What Happens When you Turn Interest into Commitment

Every Friday morning I receive an email from the good folks at Medium telling me how I did the past week.

Today’s email was extra extra special.

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How Medium Said I Did It

According to Medium, the following stories helped me reach this great milestone.

How I Did It

I did what others tell you to do in the pursuit of becoming a better writer. That information is everywhere so I won’t repeat it. You can find it if you’re really interested.

I recently celebrated the 2-year anniversary of my WordPress blog www.excellencewithyouinmind.wordpress.com. That’s where I started writing for public consumption.

My friend Jose told me about Medium. I was hesitant to add anything to my plate as my personal blog was in its infancy. I eventually did join Medium and posted my first article on December 11, 2015. Nobody read it.

If you’re brave enough to read it now you’ll see why. I had no idea what I was doing. However, I was interested and I stuck with it.

Honestly, though, I didn’t stick to it too well. I let life interfere more often than I should have.

My turning point was when I listened to Awesomely Luvvie, fellow African fabulous sister and author of I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual when she said take the writing seriously.

I got my act together. Took the writing seriously and turned interest into commitment. The only way to do this is in my opinion, is to make a schedule and stick to it. So I did

In time the writing led to multiple freelancer writing gigs via Upwork (I learned about Upwork on Medium) and surprisingly, a social media management gig. Now this.

Denzel Washington was not lying when he said, hard work works.

If you think I’m bragging. I am. Only for a little bit though. I’m comforted in my extreme short-term bragging by the words of fellow inspiration top writer Todd Brison who says in this article titled 7 Life Formulas to Get You Moving that you should “… love the process. But love the rewards as well.”

I LOVE THIS REWARD !!!

Thank you to my WordPress blog readers/followers. You knew me when.

Thank you to Medium for creating a great writing platform and taking the time to recognize a writer’s efforts.

Thank you to Jose for introducing me to Medium.

Thank you to Awesomely Luvvie for the advice.

Thank you to all the readers who are familiar with my work and to those who shall discover it going forward.

To all future creators, I say simply. Once you find something that you’re interested in, commit to getting better. Make a schedule and stick to it. There is a place for you in this noisy world.

Recognize

How To Spot Amateur Hour

“Professionalism is a frame of mind, not a paycheck.” ~ Cecil Castle

Amateurs work from the outside in. They want to be noticed and therefore seek immediate gratification. Professionals work from the inside out. They want to influence and impact so they focus on building a legacy.

Amateurs are always hunting for motivation and inspiration to create action. Professionals are powered by their habits.

Amateurs are imbued with a permanent sense of haste. Professionals are masters of the long game.

Amateurs want to arrive so they practice as much as they have to. Professionals want to progress so they never stop practicing.

Amateurs focus on how good they are. Professionals are driven by how good they want to be and are always looking for a chance to get better.

Amateurs are ruled by the fear of failure and run from it at every chance. Professionals are empowered by failure and always choose to face it head on.

Amateurs live by default and major in minor things. Professionals are deliberate and intentional and never get caught up in the thick of thin things.

Amateurs put a clock on learning. Professionals are enrolled in lifelong learning.

Amateurs address the urgent. Professionals focus on the important.

Amateurs wait to have time and therefore let life set the pace and prioritize their schedule. Professionals make time are therefore ruthless with their time and schedule their priorities.

Amateurs have a casual relationship with the rules. Professionals have an intimate relationship with the rules. They know which rules to break and they know when and why to break them.

Amateurs opt to quit when the work gets hard. Professionals take a break when the going gets tough.

Amateurs know how to get things done. Professionals know why a thing should be done. How gets things done. Why gets the right things done.

Amateurs relive the past. Professionals move on for the know what got them here will not get them where they must go.

Amateurs act big to achieve small things. Professionals act small to achieve big things.

Amateurs act from a state of convenience. Professionals show up each and every time. Whether it’s convenient or not.

Amateurs underestimate the power of rest. Professionals acknowledge that without rest they are shortchanging themselves so they schedule it.

Amateurs have a plan for when things go right and are running smoothly. Professionals have a plan for when things go wrong.

Amateurs get ready. Professionals stay ready.

Professionalism is a state of mind. It does not require a title, a suit or a tie. It has less to do with how you behave in front of an audience of many and more to do with your performance in front of an audience of one – yourself.

