Tag Archives: mental

Unscientific Research: Fix your wallet to fix your head to fix your wallet…

Do you have big dreams? For 2010?  For right now?

What you do, how far you succeed, what you achieve — they all come from what you think about. They all come from what you are thinking about RIGHT now

And here’s the kicker……

Controlling your thoughts is the hardest part about struggling toward success. There is nothing more difficult. There is not a bigger challenge.  Frankly, nothing you do is more important.

Let’s face it.  The journey is brutal and you will likely end up bruised and battered along the way, but above all else you have to remain mentally tough. You have to stay focused on your future.

(Are you shaking your head yet?  Do you agree with me?)

Good.  Let’s get our hands dirty with this….

Let’s talk about your finances and your relationships.  These are the two biggest areas of concern for any of us.

When thing start going to sh#%!t in these two areas, it is harder to stay focused on your future.  Close to impossible.  You get sidetracked and start thinking about how to solve the most recent problem instead of spending effort and time on your destiny.

That’s usually never a good thing.

YES, you need to get distractions out-of-the-way before you start tackling your goals, but also you need to be cognizant of what you are doing – of the impact of your change in focus.

When you let personal matters — like your finances — go unchecked, you find yourself trading the right thing for the right now thing.

Isn’t the biggest influence on our decisions on ANY given day personal finances?   So if you don’t have a handle on your budget, start fixing it today. There are plenty of tools to help you solve this problem.

Try using Mint or Rudder to manage where your money goes. And while you are at it, go grab Peter Dunn‘s new book, 60 Days to Change.  Solve your bad habit of hoping everything works out and guarantee that it starts heading that direction.

Know what I am saying? Take control of your goals — your dreams of destiny — by taking real-world, tangible action to boost your success.

Don’t pretend this doesn’t apply to you either.  I know the “I’ll just sell more” excuse.  I was king of that line of thinking for way too long.  There is a better way to capture your dream.  Peter actually makes it fun.

Anything that comes between you and your goal — physical or mental — is your enemy and you must destroy it…  Take money off your brain and start focusing on deals that will help you be a bigger success…

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FULL DISCLOSURE:  Pete’s team asked me my thoughts on the book and here is what I wrote on the back cover of his book:

“You can’t change the world while fighting with the bank to forgive your 17 overdraft fees. To get extreme results, you have to take control of your personal finances. Pete breaks it all down with wit and wisdom into a 60-day mission of personal financial domination. In between chuckles, you’ll be kicking yourself that you didn’t read this earlier.”

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Create A Legacy of Trying

This could also be subtitled something like: NOT “Putting out” Only Works When You are Looking for a Girlfriend (and then sometimes “not-so-much”)… or  The “E” for Effort stands for “Everytime”

And so I give you some musings on “trying” and (2) videos you need to watch…

If you run a search on The DEW View for the idea of effort, you get like 50 or 60 posts on everything from investigating the best of open source technology to how to run a presentation so that people stay awake to how to get back up when you get your ass kicked (all good topics, I hear…).  The reason I am writing another post on the idea of trying is that a lot of entrepreneurs I speak with get the idea of trying all wrong.  They think “trying” is something to do after planning or building or everything else…  TRYING is what you DO while you DO all those OTHER things!

Try Harder Smarter like AVIS

Start-ups have one really differentiating quality — the art of trying harder.  Sure market timing, customer sensitivity, price incentives, management insight, cash flow, and a thousand other micro-factors impact your chance of success.  Sometimes, these factors have a HUGE impact on your success.  But the great equalizer is the effort the entrepreneur (YOU) puts into their own success.

Trying harder, better yet, “trying harder smarter” is the ONLY guarantee that you have.

You can’t change the economic outlook to get better financial terms.  You can’t change international geo-political trade regulations to grow new markets.  You can’t force people to care about you are doing…

YOU CAN ALWAYS TRY HARDER SMARTER!

If you haven’t read The Dip by Seth Godin, you need to go buy it from Amazon.com for the entire $5 that it costs.

Seth Godin Talks about Losers!

I read this some time back and recently did a re-read of all 96 pages.  It’s a 45 minutes pithy read on WHEN you need to quit.  Seth did a brilliant job of talking about this concept called the DIP, where most entreprenuers give up (or “stop trying” in DEW-speak).

I like that Seth puts some science behind the experience that I have been through several times in my life.   I certainly have been in the DIP several times in my career and it’s BRUTAL…. until you power out the bottom of the curve and get  superstar results.  Life is miserable at the bottom until you “figure out if you have enough guts to keep pushing”.

When critics complained to Abraham Lincoln that his leading general was a drunk, Lincoln made the witty response:

“Tell me what brand of whiskey Grant drinks.  I would like to send a barrel of it to my other generals.”

