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Grinding it Out: The Making of McDonalds by Ray Kroc
Few entrepreneurs can claim to have actually changed the way we live, but Ray Kroc is one of them. His revolutions in food service automation, franchising, shared national training and advertising have earned him a place beside the men who founded not merely businesses but entire new industries.
But even more interesting than Ray Kroc the business legend is Ray Kroc the man. Not your typical self-made tycoon, Kroc was 52 when he met the McDonald brothers and opened his first franchise.
Now meet Ray Kroc, the man behind the business legend, in his own words. Irrepressible enthusiast, perceptive people-watcher, and born storyteller, he will fascinate and inspire you. You’ll never forget Ray Kroc.
“As long as you’re green you’re growing, as soon as you’re ripe you start to rot.”
Ray Kroc was an entrepreneur who spread McDonald’s restaurants all over the world. If you’ve ever enjoyed a Big Mac or Happy Meal when you were a child, then you can thank Ray Kroc for that.
In this book, he tells the story of his life. From his early jobs as a salesman to his eventual role as McDonald’s CEO. Today it feels like most super-successful business founders are very young, like Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook who became a billionaire in his 20s. But that wasn’t Ray Kroc’s story. He only started franchising McDonald’s in his 50s! That really shows you’re never to old to chase a dream.
Now let’s jump into the best lessons from Grinding It Out! Starting with #1…
- Explore many types of work, especially when you’re young
While growing up in a small city near Chicago, Ray Kroc worked whenever he could. As a boy, he opened a lemonade stand which was reasonably profitable. He also worked at the grocery store and his uncle’s drug store. With that money, he opened a very small music store with 2 friends, but they didn’t sell enough sheet music and small instrument, so they closed at the end of a summer.
World War 1 came, and Kroc lied about his age to sign up as a Red Cross ambulance driver, but in the end the war was over before Kroc could be shipped overseas. (Interesting side note: one of the boys he trained with was actually Walt Disney.)
After that, his parents wanted him to go back to school, but he didn’t feel that school was a good fit for him. Instead, he began selling ribbon novelties (little decorations that can be sewn on clothes and fabric). He would set up sample areas in hotels, selling these items to women passing through.
Throughout his life, music was important to Kroc. When he was growing up, he learned to play the piano very well. He had a natural talent for it and his mother made him practice for long hours. So the next summer, Kroc got a job playing piano by playing at a dancing hall at the edge of a lake. There he met Ethel Fleming, who later became his first wife. She was working at her parents hotel across the lake.
After that summer, Kroc had another job for a short time, marking up boards for a financial firm near the American Stock Exchange. But what he really wanted to do was go to Chicago to marry Ethel, but his father said he would have to have a real “substantial” job before he could marry. So Kroc became a salesman for the Lily Tulip Cup Company and then got married.
Today many teenagers are expected to already know what career they want to do for the rest of their life—before they’ve tried any type of work! Kroc instinctively knew he had to try different jobs to find out what he liked doing, was good at, and could get paid well for. That happened to be sales.
- Learning new skills can help your future success, no matter your current job
In 1922 Ray Kroc began selling paper cups for the Lily Tulip Cup Company. Kroc’s job was to convince store operators of the advantages of paper cups, as back then most restaurants used only glass cups.
Kroc worked crazy long hours. He sold paper cups from early morning until 5 PM. Then he played piano at a radio station from 6 PM to 2 AM, with a two hour break in the middle. The next morning he did it all over again. He did have Sundays off selling cups. Eventually he had Saturday nights off his radio job too, so that became the big night out with his wife Ethel.
After a couple years, his sales began increasing because he became better at selling. Here are some of the most important things he learned:
Be direct. If he saw his prospect start fidgeting in their chair, then he would cut to the point and asked for the sale. Kroc says most salespeople don’t know when the right time is to stop.
Customize your pitch to every client.
No self-respecting pitcher throws the same way to every batter, and no self-respecting salesman makes the same pitch to every client.
Show, don’t tell. Demonstrations can be more powerful than any sales promises. For example, when Kroc was selling cups for milkshakes, he would order 10 milkshakes. Well, after a few minutes, Kroc poured all the melted residue from those metal cups, to demonstrate there was enough in them for one additional milkshake! Then he showed the store owner how they could save this wasted product by using his paper cups with a special metal collar slipped on top.
One big client can be worth a hundred small ones. Over time, Kroc learned his time was better spent selling to very large companies rather than chasing small individual stores and food carts. For example, in 1930 the Walgreen Drug Company began buying their paper cups from him.
Landing Walgreens as a client wasn’t easy, but here’s how Kroc pulled it off. First he went to the Walgreens store beside their headquarters. At first, the store owner refused to consider paper cups. So Kroc offered the owner 300 free paper cups to try them out.
Well, after a few days, the owner saw paper cups brought in a lot more takeout customers, despite their slightly higher cost, so he was won over. After this, Kroc went to Walgreens management next door, and he told them about this experiment in the one store. The management was convinced, so they ordered paper cups for the rest of their stores. At that time Walgreens was expanding rapidly, and each new Walgreens store meant more sales for Ray Kroc and more money for his employer The Lily Tulip Cup Company.
Kroc worked there for a total of 17 years. He eventually became the best salesman in the company and had about fifteen other salesmen working under him. Those sales skills would prove very useful for him in the next chapters of his life. Much much later in the book, Kroc talks about how he negotiated with McDonald’s suppliers to get the best prices for buns, meat, ketchup, etc. He says all those years of experience selling things to businesses made the difference.
- You can always switch directions, if you’re willing to persevere
In the 1920s, ice cream had become massively popular, largely as a result of alcohol Prohibition. Even bars and hotel lounges switched to selling ice cream.
A local businessman was setting up ice cream parlours under the name Prince Castle all over the state. The stores looked like little castles on the outside. Ray Kroc convinced them to start selling milkshakes too. In that first year, Kroc sold them over five million 16 ounce paper cups to put those milkshakes in!
Earl Prince, one of the owners of Prince Castle, invented a new type of milkshake mixer that had a more durable industrial motor and could mix six drinks at a time. He called this the Multimixer.
Eventually Earl Prince proposed that Ray Kroc become the salesperson and distributor for the Multimixer. Kroc loved that idea because his instincts told him there was a lot of future potential in this machine. However, his wife was totally against it. She felt Kroc was risking their whole future and he was too old to start over again. Later she refused to help him out in the new office when he couldn’t afford to hire staff. This was the beginning of a big rift between them.
So at the age of 35, Kroc started a new career. He went to sell Multimixers to restaurant owners all over the nation. He believed they would be eager to buy this revolutionary new machine, but he soon found that was totally wrong. Most restaurant owners preferred to have several smaller machines because if one broke down, they could still sell milkshakes. If the Multimixer broke, then they wouldn’t be able to make money until it was fixed.
Those were very challenging and stressful times. Kroc went almost $100,000 in debt, a huge sum in those days.
I learned then how to keep problems from crushing me. I refused to worry about more than one thing at a time, and I would not let useless fretting about a problem, no matter how important, keep me from sleeping.
By the way, there’s another famous entrepreneur named Phil Knight who talked about being overwhelmed with the demands of starting a business. He pushed through the stress and challenges by saying to himself that “Life is growth. You grow or you die.”
As a college graduate, Phil had started a shoe company based on a “crazy idea,” as he called it. That company eventually grew to be Nike, the biggest sports clothing business in the world.
In those Multimixer days he hired a young woman named June Martino as a bookkeeper. She had no training as a bookkeeper, but Kroc sensed she had integrity and a problem-solving personality. In those days he could only afford to pay her a low salary, but promised she could have a great future in the company. 20 years later she would become one of the top executives at McDonald’s.
Kroc travelled to all the restaurant and dairy association conventions around the country. He always sent a dozen sample Multimixers ahead of his arrival and sold them out at the shows. He was working as fast as he could. He landed some big clients like Dairy Queen and Tastee Freeze.
And eventually he was selling up to 5000 units a year!
Yet after 15 years of Multimixers, Kroc didn’t like how market trends were going for the business. It was the mid 1950s, and he knew he would have to find a new product soon.
- Don’t hesitate to seize opportunity, like when Kroc saw the first McDonald’s
The McDonald brothers came to California in the 1920s. First they did manual labour work in a movie studio, then they opened an unsuccessful movie theatre, finally they scraped together enough money to open a drive-in restaurant. A few years later, their restaurant was getting a lot of customers, but making little profit.
They decided a drive in restaurant was the wrong business model. So in 1948 they totally redesigned their business. The menu was simplified to a handful of items including hamburgers, cheeseburgers, fries, soda and milkshakes.
There were no more waitresses bringing food out to cars like a drive-in restaurant. Rather, customers came to the front window to order.
Most importantly, the food was made on an assembly line, with each worker responsible for a small step in the process. The brothers called this their “Speedee Service System.” At the time, it was a revolutionary idea, but it worked! The new McDonald’s restaurant served high-quality hamburgers, faster and cheaper than any other restaurant. Customers were soon coming in large numbers.
Then Ray Kroc showed up. The brothers had bought 8 Multimixers from his company, more than any other single restaurant. Out of curiosity, Kroc just had to see how they were selling so many milkshakes.
When Kroc arrived in San Bernardino, California, he was soon amazed at the never-ending stream of customers that came to the store for their 15 cent hamburgers.
Later he talked to the brothers Mac and Dick McDonald, who gave him a tour of the kitchen. He was very impressed by their efficient operation. So at the end, he asked them why they didn’t open a series of stores. They said they had enough money, enjoyed their lives now, and didn’t want more problems.
Spontaneously, Kroc offered to franchise the McDonald’s stores himself. (In fact, at that time he was mostly thinking about the money he could make selling milkshake machines if there were more of these stores!) The brothers and Kroc had a great friendly rapport, and before he left San Bernardino, Kroc had a contract signed to let him franchise McDonald’s stores. Each new store operator that Kroc set up would pay a setup fee, then 1.9% of their sales in franchise fees, with 0.5% of that going to the McDonald’s brothers.
Can you imagine that? Kroc saw this very well run restaurant and decided he could be the one to make it popular across the country! He already had a full-time business, a house, wife, and other obligations, but he felt this opportunity was too good to miss. How many of us would have that much trust in our instincts?
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- Your first strategy is not always the best one
On April 15, 1955, they opened the first franchised McDonald’s store in Des Plaines, Illinois. That first store was built deliberately near Kroc’s house so he could make sure it was running perfectly. He would drive to the store each morning to help them open, then take the train to Chicago to start his work at the Multimixer office at 9AM.
In 1956 they opened 3 new stores in California, then 8 more in other states. Kroc says those early days were painstakingly hard work, “like trying to ice skate on bare concrete.” But they managed to sign up new store operators one by one. Many of their early store owners were husband-wife teams, with the husband handling operations and maintenance and the wife looking after accounting and personnel.
It was Kroc’s past work from the Multimixer sales that helped them survive while they were getting those first McDonald’s stores off the ground. That sales income was paying all his McDonald’s costs in the early years, including his employees salaries.
Even as the number of stores grew, they were barely scraping by. You see, almost all the store’s profits went to the individual store owners, many of whom were doing very well.
But around this time, Kroc hired another key person. Harry Sonneborn had been vice president of Tastee-Freeze, then he quit and told Kroc that he’d like to work at McDonald’s because it looked very promising. So then there were three in the McDonald’s offices: Ray Kroc, June Martino and Harry Sonneborn.
Harry Sonneborn later came up with the strategy that would make their company very successful. Rather than simply licensing the name, they got into the business of developing the restaurants themselves. Most importantly, they decided they would sublease both the land and the building to the franchise store owners. To accomplish this, they had to get financing, first through bank mortgages, then larger loans through big insurance companies.
Kroc says this was a turning point in their history, the step that made their future success possible. In fact, many business experts say McDonald’s may be better described as an innovative real estate business than a hamburger business.
It all goes to show, if what you started out doing isn’t working, with persistence you may be able to figure out the right strategy.
- Focus on the fundamentals of your business to beat competition
In the book, Ray Kroc says over and over again that the key to a store’s success is focusing on the fundamentals. He says no special smarts or talent is needed, just the right focus and hard work. In McDonald’s, these fundamentals are Quality, Service, Cleanliness and Value.
When Kroc opened the first franchised store in Illinois, he spent months trying to make the fries just right, like they were in San Bernardino. But no matter what he did, the fries wouldn’t taste the same. He talked with the McDonald brothers, but they said he was doing everything exactly right, so they couldn’t understand what the problem was.