 

Recognize

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12 Instances Where Worrying Should Be The Last Thing On Your Mind

“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.” ~ Corrie ten Boom

1. Do not worry about comparing your thing to their thing. A habit of external comparison is rewarded with envy. Envy will rob you of the creative energy required to make your thing great.

2. Do not worry about whether things will get easier. They don’t. The higher you go and the further you reach you’ll discover that difficulty is built in. However, it is not there to disqualify but to qualify. To help you understand the level of commitment and sacrifice required to get through. Add commitment and sacrifice to intentional practice and you will get stronger and better with each passing day.

3. Do not worry about the past or about the future. Said Roy T. Bennett, “No amount of regretting can change the past, and no amount of worrying can change the future.” Orient yourself to the present. It is the only moment you have. However, it is the only moment you need.

4. Do not worry about being fully ready for the next step. No one ever is. Take the step and jump. Grow wings on the way down. If you get knocked around remember. Scar tissue is stronger than regular tissue and the cracks are where the light comes through.

5. Do not worry about the people who choose to leave. People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. Reasons change. Seasons change. You change. Appreciate what was and make room for what is to come.

6. Do not worry about getting acknowledgment for your work. Everything you create has its own voice. Focus on value and in time your work will speak for itself and be sort out on its own merit.

7. Don’t worry about what they say when you ask for what you need. People do not come equipped to read the minds of others. Many want to help. They just don’t how. You’re the only one who can tell them. You’re the only one who knows exactly what you need.

8. Don’t worry about rejection. Rejection sucks. However,  rejection is more ‘not yet’ than ‘never’. Don’t let rejection knock you out of the race and be where your story ends.

9. Don’t worry about failure. It’s only permanent if you choose not to get up. Be motivated by the words of Napoleon Hill. “Most great people have attained their greatest success one step beyond their greatest failure.”

10. Do not worry about going after what you want. Nothing comes to us except death. It is the only achievement that is pre-assigned.  Everything else we must go out in search of.

11. Do not worry about saying no to what others want for you and pursuing your own dream. Said Richard Koch, “Most of our failures are in races for which others enter us. Most of our success comes from races we ourselves want to enter.”

12. Do not worry about the goal. Set it and forget it. If the goal was well chosen, the only thing that requires your focus and energy is the process. Build the habits required for the process and the goal will be accomplished.

Worrying is not an action but a reaction. Figure out what it is that you are reacting to and deal with it.

“Remember, the moment you accept total responsibility for everything in your life is the moment you claim the power to change anything in your life.” ~ Hal Elrod.Recognize

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Arm Yourself for Monday

The start does not dictate the finish. It does, however, dictate the trajectory. Monday is the first day of the week. Here’s how to optimize the trajectory that stems from it.

1. Be Punctual 

“Promptitude is not only a duty, but is also a part of good manners; it is favorable to fortune, reputation, influence, and usefulness; a little attention and energy will form the habit, so as to make it easy and delightful.” ~ Charles Simmons

Do not allow yourself to be late on Monday. If you’re late on Monday chances are more likely that you will be late the rest of the week.

Set your alarm to wake you up and set your alarm to give you a 15-minute countdown to when you must leave the house so as to be on time.

2. At Work Prepare to win Monday on Friday

“Why not seize the pleasure at once? — How often is happiness destroyed by preparation, foolish preparation!” ~ Jane Austen

If you work a Monday to Friday schedule make sure that before you leave the office on Friday that you have completed all the weekly tasks especially those that can add to the stress of Monday.

Also, check your calendar for the coming week so that you know what you need to prepare for. Surprises are for amateurs.

3. At Home Prepare to win Monday on Sunday

“Take time to deliberate; but when the time for action arrives, stop thinking and go in.” ~ Andrew Jackson

Thinking takes time. There are thoughts that push us forward and there are those that keep us in a holding pattern consuming valuable irreplaceable seconds. Minimize the latter to set Monday on a winning trajectory.

Do this by:

Figuring out what you’re going to wear on Monday and setting it aside. Setting it aside is crucial because where you think it is might end up being a false memory that slows you down. There’s an extra bonus for planning for the entire week.

Figuring out what you’re having for breakfast on Monday morning and setting it out.

Putting your packed lunch together.

4. Go to Bed Early

“Sleep is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together.” ~ Thomas Dekker

Human beings are powered from the inside out. Sleep revitalizes us physically, emotionally and mentally.

