Negative Thinking Attracts Negative Results

From my teacher Michael Reuter

“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will,” writes Mahatma Gandhi. Life is filled with challenges that sometimes test our fortitude, commitment, and confidence. For a moment, we quietly reflect on what is not going right and think more of past mistakes and the weakness of our humanity. Our negative thoughts occupy our mind holding us back even further from the true, real greatness of our life. Norman Vincent Peale said, “Negative thinking definitely attracts negative results.”

Winston Churchill wrote, “When you are going through hell, keep on going, never, never, never give up.” Babe Ruth said, “It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.” It is our positive mindset that resets our attitude reviving our belief and confidence in ourselves. It is our responsibility for our attitude that helps us reset our inner view. Albert Einstein wrote, “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is though everything is a miracle.” May you live with that indomitable will that gives you the strength, resilience and passion to never give up, but to have a positivity to live a life of beautiful miracles. As Josh Groban, in his song, You are Loved, Don’t Give Up, sings, “You are loved.”

The power of Imagination

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

From my teacher, Michael Reuter

Robert F. Kennedy said, “Some people look at things as they are and ask, ‘Why? I dream things that never were and ask, ‘Why not?’” His words capture the essence of imagination. It is the magical key that allows you to open your eyes, mind, and heart to new possibilities as you daringly step beyond your own self-imposed limits or those of others of life’s opportunities. You boldly move from the world of the ‘as is’ to something new, more exciting, more relevant, and more filled with future options, a world of ‘what can be.’

Albert Einstein wrote, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there will ever be to know and understand.” He said, also, “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” His words suggest that step beyond – from knowing what we know to exploring dreams undreamed.

May your mindset be one of continuing exploration and searching, be it in your professional or personal life and relationships, those casual activities you do every day, as you look for new possibilities and opportunities. And with great boldness and daring, ask ‘Why not?’, and move from a place of ‘as is’ to that of ‘what can be.’ May you live passionately, caringly, and confidently the words of Henry David Thoreau, “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams, and live the life you have imagined.”

The Power of Commitment

My good friend and teacher writes, Zig Ziglar speaks to great leaders about commitment writing, “Most people who fail in their dream fail, not from lack of ability, but from lack of commitment.” Commitment transforms your hopes and promises into realities. In his blog post, The Magic of the Countdown, Seth Godin shares his thoughts of the metaphorical excitement that accompanies the great leader’s act of commitment.

Thea von Harbou invented the countdown. 10, 9, 8… It works. It focuses the attention of everyone involved and ensures that we’re truly alert for what’s going to happen next. It helps that the numbers go down, not up (because up might never end). And …

It focuses the attention of everyone involved and ensures that we’re truly alert for what’s going to happen next.

It helps that the numbers go down, not up (because up might never end). And it helps that as we get closer to lift-off, the tension goes up, not down.

But what really matters is this: There’s a commitment.

When we get to zero, we’re actually going to do this.

The commitment has to happen before the countdown can.

Jean-Paul Sartre writes, “Commitment is an act, not a word.” May your commitment to your life’s purpose and goals be unrelenting and filled with passion, excitement, and enthusiasm that transform your dreams into blissful realities. With great positivity and joy, choose to be on the playing field every precious moment of your life. Commit to realizing the greatness and beauty that is you that, at end of days, you can loudly and proudly say, “No regrets! I have lived my life to its fullest. I have truly lived every day of my life.”

Promises

Lou Holtz said: “Don’t promise more than you can deliver, but always deliver more than you promise.” A promise creates an expectation, hope, and anticipation. It is a verbal commitment to someone with your name behind it. It creates trust in the ears and heart of the recipient who hears an unsaid “because I said I would” which makes the promise a matter of character. Just as the value of words is found in actions, so, also, the truth of promises is found in their fulfillment.

May your promises, to yourself and others, provide a path of commitment to your life’s purpose and meaning, each being a piece of your beautiful life’s mosaic. As a reminder, may you remember Robert Frost’s words: “…. I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep.” May you enjoy the beauty of each new mile and the value your kept promises continue to add to it. Life is so very good… and the best is yet to come.

What Do We Get in Life

William Shakespeare wrote that nothing is “good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” What we see in our mind’s eye is what we get. We are the master or the slave of our thoughts. We can choose to live a life of mediocrity, or we can dare to live our wildest dreams. Jim Rohn cautions: “If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.”

The choice lies in our attitude – how we choose to see life at any given moment. Since events have no values in themselves but get their value from our perceptions of them, we can choose to find in them either burden or magnificent opportunity, desolation or cheerful hope, discouragement or great inspiration. These choices will come from our core values, and not from emotions or feelings that change in a moment.

The implications of choosing a positive attitude are profound on our life, the results we accomplish and on our relationships. It is not the time we spend doing something that is the measure. It is the contribution and impact we make in what we do. As Rohn wisely counsels: “You don’t get paid for the hour. You get paid for the value you bring to the hour.” Be the master of your thoughts and fill your mind with visions of greatness: what you will be and what you will achieve. Fill your week with extraordinary value. Change the world and have a joyous, exciting and fun time doing it!