In the end, Kroc talked to a farming expert and found out the reason. In California, the McDonald’s brothers kept their potatoes in double-walled wire baskets behind the restaurant before they cooked them. This allowed air to move through the potatoes. Meanwhile in Illinois, their potatoes were kept in the basement. And the farming expert told Kroc the air helped make the potatoes dry, which converted their sugars into starches, and that’s where the great taste of McDonald’s fries came from. Kroc set up an electric fan to blow air through the potatoes in the basement, and he was relieved when they finally tasted the same as the original McDonald’s!
You must perfect every fundamental of your business if you expect it to perform well.
Many years in the future, McDonald’s would switch to frozen fries, but only after Kroc was sure the taste of the fries would not be sacrificed. That move saved their stores a lot of money in shipping and labour costs. Square boxes of fries were a lot easier to ship than huge bags of potatoes. And employees in the stores no longer had to spend hours washing, peeling and slicing the potatoes. As an added bonus, stores were much cleaner without lots of potato peelings to get rid of.
The founder of Walmart, Sam Walton, was another entrepreneur who was constantly focused on improving the fundamentals of his business. A top Walmart executive said that what made Sam Walton different than others was that “he gets up every day bound and determined to improve something.”
In fact, Sam would often walk around his competitors stores with a little yellow notepad, taking notes on everything. He was always trying to learn new things to optimize his own business. And if you want to learn how Walmart became such a successful business, then go.
Anyway, back to McDonald’s. In 1957, they opened 25 more stores. They also hired a key person, a young man named Fred Turner who became head of operations. (Far in the future he’d become CEO of McDonalds.)
Aside from helping set up most of the new stores, Fred Turner also refined the supplies arriving at the McDonald’s stores. For example, in those days buns arrived stuck together in clusters, and the grill person had to break them apart. Turner made their bun suppliers totally separate the buns, because that helped the grill person work faster. He also made the paper box they came in thicker, which kept the buns moist longer and lowered their costs because the box could be reused more times. In this way, McDonald’s worked closely with suppliers to improve what was being delivered to their stores.
The purchasing power of large corporations like McDonald’s has reshaped the entire food industry in the last 70 years.
- Maintain control of your business whenever possible
In that original contract between Ray Kroc and the McDonald brothers, one rule was the brothers had to approve any changes to a store’s layout if it was different from the original McDonald’s. And they had to send their notice of approval by registered mail. Well, Kroc was building McDonald’s restaurants in the north, where a basement and furnace were necessary.
Over the phone, the McDonald brothers told Kroc to go ahead with those changes, but they stubbornly refused to send a letter for confirmation. Kroc’s lawyer said this put him at legal risk. There were other disagreements between them as well.
In any case, Kroc wanted to buy the brothers out of the business. So he called them up and asked how much they wanted. A couple days later they called back and said $2.7 million. (Which is equivalent to about $20 million today with inflation.) That was a huge amount of money for them at the time. Their usual money lenders refused to give Kroc that much, but eventually Henry Sonneborn found a way to get the money.
Today McDonald’s is one of the largest companies and it’s true that the McDonald brothers could have had a lot more money if they still owned their part of it. However, it’s also important to understand that the future growth of McDonald’s was very uncertain in those days. Many large fast food chains did go bankrupt. So the brothers got the price they asked for and were very well off the rest of their lives.
Kroc was also glad to be totally in charge of McDonald’s now, able to take it in the direction he wanted to.
But one part of the deal which made Kroc very angry was the brothers initially offered their San Bernardino store, but in the end decided not to sell it. Afterwards they changed that store’s name to The Big M. So Kroc opened a McDonald’s across the street from The Big M and ran it out of business. Well, perhaps he could be somewhat ruthless and competitive at times.
- “Nothing recedes like success”
In 1966 they decided to take the McDonald’s company public, which means offering shares for sale to outside investors. In the end, it was a very successful move. The stock price quickly shot upwards, making Ray Kroc and the early employees like June Martino and Harry Sonneborn very rich.
However, there was a growing gap between Ray Kroc and Harry Sonneborn, in how they wanted to run the company. Sonneborn was President of McDonald’s at the time. He was convinced the country would soon be in a recession, so he stopped the construction of any new stores. Kroc was very angry when he heard this, believing they should continue building whether or not a recession was coming. They got into a very heated argument, which led to Sonneborn resigning. Kroc took over the role of president for a few years until he felt the company was back on track, then he passed the position on to Fred Turner.
So at that point McDonald’s was doing great, Kroc had just bought a new Rolls Royce and he was looking into setting up some philanthropic organizations. But although McDonald’s had become successful, Kroc didn’t see that as a reason for him to rest. He continued to be involved in running the company, especially in developing new menu items and advising their big real estate decisions.
Business is not like painting a picture. You can’t put a final brush stroke on it and then hang it on the wall and admire it. We have a slogan posted on the walls around McDonald’s headquarters that says, “Nothing recedes like success. Don’t let it happen to us or you.”
In 1968 they designed a totally new look to the McDonald’s stores, going from the classic golden arches to red roof tiles. They also noticed the public’s attitude was changing and people didn’t want to eat in their cars as much, so they built larger stores with lots of indoor seating.
They also found new winning menu items like Filet-O-Fish, Egg McMuffins, Big Macs and Hot Apple Pies. Some of their best new menu items were invented by individual store operators:
The Filet-O-Fish was created by a McDonald’s operator in Cincinnati who was sick of losing all his business on Fridays to other stores that sold fish. (His area had lots of Catholics who were forbidden from eating meat on Fridays.)
The Egg McMuffin was invented by a store operator in Santa Barbara, who let Kroc taste the sandwich on a visit. Kroc liked it so much that within 3 years, all McDonald’s stores were selling Egg McMuffins and the new market of breakfast had opened up for them.
This book was written in 1976 when McDonald’s had 4,000 stores. As of 2020, they have over 36,000 stores worldwide. Kroc was 75 when he wrote this book and he died several years later of heart failure. Yet even in the last few years of his life, Kroc visited the San Diego office almost every day.
What explains Ray Kroc’s lifelong drive and work ethic? Well, he says this is his favorite quote:
Luck is a dividend of sweat. The more you sweat, the luckier you get.
Ray Kroc, McDonald’s CEO
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How to Fight a Hydra: Face Your Fears, Pursue Your Ambitions, and Become the Hero You Are Destined to Be by Josh Kaufman
A survival manual for ambitious artists entrepreneurs ADVENTURERS
You have a Hydra: a grand, ambitious project you’ve always wanted to tackle. It feels overwhelming, unconquerable. Chop off one of a Hydra’s heads, and two more grow in its place.
How will you ever defeat such a terrifying monstrosity – and live to tell the tale?
In this illuminating fable, productivity expert Josh Kaufman explores the uncertainty and fear inherent in facing down any ambitious challenge, from starting a new business to completing a work of art.
The risks involved can never be eliminated, but they can be understood, anticipated, and mitigated. Armed with an adventurer’s insights into tackling unknown and fearsome challenges, you can tame a project of epic proportions.
How to Fight a Hydra is an essential handbook for artists, creative professionals, and entrepreneurs tired of ignoring the call to adventure.
So prepare for battle, brave soul. Draw your sword. Light your torch.
In the darkness ahead, your Hydra awaits.
Down the road, there is a big project you have to finish. You are aware it is essential for your career, and so you must get hands-on and conclude it. But it seems like a giant multi-headed hydra lurking at the woods, waiting to rip you apart, you feel intimidated by the size and the many situations you must confront. Where to start? How to deal with this challenge?
In “How to Fight a Hydra,” the author gives you many tips on how to deal with this problem by extrapolating the lessons learned from a medieval hero’s journey to hunt, fight and kill a giant hydra. The similitudes presented through a series of challenges the main character faces give excellent examples of how you can use them to work on that big project you have at hand.
In this book, you’ll find that from the circumstances driving you towards, all the knowledge you must acquire, or the struggles in your way to the finish. To your weapons, strategies, and the way to finish victorious, the examples and metaphors will help you to conclude your quest successfully.
Ten Lessons Learned
1.- The Quest.
We all have a Project so big that looks like a monster giant Hydra, Will you have what it needs to conquer? Your family and friend will try to convince you not to fight, and also, there is no reason to do it. Without their support, you decide to go to battle. Gathering your tools, you decide and attack this humongous task, but first, make an inventory of your devices and skills. Get in shape physically and mentally. Confronting your fear, you’ll decide to start.
2.- The Journey.
Maybe your daily work and responsibilities keep you from working full time, and it makes you wonder. Am I doing the right thing? Do I keep trying, or should I give up? You know the decision is all yours; your goals seem impossible. But you decide to fight your limiting beliefs and trust in your skills and abilities. And even when the goal is far ahead, you trust in your plan, knowing that there is no victory without a fight and effort.
3.- The Struggle.
You keep yourself focused and follow the plan, but many times you find yourself distracted, procrastinating, doing other things deviating from your goal. So, you decide there will be no more excuses. Every small step takes you closer to the end. Now you are wondering if this project is larger than you, but realize that being small allows you to move faster. By this time, you know the complications and how to master them. All the knowledge gained makes you more confident, and you move closer to the finish line. Now you allow yourself to make mistakes and learn from them. You know that every great task takes time. And step by step, you’re victorious and finish the project.
4.- The Outcome.
Now you’ve finished your project. You’ve killed your Hydra. And then you find that the reward is not what you expected, and you start to wonder if all the effort was worth it. And maybe your family and friends were right, and you were a fool to go on this journey. Remember, no matter what the outcome, the victory relays on the fact that you reached your goal. Examine your surroundings and look for another approach you can give to the results.
In most cases, you’ll find that your effort was not in vain; you can use it to your benefit. Make the necessary adjustments and market your project somewhere else. Remember, now you are fearless, you don’t need validation you gained all the experience from the struggle, go back to the blackboard and start a new quest now you know the way.
5.- The Insight.
After your quest, there are several things you must remember:
– Every project worthwhile is never easy.
– For every achiever, there are thousands defeated by their mind.
– Look for the opportunities only a few dare to pursue.
– Always sharpen your skills and tools.
– Being afraid only means you’re not insane.
– Only a few dare to do thigs now, not later or tomorrow.
– Your mind invents problems beyond reality, but action helps you seize them.
– Bad days are frequent, and you will have doubts. You’re only human.
– Always try to anticipate the obstacles.
– Everybody makes mistakes.
– Anticipate some setbacks; being prepared makes the journey easier.
– Victory might make you cautious; for now, you have something to lose.
– Never fight more than one Hydra at a time.
– Only take advice from achievers.
– Remember, you’re not invincible, never forget the lessons learned.
– There are no certainties and no guarantees. Move forward, expecting the best.
– There are quests you should avoid, choose well.
6.- The Decision.
After you have succeeded in your projects and acquire some wealth and fame, there will be many people eager to invite you to new adventures. Always wisely evaluate what you’ve gained against the opportunity presented, and if you find more important what you have against the challenge, don’t be afraid to decline the offer.
7.- Preparing for Your Adventure.
Always remember that every journey contains some uncertainties, be prepared, and hope for the best. Your family and friends might not support you, that’s ok, don’t let them dissuade you. It is normal to be afraid at the beginning. You will need time to be prepared, make a plan, and sharpen your tools. There will always be struggles; be ready to accept them and learn.
8.- During Your Adventure.
Expect some obstacles, but be prepared. Always keep moving towards your goal. Keep your tools sharp and try to learn new skills to help your quest. Take care of your body and your mind. Learn from your mistakes and experiment with new approaches. Trust your experience and beware of any danger ahead. Don’t be distracted; don’t postpone or procrastinate. Always move forward no matter how far or how fast, just keep going.
9.- At the End of Your Adventure.
Accept the fact that you might not get the reward you expected. Be prepared to look for other possibilities and opportunities. Weight your next adventure and decide your next experience based on what you value most.
10.- Always be Thankful.
Remember every night to be thankful and keep a journal with everything that you have learned. As they say, success is not a destination is a journey, and the only impossible one is the one you never begin, and all of them start with a single step. Plan your adventure, and learn from your mistakes, enjoy life, and GO FIGHT A HYDRA.
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Discipline Is Destiny: The Power of Self-Control (The Stoic Virtues Series)by Ryan Holiday
In his New York Times bestselling book Courage is Calling, author Ryan Holiday made the Stoic case for a bold and brave life. In this much-anticipated second book of his Stoic Virtue series, Holiday celebrates the awesome power of self-discipline and those who have seized it.
To master anything, one must first master themselves–one’s emotions, one’s thoughts, one’s actions. Eisenhower famously said that freedom is really the opportunity to practice self-discipline. Cicero called the virtue of temperance the polish of life. Without boundaries and restraint, we risk not only failing to meet our full potential and jeopardizing what we have achieved, but we ensure misery and shame. In a world of temptation and excess, this ancient idea is more urgent than ever.
