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Month April 2015

Don’t worry about the ‘how’

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When Denzel Washington was a younger man an intuitive woman told him that one day he would travel the world and speak to millions of people. Of course, we know that’s exactly what he does… through his movies.

Mary and I learned a really important lesson very early on. We had a goal to give our children a country childhood and we spent a lot of time working on the ‘how’ of making it happen. How we could escape the city and live our dream. The ‘how’ for us was to save like crazy. Saving to purchase our 200 acres, then saving again to build our dream home while we lived in a caravan and washed in a dam.

Being new arrivals in a country town we got ourselves involved in the local country ball held on what is now Dick Smith’s property. You can imagine just what a place this is. It was quite a shindig. And Mary ended up dancing with the gardener. He was living rent free with a small wage to boot and cared for the massive garden in return for his board. It’s amazing how candid people can be. And the truth is he was living the same dream we had only he hadn’t mortgaged himself to the eyeballs to make it happen. It was a huge wake up.

As I’ve heard Mary say so often many people have goals, but give them up because we can’t see ‘how’ to make them happen. But life can be very creative. And it seems life has a way of delivering exactly what we want when we’re really focussed. After all, there are many ways to make something happen. Often the ‘how’ takes care of itself. And often it’s in a way we haven’t even thought of.

What are your goals?

Unblocking creativity

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Have you ever stopped to watch TED talks? A showcase of the world’s most brilliant thinkers, stretching our minds in never before thought of ways. It’s well worth the time.

I was watching Sir Ken Robinson the other day talking about education. He’s an expert on creativity and he challenges the way we educate our children. The way that most of our schools focus on the analytical subjects like maths and science as the holy grail while devaluing the creative such as art and music. And he made the observation that our education system is designed to mine our minds. All the good stuff stripped away just like you strip a mine of its gold. A terrifying thought. But take a child at a young age, contain them for hours on end, teach them what you want to teach them, repeat it over and over until they know it by rote, test them on it and voila! You’ve implanted a particular way of thinking. And all the good stuff, the natural urge to play, to explore and to create has been stripped away. You’ve created one perfect drone.

And here’s the rub. When you can get a child to think in a particular way, let’s call it a mindset, you block creativity. Because they can only see things the way they have been taught. There’s nothing else on their radar. But creativity is essential to life. It drives everything. It is the source of everything. Take invention. It’s difficult to invent something you haven’t first imagined. And while some people hold up scientific research as the be all and end all, they don’t stop to think that it’s actually creativity that drives the science. After all, you’ve got to have an idea worth researching in the first place. Just look around and you will see the power of creativity at work.

When we’re locked into a particular mindset – about money, about relationships, about our health, about the way we raise our kids, about anything in life – we literally can’t see any other way. Which means we can’t create something new.

So if you want something new in your life, challenge your mindset. Challenge the way you think. Challenge the beliefs you have that have probably been drilled into you by somebody else with another agenda anyway. The good news is that with the right training, those rigid, limiting mindsets can be overcome.

What’s (not) on your radar?

What will you challenge?

True Genius

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We (like millions of others round the world) were at the Apple Store on Saturday to check out the new Apple watch. And with true Apple genius, the marketing made sure that the April delivery was sold out in record time. Come lunchtime Saturday, our designated appointment time, and less than 24 hours after the sales gate opened, we now have to wait until June to get the goods. They only started selling these babies at 5.01pm the day before.

It seems the world can’t get enough of technology. Devoting hours to waiting – online, in queues, on the phone – to not only get the latest and greatest in the world of technology but also devoting hours to learning how to drive these things. And they are incredible, aren’t they. The world in your pocket. Now it’s on your wrist too.

But have you ever stopped to think that your brain trumps a smart phone, tablet, fancy watch hands down? How crazy is it that we have the most sophisticated piece of technology ever designed sitting right here between our ears, at our disposal 24/7, but few people ever really think about it. Let alone learn to make the most of it. I often wonder what would happen if we spent the same hours using our brains to their full capacity as we do downloading apps and catching up on facebook? I reckon we’d be unstoppable.

After all, there are so many things the brain can do that a bit of man-made technology could never do. Emotional intelligence for instance. Gut instinct has saved many a life. And what about imagination? Mentally rehearsing what we really want in life makes it so much easier to achieve. And while they may be intuitive, these little devices will never be as switched on as the real deal. It’s probably important to remember that the brains behind the leaps in technology are actually real people.

So if you want to learn to make the most of your brain then come, spend a few days with me. I promise you’ll never see the world the same way again.

What are you waiting for?

Resolving the Mindset Riddle is in your capital city soon! Click here for dates.

What goes around comes around

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So I came across a great article last week. A story about a doctor who worked tirelessly around the clock to save the life of a baby boy born prematurely and only given a 50% chance of survival. The boy survived, a medical miracle. He grew up, became a paramedic and now has a family of his own. That was 30 years ago.

But here’s the clincher. That very same doctor all these years later was involved in a car accident. Pinned inside the burning wreck, a paramedic came to his rescue. You guessed it. The very same guy whose life he saved as a baby all those years before. They both saved each other’s lives. Nothing short of incredible. Talk about Karma.

Over the years I’ve seen heaps of examples of this. You know, what goes around comes around. A greater force at work. And regardless of your religious persuasion there seems to be a universal law that what we put out comes back to us in some way, shape or form. Just understanding how the human body responds to love as opposed to hate or fear, it’s clear that when we love another we too experience love and when we hate another, well that takes it’s toll on us too.

What goes around comes around. It makes our thoughts, words and actions important, doesn’t it. No matter how big or small.

So what are you putting out there?

What are you creating in your future?

So you want to change the world…

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So you want to change the world…

Okay, so everyone’s probably heard of six degrees of separation. The theory that every person in the world can connect with any other person in six steps or less. It can be a bit of fun working out just who you’re connected to. I’m two degrees of separation from Lisa Curry Kenny for example having spoken on the same stage.

And then we’re all probably familiar with the idea that emotions spread like viruses. If you’re happy you infect those around you with happy feelings. Unfortunately it’s the same for the chronically cranky. They call that emotional contagion.

Taking these two concepts together you’ve got something pretty incredible.

I heard retired Admiral William McRaven put it like this recently. In a commencement speech at the University of Texas, he talked of creating positive change in the world. How the 8000 graduating students could go out there and make a difference. But not in some general sort of way. Instead he gave solid figures that make great things possible across generations, across the entire globe.

Bascially he said this. That in our lifetime we will on average meet 10,000 people. That’s a lot of people. But if we change the lives of just 10 of those people and those people each change the lives of 10 people and those people another 10 each and so on, then within a hundred and twenty-five years, we would have indirectly contributed to the betterment of 800 million lives. Go one more generation than that and you can change the entire population of the world.

That’s pretty incredible isn’t it.

Touching another person’s life for the better is an incredible gift to both the giver and the receiver.

So where can you make a difference?

Why stop at just 10.