Pursuing Happiness

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There are three ways that people tend to pursue happiness in their lives:

1. Pleasure – Short-term, short-lived, and ultimately unsatisfying, and unrealizable. You can never have enough pleasure. The pursuit of happiness in the form of pleasure leads ultimately to addiction and self-destruction.

2. Passion – The next thrill or high. Living “in the zone”. Type-A driven-ness like that of Steve Jobs or the stereotypical stockbroker. Never able to rest or relax, those pursuing happiness through passion tend to burn themselves up and neglect those who love them. Just like pleasure, the search for an ever greater high is insatiable. It also leads to self destruction.

3. Purpose – pursuing your purpose, or mission, or calling in life is ultimately fulfilling. This is the only pursuit of happiness that is not self-focused. It is also the only one that does not ultimately lead to self-destruction.

Bottom line: Find your purpose/calling/mission in life. You know that it’s true when it is focused on what you can do for others rather than what you can do for yourself. Otherwise you’ll be on the road to self-destruction.

I’m Speaking at SCA’s Entrepreneurial Workshop

Services Cooperative Association
Entrepreneurship spoken here!

I’m proud to announce that I will be presiding at Services Cooperative Association’s 24th Annual Entrepreneurial Workshop on Wednesday, August 28, 2013 from 7:00 am to 1:30 pm. I will also be giving two motivational messages: one at the breakfast meeting, and another at the lunch meeting. My topic for breakfast will be, “Listen!” and for lunch, “Freedom isn’t free!”

This event will be held at the beautiful Lakeside Country Club at 100 Wilcrest just north of Briar Forest. Come for the outstanding presentations! Come for the excellent food and scenery! Come and meet some great people! Just come!

For more information, please visit SCA’s Website: http://www.servicesca.org/2013EntrepreneurshipWorkshop.htm.

Also, since I have connections with SCA, I was able to swing a deal for my readers: if you go to this link to register and prepay, (http://www.servicesca.org/Workshop_Special.htm) you can attend the whole day (includes breakfast, lunch, and six workshop presentations) for a measly $89. It’s the best deal going!

Here’s a recording of a speech I did for them sometime last year.

Why we Need Self-Discipline

External Motivation

In Napoleon Hill’s “Master Key to Riches” he identifies self-discipline as THE master key. Why is this? What is so important about self-discipline?

Brian Tracy says, “If you cannot focus and concentrate, then you will have to work for someone else who will make you focus and concentrate.” In short, most people have jobs because they don’t have the self-discipline to run their own business. This is why many school teachers have their salaries distributed evenly over the year, since they can’t discipline themselves to save up to get through the summer break.

It all comes down to maturity: are you able to motivate yourself to do what you have to do – especially when you don’t want to do it? Or do you have to have some external source of motivation?

How important is freedom to you? If you require external motivation, then you will sell your freedom for a low hourly wage rather than work to build an income stream that could free you forever.

Self-discipline. It really is the master key to riches!

Inspired by a Homeless Guy

Homeless Man

It was late and I saw a homeless guy on the corner. I usually smile and wave when I see panhandlers, since I usually don’t carry cash with me, but want to give them something. I’m sure most people avoid making eye contact, so a friendly smile can make a big difference in someone feeling like they exist. I’ve been “looked through” before and it’s a very unsettling feeling. But I digress.

Since it was already dark, I was hesitant to roll down my window. It turns out I missed my light, so as he walked up to the light, I remembered I had some change, so I decided to make a new friend. I offered him the couple of dollars in change. He was grateful for anything. Then he said, “Well, you won’t see me here for long. I’m getting a job, and getting my life straightened out. I have two things in my favor: I have God on my side, and I don’t drink!”

He was full of enthusiasm and energy. I was really impressed! I’ve never seen such an optimistic homeless person. Especially after a long day on the corner. This guy was cheering ME up! I asked his name, he said, “Dave.” I promised to pray for him.

Please pray for Dave. He may be enthusiastic now, but I could tell life had been really hard for him. He’s got a long, tough, road ahead. But his attitude will serve him well!

Winning Through Failure


I heard about the Jackie video by Jia Jiang and his 100 Days of Rejection project. Seeing his growth in confidence and quick thinking as he interacts with people over the course of the first few weeks is really impressive. I thought I would try a similar exercise for my own purposes. I have two goals:

Become more comfortable interacting with people

Become more consistent with my blogging.

I thought an excellent way to do this would be to try a 30-day exercise: for 30 days I’ll try to go out and make a wacky request of some stranger – with the objective of being rejected. I will write a blog entry describing what I did every day, and any insights I gained along the way.

