Are you ready and willing to grow?

“If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.”

Fred DeVito

I have never become a better person, player, contributor, or servant by choosing the easier path. Growth only occurs when you are willing to be pushed out of your comfort zone. How are you going to push yourself today?

Are you working in your garden?

“To experience growth, you must become a conscious and committed gardener of the self. That means you must pull out all the roots of the past and plant new seeds of thought and behavior.”

Peg Streep

It can be easy to fall into the trap of pruning others and ignoring the most crucial work, improving oneself. Over time we all develop bad habits and behaviors that we wouldn’t choose for ourselves if we were picking our “best self” off a menu of desired traits.  

So, the only way to change is to prune intentionally. Where are you going to start gardening?

Is your attitude the right one for growth?

“The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future by merely changing his attitude.”

Oprah Winfrey

Have you made this discovery? How do you want your future to change? Is your attitude enabling your growth or limiting you?

Learning is a lifetime endeavor…

“You are always a student, never a master. You have to keep moving forward.”

Conrad Hall 

A sage friend and colleague shared this with me yesterday, and I thought it was exceptionally profound as it captures the essence of a continual learning mindset. This captures the essence of “iron sharpening iron…”

“I want to work with people who I can learn from, and who are open to learning from me. People with whom I can exchange the student/teacher hats at a moment’s notice. People who sit in the uniquely blessed and fulfilling seat of Plato – a student of Socrates and then a teacher to Aristotle.”

Stink is good…

“A failure is like fertilizer; it stinks to be sure, but it makes things grow faster in the future.”

Denis Waitley

Can you imagine how poorly everything would taste if no fertilizer were ever used? How many of life’s great experiences would be lost if we didn’t have some fertilizer along the way. Stop worrying about failing, start focusing on growth!

What are you experimenting with today?

“Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make, the better. What if they are a little coarse, and you may get your coat soiled or torn? What if you do fail and get fairly rolled in the dirt once or twice. Up again, you shall never be so afraid of a tumble.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

What experiments are you going to put into practice today? Are you trying something new? Is there some idea or approach you have in mind that you want to try out? What is the worst that can happen if the experiment doesn’t go precisely as planned?  

If you aren’t pushing the envelope, striving to test new techniques and manners of thinking, are you growing? If you aren’t experimenting daily, are you simply living a “the way it has always been done” life?  

Is that the life you want to live?

Learn to teach, teach to learn…

“We now accept the fact that learning is a lifelong process of keeping abreast of change. And the most pressing task is to teach people how to learn.”

Peter Drucker

My favorite end of day questions to ask of myself are:

  1. What did you learn?
  2. What did you teach?

Interestingly enough, only when I do both is the day is fully satisfying.

Unlocking the secret of a good attitude…

“Our attitudes control our lives. Attitudes are a secret power working twenty-four hours a day, for good or bad. It is of paramount importance that we know how to harness and control this great force.”

Irving Berlin

“Attitudes are a secret power working twenty-four hours a day, for good or bad…”

“For good or bad.” Whose good? Yours? Others? The truth is that the choices you make regarding your attitude have a profound impact on your life and the lives of those you touch. It strikes me as I write this that those focused on improving their attitudes have a deep caring for those they interact with and those they serve. The person with a “bad attitude” doesn’t care about the impact they have on others. They are looking inward and caring only about themselves.  

Perhaps the key to unlocking the secret power of attitude is to lift your eyes and see the world around you with a servant’s heart. If you can’t do this, will your attitude ever be good?

Are you blooming?

“When a flower doesn’t bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower.”

Alexander Den Heijer

People are a lot like flowers. They need suitable soil, sunshine, water, and food to grow. Take away these things, and performance is suboptimal at best.

Flowers also need structure and process to bloom their brightest. You can’t dump all the water on them at once and then give none for a month and expect great results; the environment matters, consistency matters, discipline and process matter. Add these ingredients to the mix and you have a formula for achieving beauty.  

The four questions of growth…

“Remember, there are no real failures in life, only results. There are no true tragedies, only lessons. And there really are no problems, only opportunities waiting to be recognized as solutions by the person of wisdom.”

