Monday, April 16, 2007

Stop Stopping

Have you ever made the same decision more than once?

Are you confused by the question? Let me explain what I mean by that.

For example, you decide that you are going to do something this weekend... let's say that it's go to a seminar. You wake up Saturday - the day of the seminar - and you make another decision (instead of just sticking with the first decision) and decide NOT to go to the seminar. Then, you shower and get dressed and then re-decide that maybe you should go to the seminar. So, you grab a quick breakfast, brush your teeth and notice that the weather is nice, so maybe you won't go to the seminar.

Does this process sound familiar to you? In this example we have made a decision about something 4 times! We did not receive any new data pertaining to the original decision. We just kept making, unmaking and remaking our decision. How can you avoid this quandary, the stress, the wasted time of re-deciding our decisions? Well, stop stopping!

Every time you move onto something, you stop and reassess your feelings. "I don't feel like ________ ." When you made the decision to ________ , you had data at the time that told you that it was a good decision to make. Then, you allowed your moods and feelings to interfere with that decision.

In scroll 6 of Og Mandino's book, The Greatest Salesman in the World, he says:

It is one of nature's tricks, little understood, that each day I awaken with moods that have changed from yesterday. Yesterday's joy will become today's sadness; yet today's sadness will grow into tomorrow's joy. Inside me is a wheel, constantly turning from sadness to joy, from exultation to depression from happiness to melancholy. Like the flowers, today's full bloom of joy will fade and wither into despondency, yet I will remember that as today's dead flower carries the seed of tomorrow's bloom so, too, does today's sadness carry the seed of tomorrow's joy.

If you allow your moods to make your decisions, you will not be focused on the dreams and goals that you set for yourself. Instead, you will focus on the wheel of constantly changing moods and emotions.

When you decide to use your thoughts to control your emotions, you will STOP STOPPING. You will decide to make the decision once and you will immediately notice that it relieves some of the stress in your life.

If we go back to our example, what changed between getting out of bed and getting out of the shower. Only our mood - there was no new data that we acquired while in the shower that would make us change our mind. We must master our thoughts so that we can stop stopping at every change in our mood. As Og puts it...

Today I will be master of my emotions.

And how will I master my emotions so that every day is a happy day, and a productive one? I will learn this secret of the ages: Weak is he who permits his thoughts to control his actions; strong is he who forces his actions to control his thoughts.

Once you make the decision and it's a decision that you made based on information and data that was sound, trustworthy, complete and accurate - stick with that decision. So many times we let our mood keep us from the very thing that we needed to do that day to get closer to success. STOP STOPPING!

Today I will be the master of my emotions. Henceforth I will recognize and identify the mystery of moods in all mankind, and in me. From this moment I am prepared to control whatever personality awakes in me each day. I will master my moods through positive action and when I master my moods I will control my destiny.

  • What is it that you consistently talk yourself out of based on your mood?
  • What is it that you are missing because you STOP after you've already made the decision to GO?
  • Can you imagine what your life would be like if you didn't keep making, unmaking and remaking your decisions?

For the upcoming week, give this a try:

  1. Gather the data needed to make your decisions.
  2. Make your decisions on the actions that you will take.
  3. Stick to that decision unless you receive compelling NEW DATA about your decision.
  4. Avoid factoring your moods and emotions into your decisions.

I believe that you will immediately notice a lower level of stress in your life. You will feel like you are empowered because YOU are in control and not your emotions. You will notice that you get so much more accomplished in relation to the goals that you have set for yourself.

Stopping to reassess a situation based on your mood or emotions is a dangerous habit. Break it by replacing it with a new habit. Start Starting and Keep On Keeping On.

Go on, give it a try! I know I'm going to.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Start Starting

Ok, you're probably not going to believe this, but, yes, even I suffer from procrastination. That's a real NEWS FLASH, isn't it?

Og Mandino starts out Scroll IX (9) of his book "The Greatest Salesman in the World" by stating:

My dreams are worthless, my plans are dust, my goals are impossible. All are of no value unless they are followed by action.

We all know that nothing gets done unless someone actually does something. Thinking about it doesn't make it so. Talking about it doesn't make it so. Planning out every single detail doesn't make it so. Or as Og puts it:

Never has there been a map however carefully executed to detail and scale which carried its owner over even one inch of ground. Never has there been a parchment of law however fair which prevented one crime.

So why is it that we know what we 'should' do, but don't do it. I think there are many, many reasons (ok, excuses) that we use from time to time. Which ones are your favorites?

  • I need to think it over some more.
  • It just doesn't feel like the right time.
  • I'm planning right now and will get to that later.
  • I still have to learn more before I'm able to get going on that.
  • I'm tired.
  • It's probably not worth it any way.

I'm sure you can think of many more. What does it all boil down to? Instead of trying to think of the words on my own, I'll let Og tell you (again from Scroll 9)...

My procrastination which has held me back was born of fear and now I recognize this secret mined from the depths of all courageous hearts. Now I know that to conquer fear I must always act without hesitation and the flutters in my heart will vanish. Now I know that action reduces the lion of terror to an ant of equanimity.

Procrastination is just the manifestation of your fears. The good news is that your fears are just a manifestation of your thoughts. You have control over the thoughts that you choose to think and dwell upon. If you, the CEO and Chairman of the Board of your mind, choose to think the thoughts that hold you back, you are choosing to procrastinate and live in the fear that is in your mind.

You have another choice! You can choose to think the opposite of the thought that is causing your fear. That's one good thing that I learned from Sesame Street... opposites. Ernie and Bert would teach me "hot / cold", and "big / small". Now I have added to that "fear" / "love".

I watched a show on TV about the Mohawk Indian Ironworkers - those awe-inspiring people who build skyscrapers. It was amazing!! The TV program showed how they would climb up the beams of bridges to the top of the structure and then jump between the supports just for fun.

Check out these pictures:

Do you want to know how these guys can do this and overcome their fear of heights? Here's what Kyle Karonhiaktatie Beauvais(Mohawk, Kahnawake) said:

A lot of people think Mohawks aren’t afraid of heights; that’s not true. We have as much fear as the next guy. The difference is that we deal with it better. We also have the experience of the old timers to follow and the responsibility to lead the younger guys. There’s pride in walking iron.

Dare I say, they love what they do! There is tremendous pride and honor in what they do. That love helps them overcome their fears. As Kyle said, they aren't without fear, they just handle it better. Those thoughts of fear exist, but they don't dwell on them. They focus on the love they have for what they do and what they build, not what could happen if they fail. Here's what I am going to try going forward. Maybe you could try these too...
  1. Conquer my thoughts of fear and focus on what I love about taking the action.
  2. Take the action because... Action cures fear!
  3. I will remember this quote from Og's scroll:
Only action determines my value in the market place and to multiply my value I will multiply my actions. I will walk where the failure fears to walk. I will work when the failure seeks rest. I will talk when the failure remains silent. I will call on ten who can buy my goods while the failure makes grand plans to call on one. I will say it is done before the failure says it is too late. I will act now. For now is all I have.

To find out more about the thoughts and fears that may be holding you back, click on the Free Assessment link below.

If you'd like a copy of Og's book, The Greatest Salesman in the World, click this link: