Stop and Smell the Roses

Stop and Smell the Roses

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So, as most of my readers know, my blogs have a lot to do with business, working hard, making a life for yourself an most importantly living. All to many times, we get caught up in our day-to-day grind and lose perspective. If you lose perspective for too long, the mind starts to slip and unless you do something about it, you might end up like Jack smashing through doors with an axe trying to kill your wife and child.

Although that may be an extreme example, a life of monotonous mediocrity is really no life at all, or at least to me it’s not. Think of all the movies you have seen with this type of protagonist plot-line, Fight Club, The Shinning, Life of Walter Mitty to name a few, These stories are so commonly told because they relate to so many people.

You see, you don’t need to take a trip around the world, or start a fight club to break out of your daily grind, however, if that is what you want to do, then go for it and I will come with ūüôā Most people simply miss the little things. I know, because I do it too, it’s easy to get caught up in your daily grind, but today I intend to explain how to escape it.

Today, I am up in San Francisco, with a very busy week of clients to see, things to do, and deals to sell. The days can fly by real quick. The funny thing is that my performance across the board is in direct correlation with how I am feeling. If I am in a place of scarcity, I am may very well come off desperate blowing a sale or a potential investor. People have an innate sense for that kind of thing. If you walk in to place to sell anything gleaming with anything else but confidence and a bright smile, the person will know something is up with you automatically, and it will severely hinder your chance of success.

A sale by definition is “a transfer of energy,” and that is my favorite definition because at the end of the day, it’s a performance, and if you blow it, the customer is not going to buy your product or invest in your company. Why? Simple, because no one want to buy or invest in to a person who suck, is sad, desperate or incompetent. What ever your product is doesn’t really matter, nor the company you represent, it is you who they are buying, and if they don’t like you, they probably will not buy or invest.

Here is a great example of what not to do…. Love this movie

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c1EyN9xTK94

So, if getting to correct state of mind is imperative,  what you do before and after your performances (aka sale / investment pitch). Coming prepared and making sure that you are in a peak state will change the game. Whether or not you get the investor to invest, the buyer to buy should have no effect on you.

So how does one get there? Well in order to come to the table calm, collected and prepared, you have to take care of your mind, body and soul. For example, if you spend all of your time hustling and making money, you probably don’t worry about what kind of food you are putting in your body. I know this all to well especially when traveling, some days I get going, get caught up in appointments and realize I haven’t eaten anything all day and it’s already 3PM. Not good.

Then what about my body, sometimes after being out all day long driving around the city and using all of my brain power to convince customers and investors to buy me, the last thing I want to go do is shed my suit and tie, and take my ass to the gym. You see where I am going with this?

The hardest thing I have found to do especially when traveling for work is keeping a routine, and of course it is, you are away from your comfort zone and everything you know. It’s ok though, because if you can find out how to manage this routine even while your on the road, then it will become even more reinforced when your back on your home turf. The point is that you can’t afford to get caught up in the hustle, you have to take time for yourself and make sure you are taking care of your body, exercising, eating right and taking small breaks to appreciate where you are.

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Look how beautiful Pacifica is

It can be as simple as taking an afternoon to yourself and enjoying the beauty of the place you’re in. I did it just the other day. Again I’m in San Francisco on business, so there is plenty to see but the city doesn’t calm me, it’s fun to hang out in and catch up with friends, but it doesn’t put me at ease. So what I did was took the afternoon off in Pacifica (That’s a little city in south San Francisco on the beach) and spent some time just watching the waves and taking in the beauty that was surrounding me. I was a little worried because I was really trying to get another deal closed for the week, but knew that if I didn’t give myself some down time, it would hinder my performance.

I also found a Krav Maga Gym in San Francisco, for those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s a style of hand-to-hand combat / Mixed Martial arts that I have been practicing for almost 2 years. Click here link for an explanation. It beats going to the gym and I go about 4 times a week back at home so to be able to keep that in my routine while traveling up here has been a bonus, usually I’m stuck going to good ol’ 24 hour fitness or if I am lucky finding a boxing or jiu-jitsu gym that will allow me to drop in for a couple of days knowing very well that I am not going to buy a membership or even return there in the near future. ¬†Either way, taking care of my fitness is also crucially important to my sate of mind, so adding that in with my day in Pacifica was healing to my soul.

Then, just like that I closed a deal later that day. Went back to the hotel, got a good nights sleep, woke up at 5 AM to trade on the FOREX market and then closed another deal that day!!! AWESOME, absolutely crushed it this last week, and it’s not just because I am a good sales guy but I attribute much of that success with being able to keep the routine and take care of my mind and body which always comes before making money!.

So here are a couple of tips for what to do to stay in a positive peak state while traveling

1. Get situated – When you arrive, go to google, plan your week, figure out where everything is, the gym, appointments, dry cleaners, post office, basically all of the places that you will need to go through out the week.

2. Pick out some fun things that you want to do in between appointments while you are there. This includes catching up with friends who live where you are traveling and things you are interested in that you can only see or do in that place you are traveling, something you couldn’t do back home. For example, I am going to see Alcatraz on Sunday! I have been to S.F. many times, but have never gone, so I’m doing it!

3. Get to bed early! I am up at 5 AM everyday trading on the FOREX market, I’m not saying you need to get up at 5 am, but I will tell you that I have a huge competitive advantage over any competition simply based on the fact that I have been up using my brain, showered, ready to go with all my shit together for literally hours before I see my first client. It’s a very empowering feeling.

4. Take pictures and Check-in on Facebook РDuh, you want to remember the experience, bottom line is even if you had a bad sales week, at least you got to travel to a new place on the companies dime and saw/experienced some cool stuff so have fun with it!

5. Work-out! You always feel better after you do, not only will your body love you for this but it is a great way to network to meet new people and get out of the hotel room.

6. Eat right, and if possible, never eat alone. A meal is a great opportunity to have someones attention for 30-45 minutes. Also when dealing with clients, they can tell a lot about you by what or where you eat, and vice-versa for them. Never eat alone if you can help it, it a waisted networking opportunity or simply a reason to meet someone new.

7. Check in Back home –¬†Whether your married, have a significant other, or are a single person, checking in with familiar people back home will always raise moral! I do this often for a couple of reasons but mainly to reconnect because hotel rooms can get a little lonely sometimes and it’s important to remember that you are there on a mission and will return home soon, a friends and supporters back home remind us of this.

8. Have Fun.¬†If you leave on a trip and go to a new place and don’t have fun, the only one to blame is yourself. I can find something interesting, exciting or beautiful about any place I have ever been, and I have been to some shitty places. The beauty is in the ey of the beholder. Boring people get bored. You can look at it as a shitty work trip in Wichita or an exciting adventure to a place unknown on a mission to find something cool about. That is¬†up to you, but even I can’t fix a person who doesn’t want to be fixed, and I sure as hell can’t make a person who is hell-bent having a horrible time have fun.

I hope this brightened up your day! Ok now Im off to go explore the city, enough blog writing for today!!!

-Steve

Maybe you don’t need a Super Bowl win, just a long career.

Maybe you don’t need a Super Bowl win, just a long career.

Super-Bowl-48-e1390842398179So as I am watching Super 48 come to a close I can’t help but think what a guy like Payton Manning does from the time after tonight to the pre-season months from now. Most athletes are kind of like Entrepreneurs: they never work in offices, they travel a lot, they are paid for performance not time spent on the job and sometimes things don’t always go down the way you have planned.

I think for a guy like Payton, even though he missed this attempt at another super bowl championship and there will be hours of peyton-manning-ties-nfl-record-with-7-touchdown-passes-in-a-single-gameridiculous commentary on what he could have done differently for weeks on end, this isn’t his first rodeo. In fact, I think that it is any professional football players dream to play and win in the Superbowl just like every entrepreneur myself included wants to build a fortune 500 company take it public and get the BIG money.

Unfortunately that isn’t the reality for most, in fact most players don’t make it to a Super Bowl in their career, and if they do, it doesn’t mean they won. Further more, think how hard it is to actually get in to the NFL, and after that factor in your chances of doing all that more than once. Bottom line, is that Payton has a lot to be happy about even though he didn’t get this one, and much like Entrepreneurs you may only have one big hit in your business life. Most of the entrepreneurs you have heard about in your life time all sound like they just had an idea and hit a home run with it, but that’s about as ridiculous as saying Payton Manning woke up one day we he was 25, decided to play pro football and won multiple super bowls.

To win and succeed, it takes work, time, and practice but one thing it also takes is LOSING. I know what your thinking, how can you win if your losing, well you can’t, but you can’t actually win all the time either. If you did, people would just think you’re cheating. The resilience it takes to get your ass kicked and get back up to do it again is only known by few, athletes and hardcore entrepreneurs fit comfortably in that category.

For me personally, I haven’t had my home run yet, but I’m early on in my career, and to my credit, I have only had one major failure due to the market crash in 2008. One thing I have always devoutly believed in is averages. Remember, and incredible baseball player has an ERA of 300 or better. (a 500 ERA us unheard of) and what this mean is that the best in the league hit 3 out of 10 times and strike or fly out the rest.

Business is very much the same way, and all so many times I see young entrepreneurs get bounced out of the atmosphere on their first attempt at business and it makes me sad because they could be the next Bill Gates, but they are just to scared to look bad, you have to get a thick skin to survive. Much like the Athletes, Entrepreneurs go for broke all the time. The bigger the risk, the bigger the reward. At the end of the day we go in to it knowing that we my fail every time and never get that 100 million dollar idea, and you know what, it’s no t so bad.

300_77787 dan-fouts marino-smThink about guys like Dan Marino, Warren Moon, and Dan Fouts, these were some of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, who are in the hall of fame and know what they have in common, not one has a super bowl championship, and by no means does that mean they failed in life, the stars just simply didn’t align for them to get a super bowl championship under their belts.

I really believe in going the distance. Life isn’t a sprint, it’s ¬†a marathon. I think most people can get lucky once or twice, but to have the type of repeat success that guys like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffet have takes skill, wisdom, patience and the ability to take risks. After your 3rd million dollar company you launched, no one can claim the luck card, it’s ¬†habit.

But just like the Sammy Sosa’s, and Ken Griffy Jr’s of the MLB world, you don’t get to lead the league in the most home runs unless you get enough times at bat. So for us entrepreneurs, what we do, and most importantly what were a part of before we hit our “home-run” says a lot about what we are going to do once that train ends. Will our product become out dated, will we get bought out by a competitor, will the technology become out dated. Maybe the government will regulate something that will go against us. So how do we stay on top, stay innovative or on top of our game?

Well a mentor of mine Perry P would tell me the story of the big oak tree and the skinny palm tree. The oak tree would make fun of the skinny palm tree that even a little gust of wind would blow around until one day a monsoon came knocking the oak over and killing it completely. The moral of the story was that in order to survive, you need to learn how to bend and fold in all of life’s situations. Furthermore we need to be prepared for what ever life is going to throw at us.

So this is what I have always done. In my last book I wrote,¬†“The Young¬†Entrepreneurs¬†Guide to Life”¬†¬†I write about 100 entrepreneurs who dropped out or never went to college. Some of the people on that list include folks like, Steve Jobs, David Geffin, Sir Richard Branson, Walt Disney to name a few, and I have read these guys biographies, in fact I recommend doing that to any aspiring entrepreneur if in the very least to protect them from throwing in the towel when their first deal doesn’t work out.

success-graph-demetri-martin-squiggly-line-300x215This picture resonated with me when I first saw it because I identified with it. When I got my ass handed to me a couple of times in business it was refreshing to meet very successful people who told me they to had bitten the dust a couple of time before they knocked it out of the park. They encouraged me to always continue on. At the end of the day, if my life is spent pursuing my dreams and trying to make the world a better place never wavering against what I believe my purpose is here on this planet than I successfully lived. Whether or not I have a bunch of money in the bank or cars and shit doesn’t matter to me, how I get there though means the world.

I’m a smart guy and I can sell. I could get a sales job that pays well, work my ass off all week and take home 120K per year. I could get a corporate job as well, do a 9-5 Mon-Fri Gig with benefits and 401K, and during some of my failures in my own entrepreneurial endeavors those jobs starting looking amazing, but when I played the tape out, I could just never bring myself to sitting in a 10X10 ft space 40 hours a week selling some shit I could care less about only having the weekends and small trips away from reality to look forward to. I would always take the path less traveled.

If your Dan Marino, or Steve Jobs, my decision makes perfect sense to you, if your everyone else, you just think we are crazy, and that’s ok, because if everyone thought like we did there would be no one to run our companies or play tight-end as well as all of the other positions that are crucial in winning games or in life for that matter.

The bottom line is to stay in the game as long as possible. The longer you stay in the game, the better the chance to have to win. So if your reading this and thinking of starting your own deal for the first time, good for you. Go out there and fail a couple of time, get it over with, get your ass kicked and back up again, it’s all a part of the process. If your down and out, don’t worry, you’ll get it as long as you stay in the game, just don’t give up, consult those mentors and elders, go in to accumulation mode, learn some new things, bend and fold and most importantly get back in to a positive mental state.

If your on the other end of this and you just won your “super-bowl,” congratulations, you worked hard and deserve it. So celebrate and soak up every awesome moment, but when it’s over, you had better get back to work because there is going to be 1000 more coming to take it from you next year!

