Too Busy

We often tell ourselves that we do not have enough time to achieve our goals or aspirations in life. The hard truth is we have the same amount of time as our mentors and heroes do. What makes them different? How do they manage to achieve what they desire out of life that we are missing out on? It could be that we make ourselves too busy for ourselves.

The welcome back episode came from inspiration sent to me from a listener named Sarah that sent me a note saying, “What happened?” Was motivational to see someone reach out to ask for more content. Big thanks to Sarah for reopening this creative outlet.

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Learning How to Drive

Fingers crossed, it would take a few healthy cranks to get the old Pontiac to fire up. Sometimes dad would have to prime the carburetor with a bit of gasoline for encouragement. On the center console was a sticker with a silhouette of a bull defecating and a large red slash through the center. For some reason that’s one of the things that perplexed me as a child because I didn’t quite understand the premise. When I grew up I began to appreciate how different aspects that we weren’t aware of before come into light. Growing up is an amazing experience isn’t it?

My pulse was beating out of my neck the first time I sat behind the wheel. The engine struggled as I turned the loose and cold metal key. I could vaguely see the lines in the middle of the road, peering over the steering wheel. My father sat beside me motionless, grinning from ear to ear. It starts and the car jerks into gear after depressing the button to release the shift knob. Most first times are like this, every step being a concentrated effort. Years of experience lack and therefore do not create the fluidity of motion for the daunting process of driving to take place.

A crescent wrench flies out from a pile of tools and strikes the front seat. The smile on his face disappeared quickly as I began testing the sensitivity of the brake pedal, inadvertently. A otherwise passive learning experience turns into an all out coaching on how to lightly press the brakes. As the car moves forward I become distracted by the trees and forget that I’m responsible for the vehicles direction. Our front tire hits a patch of gravel in the shoulder and the wheel jerks to the right. No intervention takes place.

Now it’s game on. Both of my knuckles turn white as I grip a strong ten-and-two to guide the vehicle to victory. I stare at the far drivers corner of our orange hood and unsuccessfully attempt to keep it on par with the yellow line in the road. My fathers hand reaches over frequently to correct it and avoid collision with speeding vehicles in the opposite lane. It took me a while to understand through practice that by looking where I wanted the car to go rather than where it was, I was able to conquer this feat. The grin was transferred to my face as I guided the vehicle more than 5-10 feet without challenging our stomachs ability to keep down our lunch. I felt free, alive and indestructible.

At the time I didn’t realize there was a bigger lesson here. That we treat our adult lives sort of like driving a car for the first time, except, we never get to the point where we stop looking at the hood and lining up the dots. Once the horizon comes into focus and we begin looking at where we’re going rather than where we are, steering just becomes natural.

The Tortoise Always Wins

“No matter how many times I read this book, Dave, the tortoise always wins.” A hard backed copy a children’s book is held up and shines from the stage lighting. Pen hit Moleskine and my brain kicked into overdrive. “Slow and steady wins the race”, says the final line in the old and familiar Aesop fable. This story primarily targets children and teaches them morals of persistence and pacing. When was the last time I had even read an allegory?

Dave Ramsey told this story of a billionaire whom he asked for the secret to his success. The audience and myself shared disbelief of his simple answer. Then it suddenly made sense.

Once while driving I was listening to Anthony Robbins speak on audio and heard him make the statement, “Most of us are 5 years old emotionally.” His words, while simple and a bit condescending, impacted me. School teaches us to become refined adults to fit in with the social norms very well while forgetting about what emotional education we need after the two feet we learn to walk on lead us to other people in the world. At the beginning we get valuable life advice that gets forgotten. There is a funny book I’ve made mention of before called All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. My experience at the seminar has proved the theory once again.

All of us struggle throughout life’s journey to determine what focus on activities are good for us. After all, it’s biological to take self preserving action. The course of life subjects us to a series of decisions that will ultimately become the story we impart upon others as we pass on. At a moment in the book, the hare becomes ornery from confidence. He decides to lay down and sleep because the tortoise couldn’t possibly catch up. Unless of course he was able to administer intravenous RedBull (for the energy drink junkies out there). As our beloved friend snoozes, the tortoise gains on him and wins the wager before there is enough time for Mr. Bunny to hot rod it to the finish.

From a quick internet search I was able to find 33 different translations of The Tortoise and the Hare across different languages and contexts. All of them make note that the moral is intended to ground us and instill diligence.

