Monday, March 27, 2017

Life's three basic principles

Life’s three basic principles.

Tim Connor

Yes, there are hundreds if not thousands of life principles, but I only have a few hundred words to share what I believe are the most important three in life and they are:

-You reap what you sow.

-You become what you think.

-You attract what you project.

I could also go in a spiritual direction when it comes to life’s fundamental principles but I will let you interpret these from any perspective you choose.  But, for the record, I believe all of life’s basic principles are grounded in Scripture and to ignore or avoid this basic premise is a serious mistake. 

So, now that I am out there – you can choose to continue, move on to your next task and/or interpret the following three in any way you feel comfortable.  But keep in mind that one of my life’s missions is to get under people’s skin and make them feel a bit uncomfortable with the status quo, conventional wisdom or staying stuck.  And I have to tell you that to date I seem to be doing a relatively good job!

And here are the details;

You reap what you sow.

Regardless of whether it’s your finances, relationships, career, business or life in general this is one of the basics of life that I am sure you have learned or are learning now.  We can’t escape consequences and all consequences are the result of prior actions, decisions, choices and behavior.

Why do we sow what we don’t want to reap?  Well, there are hundreds of great books that address this topic so let me just say that we are human, we are often in denial, we do stupid stuff and we think we are above the consequences that life uses to teach us to live better, wiser and stronger.

It doesn’t matter how long you have been here, your education or circumstances – we all do stupid stuff sooner or later and the result – well we reap what we have planted.

If you plant green beans in your garden and you think you are going to get corn you might want to rethink your approach to gardening. The same is true of every area of life – you are currently reaping what you have sown whether positives; wealth, health, success, a positive legacy and reputation or the opposite of all of these.  Don’t like what you are reaping? Then start sowing different stuff – it’s that simple.

You become what you think.

For hundreds of years’ experts have been telling us that we become what we think about.  Well, recent research on mind function has finally given us the statistics and reasons why this concept is true.  I won’t bore you with the details but I will give you one very critical stat.  Over 95% of a person’s thoughts in any given day are negative, pessimistic or self-invalidating.  Over 60 years ago a book called – Optimism, the biology of Hope, by a medical doctor and Psychiatrist, Lionel Tiger laid out the facts that have been finally proven.

So are you – unhappy, broke, sick, alone, stressed etc. stop looking outside yourself for the answers or solutions and start looking in the mirror.  Change your thoughts and you can change your life.

You attract what you project.

Mental projection is a simple yet complicated concept so let me lay it out in very brief terms.

Psychological projection is a theory in psychology in which humans defend themselves against their own unconscious impulses or qualities (both positive and negative) by denying their existence in themselves while attributing them to others. For example, a person who is habitually rude may constantly accuse other people of being rude. It incorporates blame shifting.  According to some research, the projection of one's unconscious qualities onto others is a common process in everyday life.

I am not a big fan of formal definitions so let me put this in my own terms.

When we project certain traits, behaviors or attitudes to the outside world we are basically saying this is you and not me but in the end the reality is that it IS me and NOT you.  Why do people project?  What do they project?

Well they project because they can’t admit or accept personal flaws, behaviors or attitudes.  They have blind spots.  They project everything that they feel makes them less than perfect or desirable as a human.

That’s it folks – my take on three of life’s biggest principles.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

What are you searching for?

What are you searching for?

Tim Connor

I have not yet met anyone in my world travels who didn’t want a little more inner peace. And, I have never encountered anyone who would trade a little money to rid themselves of their stress and worries.

So, is this what each of us is secretly or overtly searching for?  Well, to be truthful I’m not sure.  People who say they want less stress continue to pursue wealth, fame, power, position and more stuff.  People who say they want to be happy often seem to sabotage this goal with poor choices, bad judgment and emotional immaturity.  And people who say they want more inner peace still harbor old emotional baggage, replay old slights and hurts and let other people control their behaviors, attitudes, emotions and even their thoughts.

If we are truly searching for any or all the items listed above one would have to wonder whether we are just giving lip service to these goals, desires and dreams or if we really want them but just don’t seem to know where to find them, how to achieve them or how to keep them.

I too have been guilty.  I am just like you in that I would like a little more happiness and a little less stress yet when it comes to doing what is necessary I often fall short.

Sure, I have read all the books, hundreds and hundreds of them, attended the seminars, had personal coaches, spent hours and even weeks setting and planning my personal goals and dreams and spent more hours than I can remember praying and meditating and yet, here I sit from time to time, still questioning whether all this reading, study and searching is worthwhile.

During my years of study, research and searching I have come to a few conclusions.

1) Many of the people who supposedly have it figured out, don’t.

2) Many of the people who preach and teach this stuff to others and get paid handsomely to do so, don’t have a clue.