Have a great week everyone!!!!

Now For a little Fun…. Enjoy

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jn5zytfm9No

Healing the Soul and keeping it that way – Finishing 30 Day transforation

Healing the Soul and keeping it that way – Finishing 30 Day transforation

camera-to-see-human-soul_5wDbN_54Well, it’s official, the world is another year older. As we start another new year, resolutions are being made, good habits are attempting to be formed while we try to break the bad ones.

With every New Year, new hope is brought to lots of people. Something I never quite understood because to me it’s just another day. Maybe some people just need to see that year marker change from 2013-2014 to tell themselves that it’s different now. Perhaps we tell ourselves that: just because it’s a different year, that somehow things will be different now. Well, if you really believe this, I’m sorry to say it, but things are not different.

The only thing that is different is we write 2014 when we write the date. I would also make the url1 assumption, that if you believe that a new year brings magical hope and success through osmosis, then your last couple of years have probably looked something like this…. Don’t worry, you’re not a bad person, according to the New York times, only 8% of people actually stick with the new years resolutions that they set out to do. And the other 92% lose their steam within 7 DAYS!¬†Yes, seven days and those new years resolutions and thoughts of bigger things in life, more time, more money, dream vacations, getting fit and healthy are out the window. If you don’t believe it, go to a Gym today on (The 3rd of January) count the amount of people who are in there and then go back a week later and watch the number DROP matching that statistic.

So why do we do this. Why do we set these unattainable goals. Do we do it because that what everyone else is doing? Do we do it because it’s the trendy thing to do? ¬†I mean, I know that there is some truth to it all, meaning that the things that all of us would like to change about ourselves. I have never met a person that honestly could tell me there wasn’t one are of their life that they wanted to improve (myself included). So again, I ask, why do we set ourselves up just to let ourselves down?

I am going to answer these questions in the rest of this blog. I’m going to share with you some of the deepest wisdom that I have acquired in answering these questions and what I can tell you is that if you listen to them and learn how to apply them, you will never need to make a new years resolution ever again for as long as you live.

So, just to get a couple of points clear, I’m not saying the resolutions are bullshit or that setting positive intentions are without merit or a waste of time. I am simply laying out why they don’t work without action. So lets demystify a couple of things. New Years is just a day signifying¬†an approximation of the Earth’s orbital period in a given¬†calendar. A calendar year in the¬†Gregorian calendar¬†(as well as in the¬†Julian calendar) has either 365 (common years) or 366 (leap years) days.¬†The word “year” is also used of periods loosely associated but not strictly identical with either the astronomical or the calendar year, such as the¬†seasonal year, the¬†fiscal year¬†or the¬†academic year, etc. Basically, the earths cycle, so we set our clocks and calendars to it. It gives us structure, but I take more like a suggestion, except when it comes to taxes, definitely not a suggestion.¬†

Nothing really changes. Remember Y2K. Exactly, everyone thought the millennium was going to be some kindy2k of Apocalyptic event, that the computers would stop working and people would go crazy but it didn’t. We woke up the next day and it was the year 2000 and went on business as usual. Then the Mayan Calendar ended in 2012 and there was talk of the end of the world and “the rapture.” Yet, nothing happened, time just went on. Are you getting the point. We put so much significance on things that don’t matter ¬†or really affect us personally at all. Time only works because we all agree on following it.

So then, why don’t people follow through on their resolutions or goals they set? That’s the million dollar question, and when I have been asked to answer this before usually people never like my answer. Here it is,¬†People don’t follow through on the goals they set¬†because¬†they didn’t want them that bad. You probably wanted to hear me say some Freudian answer that place the blame on a persons up-bringing or the fact that their parents didn’t encourage them enough. Maybe it would make you feel better if I told you that the economy, or the negativity in the media is the problem for people’s lack of accomplishments. The bottom line is that people let their dreams go to shit because they realized the work and sacrifice that would have to ensue to achieve them, got scared, and walked away. It’s the idea that it’s safer to keep that status-quo, then to push forward in to new frontiers. Fear of the unknown is a powerful force for those who have never ventured in to the unknown, but for people like me it’s the complete opposite.

The Unknown is the only place that makes me feel alive. If I traded in my life’s of ambitions, start-up companies, self-employment, jumping out of Air Planes, surfing big waves, traveling to desolate places in the world ¬†and my entrepreneurial endeavors for a desk job in a corporation with a safe salary and benefits, a super safe car like a Prius, and spent my vacations at a Club Med tourist factory, a little piece of my soul would die everyday until I was depressed to the point of suicide, or I realized that the safety I thought I had in this “Job” or “Life” for that matter is really a prison holding me captive from recognizing my true human potential.

