no one can guarantee to have you always in the right place at the right time. And worse, attempts to do so can sometimes be fatal to your portfolio.

Trading Systems

Rule #6: No trading system will work as well in the future as it did in the past.

You’ll come across many trading systems or indicators that seem always to have signaled correctly where your money should have been, but somehow the systems never come through when your money is on the line.

Operate on a Cash Basis

Rule #7: Don’t use leverage.

When someone goes completely broke, it’s almost always because he used borrowed money. In many cases, the individual was already quite rich, but he wanted to pyramid his fortune with borrowed money.

Using margin accounts or mortgages (for other than your home) puts you at risk to lose more than your original investment. If you handle all your investments on a cash basis, it’s virtually impossible to lose everything—no matter what might happen in the world—especially if you follow the other rules given here.

Make Your Own Decisions

Rule #8: Don’t let anyone make your decisions.

Many people lost their fortunes because they gave someone (a financial advisor or attorney) the authority to make their decisions and handle their money. The advisor may have taken too many chances, been dishonest, or simply incompetent. But, most of all, no advisor can be expected to treat your money with the same respect you do.

You don’t need a money manager. Investing is complicated and difficult to understand only if you’re trying to beat the market. You can preserve what you have with only a minimum understanding of investing. You can set up a worry-proof portfolio for yourself in one day — and then you need only one day a year to monitor it. Allowing the smartest person in the world to make your decisions for you isn’t nearly as safe as setting up a safe portfolio for yourself.

Above all, never give anyone signature authority over money that’s precious to you. If you should put money into an account for someone else to manage, it must be money you can afford to lose.

Understand What You Do

Rule #9: Don’t ever do anything you don’t understand.

Don’t undertake any investment, speculation, or investment program that you don’t understand. If you do, you may later discover risks you weren’t aware of. Or your losses might turn out to be greater than the amount you invested.

It’s better to leave your money in Treasury bills than to take chances with investments you don’t fully comprehend. It doesn’t matter that your brother-in-law, your best friend, or your favorite investment advisor understands some money-making scheme. It isn’t his money at risk. If you don’t understand it, don’t do it.

Diversification

Rule #10: Don’t depend on any one investment, institution, or person for your safety.

Every investment has its time in the sun — and its moment of shame. Precious metals ruled the roost in the 1970s while stocks and bonds were in disgrace. But then gold and silver became the losers of the 1980s and 1990s, while stocks and bonds multiplied their value. No one investment is good for all times. Even Treasury bills can lose real value during times of inflation.

And you can’t rely on any single institution to protect your wealth for you. Old-line banks have failed and pension funds have folded. The company you think will keep your wealth safe might not be there when you’re ready to withdraw your life savings.

We live in an uncertain world, and surprises are the norm. You shouldn’t risk the chance that a single surprise will wipe out a large part of your holdings.

Balanced Portfolio

Rule #11: Create a bulletproof portfolio for protection.

For the money you need to take care of you for the rest of your life, set up a simple, balanced, diversified portfolio. I call this a “Permanent Portfolio” because once you set it up, you never need to rearrange the investment mix— even if your outlook for the future changes.

The portfolio should assure that your wealth will survive any event — including an event that would be devastating to any individual element within the portfolio. In other words, this portfolio should protect you no matter what the future brings.

It isn’t difficult or complicated to have such a portfolio this safe. You can achieve a great deal of diversification with a surprisingly simple portfolio.

Speculation

Rule #12: Speculate only with money you can afford to lose.

If you want to try to beat the market, set up a second — separate — portfolio with which you can speculate to your heart’s content. But make sure this portfolio contains no more of your wealth than you can afford to lose.

I call this second pool of money a “Variable Portfolio” because its investments will vary as your outlook for the future changes. It might be all or part in stocks or gold or something else — whatever looks good at any time — or just in cash. You can take chances with the Variable Portfolio because you know that, whatever happens, no loss can be devastating. You can lose only the money you’ve already decided isn’t precious to you.