That summed up Lincoln’s analysis of what he wanted from his leadership — not DRUNKENNESS but FIGHT!  (By the way, the story of Grant as a warrior is inspiring by itself.  He had no friends and no real experience like General Robert E. Lee and yet his courage to FIGHT on was a deciding factor in his success.  He didn’t quit…)

Have you ever noticed that quitting is something that we perfect as we get older?

We try to say sophisticated things like “market research indicates that current demand ratios point to slower growth patterns” or “I need to think about this some more.  I don’t want to make the wrong decision”.  What we really need to say is  something along the lines of  “I am really scared right now.  I think I have a great idea and I passionate about it, but I could lose everything if I’m wrong.”  Now we’ll getting somewhere.  Now we have the personal integrity that is foundation for deep-rooted, passionate enterprise.

It’s hard work.  No one said being successful would be easy.  But you CAN do it.  You CAN be the WINNER you want to be.  If you are in a DIP right now, here are a few things you can do to stay sane and motivated:

  1. Recognize that you are in a DIP.  There is no use denying the obvious…
  2. Refocus your attention on the basics (customers and cash flow)…
  3. Rationalize what “seems” or “seemed” to be working into a process that you can examine at a later date…
  4. Repeat to yourself and anyone who will listen your core values driving what you are doing…

There is no silver bullet that makes your pain go away or your fear of failure disappear.  You are your own best medicine.

Let me leave you with this quote from a reader and commenter of The DEW View, Lydia Sugarman: “I do it because I can, I can because I want to, I want to because you said I couldn’t…”  If you really understand that quote then you are on your way to creating your own legacy of trying!

Keep Trying!

Try today!

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Using Everything to Get Something

I just wrote about the fact that a lot of times in negotiation what is “not said” is exactly what “should be said”…  More succinctly: when the other party explicitly states that an point (such as money or time or a competitor…) is NOT important — IT IS VERY IMPORTANT.  It’s all too true!  Those of you nodding your heads with me probably learned the hard way (like I did).

Getting inside the head of your opponent, prospect, partner (etc….) is important because it provides context to what that person is saying and doing.

Here is an interesting article I read about something as simple as observing where people sit on a bus:

Forward-minded people tend to sit at the front of the top deck, according to Dr Tom Fawcett of Salford University, the independent-minded in the middle and those with a rebellious streak at the rear.

Dr Fawcett, a lecturer on mental toughness who has helped train Olympic athletes, said there were definite patterns in people’s behaviour depending on where they sat.

He said: “With something as habitual as getting on a bus people may find it surprising that their choice of seat can actually reveal aspects of their personality.”

He concluded that bus passengers fell into seven distinct groups.

Those at the front on the top deck are generally forward thinkers and those at the back are rebellious types who do not like their personal space being invaded, he found.

Sitting in the middle are independent thinkers – usually younger to middle-aged passengers more likely to read a newspaper or listen to a personal music player.

On the bottom deck at the front tend to be gregarious meeters-and-greeters while those in the middle are “strong communicators”. Travellers who automatically head for the rear downstairs are said to be risk-takers who like to sit on elevated seats because it makes them feel important.

He defined a final group as chameleons – travellers who do not care where they sit because they feel they can fit in anywhere.

He did not say what happened to forward thinkers on a single-decker bus – presumably they wait for a double-decker.

Dr Fawcett said the study was an “observational” one.

He said: “It was carried out as an observational survey – we noted people’s body language and whether there was any interaction with other passengers, if they were sociable or withdrawn or even anti-social.”

OK…  So this is England AND highly controversial  — BUT seeing and interpreting details like this can be the difference between connecting and winning rather than being the “always guy”…

Food for thought?

Strength: Physical or Mental?

In the classic “chick or the egg” routine, I ask which is most important:

BRAINS or BRAWN or BOTH?

With BRAINS and no BRAWN you get “genius inactivity”….  But with BRAWN and no BRAINS you get “fruitless effort”….  So it makes sense that you need both!  

BUT…..

If you have to favor one above the other, which wins?

 

“Lydia’s Challenge”… (i.e. TRYING = Winning In The Moment!)

Thank you, Lydia, for the hard challenge in your comments yesterday.  For those of you who missed it, here is what Lydia had to say about my thoughts on “TRYING”:

I’m not even going to read this post after seeing that dirty three-letter word in the headline. Once you introduce the word “try” into the equation, you’ve already conceded failure. You are acknowledging that you might not be successful. You are allowing yourself to fail. If you are only going to try again, you can bet you will not succeed tomorrow either. This has nothing to do with fist pumping, false bravado, or harsh words. This has to do with the conviction that you will be successful when you do something. That doesn’t mean that you may not have to find another way to reach your goal, but it does not leave any room for failure as the the word “try” does.

