Focus On The Good Stuff

Today I’d like to share a resource that I think is one of the most useful I’ve come across in the last few years. It’s become a valuable tool for people like me that are always on the run and never seem to be able to focus on any one thing for a long period of time.

If you like to read good books that are positive, informative and inspiring then you should take a look at this website and see what I mean. The site is called Brevity Brief and every week or so they take a popular book and preform a review. Each Brevity Brief includes a video, audio, PDF, and a web version. The content consists of Key Insights, Recommended Action Items, the Wisdom Summary and a discussion area.

Below is a small example excerpt from the latest brief, number 64 in the series called, “Focus on the Good Stuff “, by Mike Robbins. The target is to review 104 books in the current series, but that could go on to be more in the future. There is a nominal subscription fee of $97, but it well worth the investment for all the great content. Here is a link to check it out. http://budurl.com/Brev I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

Key Insights:
Recognize and Own Your Negativity
Expect What You Want to Happen
Fill Other People’s Buckets
Acknowledge Good Stuff and Potential
Tame Your Inner Gremlin

One doesn’t have to search far for negative commentary and criticism in our world. It’s pervasive, and it’s detrimental. The constant negative chatter around us tends to suck us in and feeds our inner critic. The result is that we end up doubting our abilities and creating more stress in our lives. In short, we become all too good at seeing what is wrong, instead of seeing what is right or possible.

In Focus on the Good Stuff, author Mike Robbins offers a plan for removing the cloud of negativity that surrounds us. He suggests that the art of appreciation—of yourself, of others, and of the situations you face—is the key. Appreciation allows you to improve relationships and to create greater success and fulfillment. It can also bring you a deep sense of gratitude for yourself, others, and for life itself.

Mike Robbins is a former pitcher with the Kansas City Royals organization. He is a sought after keynote speaker, consultant and coach with a client list that includes AT&T, Chevron, the U.S. Department of Labor, Kaiser Permanente, New York Life Insurance, and Stanford University.

Focus on the Good Stuff is one of those books that every entrepreneur and small business owner can learn from. Much of the success of any business initiative lies in the ability of the people involved to manage their mindset, and the advice Robbins provides is intended for just that purpose. It is practical, useful, and directed right at one of the underlying, though often ignored, causes of failure in business.

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"Namaste"

A word is the smallest free-form item that may be uttered in isolation in language. Words can be combined to create other units such as phrases clauses and sentences. Word may refer to spoken word or written word or sometimes the abstract concept behind either. And that abstract meaning is the power of the spoken language.

I was recently introduced to very inspiring book by a mentor of mine, Todd Falcone that was written by Kevin Hall entitled, “Aspire” -Discovering Your Purpose Through The Power Of Words. In the book, Kevin Hall discovers the deeper power inherited in words after a fateful encounter with a wise shopkeeper in Vienna. That led to an introduction to an esteemed etymologist named Arthur, residing in the senior home, Hall embarked on a project that changed his life, and has sense change the lives of thousands of readers.

Through this journey Mr. Hall has discourses with Arthur on words such as humility, inspire, empathy, integrity and namaste. The book was fascinating and hard to put down. Stephen Covey, the best-selling author of, “The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People” wrote about the book, “just as I broke new ground in human development over 20 years ago by uncovering the habits that make for a meaningful and effective life, Kevin is breaking new ground by uncovering and revealing the true intent and meaning of the words that make up those habits.”

Namaste

One word in particular that drew my attention in this book was the word, Namaste, (pronounced nah-mah-STAY). When spoken, the palms of the hands are pressed together, the head is bowed, and the hands touch the heart.

Albert Einstein learned of the word and its meeting after watching Mahatma Gandhi in a newsreel greeting people in the streets of India by bowing with his hands pressed together. Albert Einstein wrote Gandhi and ask what he was saying. Gandhi replied: “Namaste. It means I honor the place in you where the entire universe resides. I honor the place in you of light, love, truth, peace, and wisdom.”

