10,000 Hours

“If you can find someone who can stay on mission, on task, with focused intensity for an entire decade, I will show you someone who is world class in their chosen area of endeavor. They are likely a national brand, or will be. In his great book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell writes that one of the keys to unusual heights of success is spending ten thousand hours of practice at your chosen craft.  The Beatles spent countless hours playing at summer festivals before you ever heard of them;  Peyton Manning, widely regarded as one of the best quarterbacks to ever play football, has been known for his work ethic since he was a child. Remember, you work your tail off for fifteen years and you are suddenly an overnight success.”  — Dave Ramsey

I’m a big fan of the 10,000-hour rule.

When people observe someone who is head and shoulders above the crowd, they often say, “How gifted she is!” or “He is just a natural.”  Many people are gifted, but if they are to become world class, or one of the best in their field, they’ve got to put the time in.  They’ve got to work hard—really hard—for a very long time! There’s no getting around that.

Where will YOU invest your 10,000 hours…?

I’ll leave you with this great principle from James Allen…

 “In all human affairs there are efforts, and there are results, and the strength of the effort is the measure of the result.  Chance is not.  Gifts, powers, material, intellectual, and spiritual possessions are the fruits of effort;  they are thoughts completed, objects accomplished, visions realized.”

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Are You Failing Often Enough?

Sooo…I’ve been stepping waay outside my comfort zone over the past couple of months.  Been exploring some uncharted territories.  Experimenting with a few new (ad)ventures.

I’m looking for something to get excited about.  Looking to make another run at something.  Something to put a little bounce back in my step.

I believe I’m on to a few promising things, but thus far…I’ve fallen flat on my face. Those balloons I had up in the air? Lead balloons, baby.  I got nothin!  Nada.  Zilch.

No wait!  I’m kidding.  I got experience, right?  I just learned a few new ways that won’t work.  Failure is just another way to learn how to do something right.  Right?  Now all I need to do is go back to the lab, make some adjustments, and try a different approach.

You know, you can predict how successful people will become by watching how they deal with failure.  If they can’t handle failure—repeated, brutally painful failure—then there’s a good chance they aren’t going to make any waves in the world.

The reason is simple.  Failure is a prerequisite for success.  If you want to succeed faster, double your rate of failure.

In the end, failure is only the feedback that keeps you on course.  Nobody that I know that achieved any level of success had everything figured out perfectly the first time.  You see, you don’t have to get it right at the very beginning.  You just have to generate some momentum and get it going…

When you’re up against it, when you’ve tried a number of different approaches, and continue to come up short again and again, you’ve got to understand deep down inside that you just cannot give up.

You must know that if you absolutely refuse to quit, no matter how hard it is to succeed right now…no matter how hard it is to keep picking yourself up after each fall…that someday you will make it.  And if continue to charge forward long after others have quit and gone home, you will eventually get it right.  You will find a way to succeed!

Keep in mind that most people achieved their greatest success one step beyond what looked like their greatest failure.

So when you fail, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get back out there….   Get some more bumps and bruises.  Get knocked down a few more times.  Note what’s working and what’s not.  Alter your approach until you achieve the results you want.  And someday you will make it!

Remember:  You only have to succeed the last time!

 

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Embrace the Uncertainty

“Be your own hero, it’s cheaper than a movie ticket.” — Douglas Horton

I’m in one of those uncertain stages of my life. 

I’m trying to reconstruct some areas that need attention.

But it’s not progressing as quickly as I would like.

I have a lot of new ventures up in the air. And I have a lot of uncertainty about how things will turn out…

But I have two choices…

I could drive myself crazy thinking about all the things that could go wrong.  Or…I could think of all the possibilities, all the reasons why things could turn out well.

Tony Robbins says, “The only thing keeping you from what you want is your story about why you can’t have it.”

Why not develop a story about how you CAN get what you want?

For 25 years I worked in the corporate world. I worked hard and I was promoted.  I managed people and projects and budgets.  I provided value to the companies I worked for, and I got paid well, got nice bonuses, enjoyed company-paid meals, traveled to major cities, and stayed in glitzy hotels. 

But the jobs I held never really excited me.  On many occasions I felt like a robot.  My alarm clock went off every morning, and I got up and did my 14-hour regimen.  I’d participate in meetings I had very little interest in.  I would feign enthusiasm, but I was bored out of my skull!  And it became harder and harder to fake it.

Now I have excitement in my life.

Do I know if all those balls I have in the air are going to land where I want them?  No. 

Would I like a bit more certainty in my life?  Absolutely.  But I still wouldn’t trade what I have now for a comfortable seat in that boring meeting.

Every day is an adventure.  Joe’s Excellent Adventure! 

I’m the hero of my own story. 

I’m writing the script as I go…

It is scary—but it’s exhilarating too!

Why not step out of your comfort zone and try something new?

View your life like (fill in your name here)  ______’s Excellent Adventure!

Be the hero of your own story.

 

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Got Pain?

Got pain?

I do.

And I don’t like it.

Often there’s a good reason for it.

Something I neglected to do, or follow through on, caused it.

C. S. Lewis said that pain is God’s megaphone.

Pain, for me, is God’s way of shouting:  “Hey!  I tried whispering.  I tried the still, small voice.  That didn’t work.  So I have no other recourse than to shout!”  When I finally hear it—and get it—I know it’s time to do something about it.

Alistair Begg gives us an uncommon view of suffering:  “Although the trial may appear in the disguise of an enemy, in reality it may prove to be a friend.  The biblical writer James encourages his readers when faced with trials to welcome them as friends rather than resenting them as intruders.  Instead of running and hiding, we are to face them in the awareness that they come to prove us and improve us.”