3) Some of the people who you would least expect to have the answers often do.

4) Even many of the religious fanatics, diehards or steadfast believers in God still struggle with the same issues, questions and challenges as those who have never set foot in a church or Synagogue or read the Bible.

Why is this?  Are we doomed as a species to just search and never find or discover the true meaning of our life or as the title says, why we are we here?

Humans have been asking for centuries; why am I here, where am I going and what am I supposed to do with my life while I am here?

One could get easily discouraged and feeling a little sorry for themselves spending years contemplating simple questions like these. 

Have you ever asked yourself any of these searching questions whether in times of doubt or discouragement or happiness and contentment?  Success or failure?  Do you have any answers yet, or are you like most of us, that you just keep on trudging ahead through life one day at a time just earning, spending, working and playing?

Friday, March 24, 2017

Possible or Impossible - you decide !

Possible or impossible – you decide !

Tim Connor

And Mr. Webster says . . .

Possiblefeasible, practicable, practical, viable, within the bounds/realms of possibility, attainable, achievable, workable, doable

Impossible - not possible, out of the question, unfeasible, impractical, impracticable, nonviable, unworkable, unthinkable, unimaginable, inconceivable, absurd, unattainable, unachievable, unobtainable, unwinnable, hopeless, impractical, implausible, far-fetched, outrageous, preposterous, ridiculous, absurd, impracticable, unworkable, futile.

Notice there are twice as many words that are synonymous for impossible as possible – does this mean anything?  Well - read on and you will discover why so many people focus on what is impossible rather than possible.

We all face barriers when we try something new or take a risk but the real question is do we really believe what we are doing or attempting is possible or doable or are we just trying and hoping?

I believe that very few people (given the population of the US) actually believe that what they are trying is possible and I don’t care if it’s the Wright Brothers, Bill Gates, John F. Kennedy or anyone who has little experience, few contacts, a poor background or just a victim mentality.  Imagine what would not exist today if so many people hadn’t just kept trying and believing no matter the odds, number of failures or mistakes and the constant ridicule or invalidation from others.

We have what we have today because people didn’t quit and never believed what they were aiming for was impossible.

How about you – a new business, a new career, a new relationship, new skills, new anything – wishing and hoping, staying stuck in the past or going for it with gusto?

My first book Soft Sell is the only sales book ever written to this day that currently has sales over 1,000,000 copies and is in 25 languages.  But I also have a file full of over 300 rejection letters from publishers who all said basically the same thing over 30 years ago – “The world doesn’t need another sales book.”  Well, I believed it did and the rest is history.  Not bragging here just trying to make a point.  I had no contacts, very little money and no writing experience but I went for it.

Again, how about you – waiting for the right time, the right connection, the right inspiration, the right something?  Stop waiting and erase the word impossible from your vocabulary and then get to work and watch the miracles unfold.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Use it OR Lose it!!!

Use it OR lose it!

Tim Connor

It’s common knowledge that if you don’t keep developing muscles, over time, they will atrophy.  Well folks the same is true of your brain.  Here is just one of thousands of illustrations I could give you to make my point. 

There are approximately 400 billion brain cells in the average human and each one of these has on average - 10,000 neural connections – do the math – that’s a lot of intricate stuff going on between your ears. Estimates are that there are over three trillion chemical reactions in the human brain every second.  OK, enough of my biology lesson and to my point.  In summary, there is a lot going on, thousands of activities in your body every second, that are driven by or monitored by your brain.  When it stops – your life as you know it is over.

The brain is no different in many ways than your muscles – if you don’t keep exercising them, over time they will atrophy and how do we know this – dementia and Alzheimer’s are typical outcomes of years of brain inactivity (a lack of stretching/growing) as current medical research is finally coming to realize.  Yes, there are other factors but in this brief article I just want to focus on how or whether you are exercising your brain to keep it healthy, vibrant and working effectively on your overall benefit - moment by moment for all the years you are given.

For a moment think of yourself on the treadmill walking at a vigorous pace.  And the benefits are – improved cardiac function, stronger more resilient muscles, improved stamina etc.  So, you continue to do this routinely to maintain these abilities.  Yes, at twenty the benefits might be better than doing this at eighty but in the end doing it is better than not doing it.

The same is true of your brain.  It needs challenges to maintain a healthy, creative and useful ability.  And how do you accomplish this?  Duh – read more, study more, play word games, artistic creations, contemplate more, evaluate more, question more – got it – use it or over time or you will lose it.

And the cost of losing it? Well for starters the ability to remember, focus, feel, share, love and create.  Need I go on? OK, the ability to be of service to others, the skill of using talents and abilities in a positive and proactive way and the over ability to be a valuable human being to and for the people in your life.  Don’t think this is enough – think again.