My constraints are that it must be legal, moral, ethical, and physically possible. I also must have a reasonable expectation of being turned down. Asking a panhandler to take a dollar would be a fail. Now asking a panhandler to give ME a dollar – that would likely garner a “no.” Finally, it must be something I would be willing to legitimately follow through with. So if I ask someone to buy my car, I must we willing to part with my car.

Now, Jia does a video for every interaction, and then edits it, and discusses what he’s learned. I’m not that ambitious, so I’ll just describe the event and include a picture, if it seems appropriate.

So I started yesterday by going to the cleaners where I take my clothes and asked if they would clean my room size rug. None of their pricing includes rugs, and the only non-clothing thing I’d ever seen at a cleaners was king size comforter for a bed, so I didn’t think rugs would pass the test. The girl said that, as long as they don’t have a plastic bottom, it would not be a problem.

Is there a size constraint?

You’ll need to ask the manager.

My observations: First, I was terrified to make this request. I was surprised by this. It didn’t seem particularly outrageous – I wanted to start small. But I didn’t even press the issue or talk to the manager. I just wanted to get out after the original request was not rejected. This was the same feeling I get from asking someone to buy one of my products. Very interesting. I hope a little practice will loosen me up as it did Jia.

Also, since I was so frightened, I didn’t pursue the issue with the manager, which would have almost certainly gotten me a no – the rug I want cleaned is at least 9′ x 6′.

Bottom line: Fail – they didn’t reject my original request. I didn’t muster the courage to get a definitive “no.”

The Pain of Uncertainty

Paper clips

I recently read an article that discussed people being motivated by pain and pleasure. What was noteworthy was how the author discovered that uncertainty feels like pain. He gave the example of the frustration felt by those who lost power during Hurricane Sandy. The cognitive overload of trying to imagine and prepare for the various possible future scenarios was exhausting.

I thought of when my wife was being tested for breast cancer. It was maddening not knowing what to expect. Once the diagnosis came back, even though it confirmed cancer, we were relieved: now we could focus on our next steps.

This would also explain why most people prefer to work a job rather than striking out as an entrepreneur. The risks are higher as an entrepreneur. There are a number of uncertainties: getting work, keeping work, collecting for work done, finding new work, managing customer relationships and expectations, managing employees, and many more. As an employee, you just have to worry about getting the work done, pleasing your boss, and getting along with coworkers.

The paycheck as an entrepreneur is anything but certain. The paycheck for an employee rarely has surprises. It’s dependable and rarely changes.

The weekly schedule for an entrepreneur is never certain. An employee usually has weeks of known work planned out.

So does this mean that entrepreneurs have a greater capacity for pain? Perhaps, but the bigger takeaway for me is that once someone gets comfortable as an employee, it will take some effort to accept the pain of uncertainty to move into the world of entrepreneurship. Like working out after a years of sitting at a desk,a new entrepreneur will have to work through the pain before it becomes pleasurable.


Crying Baby


A friend forwarded an email to me today that got my ire up – in a surprising way. Normally, I delete idiotic tripe that I receive, but since I respected my friend, I sent a thoughtful and impassioned response. Since she was inspired by my message, I thought it would make a good posting. To wit:

What a whiner! I can’t believe that a marine wrote that pile of poo!

Once your start blaming other people for your problems, you give up the ability to fix them. I refuse to give up on my country. I refuse to place my trust in political parties and their empty leadership.

This country will only be saved by a grass-roots movement of entrepreneurs with integrity and discipline – like our founding fathers. They had time to consider the important issues of their day because they had become successful enough to be able to spend their time thinking about these things – not chasing their daily bread.

I will be one of those leaders! I will not whine about some goofball messing things up for me. I will take careful and measured action to solve the problems.

(rant off)

Thanks for getting me inspired today.


The original whine:

The following comments, written by a USMC Vet, are thought provoking for the former silent majority.

The American dream is dead at all levels. We have ceased to be a self-reliant population where hard work brought upward mobility and allowed parents to give their children a better living circumstance than they had. Now our children will not live as well as their parents did. Venal politicians, connivers, takers and non-performers have ruined America.

After reciting those thoughts at today¿s breakfast, I pointed out that no-one in America is happy anymore. Perversion is glorified and religious beliefs are mocked. Liberals have sucked the joy from American life. Listen to today¿s music, watch current movies, read newspaper Op-Eds or Letters to the Editor to appreciate how quickly our society has self-destructed.