Hmmm…I like that perspective.  Suffering may not be good in itself, but if we view it for what it could be, a chance to “prove us and improve us,” we can turn it into a positive.  We can make something good out of it.

I use the pain I’m feeling as a wake-up call, as fuel, as motivation to do whatever it takes to change my current circumstance.

Got pain?

Facing a tough trial?

What is God trying to tell you?

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Know Exactly What You Want

“What this power is, I cannot say.  All I know is that it exists…and it becomes available only when you are in a state of mind in which you know EXACTLY what you want…and are fully determined not to quit until you get it.” — Alexander Graham Bell

What do you want?

I mean, what do you really want?

When I make my list of things to do every day, I keep my goals and my purpose in front of me.  I want every action that I take to get me one step closer to my dreams.

I know specifically what I want spiritually, financially, in my career and relationships, and in my health and physical fitness.  And I work every day to make these desires a reality.

In his classic book Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill tells us what happens when we know what we want and have a burning desire to obtain it…

“The method of accomplishment will unfold quite mysteriously, and in most cases, much sooner than you expect!  That’s the peculiar thing about this secret.  Those who acquire it and use it find themselves literally swept on to success…”

Be definite. 

Know exactly what you want.  

You will never realize your desires if you do not know—in precise detail—what it is you want and when you want it.

There is power in knowing precisely what you want!

 

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What’s Distracting You?

I don’t own a TV.
I had a bit of a TV addiction, you see.
But I’m in recovery now.  I belong to TVA (TV Anonymous).

For more years than I care to admit, I would park my arse in front of the tube for hours every evening. Sometimes I would grab a book to read, but I watched more than I read.  Granted, some of the hours were educational, entertaining, and relaxing.  (We all need some down time.)  But, honestly, most of the hours were wasted.

Yeah, no TV.

It was a Major Distraction.

And it had to go.

If I need to see what’s going on in the world, I can check the Internet or watch a game at a friend’s house.

Now that I am TV-less, there are sooo many positive alternatives.  I read more. Research more.  I check tasks off my to-do list.  I make that call to a friend I haven’t connected with in a while.  I get stuff done!  Incredible!

As Dirty Harry put it, a man needs to know his limitations.  A man needs to know what forces are at work to distract him from doing what he needs to do and becoming who he needs to become.

What’s preventing YOU from doing what you should be doing?   Internet?  Phone?  Texting?  Shopping?  TV?

A good friend of mine says that everyone’s got an issue, a distraction, an addiction.  If it’s not alcohol or drugs, it’s TV, prescription drugs, Facebook, shopping, texting—something!

If your “thing” is interfering with the achievement of your goals, maybe you should consider removing it?

Just a thought…

 

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Crisis? Opportunity? Change?

“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself but to your own estimate of it—and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.” — Marcus Aurelius 
 
Crisis?  Or Opportunity?
 
Which will it be?
 
JFK said, “When written in Chinese, the word ‘crisis’ is composed of two characters—one represents danger, the other represents opportunity.”
 
When something “bad” happens to you, you have one of two choices.  You can say, “Man, this is BAD!”  Or you could say, “Man, this looks bad right now, but maybe there’s a lesson to be learned from this…”  or “How can I find the good in this?” 
 
The only way to answer the last question is by changing how you interpret the event.  And that raises these questions…
 
Can a person really change?  Can you reinterpret and reframe your perception of an event?  Can you change the emotions that accompany an unhealthy thought or pattern of behavior?  If so, can the change be significant and permanent?
 
Yes.  Because the changes that matter most are more often changes in your PERCEPTION than in the world around you. And you can change the way you perceive the world—in a heartbeat.
 
Not long ago, my father died, my marriage died, I lost my job and my home, and I went broke.  I was a broken man.  I suffered great emotional turmoil.
 
I thought my life was over.  And I was right.   
 
My OLD life was over.   But then…a whole new life began.  What I did not expect was that out of that rubble I could create a new life that would make me happier than ever.  What I didn’t realize was that events like these really can be blessings in disguise. 
 
Sometimes, when these kinds of things happen, adversity can surprise you and present you with a whole new way of looking at life.
 
Losing a loved one, your job and ending of a long-term relationship are unfortunate circumstances. 
 
But the truth is:  The way you process these events will contribute either positively or negatively to your emotional health.
 
Your reality is YOUR reaction to an event in your life and the meaning you attach to it. I love the way Albert Einstein said it:  “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
 

You can change how you think about, and how you react to, anything.  Any event—good or bad.

Make a choice right now to change your perception of a crisis into an opportunity to grow, to get a different perspective, to believe new things, to look at life in a different way.

Transform your thinking.
Turn a negative into a positive.
Put your emotions to a positive use.
Make something good out of it.
Salvage something

“Growth is often painful and scary.   There is no growth without change;   there is no change without fear or loss;   and there is no loss without pain.   Every change involves a loss of some kind.   You must let go of old ways in order to experience new things.   We fear these losses—even if our old ways were self-defeating.”    — Rick Warren

Loss and grief are natural realities, and we will all experience these things at some point in our lives. They are part of the pain of being human.  They serve their purpose—for a season.  But if we’re ever going to get emotionally healthy, we cannot dwell on them.  We have to move on…

We must learn to reinterpret and reframe the events that stir us up for no good reason.  They are not worth remembering.  And we musn’t waste any more of our time on them.

“The trick is what you emphasize.  We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong.  The amount of work is the same.”  — Carlos Castaneda

I choose to be strong!

How about you?

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