Go to bed early enough so that you wake up feeling rested and full of energy to set Monday off on the right course.

5. Load up on Inspiration and Gratitude

“For a man to achieve all that is demanded of him he must regard himself as greater than he is.” ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Inspiration is borrowed courage. Borrowed courage is still courage. When the body is willing but the mind is weak, inspiration plugs the holes and keeps you moving.

“If the only prayer you say in your life is ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.” – Meister Eckhart

Gratitude makes everything enough via contentment and not complacency. It creates positivity and positivity always propels.

Both inspiration and gratitude should be a daily practice. If you are new to the practice, however, commit to doing it at least every Monday morning and build from there.

6. Do not Procrastinate

“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” ~  Mark Twain

The number one way to set Monday off on a losing trajectory is to procrastinate. To take the unpleasant, difficult or boring yet important tasks (frogs) and keep rolling them down the week. You must fight this temptation with every single fiber of your being.

Tether your frogs to the first slot in the morning and get it over and done with. If you have more than one frog to address, prioritize but get them done. No exceptions.

Recognize

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8 Things – The Lessons of October

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty.” ~ Henry Ford

1 Thing That Will Sell You Out

Habits

“The way we do anything is the way we do everything.” ~ Martha Beck

Your character is the sum total of your habits. Daily, repetitious, unconscious habit. You can only pretend for so long before your habits come crashing through and reveal the real you.

2 Things That Will Change your Life

Reading

Elon Musk is building rockets today because he read a lot of books about rockets.

“You are what you read. The information that you input into your mind informs your thinking patterns, and it influences your output in the form of the decisions you make, the work you produce, and the interactions you have.” ~ Zat Rana

Repetition

Repetition is the path to mastery. It is and will always be King.

“Each time you repeat something, you notice something different. Each time you repeat something, there’s some piece — now stored in your long-term memory, instead of being frantically processed by your short-term memory — that just comes easier.” ~ David Kadavy

3 Things You Need to Rethink

Where Confidence Comes From

Old thinking  – Confidence is a product of success.

New thinking – Confidence is, in fact, a product of repetition … but not a product of success — it’s a product of failure. It’s knowing what the fall feels like and being familiar enough with it that you can be comfortable with the risk.” ~John Gorman 

Read more about that here.

Being the Best 

Old thinking – Focus on being the best.

New thinking – Focus on being the best at getting better.

When you focus on being the best and are, you feel happy. If you’re not careful too much of that happy feeling can make you complacent.

On the other hand, if you focus on being better and fail you feel sad. If you’re not careful too much of the sad feeling can make you depressed.

Read more about that here.

Failure 

Old thinking – Failure is falling down.

New thinking – Failure is staying down.

We don’t fail because we get knocked down but because we stay down. Failure is built into the process. If you’re not failing at something chances are you’re not challenging yourself hard enough.

2 Things You Can Stop Doing Today

Stop Seeking Perfection

The pursuit of perfection always takes and very rarely gives. It steals your joy and makes sure that achievement is always unattainable.

Elizabeth Lombardo in this article offers nine reasons why perfectionism is a bad thing.

… You are never done.

… You are stressed and discontent.

… You don’t take risks.

… Your creativity is suffocated.

… You strive to keep everyone happy.

… You’re highly critical of others.

… You can’t delegate.

… You personalize everything.

… You never rest.

Stop Waiting

Regret is a terrible thing. It crushes you from the inside out. Stop waiting. Act now.

“Don’t wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect conditions. So what. Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident and more and more successful.” ~ Mark Victor Hansen

In the same breath, stop wishing, wanting and hoping. No amount of wishing, hoping or wanting is going to get you what you want. You either make it happen or it never happens.

Matt Cutts found out that 30 days is just about the right amount of time to add a new habit or subtract a habit.

Today can be your Day One. Today you get a new thirty days to change your life by adding something new that pushes you forward and takes away something old that was holding you back.

Recognize

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The Difference between Playing to Win & Playing Not to Lose

Playing to win and playing not to lose are only similar in the eyes of an amateur.

1

… Pushing beyond the edge of comfort.

… Focusing on what inspires you.

… Focusing on the gains. What you do want.

… Focusing on your efforts. What you do.

… Focusing on the future. Where you want to be. Letting it drive you.

… Embracing risk.

… Finding new ways to say yes

… Being proactive. Owning the decision.