I realized a long time ago, that my soul was never worth the sacrifice. At the end of the day, it does not matter really all that much how I feel, but how my soul is doing. If you think making a bunch of money will fix this, your wrong. Greed kills the soul. In fact, to much of anything will throw you soul out of balance. I believe that most of us, especially those of us who have grown up in America, give very little weight to how important our soul really is. Unless you have been to a place or experienced a culture that values love, family, and health above wealth, you won’t really know what I’m taking about internally, you may be able to intellectually understand, but you won’t be able to feel it unless you have experienced it. 885598_10151447999619477_1160241654_o I had this profound experience during my travels through South East Asia. It’s actually kind of funny you know, I was watching the movie “The Beach” with Leonardo DiCaprio last night. It’s an old movie from 1998ish about a traveler who goes to Thailand ¬†trying to find himself and ends up on a secret island near Ko Phi Phi where he meets another bohemian group of travelers who had just left their lives and stayed living together in their own community off the grid. I loved the idea, but when I saw that movie, it seemed like a novel idea, a nice fantasy story and wrote it off. But then, all of a sudden, I was there in 2012 looking out at the same beach the Leo was looking at and it clicked, it all made sense to me. I could finally understand why someone would just leave it all behind. You see out there, time moves slow, life is simple and all of the things that are important to us like cars, big houses, and name brand clothes just don’t matter out there. Almost as if your money is cool and all, and they are happy you brought but they will only take what they need and leave the rest. Up until that point in my life had never been in a place like that.

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Beach from the movie “The Beach.” I was there man!

I was amazed. By the time I got back to Bali for the second time, I almost didn’t come home. I fell in love with that place. So much to the point where when I saw the movie last night, and I was physically saddened because I was not back there on that beach. I have never missed a place that much, shit, I have never even missed home that much, what ever “home” means. Either way, as I was laying in bed at hotel where I am staying in Phoenix, and I realized the same thing I realized when I got back home from S.E. Asia the first two times. Not much of a realization, more of a rhetorical question asking myself “why did I leave?” Truth is, a part of me never did leave. It stole my heart and seduced me with all of it’s beauty and slow-paced way of life. Long summer days, incredible surf, and plenty of fresh raw coconuts to drink under a palm tree while you watch the Sun sink in to the ocean on a warm beach.

This was a place where my soul was healed. It snapped me out of my everyday life and gave me perspective. It wasn’t the destination specifically, but where my soul went to when I got there. I can’t remember being any happier in my life then I was during the time I spent out there. I think about it everyday, and all I could hope for is that everyone finds a place like that because even though it’s half way around the world, and a piece of my heart is there, and I brought a little piece of it back with me that lives on in me.

When I get sad, upset, hurt or depressed, I think of my ambitions, my family, my why. I start looking for all of the things to be grateful for like my family, my close friends, food, shelter, wisdom, my mentors, and above anything else, God who had allowed for all of this to be possible.

In the end, all we have is our memories and experiences. A goal, is a potential experience which will never become a memory good or bad if you don’t attempt it. The funny thing is that you can any time you want. You don’t have to wait for the new year. For me, I have made it a ritual that I start reviewing the progress of my current year and planning my goals for the next year at the beginning of November so that by December 1st I am ready to execute the plan. This puts me ahead of everyone else because while everyone else seems to be recovering from a new years hangover and trashing your body during the week of Christmas to new years, I’m completing my 30th day of my transformation which by the way happens to be tomorrow.

Here is what my december looked like.

– 1. 10 Days Cleanse – Lost 9bls under 10% body fate

– 2. Picked up a new sales job, ran the weeks of X-mas and New Years and raked in an extra 3.5K

– 3. Signed up and paid for a Forex trading school that starts next week.

– 4. Prayed every day, meditated every other day

– 5. Completed my 13th year of sobriety.

– 6. Cut ties with people in my life who don’t serve me.

– 7. Reviewed goals from 2013, saw where I did great, and where I need work and then set goals and started them for 2014.

-8. My partner and I raised money, and signed a contract with our developer to build the prototype for the website and apps for our start-up with a time-line to have a fully functional Beta version by May 2014

-9. Straightened the relationships with the people around me, family, friends and girlfriends.

-10. Got serious clarity on what I am to get accomplished the next year.