In Discipline is Destiny, Holiday draws on the stories of historical figures we can emulate as pillars of self-discipline, including Lou Gehrig, Queen Elizabeth II, boxer Floyd Patterson, Marcus Aurelius and writer Toni Morrison, as well as the cautionary tales of Napoleon, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Babe Ruth. Through these engaging examples, Holiday teaches readers the power of self-discipline and balance, and cautions against the perils of extravagance and hedonism.
At the heart of Stoicism are four simple virtues: courage, temperance, justice, and wisdom. Everything else, the Stoics believed, flows from them. Discipline is Destiny will guide readers down the path to self-mastery, upon which all the other virtues depend. Discipline is predictive. You cannot succeed without it. And if you lose it, you cannot help but bring yourself failure and unhappiness.
- Perfectionism Is a Vice
In the winter of 1931, Martha Graham was hopelessly bogged down in a dance series she had choreographed called Ceremonials, inspired by Mayan and Aztec cultures. A notorious perfectionist, she despaired of ever completing the dance. Worried, self-critical, consumed by guilt that she had wasted her Guggenheim Fellowship, Graham was convinced she could not meet the expectations of her rising reputation, much less the vision she had in her own head. “The winter is lost,” she whimpered in self-pity. “The whole winter’s work is lost. I’ve destroyed my year. This work is no good.” Even though her dancers loved it, even though they had committed body and soul to it, all she could see was what needed to be changed. All she could see were the ways it wasn’t perfect. And it trapped her in a kind of creative prison.
It’s the tragic fate of greats across many different fields. Their success is built on their incredibly high standards—often higher than anyone, including the audience or the market, could demand—but this virtue is also a terrible vice, not just preventing them from enjoying what they have achieved, but making it increasingly impossible to ship the next thing. Because it’s never good enough. Because there’s always more they can do. Because it doesn’t measure up to what they did last time.
Da Vinci was like this, becoming almost serially incapable of finishing his paintings. Steve Jobs got stuck releasing the Macintosh before he was fired from Apple. A biographer of the novelist Ralph Ellison speaks of a perfectionism that was so “clogging” the man’s arteries that, in one case, Ellison produced forty drafts of a short statement about one of his own books—a book he had lived and breathed for decades and should have been able to hammer out in forty minutes. The tragic result was that Ellison never published a follow-up to his masterpiece, Invisible Man, despite writing some nineteen inches of futile manuscript pages over the years. What was it? Was it humility? An obsession with getting the little things right? No, those are the reassuring excuses we make for what is often a kind of narcissism and obsession. We’re convinced everyone cares so much about what we’re doing that we get stuck. We tell ourselves it’s self-discipline when in fact, it’s self-consciousness.
As they say, another way to spell “perfectionism” is p-a-r-a-l-y-s-i-s. An obsession with getting it perfect misses the forest for the trees, because ultimately the biggest miss of all is failing to get your shot off. What you don’t ship, what you’re too afraid or strict to release, to try, is, by definition, a failure. It doesn’t matter the cause, whether it was from procrastination or perfectionism, the result is the same. You didn’t do it. The Stoics remind us: We can’t abandon a pursuit because we despair of perfecting it. Not trying because you’re not sure you can win, you’re not sure whether everyone will love it, there’s a word for that too: cowardice. We have to be brave enough to soldier on. To give it a shot. To take our turn. To step into the arena, even though we might well lose. We have to be strong enough to do this too.
Of course, you’ll want to keep tinkering, keep tweaking, keep running the problems over in your mind. But you need to be able to stop yourself, to say, finally, this is done. And if you can’t do that on your own, if you have trouble with the last mile on your projects, or if you know you can fall prey to perfectionism, then do you have the self-discipline to find partners who can cut you off and balance you out? Martha was certainly successful enough to surround herself with sycophants and yes-men, but she didn’t. She understood she needed moderating influences—wise advisors and trusted patrons—if she was to produce great work. As great as Ralph Ellison and da Vinci were, as in command of their genius as they both were, they struggled with this.
- The Stoic Ideal: Marcus Aurelius
MV: Below is a quote I have paraphrased from Dr. Michael Sugrue’s course on philosophy, which aptly summarises the character of Marcus Aurelius:
“Lord Acton, the great English Philosopher and Historian, once said: Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. And that’s generally true. The difficulty with that generalization is Marcus Aurelius. Marcus Aurelius was an absolute ruler who, as the ruler of the Roman Empire, had absolute power over the life and death of everyone in the known world. Almost all of the Roman emperors lived scandalous lives and disgraced themselves. They were much more concerned with indulging their sensual appetites, satisfying their passions, and flying into rages. Marcus Aurelius is the standing exception and the exception to Lord Acton’s generalization. In Marcus’ case, power didn’t corrupt. Absolute power did not corrupt absolutely. Instead, absolute power allowed us to see what the man underneath the body is really like. It allowed us to find out what Marcus Aurelius’ soul was like. Imagine a man for whom all the restraints of law, custom, and political order are taken away. He could have whatever he wanted. If a man behaves well under those circumstances, you know something about the soul underneath because no external constraints make him act as he does. Marcus Aurelius is the one example of an absolute ruler who behaved himself in such a way as to not disgrace himself.”
Because through Hadrian’s strange succession plan, Marcus had inherited a stepbrother whose role was uncertain. What should an emperor do with this potential rival? An ancient Stoic master had warned a previous emperor to dispatch any other male heirs, saying one “cannot have too many Caesars.” Marcus thought and thought and came upon a solution unmatched in all of history for its generosity and selflessness, literally a walking contradiction of the dictum that absolute power corrupts absolutely: He named his stepbrother co-emperor. Given absolute power . . . the first thing he did was give half of it away.
Marcus Aurelius and his stepbrother could not have been more different either. Lucius Verus was not nearly so strict with himself. He was not known to have ever picked up a philosophy book. Did Marcus believe himself to be superior? From his Meditations, all we hear him express is gratitude “that I had the kind of brother I did. One whose character challenged me to improve my own. One whose love and affection enriched my life.” It was said that the true majesty of Marcus Aurelius was that his exactingness was directed only at himself. He did not “go around expecting Plato’s Republic.” People were people, he understood they were not perfect. He found a way to work with flawed people, putting them to service for the good of the empire, searching them for virtues that he celebrated and accepting their vices, which he knew were not in his control.
“We are so far from possessing anything of our own,” Marcus said to the Senate of his family’s so-called wealth, “that even the house in which we live is yours.” One of the only direct commands we hear of him giving the Senate was that they be merciful to some of his political enemies who had attempted a coup. The majority of Marcus Aurelius’s commands were instead to himself. Robin Waterfield, his translator, observes that 300 of the 488 entries in Meditations are rules Marcus gave himself. He got up early. He journaled. He kept himself active. He was not blessed with good health, but he never complained, never used it as an excuse, never let it slow him down more than absolutely necessary. Despite his wealth and power, he lived humbly—maintaining that difficult balance of restraint within abundance, spending most of his reign not in glamorous palaces of marble but in the simple tent of a soldier at the front. And when he fell short or screwed up? He tried to pick himself up and get back to it. To do his best always, even when it was very hard.
In the depths of the Antonine Plague, as Rome’s treasury was depleted, Marcus held a two-month sale on the lawn of the imperial palace, selling off his jewels and art collection, his wife’s silks and everything else they could live without. Were there other ways he could have solved the empire’s financial problems? Of course. He could have raised taxes. He could have looted the provinces. He could have relied on “prescription”—to seize the estates and property of Rome’s oligarchs. He also could have just kicked the can down the road, leaving the issue to his successors. Nearly every emperor before and after him would take these easy ways out, never thinking twice about it. Marcus took the hit instead. Because that’s what great leaders do: They do the right thing, even when—especially when—it costs them. When he was criticized, he shrugged it off. He had no time for sycophants or slanderers. Like Antoninus, when he was shown to be incorrect, he admitted error and changed his mind. It was a busy, ceaseless life, but he found stillness inside it, managing even to study philosophy from the cot in his tent, far from his library. He worked hard to be present, to “concentrate every minute like a Roman,” winnowing his thoughts and tuning out distraction, doing what was in front of him with both the tenderness and the tenacity he had learned from his hero. Whatever it was, he did his best—whether he was celebrated or despised for it.
“You don’t have to turn this into something,” he reminded himself when someone did something wrong or said something untrue about him. When he lusted after something, he stopped himself, turning those desires to stone before they burned through him and he did something he’d regret. He tried to make beautiful choices, tried to look for the best in people, tried to put himself in their shoes, tried to lead by serving. It was the pride of Marcus’s life that he not only didn’t need to ask anyone for favors but that anytime anyone asked him for something—money, advice, a hand—he could be generous. Amid plenty, amid intrigue, Marcus kept and was kept by, this beautiful motto: “Unrestrained moderation.” It is one thing to be a king, it is another to be a philosopher-king, and another thing entirely to be a good philosopher-king. To be a kingly person, independent of your title. Enfranchised, indifferent to what makes no difference, self-contained, self-motivated, devoted, hitting every right note at the right time in the right way. The kind of character that Marcus Aurelius cultivated was such that it brought distinction to his position, rather than the position bringing honor to his person.
To remain oneself in a world that pushes for conformity takes courage. It takes courage as well as temperance to be restrained in a world of excess, where we attack and mock those who don’t indulge in the pleasures we have rationalized and the passions we have excused in ourselves. Did he lose his temper from time to time? Of course. Few leaders can claim otherwise. But the ancient historians provide us no evidence that Marcus was ever vindictive, petty, cruel, or out of control. His reign was free of scandals, of shameful acts, of corruption. Isn’t that a pretty low bar? Not when you compare it to the sickening and brutal list of crimes and disasters put together by his predecessors and successors, right on down to today, where it seems that the hardest thing to find in the world is an honest and decent person in a position of significant leadership. Although Marcus was of good character, he knew that character was something that needs to be constantly worked on, constantly improved. He understood the second we stop trying to get better is the moment we start gradually getting worse. After the passing of Antoninus, he maintained his lifelong study of philosophy, humbly gathering up his tablets and going to school even as an old man. He never wanted to stop learning, never wanted to stop getting better.
What was he after? What was this destiny he sought? It was, of course, an impossible ideal, but the work of his life was movement toward the place where he would be “never swayed by pleasure or pain, purposeful when in action, free from dishonesty or dissimulation, and never dependent on action or inaction from anyone else.” Or, as he described it elsewhere, “self-reliance and indisputable immunity to the dice rolls of fortune.”
- Tolerant with Others, Strict with Yourself
Cato the Younger was just as strict as his great-grandfather. He was indifferent to wealth. He wore ordinary clothing, and walked around Rome barefoot and bareheaded. In the army, he slept on the ground with his troops. He never lied. He never went easy on himself. It came to be an expression in Rome: We can’t all be Catos. No one illustrated the impossibility of Cato’s standards like Cato’s own brother, Caepio. He loved luxury and favored perfumes and kept company that Cato never would have allowed himself. And yet Cato was humble enough in his own temperance to remember that it’s called self-discipline for a reason. While we hold ourselves to the highest standards—and hope that our good behavior is contagious—we cannot expect everyone else to be like us. It’s not fair, nor is it possible. Perhaps it was a rule articulated by Cato’s great-grandfather that helped Cato love and support his brother despite their different approaches to life. “I am prepared to forgive everybody’s mistakes,” Cato the Elder said, “except my own.” Ben Franklin, many generations later, would put forth an even better rule: “Search others for their virtues, thyself for thy vices.” Or as Marcus Aurelius put it, Tolerant with others, strict with yourself.
The only person you get to be truly hard on is you. It will take every ounce of your self-control to enforce that—not because it’s hard to be hard on yourself, but because it’s so hard to let people get away with things you’d never allow in yourself. To let them do things you know are bad for them, to let them slack off when you see so much more in them. But you have to. Because their life is not in your control. Because you’ll burn yourself out if you can’t get to a place where you live and let live. Credit them for trying. Credit them for context. Forgive. Forget. Help them get better, if they’re open to the help. Not everyone has trained like you have. Not everyone has the knowledge you have. Not everyone has the willpower or the commitment you have. Not everyone signed up for this kind of life either! Which is why you need to be tolerant, even generous with people. Anything else is unfair. It’s also counterproductive.
Be a strong, inspiring example and let that be enough . . . and even then try to be empathetic. In the run-up to the Gulf War, Colin Powell kept the fact that he was sleeping in his office a complete secret from his staff. The burden fell on his shoulders, not theirs, and he did not want them to feel like they had to try—even if they could—to match him sacrifice for sacrifice. One of Lincoln’s secretaries would marvel at the way the president “never asked perfection of anyone, he did not even insist, for others, upon the high standards he set for himself.” While good discipline is contagious, we can also be strong enough to accept that we are the only one who must live with such a severe case of it. Discipline is our destiny. From Antoninus, Marcus Aurelius learned that just trying to escape our own faults is hard enough work to keep us busy for a lifetime. None of us are so perfect that we can afford to spend much time questioning other people’s courage, nitpicking their habits, trying to push them to reach their potential. Not when we have so much further to go ourselves. Understanding this should not just make us less harsh, but also more understanding.
