When there is no “Why?” 9 Lessons in Achievement from a “Crazy” Man

man-on-wire-2

Brilliant. astounding, outstanding and remarkable

There aren’t enough superlatives for MAN ON WIRE!

Things have been a little busy lately – and wanting to get to this “review’ / post since I saw this movie well over a month ago! Man on Wire is incredibly entertaining movie and not just for the never-to-be-repeated, remarkable feat itself (tight-rope, in this case wire-walking from one World Trade Center tower to the other) but, also, for its direction, production, and original footage.

I happened to see this movie (wifee’s recommendation) just before the Academy Awards (no surprise it won for best documentary).  The story features Phillipe Petit and his mission to realize his life’s dream of walking a tight rope between the two world trade towers. The brilliance from a production standpoint is the reenactment is interspersed with some fantastic original footage.  But, what makes the movie truly so powerful and riveting is the UNDERLYING THEME.

We are all walking a tight rope.

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Walt Disney, Me and a Few C’s

walt disney portrait

“Somehow I can’t believe that there are any heights that can’t be scaled by a man who knows the secrets of making dreams come true. This special secret, it seems to me, can be summarized in four Cs. They are curiosity, confidence, courage, and constancy, and the greatest of all is confidence. When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionably.” ~ Walt Disney

Walter Elias Disney. Now there was a man who deserved a “Sir” before his name if ever there was one. A legend. Certainly, an incredible SUCCESS by anyone’s definition. You would be hard pressed to find a man who’s vision and inspiration has positively touched more lives. At this very moment, kids are skipping around and smiling the grandest of smiles because of his vision; to create “the happiest place on earth”, Disneyland.

What seemingly everyone forgets is, much like our first HERO President Lincoln, his road to such heights was extremely difficult. He had a multitude of opportunities to quit. I found it hard to believe Continue reading

CERTAINTY and FAILURE

toaster

“If you want a guarantee, buy a toaster.”

~Clint Eastwood

Seems we all want a guarantee these days.

Similar to the microwave ‘complex’ (post) the majority of people seem to fear failure. They seek certainty. Who can blame them? Unfortunately, the problem with certainty is it simply doesn’t exist- not in this world. Don’t take my word for it. Consider this quote straight out of Wikipedia, “It is widely held that certainty is a failed historical enterprise.” How good is that?

The absence of any certainty creates FEAR.

(Zig Ziglar acronym for FEAR is; False Evidence Appearing Real) which prevents people from trying new ideas, learning new things and often times even pursuing their dreams. Simply put, FEAR can cripple one’s ability to create their ideal future.

Fear is the path to the dark side
Fear leads to anger
Anger leads to hated
Hate leads to suffering

~Yoda

Have you ever considered what the opposite of SUCCESS is. Remember, it’s probably best to have a definition of success and preferably not some trite little slogan like “to have a lot of money and a lot of friends”. I humbly recommend you figure out that definition prior to attempting to understand its opposite. (see earlier post).

So what is failure and what is its definition? (a good question indeed) Typically, students tell me failure equals the opposite of success. But, we all wondered collectively, could that really be the opposite of success?

Consider Thomas Edison and his 10,000 + failures to develop the light bulb. Had he not “failed” so many times he wouldn’t have realized the end result – the incandescent light bulb. No, “failure” you should be VERY HAPPY to note is NOT the opposite of success.

I came upon a great answer many years back in one of my early ‘Success Skills’ classes. A wonderful Hispanic girl, I can’t recall her name, provided an answer so profound I nearly fell down. “Hopelessness” she declared with a sense of pride. I was so blown way. “That is it!” Of course, who could possibly become a success if they are hopeless? Without hope there is no possible way to succeed! And, with hope all things are possible.

I strongly encourage you to always maintain a sense of hope. Hope is both a thought and an emotion only YOU can control! Typically, when one feels hopeless they are forecasting a dismal future. They are leaving the NOW, the present moment and putting their attention and focus (even using their imagination toward an image or an outcome that is totally discouraging). The ‘reality’, of course, is they have the ability to use those same ‘mental tools’ to project from a hopeful perspective and to positively envision a victorious outcome just as they might a discouraging one.