Not bad for a historically slow business month with lots of over eating,¬†wastefulness¬†and outright¬†disregard¬†to your body ūüôā

My advice for you is to go out from here, get clear on what you really want. If you send the universe a mixed message, then that is exactly going to be what you will get in return. Be specific, I can guarantee you that the 8% of people that will stick to their new years resolutions were extremely clear on their intentions. In fact I know they were because I am one of them and I have very close friends and mentors who live by this stuff.

So I wish you and incredibly successful, happy, joyous and free new 2014 and life in general. I hope that you get all of things in life that you want, and I hope you want them as bad as I want them from you ūüôā

Lots of love!

Steve

P.S. If you ever forget where you come from, here is a little clip from one of my favorite movies of all time that reminds me where I come from and helps me remember whats really important in life.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wo-wkv8gW6k

Battle of the Mind: Is Personal Development Bullshit? Science, Religion?

Battle of the Mind: Is Personal Development Bullshit? Science, Religion?

self-help_guru

The Self-Help Buddah

80% Mental, 40% Physical equals 120% Confusing right? Yes if you are used to giving only 100%, but it makes perfect sense if you play at 120%

I’m in the final week of my 30 day transformation and my brain is firing on all cylinders. I’m so pumped for 2014, and I have a lot running through my mind so I want to get it all out on this blog before I forget. I’ll post one more blog from the 30-Day transformation series at the end of the week re-capping the entire experience. In the mean time, enjoy this one!

Is this just mental masturbation or am I actually going ¬†somewhere with this? Well, let me explain. As I was driving out to Lancaster CA,( known for its gangs and the home-based Meth Lab Industry) I was listening to the audio version of “The Secret.” ¬†Weather or not you’re a fan of this type of spiritual quantum physics or even know of the book there is definitely something too it. Here is a brief synopsis

The Secret¬†highlights¬†gratitude¬†and¬†visualization¬†as the two most powerful processes to help manifest one’s desires. It asserts that being grateful both lifts your frequency higher and affirms that you believe you will receive your desire. Visualization is said to help focus the mind to send out the clearest message to the universe. Several techniques are given for the visualization process, as well as examples of people claimed to have used it successfully to manifest their dreams..

Self_helpFinally it introduces a 3-Step process on how to receive anything that you want in life, 1. Ask 2. Believe 3. Receive. Now before I go in to this I want everyone reading this to know that I started out not believing in personal development / self-help in general. I thought it was cult-like pseudo science and only really impressionable people got caught up in it.

The world of personal development was first introduced to me at 23 years old in my first network marketing company. At first, I thought it was all a bunch of bullS*&%. When I was first exposed to it, this scene best describes how corny it felt to me.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJqr6LBFelI

Then over time, I started to pick up a couple more books, audios and even attended my first Personal development seminar, it was a Millionaire mind intensive based off of the teachings in T-Harv Ecker’s book, “Secrets of the Millionaire Mind.” The event was a sell-fest, and half way through it, I realized that this wasn’t the first P.D. seminar I had ever been to. Turns out that these concepts were first introduced to me at the ripe young age of 12 when my mom sent me to a Landmark Seminar for children. I though it was cult-like, and can’t remember all that much from the actual seminar but all the people seemed to be happy and really motivated. Maybe they programmed something deep in to my sub-conscious and are planning to activate me later like some kind of Manchurian candidate situation, but I doubt it because when you start to understand how personal development “gurus” use phycology, you can dive deep in to what makes them so successful at what they do, but before I get into that, lets back up a second to where it all began for me.

My first real exposure to any kind of personal development concepts was actually in Alcoholics Anonymous. I got sober when I was 16 years old and haven’t had a drink since. I am still an active member in AA and work with new members constantly. I didn’t realize how much personal development is embedded in the 12-steps until I was re-introduced to the P.D. world ¬†later in life at 23 years old. Now keep in mind, I had been sober going to AA for more than 7 years before I was re-introduced to the personal development world. When I saw the concepts that were being taught in the world of P.D. for the second time in my life, I was much more open to it because I was a product of what success can be had from a 12-step group oriented self-help organization which in many ways has similar results of any good P.D. system.

You see, there are a lot of critics out there. In fact you can find a whole world of people who will call anything that comes from the personal development world pseudo-science and throw out any value it creates because there is no scientific merit behind it and the curriculum is not being taught by people with a Ph.D behind their name. Instead, most of the big names from the P.D. world like Tony Robbins, Les Brown, Zig Zigglar, and Jim Rhone to name a few don’t even have a college degree let alone a high school diploma. Instead they speak and teach from personal experience and everything they have developed comes from interaction and experiences with real people. Much like AA, there are no doctors, no professors, or Ph.d’s, just a couple of normal everyday people who have had some pretty incredible experiences in life and then decided to share those experiences as a way to help others breakthrough problems and barriers that are in their life so they can go on to actually living again.

