Everything begins with a Thouight

John Maxwell, in his book, No Limits, writes about “Thinking Capacity – Your Ability to Think Effectively.” He tells the story of his father, who in his early life during the Depression, worked for three wealthy people in their town. During this time, his father learned that they think differently from others, but thought alike. Maxwell writes that his father came to the conclusion: “Successful people think differently than unsuccessful people.” He states that good thinking is a key to success and shares these thoughts from his book on thinking, Thinking for Change.

1. Everything begins with a thought.
“Life consists of what a man is thinking about all day.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

2. What we think determines who we are. Who we are determines what we do.
“I have always thought the actions of men the best interpreters of the thoughts.” – John Locke

3. Our thoughts determine our destiny.
“You are today where your thoughts brought you. You will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.” – James Allen

4. People who go to the top think differently than others.
“Nothing limits achievement like small thinking’. Nothing expands possibilities like unleashed imagination.” – William Arthur Ward

5. We can change the way we think.
“Whatever things are true… noble… just… pure… lovely… are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy; think on these things.” – Paul the Apostle

Henry Ford wrote: “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right.” We are what we think. It is our choice to choose what we think. May we choose a strong belief in ourselves and our value, unshakable confidence to achieve, a joyous optimism in all that we are and do, a belief that everything is possible because I’m possible. May we remember the words of Marcus Aurelius as inspiration for our journey: “The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.” Great thoughts will make an even greater you.

The Source of Greatness

From my teacher Michael Reuter, I pass this on.

In his book, Holy Sweat, Tim Hansel speaks of a common thread that runs through the lives of great leaders.

“In 1962, Victor and Mildred Goertzel published a revealing study of 413 famous and exceptionally gifted people. The study was called Cradles of Eminence. These two researchers spent years trying to understand the source of these peoples’ greatness, the common thread which ran through all of these outstanding peoples’ lives. The most outstanding fact was that almost all of them, 392, had to overcome very difficult obstacles in order to become who they were. Their problems became opportunities instead of obstacles.”

It is this magnificent gift that differentiates great leaders – a mindset focused on problem-solving and goal accomplishment. One which sees doors where others see walls. One that sees learning where others see trials. One that embraces the excitement of the challenge and the growth that it brings. Obstacles are the building blocks of the great leaders’ emotional, spiritual and intellectual strength. Remember always the wise counsel of Mahatma Gandhi: “ Strength does not come from winnings. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” Never, ever surrender. May you always see opportunities and not obstacles and change the world.

100 Years ago

I forward the New Year thoughts of futurist and teacher Peter Diamandes

We forget how fast the world is changing today.

As we ring in the New Year, let’s take a brief look back 100 years ago to 1919, as a means to truly appreciate the extraordinary world we live in today.

First, the bad news:

World War I ended in 1919 with a total casualty count of 37 million.
The Spanish Flu finally ended as well, with a sum total of 500 million people infected (33% of Earth’s population!) and 50 million estimated deaths.
Proportional to the Earth’s population today, this would be the equivalent of a death-toll ranging between 200 – 350 million people. Absolutely devastating, and a reminder of how lucky we truly are today in the twenty-first century.

On the positive side, while progress was glacial in speed, here’s everything I could find that would count as “Innovation in 1919”:

Women’s rights! The U.S. Congress approves the 19th Amendment.
The first passenger air service was offered between Paris and London.
UPS was founded as a company.
The U.S. Army completed its “first transcontinental motor Convoy expedition driving across the United States.” It took them 60 days!
The NC-4 Aircraft completed the 1st multi-stop flight across the Atlantic (19 days).
Raymond Orteig offered $25,000 for the first nonstop flight between New York and Paris.
What were the major technological inventions of 1919? There were two of them…

Silica Gel was invented to keep humidity out of our packages; and,
The Toaster (yup, that’s all I found on meaningful inventions).
In comparison (at least technologically) we have more achievements per hour today, than 1919 had in the entire year. We are truly living during the most extraordinary time ever.

So, how much difference can 100 years of progress make? A LOT.

AND, as we march toward the Singularity, it’s important to realize that the speed of change is accelerating… and every aspect of how we live our lives will change in the next decade.

In the next 10 years, those surfing on the tsunami of change (rather than getting crushed by it) will create more wealth than was created in the past century.

Every industry will be transformed… and how we raise our kids, run our companies and lead our nations will change as well.

You can be fearful of change, or you can realize it is happening and harness it.

For those prepared, exponential change will help us digitize, dematerialize, demonetize and democratize access to energy, transportation, education, health, knowledge and communications.

Technology will turn that which was once scare into abundance, over and over again.