Robin Sharma

What happened?

What did you learn?

What opportunities have been created?

How are you going to solve them?

You must become what you want to attract…

“Surround yourself with people that push you to do better. No drama or negativity. Just higher goals and higher motivation. Good times and positive energy. No jealousy or hate. Simply bringing out the absolute best in each other.”

Warren Buffett

I’ve used this quote before, but it is just such a good one that I wanted to use it again. If you are interested, you can read the previous post HERE.  

Every word I wrote last time is as relevant to me now as when I first posted them. I might add to my prior writing the creation of a more disciplined approach for reviewing and pruning. I am going to make this a quarterly habit and see what happens.

Today as I read this quote, I am inspired by exactly how POWERFUL it is when you find people like this and actively seek to include them in your life. It is interesting to observe that the more effective you are, the more people like this seem to show up. A sense of “center of gravity” happens, and like-minded people seem to draw closer together and in more significant numbers. The impact of a group of people who believe and behave in this way can’t be overstated. It can change your world and the worlds of all those around you whom you care for and love.  

The lesson to myself, review this quote and the process I outlined before regularly and live these behaviors outwardly FOR OTHERS every day.  You must become what you want to attract…

Avoid becoming “overcopied…”

“Success is dangerous. One begins to copy oneself, and to copy oneself is more dangerous than to copy others.”

Pablo Picasso

The minute you begin to “believe your own press” you are choosing to surrender the edge that helped you build any advantage you might have previously created. Suddenly every problem begins to look like something you have tackled before, and previous solutions or thought processes are applied based on historical efficacy, not on current understanding.  

Some questions to consider:

  1. Is the answer I am choosing “right” or easy?
  2. Have I done the hard work to understand the situation entirely?
  3. Is the challenge worthy of genuine effort and not just a pale facsimile?

The old saying, “when the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail,” seems particularly appropriate here. Never settle for a copy of previous success. Much like a paper that has been copied far too many times, you begin to lose your clarity.

Challenge = Growth = Opportunities to Serve…

“Challenges are what make life interesting, and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.”

Joshua J. Marine

If everything was easy, why would you ever need to grow?   

If you don’t grow, how can you serve more?

If you can’t find more ways to serve, how can you create meaning?

Are you wiser today than yesterday?

“You should never be ashamed to admit you have been wrong. It only proves you are wiser today than yesterday.”

Jonathan Swift

A mentor of mine once gave me some very sage counsel. He said, “In all matters other than your principles and core values, think of everything you believe as a scientific hypothesis. You must constantly be seeking to have your assumptions either proven or disproven. Seek out the data that either validates or nullifies the hypothesis you have in your mind. When you live life with this framework, you will never worry about who is right, only on discovering what is right.”

I hypothesize that he was right…

Do you have foresight?

“Hindsight is the best insight to foresight.”

Irish Proverb

How much time do you devote to objectively reviewing your past actions and seeking to improve?  

Will tomorrow be better than today?

Can you learn and apply lessons from your past?  

If you don’t, are you even growing?

What is your soul’s resolve?

“There is no chance, no destiny, no fate, that can hinder or control the firm resolve of a determined soul.”

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

What are the things you believe in so fervently that nothing could slow you down or prevent you from making every possible effort to achieve success? Do you have this same fervent belief in yourself, in your capabilities? In your potential?  

If you believe in yourself and know that you can learn, and grow, and improve, then you will never settle for “good enough.”  

Resolve to be better, to grow, to improve, to change. Then there will be no chance, no destiny, no fate that will get in your way or slow you down. 

Age is truly a state of a mind…

“I am old but I am forever young at heart. We are always the same age inside. Know that you are the perfect age. Each year is special and precious, you can only live it once. Do not regret growing older, it’s a privilege denied to many!”

Richard Gere

The key to living a life of perpetual youth is to embrace the opportunity to learn and grow each and every day. If you aren’t learning, growing, seeing the world as if through the eyes of a child, then you must by default be dying.  