… Maintaining a competitive edge.

… Subjective well-being. Controlling the mind.

… Asking continuous improvement questions.

… Creating the fit.

… Being accountable.

… Believing in yourself to do what is needed.

… Making time to do.

… Assigning the environment a ‘challenge’ label.

… Mentality – Own the day.

2

… Maintaining the status quo.

… Preserving the comfort zone.

… Playing it safe.

… Protecting what you already have.

… Focusing on the present. Where you are. Letting it stop you.

… Missing opportunities.

… Finding new ways to say no.

… Not finishing what you start.

… Focusing on outcomes. What you don’t want.

… Being reactive.

… Letting them decide.

… Creative destruction. The mind controls you.

… Making self-serving statements.

…. Manipulating the fit.

… Finding a scapegoat.

… Believing in others to let you do what is needed.

… Having time to do.

… Assigning the environment a ‘threat’ label.

… Mentality – Just get through the day.

Are you playing to win or are you playing not to lose?

Recognize

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4 Habits that Will Silence Your Heartless Inner Critic

Hands down, no one, will ever be able to criticize you more than you criticize yourself. This is not always a compliment.

The Wall Street Journal reported that “Unrelenting self-criticism often goes hand in hand with depression and anxiety, and it may even predict depression.”

Psychologist and author Golan Shahar, in his book titled Erosion: The Psychopathology of Self-Criticism, says that “self-criticism is a trait that has been shown to lead to numerous forms of psychopathology: depression, anxiety, eating disorders, bipolar disorder symptoms. It can lead to psychosomatic symptoms whereby the mental struggles manifest in physical problems, such a chronic fatigue and pain; and under the weight of the mounting mental health burden, some take their own lives.”

It can lead to psychosomatic symptoms whereby the mental struggles manifest in physical problems, such a chronic fatigue and pain; and under the weight of the mounting mental health burden, some take their own lives.”

The society which we live in is also not helping matters. It’s propagating a self-destructive message. A message that takes root early in life. That being hard on ourselves and being ashamed of our actions gets results. This has given birth to the mentality that unsubstantiated deflating self-criticism is the preferred path to success.

The goal is not to get rid of self-critique. Self-criticism is a powerful self-improvement and personal development tool. Its successful application lies in making the critique constructive.

Following are four habits guaranteed to silence your heartless inner critic and make self-criticism constructive.

1. Practice Self-Compassion

Self-compassion is a habit that you must give yourself permission to indulge in. It is not a selfish act. Self-compassion creates within you, a judgment-free zone. The whole world is already judging you plenty. You do not need to join them. They are giving out enough to go around and then some.

In a judgment-free zone, you develop the confidence to take risks and try new things. You learn not punish your future for the mistakes of your past or hold the future hostage with the events of the present.

To develop your self-compassion, embrace your humanity. Be kind to yourself. Treat yourself like you’d treat your best friend. Exercise active mindfulness and power thinking.

Active mindfulness is reveling in the present without wishing for days gone by or hastening the arrival of future days. Future days you think hold more pleasure. Power thinking is recognizing and understanding that something is neutral until you assign it meaning.

Building and practicing self-compassion is the essence of self-love and as Rupi Kaur said, “How you love yourself is how you teach others to love you.” 

2. Want What You’ve Got

In this age of hyper-consumerism and instant gratification, wanting what you’ve got is radical thinking. When you focus on what you don’t have, you give your inner critic carte blanche to whittle away self-worth.

Be grateful for what you do have. Be grateful for where you are in life. Celebrate all your achievements especially the small ones that are often overlooked. If you can’t appreciate what you have, you will not appreciate fully what is to come. Thereby guaranteeing your heartless inner critic an all-access pass to your life.

3. Focus on what You have the Power to Change

Your destructive inner critic does not discriminate. It criticizes both behaviors and attributes alike. Constructive self-criticism requires you to focus only on your habits.

Behavior is built by habit. You have complete control over your habits. You can change any that do not find to your liking.

Attributes, on the other hand, are completely out of your control. You get what you get. Complaining about them precludes you to the fact that they have nothing to do with how great you can become.

In the pursuit of success, the issue is never time. It’s what to do with the time we’ve got. Learning to play the hand you were dealt in that regard gives you a running head start. While others are complaining about their height and their ears, you’re plotting how to turn your first million into a second.

As Jim Collins said, “Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, as it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice.” 

