A Tap on the Glass

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A Tap on the Glass - Vol. 57 - And Then What?

Have you ever played chess? The winner is usually the player that can plot the most moves in advance. At my best, I was good for about 2 to 4 moves ahead when I was at my peak and playing often.

Even today, when assessing positions within the company, I’m apt to refer to “pulling out the chessboard” and strategizing the best moves for staff and for the company.

The great Russian grand master and former world chess champion Garry Kasparov was once asked how many moves he calculated in advance. He replied that three to five moves ahead was pretty normal but, depending on the situation on the chess board, he could think up to twelve or fourteen moves ahead. Remember that each move was dependent on the moves that his opponent might make. Therefore, he could think of twelve or more moves that he would make based on the numerous choices of moves that his opponent would likely make.

If his opponent considered three different moves each time he had a turn, then Mr. Kasparov was planning his next move based on each of his opponent’s choices. He was, therefore, actually thinking about the possibility of perhaps fifty moves.

50 moves ahead. That’s amazing!

You have the ability to think ahead, too. We all do. Do you usually think ahead far enough? In sales and in every other area of your life, thinking ahead is essential for success.

Inexperienced salespeople are used to an unstructured, undisciplined life and chafed against even reasonable rules. Even worse are the ones who think that they are so good that they don’t need to learn anything at all. I am reminded of such a rep, who was so full of himself that much of what was provided to him was cast aside as unimportant. He ignored our system and even though his numbers were never consistent – swinging wildly from high to low, he just didn’t seem to understand that there might be something he could be doing to improve himself. When we developed a new process several years ago, I was challenged at every turn with him on it. “No time”, “not important”, “I’m doing great already”…… Let’s call him John.

I actually remember this conversation quite vividly…so with a little paraphrasing and editing, here’s the gist of it:

John had gone through the new process and told me that he couldn’t see any reason to change the way he was doing things…he was making us money and I needed to leave him alone and let him do it.

I congratulated John on thinking things through and he smiled smugly.

I then asked him, “What will happen next, John?”

He looked a bit stunned, thought for a moment and said, “I’ll get my numbers back up…..” (John was always good on numbers, but rarely consistent…causing problems for labor, placement, etc.)

“Okay, John” I said, “What will happen then?”

Puzzling for a while, he then replied, “You’ll have no choice but to leave me alone and let me do what I do best….”

“So what do you think will happen next, John?” I asked.

“Well, if the leads are there and I can stop worrying about everyone else doing their job, I can keep my numbers up,” he said. (as I said, it never happened that way. John was never consistent)

“Uh huh….So, then what?”

“Well, then you can leave me alone.”

“What do you think will happen after that, John?”

“Well, if my numbers don’t stay up, I guess we’ll be having this conversation again.”

“Then what?”

“I guess you’ll be asking why my numbers are down again and why I’m not following the process…..”

Then, the light came on and John said, “This isn’t going to work, is it?”

I said, “John, I think you’re right.”

For perhaps the first time in this reps time with us, with the deck stacked against him, he thought something all the way through. He arrived at his own conclusion, and rightly decided that running his own way was not going to work.

Two lessons are important here. I didn’t tell John that he was being stupid or that his plan was faulty and therefore didn’t give him more to rebel against. He thought it through without criticism, so it was his own ultimate decision. Secondly, without being judged, he simply was encouraged to think of what would likely happen next, and then what would happen after that.

Fervently do I wish that I had someone asking me that simple question, “What will likely happen next?” at many points in my own life. In sales, in your personal life, in your organization’s strategic plan, is anyone asking, “OK, what’s probably going to happen?” and then, “What will happen after that?” Do you ever ask yourself that question?

Physics teaches us that if you roll a ball on a level floor, it will follow a fairly straight path. Before it reaches the other side of the room, you can see where it is headed. If you don’t want the ball to continue in that direction, you can tap it and send it veering off in a different direction.

Your life is like that. It is amazing how accurately you can predict what is going to happen when you pause long enough to see the patterns. It is also amazing that more people don’t recognize them as they are happening.

Perhaps they don’t always see the big picture. Repeated patterns become the future. The book The Probable Future: You Can Predict It & You Can Change It describes eight patterns that determine how you function as an individual, in your family, in groups to which you belong, and in your work. If you learn to recognize and understand those patterns, then it becomes possible for you to predict the probable future. YOUR probable future.