Life is just too short and precious to waste.  Every single moment we have is a gift for ourselves, and more importantly, for others.   

 Choose to learn, choose to grow, choose to live. Why choose to die before you have to?

Read twice daily. Change your world…

“For what it’s worth … it’s never too late, or in my case too early, to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit. Start whenever you want. You can change or stay the same. There are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people who have a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.”

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

This quote should be read at the beginning of each morning and again and the end of each night. If you read it often enough, you might believe it. Then perhaps you might actually live it…

Life is found in the “and.”

“The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift is yours — it is an amazing journey — and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins.”

Bob Moawad

Most people never arrive at the point where they can honestly view life through the lens of both “no apologies or excuses.” I have known people that were good at either, but rarely both.  

First, I think it is essential to ensure one doesn’t misinterpret the “no apologies” component to mean you are authorized to live in a manner where you can be numb to others’ feelings or perspectives.  

“No apologies” in this context means that you don’t have to ask for forgiveness for being the unique and special person God created you to be. You own your identity and appreciate the individual gifts you possess.  

Balancing this awareness with an attitude of extreme ownership and accountability is where the magic happens. Only then can you begin to live the authentic life God has prepared for you.  No apologies AND no excuses…. This is truly the “genius of the AND.”

What are you going to learn? Who are you going to teach?

“Associate with people who are likely to improve you. Welcome those who you are capable of improving. The process is a mutual one: men learn as they teach.”

Seneca

Do you have a goal to learn something from at least one person every day? How about teaching one person something every day?  

Reflect on your interactions with all the people you touched today. What did you learn, and what did you teach? Could you take two minutes to write it down?  

Imagine how much more prosperous the world will be for you and others one year from today if you approached every interaction with a teach/learn mindset. It’s never too late to start…

Are you building something new?

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”

Dan Millman

I might change the wording of this slightly. “The secret of “LIFE” is to focus all your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”

All too often, we get bogged down by the old ways or, even worse, complacency takes hold, and we forget how exciting it is to learn and grow.  

I prefer to think of life as being similar to compound interest. Every experience, every learning, every mistake, it all contributes to becoming a more robust and fulfilled version of yourself. If we miss an opportunity, we miss it forever, as well as the compounded growth that could have stacked on top.

Every day is an opportunity to build something new. Even if it is only a slight improvement over yesterday, it is still an improvement. Creating a life focused on building the new you choose to create a life of exponential compound growth.    

What are you going to build on tomorrow?

Are you running in the right race?

“Don’t impress others with what you have; impress them with who you are.”

Robert Tew

A wise person once told me, “if someone is more interested in coming to see my house, and not me, then I don’t want them in my circle of friends.”  

Life isn’t a race to see who can get the most stuff. Instead, it is a race to see how much you can grow personally and then give back to others.  

Unfortunately, not many people seem to be running in this race. Are you?

Are you weighed down by baggage?

“Our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.”

Barbara Geraci

Do you view the experiences you have had in life as gifts to build from or as anchors holding you back?  

How you consider all the things that have occurred in your life, whether good, bad, or ugly, will define your future. You can either choose to carry them with you as baggage, or you can choose to view them as fuel. Baggage slows you, and fuel propels you. Which one do you think will move you forward? It’s up to you, how do you want to live?

What is failure?

“You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on it. You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.”

Johnny Cash

I love this quote because, for me, it defines the difference between failure and growth. If you do the things listed here, then it isn’t a failure.   It is merely an experience that didn’t turn out the way you wanted.  Then you can learn from it and go forward better and smarter.  

Failure is refusing to learn.  

Failure is blaming someone or something else.  

Failure is quitting.  

Failure is letting the past control you instead of owning the opportunity to do something better based on the first-hand experience of what doesn’t work.

In life are you the iron or the anvil?

“We are made to persist. That’s how we find out who we are.”

Tobias Wolff

Can you imagine who you would be today if you had never been tested or challenged? Those things that are our most significant challenges at the moment are merely the building blocks of the person we are supposed to become. Without them, we are only a shadow of the person we were created to be and can’t serve others in the fullest capacity.  