To me, none of the semantics matter. It either works or it doesn’t, and that is the only measuring stick that I need. AA was the last place that I ever thought I would end up at 16 years old. In fact my only knowledge of it was what I had heard here and there combined with the satirical portrayal seen in movies and on T.V. I though AA was for homeless people who lived in dumpsters and drank Mad Dog 20/20 out of a paper bag. When I got there, it was quite different from anything I could have anticipated. I was shocked to find out that the only requirement for membership was a desire to stop drinking, no dues or fees, and to my surprise were not affiliated in any way, shape or form with a religion, political, governmental, scientific or even non-profit organization. It was started by two guys, “Bill and Bob” who stumbled on to the idea of creating a support group to help other alcoholics through an experience they had together. ¬†What they found was a way to help themselves and others stop drinking and using drugs where science and religion had failed to do so. Moreover, they orchestrated a method or system of how to have a better life or in many cases, get any kind of life at all back.

Strangely enough, to this day, all the doctors, scientists and governments in the world have not been able to “Cure” alcoholism or addiction. Since AA was founded in 1935, millions of people have not only been able to quit drinking, but their lives changed dramatically for the better. I wrote a paper about AA back in college arguing that Alcoholics Anonymous is the most significant social movement of the 20th and 21st centuries, but because it’s anonymous no census or accounting has ever been done, and will never be done because it violates the traditions. There is an estimated 2 million+ members with over 160,000 meetings all over the world. The most significant part of all of this is that until 1935, the only option all of those people would have had was to spin dry in a sanitarium, go to jail, or just die. It starts to become exponentially significant when you begin to think of all the people, families, kids, employers etc. that have been positively effected by all of those generations of people who stopped being a down and out drug addict alcoholic and turned in to a positive productive member of society. Now multiply that number 6 times, and you will have you get 6.4e+37 aka a lot of f^%#$%^ people. That ripple effect equates to roughly the earths total population a couple of times over.

So what does all of this have to do with personal development. Simple, not everyone is meant to go to AA. You may not have a life ending alcohol or drug problem. You might just be a normal person looking to find deeper meaning to your own life. For me, I found that I needed AA but desired to have what the self-help personal development world taught as well. AA to help me recover from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body and then the philosophies from the personal development world to help me take that life I got back thanks to AA and turn it in to something incredible.

self-helpMost people think that sharing feelings and showing emotion makes you weak. Kind of like if you see a psychologist you don’t shout it from the roof tops, you keep it private. The P.D. world has a much different formula, usually group settings and as one on one time with a guru, well that can get expensive. I have seen a type of human interaction being done in large group seminars which is completely contrary to anything most psychologists would think is a good idea, but something happens there. You feel elated and empowered by the group and a feeling of community and togetherness knowing that you are not the only person in the world who experiences pain, suffering, loss and hardships. This feeling is usually experienced at a church of some kind which is why a lot of the religious world frowns upon personal development because they are stealing the churches age-old techniques and giving people something a little more tangible the a bible and a confession box. Not to say church or God are bad in any way, I’m very spiritual myself just not religious. You should see some of the people who have bridged that gap and have turned a religiously motivated personal development method in to a CASH COW like Joel Olsteen with an estimated net worth of $40-Million. I’d say having Jesus on your side doesn’t hurt ūüôā

My belief is that if it works for you do it. There is no set way or one simple cookie-cutter method that is going to work for everyone. Personally it has taken me more than 10 years to find my spirituality, and I was actually searching for it the whole time. My journey will never be the same for any other person, similar perhaps, but never exactly the same. What worked for me, may not necessarily for you but what I can tell you is that I have learned some capital “T” truths through my years in the personal development world. I’ll take this time to share a couple of the profound nuggets of wisdom with you know.

– Faith without work = Jack Shit

– You can manifest positive things, but if another person is manifesting the same thing and willing to work 40 more hours a week for it, he or she is probably going to get it before you.

– Spending money on Personal development is great and I believe in it 100% do it, it’s worth every penny.

– If you start something, finish it! If you don’t plan to finish it, don’t even start it, just go back to sleep.

– Never stop learning!

