A single Word to delete from your Vocabulary

ben-franklin-excuse-makingDo you want to make one of the most important decisions that can positively change your life starting today?  Could this make more of a difference in your future than almost anything else you can do?

I’m completely convinced that many of us and those around us are far more capable of being much more productive, more influential and happier than they ever dreamed.  Is it possible that just one word can ignite a beacon-light of hope for you today?  Is there a word that can make a 180 degree change in your future?

Just to rattle your cage a little, let me ask you something.  Do you want to completely sabotage your life, destroy your potential, and ultimately look back on a life of wasted years with intense regret? Of course you don’t. No one WANTS that. But for many people, their actions — and more importantly their attitude — are leading them down a road of self-destruction that will ultimately lead them to such an undesirable final destination.

That road’s name is “I Can’t Boulevard” and it’s full of millions upon millions of unsuccessful, complacent, and mediocrity-filled men and women.

Yes, many of these people are also good-hearted and well-meaning, but unfortunately they’re stuck in a big fat rut with their health, their body, their income, their marriage, their career, or their relationships. They are stuck because their attitude is so affected by the phrase, “I can’t”.

Have you ever heard self-defeating statements like:

I can’t achieve a body like that. I don’t have the genetics.

I can’t make a six figure salary. What skills do I have?

I can’t fix my marriage. It’s too far gone.

I can’t be an entrepreneur. That’s too risky.

I can’t be forgiven by God.  I’ve done too many bad things.

This negative “can’t do” mentality is holding them back.

As employees, when a problem arises, they’d rather tell you about every potential solution that WON’T work instead of spending their time focusing on finding the one solution that will work.

Whine.  Complain.  Negative thoughts.  Negative words.  Negative action.

Fact is, when it all boils down, how you handle the problems and obstacles that arise in your life will determine whether you excel and soar like an eagle, or if you remain grounded in a chicken coop full of other self-limiting thinkers.

You see, problems and obstacles are OPPORTUNITIES for leaders. Are you a leader? You can be a leader, if you learn to RESPOND like a leader.

Leaders fix problems. Leaders learn from problems. Leaders grow from problems. Leaders become BETTER LEADERS because of problems.

Will you chose excuse making or leading yourself to victory?

Other folks, however, let problems and obstacles consume them, control them, and serve as the fuel for rationalizing their many excuses.

“I can’t eat healthy while traveling. It’s too hard.”

Yes you can. FIGURE. IT. OUT. Thousands of people do it (while hundreds of thousands don’t). What separates the few from the many? Simple. You can’t just “wing it” and hope it all goes well. Of course, if you do that, you’re going to fail. You have to have a plan – a plan for success – and you need to map it out in advance. Know where you’ll be and when you’ll be there.  Create options for success.  Creating a plan is creating a blueprint to solve your problems.

“My spouse and I can’t get along. My marriage is going down the tubes.”

Start with yourself and change the things about YOU that cause your spouse to react negatively to you. If you deal with the needs of your spouse, you will automatically have a much happier relationship and in turn you’ll find that conflict becomes less frequent. But, that’ll never happen as long as you’re pointing fingers in any direction other than back at yourself. Before long, once they see your changes, your spouse will also want to change to please you. Why? Because the relationship now becomes one of meeting each other’s needs again.  Isn’t that the way it once was?  I guess most relationships begin in a place of mutual admiration don’t they?   The first step begins with you; your spouse will follow.

“I can’t have a successful business. I wouldn’t even know where to start.”

FIND OUT WHERE TO START. What does that even mean? Do you think anyone who has a successful business magically knew where to start? No, they didn’t. Talk to people who have done what you want to do. Hire a coach. Get the support you need to succeed. OR, just stop being negative long enough to do a little research on your own. That’s where you start. (more…)

The Platinum Rule

The Platinum Rule is the Golden Rule going the ‘extra mile’ - by Dennis Petersen

Ziglar quote help enough peopleSatisfying your own desire ultimately comes down to helping others reach their goals.

“Give, and it will be given to you. They will *pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.” Luke 6:38

The ‘golden rule’ preached by Jesus is commonly known as “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  Right?  So what is the ‘platinum rule?’

Well, what if the other person isn’t interested in what would make you happy?  Doing what you like for them might be a complete waste of time.  How are you going to find out about how to treat them?

Whose goals govern your actions?

When you decide what you want – what your goal is – your next step is to find out who you can help in reaching their goals.  Their goals might compliment your goals or they might not do a thing for your goals.  All that matters is that you selflessly grasp the eternal principle that is built by design into this universe: the key to accomplishing your desire is to find others to help in reaching their desires.

Remember the universal law of sowing and reaping?

 “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.” Galatians 6:7

Imagine sowing helpful and empowering insights and strengths into the lives of others without primarily thinking, “What’s in it for me?”  Yes, I know, we are all wired to think about ourselves all the time.  Just watch a child for awhile.  Listen to ‘em whine about getting their way.  How many full grown adults live in a constant state of thinking about themselves, about their needs, their worries, their priorities… without much thought about others at all?