4. Create a schedule for your goals and not a deadline

Christine Comaford writes that humans crave “safety, belonging, and mattering… Mattering means each of us contributes individually in a unique way.”

To this end we set goals. To those goals, we attach deadlines. When we fail to meet our deadlines, we proceed to wallow in the ensuing negativity. The feelings created in that cesspool are premium fodder for your heartless inner critic.

Try something different. Instead of attaching deadlines to your important goals, set a schedule. Schedules enable you to progress consistently towards your goal. With each step of your advancement, your feelings of accomplishment will effectively silence your inner critic.

Life doesn’t wait. Opportunity doesn’t wait. Goals help you get ready. Schedules keep you ready. What does this look like in practice?

It looks like Lebron James. 3 time NBA championship winner. 4 time NBA Most Valuable Player. 3 time NBA Finals MVP Award winner. Who whilst on vacation, can be found in the gym.

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“The critical voices in our own heads are far more vicious than what we might hear from the outside. Our “inside critics” have intimate knowledge of us and can zero in on our weakest spots.

You might be told by the critics that you’re too fat, too old, too young, not intelligent enough, a quitter, not logical, prone to try too many things…
It’s all balderdash!

Some elements of these may be true, and it’s completely up to you how they affect you. Inside critics are really just trying to protect you. You can:

Learn to dialogue with them. Give them new jobs. Turn them into allies.
You can also dismantle/exterminate them.”
~ S.A.R.K., Creative Companion: How to Free Your Creative Spirit

Recognize

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A 166 Second Video That Will Make You Rethink Your Morning Narrative

Jeff Goins says we need inspiration to live. He says inspiration provides encouragement to do the job that we’ve been given to do.

Scott Barry Kaufman in an article titled Why Inspiration Matters says that “Inspiration awakens us to new possibilities by allowing us to transcend our ordinary experiences and limitations. Inspiration propels a person from apathy to possibility, and transforms the way we perceive our own capabilities.”

Inspiration is important. However, it is not something you should go in search of. Not because it does not exist, but because it must find you in the throes of full-fledged action. As Pablo Picasso said, “Inspiration exists, but it has to find us working.”

That being said though, please don’t beat yourself up if you find yourself in need of an extra push from time to time. Inspiration can keep you going when the work threatens to overwhelm.

When I find myself in need of encouragement, I gravitate towards inspiration of the direct, unapologetic and hard-hitting variety. Inspiration that shines a spotlight on my deepest darkest excuses. Giving them absolutely no place to hide.

“The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” ~ Joe Klaas

I thrive best under constant and firm reminders that I alone possess the keys to make the future exactly as I would like it to be. Sugar coating is banned from my inspirational sessions and reserved for bakery treats.

If you are like me in this regard then you will derive great inspirational actionable pleasure from Complainers by Rudy Francisco.

Complainers by Rudy Francisco

If you’ve watched this video, watch it again. Inspiration, like bathing, doesn’t take on the first trial. When it does, the results are never permanent. Hence the recommendation to engage with both repeatedly. Especially when it has to do with the topic addressed in the video.

Memento mori is a Latin phrase meaning ‘remember you must die’. Death is guaranteed to all but you are not dead yet.

When you wake up each morning, put your lamenting and whining on hold. When you’re tempted to succumb to complaining never forget that it doesn’t matter if the glass is half full or half empty. There’s water in the cup.

Drink it, stop complaining and ACT AS IF YOU ARE ALIVE!

 

Recognize

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Image Credit: Hand image created by Ijeab – Freepik.com

We Can’t All Be Famous but We Can All Be Heroes

Today marks Mashujaa Day in Kenya. Mashujaa is Swahili for heroes. On this day we recognize those who fought for our independence and contribute to the forward progress of our nation.

All celebratory events should allow for a moment of reflection. Reflection distinguishes frivolous gaiety from honorable remembrance.

On any given day, we take in a staggering amount of detail through our five senses. If we had to process each detail as a unique event we would simply be overwhelmed and unable to act.

The ability of the mind to categorize makes us super-efficient. However, this efficiency can also make us myopic. It can make us overlook what truly matters. When it comes to heroism we overlook what truly makes a hero. The result of which is hero worship.

Why You Should Not Worship Your Heroes

The people we label as heroes and proceed to worship are but mere mortals. Fallible and imperfect in every sense of the word. They will let you down. Hero worship turns a blind eye to this.