You can then make choices and decisions based on what will probably happen, and what will likely happen after that. If you apply theprinciples embedded in the patterns, you can not only change your own path, but also influence those around you.

You know I often try to remind you that you need to read, study and expand your perceptions. I heartily recommend this book for you as a very interesting and informative read.

So…the crux of this writing today is this:

Just like for your own self, you can help clients and potential customers look at what will probably happen if they continue on a path without making changes.

You can alter the probable future from what it is going to be to what you want it to be. It’s like tapping a ball rolling on the floor and changing its direction.

Or tapping on the glass to get your attention.

Thanks for reading.

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A Tap on the Glass - Vol. 56 - The Fear of Fear

Napoleon Hill published “THINK AND GROW RICH” as a response to The Great Depression of the 1930's. Millions of Americans became unemployed and people's money worries were at an all-time high, familiar to where our country is now, but far worse than the current economic downturn. Hill wanted to address the negative psychological impact of not having enough money, knowing the devastating effect this has on a person.

He encouraged people to develop a "success consciousness" -- the practice of visualizing their wealth in their own mind before it actually arrived. Failure to do so leads to a "fear of poverty" -- a paralyzing state of mind in which you repeatedly think, "I'll never have enough money." And that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy leading to a downward mental spiral.
 
Question: Do you have a success consciousness or a poverty consciousness?

The fear of criticism "You're lucky indeed if you’ve come this far in life, all of you or any of you, without having suffered from the fear of criticism, the fear of what 'they' will say. And I have heard so many people say, 'Well, I’d do so-and-so if it weren’t for what “they” will say,' and I have never yet found out who 'they' were.

'They' are entirely imaginary beings, but you’d be surprised how powerful 'they' are.

They stupefy enthusiasm. They cut down your personal initiative. They destroy your imagination. And they make it practically impossible for you to accomplish anything above mediocrity."
 
In my opinion this is the most common fear that can hold you back -- the fear of how other people might judge you if you were to do what you wanted to do, like succeed wildly in your own business rather than becoming just another "average Joe."

These judgments often come from well-meaning family members and friends who want to protect you from trying something out of THEIR comfort zone. What's interesting is that these same people have most likely never taken on anything challenging themselves -- if they don't think THEY can do it, they'll want to discourage you.
 
Question: How has the fear of criticism from others held you back?

The fear of ill health "The doctors know too well what that fear does. It results in a condition known as hypochondria, imaginary illness."

It IS true that some people run to the doctor at the sign of the first sniffle, always acting as if they're "coming down with something." They let poor health be their alibi for underachieving -- what they're really suffering from is "excuse-itis."

In order to succeed you need to develop and maintain healthy habits in three areas: Diet, exercise and rest -- no secret there, huh? Eating right, making time for regular exercise and getting a good night's sleep are all essential for staying healthy. We keep hearing it over and over again. Few of us want to listen, myself included! Those who don't, or won't, practice these fundamentals typically have a cycle of sickness that robs them of the vitality needed to conquer the challenges of business.
 
Question: Are you taking great care of yourself to have the strength and energy to give your best?

The fear of the loss of love "Jealousy doesn’t require reason. It can be just as violent or just as destructive where there is no basis for it as where there is a basis, but it is a motivating force."

Certainly jealousy can be destructive to people if they are not secure in their relationships. I think you could even expand this definition about the fear of loss of love to the concern that one will lose the approval of loved ones if they are unsuccessful. If you dwell on negative, approval-seeking consequences, rather than creating both a positive mindset and a clear plan of making it in all of your endeavors, will guarantee failure. This is similar to the fear of criticism in that you might be obsessing on how bad you'd feel if someone left you because you couldn't make a go of it in your chosen field.
 
Question: Whose approval are you worried about losing?

The fear of old age "I don’t know why men and women should be afraid that they're gonna dry up and blow away when they get to that nice, ripe old age of 40 to 50. The real achievements of the world were the results of men and women who had gone well beyond the age of 50, and the greatest age of achievement was between 65 and 75, so I don't know why one should be afraid of old age, but nevertheless they are."

How many people do you hear say, "I can't believe I'm 40 years old!" Translation: "Man, I'm getting up there! I might be past my prime. Time is running out for me. Where did it go?" I'm of the philosophy that age is just a number -- as long as I'm learning, laughing and loving, I'm young. I keep a relaxed attitude about the coming years -- I have all the time in the world to get better. My thought is I'll be that much more experienced as time goes by. In this way, I'm convinced my best is yet to come.
 
Question: How old do you feel?

The fear of death "It’s the rarest thing in the world to find a person who hasn’t at one time or another been afraid of dying."
I don't spend much time thinking about death because I had a sister who struggled with cancer for 10 years and we built a healthy understanding of the process through that… besides, I'm too busy living. I submit this fear is about the death of anything: the end of a business or bankruptcy, the end of a job stint or getting fired, the end of a relationship via break-up or divorce.

Going through traumatic times like these won't kill you but you may certainly have the panicky feeling that they will. In his book, Napoleon Hill states, "Every adversity, every heartache, every failure carries with it the seed of an equivalent or greater benefit." Everyone who's ever made it big has had these kinds of disappointments, losses and rejections, yet used them as motivation to prevail. So in the aforementioned "deaths" you have the opportunity to be "reborn" to even greater success, a new career, a solid relationship.
 
Question: What "death" do you fear?

That’s a question only you can answer, but I hope these words have helped you realize the six ghosts of fear aren't all that spooky, and that you're committed to becoming the successful person you were destined to become despite them.
 
Act like its Halloween every day, and when one of these ghosts confront you, just say "BOO!"

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A Tap on the Glass - Vol. 55 - Taking It One at a Time

Have you ever watched a bricklayer starting a new building by putting the first brick in place? I was always struck by the size of the job he has ahead of him.

But one day, almost before you realize it, he's finished. All the thousands of bricks are in place, each one vital to the finished structure, each one sharing its portion of the load.

How did he do it? Simple; one brick at a time. And so is the pursuit of success and greatness.

A lifetime is composed of days, strung together into weeks, months, and years.

A successful life is nothing more than a lot of successful days put together.

As such, every day counts.

Despite the fact that it sometimes feels like several days are on your shoulders at the same time, you can live only one day at a time. And it's the way in which you place the stones that determine the strength of your “structure”. If each stone is successfully placed — with some attention to the care and quality — it will be a success. If, on the other hand, they're put down in a hit-or-miss fashion — irrespective of quality — the whole thing is in danger. Seems simple. Yet, how many people do you know who live like this — focused on "just getting through" each day instead of on the "success" of each day. Which are you focused on?

The Habit of Success

Do each day all that can be done that day. You don't need to overwork or to rush blindly into your work trying to do the greatest possible number of things in the shortest possible time. Don't try to do tomorrow's or next week's work today. It's not the number of things you do, but the quality, the efficiency of each separate action that count.

To achieve this "habit of success," you need only to focus on the most important tasks and succeed in each small task of each day. Enough of these and you have a successful week, month, year, and lifetime. Success is not a matter of luck. It can be predicted and guaranteed, and anyone can achieve it by following this plan.

But most people live a life of quiet mediocrity and never achieve the success they truly desire because they get impatient. They want easy success or none at all. They see the path to success as a frustration, an impediment. Each day spent short of the ultimate goal is viewed as a time of failure and as an annoyance. As such, they get distracted by hundreds of little things that each day try to get us off our course.

Yet the successful among us know the truth: If the end goal is all we desire, we simply cannot put in the time and effort it takes to be a success when it counts — each day — and therefore cannot lay any type of foundation for tomorrow's success.

Pay no attention to petty distractions. Enjoy the easy days and shake off the bad days. Stay steadily on your track. Concentrate on each task of the day from morning to night and do each as successfully as you can. Know full well that if each of your tasks is performed successfully, or at least the greater majority of them, your life must be successful.

The $25,000 Idea

Now how do we separate the important tasks from the unimportant?

Did you ever hear of the single idea for which a man was paid $25,000?

The story goes that the president of a big steel company had granted an interview to an efficiency expert named Ivy Lee. Lee was telling his prospective client how he could help him do a better job of managing the company, when the president broke in to say something to the effect that he wasn't at present managing as well as he knew how. He went on to tell Ivy Lee that what was needed wasn't more knowing but a lot more doing. He said, "We know what we should be doing. Now if you can show us a better way of getting it done, I'll listen to you and pay you anything within reason you ask."

Well, Lee then said that he could give him something in 20 minutes that would increase his efficiency by at least 50 percent. He then handed the executive a blank sheet of paper and said, "Write down on this paper the six most important things you have to do tomorrow." Well, the executive thought about it and did as requested. It took him about three or four minutes.

Then Lee said, "Now number those items in the order of their importance to you or to the company." Well, that took another three or four or five minutes, and then Lee said, "Now put the paper in your pocket. And the first thing tomorrow morning take it out and look at item number one. Don't look at the others, just number one, and start working on it. And if you can, stay with it until it's completed. Then take item number two the same way, then number three, and so on, till you have to quit for the day.

"Don't worry if you've only finished one or two; the others can wait. If you can't finish them all by this method, you could not have finished them with any other method. And without some system, you'd probably take 10 times as long to finish them and might not even have them in the order of their importance.

"Do this every working day," Lee went on. "After you've convinced yourself of the value of this system, have your people try it. Try it as long as you like. And then send me your check for whatever you think the idea is worth."

The entire interview hadn't taken more than a half-hour. In a few weeks the story has it that the company president sent Ivy Lee a check for $25,000 with a letter saying the lesson was the most profitable, from a money standpoint, he'd ever learned in his life. And it was later said that in five years this was the plan that was largely responsible for turning what was then a little-known steel company into one of the biggest independent steel producers in the world.

One idea, the idea of taking things one at a time in their proper order. Of staying with one task until it's successfully completed before going on to the next.

For the next seven days try the $25,000 idea in your life. Tonight write down the six most important things you have to do. Then number them in the order of their importance. And tomorrow morning, go to work on number one. Stay with it till it's successfully completed, and then move on to number two, and so on. When you've finished with all six, get another piece of paper and repeat the process.

I think, you'll be astonished and surprised at the order it brings into your life and at the rate of speed with which you'll be able to accomplish the things that need doing in the order of their importance. This simple but tremendously effective method will take all the confusion out of your life. You'll never find yourself running around in circles wondering what to do next.

The reason for writing down what you consider only the most important things to do is obvious. Handling each task during the day successfully is important to the degree of the importance of the tasks themselves. Doing a lot of unnecessary things successfully can be pretty much a waste of time. Make certain that the tasks you take the time to do efficiently are important tasks, tasks that move you ahead steadily toward your goal.

Remember that you don’t have to worry about tomorrow or the next day or what's going to happen at the end of the month. One day at a time, handled successfully, will carry you over every hurdle. It will solve every problem. You can relax in the happy knowledge that successful tasks make successful days, which in turn build a successful life.

This is the kind of unassailable logic no one can argue with. It will work every time for every person.

Thanks for reading.

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A Tap on the Glass - Vol. 54 - Dealing with All the Clutter

One of the side effects of living a full and busy life is the presence of constant “white noise” playing in your mind.

Sometimes we're plagued by unfinished business or a to-do list a mile long that nags at the back of our minds.

Other times we're experiencing insecurities that are being manifested by that little gremlin in our mind berating us or telling us we are not good enough.

Mental clutter seriously negatively affects your personal development by preventing you from moving forward in your life.

No matter what the source of your mental clutter happens to be, it can become serious enough to manifest itself in the form of physical ailments.

At the very least, it is a source of constant stress and aggravation. None of us need any help with THAT!

The experts say you have to learn to break out of this noise and pattern and to do so, you have to identify what exactly is cluttering your mind.

I’d question whether these so called experts are as clear of mind, free of stress and aggravation and uncluttered as they expect US to be, but I guess that’s more of a judgment call. “Do as I say, not as I do.”

At any rate, to do so, try reading through these three points and begin listing things or traits (albeit physical clutter, work problems, family problems) that you want to remove from your life.

1. Avoidance Behaviors that Clutter the Mind: A major source of mental clutter is the nagging existence of unfinished business. We tend to avoid situations we find uncomfortable or difficult, and many times we will overburden ourselves with other responsibilities just to avoid an unpleasant task. All this does is make us even more tired and more stressed than before, and the unfavorable task is still waiting. In fact, many times the job left waiting for us becomes even more dreadful in our minds because now we not only have the unfinished business hanging over us, but the anticipation of it builds up its own kind of stress. That’s one of MY big challenges, which is exacerbated by:

Procrastination, which is directly related to avoidance, also causes mental clutter. Whenever you leave a job undone, you are going to have a nagging voice in your head constantly reminding you of the unfinished business. You will also feel physical stress until you just dig in and get the job done.

Avoidance prevents us from using good time management techniques and usually costs us hours in wasted time.

2. The Dangers of Indecision: Much like avoidance, indecision only delays the inevitable. There may be many reasons you hesitate to take action when an important decision needs to be made. In most cases, indecision is caused by a fear of making the wrong decision. By doing nothing though, you will only continue to fret about your situation and the stress you feel will only continue to build.

Forge ahead, trust your instincts, and make a decision. Even if you make the wrong choice, you will at least have cleared your mind of that particular worry. Errors are one of the prime learning opportunities life throws our way, so you still have the chance to take something good away from the experience, even if you do not make the best choice.

3. Overcoming the Feeling of Being Overwhelmed: Sometimes when we have too much to do, we are frozen in confusion, uncertain of where to begin. Large projects or an overloaded calendar can leave you frustrated and overwhelmed. Many of us cannot even decide where to begin when standing in the face of an excessive amount of work.

Rather than look at the whole picture, allowing it to frighten us, break the job down into its component parts. Tackle each task individually, each one bringing you closer to the accomplishment of your overriding goal. When you look at one piece of the puzzle at a time, it helps ease your fears and sense of frustration.

Let go of this stuff.

You really need to clear out the mental clutter and quiet your mind in order to achieve focus in your life. Deep down you know what I say to be true, and that is half the battle.

Having focus will lead you directly to better time management, which translates into greater efficiency and accomplishment.
When your life begins running smoothly, you might experience a little peace and satisfaction, and greater success in all areas of your life.

Thank for reading.

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A Tap on the Glass - Vol. 53 - One More Time

Steven Wright, famous comedian and social commentator, got it correct about change when he supposedly said,

"I have a microwave fireplace at home.
You can lay down in front of the fire all night in eight minutes."

Sometimes we expect microwave fireplace results when it comes to improvement and change, not only in ourselves but at our work or in people that we interact with.

But improvement is never fast is it? It depends on putting out effort for creation and realization of new possibilities. THAT can never occur without some amount of trial and error.

Generally, I think everyone has some sort of unrealized potential. Improvement is about understanding and capturing ideas and possibilities, reworking those ideas into a usable form that makes some sense to you and then turning them into actions and behaviors. This unrealized potential can be coached and supported and individuals generally need the support and coaching of others in order to be successful. But there can be a number of issues and difficulties.

The situation reminds me of a story:

Two caterpillars are conversing and a beautiful butterfly floats by.
One caterpillar turns and says to the other,
"You'll never get me up on one of those butterfly things."

Before moving on, consider the meaning of this story. There are some wheels within wheels spinning here and some important lessons on perspective, leadership and creativity methinks.

So stop for a moment and consider the story again. I’ll wait… (whistling…)

Okay.

It may seem like what John McEnroe said on losing to Tim Mayotte in a professional indoor tennis championship:

"This taught me a lesson, but I'm not sure what it is."

I've heard the caterpillar and butterfly story a few times in the past, but had forgotten it until I had a phone call one day with MY old mentor.

What I remember from it is that people almost always "get it" as I did when I first read it.

But there is also a major paradox in the story as it applies to personal growth, managing change, and leading performance improvement. I can state it as:

It's Dangerous to think you know "The Answer."

When I first heard this story about the caterpillars and the butterfly, I assumed that it was about resistance -- a single answer. Seemed logical to me. Maybe that’s how you read it too.

And the first time I heard a room full of people talk about the meaning of the story in a training seminar, I was shocked by their answers, since most were not about my answer but focused on other themes.

 

  • Caterpillars have no need to fly. They are well-grounded! (always a clown in the group)
  • Caterpillars can eat anything green and find food everywhere.
  • Butterflies are a stage beyond caterpillars.
  • Butterflies have to fly to get anywhere. Caterpillars can crawl and climb.
  • It's easier for butterflies to develop perspective than caterpillars.
  • We can attempt to resist and suffer the stress and difficulties.
  • You have to stop being a caterpillar in order to become a butterfly.
  • Change is not always a conscious decision. But change will occur, inevitably.
  • We can choose to be active participants in change. Or not, maybe. (?)
  • We go through stages of development and butterflies are one stage closer to death. (I think this guy needs therapy)
  • Risk avoidance is normal.
  • Change is often actively resisted.
  • Change is inevitable.
  • Caterpillars don't like wings.
  • Caterpillars must hate flying since they don't try.
  • There is a need for vision and perspective -- we're all on a journey.
  • Caterpillars focus only on eating and survival.
  • Butterflies get blown around by the wind and caterpillars can drag their feet!
  • Metamorphosis is an uncontrollable process with an unclear result.
  • Metamorphosis is a dark, damp, confined place, so I'm scared! (she was sitting in the corner. Go figure…)

and my favorite answer:

I'll NEVER be a butterfly; My mother was a moth.

How many times do we self-limit our perception of what is around us and our thinking because we "know the answer" and thus don't even think about considering possibilities?

I think this is a very common trait. And one deserving of some reflection and analysis. It's all about trying to look at the BIG picture and how your activities and actions affect your job and people around you.

When people talk about this story of caterpillars and butterflies among themselves, a most remarkable thing usually happens: They discover that they share different perspectives and a diversity of ideas, which is common when people discuss things.

Yet most of us, when we know The Answer, will generally self-limit any consideration of other possibilities and limit our thinking.

The fact that we can generate other ideas is a most interesting outcome. All of us have the capability to generate ideas and possibilities. What we need is a simple tool and shared base of experience and common ground. Most would agree that being a butterfly is a "higher existence" than remaining a caterpillar.

And the story also links to some key learning points on leading change and dis-un-empowering (an English Professor would slap me for that one) people, including:

 

  • Even though we often resist change and risk, it is often inevitable!
  • Change will occur and we can choose to be active participants and go with the flow -- or we can attempt to resist and suffer the stresses.
  • Each of us goes through many stages of development, a process that occurs repeatedly over time.
  • Caterpillars focus on eating and survival. There is more to life than this.
  • What is needed is vision and overall perspective -- we're all on a journey forward.
  • We need to be engaged and involved in the process itself rather than feel imprisoned by our environment. Change cannot be done "to" us -- forcing the action typically generates active resistance to the process.
  • Possibilities are endless! Choosing to change is a really important part of improvement.

"One cannot become a butterfly by remaining a caterpillar."

Change and personal growth is all about discovering the inevitability of change and the need for one to clarify a vision of the future.

Our growth as an Association is rooted in the same pretext.

Now here is another paradox: YOU now have a framework that you can use with other people in the hope that they will understand this paradox of knowing the answer.

A challenge is now given to you to find a possibility of sharing this with another person and broadening some thinking.

That is the "training" part of this article -- you now have a new tool! How might you apply this to a new potential employee or student considering you?


Let's continue to illustrate my thinking on change with a few facts and another story.

 

  • There are 140,000+ species of moths. There are 16,000 butterfly species but we see them more often because they fly during the day - moths generally fly only at night.
  • One difference between a moth and a butterfly is in the nature of their antennae. Moths have "feathery" antenna and butterflies have a bulb on a stalk. Their wing structures are also different.
  • Most moths have tremendously sensitive antenna that can sense minute quantities of their sexual attractant pheromone, in the parts per billion quantities.
  • The Monarch Butterfly of North America migrates great distances to areas slightly West of Mexico City, where they gather in the billions to reproduce. They then migrate back as far as the Canadian Border. They often feed on milkweed, which also serves to protect them -- birds find their taste aversive and will avoid eating them.
  • Some caterpillars eat as much as 27,000 times their body weight to support their lives as flying insects. The big green adult Luna Moths lack a mouth and actually live only on the energy stored during their larval stage -- their sole focus of their adult lives is reproduction.
  • Like some people we know, certain caterpillars like the Crystalline Limacodid, have bristles that dispense toxic chemicals. Getting too close to them can be a very painful experience! And many moths, butterflies and caterpillars use camouflage as a way of protecting themselves in an attempt to hide from predators -- we see the same behaviors in organizations and offices everywhere.
  • One moth native to South America has a foot-long proboscis that it uses to sip nectar from deep-throated flowers while another moth has a proboscis that pierces the skin and can drink the blood of animals.

Thus, we've all now learned more about caterpillars and butterflies. Can we apply it to managing issues of change?

A few years back, in a telephone conversation, Ron Frieze (my old mentor) asked me, "Do you know about caterpillars and butterflies?"

Being somewhat an expert on the subject after all my research and well aware of Ron’s penchant for dangling a hook at me, I of course said,

"No."

Ron then shared a great quote and training punch line and what makes a wonderful transition to issues of personal and organizational change.

He said:

"In the change from being a caterpillar to becoming a butterfly, you're nothing more than a yellow, gooey sticky mess." (Ron is a very deep spiritual guy when he’s sober)

We need to deal with the gooey glop that most people find uncomfortable in our day to day business of getting people into, through and out of school.