 “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”  Philippians 2:4

Imagine how refreshing it would be to be surrounded by people who really think like that and live that way.

How would you like to work for a company where that is the resounding mission that resonates from every coworker?  How would you like to have a church family where that is the conviction of every leader and every parishioner?   How would you like a community where that is the code of ethics practiced by all your neighbors?  How would you like a family where that is the lifestyle from morning until bedtime?  How would you like to be the embodiment of that concept and begin a complete reformation of your culture?  Imagine… thoughtfully and intentionally helping people reach their goals.  What a relationship-building concept.  And it all starts with you.

“And the LORD will continually guide you, and satisfy your desire in scorched places, and give strength to your bones; and you will be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.”   Isaiah 58:11

Sounds like a pretty good result doesn’t it?  Who wouldn’t want that for themselves?  So, how does this manifest?  Check out the verse immediately preceding that promise.  Like most promises from God, there is a condition… it starts with the little word “if.”

 “And if you give yourself to the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then your light will rise in darkness and your gloom will become like midday.”   Isaiah 58:10

But a charitable attitude is something you can have toward not only destitute people.  Why not have that attitude toward those we interact with on a daily basis?

“So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual up building.”  Romans 14:19

Sowing and reaping

It’s as obvious as any law of nature that serves to guide our own actions in almost every area of life we can think about.  As we sow, so then shall we also reap. That’s something you can truly have faith in because the Creator built it into the fabric of our experience.  It’s an unchangeable law decreed in heaven.  It guarantees that for every deliberate human effort we will receive a multiple reward. For each handful of seeds planted, a bushel is reaped.  For every good idea shared with another, many more ideas will be given to us in return.  For every loving act of helpfulness, a life of love is harvested in return, and that translates into a life full of legacy.

Giving to the poor has certain results.

“You shall generously give to him (the poor), and your heart shall not be grieved when you give to him, because for this thing the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in all your undertakings.”  Deuteronomy 15:10

Have you seen God’s promises to bless the “work of your hands?”

The work of your hands is the substance from which the Lord generates his blessing of increase.  And it’s not just about what you produce mechanically with your manual labor.  It is the promise for your productivity, your creativity, your profitability, your increase in wealth, your increase in the ability to provide for your needs and the needs of others.

“The LORD will command the blessing upon you in your barns and in all that you put your hand to, and He will bless you in the land which the LORD your God gives you.” Deuteronomy 28:8

The outcome of tending to YOUR business?

 “…make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you, so that you will behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need.”  1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

 “In all labor there is profit, But mere talk leads only to poverty.”  Proverbs 14:23

We all face a major challenge today.

Will we commit our ambition to grow up and stand up to learn how to positively overcome the challenges of a changing world or will we allow ourselves to be beaten and depressed into a state of complaining and bitterness as a victim of circumstances? (more…)

Perilous Times – What are we to do?

How do you restore a fallen country, culture, society?

Burke Quote Triumph Evil Prayerful Education of Christians must begin with parents and pastors to restore a fallen culture.

Is there any doubt that we’re living in “perilous times?”

Proverbs 29:2 says: “When the righteous are increased (or flourish in number and authority), the people rejoice; But when the wicked (man) rules, the people groan.”

Is it any wonder we’re hearing a lot of groaning these days?  And it’s not so much because of the ordinary stresses of life really, is it?  A lot of our complaining is the direct result of governing over-reach into the private affairs of citizens.  Corruption in political government is the infection of every nation or organization that is ruled by self-serving leaders.  But the policing part of the public government equation is increasingly necessary only because of the epidemic lack of Godly morality and self control. George Washington, John Adams and others insisted that was absolutely essential for the preservation of our constitutional republic.

Examples of the wretched condition of our ‘modern’ society that has been labeled “post-modern” are filling many books and editorial commentaries today.  Corruption in high government has never been more flagrant.  Lying openly in courts has made a mockery of the judicial system.  Avoiding prosecution because of political status, like so many other nefarious actions, have made plain constitutional laws like ‘due process’ a complete sham.  Bribes, stealing donated funds from humanitarian purposes and penalizing producers by taxation to encourage indolence and immoral lifestyles – we are all wearied with groaning.

Most egregious and offensive of all, is the government supported protection of masses of evil doers while making life difficult for peace-loving hard-workers who just want to be able to do good for those they chose.  The offenses are vast and well known so we don’t have to labor them here.  Isaiah prophesied, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil” (Isaiah 5:20).  They most assuredly will get their just judgment.  But in the meanwhile, the good people are groaning and injustice is rampant.

What concerns me is that all too many otherwise godly leaders are not courageous enough to speak up and challenge the mixed multitude of people that listen to their influence.

Don’t miss it.  The same passage of Isaiah tells us,

“Therefore, my people go into exile for their lack of knowledge; and their honorable men are famished, and their multitude is parched with thirst” (Isaiah 5:13).