Hero worship assigns a level of spiritual divinity that automatically excludes your membership. It designates a hallucinatory level of superiority. It creates a ‘them versus us’ mentality. There is no them. They are us. We are them.

Outside the requirement for action, there is no right way to be a hero. A hero does not fit any identifiable mold. They come in all shapes, sizes and skin tones. They come from all walks of life and are not confined to any specific age group.

There is only one distinction that unites them all. Courage. They all have built courage in varying amounts and have used it to act.

The Power of Courage

“Courage is not simply one of the virtues but the form of every virtue at the testing point.”  ~ C.S. Lewis 

No man can adopt a virtue then live so cautiously so as not to have that virtue tested. That reality does not exist. Courage, therefore, is a requirement for living.

Courage inspires you to give up your life for something bigger than yourself and find the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.

It prompts you, in spite of perceived weakness, doubt or not always knowing the answers, to voluntarily walk into the unknown.

With courage, you recognize that nothing is given to any man on earth. Struggle is built into the nature of life so no obstacle should prevent you from pursuing the values you have chosen.

4 Ways to Build Your Courage

“We do not have to become heroes overnight. Just a step at a time, meeting each thing that comes up … discovering we have the strength to stare it down.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

No one is born with the requisite amount of courage required to accomplish their life’s tasks. Courage is a skill you build through exercising it. Like a muscle. The more you use the more it grows. If you stop using it, it atrophies.

1. Sometimes forget the big picture and look at things up close

“Courage is not the absence of fear but the triumph over it said, Nelson Mandela. To build your courage it is, therefore, necessary to sometimes forget the big picture and look at that which you fear up close.

Put it in perspective. Your perception of an obstacle or event you fear matters more than the obstacle or event itself. What you tell yourself about the obstacle or event in your path either builds your courage or acts like a stumbling block.

2. Learn to Bend

You are in control. You are not in control of everything. Things will not always go your way or according to plan.

You have to learn to bend so that when that happens you don’t break. That bending is known as resilience or the bounce-back-ability.

3. Make Tough Calls

In life, one is either existing within their comfort zone or they are not. To exist in your comfort zone takes no effort. No effort means no courage gets built. No courage means no growth.

We are all seeking magic. Magic does not happen in the comfort zone. To get out of one’s comfort zone requires you to make tough calls.

To make tough calls requires you to get crystal clear on what is valuable. Make allowance for only those things and then discard all else.

4. Experiment More

Fear of the unknown kills all courageous hero potential. While the future cannot be predicted, it can be invented. Through experimentation.

As you experiment you must allow for failure. Failure is not fatal. It is part of the process. There’s no way that you can live an adequate life without making mistakes along the way. Stick with it though and you’ll have more checks in the win column.

Recognize

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63 Great Quotes from Letters from a Self-Made Merchant to His Son

Haruki Murakami is quoted as having said “If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.” Along the same lines, Aman Jassal said that we must “Read different to think differently.”

A post that promised me five books that I’d never heard of coupled with a strong desire to think differently led me to a book by George Horace Lorimer – Letters from a Self-Made Merchant to His Son.

This book is described as a “timeless collection of Gilded Age aphorisms from a rich man – a prosperous pork-packer in Chicago to his son, Pierrepont, whom he ‘affectionately’ calls ‘Piggy.’.”

This book is a gem. A perfect representation of the fact that great advice does not have an expiration date. This is a book that cannot be read just once.

For every quote in the book, there is a story that drives the point home. I highly recommend you read the book to get the story. In the meantime, here are some quotes that gave me thoughtful pause.

1. You’ll find that education’s about the only thing lying around loose in this world and that it’s about the only thing a fellow can have as much of as he’s willing to haul away.

2. Some men learn the value of money by not having any and starting out to pry a few dollars loose from the odd millions that are lying around, and some learn it by having fifty thousand or so left to them and starting out to spend it as if it were fifty thousand a year. Some men learn the value of truth by having to do business with liars, and some by going to Sunday School. Some men learn the cussedness of whiskey by having a drunken father, and some by having a good mother. Some men get an education from other men and newspapers and public libraries, and some get it from professors and parchments—it doesn’t make any special difference how you get a half-nelson on the right thing just so you get it and freeze on to it.

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3. The first thing that any education ought to give a man is character and the second thing is education.