Often times, hopelessness arises from the absence of certainty. Since we now understand certainty to be nothing more than an illusion we can feel liberated rather than discouraged! If there is no certainty – you have nothing to fear. GO FOR IT! Those who are successful are not only the people who have failed multiple times, they are the same brave souls who recognize there are no guarantees! That success is a process and failure is a requirement for success.

When one can accept these truths; that failure is a prerequisite for success and that certainty is an illusion, they are likely to find the route to success much more enjoyable and ‘arrive’ far more quickly.

You are encouraged to move forward bravely. To use your powers of imagination to aid you in the attainment of your goals and not to let fear or uncertainty prevent your from taking those critical initial steps. (see Belief Tree post below).

~MWS

P.S.  This will be the last month to download the full version of “The 3 C’s of SUCCCESS” the success ebook at no cost. The Book is going to print next month and the download version will then be abreviated. Be sure to download and share the link with your loved ones while the full copy is available at no cost.

All the best. Enjoy!

Win Friends & Influence People: Four Images You Need to Know

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All photos Flickr: Titanic by moore fun, Smooth Handle by Weeping-Willow
Harp By Canonsnapper, Shoes photo by 7-how-7

YOU need everyone’s help to become successful – to realize your ideal future (period).

Since “no one is as smart as everyone” and inter-dependence (TEAMwork) is the highest form of maturity, (see maturity continuum, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey) you will, at some point in your life – come to recognize this truth, hopefully sooner rather than later.

The great news is, everyone will make you successful much faster than no one. So, if you think you can go it alone – you’re in for a rude awakening. This is elaborated upon fully in “The 3 C’s” – a sobering lesson for me indeed!

Respectfully submitted for your review are four images (above) to be mindful of as you interact with other people (yes, relatives are people too) on a daily basis. These four images are tied to various interpersonal anecdotes which provide sage guidance and insight for you along your way to creating your ideal future.

Titanic

Simply put, has there ever been a bigger ego than the titanic? “The unsinkable ship.

Ooops… they probably shouldn’t have called it that. Talk about catastrophe! On your personal course to success and as you interact with people – try to become a different ship, try to become the “USS Non-Ego” that is, remove your ego to enjoy stress free sailing through the waters of life. To reiterate that point, I once heard, “It’s the whale who spouts off that gets harpooned.” Both suggest the very same thing – control your ego! Ego – in nearly every instance breeds friction and if you want to get to your destination faster, smoother and with energy to spare I highly recommend you remove the your ego. The next time you are feeling the urge to boast about some great accomplishment – the next time you are feeling “unsinkable” just remember the Titanic!

Smooth Handle

“Always take hold of things by the smooth handle.” Thomas Jefferson.

Initially, the brilliance of that quote escaped me. However, if TJ is talking – probably makes sense to listen. So, upon further review, that bit of wisdom has stuck with me for the last fourteen years. I used to be a very argumentative person and I loved it! Look, I knew I was right. The best part is, I would always defend my point to the end. Looking back, this tip alone could have accelerated the realization of my goals and ideal future by a few years and I’m a little disappointed i didn’t learn that one quicker.

Always seek ways to find the smooth handle in personal relationships and, in particular when friction does arise in any particular discussion or argument just remember everyone has an opinion. As I heard a General say in an interview being questioned on Iraq,

“The great thing about and opinion is you don’t have to know anything to have one.”

So many people have gotten into the habit of arguing just for arguments’ sake. Consider that, if anyone can have an opinion and you don’t have to know anything to have one – how about just detaching – WHO CARES! Reconsider what you are arguing about. How important is it? Seems important I’m sure – I’d humbly suggest you reconsider your motives – is there ego involved? Do you really need to convince her that “meat is bad for you”. Do you really need him to know that “we’d be so much better off with nuclear power plants.” What I’ve learned to say now is – instead of arguing, “interesting, I guess that is what makes the world go round.” Truly, when you can embrace the diversity and detach from the opinions and an argumentative state – you will be grabbing things by the “smooth handle” as TJ recommended.

HARMONY

Has there ever been a greater band than the Beatles? (good job, that is an opinion – so let it go). The point isn’t whether the Beatles were the greatest band – really, but for purposes of illustration would like you to consider they were one of the most harmonious bands ever. Literally, phenomenal harmonies. So what? So, this is the learning image for us to consider (us visual learners) Harmony – harmony in ALL affairs. I just recently heard a brilliant young entrepreneur speak about the greatest danger to any company – particularly a startup is internal friction. Seeking harmony – finding harmony in all relationships goes a long way to ensure your individual success and that of your team or company.

