Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Thoreau said it best...

"I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestioned ability of a man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor."

That just about sums it up doesn't it?

The beauty of the great thinkers such as Thoreau or Emerson is their ability to keep it simple. To say so much with so few words.

What we can learn from these old masters is incisive thought, economy of words, pithy, evocative expressions that carry timeless wisdom.

Quotes like these boil life down to its essence... and that's what we need to do with our lives.

It's very easy to get caught up in the distractions of life and lose sight of your core essence...what's important to you and what matters today.

The best way to jump start your day is to keep it simple...

What are you setting out to accomplish and what are you going to do to get there?

Then do those things.

All too often we become like a floodlight...scattered, looking in all directions, no clear boundaries or definitions... the trick is to be a laser...

With laser like precision and focus...you can cut steel.

Now, go jump start your day.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Saw a bumper sticker the other day...

it said...

"My goal is to become the person my dog thinks I am."

Let's turn this around...

Who do you think you are?

Really, when you think about yourself, your future, where you're going and what you want...

what do you see?

Take a moment and visualize this...reach inside yourself and pull out the you that you see when you're listening to your favorite music or driving along that great road...and stop dreaming about it and...

...write it down.

The person that you dream about, visualize when alone and inspired...

the person you wish you could become...

is your ideal, and the image of this is something you most likely reserve for private, fleeting moments.... here's the thing...

Take a snapshot of that person, and live every day as a person like that would...

this is how you change your life.

It's simple, but not easy. You become what you do every day...

Isn't it time for you to start taking yourself seriously and finally be who you really are?

Go for it...now go jump start your day.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Words not to live by...

You're most likely familiar with David Allen's Getting Things Done (GTD) methodology. It's a brilliant life planning process that has spawned a whole industry of websites and apps that attempt to make it even better.

There's just one problem with it...

There are several contexts you put your tasks in, such as grouping all your @computer tasks together, your @running errands together, etc. Then he throws in a list that you call "someday/maybe". This is where you put things like "Get a black belt, learn skydiving, write a novel,"etc.

Maybe...? What's up with that? You put that word in front of anything and it only means one thing...

you're not going to do it.

Call it someday, but leave out the maybe. And while you're at it get rid of these words as well:

Try, should, hope, wish, around to it and might.

These words are copouts, when put in front of your goal, dream or plan these remove all responsibility from you, it's like giving yourself a pass.

Don't fall into this trap. When you erase wishy-washy words from your daily use, commit to your dreams and become decisive...doors will open.

Life's a highway... start the engine and drive it like you mean it.

Now go jump start your day.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Looking for the words that will change your life...?

Looking for that proverb, saying or parable that will make you sit up and become who you want to be? Searching for just the right combination of letters and sentences that will set your heart on fire, stir your belly and release adrenalin flows?

We all are, but one thing is missing...
Follow through with action.

Never forget that action precedes feeling...tape it to your mirror, know it inside your soul...action precedes feeling.

If you are waiting until you feel like taking action you'll wait forever...start taking action, force it if you have to...and the feeling will follow, allowing the momentum to build...

...and then there is no stopping you.

Do two things:

First, make it a part of your personality that any self improvement or inspirational media you take in...you will write down at least one thing you can do today that gets you closer to who you want to be. Not just notes, but doable things...something you can call an actionable item.

Second...whatever feeling you're waiting for to start your current project... stop waiting, start the project...then when the feeling comes you'll be too engaged to stop and take notice.

Nothing you read or hear will do anything for you unless you act on it, and sometimes that can only happen through conscious willpower on your part...but I assure you, once you cross that threshold you'll be in another dimension that feels like you should have been there all along.

Now...isn't it time you made your move?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Great post that will make you rethink where you're going...

Stephen over at the Rat Race Trap blog had this excellent post the other day, that will help you get to a new level in where you want to go...

He does great job of making you think bigger, and it reminds me of the time a good friend asked me, "Have you ever not achieved a goal that you were totally committed to?"

Enjoy this...it will jump start your day.

Monday, March 23, 2009

This is a life changer...

It's easy to get wrapped up in what's going on out there economically, and this one is serious.

People in retirement are contemplating going back to work, people close to retirement are postponing it, and investors too young to even think about it are wondering where the money went.

Change however, can be good.... if we reevaluate the concept of retirement.

Previous generations were brought up to work hard, save your money, get a pension and social security at 65 - and they died 5 years later.

