Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Thinking does not equal knowing.

Thinking does not equal knowing.

Tim Connor

Are you the smartest person in the room?  Wish you were?  Used to be but age or some other factor have stolen your influence?

There was I time as a global speaker that I believed I was the smartest person in the room until after one speech many years ago I discovered I was probably the dumbest person in the room. What a wonderful and life-changing experience that was.

Let me ask you – what do you actually – know – other than the basics; your name, address, relatives, job position etc.?

If I was given the opportunity to question media folks, politicians, religious leaders, educational people etc. – “How do you know that?” I will personally guarantee you that 99% of the time they will give me opinions, prejudices, feelings or anything that has become a part of their mental “makeup.”

Try it the next time you are having a conversation with anyone – boss, customer, spouse etc. “How do you know that?” And watch as they search for random information that in most cases will not be grounded in truth, facts or evidence.

What am I trying to say here?

Well, for starters there are some things we know but there are a lot of things we believe we know but we don’t.

Take this article for example – there is no way I can know how you are reacting to anything I am sharing.  Yes, I can guess but it will be just that – a guess and not grounded in facts.

Let me give you just one quick recent example.

Listen to any politician answer most questions and I will guarantee if you could personally follow-up with a – How do you know that, you would get a strange stare.

So what is the difference between knowing and thinking?

First of all, just because you learn something – from a book, seminar, class, friend, boss etc. doesn’t mean what you are learning is true.

Second – just because something has now been etched in your mind that you learned and now believe or think – doesn’t mean it’s true or fact.

So how do we know anything?

Well, I know when I hit G on my keyboard G is coming up on the screen.  When I hit – Save – I know it’s saved.  This is technology.  When I put my car in reverse I know I’m going backward.  When I set the oven to 350 degrees – the same.  Again, these are technology issues.

However, when I am driving 70 MPH on the highway and I am separated by 25 feet from the person in front of me I don’t know that I could get in an accident.  It’s called assumptions.  I am assuming his or her car won’t break down in front of me while we are driving.  Been there?

Just because I order a meal in a restaurant doesn’t mean it will be cooked properly or is even clean.  Now, I’m not making wild accusations here just simply that there is more in life that we don’t know than we do but most people believe because they think something – they know it.

So, let me ask you – what do you think you know that you think you know but you don’t really know?

Freedom Isn't Free

Over 750,00 + Americans have died in wars since 1941. Do you think their relatives believe freedom is free?

There are currently over 130,000 + homeless American veterans. Do you think their relatives believe freedom is free?

Over 500 + American veterans commit suicide every year. Do you think their relatives believe freedom is free?

Had enough statistics? Because I could go on.

If freedom didn’t have a price there would be no one in the world who didn’t have it. I’m going to keep this short and to the point. But do me a favor if you decide to read it – take off your Political Hat for the next 5 minutes and just be an American. Can you do that?

Having served in the Air Force overseas at the beginning of the Vietnam war and while President Kennedy was assassinated I can tell you none of my friends thought freedom was free as we faced danger every day.

How about you? Take your freedoms for granted? Believe you deserve them just because you live in the US? Let your politics, religion, age, gender, race or anything else dictate how you feel about freedom?

If you bring a political mindset to this discussion my suggestion is simple, go to any other country in the world (with the exception of less than 10 - 15 of them) and protest something, anything and watch what happens to you.

Walk down the main street of any major city in the world protesting anything (the color of the sky, the temperature or the color of the grass) and watch what happens to you.
If you are an American, you live in the best country in the world. Period. No, as a country we are not perfect. Yes, we have flaws. Yes, we need to change some things. But abandon our fundamental constitutional rights? I can tell you from a historical perspective this is not a wise direction to go.

Here is what I believe is one of our major current issues as a nation. We are letting the 1% of the population determine the quality of life of the 99%. Just a few examples.

Five people in a town or community don’t like Christmas trees in public places so none of us now get to enjoy this privilege.

One parent objects to the T-Shirt a student wears so none of us can now wear a similar T-shirt.

Three people object to a statue that has been present for over 100 years so now we take it down.