OLD SHOE

Finally, there’s the old shoe. Is there anything better, more comfortable and inviting than the old shoe? Consider all you’ve been through together. They don’t say too much. They don’t talk behind your back, they are just there for you when you need them. They are easy to put on (frictionless) and they are highly reliable. Norman Vincent Peal wrote about his in The Power of Positive Thinking. When you have become the old shoe to other people, that is; easy to be around, comfortable, trustworthy, reliable and non-threatening, you will have strengthened your interpersonal skills putting you on the fast track to creating your ideal future.

BON VOYAGE

So there you have it, four images intended to aid you in your interpersonal dealings and relationships. It was said earlier but is worth repeating, you will need everyone’s help to realize your ideal future – your success. Ego creates friction and friction prevents you from arriving at your destination and goals either on time or altogether. As Lao Tzu put it thousands of years ago, “The softest things in the world overcome the hardest things in the world,” recognize that you don’t have to fight, argue, bully to get your way. Slow is fast when you are dealing with people as Mr. Covey points out and, you can only be efficient with things and effective with people.

So, in order to advance most rapidly toward your success, you will find many a time that it’ll make sense to take a step back in your old shoes while listening to The Beatles and grabbing the smooth handle on the “USS Non-Ego”.

To your continued smooth sailing… enjoy.

~MWS

Are you tapped in?

kid imaginationphoto courtesy http://www.flickr.com/photos/jckhamken
post by Mitch W. Steel

Here’s a quote I’m rather fond of… It rephrases the age old proverb, “necessity is the mother of invention” to “necessity isn’t the mother of invention – invention is.”

Napoleon Hill wrote the all-time classic personal development book, Think and Grow Rich. The book is based on his 20-year study of the greatest minds of his time, including Henry Ford and Thomas Edison. He discovered from this exercise that there human creativity took basically two different forms – synthetic imagination and creative vision.

Synthetic imagination joins your pre-existing ideas, your concepts and your products and transforms them into something completely different, into a completely new form or a new, unanticipated solution to a problem. Very little of what is created today is absolutely original – from scratch, if you will. In fact, many of our greatest inventions are based upon the concept of synthetic imagination. Perhaps that is what Isaac Newton said when he attributed his greatest discoveries to the ability to “stand on the shoulders of giants.”

Really when you consider it further necessity, in reality, is the GRANDMOTHER of invention.

For example, the garbage can. Yes, the lowly, smelly garbage can. The original intent of the garbage can was to have a receptacle to place the garbage collected during the course of a week in your household. A simple enough need.

Soon, the garbage bag was invented. One invention – the garbage can – spawned yet another invention, the garbage BAG. This, in a nutshell, is synthetic imagination. In other words, this is simply a creative way to combine two pre-existing ideas or inventions.

The second type of creativity is creative vision.

A good way to look at this is to think of creative vision as dialing directly into your creative source. This is what Napoleon Hill called your “infinite intelligence.” You might refer to this as God.

In essence, it’s your intuition. It’s the way the infinite intelligence or God gives us our hunches and our “inspirations.”
Hill had a great story involving Thomas Edison in which the famous inventor, known for his relentless pursuit of the light bulb, uses both creative vision and synthetic imagination. Edison was well known for the many cat naps which he took throughout the day. What is not so well known, is how he used these to his creative advantage.

When Edison was tired and frustrated by the day’s “failures” at not having discovered the best method of creating this invention, he would nap. But before falling asleep, he formed in his mind a clear view of the problem he was currently facing. As he wakes from his nap, in that limbo-like peaceful state before he’s fully awake, he realizes the solution to the problem. The light bulb, in order to function, must be placed in a vacuum.

The vacuum was indeed the only environment that would prevent the immediate burn out of the wire as well as prevent any electrocution. His thoughts immediately jumped to charcoal. He recalled images of charcoal covered with dirt and of course subconsciously realized they burned much more slowly than the rest. In fact, it was that realization – coming out of his nap which his subconscious was trying to share with him. Limit the oxygen and the filiment that illuminates the lightbulb will not burn out so quickly!

