Unanticipated Success

September 9, 2010

“Every failure is really just an unanticipated Success.”   SD

 We begin with a vision of what we wish to accomplish. Then we visualize our desired result, plan, decide upon a course of action and execute our plan. So far: so good.

Then, after a while, we sit back and examine the results. If they match our initial vision, we label our efforts SUCCESS. If they fall short, we label them with the “F” word – FAILURE. Why do we do that to ourselves? Especially when we have seen over and over again that events we judge as failures almost always turn out to be valuable lessons or building blocks to a greater success.

So, I guess we can chalk it up to bad memory. Why should we care? What’s wrong with judging some of our results as failures and taking steps to rationalize our disappointment?

Well, a couple of things:

1. We don’t like to fail. So, the fear or expectation of failure can keep us from taking risks. And where there’s no risk, there’s no reward.

2. Judging our outcomes as failures tends to bum us out. And bummed out people rarely attract positive relations, new business, good juju into their lives.

Viewing outcomes as failures lowers self-esteem and who needs that? If you can’t feel good about yourself, who can?

In summary, be good to yourself. Love yourself. View all of your outcomes as building blocks, steps along the path you are walking and, therefore, successes.

Judge less

Be kind and compassionate – especially to yourself.


Get out of your HEAD and into the ROOM

May 30, 2010

Just a quick note to remind you to experience more and analyze less.

When you get to the final day of this journey on Earth are you going to look into the eyes of a loved-one and say “Gee, I wish I’d spent more time worrying about all those things that never happened.?” Yeah, I don’t think so.

 Do you want your final epiphany to be regret over how much time you wasted bemoaning past “mistakes” and worrying about future outcomes? Wouldn’t that be tragically fitting. Your final precious moment spent in regret instead of soaking in the world one last time? I’m starting to sound like the Ghost of Christmas Past. So, let’s go with that. Like Scrooge, we all have the capacity to wake up and change our approach to life. Decide right now to spend more time observing and less time thinking. Be curious about the world. See life as it is and appreciate the perfection—even if it isn’t exactly the way your mind thinks it should be. Release the past and the future and enjoy the only time we ever truly have—NOW. So, as Tiny Tim would say…


The University of Adversity

May 5, 2010

“There is no education like adversity.”
Benjamin Disraeli

Well, aren’t we feeling well educated? Talk about making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. But, of course, it is so true. If life always unfolded just as we expect and desire, we would parish the first time we fell off a bike or lost a client. Put another way:

Good fortune and bad are equally necessary to man to fit him to meet the contingencies of this life.
French Proverb

Sorry about the gender bias (the French) – I’m sure this is equally true for non-males.

Adversity is simply life moving in a direction that we did not expect.

It is not necessarily a worse direction, or a better direction, just different than what we had planned. There are two primary responses to adversity each presenting us with an opportunity for growth.

Ask yourself: 1. Is the situation counter-productive to my life plan. Does it inhibit my ability to grow in the direction I have selected, and 2. Is it within my ability to change it? If the answer to both of these questions is yes, then you can create a plan to bring the situation more in line with your goals.

If you cannot change the situation, you are handed the opportunity to learn acceptance. We simply cannot manipulate every aspect of life to match our vision of how the world should be. Attempting to do so will only bring frustration, disappointment and resentment. Learning to let go of our expectations is one of the keys to a happy life.

“God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, Courage to change the things which should be changed, and the Wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.

Reinhold Niebuhr


He that Knows Not is a Pupil

April 7, 2010

“The only path to learning is to know that you don’t know.”   by I don’t know: some spiritual guy. 

OK, but if you know that you don’t know then …you know, so how is that not-knowing? Cause if you know… I’d need Abbott and Costello to work this one out. Spirituality can be complicated. 

What I do know (or not) is that, when communicating with another human, not knowing is critical to understanding.

The challenge arises because we each have a unique interpretation of the world around us, the relationships between this and that. For example, you may think that purple is the new black. I may think that it is satanic and anyone who wears it should be forced to eat garlic ice cream and live in Bakersfield (my apologies if you live in or are from Bakersfield). Or, you may feel that you are complimenting me by saying that I’m looking much better. I may hear “you look like hell most of the time.”

What you say clearly communicates your meaning—as registered by your personal interpretation. Problem is: I don’t hear through your interpretations, I hear through mine. What to do? Two words: Awareness – Patience – Persistence. OK, three words.

Awareness: To communicate effectively you must first be aware of the fact that everyone interprets words through their own unique perception. So, when you hear a statement from another, don’t assume that you understand.

Patience: Take the time to check out your initial understanding. “So when you say you are going to buy a purple dress, are you saying that you worship Satan and wish to move to Bakersfield?” At which point you can correct my misinterpretation and say, “Why no, I don’t.”

Persistence: Question until you understand the speaker’s meaning. “So, if you don’t worship Satan and are not moving to Bakersfield, why do you want to buy a purple dress?” “Because,” you answer, “I read in Cosmo that purple is the new black.”