Whose people?  God’s own chosen nation.  Do you suppose this could be applied to even His church today?

And where do they go?  Into exile… into slavery… into tyranny.  Even honorable men are famished.  What does that mean?  Starving – hungry – lacking life’s ordinary needs. Their multitude is parched with thirst.  Sounds like a dry desolate condition, doesn’t it?

Did you see that prophecy starts out with the word “therefore?”  That means you have to see the preceding passage to see what’s the cause of this, right?

Now there are a lot of conditions Isaiah lists for why God is unpleased with His people here.  But the summary statement in verse 12 is simple enough for any of us to understand and apply today to the family of God, beginning with the leaders.  It says:

“but they do not pay attention to the deeds of the Lord, nor do they consider the work of His hands.”

Beginning with the clear Biblical teachings of creation and the flood that the apostle Peter predicted in 2 Peter 3:5-6 would be willfully ignored in the last days, the “deeds of the Lord” are obviously referring to the testimony of what God has actually done in the history of His people and how He has dealt with their enemies.

We’re talking here about education.  Nothing is more fundamental to a society of civil humans than education.  Whose responsibility is it to educate children?  Parents!  (See Deuteronomy 6:7) And whose responsibility is it to educate Christian believers?  Pastors and Teachers! (See Ephesians 4:12)  What happens when parents are lulled into apathy while abdicating their responsibility to the government schools?  Is it any wonder that Germany fell to Nazism, France fell to hedonism and Britain fell to so-called liberal modernism?  America has fallen to secular humanism!  It’s not falling.  It HAS fallen.  And what is secular humanism?  It’s a society where man is the highest authority and God is removed from respect and influence in society at large.

Listen to what Alexis de’Tocqueville wrote about America in 1835 in what is “the most comprehensive and penetrating analysis of the relationship between character and society in America that has ever been written.”

“There is no country in the whole world where the Christian religion retains a greater influence than in America… America is still the place where the Christian religion has kept the greatest real power over men’s souls; and nothing better demonstrates how useful and natural it is to man, since the country where it now has the widest sway is both the most enlightened and the freest.”

“The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and of liberty so intimately in their minds, that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other…”

De’ Tocqueville’s book, ‘Democracy in America,’ was required reading in history classes for generations, along with the Federalist Papers and the biographies of founders like Washington and Ben Franklin.  Students were well aware of the sacred aspect of American history that helped us see that the Providence of the Creator was personally revered by the humbly influential leaders of the generation that birthed the United States of America.

Another French writer of the time (Gustave de Beaumont) wrote:

It is a principle of the United States legislature that, to be a good citizen, it is necessary to be religious; and it is a no less well-established rule that, to fulfill one’s duty toward God, it is necessary to be a good citizen…”

Where is that mentality today?  Is it hidden from public view?  Is there any chance it will be revived in today’s highly divided population of secularists and so-called evangelicals?

Secularism has arguably been allowed to rule supreme because of the very observation you may have heard many times quoted from 18th Century British philosopher, Edmund Burke: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” (in a letter addressed to Thomas Mercer).  You shouldn’t be surprised what he had on his mind when he wrote that… We’ll come back to that later.

But in the providential sense, why are the deceptions of secularism, atheism, and evolutionism so prominent in the thinking of our generation?  The brilliant French scientist Blaise Pascal wrote:

“Truth is so obscure in these times, and falsehood so established, that, unless we love the truth, we cannot know it.”

Oh yes… did we forget?  Paul prophesied what happens when men refuse the gift of the love of the truth.

“The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.  And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”    2 Thessalonians 2:9-12

What is that strong delusion?

Depending on your situation it can manifest in endless ways.  But, for sure, the society-wide deception of secularism – that hates accountability and divine judgment – is profoundly destructive to God-consciousness.  You can easily see why those who have given their allegiance to the Evil One are so brazenly ambitious in eliminating the grace and forgiveness of the gospel of Christ from society.

Enemies.  You can’t read much of Psalms without recognizing that God and His people have real flesh and blood enemies.  Here’s where it gets a little confusing.  Aren’t we supposed to pray for them?  Well, if we exercise the discernment that only comes from seeking God’s wisdom and knowledge by reading and studying His Word, then we will know how to pray rightly.  What many miss is that sometimes God’s people need to pray not only for personal wisdom but God’s judgmental intervention against those who are actively working to destroy God’s heritage.

Almost ten percent of the Psalms of the Bible (14 of 150) are “Imprecatory Psalms” (Psalms 5, 10, 17, 35, 58, 59, 69, 70, 79, 83, 109, 129, 137, 140)

(more…)

Who Can You Truly Help?

 

Parachute Mind works when openWhose Lives Can You Influence With Positive Benefits?  Who Are the People You Want To Talk To?

Who Are the Ones Most Open Minded To What You Have To Share With Them?