4. There are two parts of a college education—the part that you get in the schoolroom from the professors, and the part that you get outside of it from the boys. That’s the really important part. For the first can only make you a scholar, while the second can make you a man.

5. Anything that trains a boy to think and to think quick pays; anything that teaches a boy to get the answer before the other fellow gets through biting the pencil, pays.

6. But if you’ll simply use a little conscience as a tryer, and probe into a thing which looks sweet and sound on the skin, to see if you can’t fetch up a sour smell from around the bone, you’ll be all right.

7. College doesn’t make fools; it develops them. It doesn’t make bright men; it develops them.

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8. It isn’t so much knowing a whole lot, as knowing a little and how to use it that counts.

9. I have noticed for the last two years that your accounts have been growing heavier every month, but I haven’t seen any signs of your taking honors to justify the increased operating expenses; and that is bad business—a good deal like feeding his weight in corn to a scalawag steer that won’t fat up.

10. The sooner you adjust your spending to what your earning capacity will be, the easier they will find it to live together.

11.The only sure way that a man can get rich quick is to have it given to him or to inherit it.

12. The swamps are full of razor-backs like Charlie, fellows who’d rather make a million a night in their heads than five dollars a day in cash.

13. There is plenty of room at the top here, but there is no elevator in the building.

14. The boy who does anything just because the other fellows do it is apt to scratch a poor man’s back all his life.

15. It’s the fellow who has the spunk to think and act for himself, and sells short when prices hit the high C and the house is standing on its hind legs yelling for more, that sits in the directors’ meetings when he gets on toward forty.

16. There are times when it’s safest to be lonesome.

17. Some men learn all they know from books; others from life; both kinds are narrow. The first are all theory; the second are all practice. It’s the fellow who knows enough about practice to test his theories for blow-holes that gives the world a shove ahead, and finds a fair margin of profit in shoving it.

18.  It’s not what a man does during working hours, but after them, that breaks down his health. A fellow and his business should be bosom friends in the office and sworn enemies out of it. A clear mind is one that is swept clean of business at six o’clock every night and isn’t opened up for it again until after the shutters are taken down next morning.

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19. It’s good to have money and the things that money can buy, but it’s good, too, to check up once in a while and make sure you haven’t lost the things that money can’t buy.

20. Putting off an easy thing makes it hard, and putting off a hard one makes it impossible.

21. There is one excuse for every mistake a man can make, but only one. When a fellow makes the same mistake twice he’s got to throw up both hands and own up to carelessness or cussedness.

22.  A business man’s conversation should be regulated by fewer and simpler rules than any other function of the human animal. They are: Have something to say. Say it. Stop talking.

23. Remember, too, that it’s easier to look wise than to talk wisdom. Say less than the other fellow and listen more than you talk; for when a man’s listening he isn’t telling on himself and he’s flattering the fellow who is.

24. A lesson learned at the muzzle has the virtue of never being forgotten.

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25. Remember that when you’re in the right you can afford to keep your temper and that when you’re in the wrong you can’t afford to lose it.

26. If you really want a look at the solid facts of a thing you must strain off the sentiment first.

27. There’s no easier way to cure foolishness than to give a man leave to be foolish. And the only way to show a fellow that he’s chosen the wrong business is to let him try it. If it really is the wrong thing you won’t have to argue with him to quit, and if it isn’t you haven’t any right to.

28. Business is like oil—it won’t mix with anything but business.

29. The fun of the thing’s in the run and not in the finish.

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30. With most people happiness is something that is always just a day off. But I have made it a rule never to put off being happy till to-morrow. Don’t accept notes for happiness, because you’ll find that when they’re due they’re never paid, but just renewed for another thirty days.

31. Keep your eyes to the front all the time, and you won’t be so apt to shy at the little things by the side of the track.

32. There’s nothing comes without calling in this world, and after you’ve called you’ve generally got to go and fetch it yourself.

33. Put a pretty high value on loyalty. It is the one commodity that hasn’t any market value, and it’s the one that you can’t pay too much for. You can trust any number of men with your money, but mighty few with your reputation.

34. A real salesman is one-part talk and nine-parts judgment; and he uses the nine-parts of judgment to tell when to use the one-part of talk.

35. Real buyers ain’t interested in much besides your goods and your prices. Never run down your competitor’s brand to them, and never let them run down yours. Don’t get on your knees for business, but don’t hold your nose so high in the air that an order can travel under it without your seeing it.