“UNNECESSARY Delays in all pressing Affairs are but just so much time lost, beside the hazard of intervening Contingencies that may endanger a total Disappointment. Let not the Work of to Day be put off till to Morrow: For the future is uncertain; and he that lies down to sleep in the middle of Business that requires Action, does not know whether he shall live to wake again: Or with the Hare in the Fable here, out-sleep his Opportunity. a plodding Diligence brings us sooner to our Journey’s End, than a fluttering Way of advancing by Starts and by Stops; for ’tis Perseverance alone that can carry us thorough-stitch.”

Like a broken record inside my brain I hear the words, “No matter how many times I read it, the tortoise always wins” and hope it will become viral in yours to inspire immediate but consistent action in a part of you or your life that’s been thirsty for development.

Today.

Limiting Belief Systems

Anthony Robbins made me aware of his philosophy on the limiting belief system. He painstakingly advocates evaluating our own beliefs to see if they are in alignment with behaviors we would like to produce. By pinpointing the foundation for why a behavior takes place, we are able to create a change in habit over time that theoretically will create an improved quality of life. Many of his theories are rooted in neurolinguistic programming that require physiological changes and spoken word to achieve, but you don’t need voodoo to make it work.

Amazon’s Prime service allows one free book check out per month and an unusually titled book grabbed my attention called The Soulmate Experience by Apple and Dunn. The purpose of the book is enriching our own lives in order to bring those people into it that we want to attract. Whether that be friendships, family members or romantic partners. It made note of changing beliefs as well as a focus on emotional intelligence that helps tremendously with interpersonal relations.

Your first clue that you have a limiting belief operating will often be a separating emotion like anxiety, anger or jealousy. Separating emotions are those that make us feel separate from other people or things rather than connected to them.

If you haven’t noticed from previous articles, I’m a huge fan of interdependency and look to enriching my life through others whenever possible. It worries me to see society today in a position where anxiety and anger dominate our culture knowing that a possible consequence could be pushing us farther away from one another. A speaker at a seminar I attended yesterday made a comment at the end about now being the best time in the history of mankind to communicate ideas, opportunities and emotions. That being said, it could turn out that we are utilizing it less and less.

John Maxwell’s “Law Of The Lid” states that an organization can only be as great or soar as high as the potential of the leader. Any of his or her limiting beliefs will severely handicap the purpose and vision. In what ways are our limiting beliefs preventing us from enjoying the simple frivolous nature of the world? It never ceases to amaze me that the keys to success are simple after reading a large number of self-development books. Who would have thought it would take a Rhode Scholar to articulate books to teach us to slow down and smell the roses?

Limiting beliefs are everywhere and try to rob us of our grand life experience. We are going to regret more the things we didn’t do in life more than the things we did. Becoming frustrated with others for living out their own experiences will only limit ours. When you sense yourself starting to fall away from the moment, take the time to find ground and take the opportunity to connect. You’ll be glad you did.

Redefining Comfort Zone

Man On Wire, Philippe Petit

We are fundamentally designed not to step out of our comfort zones. Biologically we are engineered to sustain life and comfort as we know is best fit. It’s no wonder that we tend to stick to the patterns that have brought us reasonable results in the past without straying off path. Over the past few months my meditations have been focused around identifying areas where I may have become stagnant. At points I become angered at the fact that my own mind will prevent me from stepping off the ledge, so to speak, with a new endeavor or project.

Is life meant to be a wasteland of incomplete dreams? There’s a tipping point at play when I learned about leadership and it’s always right after the point we give up. A colleague advocates the “212 theory”, wherein water boils at 212°F and not a degree less. Because of the state of water in normal ambient conditions, it will wax and wane between a simmer and a boil. That last and final degree is the most difficult for humankind to accomplish but is integral to completion.

Few of us actually ship.

“Shipping” is a term frequently used in the personal development community to describe the moment in time that a person finishes their decision making process and executes the plan. Comfort zones define the limitation for us to ship in various aspects of life. These ideas touch more than just the business world but can be applied to personal endeavors.

A documentary I watched recently called Man On Wire interviewed a Frenchman named Philippe Petit whose life dream became to cross the twin towers in New York City at 1,368ft above ground with no safety net. Although few in the world will experience a feat of this magnitude, it stood out to me that his most defining moment during his journey was stepping out onto the wire from a construction platform they had attached it to. Faced with a 200ft walk to the other tower he knew that once he ‘shipped’, he would be flirting with death. The reality is his exhilaration after a lifetime of preparation for this day became overwhelming and the police reported after he was arrested for trespassing that they could vaguely see him smiling upon first sight of the law enforcement.

Philippe’s life was dedicated to pushing the boundaries of his body and mind. This man knew nothing about comfort as we do and went against every molecule in his body designed to prevent him from subjecting himself to fatality. Even if a person pushes his or herself to 1% the amount Mr. Petit did, they will experience a new vigor of life that simply cannot be described in words. Redefine comfort zone.