I did an experiment this morning at my 6:30 am Triathlon spin class. After warming up to the point where there was already a little puddle of sweat under my bike, we got into the real work of the class, a series of 18 intervals w/ a 3-minute recovery after the first 12. At one point, I was doing really great, feeling really great, riding strong, and feeling happy, thinking about the effort Olympians and pro cyclists invest in their sports. Then, I let a couple of less than positive memories enter my consciousness. Instantly, it was harder to pedal and I wanted to ease up on the tension, slow my cadence. I realized what I was doing to myself and recognizing how these thoughts got in the way of my performance earlier in the summer. As soon as I consciously shifted my thinking back to successful models, the workout once again became joyous, the pedals spun a little faster, the tension didn’t feel so heavy and I finished an ass-kicking 60-minute workout with a smile even though I was panting for breath, my heart-rate monitor was red-lining, and there were two puddles of sweat on the floor under the bike.

I contend that courage is truly, deeply believing you will accomplish whatever you’ve set yourself to do and absolutely not allowing the tiniest doubt.

There is no try. There is only do. –Yoda

Lydia, I agree!  I agree!  I agree!

HOWEVER!

I think that there are a few contributing factors to success.  You have written brilliantly about the mental aspects of being successful.  Being mentally prepared for success is amazing, but a proper mindset about failure is also VERY healthy — and necessary.

Failure is a reality of life.  In spite of conviction and confidence, the biggest successes of all time have experienced failure — repeated, egregious failures:

  • Abraham Lincoln failed at farming, being a store owner, a senator, and pretty much everything else…
  • Michael Jordan was cut from his High School basketball team…
  • Thomas Edison tried over 10,000 filament sources before inventing our light bulb…
  • Lance Armstrong has lost more Tour de France races than he has won…

I think we would ALL agree that these individuals listed above could be noted as the leading SUCCESSES in each of their respective fields…  Perhaps leading successes of ALL TIME!

What’s the disconnect then?

Most of us would agree that failure (or learning from our mistakes…) makes us stronger.  That’s a cognitive process that we often vocalize.  However, it is unhealthy and many times fatal to deny the possibility of failure.  I have witnessed the crushing blow of failure to be so mentally taxing that for some individuals to “try again” was almost impossible — the WILL to TRY was broken.

I agree that the “I will TRY” excuse is overused and frankly an escape mechanism for just not wanting to put in the necessary effort…  It usually lacks the conviction and WILL to fight through failures to accomplish that “there is only do mantra” that you referenced…

“I equate trying to “winning in the moment”… (DEWism)

You have heard people talk about focusing on the “journey” rather than the “destination”….  In the rough-and-tumble world that I live work in, TRYING is the next step down the journey to success.  I can not control the universe beyond myself, but I can control my response to the forces that affect my WILL to survive and flourish…

KUDOS, Lydia!  You have made me think about WINNING in the moment — my desire to TRY and the mental discipline to accept nothing other than excellence from myself…

Stop Worrying About Burnout….

….FIX IT!

Dinosaurs DIED out — they didn’t BURN out…

NOTE: This really a dialogue with myself that I am foolishly writing about here..

Not sure why I was thinking about this so much (besides the fact that I am suffering from burnout) but I did just have to give myself a little “pep talk” about allowing myself to believe that burnout was even an option.

And then I had to do more self-correction. Burnout is ALWAYS an option…

I like to believe that all of life is an option. I can choose what I allow to happen to “DEW” (that’s me… just in case you were scratching your head)…

I do consider the head-game to be the hardest part about obsession. When you move fast and hard in controversial places, you have to have a thick skin and an even stronger mind. You really have to know why what you are doing is so important… in spite of having that belief system questioned incessantly.

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INSIGHTS: Allowing burnout to turn you into a “mental vegetable” is as silly as riding a motorcycle without a helmet. The wind rushing past your face may be an andrenaline rush, but one wrong move and you can be crippled for life…
See it, Feel it, Embrace it — then work to HEAL it. Most people give up before they burnout. That you are in this place means that you have fought harder and longer than most. But understand — that fact alone won’t save you! Stop worrying about burnout and FIX it.
Here are a few simple ways to get back on top of your A-Game:
  • Declutter your brain — Take a walk and pick out the sounds around you. Try to isolate each sound by itself… You will have to forget about most of your stress to accomplish this task…
  • Pick a sports hobby — Running, fighting, basketball, whatever it is — spend a few hours each week (each day if possible) involved in that activity… The mastery of self-fulfilment is powerful in building mental endurance…
  • CHILL — Sometimes it helps to just do nothing… Do whatever you feel like doing: read a book, or share a joke, smoke a cigar… Don’t give yourself rules… (except that addictive or self-destructive behavior is not allowed…)
Burnout is real and poses a threat to every zealot… Stop worrying about it and FIX IT!
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For the phoenix to rise from the ashes
One must know the pain
To transform the fire to burning desire
–Mark Gorkin