So You Want to be Happy

In his TED talk, Want to Be Happy? Be Grateful, Brother David Steindl-Rast provides great leaders insights into the power and magic that a more grateful mindset has in living a fuller, richer and happier life.

“All human beings have something in common, all of us want to be happy”, he begins. One of the major contributors to being happy, he suggests, is the sense of gratefulness. Gratefulness arises when we experience something that is valuable and freely given. It is the combination of these two things – something of value and freely given – that creates gratitude which creates happiness.

How can we live gratefully? He suggests: “By experiencing, by becoming aware that every moment is a given moment… it’s a gift. You haven’t earned it, you haven’t brought it about in any way…. This moment with all the opportunity it contains.” The key to our happiness is availing ourselves of each opportunity each moment presents. “We hold the master key to happiness in our own hands.”, he says. “Moment by moment, we can be grateful for this gift.”

He proposes to great leaders a method for living gratefully. “Stop; Look; Go. We have to stop, be quiet and build stop signs into our lives. Look – open eyes, ears and nose, all our senses – for this wonderful richness that is given to us. And the third one: Go and really do something.”

Gratitude can be a key to our happiness. It will come when we fully learn and appreciate the value that each precious, freely given moment offers us… to be someone more, to do something more. May we embrace each of those beautiful moments with joyous passion, love and commitment that, at days’ end, they will say of you: He/she truly lived every day of her life.

Creativity

Writing on the joy of creativity, Dr. Seuss tells great leaders: “Think left and think right, and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try.” It is that magical power we hold to break away from seeing the world as it is to what it can be, to let our imagination run free, and create new possibilities and realities undreamed.

John Maxwell speaks of the principal characteristic of the creative person: “I believe that creative people always believe that there is an answer… and that’s why they stay creative. If I don’t think there is an answer, I’ll stop, I’ll quit, I’ll get discouraged, but if I think there is an answer, I’ll keep digging, I’ll keep creating until I find that answer.”

Maya Angelou writes: “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” May you always remember Maxwell’s words: “There’s always an answer. Go find it today.” As John Muir said: “The power of imagination makes us infinite.” Think left and think right, and think high and low. Bring to the world the beauty and joy of your inestimable uniqueness of perspectives and insights. You will find an answer!

Letting Go

Lao Tzu wrote: “When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” Choose to live a joyous, learning-filled life of continuing renewal of mind, heart, and soul. Remove what is holding you back to create the freedom and excitement to explore as you become what you might be. May you remember the wise counsel of Brian Tracy: “You begin to fly when you let go of self-limiting beliefs and allow your mind and aspirations to rise to greater heights.”

The Mystery of the Candle

Imagine, we are holding a lit and unlit candle. We light the unlit candle with the lit one. What we see is that the lighted one has not lost its original glow. It has simply passed its light to the other candle. So it is in our journey of selfless caring and serving of others. Our light is our passion and love of life and all that we do. It is the radiant glow of our enthusiasm, energy, and excitement that brings happiness, hope, possibility, encouragement to fade the darkness in the lives of those we touch and serve.

Buddha wrote: “Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” May you radiate and share the beauty and joy of your light being always mindful of Francis of Assisi’s wise counsel: “All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle.” Be that beautiful and magnificent candle that brings its fire to the many unlighted candles awaiting and searching to be set ablaze.

Servant Leadership

In their book, Servant Leadership in Action, Ken Blanchard and Renee Broadwell have collected an incredible collection of essays by prominent writers on the subject of servant leadership. Simon Sinek, in his essay, The Evolution of Servant Leadership, suggests that the origins of servant leadership can be found in anthropology. Some 40,000 to 50,000 years ago, he writes, people lived in populations of 150. Tension existed between the stronger and weaker. To deal with this, we evolved into “hierarchical animals” who constantly assessed who were in dominant roles: “We tried to figure out who was the alpha…. If we assessed that others were more senior in the social hierarchy, we would voluntarily step back and allow the alpha to eat first.”

Sinek believes that today we continue this assessment in search of the alpha, or leader. Yet, that position comes with a price. He writes: “A deep-seated social contract is hardwired into all human beings. There is an expectation that, when danger threatens, the alpha… will rush forward toward the danger to protect the tribe.” It is in this that he finds the anthropological roots of servant leadership: “Leadership, it turns out, is not about being in charge. Leadership is about taking care of those in your charge.” He relates this to the responsibility of parents who, while in authority, would do anything to protect and serve their children “to benefit the life of another human being.” They put aside their interest in the well-being and life of others.

Sinek concludes writing that servant leadership “is not based on a series of transactions, but on the promise of being there when someone needs you most…. A few scattered, well-intentioned actions by a leader can’t hurt, but they won’t breed loyalty…. It is the accumulation of a lot of little things that make all the difference.” May we take care of those whom we serve. Yes, we will hold them accountable and responsible. We will grow, develop, and guide them. We may push them to their limits to achieve their greatest potential. We will do all these things because we deeply care for those in our charge, those whom we serve.