International Diversification

Rule #13: Keep some assets outside the country in which you live.

Don’t allow everything you own to be where your government can touch it. By having something outside the reach of your government, you’ll be less vulnerable — and you’ll feel less vulnerable. You’ll no longer have to worry so much about what the government will do next.

For example, maintaining a foreign bank account is quite simple; it’s little different from having a mail or Internet account with an American bank or broker.

Tax Shelters

Rule #14: Beware of tax-avoidance schemes.

Tax rates are still low enough in the U.S. that you might gain very little from the risk and effort of constructing elaborate tax shelters. And a great deal of money has been lost by people who hoped to beat the tax system. The losses came from investments that provided special tax advantages but didn’t make economic sense, and from tax shelters that were disallowed by the IRS — incurring penalties and interest on top of the liabilities.

There are a number of simple ways available to minimize taxes — through such things as IRAs and 401(k) plans. These plans are effective but non-controversial. They won’t come back to haunt you.

Enjoyment

Rule #15: Enjoy yourself with a budget for pleasure.

Your wealth is of no value if you can’t enjoy it. But it’s easy to spend too much while the money’s flowing in. To enjoy your wealth, establish a budget of money that you can spend yearly without concern. If you stay within that amount, you can feel free to blow the money on cars, trips, anything you want — knowing that you aren’t blowing your future.

When in Doubt . . .

Rule #16: Whenever you’re in doubt about a course of action, it is always better to err on the side of safety.

If you pass up an opportunity to increase your fortune, another one will be along soon enough. But if you lose your life savings just once, you might never get a chance to replace it.

The Rules of Life

The rules of safe investing are little different from the rules of life: recognize that you live in an uncertain world, don’t expect the impossible, and don’t trust strangers. If you apply to your investments the same realistic attitude that produced your present wealth, you needn’t fear that you’ll ever go broke.

 

A Poets Advice – E.E. Cummings

I came across this while reading Critical Path by Buckminster Fuller.  It is by E.E. Cummings.

The poem motivated Buckminster to throw away everything that he had ever been taught to believe. And to only reason and act on the basis of direct personal experience.  Explaining why acting on his own initiative he sought to discover what could be accomplished by a penniless unknown individual operating strictly on behalf of all humanity.  In attempt to produce sustainable favorable physical and metaphysical advancement in the integrity of all human life on our planet.

A Poets Advice - E. E. Cummings

A poet is somebody who feels, and who expresses his feeling through words.

This may sound easy. It isn't.

A lot of people think or believe or know they feel-but that's thinking or believing or knowing; not feeling. And poetry is feeling-not knowing or believing or thinking.

Almost anybody can learn to think or believe or know, but not a single human being can be taught to feel. Why? Because whenever you think or you believe or you know, you're a lot of other people: but the moment you feel, you're nobody-but-yourself.

To be nobody-but-yourself-in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else-means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.

As for expressing nobody-but-yourself in words, that means working just a little harder than anybody who isn't a poet can possibly imagine. Why? Because nothing is quite as easy as using words like somebody else. We all of us do exactly this nearly all of the time-and whenever we do it, we're not poets.

If, at the end of your first ten or fifteen years of fighting and working and feeling, you find you've written one line of one poem, you'll be very lucky indeed.

And so my advice to all young people who wish to become poets is: do something easy, like learning how to blow up the world-unless you're not only willing, but glad, to feel and work and fight till you die.

Does this sound dismal? It isn't.
It's the most wonderful life on earth.
Or so I feel.

War of Art – Steven Pressfield

Been meaning to read this book for quite some time.  I heard about it and bought the wrong book on accident.  Which was Art of War.  Which actually wasn't that bad of a book and very interesting as well.

With a recent podcast done by Joe Rogan and Steven Pressfield I finally got the bug back to buy his book.  Joe has given it away to many of his friends that need to get their crap together.  After reading it, I can see why.