This generation has a life expectancy approaching the early 80's, and has a much different attitude about the quality of life in later years. The inevitable conclusion to this trend, as well as the controversy around social security...is that we'll be working longer.

And that my friends, is a good thing...

Retirement is an unnatural state. Humans are hard-wired to solve problems, face challenges and find purpose in what they do. Work gives this to you. This is an uplifting concept on two fronts...

First, it takes the pressure off of getting a certain sum in the bank before a certain date to retire on...

More importantly...it's more fun to stay in the game.

Embrace this, see it for what it is...a life changer, and take this opportunity to make new plans for yourself based on a longer life, and less pressure to accumulate millions of dollars before age 65.

Use the comments post to share anything you've changed in your life because of what's going on out there, I'm interested to see how this change is manifesting itself.

Now, go jump start your day.

How high can you really go...?

If you think you know the answer to this question, there's a good chance you're aiming too low.

The great achievements in humanity have not been accomplished by people who were satisfied with where they were in life.

They weren't done with the attitude that "good enough" is what they're aiming for.

They were done with a passionate willingness to reach higher, take it further, risk more and stretch the boundaries. The cliche "think outside the box" refers to this mindset, and instead of treating it as a corporate mantra thrown around loosely by management, think of it this way...

All of the limitations you have set for yourself are based on the past.
Your brain knows what your comfort zone is, and it will do what it has to do to keep you in familiar territory. Well that's somewhere you've already been...

Do the thing that scares you.

The mind, once stretched into a new dimension...grows, what are you doing to stretch yourself?

Now go jump start your day.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Are you growing...?

Or are you coasting?

There's a wise saying, "Nothing coasts uphill." You can coast for some time on your past achievements, but there will come a point when the wheels stop, and you either need to provide inertia, or risk sliding back downhill.

Learn this eternal truth: There is never a point in your life where you can step back and say, "I"m done, I've done everything I wanted to do, and now I'm going to relax and be happy."

So if this is the case, if there really is no final destination that we think we need to reach...what do we learn from this?

The journey is the destination. Growth is the path. Grow... or die.

Determine your own growth path, and instead of living life as if you're on some highway to an offramp, the arrival of which will solve all your problems...wake up, enjoy the ride, and make it interesting.

As has been said here before, you are never more alive than when pursuing something you believe in...so treat your goals not as destinations, but as waystations...a place along the path that shows you where you are.

The person you are isn't determined so much by your goals, but more by the path you're on.

Now go jump start your day.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

If you want to know how you really feel about something...

write about it.

When you write out a situation, dilemma, issue or challenge... something happens that isn't showing up on the paper...

It's crystallizing in your brain.

Writing something out will give it texture, dimension, and force you to put cohesive thoughts together that when read later...will surprise you.

The best way to use this is to generate ideas or solutions to things going on in your life right now. The simple act of committing your thoughts to paper brings out your subconscious, summoning resources from other parts of your life to form a body of work that until now existed only in disconnected parts of your brain.

By connecting your thoughts you perform an act of creation, forming something tangible and permanent, that is yours and yours alone.

So instead of thinking, ruminating and worrying...grab a pen or your computer and write about it. I assure you that what comes out on the paper will have more dimension and insight than what that little voice inside your head is saying.

It doesn't have to be grammatically perfect, this is for you to do what you want with...but the very act of doing this will open gateways to progress and insight that few other activities can.

For more on doing this I highly recommend this book.

Now grab that pen and go jump start your day.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Everyone who's ever taken a shower has an idea...

...It's the person who gets out of the shower, dries off and does something about it who makes a difference. ~Nolan Bushnell

What you need is a way to follow up on your ideas. The trouble is usually the best ideas, insights and flashes of inspiration happen at an inconvenient time to write them down.

Driving, showering, exercising, any repetitive task that uses minimal brain activity is actually a great way to generate ideas and bring thoughts out from your subconscious...but they need follow through, otherwise they turn into distant memories or forgotten altogether.

Follow up requires a capture tool, any way of getting your idea into some kind of memory bank that you can retrieve when you have more tools at your disposal. If you're driving, hit your office voice mail on the speed dial and leave a message to yourself. If you're exercising put the weights down, get a pen and paper, write it down, throw it in your locker.

If you're in the shower, say it out loud a few times so you'll either remember it when you get out or your spouse comes in and asks what's wrong, then she can write it down for you...