Less than 15 people blow up a few buildings in New York so now 350,000,000 of us have to undress to get on an airplane.

Want more or have I made my point?

Until the 99% of us reach a point where enough is enough our lives will continue to be determined by the 1%. I don’t know about you, but I have had enough.

In closing – I will guarantee some of you on either side of the aisle are putting me on one side of the issue. Folks, this is not a Conservative or Republican, Liberal or Democrat or Independent issue. This is an American issue.

If you don’t like it here, again we are not perfect as a nation, do us all a favor and leave.

But, if you want to stay – celebrate your right to be a US Citizen and follow the law, respect the Constitution and vote.

PS: you don’t have these rights if you are NOT a US Citizen – sorry. – Remember, a lot of people have paid the ultimate sacrifice, death, during the past 75 years for you to enjoy these rights. I encourage you not to take them lightly.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Learning vs. unlearning.

Which is better for success –

unlearning or learning?

Tim Connor

Learning is either a passive or active process, but unlearning must be and can only be an active process.  But first a few important questions.

What if you are learning stuff you don’t need, will never use or is a waste of time and resources? What if you are learning stuff that is wrong or just really temporary?  What if you are not learning what is or could be the most valuable lessons of your life as you move forward?  What if some of your prejudices, opinions, history, attitudes – whatever – are preventing you from learning what you need to learn to be happy, successful or contented?

Stupid questions?  I don’t think so.

One more – do you need to unlearn some stuff to finally achieve the dreams, success, happiness or goals that you want to be part of your future?

What do I mean by unlearning?  Two quick and probably dumb examples but they will make it clear what I am talking about.

The Earth is flat.  Well, that’s what everyone thought for a long time.  Then they had to unlearn that as the old information was proven to be wrong.  So, unlearning old or learning new – it’s really a moot point, what matters is that old information was replaced with new stuff.

Second example. When I was in college (long, long time ago) in a pre-med program one of my professors at the start of the first class said the following. “All of what I am going to cover during this semester will most likely be untrue by the end of the semester but if you want to pass the course you better learn it, so you can pass the exam and then just forget it all.”

Wow, what a valuable lesson and not just for that three-month course.

A quick fact (I was once told by a well-respected medical, psychological and scientific expert many years ago – who will remain anonymous -  but maybe it wasn’t a fact, but just his/her opinion based on his or her learning, experience, agendas or views.

Everything we will ever need to know in life to achieve happiness, success, inner peace etc. is already stored in your sub-conscious and was put in your mind before you were born.”

If this is true, I don’t ever have to read another book, attend another seminar, take another class or learn another lesson.  I already have it all to achieve what I want and am capable of in life.

Trust me, some things we have all learned are stupid, untrue and useless and the key to our success etc. may be to let go of some of this crap and replace it with valuable, current and needed wisdom and stop relying on outdated examples, experience, teaching etc.  Don’t believe me?  The oldest part of the human brain (the reptilian brain) is over 25 million years old and it is still the default mechanism for most people when it comes to attitudes, behaviors, decisions, choices etc.  So, we all need to unlearn something or a lot of things or what I like to refer to as “replacement learning” if we want to achieve the goals, dreams etc. we desire.

I’ll keep these short.

What is unlearning?

Think of unlearning as upgrading the software in your computer or iPad.  The older version of the software works but doesn’t give you all of the benefits, potential, and advantages of the newer version.  Yes, you could keep using the older one but what would be the cost?  Loss of value?  Wasted time or resources? We all, let me repeat, we all have information in our minds that is sabotaging some area of our life, career or relationships and until we upgrade to new information – we will continue to experience the same outcomes, status quo, and results.

What do we need to unlearn?

What gets in our way of unlearning?

This one is simple – the stuff we have learned – see above.  Think about it.

What do you need to unlearn?

This is the work that only you can do and believe me it isn’t easy, fast or painless.  But in the end, it is well worth it if you can achieve it – the unlearning.

How do we unlearn?

Let me give you just 4 approaches (but, yes, there are many others).

1)   Start spending some quality time in retrospect, revisiting your past experiences, teachers (this includes parents, siblings etc.).  In other words, start asking yourself a lot of serious questions.  For example – what’s working in your life and why?  What’s not working in your life and why not?