Main nugget of wisdom I gained after reading this book is that embracing the daily grind EVERYDAY and not giving in to resistance is the key to success.   When I see motocross riders hire top level trainers and their results greatly improve.  I have to think after reading this book that the reason is because they are hiring someone to combat resistance with them.  They are not battling it in their own head by themselves.  The trainer makes them do the work wether he wants to or not.  And the rider without the trainer may justify in his head a day off.  This is how they get ahead, along with a structured plan for doing the work.

After reading this book my current philosophy of efficient life would be the daily pursuit of your calling, in a systematized way with structure and being detached from any specific external results.

It also had me looking up some words I did not know on wikipedia.  Which you will see a link to two of those words in case you are not familiar with them as well.  While I enjoy simple reading and not having to do this.. I actually enjoyed having to look up words and making me think.  It made me battle resistance a bit to do some additional work to learn and went along well with the theme of the book.

Book Notes:

Steve has a process he follows every morning he wakes up.  And then he writes until he starts making typos.  Generally thats about four hours or so.  He stops because he has reached his level of diminishing returns.  The more he would continue to try and push onward the less output he would have and the more effort it would take.  Leading him to produce poor content and burn out.

He doesn't care about the quality of the work, or how much he got done.  Just that he got the work done.  That is all that counts. For that day he has overcome resistance.

resistance is the most toxic force on the planet. It prevents us from achieving the life God intended for us.

To beat resistance most people have to face a looming death such as being told they have cancer.  Then they quit their jobs, resumes their dreams of writing (or whatever activity) and devotes her time to a good cause of helping others.  What usually happens is the cancer leaves.  Maybe running from our calling and giving in to resistance caused the disease in the first place?

You will face resistance anytime you embark on something that focuses on long term growth (health, integrity, etc) and rejects immediate gratification.

You will feel it.  And it is trying to push you away and distract you from doing your work.  Saying anything it can to you to get its way.  Don't believe it though.. its lying.

Its not out to get only you. It is a force of nature and doesn't care who you are.  Everyone with a body experiences it.

You will feel the most resistance the more important a action or call is to your souls evolution.  You can use this to guide you.  Follow the resistance.

Fear

Resistance is fear.  If we saw that resistance was preventing us from our work we may feel shame about it.  Shame drives us to act in the face of fear so it masks itself as fear instead of resistance.

Causing your mind to come up with all kinds of rationalizations of why we shouldn't do our work. And why they are so effective is because they are true most of the times.  But that doesn't matter.. your work can still be done in the face of anything. Resistance is like giving birth.  It seems impossible, but people have been pulling it off for fifty million years.

Fear never goes away.  You must face it and resistance each day over and over again.

Our fear feeds resistance.  Master that fear and we overcome resistance.

Fear is good. It tells us what we have to do.  The more scared we are of a calling or work the more sure we can be that we have to do it. If it meant nothing to you there would be no fear/resistance.

The pro takes on projects that will make him stretch and grow.  Exploring uncharted waters.  If you are not afraid of it why waste your time?

We fear the consequences of following our heart, no money, the grind, failing, being selfish, launching into the void, death, being crazy, etc.  They are real fears, but they are not real fear.  The real fear is the fear that we will succeed.

That we can become the person we sense in our hearts we truly are.  We fear this because if it is true we become estranged from all we know.  If we embrace our ideals we must prove worthy of them.  We are afraid of then being alone.  But we are never alone because we are tapped into source.  And you also gain friends that are better in the process.

 

The more resistance there is the more you love something as well.  It is directly proportional to the resistance felt when you finally do it.

Question - What is the difference of some fears over others.. such as I am afraid of jumping out of a plane, and also to dedicate a life to art.  How do you see where each fear originates and what it means.  How do you know what fear is correct to face and which ones are just plain fears due to being a stupid activity?

 

Resistance it at its best game when the end is near and it know we are about to beat it.  So be very cautious at this time.

Procrastination is the most common form of resistance.