To everyone who absolutely loves to help other people,

Unless you love ‘beating your head against the wall’ and constantly feeling like you are in the business of ‘convincing’ people against their will, you must finally come to grips with the fact that there are really only a minority of the people out there who are even interested in hearing what you have to say.  Who are they?  You can find them easily because their mind is actually working— and working in their favor..  It kind of reminds you of a parachute… It only works when it’s open!  It’s the open-minded people who are actually willing to discover something that they don’t know and are willing to really admit that they don’t know what they don’t know.

Do you want to know how to spot those who are open-minded?

Open-minded people are constantly excited about their personal discovery of new things.  But more importantly, they’re eager for developing their life.  They’re serious about improving their health.  And they truly want to be better stewards of their resources.  They’re not afraid to be ACTIVE receivers of the blessing of the Apostle John’s wish where he said, “Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.” (3 John 2).

How can a person honestly say they want to receive the goal of that prayer IF they’re unwilling to do their part to adjust their attitudes and behaviors that will enable the desired result to manifest in their own life?

Have you noticed that our society has unfortunately promoted a rather negative and cynical attitude that easily rubs off on many people who are inclined to be more pessimistic than optimistic?

Now I realize that you have to try your best to get along with everybody.  But does that mean you have to ‘spin your wheels’ wasting much of your energy and time with people who really don’t want to better themselves?

There’s an important lesson we need to learn from the Master Teacher, Jesus Christ, who said that you need to “shake the dust off your feet” and move on.  Imagine that.  Even when you’ve got the most life-changing and positive message to give someone, if they don’t receive what you have to say, pack up and find someone who is OPEN.   There’s a reason it says “the humble shall inherit the land and delight in abundant prosperity” – the humble one is the one who knows he doesn’t know it all and is open to hear what you have to say – explore undiscovered realms of life-building insights.

It isn’t a bad idea to start out a conversation with someone and ‘take their temperature’ to see if you’re going to have a short conversation or if they’re someone who you might want to dive a little deeper with.  Try something like: “Hey, I thought of you and wondered if you’re open to see what I’ve been discovering lately.”  If they respond with cynicism, sarcasm or condescension, just tell them, “Oh, that’s okay, did you hear the weather forecast for next week?” and move on to other topics.  Don’t even try to engage their mind.  It’s not working anyway!  Remember the parachute?

On the bright side, don’t let their pessimism wear you down.  Be encouraged with the hope that there really are a lot of people out there who are plenty happy to hear what you have to share with them.  Start asking questions that reflect your honest care for people.  Ask them what would make them happier than they are right now.  Ask them if they’re open to a new idea.  Ask them if they’d like to make a difference in the lives of those they themselves care about.  Ask them if they have taken the course you just learned about on how to …be healthier, …save more of their hard earned money, or …leverage their time to get more done and have more time to do the things they like to do.

With some people, if you’re brave, you might even be able to ask them something like this: “You wanna know what I learned about people that are open?  … Turns out that they are the same people who like to better themselves, improve their health and make more money so they can do more good in the world!”  Then you could follow up with another question like, “Can you think of anybody who thinks like that?” … and laugh with them if they seem to be good natured enough to engage with you.

You might think that everybody wants to solve their problems and find solutions for the things that cause them pain in their life.  But if they really did want that – solutions for their problems – then why aren’t they actively pursuing it?  Sometimes we have to rekindle the hope, inspire the optimism and rebuild the curiosity that makes people want to discover new things.  Just be careful not to ‘cast your pearls before swine’ if you know what I mean.  For an energetic young optimist, that’s one of life’s hardest lessons to learn.  The only ones you can help… really help… are those who really want to be helped.  You ‘gotta wanna’ have the results bad enough to exercise some initiative to get what you want.  And if a person doesn’t respond to you with some energy …some interest …some sincere curiosity, you must not let them drag you into an argument that goes nowhere.

So, don’t forget this one.  It’ll save you a lot of wasted time and energy.  Test the waters.  Ask some good questions to see if they’re open.  Don’t be afraid to taunt them a little bit if you have a good rapport with them.  But don’t ‘show your hand’ too soon.  See if they’re ready to activate their mind.  And when you’re confident that they are ready, just give them a few nibbles to see if they really want more.  Make a plan with them to talk again later and see if you have something that really can help them.  Let the curiosity factor ‘work’ on their subconscious.  That way they’ll be ready to hear you with both ears when you’re with them again.

10 Transformations that will Redirect your life for the better

Growing Confidence You Are on the Road to Glorifying God by Pursuing Your Purpose

Butterfly transformations

Have you ever gotten ‘fed up’ with the way things are going for you to the point where you finally just said you’ve had it?

Why not take stock today of some things that need to change?

Why not decide today to intentionally work on some personal habits that are guaranteed to make you a happier and more influential person?

Are you willing to Stop the self-destructive things to regain your joy?