2)   Start exposing yourself to new and different people, circumstances, learning etc. and pay close attention as to how you feel, think, behave when you are around them or it.

3)   Start a serious “I want to know” journal and write in it every day.  What?  Anything and everything that makes you happy, sad, angry, fearful, annoyed, nervous – get it – everything.

4)   Hire a coach – not a superficial one (there are thousands of them out there and most of them need to hire a coach more than they have a right to be a coach.)  I’ll leave it with that.

If you want change in your life I will guarantee that something in your life needs to change.  The questions are – do you know what you want to change?  Do you know what to change to get there?  Are you willing to do the work to achieve the changes you say you want?

Tough questions?  That my friend is where the whole process of unlearning begins – the willingness to face the tough issues, questions, changes necessary.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Resistors or acceptors in life - who wins?

Resistors or acceptors in life – who wins?

Tim Connor

Today we are hearing a lot about “resistance” and not just in politics.  Is this a serious issue when it comes to success, business and or career growth, better and improving relationships, health, and just about every life circumstances or does it matter either way your approach or attitude regarding this subject?  The answer is – yes – whether you are a ‘resistor or an acceptor’ matters in many ways when it comes to areas of life that you might not have considered. Just because you disagree with someone does not make you a resistor and just because you go along with something does not make you an acceptor.  What I am referring to here is a broader interpretation of these two life approaches and how either mindset influences, not just the bigger life issues but the subtle ones as well.

If you have a few minutes and you are not sure in the broader sense which is your tendency I hope to make it clearer or easier for you to determine which is your primary approach and what is the impact it might be having on your life.

Resistance does not just deal with how you treat others and or their opinions or values.  This issue impacts your health, longevity, happiness in general, your security and your life approaches.

What is resistance?  There are many definitions here’s just one; the refusal to accept or comply with something; the attempt to prevent something by action or argument.

OK regarding the definition above – what is “something”?  Is it or could it me everything?  Anything?  I guess it just depends whether you resist or accept its definition.  See where I’m going with this?

So far in less than 300 words you are already resisting or accepting something.  Again, what is something?

The benefits of resisting and accepting.

Yes, resisting some things in life is a smart move, things like; driving drunk, drugs, stupid people, overeating every meal, working for really bad bosses and putting up with emotional or physical abuse and yes there are many more things.  So, let me be clear when I talk about resisting it’s not because I am a liberal or a conservative but because I am a person.

However, resisting other things can be stupid as well, things like; learning, wise counsel or advice from others, admitting personal mistakes or weaknesses and smart money and health management.

To save you a little time - accepting is nothing more than the opposite of resisting regardless of the situation, person or event.

So, how do we know what to resist and why?  Keep reading.

The pitfalls of resisting and accepting.

Both resisting and accepting are grounded in a great deal more than just what is happening or who is involved. Your response to everything is based on a wide variety of attitudes, beliefs, opinions, experience, goals, etc. etc. So, in any given situation who knows which are the most influential? But what I can say is that I guarantee there is a pattern to your resistance or acceptance and that pattern is probably driving a majority of your actions, choices, decisions, and behaviors.

It doesn’t matter whether you are hitting the remote on your TV, screaming at a driver in front of you, complaining to a spouse about anything, teaching your kids rules, treating a customer or fellow employee inappropriately – whatever – I’ll bet the triggers that determine your behaviors are predictable.

Is it envy or forgiveness, blame or compassion, anger or support, jealousy or understanding, frustration or patience – the list is endless.

A quick example – while writing this article I received an email from a total stranger that I had emailed earlier in the week who is in a position to hire me for a future speaking engagement. It’s just been a part of my marketing strategy for many years. Anyway, his response was – “Get Lost”.  That’s it.  So, a resistor or acceptor?  Who knows but what I do know is acceptors tend to avoid resistors and vice versa.

So, what’s the best approach?