We can change our lives!  This very moment we have the opportunity to sit down and do our work.  We all have the power to change our destiny and overcome resistance.

Most people develop  bad habits and addictions.  These things are usually just a distraction from resistance and doing our work.

People often get in trouble because it is easier to sleep with a co-teacher than it is to sit down and write a grand theory of academics.  In fact anything someone does to draw attention to themselves through pain free or artificial means is a manifestation of resistance.

Banish the urge for trouble in your life as it is a form of resistance and instead use it to transform your work.

Marketing departments goal is to get you to consume products like alcohol depression medication, etc.  to drowned out your souls call.  Your conditions may be real, but they also may be a form of resistance.

Instead of consuming a product you need to apply self knowledge, self discipline, delayed gratification, and hard work.  

Unplug yourself from society and realize you will never cure your restlessness by spending your disposable income to the "bottom line of Bullshit, Inc." but only overcome it by actually doing your work.

Humankind, as individuals is called to co-create the world with God.  Which is why God values human life so highly.  In God's view life does evolve, things do progress, everyone has potential value in advancing this cause. The person looking forward hoping to help create a better world.

Socrates - a truly free individual is free only to the extent of his own self mastery.  While those who will not govern themselves are condemned to find masters to govern over them.

If you find yourself putting others down it is usually a form of jealously because that person is living their authentic selves and we are not.  People who are on the right path and living their lives by doing their work usually only speak to offer encouragement to others.  Not putting them down.

Self doubt and asking yourself if you really are something is usually a sign that you are it.  Because if you are scared of it.. it is usually right.  If you are self confident like crazy it is always fake.

Some people are afraid of embarking on a journey due to being alone.  But the trick is to remember that the hours and time flies by when you are chasing your vision.  Also you are never alone.  The muse is always with you.  So don't be afraid of getting away from the tribe and pursuing your journey.

Many people feel you need to heal yourself first before actually doing your work.  This is a form of resistance.  The part of us that we imagine needs healing is not the part we create from.  That part is far stronger and deeper. It can not be touched by anything our parents did, or society.  It is uncorrupted, soundproof, waterproof, bulletproof.  

The only thing that needs healing is our personal lives.  Not the part that has to do with our work.  Self-sovereignty is a great way to heal anyway.

Resistance loves "healing".  The more energy we use on it and bringing up the same old experiences from the past the less energy we have to do our work.

Any support we get from friends and family is not worth anything in the realm where we have to do our work.  When the ship sails all they can do is wave goodbye. The more support you try to gather the weaker you become.

Don't talk about things, don't dilute your power.  The dream is between you and the muse.  Shut up and use it.

Only talk about it if sharing it will help someone else in their endeavors.

Turing Pro

The pro dedicates his life to something.  He commits full time.  resistance hates when we turn pro.

Writing every morning at 9 am is the mark of a pro.  It also evokes a power that can only be done by beating resistance.

You must realize the principle of priority.

  • you must know the difference of what is urgent and what is important
  • you must do what is important first

What is important is the work.  That is the field where you have to leave everything you have.

Pro's have to be able to enjoy being miserable just like the marines.  Take pride because resistance is war and war is hell.

A lot of people are a pro at their job:

  • show up everyday
  • no matter what
  • stay on the job all day
  • committed to the long haul
  • stake are high and real
  • accept money for our time, not their for fun
  • do not over identify with our jobs
  • master the technique/skills of our jobs
  • have a sense of humor about it
  • receive praise or blame about it in the real world

Now consider how most people pursue a passion of theirs.

The pro plays for money, but he does it out of love. He is patient and knows that he is the tortoise and not the hare.  Gives the stars time to align in his career, and avoids burning out.  Any job usually takes twice as long to accomplish.  He accepts it and sees it as reality.  He conserves energy and prepares for the long haul.  The pro doesn't tolerate disorder.  He masters the how and leaves the why and what to the God's.