  1. Stop making excuses: If you are really serious about reclaiming your legacy then you have to realize that you’re entering the realm where you know good and well that NO EXCUSES ever fly! Why do we come up with excuses? Because they deceive us into thinking they are easier than actually achieving our goals. But excuses are just a waste of time, and we know it.What draws us into a negative path? Rather than growing and working on improving ourselves, we get stuck, lying to ourselves.  We use all kind of excuses.  And 99.9% of those excuses are not even real.2. Stop the blame game: When you blame others for what you don’t have or for what happens to you, you actually give your power away. Life should never be only about what happens to you.  How are you going to handle the situations in your life?  Only you can make the choice to take right actions.

    3. Stop your resistance to change: Change is good. Change will help you make improvements in your life.  Working with change you can also help lives of those around you.  Embrace change – don’t resist it. There is a great book:Who Moved my Cheese by Spencer Johnson – read it!

    4.  Stop complaining: You are the only person responsible for your attitude and your reactions to things! So stop complaining about people – You can’t change them.  Stop complaining about events – they happen to everyone.  Situations can only make you sad, angry and bitter when YOU allow them to. No one wants to be around someone who constantly complains.

    5. Stop trying to impress others: Stop trying so hard to be something or somebody that you’re not… especially if you’re doing it just to make others like you. It doesn’t work anyway. The moment you stop trying so hard to be something that you’re not, the moment you take off all your masks, the moment you accept and embrace the real you, you will find people will be drawn to you, effortlessly.  Not all people… of course.  Just the people who you really want to connect with anyway.

    6. Stop being a control freak:  Yeah, sure… I know this is hard, but when you are willing to give up your need to always control everything that happens to you and around you, miracles seem to happen.  Situations, events, and people – Whether they are loved ones, coworkers, or just strangers you meet on the street – all these things are out of your control.  Admit it.  Just allow them to be.  Your stress level decreases tremendously.

    7. Stop the criticism:  For some of us who tend to be perfectionists this is hard… but there’s wisdom in the old saying: “If you don’t have anything nice to say about someone, don’t say anything at all.”  Give up your need to criticize things, events or people that are different than you. Everybody wants to be happy.  We all want to love and be loved… and we all want to be understood.  So why not practice the habit of highly effective people that Stephen Covey talks about in his book: “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

    8: Stop Judging: Stop judging people, things and events just because you don’t understand them. Just because something seems “weird” or different does not mean it is bad or wrong.  If you need to help your kids understand good judgment in a discussion that’s fine, but you don’t need to get into a personal ‘issue’ over what you disagree about.  Let God judge them.  Let go of it and let God handle it.

    9: Stop with the need to always be right: There are too many of us who can’t stand the idea of being wrong – wanting to always be right.  We do this even at the risk of ending great relationships or causing a great deal of stress and pain, for us and for others. It’s just not worth it. Whenever you feel the ‘urgent’ need to jump into a fight over who is right and who is wrong, ask yourself this question: “Would I rather be right, or would I rather be happy?”

    10. Stop trying to live your life up to other people’s expectations: Way too many of us are living a life that is not true to our own personal calling and purpose.  When we try to live our life according to what others think is best for us, we develop all sorts of inner tension and frustration. Some people spend their whole life trying to live according to what their parents think is best for them.  What a shame to allow what your friends, or even your enemies think is best for you to control your decisions!  For way too many men and women, the popular media has projected a false reality that they try to live out.

Don’t ignore the inner voice of conscience and the inspiration of your Creator to guide you.

Remember “Desire” and “inspire.”   Remember your inner calling. We are so busy with pleasing everybody, with living up to other people’s expectations, that we lose control over our lives and forget what makes us happy, what we really want, what we really need.  We all have just one life to live. Own it.  Don’t let other people’s opinions mislead you.

I can honestly share with you, since I have made a conscious effort to stop all of the behaviors above, I have never been happier. And when I see myself slip – I acknowledge that behavior and work on adjusting my thought process.

Remember we cannot change, fix and improve on what we have not yet acknowledged.

So if you need it (and who doesn’t?), find an accountability partner who has your permission to call you out when you slip. This way you can reflect on what made you say or act in a certain way. The more aware you are of your actions, the easier and faster you can improve them.

What are you passionate about?

What drives you to put your feet on the floor before dawn every morning?  Some pious person might say: “just doing God’s will” or “living for Jesus” or some trite saying that is so vague and evasive that it really doesn’t give anybody a clear picture or roadmap of what is truly the passion that guides your agenda.

Some might say that “I just aim to please my boss” … or “serve my customers” … or “be faithful in doing my job” … but what are you passionate about?

May I tell you what I’m passionate about?  I’m passionate about changing lives… about helping others discover the best ways of reaching their goals, accomplishing their purpose, fulfilling the purposes they were created for and enjoying every day life.  And that encompasses a lot of things… things like: discovering insights, finding better ways of doing things, and applying practical solutions to life’s challenges.