Ah, now we are communicating.


The Road to Success

April 2, 2010

“The road to success is simple

for those who have no rear-view mirrors.” SD

The problem 

We tend to get trapped in a Catch 22: The more treacherous the road the more time we spend looking behind us, lamenting our misfortune and worrying that more of the same lies ahead. But, the more time we spend looking back, the more treacherous the road becomes. Imagine zooming down the highway at 70 MPH while staring into your rear-view mirror – a near certain recipe for disaster. And, of course, the more treacherous the road…

 A solution

Many years ago on a sacred mountain top, in the ancient spiritual Mecca of Stockton, a 400 year old spiritual master lay dying in my arms. As I sensed his life energy about to transition I asked, “Master, before you cross into the Great Unknown will you share with me one Secret to Living a Successful Life? Tell me how to stop focusing on the misfortunes of my past, knowing that by doing so I project my problems into the future.”

 As the life-force began to leave his body, he pulled my ear to his lips and yelled:

 STOP DOING THAT! 

“All right, All right,” I said, rubbing my ear. “Geez.”

 I realize that the more challenging life becomes, the more difficulty you have focusing on the present (the Catch 22). Difficult: but well within your abilities. It is a matter of focus and will and eventually habit.

 Approach today as a precious opportunity: a gift of life that will last but a few short hours. Consider the extraordinary treasure that lay before you. You are surrounded by an endless supply of beauty and prosperity. A happy, prosperous life is your right, and you were born with everything you need to claim your share.

What will you do today to draw prosperity into your life? What steps will you take to reach your goals?

 If, today, you focus on this unique present, there will be no time to lament the past. Tomorrow? Do it again.


The Power of Winning

March 23, 2010

 

The Power of Winning

“Your talent determines what you can do. 

Your motivation determines how much you are willing to do.

Your attitude determines how well you do it!”

–Lou Holtz

 

The exciting news:   A lot is “happening”!  The challenge:  How do each of us participate in the activity? 

There is an amazing video:  Pearls Before Breakfast (from the Washington Post)…Watch It!!!

The story goes… 

“A youngish, nondescript, white man in jeans positioned himself against a wall beside a trash basket at a metro station (subway) in Washington D.C. and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning, several years ago.  He played six classical pieces for about 45 minutes.  During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that thousands of people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

“In the 45 minutes the muscian played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for awhile.  About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace.  He collected $32.00.  When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed.  No one applauded, nor was there any recognition. 

“The violinist was none other than Joshua Bell, currently one of the greatest muscians in the world (playing incognito).  He played one of the most intricate musical pieces ever written on his Gibson Stradivarius (valued at approximately 3.6 million dollars).  Two days before, he had played to a ‘sold out’ theater in Boston, with seats averaging $100.00 each.”

In a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour:

               Do we perceive beauty/Do we stop to appreciate it/Do we recognize opportunities that are right before our eyes?

This amazing musician went unrecognized…unnoticed because his appearance was not expected, not anticipated. So it is with success in today’s marketplace. Those people who are still bemoaning the “bad economy” will only perceive that which validates their expectations.

Those who expect success will see the opportunities everywhere.

 So, the only question is:  Are you prepared and looking for opportunities…and taking advantage of them? Do you wake up every morning filled with anticipation, prepared to take advantage of the unlimited possibilities?

 Remember: Success doesn’t find You. You find Success.

 As we move further into 2010, I can’t help but remind myself that we not only live in best place in the world, but also that our communities offer some of the best real estate opportunities in the world!

 Take advantage…have a fantastic Week!


Forgiveness

March 12, 2010

Forgiveness is one of the most powerful forces on earth. Applied generously, it can provide relief for both the giver and the receiver.

For the receiver, the effects are pretty obvious. Being forgiven can ameliorate feelings of guilt for what it is they have done, and worry over the future of their relationship with the giver. It can have a positive effect on the receiver’s self-image, and infuse them with a general sense of  well-being.

Oddly enough, the same benefits are available to the giver. In general, we forgive people because we perceive that they have wounded us in some manner. We judge their actions as wrong. The “projection” effect tells us that when we criticize others we are criticizing ourselves. What we object to in another’s actions are actions that we have taken and regret or that we have imagined taking but believe are inappropriate. So when we forgive another we are, in effect, forgiving ourselves.

And forgiving yourself is very powerful medicine.


How Hard Can You Get Hit?

August 23, 2008

Quote of the Week

 

“It ain’t about how hard you can hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep movin forward.”  

                       Rocky Balboa

 

From the mouths of fictional punch-drunk fighters…

 

Part of living a happy, stress-free life is choosing your battles wisely. If we were to pick a fight every time life failed to turn out the way we’d planned, we’d all be punch drunk.

 

Choosing your battles means deciding how important it is that another driver fails to let you merge into an exit lane. Once it happens, there is nothing you can do but look for another opening or go to the next exit and double back. You can perform these tasks in an agitated, finger-out-the-window manner, or you can take a deep breath and “keep movin forward.”