The point is it takes a commitment to remember and follow through. How many times have you seen some great idea take off and said to yourself, "I thought of that once, but I didn't do anything about it."?

What's different is follow through and execution. Once you commit to, and set your life up to receive ideas i.e. by making sure you have some kind of capture tool strategy in place, you'll start to find you come up with more ideas. The act of writing an idea down is sometimes the best way to generate more ideas.

Get some notepads and pencils in strategic locations; make sure you can leave yourself a message at home or office with one push of a button; consider one of those little micro recorders; don't be afraid to borrow a pen and paper from someone...we all do it from time to time.

The main thing...give your ideas and brainstorms the respect they deserve...and a funny thing happens...

they keep showing up.

Now go jump start your day.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Real difficulties can be overcome, it is only the imaginary ones that are unconquerable.

Theodore N. Vail

If you need proof that our worries are unnecessary...write down the biggest worries you have right now, and put them in a calendar or someplace you can retrieve them 6 to 12 months from now. You'll find on looking back that your fears were unfounded, new ones came up to replace them, and they failed to materialize as well.

In the meantime, worry is a stressful, unproductive, disease-carrying burden that cuts you off from living the life you want.

We as humans can handle anything that comes before us, as long as we face it, identify it, chop it up into manageable pieces and chew it up. It's the unseen, imagined, make believe stuff that will suck you down into a black hole and steal your spirit...

Don't let it...write down the worries, put them in a box and look later.

When something is tangible, in front of you, and is an obstacle to be overcome...it then becomes a project, a challenge, your opponent, the monkey to get off your back.

The trick is, the sooner you realize that overcoming these obstacles is what gives life texture and fulfillment, the closer you get to becoming the kind of person who banishes worry with the only weapon that will work...action.

The most rewarding lifestyle, in my opinion, is to be too busy living life to worry.

Try it just for today and see how you like it...now go jump start your day.

Monday, March 16, 2009

What does someone who followed their dream look like...?

They look like this guy:


This was making the rounds a few years ago when it first happened, and it's worth watching again. He tells us what his dream has been, he nails it in front of the world, and the rest is history.

You can learn more about him here http://music.aol.com/artist/paul-potts/biography/657698 , the main point is that there are still people out there who can bring thousands to tears by something they believe in...

What do you believe in...and how far are you willing to take it? You've seen what it looks like...

Now go jump start your day.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Check these out, and your day will be jump started...

Gretchen over at the Happiness Project writes about the myth of thinking you'll be happy as soon as something happens. It's a great post and worth checking out.


The basic idea being that if you're not happy now, you won't be happy then.

As well...Scott over at http://yesbutstill.blogspot.com/ , who has a blog worth adding to your feeder, was cool enough to interview me the other day. We had fun with it, and you'll definitely find something worthwhile in his blog.

Now...go jump start your day.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

These are the best days of your life...if only you treat them that way...

Malcolm Forbes

It's not the economy, it's not the environment, it's not the size of your 401k or who's in the White House that determines your success or failure...

It's what's in your head.

Once you've taken the step to accept responsibility for your attitude, you will feel liberated. It's easy these days to lament over the state of affairs out there...and some say it even gives you a temporary lift to commiserate about it. But be careful...

Your destiny isn't out there...it's inside you.

You are your own economy...treat it that way. Work your life for you, and don't let external events throw you off the path you've chosen. It's on you to make it happen, and this is the best of circumstances...when you have chosen to be the master of your destiny obstacles seem trivial, external events happen and you take them in stride...and best of all...

your life takes on new meaning...it has purpose generated by you.

So today, treat these days as the best days of your life...because that's the only way they can be.

It's been shown that people look back on the adverse times in their life with as much if not more fondness than the good times. Anybody can be happy in the good times, it takes a special individual to find themselves engaged and fulfilled in any environment...

Be that person.

For more on people finding happiness in adverse circumstances, check out Dan Gilbert's fascinating book .

Now go jump start your day.

Many men go fishing all of their lives...

without knowing that it is not fish they are after. ~Henry David Thoreau

What does this mean? It's the thrill of the catch, the chase rewarded, that gives us what we're looking for.

Sure, in this example catching a fish would be a worthwhile and satisfying goal, but if a fish is all you want it would be much easier to go to the market.