In the hectic pace of modern living today, it’s common for us to be so busy doing all the things that we have to do that we don’t have the time to search out the best solutions to many of our deepest challenges.  Unless I’m a fatalist, when I stop to realize what’s going on, it hits me that nearly all the problems, heartaches and difficulties common to mankind are explained by one ageless principal.  Once I discovered it tucked away in the writing of a well known ancient Hebrew king, I began to see that everything in life is part of our Creator’s blueprint for us to fulfill our purpose.

Ecclesiastes 2:24 “There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labor. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God.”

You don’t need to stumble and fall into confusion about choices. Why not just do something?

1Corinthians 10:31 “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

It’s vitally important for the believer to have confidence that what he is doing is blessed or at least sanctioned by the overarching truth of God’s providential will.

Deuteronomy 8:18 “But you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.

3 John 1:2 Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.

 

Curiosity-Key to Influencing People & Who Can you truly help?

Galileo discover truth quoteWhat is the key to truly influencing people?  And who can you really help?

Have you heard what Galileo Galilei, the father of modern science, said about this?

“We cannot teach people anything; we can only help them discover it within themselves.”

He’s right.  If we want to make a difference in people’s lives we have to get their attention enough so that they will really want to ‘buy into’ what we have to share.  You have to find out what arouses their curiosity.

Curiosity is an important trait of a genius. I don’t think you can find an intellectual giant who is not a curious person. Thomas Edison, Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein—they were all curious.  They were all genius.  And if we’re honest we eventually realize that every human has some element of genius in their makeup, begging to be activated.  What is the curiosity ‘ticket’ that will cause another human to engage with you on whatever it is you would like to influence them about?  What will make them actually want to draw out from you the discoveries that you have made?

“The important thing is not to stop questioning… Never lose a holy curiosity.”

Albert Einstein

 

Why is Curiosity Important and How can we Develop It?

Let’s look at four reasons.

1.. It makes your mind active instead of passive.

Curious people always ask questions and search for answers in their minds. Their minds are always active. Since the mind is like a muscle which becomes stronger through continual exercise, the mental exercise caused by curiosity makes your mind stronger and stronger.  Curiosity really does require some energy.  You have to put yourself into it.

2.. It makes your mind observant of new ideas.

When you are curious about something, your mind expects and anticipates new ideas related to it. When the ideas come they will soon be recognized. Without curiosity, the ideas may pass right by you and you’ll miss them entirely because your mind is not prepared to recognize them.  Just think, how many great ideas you may have lost due to lack of curiosity?

3.. It opens up new worlds and possibilities.

By being curious you will be able to see new worlds and possibilities which are normally not visible. They are hidden behind the surface of normal life, and it takes a curious mind to look beneath the surface and discover these new worlds and possibilities.  There are possibilities just waiting to make a huge difference in your life TODAY.  Just think.  You’re one person, one greeting, one meeting away from having a totally different life.  If you’ll be curious enough in your daily coming and going, you’ll anticipate an exciting new adventure every day.  Who is the Lord going to bring across your path today?  What new bit of information you discover today is going to revolutionize your life forever?

4.. It brings excitement into your life.

The life of curious people is far from boring. It’s neither dull nor routine. There are always new things that attract their attention.  There are always new ‘toys’ to play with.  Instead of being bored, curious people have an adventurous life.

There’s a lot going for being curious, isn’t there?

 

Who Can You Truly Help?

Whose lives can you influence with positive benefits?  Who are the people you want to talk to?  Who are the ones most open minded to what you have to share with them?

To everyone who absolutely loves to help other people – unless you love ‘beating your head against the wall’ and constantly feeling like you are in the business of ‘convincing’ people against their will – you must finally come to grips with the fact that there are really only a minority of the people out there who are even interested in hearing what you have to say.  Who are they?  You can find them easily because their mind is actually working— and working in their favor.  It kind of reminds you of a parachute… It only works when it’s open!  It’s the open-minded people who are actually willing to discover something that they don’t know and are willing to really admit that they don’t know what they don’t know.

Open minded people are curious people. They are the ones who discover new things that are life-changing.  Do you want to know how to spot those who are open-minded?

Open-minded people are constantly excited about their personal discovery of new things.  But more importantly, they’re eager for developing their life.  They’re serious about improving their health.  And they truly want to be better stewards of their resources.  They’re not afraid to be ACTIVE receivers of the blessing of the Apostle John’s wish where he said, “Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.” (3 John 2).  That’s a ‘multi-dimensional’ objective.  It includes your soul, your body, your physical situation… it’s our life.

How can a person honestly say they want to receive the goal of that prayer IF they’re unwilling to do their part to adjust their attitudes and behaviors that will enable the desired result to manifest in their own life?

Have you noticed that our society has unfortunately promoted a rather negative and cynical attitude that easily rubs off on many people who are inclined to be more pessimistic than optimistic?

Now I realize that you have to try your best to get along with everybody.  But does that mean you have to ‘spin your wheels’ wasting much of your energy and time with people who really don’t want to better themselves?