The American Dream ended (on November 6th) in Ohio. The second term of Barack Obama will be the final nail in the coffin for the legacy of the white Christian males who discovered, explored, pioneered, settled and developed the greatest Republic in the history of mankind.

A coalition of Blacks, Latinos, Feminists, Gays, Government Workers, Union Members, Environmental Extremists, The Media, Hollywood, uninformed young people, the “forever needy,” the chronically unemployed, illegal aliens and other “fellow travelers” have ended Norman Rockwell’s America.

The Cocker Spaniel is off the front porch…the Pit Bull is in the back yard.

The American Constitution has been replaced with Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals” and Chicago shyster, David Axelrod, along with international Socialist George Soros will be pulling the strings on their beige puppet to bring us Act 2 of the New World Order.

Our side ran two candidates who couldn’t even win their own home states, and the circus fattster Chris Christie helped Obama over the top with a glowing “post Sandy” tribute that elevated the “Commander-in-Chief” to Mother Teresa status.

People like me are completely politically irrelevant, and I will never again comment on or concern myself with the aforementioned coalition which has surrendered our culture, our heritage and our traditions without a shot being fired.

You will never again out-vote these people. It will take individual acts of defiance and massive displays of civil disobedience to get back the rights we have allowed them to take away. It will take Zealots, not moderates–not reach-across-the-aisle RINOs to right this ship and restore our beloved country to its former status.

Those who come after us will have to risk their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to bring back the Republic that this generation has timidly frittered away due to “white guilt” and political correctness…..

I’m done.

I Promise

Broken PromiseHave you ever had someone promise to do something for you – and then NOT do it?
How did you feel?

  • Powerless
  • Frustrated
  • Resentful
  • Diminished/destroyed trust level

What are some of the ways that other people let us down?

  • Arriving late to appointments
  • Delivering poor quality work
  • Late delivery of product or service
  • Late payment / no payment
  • Broken promises – to call, to meet, to do something

Trust takes a long time to build and a moment to destroy

When a business treats you like this, do you keep it to yourself? Of course not! You want to protect your other friends and business associates from someone like this!

So do YOU ever do things like this? Why!

Here are some excuses I can think of:

  • I’m so busy / overcommitted
  • The work really isn’t that important
  • The relationship isn’t really that important
  • They’ll understand – they know me!
  • I’ll make it up to them
  • This was a favor anyway.

To all of these excuses, I say: BULL – ONEY!

One of the fundamental requirements of successful business is integrity. So this is really a question of character.

If you repeatedly break commitments, or waffle on quality, that’s an indication that you don’t take your business seriously, or you don’t respect yourself.

What are some strategies we can use to break bad habits that are such poison to our business?

1) Learn to say, “No.” Would you rather get a “maybe” (that really means, “No”) than a “No?” Of course not! Treat your business associates with the same respect you would like to receive: just tell them the truth so they can move on!

2) Promise only what you can OVER deliver! If a deliverable depends on all the stars aligning, and no interruptions, and everything going smoothly, you will miss delivery at least every time. Nothing EVER goes as planned!

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Perform your business with integrity and you will begin to win more business than you can handle.

Outside the Box

Out of the BoxDo you think ouside the box? What is thinking outside the box?

Thinking outside the box has become a cliche to describe how creative someone is. Ironic, isn’t it?

If you have to think outside the box, it implies that there is a box in which you normally operate. You have some problem that requires “out of the box thinking” so that you can solve it. Then, once you’ve got it licked, you can climb back into your nice, comfortable, constrained box again.

What if we just decided that boxes don’t apply here? That every minute of every day is an “out of the box” experience? What if our only constraints were what was legal, moral, and ethical? What if failure is just evidence that you’re exploring new ideas or approaches?

I love the scene in Meet the Robinsons when Lewis’ invention makes a mess all over the family, and they all cheer because he failed. You learn more from failure than you do success. Now he had more information that he could use to come up with a better solution.

Get out of the box. Throw it away. Do something amazing today. And tomorrow. And every minute of every day.

Google Zeitgeist

The Google Zeitgeist for 2012 is available. This is a site that Google puts together reporting on what people have been searching for during the year. It breaks down the most popular searches by category and by country. It’s interesting to see what people find interesting throughout the world. For interesting Whitney Houston and Adele seem to be popular almost everywhere. As well as Jeremy Lin, Gangam Style, and the Olympics.

Check it out and let us know what trends you find notable: http://www.google.com/zeitgeist/2012/