Better to follow the model of Cato and Marcus Aurelius. Cato didn’t lord himself over his brother, he loved him. With his stepbrother, Lucius Verus, Marcus didn’t hold his nose. He found things to love and appreciate in him—things that Marcus didn’t have himself. And of his weaknesses? Marcus used his brother’s vices to improve himself. Both were made better by being in each other’s lives, both were enriched by the common ground and affection they found in each other. This is the higher plane: When our self-discipline can be complemented by compassion, by kindness, understanding, love. The fruit of temperance should not be loneliness and isolation. That would be a bitter fruit, indeed. Superiority is not a weapon you wield on other people. In fact, we have a word for that kind of intemperance: egotism.
Other people will choose to live differently. They may attack us for our choices—out of insecurity or ignorance. They may well be rewarded for things we find abhorrent or ill-disciplined. And? That’s for them to deal with, and for us to ignore. The journey we are on here is one of self-actualization. We leave other people’s mistakes to their makers, we don’t try to make everyone like us. Imagine if we were successful—not only would the world be boring, but there would be so many fewer people to learn from! The better we get at this, the kinder we should become, and the more willing to look the other way. We’re on our own journey and, yes, it is a strict and difficult one. But we understand that others are on their own path, doing the best they can, making the most of what they have been given. It’s not our place to judge. It is our place to cheer them on and accept them.
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Quotes Featured in Discipline Is Destiny
Two words should be taken to heart and obeyed when exerting ourselves for good and restraining ourselves from evil—words that will ensure a blameless and untroubled life: persist and resist. — Epictetus
You may lose battles, but never lose a minute to sloth. — Napoleon
Those who think that they can live a high spiritual life whose bodies are filled with idleness and luxuries are mistaken. — Leo Tolstoy
It doesn’t matter what you bear, it matters how you bear it. — Seneca
Love the discipline you know, and let it support you. — Marcus Aurelius
About Tristan Hi, I’m Tristan. I’m the founder at Evolve to Grow. We work with serviced based business owners who provide high value offers, to make long-lasting improvements in their businesses and in their personal lives. Using our proprietary frameworks, we coach and educate you to build your capabilities so that you may achieve the sustainable advantage you desire. We are reality based. Everything we do and say is tangible and actionable.
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Awaken the Giant Within : How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical & Financial Destiny! By Anthony Robbins
Wake up and take control of your life! From the bestselling author of Inner Strength, Unlimited Power, and MONEY Master the Game, Anthony Robbins, the nation’s leader in the science of peak performance, shows you his most effective strategies and techniques for mastering your emotions, your body, your relationships, your finances, and your life.
The acknowledged expert in the psychology of change, Anthony Robbins provides a step-by-step program teaching the fundamental lessons of self-mastery that will enable you to discover your true purpose, take control of your life, and harness the forces that shape your destiny.
When Anthony Robbins was in his twenties he lived in a small studio flat at the heart of a big American city. His sink was also his dish-washer and washing-machine. He was carrying a good 10 kilos too many and didn’t’ have a dime to his name. One day, he had enough. And he decided to change things. From the moment the decision was taken, Tony put his best foot forward to attain his dreams. Today, Anthony Robbins is a world-reknown coach as well as being the CEO of various companies. Thanks to books, cassettes, training and seminars, he has changed the lives of millions: the homeless, employees, entrepreneurs and even Presidents like Bill Clinton!
He is also married and the happy father of four children, and lives in a luxurious villa. His book “Awaken The Giant Within” is the result of over 20 years’ of research analysing the difference between those who succeed and those stay at the bottom of the pile. The point of this book? To help you reach your dreams! It’s therefore a very rich book, full of historical anecdotes, divided into four sections.
The first, “Understanding your power”, takes you on a trip of self-discovery. Because your success is within you. The second, “Taking control: the master plan talks of specific keys, like how do you think? The third, “7 days to remodel your life”, provides 7 principals to apply to your everyday life. And finally, Tony talks about one’s destiny. In “Awaken The Giant Within” he will take you deep into the world of personal development, in order to uncover the mysteries of your identity. How do beliefs influence you, how to get what you want, why ask the best questions? Changing one’s vocabulary, how do your values and rules determine your happiness? You will obtain the answers to all these questions.
Part 1 : Understanding your power
Without doubt the biggest part of the book. It takes you to the very heart of yourself, and shows you what determines your success. Or your failure. We find out that all we need to succeed is already inside us.
All I need is in me now ! — Anthony Robbins
Chapter 1: Dreams of destiny
This book starts with a story. His story. Like everyone, he also had dreams. He had dreams of change. And to find out how to effect real changes, long lasting changes, he sought out all the key elements of successful people, that has achieved these changes. This research showed him the commonalities shared by all successful people; success factors. Thus, he established 3 stages to reach success:
Raise your standards: For example, he made a list of everything he could no longer tolerate in his life.
Change those belief that limit you: Belief are “orders” that come from your subconscious. They influence each of your actions. If you want to reach your goals, your dreams have to be in sync with your belief.
Modify your strategy: The most important thing is to persevere, but if you want to reach your goals, you must adopt the best and most appropriate strategies. But you can also change them on the fly! If something isn’t working, change it!
Three steps to reach your goal is all very well but you will need to acquire certain qualities. And to obtain those, Anthony Robbins proposes he becomes your personal trainer via this book. He plans to get you to master 5 aspects of life:
Master your emotions,
And Master the time.
He is also very clear that:
Awaken The Giant Within is intended as a step guide, a manual designed to increase your quality of life and the satisfaction you can get from it.
You’ve understood it. Tony doesn’t do things by halves. He intends to get the best possible results, even without being physically present. But, it depends entirely upon you.
Chapter 2: Decisions: the power path
At the start of this chronicle I mentioned that his life changed the moment he decided to not tolerate certain things. It’s the moment you make your decision that determines your future! The day a smoker stops smoking is not the day he has his last cigarette, it is the day he decides to stop. What I want to illustrate is that this power, the power to decide, is already within you! As Tony puts it, making a real decision is about being determined to get a particular result and to refuse any other possibility. Then, this power can be worked on like a muscle, and you can train it. To make good decisions you must make as many as possible!
Even if you make mistakes; even if you encounter failure. Do you know any CEOs? They often make excellent decisions. Why? Because they spend all day making them. But in our world, the ones with money are the managers, those who make decisions. The rest take home the crumbs, in other words nothing. Decisions are essential to your success and this power resides in you! So, don’t hesitate, decide.
Chapter 3: The power that determines your life
Each of your actions is determined by one simple force. Even if you are not aware of it yet. This force? Pain and pleasure. My life, your life, lives all over the world are driven by this one force. We all seek pleasure and all seek to avoid short-term pain. Imagine this: you have the choice of two things, the first means you avoid a bit of short-term pleasure but will hurt you in the long term. The other means a bit of pain in the short-term but will deliver enormous pleasure in the long-term.
What would you choose? Intellectually, there is no competition: the second offer is surely perfect. But your brain doesn’t reason this way. It will default to the first option. Why? Because it will do everything it can to avoid short-term pain, even if in the long-term, it will cause even more pain. In fact we could go even further; it’s not pleasure and pain that rules in most people, rather the idea of pleasure and the fear of pain. Everything is question of reality perception. In this chapter, he teaches you to use this phenomenon through associations.
Chapter 4: The belief system, the power to create and destroy
What is a belief? It’s something we generalise, which becomes a feeling a certainty, which we do not question. For example, if you got bad grades in French when you were a teenager, you could have thought, “I’m rubbish at French”, and because we generalise, you’ve adopted it and never question this belief, even now. This belief crushes you, to the extent that you’ve stopped working on the subject, which only drives even worse grades. This is the power of belief. But it also works in reverse; a conviction such as “I’m good at French” can have positive effects, you might then work harder to get better grades, motivated by your previous results. In this chapter, Tony puts forward beliefs that are common amongst winners and helps you obtain them thanks to a very powerful calling-into-question technique.
Chapter 5: Can one change immediately?
This is the subject of the 5th chapter. The answer is simple, it’s up to you to believe in it. If you have the conviction, the certainty that change can be immediate, then you can change in a fraction of a second.
How many psychiatrists do you need to change a light bulb? — only one…but it’s very expensive, takes a lot of time and crucially, the light bulb has to want to change.
According to Tony, we need to prepare ourselves for change, and take our lives into our own hands, unlike the light bulb! The belief I mention above isn’t enough, you have to be aware that no one other than you can be responsible for this long term change! Finally, you have to believe with the bottom of your heart that one thing needs to change.
Chapter 6: How to change any aspect of your life: the science of neuro-associative conditioning.
Anthony Robbins works on the basis that if we want to change our behaviour, we have to associate insufferable pain to the old behaviour and sensations of pleasure to the new one. This is the scientific basis of Neuro-associative Conditioning, derived from PNL, that Tony created. To obtain change he used a strategy of 6 conditioning steps:
Decide what you really want and what is stopping you from obtaining it
Find a motivation: associate profound suffering to not changing now, and great joy to changing immediately!
Drop the model that restricts you
Find a new, dynamic model
Reproduce this new model so that it becomes constant
Put your model to the test!
These are the basics of Neuro-associative Conditioning.
Chapter 7: How to get what you really want
You have to start with a simple question:
What do you want?
What really matters to you? A happy marriage, your children’s respect? A new car? Money? And why do you want all these things? Is it to change the way you feel? But to obtain what you want, you first have to be able to consciously change your state of mind. Emotion is created by movement and you can do it by using your body. Some movements help you to be calm, others to have self-confidence, and others to be motivated. The way you use your body will affect your state of mind! To change your life, you first have to change your state of mind!
Chapter 8: Questions are the best tools
Ask yourself a question: What determines your thoughts? Exactly. It’s the questions that you ask yourself. And the difference between a CEO and homeless person, is the quality of their questions. This is also why people are all so different. We all ask different questions. But, why are questions so effective? It’s precisely because they instantly modify our perspective therefore the way we feel. Also, if you ask a question, your brain will do everything it can to answer it. So ask good questions. For example if you encounter a problem, rather than pity yourself, ask key, stimulating questions like:
What is great about this problem?
What isn’t quite perfect yet?
What am I prepared to do to get what I want?
How I can use this situation to my advantage?
I know it isn’t always easy to ask oneself questions. But in difficult moments, I can recommend another, that I ask all the time.
Where is the gift in this situation?
One day or another, you will find it. Believe me, asking this question is not easy, especially in some situations. But, if you take the time to do it, even despite sadness, I can assure you, you will come out stronger.
Chapter 9: The vocabulary of ultimate success
Words are used to describe your biggest failures just as much as your greatest victories, great men have all too well understood the power of some of them, to get people to react. By using the right words to describe experiences, we can intensify our stimulating emotions, but if we choose badly we can destroy them. This is the power of words.
People with limited vocabulary render their emotional life poorer; people with a rich vocabulary have a large diversity of terms to describe their experiences — not only to others, but also to themselves.
So, by simply changing the words you use every day, you can instantly change the way you think, your feelings and your way of life. What I particularly like about this book is that it is full of examples, exhilarating anecdotes as well as ways to change. And here, Tony offers up a list of words you can use in your everyday life, which will change the way you live. Here are my favourite ones to really get pumped up!
Chapter 10: Overcome the obstacles and launch your success: the power of metaphors
Metaphors are pretty exceptional as their powers are out of the ordinary. In hypnotherapy, I often use them as your subconscious is hyper-receptive to little stories. So, what exactly is a metaphor? When you explain a concept by comparing it to something else, it’s a metaphor. Imagine the following metaphor: You’re tired and it feels like you’re carrying the world on your shoulders. Not a great feeling is it? Wouldn’t the best way to rid yourself of this, be to just put the world down? Doing this will break your train of thought. Even if this method might seem simplistic, test it out and tell me about it. It’s up to you to take control of your metaphors!
Life is a game
That’s a metaphor that can completely change your life, especially if you think life is a battle…
Chapter 11: The ten dynamic emotions
Too many people are locked in a routine. Everyday, they get up at the same time and do the same thing, which goes on forever. For twenty, sometimes 30 years, if not more. Their lives are comfortable but there is no passion. Too many people think they have no control over their emotions. So, they allow themselves to get stuck in a routine, one that is always much the same, so as to not have to suffer through anything else. Tony works on the basis that there are 4 ways to reckon with your emotions:
Learn from them and use them
On this basis, all your emotions are practical. Those that you consider to be negative become calls to action! Anthony Robbins calls them action signals. All emotions that you feel, are a gift. But where does this gift come from? Where do these emotions come from? They come from within you. You are the source! So, since you are the source, you can always feel exactly the way you want to feel.