I watched my mother in her seventies lose her mental function as I’m sure many of you have had the unfortunate experience as well watching a loved one become less valuable and I can’t tell you how observing this downward spiral saddened me.  And, to some degree it could have been avoided if she would have just spent a little more time during her life challenging herself mentally with any variety of mental activities.

Let me repeat – use it or lose it.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Want to avoid faulure - move to a log cabin in Vermont

Want to avoid failure –

move to a log cabin in Vermont!

Tim Connor

Is it possible to fail consistently and achieve ultimate success?  Ask anyone who has achieved success, however you choose to define it, and I’ll guarantee the common answer will be – YES.

How is this possible? Well, there are two ways to define failure and there are multiple ways to respond to it. But first – from the sources – definitions:

Failure – something that falls short of what is required or expected. A breakdown or decline in the performance of something, or an occasion when something stops working or stops working adequately.

Success - something that turns out as planned or intended. Somebody who is wealthy, famous, or powerful because of a record of achievement. Agree with this one? Personally, I take issue with this definition as it leaves out so many achievements that may not end with wealth, fame or power.

In my world travels over the years speaking in 25 countries I have never met, to this day anyone who was successful who hadn’t experienced failure in some or even many ways during their life or career.

I believe there is only one way to avoid failure and this is to dig a hole and bury yourself in it.

I can’t tell you how many articles and books I have read by people to espouse the concept of avoiding failure or people who say failure is bad or people who say failure is a sign of weakness – blah – blah – blah.  These people are all nuts and I’ll bet any of them who have not failed yet are nowhere near achieving their potential.

It’s simple folks – if you want to succeed you must risk – to take a risk requires that you may make mistakes, make dumb decisions or do stupid things and the result – yes – failure.

I have written two books about failure and hundreds of articles but the bottom line in all of them is this – you can’t succeed without failure in your past.  So, the question remains – do we all define failure the same?  I would doubt it.  Is there a common definition to it – yes – I gave it to you at the beginning of this article.

So, let me ask you – are you failing at anything right now?  If no – what are you waiting for?  If yes – what are you learning?

Sunday, March 19, 2017

People DON't resist change

People DON’T resist change – that they do is a MYTH

Tim Connor

That people resist change is a myth.  Don’t believe me – if people resisted change would they ever – get married, retire, take a new job, move to a new state, go someplace new on vacation, have kids, buy a new house – got it – people don’t resist change it’s a myth that we have been taught for years by society, parents, schools etc.

What people resist is - losing control – so if they feel like a change will cause them to lose control they will resist the change but if they feel or believe that the change will not cause them to lose control – they won’t resists the change – it’s that simple.  And what do people want to maintain control of – their health, happiness, security and safety.  So, let me explain with a couple of quick examples.  If you are a manager, leader and experience resistance from employees, vendors or customers due to the changes it’s simple - you have not done an effective job of showing them or convincing them that the changes they will experience will not cause them to lose control of an important area of their life, career or business.

Let’s say your organization is going through a merger or acquisition and people are wondering even afraid – will I lose my job?  Will my income get cut? Will my hours or responsibilities change?  If the answers to any of these questions is yes – you can expect resistance, because your actions are causing them to lose control of something that is important to them.

How about – you have accepted a new job in a different state and must relocate and your kids are having hissy fits because you are moving.  Guess what – they feel like their lives will never be the same because of this move so they will fight these changes tooth and nail.  I know, growing up I was in 18 schools in five states in 12 years.  Trust me – I understand the concept of change and losing control.

One more – You are surprising your spouse with a special four-day weekend getaway package to a new part of the country or even country he or she has never been before – their reaction – mixed – one of excitement and concern – what will it be like, what will the people be like, is it safe etc.

So, what’s the answer – if you want to reduce or even eliminate common causes to change show people how the changes will not cause them to lose control of important areas or aspects of their lives.  Want more resistance – keep shoving change down their throats with little concern for how it impacts them.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Who are your accountability partners?

Who are your accountability partners?

Tim Connor

One of the biggest mistakes we can make in life is to believe that we always have the best or even only answers to our challenges, issues or problems that cross our life path. Is this you?  Ever made a mistake that could have been avoided if you had searched or asked for other’s opinions, ideas or suggestions?  Ever failed at something that you could have avoided if you had listened to the advice or council of others?  Well, I am guilty of both of the above mistakes in several areas of my life and I have to tell you the price in many situations was much higher than seeking out the recommendations or feedback from others.

I can also tell you from a different perspective having worked with hundreds of organizations worldwide that many of the companies that I am aware of that went out of business could have avoided this outcome if they would have just let go of their ego and asked others for their opinions, guidance or feedback.

In fact, I can tell you that over 1000 businesses fail every day in the US alone and most of these are unnecessary and in hindsight most of these business owners or executives would admit that their fate could have been avoided if they would have just asked others for help and listened to them.