Identify the humble-hearted

There’s an important lesson we need to learn from the Master Teacher, Jesus Christ, who said that you need to “shake the dust off your feet” and move on.  Imagine that.  Even when you’ve got the most life-changing and positive message to give someone, if they don’t receive what you have to say, pack up and find someone who is OPEN.   There’s a reason it says “the humble shall inherit the land and delight in abundant prosperity” – the humble one is the one who knows he doesn’t know it all and is open to hear what you have to say – explore undiscovered realms of life-building insights.  That’s what the humble person wants to do.  I hope that is YOU.  Are you willing to discover new things?  Things that you don’t know that you don’t know?

It isn’t a bad idea to start out a conversation with someone and ‘take their temperature’ to see if you’re going to have a short conversation or if they’re someone who you might want to dive a little deeper with.  Try something like: “Hey, I thought of you and wondered if you’re open to see what I’ve been discovering lately.”  If they respond with cynicism, sarcasm or condescension, just tell them, “Oh, that’s okay, did you hear the weather forecast for next week?” and move on to other topics.  Don’t even try to engage their mind.  It’s not working anyway!  Remember the parachute?

 

Questions that Naturally open their minds

On the bright side, don’t let their pessimism wear you down.  Be encouraged with the hope that there really are a lot of people out there who are plenty happy to hear what you have to share with them.  Start asking questions that reflect your honest care for people.  Ask them what would make them happier than they are right now.  Ask them if they’re open to a new idea.  Ask them if they’d like to make a difference in the lives of those they themselves care about.  Ask them if they have taken the course you just learned about on how to …be healthier, …save more of their hard earned money, or …leverage their time to get more done and have more time to do the things they like to do.  Ask people if they would be open to talk with you about your new discovery.

With some people, if you’re brave, you might even be able to ask them, “You wanna know what I learned about people that are open?  … Turns out that they are the same people who like to better themselves, improve their health and make more money so they can do more good in the world!”  Then you could follow up with another question like, “Can you think of anybody who thinks like that?” … and laugh with them if they seem to be good natured enough to engage with you.  Just dialog.  Help them get intrigued and curious about your new ideas that you’d like to influence them about.

You might think that everybody wants to solve their problems and find solutions for the things that cause them pain in their life.  But think about that.  If they really did want that – solutions for their problems – then why aren’t they actively pursuing it?  How often do you find even yourself in the same old ‘rut,’ doing the same old actions, and getting the same old results?  Doesn’t that seem like what Albert Einstein defined as ‘insanity?’  Unfortunately, that is where all too many of us are today.

A major lesson of life

Sometimes we have to rekindle the hope, inspire the optimism and rebuild the curiosity that makes people want to discover new things.  Just be careful not to ‘cast your pearls before swine’ if you know what I mean.  For an energetic young optimist, that’s one of life’s hardest lessons to learn.  The only ones you can help… really help… are those who really want to be helped.  You ‘gotta wanna’ have the results bad enough to exercise some initiative to get what you want.  And if a person doesn’t respond to you with some energy …some interest …some sincere curiosity, you must not let them drag you into an argument that goes nowhere.  Your time is to valuable for that.

So, don’t forget this one.  It’ll save you a lot of wasted time and energy.  Test the waters.  Ask some good questions to see if they’re open.  Don’t be afraid to taunt them a little bit if you have a good rapport with them.  But don’t ‘show your hand’ too soon.  See if they’re ready to activate their mind.  And when you’re confident that they are ready, just give them a few nibbles to see if they really want more.  Make a plan with them to talk again later and see if you have something that really can help them.  Let the curiosity factor ‘work’ on their subconscious.  That way they’ll be ready to hear you with both ears when you’re with them again.

Be sure you have some good reasons for the person you’re wanting to influence to continue their interaction with you.  Don’t give them the whole ‘truckload’ of information that’s on your mind in your first dialog.  Help them establish curiosity to hear more from you at another time.

 

Now, knowing the importance of curiosity, here are some tips to develop it.

  1. Keep an open mind

This is essential if you are to have a curious mind. Be open to learn, relearn, and unlearn. Some things you know and believe might be wrong, and you should be prepared to accept this possibility and change your mind.  Some of the opinion and ideas we grew up thinking and believing are just simply wrong, inaccurate or downright untrue.  That’s why the Bible urges us to “test all things.”  Hold fast what is true.

  1. Don’t take things for granted

If you just accept the world as it is without trying to dig deeper, you will certainly lose the ‘holy curiosity’. Never take things for granted. Try to dig deeper beneath the surface of what is around you.

  1. Ask questions relentlessly

A sure way to dig deeper beneath the surface is asking questions: What is that? Why is it made that way? When was it made? Who invented it? Where does it come from? How does it work? What, why, when, who, where, and how are the best friends of curious people.

  1. Don’t label something as boring

Whenever you label something as boring, you close one more door of possibilities. Curious people are unlikely to call something as boring. Instead, they always see it as a door to an exciting new world. Even if they don’t yet have time to explore it, they will leave the door open to be visited another time.