You don’t need to a particular reason to feel good; you could decide right now to feel good, simply because you are alive, and because it’s what you want.
A six-step method to help you master your emotions:
Identify the real feelings you are experiencing,
Discover and appreciate your emotions, realise that they are there to help you,
Be curious about the messages your emotions are giving you,
To ensure you will easily handle this emotion in the future, plan the strategy you intend to use,
Get motivated and act!
Thanks to this method, you’ll always benefit from these action signals in order to progress!
Chapter 12: A magnificent obsession: an extraordinary future
Big goals stimulate motivation. Imagine if you became a kid again, with big dreams. It’s those dreams that will give you the energy to attain them! For Tony, no one is lazy, it’s just goals that make some powerless. If after too short a night’s sleep you’re able to get up, that’s because you’re really passionate about your goals! To reach them you’ll need all your energy, which is why living your dreams is so important.
We need to discover everything or come up with a magnificent obsession that can stimulate us.
It’s up to you to transform the invisible into the visible! Once you have your target in mind, you must immediately create a plan to take the necessary steps to hit it. To maintain this motivation, at least once a day you need to feel that you have reached each of your goals, in the short term.
Chapter 13: The ten day challenge
1 challenge, 10 days, 4 rules.
For 10 consecutive days, refuse to be drawn into unproductive thoughts or feelings.
If you concentrate on negative things, use different techniques to get yourself into a productive state of mind.
Concentrate only on solutions.
If you get moments of weakness, pull yourself together!
Part 2: Taking control: the master plan
This part of the book is designed to help you to take control of your master plan of evaluation, in other words the power that controls the way you think and act at every moment.
Chapter 14: Supreme influence: your master plan
What is a master plan? It’s 5 elements that determine how you evaluate life events. Once you understand someone’s master plan, you’ll know their values and will understand what motivates them. Above all, bear in mind that people are about more than just their behaviour. Never judge someone on an isolated act. We all use a system to determine the meaning of things and what we should do in nearly all situations. We don’t all allocate the same importance to things. Everything depends on perspective. If you want to achieve success, you have to be able to assess every aspect of your life, and do so in a way that will produce the results you want. Using this kind of process isn’t always easy. Tony has put together a method that can help you enhance the process:
Your state of mind makes all the difference. Always have a positive mindset before taking important decisions,
Ask yourself the right questions,
Are you in sync with your values?
Are you in sync with your overall beliefs and rules?
Do you have standards?
This is what makes up a master plan.
Chapter 15: Values: your personal compass
What is a value? It’s more than a belief; in a way it’s an ideal. You need to clearly define your values in order to uphold them, whatever the situation is. You must remain faithful to your values at all times, even if life doesn’t always reward you for it. If you want to be happy, you have to live by your ideals. We often don’t choose our own values. They are carved into us, as we move through our life story. If you had to write down your values by order of importance, would you be able to? If you don’t know your ideals, how do you make good decisions? In order to help you find those ideals that suit you best, Tony provides various exercises to do, which clarify the mind.
Chapter 16: The rules: if you are unhappy here is why!
The rules are the beliefs that determine whether we feel pleasure or pain. What needs to happen for you to feel happy? All the reasons are the rules. But, on the other hand, you don’t need anything in particular to feel good. You have to want it. In today’s society, most people have a huge amount of reasons to be unhappy and very few to be happy. As a result, they are unhappy most of the time. It’s therefore time to change the system, and rely on rules that allow us to be happy, every time we want to! It’s up to you to set the rules of the game , for you to be happy. A rule can provide a lot of power, or conversely deny it. How do you know which? These 3 criteria will help you. A rule removes power from you if:
It is impossible to adhere to,
You rely on something that is out of your control in order to respect it,
It provides a few ways to be happy but dozens of ways to be unhappy.
So, if you have this kind of rule, best to adjust it as soon as possible. Rules are really the basis of your personality. They are often the source of conflict between people. Also, there are some that you simply cannot break.
Chapter 17: Standards, the fabric of life
Standards are all the experiences you’ve stored in your nervous system. In other words everything you’ve seen, heard, tasted, felt. You can be conscious or unconscious of these standards. These standards are used to support your beliefs but you must constantly develop them, grow them as much as possible. People can have the same experience, but create different beliefs from it. Because, it’s not the standard itself that is important, it is the meaning you attach to it. Limited standards create a limited life. If you want to enrich your life, you must extend your standards by nurturing ideas and experiences that wouldn’t be part of your life if you didn’t seek them out. And you can find standards everywhere.
Every day new ones are added to your personality through people you meet, your adventures and even by reading! Also, standards are not limited to just your experience. Anthony Robbins cites the example of Roger Bannister the first man to run a mile in four minutes. He developed the certainty that it was possible, using visualisation. Just by using imagination he convinced himself it was possible and did it!
Unbridled imagination delivers a sense certainty far beyond the limits of our past. If you have experienced what we commonly call “failure” don’t forget whatever you do, do not go searching in the past using a rear-view mirror as a guide. If you want to learn from past experience, don’t live in the past; concentrate on the things that give you power! And you will succeed! To build up your standards to the best they can be, do something unusual, why not take up a new language, leave home, discover and help the world?
Chapter 18: Identity: the key to personal growth
At the beginning of every chapter, Anthony Robbins recounts a real story and I want to share this particular with you. An American soldier was captured by Chinese Communists. They didn’t torture him, quite the opposite, they even offered him a cigarette. At the end of the conversation, the American soldier held a document he had written himself, describing on the one hand the countless injustices and destructive effects of American life — a capitalist society — and on the other the merits of a communist system. Later on, this very same soldier would divulge military secrets, betray his own compatriots and fervently denounce his own country. How was it that this man completely changed his vision of the world, abandoned his beliefs and renounced all his values in order to collaborate with the enemy? In fact, he ended up transforming his very identity.
Various types of beliefs
There are various types of beliefs, specific ones, general ones, and those that determine our identity. Your abilities are a constant, but the use you make of them depends on the meaning of your identity. Also, what others perceive (belief) of your personality will determine the way they want to interact with you. Even if it has nothing to do with who you really are. We therefore always behave based on the perceptions of who we really are, whether those perceptions are correct or not.
And we all need continuity, certainty. Most people are afraid of the unknown so they prefer to stay as they are. Even if the consequences could be disastrous. If you don’t know who you are, how can you make good decisions? How do you adopt values, rules for happiness? How do you succeed? Therefore right from the start, it’s important to adopt the belief that one can change. And develop new beliefs that define our identity. Our behaviour will adapt as result of these new beliefs.
Who are you?
It’s a question that is often met with blank looks or incomplete answers. In this chapter, you’ll learn how to create your best calling card. Imagine if you were in the dictionary, what would your description be?
Part 3: Remodel your life in seven days
You have seven days to transform every aspect of yourself…
Chapter 19: Emotional destiny: the only real success
At the end of the first day, you will have taken control of your emotions, and begin to consciously and voluntarily reshape your daily life.
There is no real success without emotional success. ~Anthony Robbins
In Awaken the Giant Within, Tony provides many tools to spend more time in a positive state of mind.
Here is a list of different factors that you can influence in order to be more dynamic:
The questions you have,
A promising future,
Sense of identity.
It is quite a lot, it’s true.
Chapter 20: Physical destiny: pain prison or pleasure palace
At the end of day two, you will learn how to condition your metabolism and your muscles so that they provide you with the energy and fitness you desire because your physical destiny depends on it.
In this chapter, Anthony Robbins shows you why and how you can be healthy and physically fit!
True to himself, he delivers a plan but this time in seven steps:
Differentiate between being in good shape and being healthy: to be in good shape is the physical ability to engage in athletic activities. Being healthy is when all systems of the organism function optimally.
Take the decision to be in good shape,
Work out what state you’re in: Do you need to start exercising? Are you tired first thing in the morning?
Buy a heart rate monitor,
Establish an exercise routine,
Take on a bigger challenge, the one in his book Unlimited Power, “Energy: the fuel of excellence”
Decide to integrate your exercise into your sense of identity.
Chapter 21: The destiny of human relationships: sharing and love
At the end of day three, you will have improved the quality of your personal relationships and your emotional ties with those who are most dear to you.
Success has no value if you cannot share it.
Here are the six fundamental principles for happy relationships:
If you do not understand the values and rules of the person you are in a relationship with, prepare to suffer,
The relationship you are in can only last if you see through it the lens of giving rather than receiving,
For a happy relationship, you should seek out certain things and avoid others.
Make sure your relationship is the priority of your life!
Everyday strive to make your relationship better,
Remind yourself every day, what it is your love about the person you are with. Reinforce your feelings of belonging and renew your feelings of intimacy and the attraction you have for them.
Chapter 22: The financial objective: small steps towards a small (or big) fortune
You’ll take you financial future into your own hands on this fourth day.
To help, Tony provides five fundamentals in order to acquire wealth.
Make yourself even more useful,
Preserve your wealth: spend less than you earn and invest the difference,
Increase your wealth: After having invested the difference, re-invest your profits in order to obtain a compound return,
Protect your wealth,
Enjoy your wealth: Real wealth is a feeling of fulfillment.
Chapter 23: Be irreproachable: your code of ethics
How would I feel if I was at my best? Which virtues should I aim for every day, whatever the circumstances?
This is a good question and it’s the theme for this fifth day. There are different credos that help live an irreproachable life. Here is the credo in seven points by John Wooden. Demand the best of yourself:
Be faithful to yourself,
Make every day a masterpiece,
Dig deep into the source of good books,
Make friendship an art form,
Build yourself a shelter for difficult days,
Every day pray to God for guidance and thank the heavens for the blessings.
Chapter 24: Master your time and your life
The sixth and penultimate day is all about time.
Learn to use it to your advantage rather than let it stress you out. Our beliefs also distort our perception of time. Tony explains “three tricks” he uses to save time.
The ability to distort time,
Managing your priorities,
Save years by using the experience of others.
Chapter 25: Rest and fun: even God rested on the seventh day!
Last and final day of the week. Your goal? Find balance.
You’ve worked hard to get where you are, now, have fun!
Part 4: A lesson in destiny
Chapter 26: The supreme challenge: what everyone can do individually
For this final anecdote, Anthony Robbins tells the story of the tuna hunt. The boats were tracking the dolphins, as they knew that schools of tuna would follow them, just below. As soon as the dolphins got closer, the fishermen cast their nets and brought them back in, sometimes containing a hundred dead dolphins as they couldn’t get back to the surface to breathe. All this for what? Tuna! Then, they threw all the dead fish back into the sea…To tackle this, a man decided to film this with a hidden camera. He had conned himself onto the boat as a sailor and he knew he risked death if he was caught. In the end, his expedition was a success.
The tuna hunt
An 11 minute film put an end to this barbaric activity. Thanks to this man, many big companies stopped this massacre and many thousands of dolphins — if not more — were saved. And this is just one of many examples. In all walks of life there are injustices and miseries to combat. Nothing is more demoralising and paralysing than a sense of impotence. It is the main obstacle that prevents us from changing our life or doing something to help others to change theirs. Thanks to this book you find out how to change yours, but it would be selfish to stop there. It’s time to go beyond that and to contribute to collective decisions concerning the future of the world. Your future, my future, our future, that of our families and the destiny of all our children and grand-children. This is the theme of the final chapter.
The majority of problems in this world are caused by human behaviour. One can therefore conclude that the solution is a change of behaviour. Anthony Robbins believes that you and I and all the people we meet in our lives are capable of heroism, and I fully believe this too. But when the time comes, will you have the courage to be a hero and forget yourself for the benefit of those in need? Will I have that courage too? A final word on this chapter is that our characters are forged through challenges.
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Dr. Maria Nemeth Author, Speaker, Master Coach for purpose-driven people, Founder & Director of the Academy for Coaching Excellence, Maria Nemeth, PhD, MCC offers purpose-driven people simple yet powerful tools for training our brains for success. Designed and refined over decades of work with people all over the world, her work turns timeless wisdom into practical skills that have helped tens of thousands to live and serve with clarity, focus, ease, and grace. Dr. Maria Nemeth’s powerful words become the source of inspiration for people coming together to seek prowess and grit within themselves, making her the best woman speaker for conferences.
Best Book Bits podcast brings you an extraordinary 79 year old entrepreneur woman Maria Nemeth coach, business owner, speaker and teacher that has been working with people for over 53 years. First as a licensed clinical psychologist and then a master certified coach with I C F. She’s the founder and director of the Academy for Coaching Excellence and the author of three books, one of which entitled The Energy of Money, which brought Maria.