Again, this answer is a depends.  Depends on what?  Well, consider; will the response improve or destroy some area of your life or a relationship?  Will the answer contribute to success or failure, inner peace or anxiety, contentment or frustration?  And how do we know since we can determine or predict the future?  It’s called experience, wisdom and learning folks.  If you have not paid attention to your past actions and decisions and their outcomes you will tend to repeat the same mistakes.  Guilty?  I am.  If you don’t consider both and long and short-term impact of something it could go very bad either in the long or short term.  If you are driven by ego and arrogance I will guarantee sooner or later, you will accept when you should have resisted and resist when you should have accepted.

Sometimes either approach can lead to positives and/or negatives. We just can’t know the future and all of its ramifications, complications, and uncertainties.  All we can do is bring wisdom (experience, knowledge, information, maturity, discernment, and confidence) to the process and each situation or person.  And then manage it as best we can given our knowledge, information, experience, and mindsets.

Monday, June 25, 2018

There are 3 types of people in the world.

There are three Types of People.

Tim Connor

Yes, there are millions of types of people but, they all fall into one of three categories (for the sake of this article) – yes people, no people and maybe people.  Let me explain.

But before I do, let me be clear – your response to the following will tend to be an automatic quick reaction to what you read.  In other words, you will be an example of what the point of the article actually is - you will have a yes, a no or a maybe response to the content of this article and what and how I share it.  OK, now that that’s out of the way, on to the substance.

Yes, people are not pie in the sky optimists but tend to see the world as half full vs. half empty.  They tend to have open minds even about things they are uncomfortable with or know little about.  Their first reaction to meeting new people, new ideas, not opportunities and yes even new problems and challenges are – a yes – I can do it, I can figure it out, I will make it work, I won’t let it derail me, I won’t let it ruin me, I won’t give it control over me etc.  They are not always easy to persuade or influence just because they are yes people, but they are more open and receptive to new and different stuff, ideas, people, and circumstances.

No people, on the other hand, are just the opposite of yes people.  Their first responses to most stuff is a quick – no – I can’t, it won’t work, it’s too expensive, too cheap, too old, too new, he’s too arrogant, she’s too short etc. get it – these folks are closed off from almost anything and everything that represents new, change, better, different etc.

And then there are maybe people.  These folks can go either way – yes or no, but their reaction and responses will generally be governed by a number of factors.  Their need for approval, their need to avoid rejection, their self-esteem, their desire to avoid conflict, their desire to contribute to positive outcomes regardless of whether they are based on or grounded in truth, reality or evidence.  They have decision phobia when any of the above situations are in play.  Yes, they can be yes people, but when it suits the circumstances, environment or outcomes and yes, they can be no people depending on the same issues.  A few things to consider and I’ll keep them short.

What are the major contributors to which group a person is in?

Your upbringing and early conditioning by parents, caregivers, churches, schools and teachers, relatives, friends and anyone who had temporary or permanent influence over what you learned, what and who you were exposed to and everything you were taught.  Most psychologists agree that a person’s self-esteem is established at the latest by age 10.  So, before you hit your teens you tended to be a yes, no or a maybe person.

Can someone successfully switch groups permanently?

Yes, but it’s not easy and takes time, a lot of effort, great patience, focus, new learning, a lot of will and a great deal of desire to change.  It’s harder for no people to change and it takes more time for a maybe person to change.

Which group tends to be happier and more content?

What do you think?  And why – if you were right -It’s yes people. Can no or maybe people be happy and content?  Of course, but it’s not an easy journey for them.

Which group tends to be more successful?

What do you think?  And why – if you were right - It’s yes people.  Can no or maybe people be successful?  Of course, but it’s not an easy journey for them.

Which group tends to be healthier?

What do you think?  And why – if you were right - It’s yes people.  Can no or maybe people be healthy?  Of course, but it’s not an easy journey for them.  Sensing a pattern here?

Which group tends to live longer?

What do you think?  And why – if you were right - It’s yes people.  Can no or maybe people live long lives?  Of course, but it’s not an easy journey for them.

There are a lot of other areas we could discuss that specifically address each group and its issues, circumstances, tendencies, behaviors, attitudes etc. but if you are a no person I have lost you by now.  If you are a maybe person you are conflicted because of certain things I have said and if you are a yes person you have other things to do and I’m not telling you anything you don’t know or have felt or believed in the past and I have just put words to the subject and it’s time for you to move on to something else.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Your thoughts define your life.