Is your career, any of your relationships or business struggling for any reason or is your current business growth setting you up for future failure?  Not sure? Don’t know? Don’t care?  Well, much of this pain, struggle and disappointment can be avoided if we will just ask others for their help.  Do you have an accountability partner?  Partners?

If you don’t - I’ll bet, you;

-have some personal blind spots

-are in denial in some area of your life

-are not fulfilling your career or business potential

-are missing some life or business opportunities

-feel you are invincible and don’t need help from others

-only trust your own inner guidance system or experience

-and many other resons.

So, what is an accountability partner or partners?  I’m not talking about mentors here as they too can be of help during our life but too often there can be something missing in these relationships.  For example, one of my mentors is Mark Twain but unfortunately, I can’t talk with him when I need to.

An accountability partner is someone who;

You trust, respect and believe has the wisdom, experience, knowledge and willingness to help you during challenging and often difficult life or career periods.  They also;

-can inspire you during down periods.

-forgive you for stupid mistakes or errors.

-keep your issues private and don’t share them with anyone.

-let you be you and don’t try to change you or manipulate you.

-teach you to learn more effectively and honestly from yourself.

-build you up and encourage you.

-are completely honest with you and don’t hold back criticism but do it in a respectful way.

But most importantly they hold you accountable to yourself and your goals,

promises, commitments and pledges that you make to them, others and to yourself.

Got someone like this in your life, someone you can go to whenever, whatever or wherever?  Can it be a spouse, parent, boss or friend?  Yes, but it depends as these relationships can be muddied up when you also use them as your accountability partner.  My experience tells me that yes some of these people can be used as accountability partners for some things but not everything.  What we need is someone who can fill this role that we only have this role with.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Not reaching your goals? Two reasons.

Not reaching your goals?

Here are the two major reasons.

Having been an avid goal setter for many years and teaching this concept to audiences around the world during my career, I recently decided it was time to fess up with what is important when it comes to goals that are not achieved. So, here we go - there are two types of people when it comes to goalsetting:

People who set goals and these folks have two outcomes – they achieve some and they fall short of others.

Then there are people who don’t set goals and often achieve stuff they didn’t plan for and don’t achieve stuff that isn’t important to them.

See the subtle differences and common situations here? If not go back and re-read the two short definitions.

If we look briefly at each type and outcome above there are two common issues that either prevent or contribute to goal achievement.

One – if you are not achieving your goals your expectations are too high, unmanageable and/or just not possible.

Two – if you are not achieving your goals your actions, activities, behaviors are falling short of what is necessary for achievement.

So, I’ll keep this easy – want to have greater success when it comes to reaching your goals – lower your expectations or improve and/or increase your activities/actions.  Sound simple?  Well, yes, the first one is – just stop setting your goals so high but the second one is a bit more challenging.

Improving or increasing actions to achieve better goal success can be a complicated, intricate and often cumbersome issue.  Let me explain – I’ll give you just a few examples then elaborate on just a couple.

1)You want to lose weight but need to keep your part time job at a fast food place.  2)You want to start saving more money every week but have 4 kids and more bills than you can count.  3)You want to start exercising every day but work 18 hours a day and have no time left for yourself.  Need I go on?  Okay here are a few more – you want to improve the quality of your marriage or relationship but your boss needs you to work weekends for the next 3 months.  You want to spend more time with your kids but they are both teenagers and don’t have time for you.  I could go on for pages with this stuff but I’m sure you get my point – and that is – that any goal that involves other people or impacts other people gets a bit complicated and can’t always be achieved alone or without others’ cooperation or understanding.

So, what’s the answer – just give up on your goals or dreams?  No. Never.

It’s a three-step process. Step One – ask yourself – how important is this goal? How badly do I want it?  Am I willing to sacrifice something else that is important for it?  Do I have the time, discipline, history, courage etc. to achieve it? There are other questions, but the point is if you don’t answer them honestly, you are setting yourself up for failure. Step Two – If the answers are – let’s go for it – then break the goal into small baby steps and focus on one baby step, not the whole goal - at a time.  Just keep moving in the right direction - day by day, week by week, dollar by dollar, lap by lap -  at a time.  Just keep moving in the right direction and before you know it you will arrive at your destination.

And Step three – reward your short-term progress and success.  And then yes – reward your long-term success with a special reward.

Yes, there are other goalsetting steps, actions, requirements that you can and often should take for success.  It’s not my intention to say that goalsetting is as easy and simple as stated above, however as one who has achieved many goals that were never set goals in the first place and not achieved many that I set and worked towards for years - let me tell you – keep your expectations manageable and doable and just keep taking small baby steps in the right direction and you will be amazed.