But you have to “change in order to change” and that will involve going through the discomfort of being less and less a caterpillar while you are in the process of becoming a butterfly.

Expect the transformation process to be somewhat uncomfortable and note that it takes some level of commitment. A key is understanding the process and perception of the realities of the change.

Our natural senses give us some type of perceptual sensitivity that is incredible. Biologically, if your physical senses are working normally, you can:

  • See a burning candle from 28 miles away if you are dark-adapted
  • Feel on your fingertips a pressure that depresses your skin .00004 inch
  • Smell one drop of perfume diffused through a three room apartment
  • Taste .04 ounce of table salt dissolved in 530 quarts of water
  • Feel the weight of a bee's wing falling on your cheek from less than half an inch away
  • Distinguish among more than 300,000 different colors
  • Gauge the direction of a sound's origin based on a .00003-second difference in its arrival from one ear to another

So, we have the sensitivity to be extremely perceptive. But we typically block our sensitivity and it goes unrealized and underutilized, just like most of our other capabilities and potential.

Applied to personal growth and change, we often limit ideas and possibilities for improvement because we already "know the answers." (ahhh…we’ve come full circle!)

And by limiting our thinking, we are limiting our possibilities that come from successful accomplishment of change and the rewards of self-improvement.

Our "beliefs" make it difficult to see what is obvious, and that prevents us from improving.

Make it a point to believe in yourself today and realize what you're capable of. Just because it’s always been done one way, doesn’t mean it’s the right way.

Be the Butterfly!

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A Tap on the Glass - Vol. 52 - What If...?

Beliefs are the most powerful force in the world. What we believe to be true about ourselves appears in our lives as our lives.

How do you visualize your world? Do you hold the belief that nothing good happens to you, that you will never win the prize? Our prosperity, or lack of it, reflects our thinking. Would you like to be on the receiving end of prosperity?

Then change your thinking and you’ll change your world! You will become what you think about most.


Erase and Replace

All of us talk to ourselves all the time. We are thinking machines that never shut down. The more you think about anything in a certain way the more you will believe that that's how it really is. Become aware of what you are thinking. Make a list of your thoughts. Most people are unaware of just how many negative thoughts they think about themselves and the world around them. If you can’t be bothered making a list, have a friend say “negative” every time he or she hears negative self-talk. It will stop you in your tracks. You will be surprised how many negative thoughts you think in a day’s time.

You need to be aware of everything you tell yourself about yourself.

Here are a few examples of negative self-talk:

  • I’m so clumsy
  • Just my luck
  • I never know what to say
  • I’m too shy
  • I don’t have talent
  • It’s just no use
  • Nobody likes me
  • I’m too poor
  • There’s just no way
  • I hate my job
  • I just can’t handle this

The human mind will do and believe anything you tell it if you tell it often enough and strongly enough! If you tell it the wrong things about yourself, it will accept and act upon it.

Programming

Our conditioning, from the day we were born, has created and reinforced most of what we believe about ourself. Right or wrong, true or false, the result of it is what we believe to be true. It all starts with programming.

I can’t - Your greatest foe. You say something negative about yourself and accept it.

I need to, I should - Your recognition of your need to change, but don’t.

I never, I no longer - You recognize the need to change and make the decision to do something about it.

When you replace a negative thought or action with I never or I no longer, your mind will eventually accept it. For instance, if you are a smoker, every time you light a cigarette say to yourself and out loud, I have no desire to smoke or I never smoke. Say it to yourself until your subconscious mind accepts its new directive and creates a new non-smoking version of you. You no longer smoke! That’s exactly what you told your subconscious mind; that’s exactly what it will do.

I am - The better you. The most effective thought pattern. It has been used the least and is needed the most. You are telling your subconscious mind, “This is the me I want you to create! I don’t smoke! I am living the life I choose, I do everything I need to do when I need to do it. Your past negative thought patterns are turned around. You are no longer thinking, “I can’t remember names” instead you are thinking “I have a great memory”. Which do you want your subconscious mind to accept?


This is how the brain works

  1. Programming creates beliefs.
  2. Beliefs create attitudes.
  3. Attitudes create feelings.
  4. Feelings determine actions.
  5. Actions create results.

Start with the first step. Change your programming, and then ask yourself this simple question: What would I do if you had no chance of failing?

Thanks for reading.

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A Tap on the Glass - Vol. 51 - The Truth Can Hurt

The following is an extract from one of my favorite movies - A Few Good Men (or as it's known in Australia - Three Grouse Blokes):

Jessep (Jack): "You want answers?"