  1. See learning as something fun

If you see learning as a burden, there’s no way you will want to dig deeper into anything. That will just make the burden heavier. But if you think of learning as something fun, exciting and adventuresome, you will naturally want to dig deeper. So look at life through the glasses of fun and excitement and enjoy the learning process.  Who knows what discoveries lie ahead that you never thought of before?

  1. Read diverse kinds of reading

Don’t spend too much time on just one world; take a look at another world.  It will introduce you to the possibilities and excitement of the other worlds which may spark your interest to explore them further. One easy way to do this is through reading diverse kinds of reading. Try to pick a book or magazine on a new subject and let it feed your mind with the excitement of a new world.  As a believer and follower of Christ, why not ask God, “guide me into good, wholesome and productive things that will make a difference, not only in my life, but in the lives of others whom I touch.

When you do that there’s no telling all the benefits, the development and the character enrichment that will go on in your life, not to mention the ability to influence others in positive ways.  You’re going to make a difference to see some changes in your life in the very near future, as you wait on God to bring experiences into your life.  But make sure you actively pursue them.  Don’t just sit there.  Take action.  Take the course.  Read the book.  Step out of your comfort zone.  Talk to somebody.  Go to a meeting.  Attend a new special event.  When you do, your life will change.

 

Let’s Teach our Kids the Ant Philosophy

By Dennis Petersen

 

I heard about how Jim Rohn, the well-known business trainer, taught about a very simple yet powerful concept – the ant philosophy.  The Bible teaches the wisdom of observing the humble ant and learning her ways.  Maybe we should all talk with each other from time to time about the characteristic of ants that should apply to our own lives as humans.

Do we value success?  Survival?  Community?  Progress?  Accomplishment?  Overcoming obstacles?  Endurance?  Resourcefulness?

What other values can you think of and why everybody should study ants?

Consider the simplicity of Four Basic Principles seen in the behavior of ants.

Principle Number One: ants never quit.

Can you think of some advantages of this kind of attitude?

If ants are going somewhere and you try to stop them; they’ll find another way, won’t they?  Working together or all alone, have you noticed that ants are determined to do whatever it takes to get where they want to go?  They’ll climb over, they’ll climb under, and they’ll climb around.  Nothing seems to stand in their way of finding the solution to every barricade you can throw at them.  They will find another way. Count on it.

Not a bad core value if you’re an ant or a person with a passion for living… is it?  Do you reckon this kind of persistence is worth brushing off and determining for yourself?  Never quit looking for a way to get where you’re supposed to go.

Principle Number Two: ants think winter all summer.

Now here’s a pretty energizing perspective.

You can’t be so naive to think summer will last forever.

Comfortable climate is no time to relax.  You know winter is coming.  The question is, “are you committed to do what it takes?”  Are you committed to the discipline of preparation?  Working hard in the summers of life will keep you from starving in the slow going winters when resources are sparse and conditions are more challenging.

Resist the temptation to join the partiers in their carefree summer flings.  Take some time for refreshment and pleasure but be careful not to overdo it.  Summer is no time to kick back.  The ants are showing us the way if we’ll only pay attention.

Be reminded that summertime can fool you.  If you’re not thinking ahead you’ll forget that “this doesn’t last.”  Be careful where and how you build your house, your business or your project in the summer when life is going fine.  Think how the landscape around you will look when the storms are upon you.  Be realistic. In the summer, you’ve got to think storm. You’ve got to think rocks as you enjoy the sand and sun. Think ahead.

Principle Number Three: ants think summer all winter.

That too is so important.

During the winter, when it’s cold and windy and wet, when you can hardly leave your cozy corner, you’ve got to remind yourself, “This won’t last long; we’ll soon be out of here.”  Do you think this attitude just might keep us hopeful?

And look what happens when the storm and cold lifts.  When things start warming up on an early day in springtime, the ants are out. If it turns cold again, they’ll dive back down,

but then they come out as soon as the sun rises on a nice warm new day. They can’t wait to get out.

And here’s the last part of the ant philosophy:

Principle Number Four

 — How much will an ant gather during the summer to prepare for the winter?

All he possibly can. What a wonderfully ambitious perspective,

the “all-you-possibly-can” philosophy.

Can you seriously take that mindset and make it your own?

In just about anything you undertake, why not have the attitude that you’re going to DO all you possibly can, ACCOMPLISH all you possibly can, PRODUCE all you possibly can, EARN all you possibly can, SELL all you possibly can, INFLUENCE all you possibly can… in short… whatever opportunities life hands you you’re going to do like scripture says and make the most of every opportunity because the daylight is briefer than you think.  Before you know it, the night time comes when you can’t do much work.

Wow, maybe that is the makings for a great seminar to put on and invite everyone to attend – the ant seminar.  Think of it:  Never give up; Look ahead; Stay positive and Do all you can.