What we're looking for is experience. What we as humans thrive on is the challenging pursuit of a worthwhile goal. Overcoming obstacles, seeking out resources, small victories along the way, keen insights that advance our cause, the adrenalin rush of scaling heights we set out for ourselves...that is what we seek and the reason we do is clear...

It's what gives life meaning and purpose.

You are never more alive than when you are in the pursuit of something you believe in.

Most of us are seeking some kind of inspiration, thrill, energy and fulfillment in our lives. It's already there, it just needs you to put it on the path...

So jump start your day by setting out to achieve your goals, realizing that on the way there...

you are who you want to be just by being on the path to what you want.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Anyone can do any amount of work...

provided it isn't the work he is supposed to be doing at the moment. Robert Benchley

Your brain is more powerful than you'll ever give it credit for. The trick...getting it into the right channel.

You can sit at your job all day and wonder how you'll ever get your work done, then set out on some hobby or home project...and it's as if the gates of heaven opened up and poured energy into your veins.

What this shows you is that the energy is there...you have what it takes to do whatever you are capable of conjuring up in your mind.

It just needs to be turned on.

Think of your brain and nervous system as a V8 engine in neutral...full of power, able to do incredible things, revved and ready for action...but it needs to be put in drive.

It's got all the moving parts, it knows from your previous experiences what it needs to do, it's just waiting for you to take the gearshift and engage the transmission.

So what does it take to turn this engine on? How can we shift into drive and fire the pistons?

Just like starting the car, it's a conscious action. Life isn't one motivated move after another...you have to turn the key first.

There is no other way. There is no secret mantra, no key, no meditation that will jump start your day... that first part...it's gotta come from your conscious muscle movement.

Whether it's picking up the phone, writing that first draft or calling the team in for a brainstorming session...nothing gets going without some action on your part that you might not want to do. Take that first step and turn the key....after that you just need to put on your seatbelt and enjoy the ride.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Focus...not multi-tasking, but focus

Somehow we got it in our heads that we have to run our day like some Wall Street trader in a movie: bluetooth phone stuck in one ear, e-mailing while leaving a voice mail, buying a stock and changing a diaper all at the same time.

Change this idea...

When you multi-task, something gives. Either your e-mail will be weak, or you'll miss something in the phone conversation you're having, or something else just falls through the cracks.

Try focusing on what you're doing, one thing at a time, with intention. Your work will become more effective, and most importantly...

You will become your best.

When you focus on something enough to be at your best and give it your complete attention, you get a glimpse into what you're capable of. And when you see what you're capable of, your belief in your potential grows and... as said here before, it is your belief in your own potential that is the springboard to higher achievement.

Starting today...Be the best at what you're doing now, it will show in the quality of your output.

For more on this see Leo's blog Zen Habits http://zenhabits.net/

or read his book...

Power of Less, The: The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential...in Business and in Life

The choice is yours, do several things halfway, or a few things better than anybody else.

Now go jump start your day.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Stop philosophizing about what a good person is...and be one.

Marcus Aurelius

The gap between what you want in your mind and what you present to the world on a daily basis is the main source of angst among people today.

Your aspirations, dreams and goals are clear in your mind, seem attainable, however it's the execution that is usually the missing ingredient.

This is normal, you're human, things take time, effort, and distractions loom around every corner. Not to despair...what you seek is also seeking you, it is already there waiting for you.

The life you're living right now, the thoughts in your brain...all have what it takes to get you to your destination...the core ingredient is belief...belief in your conscious mind that your goal is attainable, worthy, and in your grasp.

We're all taught that if the mind can believe something, then it can be achieved. Yet it must be deeper than just belief, it must go to the core of your very being, every atom in your body must buy into what you're doing. The mental will then take over the physical and you will be on the path.

The trick? Daily. It must be daily, your affirmations, goal review, dreams, executable steps that get you on your way...all of this needs to be visualized, felt, assimilated daily. That's the way world class top performers do it...and it will work for you.

Commit to a daily review of your goals, dreams, aspirations; feel them as though they are a part of you every day...and then they will become what you're made of.

Now go jump start your day.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

How can you get that fire burning?

What needs to happen for you to get in the flow of your day, sparks flying, getting where you want to go?

It won't happen automatically, it won't happen by reading this, it won't happen as the result of somebody else...

You need to light the match.

If you look back on those days when you were on your game, moving things, making it happen...it started with a conscious decision by you to get started on something, the momentum built and you kept on it with resilience, tenacity and drive.