Your thoughts define your life

Tim Connor

I have spent my entire life studying brain function and no I am not a neurosurgeon or a Psychiatrist and I certainly don’t have the right to preach about how anyone should or should not live their life. 

However, over the years I have spent a great deal of thought (no pun intended) on this subject – how our thoughts ultimately define our life.  I’ve written a great deal about it, given keynotes and seminars on it and read dozens of books about it – and why – I believe it is the single biggest contributor to all of life’s circumstances – happiness, fear, success, doubt, wealth, poverty, joy, loneliness, regret, inner peace – I could go on listing every emotion, life circumstance and career, relationship and business circumstance, but I will try and make my simple point in as few words to follow as possible.

For those of you with little time or patience I’ll summarize this article in advance; thoughts repeated contribute to beliefs, beliefs contribute to attitudes and mindsets, these over time create habits (mental, emotional and physical), your habits are your rationales for choices and decisions, these contribute to actions and behavior and these equal circumstances.  So, now you can move on to the next item on your To-Do list OR, you can keep reading and learn why you just needed the summary and not the details.  Gotcha!

The human brain is the most amazing organ that has ever existed.  You don’t have to be an expert on brain physiology to know a few of the basics.  It controls 100% of everything you do twenty-fours a day 365 days a year until you take your final breath.  Don’t believe me? Where is your brain on and off switch?

It doesn’t matter whether you are sleeping, doing yoga, meditating or chilling – it is doing stuff in you at the rate of three trillion chemical reactions every second.  Enough of the biology.

When you have a thought, any thought, good, bad, memory, positive, negative – whatever – your brain processes this and then decides is this a new thought or one similar to one you have had in the past?  It decides and then puts it into what I call a Brian folder for future reference.

So, let’s say you have a worry thought about you’re an upcoming health procedure. Your brain asks itself – “is this a new thought?  Don’t know, let’s check the worry folder. OK, this is not a new one so let’s move this to the everyday thoughts folder.”  See where this is going?  Not yet?  OK, so you are in the doctor’s office and a new worry thought enters your mind.  Your brain says, “This sounds familiar. Yep, it’s in the everyday folder.  Maybe we should move this to the every hour folder.”

Once this stuff (thoughts) gets into the every hour folder in your brain, the folder is now in control of what you think hour to hour.  And once it’s in control, it is in control of everything related to it – minute to minute – second to second. Stress. Fear. What if. Why me. Why now. Etc. And once these folders take over, well, their goal is to make life easy for themselves, so they keep the every hour folder handy so they can react easier, sooner and more frequently without your mental intervention.

Are we there yet?

So – you have a thought.  Then you have it again. And again.  And sooner rather than later this thought becomes easier to have the more you have it.  And the easier it is, the more often you will now have it even if it wasn’t something you were thinking about or had planned to think about.  You just start thinking it.

Next step – this continued thought pattern now begins to impact beliefs, values, opinions, interpretations, feelings, etc.

Next step – you now start to form attitudes that are consistent with these thought patterns or mindsets. For example – if you are a procrastinator it becomes easier and easier to procrastinate the more you do it and why? I just told you.  Re-read the previous few paragraphs.

Once these attitudes are formed the next step is to create habits – mental, emotional, physical etc. that reinforce these mental states or are not in conflict with the thought patterns that have developed.

Next step – decisions, actions etc. are now controlled by this process as you are now in what I call – cruised control or auto-pilot.

The last step is that we tend to justify outcomes or results whether successful or unsuccessful, desired or undesired or planned or unplanned for that are caused by the previous choices, decisions, and actions we made.

Game over.  You are now a hostage of your thoughts and all they entail.

Keep in mind I am not implying that the only thoughts in this process are all negative ones.  This process also works the same for positive steps, confusion, desire, goals and every other thought we can have about anything and everything.

And, this is the answer to change. If you want something in your life to change, be better, be different – anything – you must go back to the beginning and begin the process again, but this time by having different thoughts – the ones you want or need to create the new circumstances you desire.

Your thoughts define your life.