The pro knows that if he caves to resistance today he will be twice as likely to cave in tommorow. It is like a telemarketer calling.. if you pick up the phone there is no getting off easy.  The pro doesn't pick up the phone and just keeps doing his work.

The pro knows that the field alters everyday and life will throw all kinds of resistance at him each day that he has not seen.  The goal is not victory (which may or may not come by itself if it wants to) but to handle himself and insides as sturdy and steady as possible to avoid self sabotage.

A pro has a style of his own.  Not as a means of drawing attention to himself, but to serve the material.

The pro masters technique because he knows that behind it lurking is genius and inspiration but only comes to those with a full arsenal.

Seek out the most knowledgable teacher and listen with both ears.  One can not figure everything out on their own.

Do not take rejection personally.  Don't let external criticism even if it is true change your internal foe. We have a right only to our labor, not the fruits of our labor.  You can only give it everything you have and the results don't matter.  Your artistic self contains many works and many performances.  Already the next is brewing inside and will be better than the last and each better and better.

Don't let the actions of others define your reality.

A pro knows that they can be only a pro at one thing.  

They bring in other pros and treat them with respect.

BUT the muse may have more than one job for us over a lifetime.  The pro should not hidebound in one incarnation no matter how comfortable or successful.  He continues his journey.

There's no mystery to turning pro.  it is a choice brought about by a act of will.  We make up our mind to see ourselves as pros and then we actually do it.  It is as simple as that.

The muses are nine sisters each responsible of a different art.  It shows that the God's take interest in human affairs and intercede for ill or good in our designs.

Strive to move from living from your ego, to self. The self wishes to create, evolve.  The ego likes things the way they are. Ego is all about material existence.

Ego

  • death is real
  • time and space are real
  • every individual is separate from each other
  • the main impulse of life is self-preservation
  • there is no God

Self

  • death is an illusion and the soul endures and evolves through infinite manifestations
  • time and space are illusions - they don't apply to dreams, visions, transports.
  • all beings are one
  • the supreme emotion is love
  • God is all there is

 

We show up on this earth already having a highly refined and individuated soul.  Or you can think of it as we are not born with unlimited choices.  We can NOT be anything we want to be.  We come into this world with a specific personal destiny.  We have a job to do, a calling to enact, and a self to become.  We are who we are from birth and stuck with it.

Our job is to not shape ourselves into something we are not, but to find out who we already are and embrace and become it.

If you were born to be a painter it is your job to be a painter.

 

What are the qualities of a territory like Arnold is to the gym, or Stevie wonder is to the piano?

  • it provides sustenance - something that keeps someone or something alive. : something that gives support, help, or strength.  They go into the pool cranky and tired, but emerge feeling a hell of a lot better.
  • it sustains us without any external input - it is a closed feedback loop.  Our role is to put in the effort and love.  The territory absorbs this and gives it back in the form of well being
  • can only be claimed alone - you can team up with a partner or friend, but only you need yourself to soak up the territories juice
  • can only be claimed by work - it becomes your turf with hours and years training to claim it
  • it returns exactly what you put in - every amount of energy you put in goes into your account.  It never devalues or crashes.  What you deposit you get back dollar for dollar

Ask yourself what you feel growing inside yourself.  Bring that forth if you can.  For its own sake and not for what it can do for you, or how it can advance your standing.

What brings you back to center? Of Arnold was having a bad bad he would not call up 6 friends.. he would hit the gym.

If I was the last person on earth, would I still do it? This works because there is no one to impress or advance yourself.

 

We have a right to our labor but not the fruits of our labor.  We must do our work for its own sake, not for fortune or attention or applause.  Do the work as a offering to God.  The work comes from heaven anyway, why not give it back?  To labor in this way is a form of meditation and spiritual devotion.  We are servants of the mystery.  And agents of source energy to bring about existence that which is not yet, but which will be, through us.

Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor.  It's a gift to the world and every being in it. Don't cheat us of your contribution.  Give us what you've got.