– Always keep your belief system negotiable, be stubborn, stick to your morals, but if presented with a better way, be quick to adapt it and then slow to change it.

– Mentor’s aren’t just a good suggestion, they are imperative to your success in life in any and all situations.

– You are the company you keep, meaning the 5-closest people to you define exactly what your habits, morals, and what your net worth probably equates to, if you don’t believe me, write those names down and do the math.

– A mentor is not a friend, he or she is the person to kick you in the ass and give you life saving advice. So don’t get mad, upset or hurt when they tell you something you don’t want to hear, that’s the point.

– You don’t know what you don’t know, because if you knew you would have, and to know and not have is not knowing at all. ¬†ūüôā ¬†(Thanks Casey, I think I got that one right)

– People/Friends are assets or liabilities. Know what you can afford.

– If you can’t manage $10 you will never be able to manage $1,000,000

– Delayed gratification is the truest sign of maturity and wisdom.

– Keep it real, stop lying to yourself, and be great, don just think it, talk about it, or write about it, do it!

What I love about most personal development is that it is so simple, that it’s kind of hard to accept. I mean seriously, I’ve read some books that I thought were going to give the most profound pieces of paradigm shifting information, instead I got catch phrases like “keep it simple” and “mind your business.” What? Are you kidding, I paid 4 grand to go to a 4,ooo person Tony Robbins event, and he told me that “my past doesn’t define me?” Exactly, and that precisely why it works. The times where I thought “this shit is stupid, I could have come up with this!” But then the next questions I asked myself spelled out exactly why I needed it and why it was so valuable:¬†It was because even though it was so simple, I didn’t come up with it, or simply overlooked it because I¬†believed¬†that nothing that profound could be so simple.

Then one day while I was getting interviewed on a nationally syndicated radio show, I was asked the questions “Steve, you do so much, your so successful at such a young age, how do you do it?” What came out of my mouth astonished me to, and I said: “lists, I make lists of things I need to do, and then I cross the items off one-by-one until they are all done.” The radio host looked puzzled, as if she was waiting to here the rest of the answer, but that was it, if I added anymore it would have just been me adding fillers to make it sound better.¬†¬†

In the theme of keeping it simple, here are some of my favorite clips from Will Smith being asked very similar questions and giving very simple answers. I guess I’m not the only successful dude who believes in keeping it simple and just sticking to answers that even 3rd graders can wrap their head around.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5nVqeVhgQE

In conclusion, I will to circle back to where i started. 80% mental and 40% physical. A very wise man once told me that I could push myself 100 times harder than I even thought I could, and until he told me that, I never thought it was even possible. Much like if you asked 100 people in a room in the year 1901 if humans would ever fly, 98% of them would have thought you were crazy, and maybe 2% of them would be optimistic enough to think it’s possible, but if you asked that same question in 1903 after the Wright Brothers flew for the first tim, 100% would agree that it is was the capital “T” Truth type possible!

Quantum Physics, Metaphysics, and spirituality pick up where modern science and religion ends, and to me the study of the unknown or imagining what could be possible is the only way to move humanity forward. If fellas like Thomas Edison and Albert Einstein didn’t think like that, we might still be living in the dark and have never gone to space. Crazy right? Wrong, makes perfect sense actually. The line between genius and insanity is a fine line, and it takes a real confident (and a tad bit crazy) human being to continue to have faith and believe when 98% of the people in a room don’t think what you’re doing or saying is possible and that you are some kind of charlatan.

This is what the message of personal development always meant to me. It reinforced the fact that anything is possible if I set my mind to it. It gave me tools to deal with the people who would try to pull me down and shit on my dreams. It gave me a community of like-minded people who believe that we were put on this earth to do a little more than work a 9-5 job for 40 years and retire with a gold watch. P.D. helped shape and develop my entrepreneurial mind because god knows they don’t teach that shit in college, and finally and most importantly, It restored faith and gave me hope that as long as there are people on this earth pushing to move us forward then we may just pull this whole thing called life off with out killing each other and starting wars and conflict with our fellows.

I like to think how far we would have advanced as a human race if we spent all of the time, money and effort we have spent on fighting with each other and put all that to advancing the human race across the board in Science, phycology, renewable energy and educating the masses. Maybe we can start that type of campaign in 2014 ūüôā Whoever that guys is, he’s got my vote!

To find out more about the books I have written and a more in-depth look in to what I have learned through my years of personal development, check out my book The Young¬†Entrepreneurs¬†Guide to Life.” I hope this blog motivated you. Happy NEW YEAR, let’s make 2014 incredible.

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