Personal Development Course
Becoming an Authentic MVP: Master the skills, attitudes, and discipline to be the Best in Your Business and Personal Life.
Lesson 3 – Self-Determination
Please listen to the audio file first in each section as it contains greater detail than the written text. Then follow the instructions, if any, at then end of each lesson.
(Listen to Mp3, audio message 9, Winning is a Decision)
This message is meant to be a moment of truth, because it deals with another critical key to winning in every arena of your life. Self-Determination, or personal responsibility. A number of years ago, I participated in the video and book project called “The Secret”, based upon the Law of Attraction. One way or another, our actions cause rewards and consequences. “To every action,” as Sir Isaac Newton observed, “there is always opposed an equal reaction.” Good begets good and evil leads to more evil. This is one of the universe’s eternal, fundamental truths which I have referred to as The Unfailing Boomerang or the Law of Cause and Effect.
It means that every cause (action) will create an effect (reaction) approximately equal in intensity. Making good use of our minds, skills, and talents will bring positive rewards in our outer lives. Assuming the personal responsibility to make the best use of our talents and time will result in an enormous gain in happiness, success, and wealth. This is true of everyone.
The truly successful winners, those who have built financial empires or accomplished great deeds for society, are those who have taken personal responsibility to heart and to soul. By being true to themselves and others, they achieve success, wealth, and inner happiness. In the end, we ourselves–far more than any outsider–are the people with the greatest ability to steal our own time, talents, and accomplishments.
I’m fond of a story from the Old Testament Book of Leviticus about a sacred ceremony called “The Escaped Goat.” When the people’s troubles became overwhelming in those early days, a healthy male goat was led into the temple. The tribe’s highest priest placed his hand on the animal’s head and solemnly recited the long list of the people’s woes. Then the goat was released–and it ran off, supposedly taking the human troubles and evil spirits with him. That was some four thousand years ago, but the concept of the scapegoat remains in full force today. Blaming someone else or something else for our problems is nearly as old as civilization–and stays consistently young. When Adam ate of the apple, he quickly pointed at Eve. “The woman you’ve put here with me made me do it,” he said.
We live in a land of incredible abundance. Americans enjoy material riches and a civic and legal inheritance that people of other countries continue to die for, as recent events throughout the Middle East and other developing regions continue to remind us. We protest for individual liberty and social order in the same breath. We strive for material wealth, hoping that spiritual riches will come with it as a bonus. We plead for more protection from crime but demand less interference in our social habits. We want to cut taxes and build our own empires–at the same time, we want our government to provide more financial security. But we can’t have it both ways. If we want results, we must pay the price.
Life’s greatest risk is depending on others for your security, which can really come only by planning, acting, and making choices that will make you independent.
There was a very cautious man,
Who never laughed or played;
He never risked, he never tried,
He never sang or prayed.
And when he one day passed away,
His insurance was denied;
For since he really never lived,
They claimed he never died.
There are two primary choices in our lives: to accept conditions as they exist or to assume the responsibility for changing them. The price of success includes taking responsibility for giving up bad habits and invalid assumptions; setting a worthy example in our own lives; leading ourselves and others down a new and unfamiliar path; working more to reach a goal and being willing to delay gratification along the way; distancing ourselves from a peer group that isn’t helping us succeed and therefore tends or wants to hold us back; and being willing to face criticism and jealousy from people who would like to keep us stuck in place with them.
My thirty years of research have convinced me that the happiest, best-adjusted individuals in their present and older lives are those who believe they have a strong measure of control over their lives. They seem to choose more appropriate responses to what occurs and to stand up to inevitable changes with less apprehension. They learn from their past mistakes, rather than replay them. They spend time “doing” in the present, rather than fearing what may happen. So, stop stewing and start doing.
(Listen to Mp3 audio message 10, Action TNT: Today Not Tomorrow)
My grandfather owned a bookstore and bindery in San Diego where I used to work on weekends as a pre-teen and teenager. In addition to gluing books together and sweeping out his store, I loved browsing and sampling the stacks of books on the shelves. It was like a candy store of wisdom to me. He had a poster on the wall that I copied in my notebook because my grandpa said it was an important lesson for me to learn when I was young. He said procrastination is a favorite hiding place for people who are afraid to risk making mistakes, which is why he almost never put off any important decisions regarding the family. I have memorized that poster and refer to it often when I spend time puttering, majoring in minors and doing meaningless activities that are tension-relieving instead of goal achieving. The title is simply – Tomorrow:
He was going to be that he wanted to be –tomorrow. None would be kinder and braver than he –tomorrow. A friend who was troubled and weary he knew, who’d be glad for a lift and needed it too, on him he would call and see what he could do –tomorrow. Each morning he’d stack up the letters he’d write –tomorrow. And thought of the clients he’d fill with delight – tomorrow. But he hadn’t a minute to stop on his way, “More time I will give to others,” he’d say –“tomorrow.” The greatest of leaders this man would have been – tomorrow. The world would have hailed him had he ever seen – tomorrow. But in fact, he passed on, and he faded from view. And all that he left here when his life was through, was a mountain of things he intended to do – TOMORROW.