So, as you charge into 2019, remember that “the best way to predict the future is to create it yourself.”

Warmest wishes and Happy New Year,

Peter

Peter H. Diamandis

Look to the Big Picture

Michel de Montaigne wrote: “The value of life lies not in the length of days, but in the use, we make of them; a man may live long yet live very little.” Great leaders live every moment of their life. They push the boundaries around themselves and live a life of rich and vivid wholeness. John Maxwell writes in his book, How Successful People Think, it is the great leaders who develop a ‘big picture’ mindset which opens their eyes, mind, and heart to new people, ideas, and possibilities.

“People who see the big picture expand their experience because they expand their world. As a result, they accomplish more than the narrow-minded people. And they experience fewer unwanted surprises, too, because they are more likely to see the many components involved in any given situation: issues, people, relationships, timing and values. They are also, therefore, more tolerant of other people and their thinking.”

What exciting richness we add to our life when we look at it in all it majestic and almost endless beauty. May we choose always to think big. May we be daring and bold to look beyond ourselves and our own world. May we see with new eyes. May we see through the eyes of others. And on that journey, may we remember the wise counsel of Alvin Toffler, American writer and futurist: “You’ve got to think about ‘big things’ while you’re doing small things, so that all the small things go in the right direction.”

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The Power of Attitude

“People who succeed have momentum. The more they succeed, the more they want to succeed, and the more they find a way to succeed,” writes Tony Robbins. It is built over time with a ceaseless drive and passion, a self-motivation repeated endlessly as it becomes part of the great leader’s life.

In his book, Winning Every Day, Lou Holtz provides great leaders his own definition of momentum with an interesting, thought-provoking insight.

“Momentum is nothing more than a state of mind. Again, an attitude. For example, you are winning a football game 14-0. Your opponent scores just before the half to make it 14-7. Up in the broadcast booth, the announcers proclaim that momentum has just swung in favor of the other team, even though you’re still ahead 14-7. Now let’s look at another game. This time your team is tied at 7-7. You score a touchdown and make the extra point just before the half to go ahead 14-7. As you enter the locker room, everyone now claims the momentum is with you. Ridiculous. The score is 14-7 in both instances. In other words, momentum is whatever your attitude determines it to be.”

Be it a force that great leaders build through repetition over time, or a continuing motivating attitude that finds its sustainability in the strength of attitude, momentum is sustaining power. May we magnify that power as we remember the words of Michael Korda: “One way to keep momentum going is to have constantly greater goals.” And as Tony Robbins counsels us: “Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” Life is so very good.

Thanks my friend Michael M Reuter SHU

How powerful is the “Why”

My Mentor Michael M Reuter shared this with me.

John Grisham writes: “The alarm would go off at 5, and I’d jump into the shower. My office was 5 minutes away. And I had to be at my desk, at my office, with the first cup of coffee, a legal pad and write the first word at 5:30, five days a week.” So it is in the great leaders’ lives – the daily routine so often repeated, the seemingly endless work and long hours. Even with their excitement, challenges, and rewards, there are moments of fatigue, and even boredom, when the glamor of what they are doing disappears. They seem to have lost their way.

H.G. Wells wrote: “Losing your way on a journey is unfortunate. But, losing your reason for the journey is a fate crueler.” In their simple humanity, great leaders arrive at those moments in life when they question the “why” of their journey. The joy they once experienced is somewhere lost, and the once driving satisfaction becomes depleted. It is, at these times, that great leaders know to pause to revisit their purpose. What was it that brought them to this job? What was in it that filled their passion? What has changed that they feel as they do now? These questions open their door to a deep exploration to find again their purpose.

The answers to their questions help them again find their life’s purpose – reason is again found in their routine, excitement in their challenges and satisfaction in their work. It was always there, only obscured by a momentary detour. On the other hand, their answers may open their eyes to new paths. Erol Ozan writes: “Some beautiful paths can’t be discovered without getting lost.” Lao Tzu tells us: “New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.”

Regardless of the outcome, the moment was grasped to revisit their life’s purpose. This is beautifully captured in Pablo Picasso’s words: “The meaning of life is to find your fit. The purpose of life is to give it away.” May you always remember Jerry Buccino’s gentle counsel: “When you leave, you want to leave a pile of ashes that will remind people that you once burned a magnificent fire.” May your fire burn brightly and light the world! Life is so very good.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

Moments to remember

“We do not remember days, we remember moments,” writes Cesare Pavese. It is in these brief instances that our mind and heart capture something memorable and distinctive. The moment was different from all others. It glowed by its specialty and uniqueness. It may have been a moment of connectivity with others in celebration (a wedding or graduation), a moment of self-discovery (a choice of a career or career change, a decision to marry),a moment of personal achievement and pride in its accomplishment, or simply a moment of exception that was exciting, fun and memorable (our first roller coaster ride, a truly out-of-the ordinary and magical happening). These are moments that we remember and treasure and which create a mosaic of the joys of our life.