To the Oprah Show. She has two podcast shows and a coaching app. She’s devoted to elevated women entrepreneurs and coaches to have successful businesses. Maria, thanks for being on the show. Oh, I am so thrilled. Michael. Thank you for having me on the show today. Your legacy in the amount of work that you’ve done is is overwhelming.
Take us back not too long ago, three weeks, your 79th birthday where you are writing a camel in Egypt that you just told me the story. Can you share your latest birthday with. Oh, I would love to do it, for our listeners I know that you have a goal or a [00:01:00] dream you’d love to accomplish.
My advice to you is make it happen. If you have to save money for it, put it in a savings account, mark, just for that goal or dream I saved up money so that I could go on a journey with. 24 other people. It was from ucla. I’m an al, I’m an an alumni from U UCLA graduate and we were with Egyptologists and I was in Egypt.
And then I went to Jordan to see Petra. You know that Indiana Jones. It was just of a lifetime. And there I was telling you going onto my 79th birthday on a Campbell in front of the Great Pyramid of Kios in Giza Egypt and Michael, when you have a dream and then it’s there.
It change, it changed. And I’ll tell you, let me, may I tell you how it changed me? Just in a bottom [00:02:00] line. I was able to go to the the Valley of the Kings. I was able to take a balloon ride over it to see the whole thing. I was able to go to Carnac and Abu symbol, all the places. And what just gobsmacked me, Michael was.
To be in the presence of 7,000 years of genius and creativity and people creating something so that they could live forever in the year after. And then I saw my little life, my just like blip of a life against 7,000 years. And it just occurred to me the time we have here. What is it for? And at that moment I saw it’s for so that we can dance with each other so that we can contribute with each other so that we can have fun and support other people to [00:03:00] attain their goals and dreams.
And the bottom line for me was Maria, just don’t take yourself so seriously. Just don’t take yourself, those little thoughts we have our worries, our doubts and our fears. When I put that against 7,000 years of history, doesn’t mean very much. So that’s it. Quite humbling it, it’s nice to see your still traveling, still learning, still thinking, still exploring that.
That’s great. Now take us back to, take us back to how you started, 53 years ago. How did you get involved in this field and how did your story unfold? 53 years ago I was a licensed clinical psychologist and I was seeing people in psychotherapy. And something happened, it was about 35 years ago, so I’d been seeing people for 15 years, 35, oh my 40 years ago.
I loaned someone [00:04:00] $35,000 on an unsecured, promissory note, Michael, which isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on. And my friends and colleagues and relatives relatives said, don’t do this because the man, oh, I borrowed it at 10 and a half percent from an in-law because this man said he could earn me 32% on my investment.
Does that sound too good to be true? It was, but I didn’t listen to my friends. I didn’t even listen to my own voice of wisdom inside. That small, sweet little voice, everybody has one. If you’re listening in now you know what I’m talking about. And just as I was about to sign my check for 35.
And zero. Zero over a hundred thousand dollars with a little line. So he couldn’t cash it for more because I was not a fool. This little [00:05:00] voice, what do you think it was saying to me, Michael? Yeah, and I did it anyway. I lost the money. I was ashamed. I withdrew from my friends and started trying to earn.
The money I owed before anyone would speak to me, I was so mortified. If you run from your lessons, you know they follow you. Yes. And I get a call from a reporter from the Sacramento bes the newspaper here in Sacramento. She says, Dr. Nemeth, and of course, I got my very professional voice on yes.
May I help you? You know how we get that voice, she said, oh, Dr. Nema, thank you. I, we’ve been having so much trouble in Sacramento and I’ve been given your name because you’re a noted psychologist and an associate clinical professor at uc, Davis, [00:06:00] department of Psychiatry. Please, you have to help us.
There’s been a Ponzi scheme in Sacramento and people have been losing everywhere from 20 to $50,000 on this. Can you really tell us from your experience as a psychologist, your diagnosis, what’s wrong with these people?
And of course, she was talking about me. Now I’m an extrovert. And in order for us extroverts to know what we’re thinking, we have to say it out loud. And so I started telling her everything. I lost the money. I didn’t listen to my friends. I and she did at some point say, are you sure you want to tell us this because I’m printing it, and I said, you know what? You might as well print my story cuz if someone. Can get something out of what I did. If it’ll [00:07:00] help them, then at least it’ll take some of the sting out of it for me. So she printed it. Dr. Nema, well-known psychologist, gets stung by this deal. And my friends and colleagues and relatives started calling me Mark Michael, and the thing about it was instead of asking me why did you do it and you know what’s wrong with you and all that, they started telling me about their difficulties with money and I saw it didn’t matter how much or little people have Michael, it doesn’t matter how much or little of this energy of money you have, there’s always some difficulty.
Attached to it. So I started a course called You and Money and it was wildly successful and I changed it to mastering life’s energies because there’s the energy of money. It is energy, but there are five other energies [00:08:00] that we learn to use. There’s time, physical vitality. Creativity, enjoyment, and relationship.
But of all those six forms of energy, the one we have to learn how to use first is money. And that’s been part of my journey. Thanks for sharing. And when, when did you do that course? How long ago was that? And then what came from that? Oh thank you for asking. I’m glad you’re interested. I started that course maybe 34 years ago, and I was still seeing people in my private practice.
But at some point right around there, I became interested in something called coaching, which as you know, 30, even 30 years ago, no one really saw it as a profession. I We had voice coaches and Athletic coaches, but we didn’t have personal coaches, success coaches, and [00:09:00] I began studying with some people who were talking about coaching, and I began coaching people and I saw that was more suited to my temperament.
So I worked with people. After working with them, I began to develop some success techniques that I tried it out on people and I keep telling those folks. 25, 30 years ago that they were my Guinea pigs, cuz I tried the things that worked and, and scuttled the things that didn’t work.
But the bottom line is that about 22, about 23 years ago, I came up with this fairly solid Grouping of tools and principles and techniques that are geared toward making people become successful in whatever they choose in life. And some colleagues talked with me, why don’t we open up, a coach training [00:10:00] academy using your work.
And so we did 22 years ago, and we were one of the first in. And I made sure that we had certification from I C F because being an academician myself and knowing Michael if my listeners come away in this podcast with nothing, I hope they just get this one thing. Coaching is just as powerful as psycho.
With coaching, you’re holding a person’s life, their goals and dreams in your hand, and how their life turns out will be due in no small measure to the way you supported them. Now, why I’m saying that because I’ve become a real staunch advocate of rigorous training for coaches, not [00:11:00] this two weekend. Michael, if you were going to be going to a psychotherapist and you ask where did you get their training?
Your training? And they said to you I took a two weekend course and I have life experience. That qualifies me. Would you choose them as a therapist? No. And I say that coaches should be held to the same scrutiny. Because of how powerful coaching. So that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Just a personal note as well. So I’ve always wanted to be a coach myself. I started reading books. I’ve read about 500 books to write my first book, success in 50 Steps, which is basically my coaching manual through there. But did the hard work, did read the books, did the courses, all that stuff as well, and coaching people from a passion, not from a monetary thing.
So anyway, I went to a coaching. A seminar about four or five years ago, and the coach was basically saying, look, the coaching area at the moment [00:12:00] is the wild west. It’s not regulated, obviously the internet, a lot of people can get into it and do marketing. Call themselves the coach. And I was really jaded by a lot of people getting into the industry without having a, doing the hard work or the background or the certifications as well.
And a lot of these coaches are certified people on their program and it’s hang on a sec, they’re not even certified. So there’s this weird, join my five day free group, and then all of a sudden you could be certified doing this. And marketing, there’s just a lot of people are in it just from the money.
It’s, as you said before, it’s such a powerful tool to help someone else. You really need to be not only certified, but have the correct knowledge or the come from the right heart instead of the head. A lot of people coming from it to make money. Instead it’s actually, you gotta be there to surf someone else.
So they’re really jaded on the coaching industry at the moment. But what led you to develop the Mastery of Life coaching program? That it took a while. My [00:13:00] colleagues and I, and of course in order to run the academy, I had to have my master coach certification through icf because Michael, I wanted everything to be Verified through, in the International Coach Federation is the closest we have come to what the American Psychological Association was, let’s say 50 years ago.
It’s not a licensing body, but it does certify that if you get certified through a program like ours and like others that are Accredited that you’ve been well trained and it’s recognized throughout the world. So if you have an ICF certification, you’re an a ACC or a pcc it’s really good.
And what we’ve done is we have rigorous courses. They’re now done on webinars, on Zoom because, because of the pandemic, we [00:14:00] had to pivot and put everything on Zoom. But you have skill building webinars. You have mentors who work with you. Personally, twice a month you have coaching skills groups in which you meet with small groups in the presence of one of my master teachers.
And for 12 weeks you go through this intensive skill building training. I mean you have an ethics course, the ethics of coach. I also have a, of a course that I’ve designed because I used to do a lot of crisis intervention as a psychologist, and I want my coaches to recognize when the client they’re working with is in crisis, and so when to coach them and when to refer.
And so I have a working with people in crisis, working with clients in crisis course it’s called so as you can see, oh, and we have six [00:15:00] observed coaching sessions that the person has to pass at different levels and once they have passed their sixth. And this is reviewed by our mentors and scored.
But once they’ve passed that and take our written test, then they’re certified. And only then, because I wanna make sure that if you have the Academy for Coaching Excellence brand that you. Going to deliver coaching services above and beyond, frankly, what is currently called for. And so you’re absolutely right, a hundred percent right, Michael.
You can only really be a good coach if you want to see people be successful above everything else. And. When you are trained [00:16:00] well and can be counted on to provide a good service, then you can afford to have fees that reflect your training and your certification, but just to be in it, just to make money.
One of the things that happens is that the coach will become Cyn. And skeptical themselves because they sense they don’t have the proper training to work with the person that’s in front of them. Once again, knowing that as a coach, Michael, you and I, everyone who coaches you’re holding that client’s life, their goals and dreams in your hands.
And how you promote them, how you support them will determine how successful they are and then how successful you are. And there’s [00:17:00] nothing better than to know as a coach, you’ve had a hand in having your client be financially successful. Personally successful in whatever they’re doing. It’s a, to me it’s a thrill.
And I’m 79 years old, as you can tell. I love it. I’ll probably be doing it till I’m 99 years old. Listen, I had a clinical supervisor when I was at ucla. Her name was he Bogar, and she was from Vienna. Do you know she was from Vienna? And she talked to me, she said one day, Maria if one of your patients says you look like a monkey first, look in the mirror, you might look like a monkey.
And she was supervising people till she was 98. I definitely think you can do it. I wanna change gears a little bit and talk about the energy of money as well. One of the, one of the books that you’ve wrote, I’ve done the summary of, it’s Fantastic. You talk about the money’s. It’s [00:18:00] similar to the relationship with money as a hero’s journey as well.
Can you talk a little bit about that and how money’s related to the hero? I have a saying that has proven correct over the years that how you do money is how you do life. If you are if you’re successful with money, if you’re using it in the way you want to be using it it impacts your whole life.
It impacts your as I said, there’s first, there’s money and then the energy of time and money and time, aren’t they really intricately woven together? Many years ago when I asked someone, why haven’t you done what it is you love to do? The first thing they’d say is, I don’t have the. But over the past five years, especially when I ask someone why is it that you haven’t done what you really wanna do?[00:19:00]
The first thing is, I don’t have the time. So there’s money and time, and if you can work with those, then there’s physical vitality, meaning having a relationship with your. That guarantees you’re gonna be on this planet long enough to make the difference you wanna make. And then of course there is the energy of creativity, which is to learn how to creatively deal with the inevitable obstacles that happen.
The energy of enjoyment means what you enjoy doing, and I hope people are getting. Little tidbit for themselves. Whatever you enjoy doing, you will be successful at. And then finally, the energy of relationship, which means that we all need each other. Michael, I need you. You need me. I’m in a support network.[00:20:00]
I know you are too. Successful people don’t think do things alone. They do it through the support. And relationships, the rich relationships that they developed. But it all starts with money. One of the first things I did God, I was 26 years ago, I wrote this book in which I kind of brain dumped everything that I had learned working with people and their relationship with.
And there are exercises in the book and there are thought exercises as well as written ones. But the bottom line is that book is very, I’ll say it this way, is very densely written. Meaning you know how people might say, oh, I’ll finish off a chapter. I’ll finish off a chapter. No.
Usually people can get through the first five pages and then they stop and think a little bit [00:21:00] and then go back. It’s really good to do this book in a in a book group so that you can support each other in doing the thought exercises and the actual physical exercises that you need to do. So the bottom line is, My one of my dreams is to show people how to transform their relationship with money so that they can become very successful.