The symbolism anonymously carries a message of peace and harmony and salutes the connectivity and divinity of all beings. Namaste is so much more than simple piece. It recognizes that no one, not one soul, in the human family is exempt from receiving gifts that are uniquely his or her own. No matter how alike we may appear, not one of us is the same. Every individual is authentic. Every person is an unrepeatable miracle.

How often do we fail to recognize how unique we truly are? And how often do we squelch our natural gifts and growth in the process -when these are the very things that would make our contribution to life more valuable. How often to we fail to recognize the uniqueness of others, thus deprive ourselves from experiencing the natural gifts and contribution that can enrich our understanding and meaning of our own existence.

In the book, Arthur observed during their discussion, “the word namaste sounds like it comes from the same origin as the English word enthusiasm. Originating with the Greeks, ‘enthusiasm’ means God within or God’s gifts within.” Enthusiasm, he went on to explain is the fuel of happiness and bliss. It refers to the divine light that shines within each of us.

We are each authentic and namaste salutes authenticity. The natural “genius,” that comes from the Roman “genuinus”, which means, what you are naturally born with. Genius is nothing more, or less, then being “genuine”. And People who follow their nature developed their genius, taking it further and further with each new challenge, never being satisfied with today’s comfort zone.

But one of the most important things we must understand about the word Namaste, is the very elemental essence of the meaning, as so eloquently stated by the famous movie critic, Gene Siske, “Before we can salute the greatness within others, we need to salute to greatness within ourselves.”

I’d like to encourage you to meditate on the meaning of namaste, in you and in those around you. By doing so your life and the lives of others on our space ship earth will begin to change. If we are to continue to survive, we need to use the gifts and talents we are blessed with to evolve and fulfill a greater purpose than we can imagine . We all live on this little tiny spec of dirt in the cosmos, this small blue dot, together and if we can’t live and grow united in a common purpose for each other, we are doomed as an experiment failed only to be replaced by one that succeeds.

It’s by small incremental changes, that happen continuously and regularly, that real change actually comes about. It’s been said that, in order to eat an elephant you need to do it one bite at a time.

I’ve also included a link to a video that I find inspirational and inspiring. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

If you want to feel real meaning in your life, if you want to soar higher than you ever thought humanly possible, then feel free to be yourself. Feel free to follow your nature, acknowledge your uniqueness. Feel free to greet each other with Namasta. Life can be so much more joyous.

Gratitude, Thankfulness or Appreciation

The world would be a happier place if we all expressed our gratitude.

GratitudeThankfulness, or Appreciation is a positive emotion or attitude in acknowledgment of a benefit that one has received or will receive. I’d like to write today about the feeling of gratitude, thankfulness and appreciation, and more specifically to focus primarily on the attitude surrounding expressions of these feelings.

Gratitude is an emotion that occurs after people receive help, depending on how they interpret the situation. Specifically, gratitude is experienced if people perceive the help they receive as (a) valuable to them, (b) costly to their benefactor, and (c) given by the benefactor with benevolent intentions (rather than ulterior motives). When faced with identical situations where they have been given help, different people view the situation very differently in terms of value, cost, and benevolent intentions, and this explains why people feel differing levels of gratitude after they have been helped. People who generally experience more gratitude in life habitually interpret help as more costly, more beneficial, and more beneficially intended; and this habitual bias explains why some people feel more gratitude than others.

Gratitude is not the same as indebtedness. While both emotions occur following help, indebtedness occurs when a person perceives that they are under an obligation to make some repayment of compensation for the aid. The emotions lead to different actions; indebtedness motivates the recipient of the aid to avoid the person who has helped them, whereas gratitude motivates the recipient to seek out their benefactor and to improve their relationship with them.