Kaffee (Tom): "I think I'm entitled to them."

Jessep: "You want answers?"

Kaffee: "I want the truth!"

Jessep: "You can't handle the truth! Son, we live in a world that has walls. And those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinberg? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that Santiago's death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. You don't want the truth. Because deep down, in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall. You need me on that wall."

Maybe Jessep wasn't completely wrong...
Sorry for boring you with half of the script but I love that part of the film (must be a guy thing). Even though Jack was kind of out of his tree when he spoke those words in the court room, he was, on some level, providing his audience with a certain degree of insight, honesty and truth. He spoke some truth about the truth. So to speak. And the truth is that many people don't want to hear the truth - they want to hear what they're comfortable to hear.

 So often we'd prefer not to be confronted, challenged or questioned and we definitely don't want to have to change our beliefs, behaviors or habits.  That's too uncomfortable and too inconvenient. And frankly, (to be honest) too much work. We're fine with the truth so long as it doesn't mean that we have to modify or interrupt our lives in any significant way.

So instead of being open to learning some valuable truth, truth that could change our reality for the better, we often become defensive, critical and/or angry. Acknowledging certain things would mean that we'd have to do something different and be different... and that's the last thing we want to do, so we don't. "Let them do the changing."


Sorry for being honest...
Over the years I have been abused by many people for being bluntly honest about certain issues. I call it honest, they call it offensive.

Funny that. Perspective can be the difference between being empowered and educated, and being a victim. People ask me for advice and then when I tell them what they don't want to hear, they criticize me. Apparently it makes them feel better about themselves. I aim to never (ever) tell people the truth to hurt, discourage or criticize - only to help them create positive change in their life. 

And yes of course, there is a time, a place and a way to deliver certain messages with sensitivity and compassion, but there's also a time when we need to stop skirting the issues and actually deal with things head on - as unpopular and as uncomfortable as that may be. 

Harsh? Nope; honest. The truth.

Sometimes, things are as offensive as we make them. We can get offended or we can get enlightened. Smart. Proactive. Different. We can make a positive from something we once would have made a negative. The important thing about truth is how we deal with it and what we do with it. And many of us deal with it badly. Or don't deal with at all.

My experience is that the majority of people lie when questioned in any depth about those things that strike closest to them, such as work,  lifestyle, exercise and nutritional habits. That is, they don't tell the whole truth. They selectively leave things out. They are more concerned with 'looking and sounding good' than they are with telling the absolute truth and genuinely addressing their problems in a real and practical way.  We talk to our customers about all of these things every day.  Some don't want to face the situation they are in. It's part of our job to get them to see where they are and what they can do about it.

There's a wacky thought.

An old question I used to ask all the time is this:

"I can tell you what you want to hear, or I can tell you the truth... which would you prefer?"

Some people respond positively to this statement, others cross their legs and arms (and brains) and assume the defensive position.

Clearly, I've come to destroy their lives.

I can usually identify the brick walls even before I open my mouth. Their body language is screaming:

  1. I don't want to be here - but somebody is making me.
  2. Please don't refer to me, look at me, ask me a question or involve me in any way.
  3. I am absolutely not ready to change, so don't you dare try and make me!
  4. Anyway, who are you to tell me anything, you big tool?

The years have taught me to be a little more selective and discerning about what truth I share, when and where I share it, and with whom.

My family members are usually the butt of most of my careless remarks because I feel most at ease with them, but when I'm talking to other people these days, the first thing I do is find out whether or not they're genuinely ready to step into reality and talk about the core issues (about their situation and problems) in a real, honest and truthful manner. It's MY reality, of course.  And if you asked for my opinion, what else would I give you? 

I do not try to deal with people who do not want to listen. And neither should you.

It's an exercise in frustration and futility. And sometimes, hostility!

We all do it.

We all avoid the truth from time to time. I've done it, you've done it. It's easier. For a while. Then it's much harder. Much harder. We do it with our health, our relationships, our career, our finances, our destructive habits... our life. It's called head-in-the-sand-itis. Most times, dealing with and acknowledging the truth in a honest, logical and practical manner (especially when it comes to our own behaviors and habits) will save us plenty of time, heart-ache and frustration over the long term.

Ignoring the fact doesn't change the fact.

It is what it is.

Sometimes we just need to open our eyes.

Thanks for reading.