And I have a way of defining success. I think that might be different than a lot of people. We use it at the Academy. Success Michael is doing. What you said you would do consistently with clarity, focus, ease, and grace, where clarity is about learning how to see what’s important to you. And a lot of this work is aimed at having people see what they really value in their [00:22:00] hearts.
Focus is about learning how to focus your brain toward what you really love without getting distract. And you know how easy it is for us to be distracted. Ease is about learning how to take small sweet steps toward a goal, not biting off more than you can chew and then getting exhausted. That old fable about the tortoise and the hair, and the tortoise actually ends up winning.
It’s one of asaps fables. It’s true. Steady progress is what really makes it not the flash in the pan. Yes. Stick with me and I’ll you’ll be taking in $300,000 a year. Just take this program, all that stuff. It’s just not, it’s not practical. It’s not doable, and then the last one. So if that’s ease. Ease, then the last one is grace. And the definition of grace is the ability to see [00:23:00] the blessings that are around you already. And the gateway to grace is gratitude. Success then is doing what you said you would do consistently. With clarity, focus, ease, and grace, and being financially successful is doing what you said you would do consistently with money, with clarity, focus, ease, and grace.
And by that definition, I’ve discovered, and as you can imagine, over the past 52 years, I’ve worked with one or two people, right? One or two, right? I’ve discovered. Just because a person has millions of dollars doesn’t mean that they’re financially successful, cuz they worry about it. They worry about losing it.
They’re worrying about how to keep up the momentum when they’re exhausted. And also by that [00:24:00] definition, people who have less money, but they’re doing exactly what they want to be doing. With it. They’re saving it. They’re focusing, they’re taking small, sweet steps when it comes to money. For example, I remember one woman who said, okay, I’m gonna save $50 a month and I’m gonna put it in an investment portfolio.
She said I’ve never even heard of an investment portfolio. But at the end of a year, she had $600 and she put it in an investment portfolio and she was elated and decided to spend save a hundred dollars a month, and at the end of the second year, she had $1,200 in another investment portfolio. But the point of it is this, Michael, she was absolutely motivat.
And ended up starting [00:25:00] a virtual assistant business, and now she’s socking away quite a bit of money for herself and her children, and they’re using it with clarity, focus, ease, and grace, as well as investing it. But she doesn’t have money worries. So that’s what I’m talking about, and thanks for letting me give you these long.
Appreciate it. It reminded me of the Bible story of the poor widow who gave two pennies. And the plain truth is that the widow had given by far, the largest offering today because all the offers that she made, they’ll never miss. She gave extraordinary cuz she couldn’t afford it. She gave it all so sh even though it was only a small amount, but it was everything that, that she had.
I hear what you’re saying. So I had this thought as well, so people with money, if you’re not at ease with it, you’re stressing about it, worrying about. Are you really financially successful where someone who might not have a lot of it, they ease small sweet steps, as you said?
[00:26:00] Consistency. They’re focused, they’ve got gratitude. It’s not the amount it’s. It’s really just a ratio as well. So it’s how money impacts your energy, your happiness, your lifestyle as well. So I’ll be interested to to jam on that a little bit more. One of the things that you talk about, you and the money course begins, the first question we look at is how we confront our unconscious beliefs and feelings about money.
Is that the first step with the lot of people? Because obviously we’ve been brought up in an economic society and money’s a lock that unlocks things talk about, people’s unconscious beliefs and feelings about money. One of the best ways whatever you can bring to the surface and observe how it’s.
Operating in your life. I don’t mean analyzing, like why is it this way? But to really observe your [00:27:00] relationship with money it’s a very important thing. And so one of the things that I have people do whether it’s in my book, the Energy of Money or in courses, we at the academy we have lots of courses for people who don’t necessarily wanna be coaches, but they want to transform their lives.
One of the best things to begin to do is a money autobiography. And in my book, as there are a number of questions that I ask people, Write about things like where did you first learn about money? How did your mom act around money? How did your father act around money? None. No whys.
I don’t want analysis. And if we had two hours, I’d talk to you about how analysis doesn’t really get us anywhere, but that’s a whole other story. What was the first money you earned? What did you spend it on? Have you ever lost money? What was that like? Have you ever [00:28:00] put money toward a savings for something you want?
What was that like? There’s so many questions. Did your family talk about money at the dinner table? Where where did you learn about spending money? Did you learn it from your mom or your dad? Just all these questions, because I’m just giving you a couple. There’s this this whole list.
You don’t have to answer all of them, but what you do is you uncover a a way of thinking about. That you hadn’t seen before. You might have thought it, but you didn’t really see it, observe it oh and I ask you to give a title to the Money Auto Autobiography. And some people come up with very funny titles.
My extraordinary relat. Without money or something. Just the, or they come up with [00:29:00] serious titles. But that’s the way to surface all this stuff. You don’t have to go through a lot of analysis or anything, just answer even when people answer, let’s say. Six or eight of those questions.
Ideally answering 10 to 12 of them is the best, but answering six or eight of them will give you something that I call your structure of knowing about money, whereas meaning this the kind of created. Network of conclusions that you have that intera interrelate with each other. And just to see it is already life changing and I don’t ask people to analyze it, but just look at, first of all, acknowledge themselves for doing this job because it, it’s a lot to have people look at their relationship with.[00:30:00]
And after they observe it, what conclusions are you coming to about your relationship with money? And write them down. And then there are things I have you do with those conclusions that have arisen because you’ve done this money autobiography. So that’s the first way I have people look at. What they knew but didn’t know.
They knew about. One of the other things you talk about. Thanks for sharing. That’s really great. You talk about breathing room as well, asking people, do I have enough money? Ask the question to yourself three or four times, where does your body register reaction? Your stomach, your chest, your throat, breathing room occurs in the moment.
You get into what you call the observational position as well. Can you talk about. Breathing room. Some people might not have a lot of money, but they’re quiet. They, they’ve got that breathing room of, ah, okay, I’ve got enough money for X amount of time. And some people might be rich and they feel like they’re, they’ve got no money and there’s no breathing room or no wiggle room.
Can you expand on that a little bit? You know what, you just you [00:31:00] just said it all brilliant, because that’s exactly what, that’s what happens. Yeah. The what I was saying that you observed this. This money autobiography. Creating the observational gap means that you see something, you’re not analyzing it.
You’re just noticing it. Like you would notice a patch of flowers. There’s brightness here. There’s darkness here. There’s worry here. There’s calm here. Let me see about this brightness. What makes it bright? I talked about the times that I was winning with money and how great it made me feel.
Let’s look at the darkness. What’s in there? Oh, for me, the time I lost $35,000 on an unsecured promissory note. [00:32:00] But you’re just noticing noticing, and it puts your mind in a different state where it’s not tied to the old patterns, it’s observing the patterns. I know it’s a sometimes a difficult, distinct.
To comprehend cognitively without having that experience where you’re seeing something that you hadn’t seen before, but you see it in such a way that you’re empowered to do something, not the same thing over and over and over. You know how. Our minds do a lot of analysis, and you’ve heard that old saying, analysis paralysis.
If people stop for a moment and observe, excuse me. If people just stop for a moment and [00:33:00] observe what they’re experiencing, For example, as they look at their money autobiography, I remember one woman saying to me, I’ve looked at the dark spaces all the times, I’ve worried about money, et cetera, et cetera, and I asked myself, Sylvia, have you had enough of doing it this way?
I saw. Stuff happening over and over again. But because I was in the observational position, I could ask myself really authentically, have I had enough worrying? Have I had enough dreading money? Have I had enough running from it? Is there maybe some other way I’d like to establish a relationship with money?
And then you see you’re on your hero’s journey right then. And this relates into what you talk about in the book, trouble at the Border as well. So projecting our life’s intentions into physical [00:34:00] reality. So you know, we have that we begin to move from idea, from the metaphysical realm into the physical reality.
And you cross that border between the very two different worlds as well. So internally, we might have a great idea and we’re like, This is great. It’s perfect, everything works out in our dreams and then trouble at the border of crossing that chasm. Can you talk a little bit about, trouble at the border?
I would love to and Michael, let me say that since over the past 25 years since writing that book, for example, I have recod what trouble at the border really means, and one of the reasons is because in our world right now, there’s so much trouble at border crossings, real in life.
And 35 years ago when I started talking about it, it was trouble at the border was, but now people, they don’t relate to it in the same way. What I really saw was this, [00:35:00] what happens when you get to this border because there is an imaginary line, folks that separates two aspects of life as we’ve come to know it.
There’s one metaphysical. Sometimes people call it visionary reality. And then there’s physical reality. Now, when you start putting that idea dream or vision into physical reality, you start experiencing a lot of difficulty. It’s normal. I remember one man said, when I first started writing my book, even sitting at the page.
Typing that first paragraph of the book, it felt like I was standing on a sunny beach, all of a sudden being hit by a cold wave of water, a huge cold wave. Now, I said to myself, what’s really going on here? [00:36:00] That experience of tension of worry and doubt, am I up for this? Number one, it’s what?
Hero experiences on their hero’s journey. Joseph Campbell who wrote eloquently on the Hero’s Journey. And who was the mentor for George Lucas? George Lucas said if it weren’t for Joseph Campbell star Wars would probably never have gotten off the drawing board. But to get back to this, part of the hero’s journey is to confront the inevitable obstacle.
They’re inevitable. You’re always gonna have obstacles. I say, if there are no obstacles, you’re not playing big enough. There’ll always be an obstacle. The question is, what is this OP an opportunity for? And it’s an opportunity for mastery. So that’s what I call it now, an opportunity for mastery. [00:37:00] And what are we mastering?
There we can learn a number of ways of going past this place with ease, and I’ve developed those strategies. Over the years and whether you’re reading the Energy of Money or incidentally, I have and as this new, I have a digital course called The Energy of Money, which is based A bit on the book, but I give people a lot of extra things to do and it’s me on video and and you have all kinds of book booklets to write things.
And it also comes with three coaching sessions from me. I have three group coaching sessions. And so you can do that or you could. Just read the book, the Energy of Money, or you can come to one of the courses [00:38:00] at the Academy for Coaching Excellence. I’m doing a plug here but there are tools that you can use to go past this border experience and once you do, you experience that you’ve mastered this mastery.
Is your ability to interact in a productive way with any obstacle you experience at this point of mastery. One of the things you talk about in the book, which integrates with this, so you talk about the four steps of the coaching model, look and see they’re more metaphysical things because looking and seeing happens, with the eyes in inside and then you talk about tell the truth, and this is you authentically.
Telling the truth. So step three, but the last one, which is take authentic action. That’s the bridge, that’s the action of crossing the chasm or crossing the border between the metaphysical and the physical. [00:39:00] Can you expand on how important it’s to take authentic action and what you mean by authentic? Yes, authentic action.
Oh, thank you for asking me these questions. I love it. Authentic action is there are two kind. In the coaching paradigm that I’ve developed, and remember, I’m talking to you really about a coaching paradigm as we’re talking about this. The first kind of authentic action is designed to clear away any unfinished business.
So for example, you might, out of an exercise that you’ve done, you. Look and see and tell the truth that you have not gone through your credit card bill. You’ve paid it, but you haven’t gone through it in three or four months to actually see what it is you’re buying and whether or not you’re [00:40:00] going over the top of some of your expenses.
That would be authentic action. The first type A. Type B authentic action is actually going toward a dream, which is, for example I want to have, you might say to yourself, I wanna have more vacations, but I want to have the kind where I don’t have a huge credit card to pay off at the end. So I’m gonna begin a vacation savings account.
And I’m gonna put one or $200 in it every month. I’ll have, there’s they’re the kinds where the bank automatically deducts and puts it in that account. And in most cases, you never feel it really. You just don’t there may be times when you say, Ooh I need to stop spending so much.
But for the most part, people report to me. If you keep it low enough you don’t [00:41:00] experience, but at the end of a year, let’s say if you put a couple hundred dollars away every month you have $2,400. That’s begins to be at least the beginning down payment. Here in the US for a short cruise, you have to pay maybe a thousand dollars more, but you have the money and so you’re not going into debt.
Big debt cuz no one likes to be on vacation where you sense that you’re going to have to confront a huge credit card bill at the end. That’s no. So that would be type two or type B, authentic action. Was that clear? Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. wanna talk about some of the inner blocks that’s, stopping people from, taking the action.
They might get to the point where they plan, they set goals, and then life gets in the way. And then they’re dealing with these, fears. They’re dealing with these, inner blocks to progress. Can you [00:42:00] expand on some of the inner blocks of progress that stop people from achieving, the harmony with energy with.