A large body of recent work has suggested that people who are more grateful have higher levels of well-being. Grateful people are happier, less depressed, less stressed, and more satisfied with their lives and social relationships. Grateful people also have higher levels of control of their environments, personal growth, purpose in life, and self acceptance. Grateful people have more positive ways of coping with the difficulties they experience in life, being more likely to seek support from other people, reinterpreted and grow from the experience, and spend more time planning how to deal with the problem. Grateful people also have less negative coping strategies, being less likely to try to avoid the problem, deny there is a problem, blame themselves, or cope through substance use. Grateful people sleep better, and this seems to be because they think less negative and more positive thoughts just before going to sleep.

Gratitude has been said to have one of the strongest links with mental health of any character trait. Numerous studies suggest that grateful people are more likely to have higher levels of happiness and lower levels of stress and depression. In one study concerning gratitude, participants were randomly assigned to one of six therapeutic intervention conditions designed to improve the participant’s overall quality of life (Seligman et. all., 2005). Out of these conditions, it was found that the biggest short-term effects came from a “gratitude visit” where participants wrote and delivered a letter of gratitude to someone in their life. This condition showed a rise in happiness scores by 10 percent and a significant fall in depression scores, results which lasted up to one month after the visit. Out of the six conditions, the longest lasting effects were caused by the act of writing “gratitude journals” where participants were asked to write down three things they were grateful for every day. These participants’ happiness scores also increased and continued to increase each time they were tested periodically after the experiment. In fact, the greatest benefits were usually found to occur around six months after treatment began. This exercise was so successful that although participants were only asked to continue the journal for a week, many participants continued to keep the journal long after the study was over. Similar results have been found from studies conducted by Emmons and McCullough (2003) and Lyubomirsky et. all. (2005).

While many emotions and personality traits are important to well-being, there is evidence that gratitude may be uniquely important. First, a longitudinal study showed that people who were more grateful coped better with a life transition. Specifically, people who were more grateful before the transition were less stressed, less depressed, and more satisfied with their relationships three months later. Second, two recent studies have suggested that gratitude may have a unique relationship with well-being, and can explain aspects of well-being that other personality traits cannot. Both studies showed that gratitude was able to explain more well-being than the “Big Five”, Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism, and 30 of the most commonly studied personality traits.

Gratitude has also been shown to improve a person’s altruistic tendencies. One study conducted by David DeSteno and Monica Bartlett (2010) found that gratitude is correlated with economic generosity. In this study, using an economic game, increased gratitude was shown to directly mediate increased monetary giving. From these results, this study shows that gracious people are more likely to sacrifice individual gains for communal profit.

According to Cicero, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of the virtues but the parent of all others.” Multiple studies have shown the correlation between gratitude and increased wellbeing not only for the individual but for all people involved.  The positive psychology movement has embraced these studies and in an effort to increase overall wellbeing, has begun to make an effort to incorporate exercises to increase gratitude into the movement. Although in the past gratitude has been neglected by psychology, in recent years much progress has been made in studying gratitude and its positive effects.

So what are you doing to bring about those feelings of gratitude. Are you reaching out to those people that have given of themselves to you. Are you telling people that you appreciate them for what they are, who they are, and how they affect or affected your life in general. Or perhaps when you meet a stranger who is particularly kind or helpful, let them know at that moment how their behavior has impressed you. You could just make their day, it’ll also make you feel better just for doing so. By expressing gratitude at every opportunity, you’re not only improving your own well-being but you’re in enhancing the well-being of others at the same time. Expressing gratitude at every opportunity should be regular practice that we all do at every opportunity. You’ll feel better for it, the world will be better for it, and perhaps many of the problems that we currently face will might melt away.

The economy may be slowly recovering, but it’s still tough to find a job

Millions of workers have been unemployed for far longer than they’d like. As of March, more than 6.5 million were unemployed for 27 weeks or longer. Not only can unemployment drain resources, it can take a toll on the psyche of the unsuccessful job seeker.