Embrace the opportunities to persist; those moments are the crucible where something extraordinary is being forged.  We can either choose to be the iron being crafted into something beautiful or we can choose to be the anvil, unmovable and unchanging.

hot iron steel glow
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Never a wasted moment…

“This new day is too dear, with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on the yesterdays.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Merely spending a quiet moment at the end of the day reflecting on what might have made the day even more impactful; is enough time spent on the past. This time is precious; it is time spent learning and growing, so tomorrow will be even more powerful.

Make tomorrow better by actively learning from today. The precious and finite time you have to spend tomorrow is worth it.

Create 10x returns in the lives of others…

“The greatest good you can do for another is not just share your riches, but to reveal to him his own.”

Benjamin Disraeli

Revealing to someone else their own riches is akin to creating and unlocking the secret of the compound interest rates in another person’s life. 

Helping someone discover their hidden gifts or talents will create a lasting impact that will extend far beyond the individual you enabled. Just like $1,000 invested when a person turns 18 grows to be worth almost $90,000 (at 10% growth) by the time they retire, the investment you make in others will expand over time. One CRITICAL difference is that the impact isn’t limited by market returns or by the original investment amount. Because you are enabling another person, the returns can generate at an exponential rate.  

Because one person’s life is changed forever, they impact 1, 100, 1,000, 10,000 others throughout their lives (or even more…).  

Invest in others, not just by sharing your earthly blessings but also by building a 10x impact by unlocking other people’s talents and treasures. The return on your investment might be eternal.

crop man drawing on whiteboard during financial training
Photo by Malte Luk on Pexels.com

Creating tolerance is an antidote to ignorance…

“Genuine tolerance does not mean ignoring differences as if differences made no difference. Genuine tolerance means engaging differences within a bond of civility and respect.”

Richard John Neuhaus

The danger of tolerance is that you are intentionally creating an opening in your mind for both understanding and a potential perspective shift. It is far easier to be intolerant and dogmatic about what you believe than to be open and understanding.

But when you genuinely open your mind to the perspectives and positions of others, not only do you create fertile ground for growth in yourself, you also unlock the power of “we.” The collective skills, talents, and capabilities of a group will always exceed those of one person. Learning tolerance and understanding unlocks tremendous potential, both in yourself and in others.

Besides, by overcoming intolerance, you, by default, begin to remove ignorance from your life.

Can you watch the needle?

“Do the thing you fear to do and keep on doing it… that is the quickest and surest way ever yet discovered to conquer fear.”

Dale Carnegie

As a young child, I can vividly remember having my right thumb slammed in a door when I was six or seven years old. I don’t recall all the details of what happened, but one thing that stands out as clearly today as it did when it happened. Specifically, it is the image of the doctor using a syringe to numb my finger in preparation for stitches that looms so large. I can remember seeing that needle disappear into my skin like it was yesterday.  

That one event served to generate a healthy distaste of needles that I carried forward into life. It was only many, many years later, that I decided to face my fear and donate blood. Because I was not too fond of needles, to say the least, I decided I needed to overcome this irrational fear and watch the technician when they drew blood. Fortunately, I didn’t pass out due to tremendous pain or suffer a great shock by watching the needle penetrate my skin. I barely felt it at all.

The fear that had prevented me from giving blood for years was irrational and unreasonable. All it took was facing it head-on and choosing not to let fear control me. To this day, I still watch anytime I get a shot or give blood to remind myself of how powerful fear can be and how important it is to take control of your fears instead of letting them control you.  

What fears do you need to face today?  

close up view of person holding a vaccine
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

What are you afraid of?

“Action cures fear, inaction creates terror.”

Douglas Horton

Isn’t it amazing how choosing to take action can seem to stop fear in its tracks? Just doing something, anything, creates the momentum necessary to move you forward and slows or halts the spread of fear.

Action mobilizes, fear paralyzes…

Where do you need to take action today? Why are you waiting?

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dusty

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