Of course the inner blocks I actually have codified a name for it, which is actually a Buddhist name called Monkey Mind, which is that aspect of our brain, of our mind that’s always chattering at us as it swings from doubt to worry and back to doubt again. The bottom line, two bottom lines, actually, monkey mind is inevit.
When you’re going from metaphysical to physical reality, it’s inevitable. And we all have our symptoms, our private symptoms. And I’ve listed possible systems symptoms of monkey mind. It’s in the book. It’s it’s in my digital course. All you know, because I want people to become familiar with all the it’s really called a negativity bias, which [00:43:00] is the tendency of our brain to look for what could go wrong before what could go right.
And I know we don’t have three hours together. Let me just say that. This aspect of the brain is probably due to the fact that our brain has not changed Michael, in a hundred thousand years, we have the same brain. And a hundred thousand years ago, the first thing we wanted to know, when we left a cave, for instance, going for food, the first thing our brain looked for was the predator.
Because if we didn’t look for a predator, We could be eaten before we got our breakfast. So those who stayed alive are those who had this mechanism in the brain. And you and I, people who are alive today, we have inherited this anxious [00:44:00] brain, this monkey mind brain. But and so there’s nothing wrong with you.
There’s nothing wrong with your brain. It’s just built in as the first. And the minute you can see what it is. Oh, right now I’m doing a comparison. I’m comparing myself with Jim over here and how many clients he has. Comparison. The minute you can observe it, don’t analyze it, but observe it. If you can see it, you don’t have to be it.
And so you become aware. That’s it. Yeah. Excellent. Thanks for sharing. And just to shorten the other ones while you talk about, dancing with the Monkey Mine, you talk about forgiveness, building strengths to dance with your goals as well, staying on the course. There’s so much great stuff in the book and I’ll let people I’ll let people go out and buy it as well.
But yeah I think it’s probably a good time to put a bookmark in it. Where can people find out more about yourself or do you hang out on social media, Maria as well? Where can they buy your books, do [00:45:00] your courses and Yeah. I know you’ve got the podcast as well. You wanna talk about that too?
Bottom line is this I would suggest you visit ace coach training.com to see about the ACA Academy Foundational training, which is this course for anyone. You don’t have to be a coach, but if you want to transform your life, my guarantee is that you will, in this course, if you want, I have a weekly newsletter.
And you can get it by going to maria nemeth.com and simply click that you want the newsletter and I’d be honored to send it to it. It’s something that you can read in about three minutes. I wanna leave people with something they can grab hold of on a weekly basis. Or you can go. Energy of money.com and look at this wonderful digital course.
So that’s it. [00:46:00] Me, I’m on the website at the moment. Fantastic. You’ve got a lot of great stuff there. The Energy of Money podcast too, and the coach training podcast, are they still active as well? That’s it. Maria, thank you for being a great guest on the Best Book Bits podcast and to my audience out there Yeah, check out your stuff.
What’s the story with Oprah? Did you, did she get the book or were you on the show or, yeah, she got the book and and Amy Coleman, who was working with it at the time, called me one day out of the blue and said, we got your book. We love it. We’ve read it. We want you to be on the show in 72 hours.
And working with a mother and her two daughters. And of course I said, alright, of course my heart’s going like this. But 72 hours later there I was on the show and she held up my book and we talked about it. And I talked about this mother and her two daughters that I had worked with the day before so that they could be on the program.
And it was wonderful. She hugged me. And I do have a [00:47:00] dream here it is 26 years later to possibly be on her spiritual Sunday Soul Sunday book club. Yeah, I would love to be interviewed by her 25 years later. It just would be a ball, but who knows? We’ll, Absolutely no. Awesome. That’s pretty cool.
Thanks for sharing that story. Yeah. But again, thanks for being a guest. Thanks for all the work you’ve done over the decades as well. And thank you for shining the light on people’s paths as well, and all the things you’ve done in the coaching world too. Yeah. To my audience, please uh, check out Maria’s stuff and you enjoyed the rest of your day.
And we’ll speak soon. Okay. And Michael, I just wanna say before we hang up, you are an excellent interviewer. It’s been my honor and privilege to be with you today. So thank you very much. Thank you, Maria. Privilege is all mine. Thank you.
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You Owe You: Ignite Your Power, Your Purpose, and Your Why by Eric Thomas
No matter your story or your struggle, Eric Thomas—celebrated motivational guru, educator, and problem-solver to many of the top athletes and business leaders—will “help you work harder, discover your real motivation, and crack the code of enduring success” (Ed Mylett, #1 bestselling author of The Power of One More)
If you feel like success is for others, that only certain people get to have their dreams fulfilled, Eric Thomas’s You Owe You is your wake-up call. His urgent message to stop waiting for inspiration to strike and take control of your life is one he wishes someone had given him when he was a teenager—lost, homeless, failing in school, and dealing with the challenges of being a young Black man in America.
Once he was able to break free from thinking of himself as a victim and truly understand his strengths, he switched the script. And now, with this book, Thomas reveals how you, too, can rewrite your life’s script. With support, he recognized that his unique gift is being able to capture the attention of all kinds of people in all kinds of settings—boardrooms, locker rooms, churches, classrooms, even the streets—thanks to his wealth of experiences and command of language. Today, Thomas considers himself blessed to speak to an audience that is as large as it is diverse, from the rich and famous to kids struggling in school to young men in prison hoping for a new start.
Thomas’s secrets of success have already helped hundreds of thousands on their journey, but this is his first guide to show you how to start today, right now. These critical first steps include deeply understanding yourself and the world around you, finding your why, accepting that you may have to give up something good for something great, and constantly stretching toward your potential. No matter where you are on your journey toward greatness, you owe it to yourself to become fully, authentically you. And Eric Thomas’s You Owe You can help get you there.
It’s You versus You
Victimhood is a mind-set. It’s an attitude you hold that pushes you to make certain decisions or act a certain way. Victimhood is when the world happens to you. It’s when you depend on the world to dictate your life. Victimhood is when you wait for the world to provide you with the tools to move forward. It’s when you cede control to someone or something.
Here’s the thing: When you let the world have the power, you’re playing Russian roulette with your life. You don’t know where you’re going to land because you are not steering the car. But when you begin to take control, you’ll find that you have the power to change your outlook and become a victor in your journey.
There are going to be plenty of times in your life when things go sideways. There are going to be times when you feel hurt. And you’re allowed to be hurt. You can be upset and angry. But feelings are not facts. They are feelings. Facts are how you can move through your feelings.
You can be angry, but be angry in your house. Be in angry in your bedroom. You can be upset, but be upset with air conditioning and a roof over your head. You can be sad, but be sad with meals on the table and clean clothes on your back. You don’t need to sabotage your whole life to have your feelings. You can have your feelings, but you don’t need to be a victim.
You Are Never in It by Yourself
Aloneness is part of the victim mentality. This is the mind-set of someone to whom things are happening. When you act like a victim, you close yourself off to communication and relationships. You pit yourself against the world. You dig yourself into a dark hole where no one else can see you or touch you. You close yourself off to potential solutions. But, in reality, you are never in it by yourself. The perception that it’s you against the world is a construct. The world does not conspire against you. You conspire against you. It’s you versus you. Nobody can tell you that you’re alone but you.
Seeing the people around you clearly is necessary to combat the victim mentality. When you tell yourself you’re alone, it can be easy to slip into relationships that are false or that fulfill a surface desire for praise or company or pleasure. In constantly evaluating your own behaviors and patterns and seeking evidence over emotion, not only will you be able to see yourself better, but you’ll also gain a clearer view of the people who surround you.
Discover Your Superpower
Even when other people don’t recognize your gift, or the outside world doesn’t validate it, you have to know with every fiber of your being that you are doing what is right for you. Trends come and go. Sometimes light skin is in. Sometimes dark skin is in. Sometimes it’s short hair and sometimes it’s long. You can’t worry about what the world thinks is cool right now. You can only worry about you.
It should feel like a romantic relationship. You can’t be number one in the world if you aren’t obsessed with your gift. You can’t be the best at what you do if you don’t honor your gift. If you’re going to contribute to your field or advance the game or get mentioned with the greats before you, you have to be dedicated to getting up every morning and taking care of it. Like any relationship that’s worthwhile, your relationship with your gift requires work. If you get complacent and don’t work at it, your gift will go fallow. Even if you are naturally good at what you do, that is not enough. You have to work at it and you have to want more.
There are plenty of people who, with very little instruction, can hear a song, pick up a guitar, and play. But unless they get into their gift and practice, they’re never going to play like Jimi Hendrix. Plenty of people can open their mouths and sing beautifully. But if they don’t get obsessed with the gift of it, they’re never going to get to Beyoncé-level. Steph Curry was born with the ability to throw and sprint, but if he hadn’t worked at it and gotten consumed by it, he wouldn’t be the NBA legend he’s become. Serena Williams was always going to be able to smash a tennis ball, but had she not put in the grueling hours of somebody who wants to win, she wouldn’t have the accuracy or grace she shows up with on the court today.
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Sacrifice Good for Great
Good is good, but good doesn’t get you the championship. Good is good, but good doesn’t get you into the job of president or CEO. Good is good, but it doesn’t qualify you for the Olympics. Good is good, but it isn’t great. Almost anyone can get something good, but if you want to keep moving forward and level up, you’re going to have to come to grips with abandoning good for great.
Now watch this: Kobe Bryant said that if you want to be great, you have to be obsessed with it. To go from good to great, you must be obsessed with whatever it is you want to be great at. If you want it, you will never settle for good. You will instantly recognize the measure of goodness against greatness and you will intuitively move beyond mere goodness to the level you are reaching for. You have to be willing to let go of predictability and stability. You have to be okay with the feeling of discomfort. You must be like an athlete in the throes of training. You push your mind and your body to their limits to get to the next level of competition. You must have the courage to take yourself beyond average. You owe it to yourself to gather this courage and move toward greatness.
The thing you have to keep sight of in sacrificing good for great is the present moment. Always be where your feet are. The best version of you is actually where your feet are. But if you aren’t always developing and growing and changing, you will still be standing in the same place for eternity. Where your feet are will eventually expire.
You Are a Business
When you think about corporations or brands, you see a product or a service first. A car. A purse. A shampoo. But if you look behind those products and services, there were people first: Henry Ford, Louis Vuitton, Johnson & Johnson. A business is the physical manifestation of a mind and a vision. You can look at a company and see its parking lot and its building and its desks and its elevators, but all of this is somebody’s thoughts and dreams actualized. Shifting your mind into business mode means thinking about yourself as a business.
For those of us who grew up working class, you aren’t raised with the idea of seeing yourself as a business. You see yourself as a worker. You see your value in terms of working for somebody else. When you’re working class, you decide to give your youth—your twenties and thirties and then some—to somebody else’s company. You decide to give your energy and your strength to somebody else’s vision. You decide to give your natural gifts to promote somebody else’s bottom line. There’s nothing wrong with helping somebody else achieve their vision or their goal, as long as it doesn’t keep you from achieving your own vision and goal. If you give of yourself without boundaries, you are doing so without clarity about what you want for yourself.
Once you’ve shifted to see yourself as a business, you need to think practically. Where do you see yourself in business? Which industry? Specifically, what are your gifts and who can benefit from them? What is your product? In which market does your product belong?
You Owe You
Nobody owes you time but you. You are the only person who will make time for yourself. What does this look like within the reality of life? Start your day by getting centered. Imagine a piece of paper with a dot at the very center. You are the dot. There will be many things that try to move you away from the center, pull you to the edges. Your job every day is to stay as centered and focused as possible. You can’t wake up and think, I need to make this money. The treasury prints money every day, but they don’t print peace or joy or happiness. You can go to Walmart and buy a watch or to Louis Vuitton and buy a purse. But you can’t go out and buy your own fulfillment. When you’re centered, you can see yourself, you can see where you’re supposed to go, you can see your future unfold before you.
Think about what your day looks like. Visualize what fulfillment will mean for you today. Paint a picture of the ideal day. And if you’re not there yet, if you can’t have your ideal day yet, think about what today needs to look like to get to that ideal day next week, next month, next year. Think about what your week looks like. What do you need to do to get to the next level? What does your month look like? Your year? Make a plan to get yourself on track. Nobody is going to make your plans but you. And you owe it to yourself to be the center of your own plan.
When you have a blueprint—your values, your beliefs, your focus, your self-knowledge—then you must set a standard. You owe it to yourself to constantly evaluate your own performance and the way you spend your time. Goals are good, but standards will get you to the next level.
Now is the time to do the work. Now is the time to dream of what greatness lies ahead. But not only to dream—to become your dream. To become great. The time has come to take hold of your life. The time has come to step into yourself. To begin living life the way that only you can live it. The time has come to become you.
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