Don’t put success and happiness on layaway. And don’t live on a fantasy island, called Someday I’ll. Seize the moment while you can, Today.
(Listen to Mp3, audio message 11, Self-Reliance Guidelines)
To be self-reliant adults, we need to set some guidelines:
Be different, if it means higher personal and professional standards of behavior
Be different, if it means treating animals like people, and people as brothers and sisters
Be different, if it means being cleaner, neater and better groomed than the group
Be different, if it means giving more in service than you expect to receive in payment
Be different, if it means to take the calculated risk
Be different if the four-letter words you use focus on c-a-r-e, h-o-p-e, and l-o-v-e.
Be different, if it means to observe, listen and understand before passing judgment
In my travels throughout the world, I see a concerning increase in the numbers of parents whose children rule the family. On airplanes and in public places parents seem to need to constantly bribe their kids with sweets and treats to keep them in check. It’s as of children in our modern world today have been coached by the ACLU to sue their parents for their rights, without any need for responsibilities. The dependent child of today is destined to become the dependent parent of tomorrow, much more likely to see himself or herself as a victim of the system.
Although many things in life are beyond anyone’s control, you do have a great deal of control – more than most of us are willing to acknowledge – over many circumstances and conditions. You can control what you do with most of your free time during the day and evening. Instead of watching other people making money enjoying their professions on prime time TV, turn off the TV and start living in Prime Time. Read, interact with family, go out to ethnic restaurants, attend artistic and artisan shows. Get up from the chair, and explore the great outdoors!
You can control how much energy you exert and effort you give to each task you undertake. Prioritize your projects. Balance personal and professional goals. Finish what you start. Learn what times of day your energy levels are the highest. Do important work during those peak periods.
You can control your thoughts and imagination, and channel them. Limit your TV news viewing to events immediately impacting your personal and professional life. Avoid violent entertainment. Read more inspirational biographies of people who have overcome enormous obstacles to become successful.
You can control your attitude. Hang out and network with optimists on a regular basis.You can control your tongue. You can choose to remain silent or choose to speak. If you choose to speak, you can choose your words, body language and tone of voice. When you meet someone new, ask more questions and don’t try to impress him or her with your exploits. The less you try to impress, the more impressive you will be. Say to yourself, “I’ll make them glad they talked to me.” And hope that they will be thinking, “I like me best when I’m with you.” You can control your choice of role models. The best role model is not necessarily the celebrity or expert. It is more likely someone you can get to know personally and closely – preferably someone with a background or career path similar to yours; someone who has been where you are now. For personal role models and mentors, seek those who have not only achieved external success but whose whole lives, including their personal conduct, merit emulation. Career success can rarely be separated from character; one facet of a person’s life invariably affects the other facets. You can control your commitments, the things you absolutely promise yourself and others that you’ll do. Don’t over commit; in that way you won’t have to make excuses when deadlines are missed. Break your commitments into stair-step priorities and goals, ones that are reasonably easy to hit and easy to correct if missed. You can control the causes to which you give your time and emotion. Focus more on positive programs with socially redeeming benefits. Instead of a protestor, become a producer and protector.
You can control your memberships. Congregate with people having similar goals or those who are overcoming similar challenges with knowledge, attitude, skills and habits.
You can control your concerns and worries. Find a relaxation and exercise program that helps you release tension. A quiet place, a garden, the sea, and soft music can do wonders for the soul. So can interaction with wildlife, as well as interaction with domestic animals. There is much comfort in the innocent loyalty of a dog and the independent, yet cuddly curiosity of a cat.
You can control your response to difficult times and people. One of the best ways to overcome depression is to become active in helping other people in need. When I am down I visit the burn and cancer wards at the Children’s Hospital; a senior citizen center; an orphanage; a wounded service persons ward or veterans hospital or volunteer for some worthy youth group project. In a future message, we’ll discuss how to be the CEO of that Franchise called You, Incorporated.
(Listen to Mp3, audio message 12, Self-Determination)
The most important three words you can say to yourself are “Yes I can!”
Success is a process, not a status. It’s what you do every day and night.
Your attitude is either the lock on or key to your door of success.
Motivation is motive in action
Motivation is an inner force that compels behavior. Your inner drive will propel you further and faster than external perks
Without a sense of urgency, desire loses its value
Put up the dream. Put in the knowledge. Put out the effort.