 

How you react to life’s little disappointments is determined by “how hard you can get hit.”

1.    How much criticism can you take?

2.    How important is it that you are right?

3.    How important is it that others acknowledge your accomplishments?

4.    How do you feel when others act in ways you don’t agree with?

 

In the end, we have very little control over the actions of others. What we do control is how we react to those actions. How quickly and effectively we “move forward” depends to a great extent on how we react to adversity.

 

Having been in real estate sales since 1976, I have managed agents through several recessions and numerous transitions in the housing market. When the market slows down, many agents have to move through all four stages of grief: Denial, Depression, Anger and Acceptance. By the time they finally achieve acceptance, the bills are piling up and their pipeline is empty.

 

The agents who continue to thrive in the midst of change are those who calmly analyze the situation, make adjustments and keep working.

 

Succinctly stated by Joe Pass (The Guitar Player Book) “When the chord changes, you should change.”


Happiness is The Way

August 17, 2008

Quote of the Week

 

“There is no way to happiness: Happiness is the way.”

                           Wayne Dyer

 

This is one of the most important quotes of the 20th Century (and one I have written about many times). If, as a species, we really understood these 10 words there would be no need for anti-depressants. We would eat less “comfort” food, make fewer impulse purchases, slash the divorce rate, reduce the demand for illegal drugs and convert most of our prisons into condos or college dormitories.

 

Why is happiness so elusive?

 

Most people I know make happiness contingent upon the achievement of … something else.

 

“If I could just get one very expensive listing.”

 

“If I could experience just one more good market.”

 

“If I could only lose 50 pounds.” If, if, if.

 

But, if being happy is such a great thing, why do we make it so difficult to achieve?

 

You don’t have to be Carl Jung to recognize the training program. From infancy we learn that if we act in certain ways, we make people happy – in other ways, and we make them sad or angry. A baby screams and her parents freak. She stops, they smile and coo. When you brought report cards home, did your grades affect your parent’s happiness quotient? 

 

There is an ancient parable that demonstrates the folly of conditional states of mind – I’ll paraphrase:  A man had two great treasures in his life: his son and his stallion. They both brought him great happiness. The man woke one morning to find that his stallion had run off. With half of his treasure gone, he fell into a deep despair. Later that day the horse came back and brought along with him a beautiful wild mare. The man was elated. The next day his son tried to ride the new mare but was thrown and broke his leg. The man was again distraught. Shortly thereafter, a war broke out and the soldiers came to the village to conscript young men into the army. All were taken but his son who could not go because of his broken leg. The man was overjoyed.

 

The original parable goes on to epic lengths, the man’s emotional state being bounced back and forth by events beyond his control. The age of this story tells us that we have been placing conditions on happiness for a very long time. Are we then doomed to be unhappy unless…?

 

Through the years, I have learned two valuable lessons – “ways” to dramatically improve my state of mind. The first lies in the second part of the quote, “happiness is the way.” 

 

Wayne dyer suggests that instead of making happiness the result of achieving this or that, we make happiness a goal – independent of all others. It requires a shift in how we speak to ourselves. Here is a typical conversation you might have with yourself on the way to work: “If I can get this offer accepted today, I’ll be thrilled – life will be good.” Notice how you’ve made your state of mind contingent on a buyer writing a good offer and a seller accepting it? Good luck with your mood. Alternatively, you could say, “Today I will be happy and content no matter what happens.” Now, you might also want to say, “Today I will get this offer accepted.” The key is to not link the two statements.

 

As always, change begins with awareness. Notice how your mood rises and falls along with the degree to which your expectations are met. At the same time, focus on Being Happy instead of achieving things that will Make You Happy.

 

The second “way” to on-demand happiness is closely related to the first. But, instead of focusing on happiness as a distinct, independent goal, it speaks to how we perceive the world around us.

According to Dan Millman (Way of the Peaceful Warrior), all unhappiness comes from looking at the world the way it is and wishing it were some other way. If we could accept the world as it is, we would be content at all times.

 

How can we accept a world, however, that is filled with hunger, war and cruelty? That is a tough question. The answer is found in the understanding that you can accept something as being just the way it is supposed to be at the time, and still want to facilitate change. Sound impossible?

 

Let’s say that you have a fear of public speaking – most people do. But as part of your prospecting plan you would like to give talks to community organizations. Fighting your fear, blaming yourself or others, regretting past lost opportunities can all result in anxiety, stress, and sadness.

 

Accepting that your fear is a natural result of past experience and programming removes any reason for blame or regret. Now, whether you fight your fear or accept it, you are capable of overcoming it: I know, I had to do it at one point in my life. But, by first accepting my situation, I removed a great source of discontent and unhappiness.

 

It’s important that you don’t confuse acceptance with passivity. I am not saying that you should accept everything just the way it is and do nothing to change your situation or the world around you. Actually, accepting the current state of things frees your mind to take more effective action. Free from anger and frustration, you can think more clearly, evoke more creative ideas and become a more efficacious person.