Network, network, network

Job seekers should never lose sight of the importance of networking, experts said.

Getting “lost in the Internet” is disheartening, and actual face time is critical. A lot of people see potential jobs [on the Internet], and they apply and they are not getting called and they decide there is nothing out there. The way people are really getting jobs is by meeting people. The face-to-face interaction makes such a huge difference.

Unfortunately, long-term unemployment can discourage job seekers, and they lose the desire to network.

But that’s exactly what you need to do in order to access some of these jobs. It’s about developing a relationship. To really know what’s available you really need to get out there and meet people and talk to them about your skills.

Unemployed workers should go to industry events. You need to stay fresh and alive by being around people who are working. It’s not just trading business cards. It’s more about how many of these people connect with the story you tell about yourself.

Volunteering can also help long-term unemployed workers network. It has the side benefit of creating new relationships and getting in touch with people you might otherwise not be in touch with in the normal course of your daily routine. Due to budget cuts, there is much need for volunteers now. You can make great contacts and this is something you can put on your résumé and show that you have been doing things even though you have been out of the job arena for a while.

Repackage yourself

The labor market is tight — there are more than five potential applicants for each job opening — and workers need to repackage themselves, and be willing to work in a new industry or function. You need to keep an open mind, especially if you are in an industry with lots of job losses.

Almost half of workers, 47%, who were laid off in the last 12 months and found new jobs work in a different field than they previously worked in, according to a recent survey from CareerBuilder.com.

Companies are starting to change focus from cost containment to growth, first bringing back areas that are most closely tied to revenue such as sales, marketing, customer services and information technology. Look at how you can make your experience relevant to those functions.

A lack of openings in a worker’s chosen profession can be depressing, “think outside of the box.” Go to networking events not in your field. This would also be advice for someone out of the labor market for some period of time.

Keep busy

Long-term job seekers should set daily goals, such as crafting a new résumé, adding information to a social-media profile or taking someone to lunch who can offer advice or make introductions, experts said.

It can be tough day after day if you are not finding a job in a timeframe that you’d like. You want to make sure you are setting goals for each day that are realistic.

Job seekers write their own blog to showcase their creativity and knowledge base. Promote your personal brand.

Job seekers can go to school to make themselves more marketable. This could be a formal degree, or a seminar. Actively pursuing knowledge shows employers that you are staying active.

Long-term job seekers evaluate themselves by considering their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. This engages you so you are not sitting there wondering about why the phone is not ringing. This is a good objective way to do an appraisal and give yourself direction about what you might want to build on or avoid.

Job seekers should also consider offering their services as an entrepreneur. Many people are surprised by how much money they keep in their pockets as an entrepreneur, compared with their take home as employees.

Network marketing

More and more people are turning to jobs that allow them to work from home. Many have turned to network marketing as a vehicle to achieve there success and fulfill there dreams.

Network marketing, also known as multilevel marketing (MLM) or direct sales, is one business opportunity that just may fit the bill. Many recognizable brand names–Tupperware, Mary Kay Cosmetics and Amway, for example–fall under the network marketing umbrella.

These type of programs feature a low upfront investment–usually only a few hundred dollars for the purchase of a product sample kit–and the opportunity to sell a product line directly to the people you know or meet in your daily routine. Most network marketing programs will also ask you to recruit others as sales reps like yourself who will then become your “downline”. As their recruiter, you’re entitled to earn commissions on their sales as well as your own. By recruiting others into your business downline, you earn residual income from the work of others. It’s the accumulation of associates and their ongoing efforts, along with yours, that can create a substantial business and ongoing residual income.

In some cases this can produce results quickly, but in most it will take a little time. But once you’ve built your business, it can run on auto pilot, with a little guidance from you. Many successful business entrepreneurs like Donald Trump, Robert Kiyosaki and Warren Buffet have professed the wisdom of joining a network marketing company. In some cases they own more than one. More on network marketing in my next post.


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