In their beautiful and powerful book, The Power of Moments, Chip Heath and Dan Heath share with great leaders how they can create more magical and special moments. They write:

“Every culture has its prescribed set of big moment: birthdays and weddings and graduations, of course, but also holiday celebrations and funeral rites and political traditions. They seem “natural” to us. But notice that every last one of them was invented, dreamed up by anonymous authors who wanted to give shape. That is what we mean by “thinking in moments: to recognize where the prose of life needs punctuations.”

“Think in moments” is their powerful message – to recognize thoughtfully that each moment gives us the opportunity to create a memory of a lifetime. All it takes is stopping and asking: how can I make this moment (be it a birthday, a meeting with someone, hiring a person, an experience for a customer, a surprise for a family member or loved one) so very special that they will remember it always? We have the power to create perfect moments that can last a lifetime. Think in moments! Make those punctuations! You will change the world!

Words of Wisdom from Elon Musk

I believe Elon Musk, at this moment, is poised to become the single most impactful person of the 2st century.
Randy Ottinger, Executive Vice President at Kotter International, said of Elon Musk: “Elon Musk is an inventor and builder wrapped into one; kind of like a combination of Benjamin Franklin and Steve Jobs on steroids.” Assuredly, Musk is a magnificent one-of-a-kind leader in today’s changing world. In her Predictive Success article, Top 10 in Leadership, author, Kelly-Ann Lahey shares Musk’s top 10 lessons in leadership.

Lesson #1. Lead by Example
Lesson #2. Lead with Purpose
Lesson #3. Be Creative
Lesson #4. Be Collaborative
Lesson #5. Encourage Innovation
Lesson #6. Be Decisive
Lesson #7. Be Comfortable with Change
Lesson #8. Hire Carefully
Lesson #9. Set Exceptionally High Standards
Lesson #10. Put the Right People in the Right Role

Musk’s lessons reflect his life learning from his personal experience of leadership. He has gone through the harsh realities of difficulties and failures to understand how each of these lessons has impacted his career and life and how they can affect others. His selfless sharing of these lessons allows both him and the recipient to continue to learn the lessons of leadership through his new-found perspectives. May his lessons serve as seeds to each of us to further grow and develop our own leadership skills, talents and knowledge that we, too, can be “an inventor and builder wrapped into one.”

Seek first to understand

To: the Great Leaders Who Have a Passion for Continuous Learning

My mentor and Coach Michael M Reuter shared this wisdom

“The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions.” wrote Leonardo Da Vinci. John F. Kennedy said: “Too often, we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.” Great leaders recognize that, sometimes, opinions – theirs and others – are not fact-based but simply expressions of their world-view. They realize that their ability to LISTEN and process information objectively allows them to have a greater understanding of the realities around them. It is this beautiful and robust openness to different perspectives and ideas that differentiate them and enables them to introduce and realize change.

Mother Teresa tells us: “The openness of our hearts and minds can be measured by how wide we draw the circle of what we call family.” May the circle we draw be wonderfully expansive and inclusive that our eyes, ears, and heart are opened widely to possibilities and realities yet unseen. May we remember that we don’t see things as they are, but as we are. It is the responsibility of great leaders to stand in the shoes of others that, as Stephen Covey tells us, they “seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

Is it a Rut or a groove?

My teacher Michael Reuter sent this to me:

The paths of great leaders are etched with the marks of the ruts and grooves that arise on their life’s journey. The ruts and grooves appear similar at times, but the journey that accompanies them is vastly different. Herein lies a challenge of knowing in which one they are at the time.

Jack Beach suggests that a key question leaders must answer when all is going well is: “Are you in a rut or a groove?” He writes: “It is also probably the most difficult question to answer since all that is in us wants to see the groove and not the rut. But ruts and grooves can be very different. Ruts are smooth and allow us to speed comfortably across the plains. Grooves can be jolting at times but progressively move us over the bumps and rough patches we encounter as we unremittingly ascend the mountains. So, we need to determine if the path we are on is taking us straight forward or up. If we are not better today than we were yesterday, we are probably in a rut.”

Zig Ziglar writes: “Little men with little minds and little imaginations go through life in little ruts, smugly resisting all changes which would jar their little worlds.” Great leaders chose not the ruts but, as Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote, they choose “… the ringing grooves of change.” As the Beastie Boys remind great leaders: “Life ain’t nothing but a good groove.”