Those days are a glimpse of what you are capable of, the trick is summoning that state of being on a regular basis. There are a couple of techniques you can use to get into the flow...

-Put a timer or watch in front of you next to your to do list, pick a time you're going to start, and until then visualize what you're going to do for a few minutes. See yourself taking off, it's like a race with a gun going off. In order for this to work you need to have an actionable item you can do right away. When it's time...go.

-Use a body movement that you identify with action, for me it's snapping my fingers. If I need to get jump started on something I'll snap my fingers a few times and it gives me the feeling of movement, action, things to do.

-Pretend. Tell yourself you're just going to pretend to be in the flow, moving and making it happen...just for the next 15 minutes. You can pretend anything for 15 minutes, make it your own personal development experiment...you know what will happen...you'll keep going. And that's what we want, isn't it?

-If you're more ambitious you can pretend for a whole day. Decide you'll conduct an experiment and just pretend for a day that you'll live the life you want, full of action, meaning, intention and achievement. Do that for a day, and if you can do it for another day...and repeat it again...

you'll have changed your life, becoming the person you want to be.

The pretending removes any perceived risk you have of stepping out of your comfort zone. The act of doing this actually moves the base line of you comfort zone higher...try it.

So decide how you're going to light that match, and go jump start your day.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

It's daily...or not at all...

As fellow blogger Scott over at "Yes, but still" http://yesbutstill.blogspot.com/ mentions in one of the comments here, your quest for self-improvement is something that must be dealt with on a daily basis.

You have to commit to being productive all the time--even if you don't feel like it on a given day.

When you're involved in something as complex as transforming your life from what it is to what you want it to be, taking it at anything less than total commitment will lead to frustration and several restarts.

If you wake up every day and compose in your mind what you stand for, what you want out of life, and why...and lay out a game plan that involves doing something every day to get you closer to your goal...that is the first step towards total commitment. Not when you feel like it, not when you remember that's what you should be doing... but daily.

After you've done this for a few weeks, you'll start to realize that you are getting to know yourself in a way you haven't felt before. Your decisions and actions as you go through the day will be the result of confidence in who you are, what you stand for, and where you're going.

Here's where it gets exciting...

as the process accelerates your daily routine of self improvement spills over into your actions, which begins to change you as a person, which leads your conscious mind to believe in what you're doing. And it's this conscious belief that closes the gap between who you are and who you want to be.

Once you've got that belief in place, then it's time to raise the bar even higher. And that is when the fun really starts.

Start today...write it down, feel it, act it...then you'll be it.

Now go jump start your day.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Success consists of...

going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. ~Winston Churchill

It's not failure until you give up, and it's not going to happen until you decide to make it happen.

Once you commit, energy begins to flow. Nobody likes to back someone who's indecisive, unsure, wishy-washy. It's the same with your brain as it is with people out there who can help you along the way. They need conviction, confidence in you and your level of commitment.

If your brain can see you aren't completely on board, it will sit in the back seat, cross its legs and yawn. Same with that angel investor you're pitching, or the head of the new department you want to work in, or your family.

People will back someone they know has what it takes to follow through. Every mission will have setbacks, and it's more about perseverance and sweat than anything else.

A well known venture capitalist used to say no to every deal that came his way. What he was looking for was the guy who wouldn't back down and resold him on the deal, because that's when the passion comes out. That's what separates the doers from the seekers, the ones who have more passion than fear, and enough resilience to stop a truck.

What it comes down to is your level of commitment, in spite of the obstacles that come your way, will have more to do with you achieving what you've set out to do than anything else.

Now go jump start your day.

Monday, March 2, 2009

When a man does not know what harbor he is making for, no wind is the right wind. ~Seneca

Once you have clarity of purpose, the path becomes well lit. A life of purpose is the only life worth living, as long as the purpose is meaningful to you.

Whether your goal is to make million bucks, cure cancer or spend more time with your children...once it has clarity and meaning for you doors will begin to open. By clarity and meaning I mean it becomes part of you, something that you think about every day. When you get there the floodgates will open.

It's the same process your brain uses when you learn a new word and then you start hearing it all around you. The word was always there, it just didn't resonate with you.

If your goals resonate with you... slots of time, opportunities and connections become obvious. As with the word, they are out there right now, get clarity and meaning with your goals, make them a part of your daily thoughts...and you'll start seeing things all over the place.

Now go jump start your day.