perspective

“Self-Help” Programs Don’t Help 

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I remember when I was really young, probably my early teens, I read an ad in a magazine about being able to do or be anything I wanted.  So, like many other people, I decided to give it a shot.  Guess what?  It didn’t work.  I was out about twenty dollars, but even worse, my wallet was open.  I pursued these programs, buying new ones as they came out.  After all, once a publisher or distributor of “self-help” programs sells you one, you are then on their mailing list and you begin to receive catalogs describing how good things can be, if you only spend a little more money.  Like most people, I spent a ton of money, but got nowhere.   

Fulfilling Work 

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I recently came across a very interesting study.  The research was done to find the level of job satisfaction in various countries.  There were some interesting results; not surprising, but interesting.  In the United States, more than ninety-five percent of all people hated their work.  Even in Japan, where workers once stayed with one company for their entire working life, more than seventy-two percent now claim they are dissatisfied with the work they do.  This is obviously a growing problem, but it doesn’t have to be for you.  You are different.  You have decided to make changes. 

So, what is the key to finding satisfaction in your work?  Well, the answer is quite simple.  You need to be doing work you love.  Andrew Carnegie said it best, when he said, “To succeed, you must love what you do.”cxi  Let’s look at why this is true.  If you hate your work, you are probably only doing the minimum to get by.  It may seem like you are working hard, but you are simply going through the motions.  This is not fair to you and it’s not fair to the person you are working for.  “One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys.”cxii  Many people who hate their work find it easy to do the things I talked about not doing in the section about honest work.  I also dealt with this when I worked for other people, doing work that wasn’t enjoyable, the lack of enthusiasm during the week, the temptation to “call in sick,” the unhappy faces and the fatigue.  It’s interesting how all of these disappear on the days we get to do the things we enjoy.  

Doing work you love takes planning and thought.  As I mentioned earlier, don’t quit your job tomorrow and go out and buy that infomercial plan for making millions overnight just yet.  This is what many people do and that is why most businesses fail.  Some of these are real money-making opportunities, but most of them are scams.  Besides, you are looking for work that you love to do, not to go and make a million dollars overnight. 

You need to find work that excites you; something that you are passionate about.  When I was developing this program and somebody asked me about it, I would be able to talk to them for hours about it.  Helping others is just something I feel very strongly about.  In fact, I did it at my church and through other organizations for many years without any type of compensation.  I just loved to do it.  You need to find something that you just love to do. 

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When you start to discover what you are passionate about and begin to take steps to turn it into an opportunity to make money, you will have more energy, more happiness and more fulfillment.  cxiii   You will give yourself a head start into uncovering and pursuing this critical element of your life. 

The truth is, when you find work you love to do and you have enthusiasm, passion and purpose, YOU CAN NOT FAIL!  I see it again and again; people moving out of work they hate, into work they love.  These people transform their lives’ and finances for the positive, sometimes quicker than can even be imagined. 

Michael at R2W

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What Success Isn’t

Before defining what real success is, it is important to discover what success is not.  The world and our troubled

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society have had a lot to do with most people’s current definition of success.  If you were to take a field trip to your local mall and stand at one of the entrances, you would get a fair cross section of society.  If you asked each person who walked by you to define success in their life, you would get many different answers.  The answers would be just as varied as the people who pass by.  I would be willing to bet, though, that the vast majority of these answers would revolve around the following themes: power, prestige, fame and the big ones, money and possessions. 

Have You Failed Most of the Time? 

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People who succeed know one important fact; In order to get to success, they must experience failure on a massive scale.  For anyone who has read self-help or motivational books, I will not go through the pains of boring you about the countless Hall of Fame baseball players who have failed over 75% of the time (and these guys are the best at what they do).  You are probably not a professional baseball player, nor is it likely that you are trying to secure a spot for yourself in the Hall of Fame.  The point is, that the best of the best know this “secret.”   

Real Success Starts With Failure 

I know many people will dislike the above words, but they are true.  The kind of real success that I am talking about is much more than society’s version of success, i.e., a big house, a fancy car and a wad of money.  Funny thing is that I happen to know people like that, we all do.  Many times those people are not successful because there is no sense of fulfillment and not much to life beyond their career and quest for money.  There is the crowd who went to college, got a good job and has been climbing the corporate ladder, never looking back.  I am really happy for those types, if they want me to be, but I’m appealing to someone else here. 

Leading Yourself Before Leading Others

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It’s so important to develop effective leadership skills and it all begins with leading yourself. So how do you develop effective self leadership? There are 3 components. They are spiritual development which prepares you personally; strategic development which helps you plan an effective course of action; and skill development which teaches you how to interact with others.

Would You Rather Be Right Or Happy?

Stop spending so much of your time and energy trying to convince others about what you believe or your point of

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view.  It is a waste of time, energy and rarely accomplishes much except to get the other person mad.  The best example of this is to turn on an evening talk show on one of the news networks.  There you will see the greatest example of a Dale Carnegie quote: “Those convinced against their will are of the same opinion still.”xiv 

Some Suggestions About Boundaries

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The next suggestion I have is to learn to set clear boundaries with people.  All too often in our relationships, or even in society, we generally fail to set boundaries and because of this we develop resentments.  This can cause us to treat others badly; not just the one who is asking us to do more than we want or can, but everyone in general. 

Who Do You Want To Be? 

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It’s a great question, but so few people have actually thought much about the answer.  It’s easy to avoid this topic, especially if you have been caught up in the world’s version of success.  You have probably been too busy to think this through logically but you can now. 

Answer this question now.  Don’t just write: I want to be a good person or a better spouse or a better parent.  Describe your life in detail.  Look at every facet of your life.  Write about your relationships, finances, health, spirituality and any other area of your life that you would like to change or improve.  Why are you doing this?  Because you become what you think about.  The Roman emperor, Marcus Aurelius said, “A man’s life is what his thought makes of it.”