You don’t always need to use your creative vision and bring something as momentous to the world as the light bulb. More often than not, synthetic imagination becomes the vehicle to success.

All you really need to do is combine two ideas that are already pretty darn good on their own. Just look at the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. If you’re old enough, you probably even remember the initial commercial which introduced the product to us. One person walked along the street, totally absorbed in his chocolate candy bar. Walking in the opposite direction came another individual, equally absorbed in his peanut butter.

BAM! They walked right into each other. The candy bar crashed right into the jar of peanut butter. A new taste treat was born!

Just look at the evolution of the cell phone. Once the original phone was invented, synthetic imagination took over to create an evolution of the gadget none of us can now seem to live without. Other technologies fueled by synthetic imagination include Google, Myspace, Facebook to name just a few. New goods and services are created every day using existing technology in a new and innovative way.

Don’t think for a moment that synthetic imagination or even creative imagination is the realm of a chosen few.

Be sure to share cool examples of either creative vision or synthetic imagination and ways they’ve created value for others and / or affected your life. These examples will help everyone (readership) recognize the true path to success begins with creativity and hopefully inspire them to create!

Thanks again… until next time

So, YOU Want To Be Successful? Here’s a thought… Define It!

Words of wisdom all around
but no one ever seems to listen
They talk about their plans on the paper
Building up from the pavement
mm hm
there’re shadows from the scrapers on the pavement
mm hm
It’s enough to make me sigh
but that don’t seem like it would make it feel better
The words are all around
but the words are only sounds
and no one ever seems to listen
~ Jack Johnson “Traffic in the Sky”

Do you have a definition of success?
I’ve taught hundreds of students for over five years. Every time I ask this simple question: “Who wants to be successful?” every single person raises his hand. At this point, I actually have inverted the question to simply be, “who does NOT want to be successful.” Just to verify that not a single person will raise their hand. Obviously, it is unanimous, EVERYONE WANTS TO BE SUCCESSFUL. This of course is where the “fun” begins…

Then, I ask them to define success.

Can you say deer in the headlights… pretty much a room full of blank stares. The students kind of squirm in their seats, perhaps a little concerned I might pin them down and actually ask them for their definition.

Wild isn’t it? Throughout the years, I’ve discovered that only about 3% of my students actually have a working definition of success.

You may have noticed this too? Everyone wants to be successful, yet, how many have defined it?

There seems to be lots of people searching high and low for “answers”- for “shortcuts” to this elusive “success.” You’ve seen the headlines and the advertisements, no doubt:

“Be Outrageously Happy in Three Easy Steps”
“Seven Secrets to Riches”
“Be the Success You’ve Always Dreamed Of”

The crazy thing is . . . if you ask them what “success” truly is they – just like 97 percent of my students — would probably be at a loss for words.

Try it sometime. Ask someone to define “success” for you. You’ll probably be received with a blank stare. If not, you’ll get some vague definition that sounds something like:

“Success is waking up with a smile on my face.”
“Success is knowing that someone loves me.”

Now, this brings me to the question of the day: How in the world can YOU hit a target when YOU can’t see it . . . or worse yet, does not even exist?

Creating your personal definition of success

Welcome to Exercise #1. You guessed it! Time for you to write out your definition of success!

Think about it. It seems only logical that the first step to success is to at least to resolve in your mind what exactly success is. What it ought to look and feel like! You must first have a definition for it if you plan to attain it!

Ideally, your definition of success should be no longer than two or three sentences. In fact, the shorter the definition, the better. One time I asked a person to give me his personal definition of success. He gave me a description a mile long. “Success,” he said, “is when I’m happy, my dog is fed and when my girlfriend is happy and we have a lot of money and no financial worries.”
what!? – why not just add when the cat is sleeping and the baby isn’t crying!

I could probably fill several posts here on success theory alone. However, for now, what is most important is to identify an acceptable definition – one that has stood the test of time. Here, humbly submitted for your consideration is the one I teach in every class…

SUCCESS = CREATING YOUR IDEAL FUTURE.

Be sure to leave comments and share your thoughts. Really looking forward to some quality success definitions posted here. Let’s see it!

cheers!

~ Mitch W. Steel