The only secret to success is that you have to get out of your comfort zone and take a risk
LUCK us an acronym, Laboring Under Correct Knowledge
Losers let it happen. Winners make it happen.
Take action TNT – Today not tomorrow.
(Listen to Mp3, audio message 13, You’re the CEO)
Just as companies must dissolve their boundaries and erase their hierarchies, so must you, the individual, reinvent yourself to meet the knowledge era’s changing demands. From the day you hear this, I urge you to act self-employed, but be a team player.
What this means is that you’re your own chief executive officer. Start thinking of yourself as a service company with a single employee. You’re a small company–very small, but that doesn’t matter–that puts your services to work for a larger company. Tomorrow you may sell those services to a different organization, but that doesn’t mean you’re any less loyal to your current employer. Taking responsibility for yourself in this way does mean that you never equate your personal long-term interests with your employer’s.
The first step is resolving not to suffer the fate of those who lost their jobs and found their skills were obsolete. The second is to begin immediately the process of protecting yourself against that possibility–by becoming proactive instead of reactive. Ask yourself how vulnerable you are and what you can do about it. “What trends must I watch? What information must I gain? What knowledge do I lack?” Again, think of yourself as a company–for this purpose a research and development company–and establish your own strategic planning department. Set up a training department and make sure your top employee – You – is updating his or her skills. Start your own pension plan knowing that you are responsible for your own social security. Entrusting the federal government with your retirement is like hiring a compulsive gambler as your accountant.
You’re the CEO who must have the vision to set your goals and allocate your resources. Since your primary concern is ensuring your viability in the marketplace, you must think strategically in every decision. This mindset of being responsible for your own future used to be crucial only to the self employed, but it has become essential for us all. For today’s typical Americans are no longer one-career people. Most will have several separate careers in their lifetimes.
But although you must become your own life’s CEO and always act as if you were a company of one, being a team leader is equally important for your future. In this message, it’s enough to remember knowledge portability and information accessibility. It’s no longer possible to achieve alone in our world of accelerating change, where the new global village has become the local neighborhood. Unless you’re really comfortable online, you may be uncomfortable in some kind of bread line. Unless you are networking, you soon may be not working. But rather than become dependent on others, we should become interdependent, treating everyone we meet as a potential customer, someone with whom we may develop a strategic alliance in the future.
(Listen to Mp3, audio message 14, Taking Action as Your Own CEO)
- Here are some action steps to help you gain more personal responsibility in your business and personal life:
- Believe in the maxim: My rewards in life will be in proportion to the value of my service and contribution.
- Invest in developing your own knowledge and skills. The only real security in life is inside us.
- Take fifteen minutes each day for yourself alone. Use them to ponder how you can best spend your time for achieving what’s most important to you.
- Set your own standards rather than comparing yourself to others. Successful people know they must compete with themselves, not with others. They run their own races.
- Learn to depend on yourself. Don’t rely on other people, material rewards, or a prestigious job title to give you your self-worth. No one can take away your self-respect when it comes from within.
- When you make a mistake or fail at an assignment, avoid making excuses or blaming others. If a commitment can’t be met, always call immediately with a reason instead of making excuses after the fact.
- Use another motto for your self-analysis: Life is a do-it-yourself project. When your subordinates or teammates bring you a problem, first ask them what they think should be done to resolve it. Be certain to assign responsibility for the solution and follow through to the subordinate or team member. Resist taking the easy way out by doing it for them.
- Let your teammates and subordinates, make mistakes without fear of punishment or rejection. Show them that mistakes are learning devices that become stepping stones to success.
- Be more curious about your world. Observe nature’s wonder and abundance. Scan important articles and lifestyle tips directly from online sources into your data files. Listen to audiobooks while driving, exercising or doing chores. Subscribe to online newsletters, blogs and follow the Twitters of proven experts. Seek out and gain counsel from the most successful people in your profession.
- Break your daily and weekly routine. Get out of your comfortable rut. Spend less time online on Facebook or chat-rooms, unless they are helping your business. Unplug the TV for a month. Take a different route or different mode of transportation to work. Have lunch with people in totally different industries and read publications in totally different fields than your current one.
- Take the responsibility for your mistakes in life honestly and openly and share the credit for your successes with those who deserve it.
- Instead of a “Why Me? Attitude,” face each challenge with a Try Me, proactive attitude.
- And finally, internalize the inscription on a plaque at the entrance of Rockefeller Center in New York City authored many years ago by John D. Rockefeller Jr.: “If you take good things for granted, you must earn them again. For every right you cherish, you have a duty to fulfill. For every hope you entertain, you have a task to perform. For every privilege you would preserve, you must sacrifice a comfort. Freedom will always carry the price of individual responsibility and the just rewards of your own choices.”
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