36. Poverty never spoils a good man, but prosperity often does.

37. A tactful man can pull the stinger from a bee without getting stung.

38. When you make a mistake, don’t make the second one—keeping it to yourself. Own up. The time to sort out rotten eggs is at the nest. The deeper you hide them in the case the longer they stay in circulation, and the worse impression they make when they finally come to the breakfast-table. A mistake sprouts a lie when you cover it up. And one lie breeds enough distrust to choke out the prettiest crop of confidence that a fellow ever cultivated.

39. Some salesmen think that selling is like eating—to satisfy an existing appetite; but a good salesman is like a good cook—he can create an appetite when the buyer isn’t hungry.

40. Appearances are deceitful, I know, but so long as they are, there’s nothing like having them deceive for us instead of against us.

41. While it’s all right for the other fellow to be influenced by appearances, it’s all wrong for you to go on them. Back up good looks by good character yourself.

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42. A man’s got to lose more than money to be broke. When a fellow’s got a straight backbone and a clear eye his creditors don’t have to lie awake nights worrying over his liabilities. You can hide your meanness from your brain and your tongue, but the eye and the backbone won’t keep secrets. When the tongue lies, the eyes tell the truth.

43. As a matter of fact, a man’s first duty is to mind his own business. It’s been my experience that it takes about all the thought and work which one man can give to run one man right, and if a fellow’s putting in five or six hours a day on his neighbor’s character, he’s mighty apt to scamp the building of his own.

44. Easy-come money never draws interest; easy-borrowed dollars pay usury.

45. Enthusiasm is the best shortening for any job; it makes heavy work light.

46. No man can ask more than he gives. A fellow who can’t take orders can’t give them.

47. You can’t work individuals by general rules. Every man is a special case and needs a special pill.

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48. Consider carefully before you say a hard word to a man, but never let a chance to say a good one go by. Praise judiciously bestowed is money invested.

49. Never learn anything about your men except from themselves. A good manager needs no detectives, and the fellow who can’t read human nature can’t manage it. The phonograph records of a fellow’s character are lined in his face, and a man’s days tell the secrets of his nights.

50. Be slow to hire and quick to fire. The time to discover incompatibility of temper and curl-papers is before the marriage ceremony. But when you find that you’ve hired the wrong man, you can’t get rid of him too quick. Pay him an extra month, but don’t let him stay another day. A discharged clerk in the office is like a splinter in the thumb—a centre of soreness. There are no exceptions to this rule, because there are no exceptions to human nature.

51. In handling men, your own feelings are the only ones that are of no importance. I don’t mean by this that you want to sacrifice your self-respect, but you must keep in mind that the bigger the position the broader the man must be to fill it. And a diet of courtesy and consideration gives girth to a boss.

52. A man’s as good as he makes himself, but no man’s any good because his grandfather was.

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53. A man who does big things is too busy to talk about them. When the jaws really need exercise, chew gum.

54. Hot air can take up a balloon a long ways, but it can’t keep it there.

55. Life isn’t a spurt, but a long, steady climb. You can’t run far up-hill without stopping to sit down.

56. Steady, quiet, persistent, plain work can’t be imitated or replaced by anything just as good,

57. The only undignified job I know of is loafing, and nothing can cheapen a man who sponges instead of hunting any sort of work, because he’s as cheap already as they can be made.

58. It’s mighty seldom that a fellow’s afraid of what he ought to be afraid of in this world.

59. It’s been my experience that pride is usually a spur to the strong and a drag on the weak. It drives the strong man along and holds the weak one back. It makes the fellow with the stiff upper lip and the square jaw smile at a laugh and laugh at a sneer; it keeps his conscience straight and his back humped over his work; it makes him appreciate the little things and fight for the big ones. But it makes the fellow with the retreating forehead do the thing that looks right, instead of the thing that is right; it makes him fear a laugh and shrivel up at a sneer; it makes him live to-day on to-morrow’s salary; it makes him a cheap imitation of some Willie who has a little more money than he has, without giving him zip enough to go out and force luck for himself.

60. Learning how to be humble is a heap more important than knowing how to be proud.

61. There are two things you never want to pay any attention to—abuse and flattery. The first can’t harm you and the second can’t help you.

62. Money ought never to be the consideration in marriage, but it always ought to be a consideration.

63. A little change is a mighty soothing thing.

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