So my 89 year old mother placed her first ever bet on the cup yesterday. And you guessed it. She backed the winner. With odds of close to 100-1 it was a huge return for a very small investment on Prince of Penzance. She’s figuring now on giving up share trading for horse racing.
And for Michelle Payne, it was another couple of firsts. Her first cup win, not to mention the first female to win the Melbourne cup ever. Needless to say the champagne was flowing.
Life is full of firsts.
The thing is when we first achieve something either for ourselves or as part of the human race, it opens the floodgates of possibility. Because if one person can do it, they make it possible for others to see they can too. Of course you need to prepare, take action, train relentlessly and sacrifice a whole shitload of other things you might love to be doing. But once you see that someone else has achieved ‘the impossible’ it makes it so much easier doesn’t it.
Like running the 4 minute mile.
Like building the first car.
Like landing on the moon.
But firsts don’t need to be public to make an impact. Maybe your first is simply to be the first one in your family to break the mould of poor financial decisions or bad relationships. Just think of the impact for the generations that follow.
It doesn’t matter what you want to achieve. There’s always a first. So start with the end in mind and it may well be you.
A wise man once said, ‘any fool can complicate things, it takes a genius to simplify them.’
Yesterday Mary shared a touch of genius with our staff. Simply put, the massive benefits to be had when you focus on increasing your income by only 10% while at the same time decreasing your expenses by the same 10%. Can you imagine the benefits? With cash flow the life blood of any family and business it’s gonna make a massive difference.
But the genius didn’t stop there. How do you decrease your expenses by 10%? Well there’s all the regular ways of shopping around, going without, making different choices, being happy with less. And then there’s Mary’s way… she simply asks the question. Magic thing is when she puts her focus into reducing expenses people often respond with more than a 10% reduction. Yesterday she achieved a whopping 30%.
The thing is we can and do make things complicated. Why is it we’re afraid to ask for the things we need, the things we want. In our relationships, in our finances, in our work. What I’ve come to realise is how well people respond when we have an open and honest discussion about what we need or want and ask them for their help in achieving it. Straight shooting.
But why stop just with the money? How would a 10% increase in time in your day with a 10% decrease in work make a difference in your life? Or how would a 10% increase in fun with a 10% decrease in stress affect your health and happiness?
A 10% shift isn’t much. But when it’s a 10% drop in the negative stuff with a 10% gain in the stuff you love, it’s going to make one hell of a difference to your life.
Juicy Fruit®, Doublemint®, Spearment® ring a bell? We’ve all chewed them. Wrigley’s gums are a part of almost everybody’s childhood. And the story of William Wrigley Jr is nothing short of inspiring.
What budding entrepreneur hasn’t been bored at school? Expelled at a tender age, Wrigley Jr went to work in his father’s soap factory. But with a flare for sales, it wasn’t too long before Wrigley Jr went out on his own, starting his own company selling soap. With a stroke of entrepreneurial genius, he did something different to dad and added a bonus freebie of baking powder to every sale. And sales boomed. But once he realised the baking powder was more popular than the soap, he switched to selling baking powder with a different freebie thrown in. You guessed it. A stick of gum with every sale. Very soon he noticed the gum sales out did the baking powder and so he switched track again to producing his own line of gums.
The thing is Wrigley Jr never started out selling gum. But as he saw new opportunities he grabbed them. Through times of economic depression and war, Wrigley continued to adapt and reinvent his products. Taking calculated risks with marketing while his competitors pulled in the belt. And they paid off. Where other company’s sales dropped, Wrigley’s thrived.
Adaptable and tuned in to the wants of his market Wrigley Jr’s success as an entrepreneur means that his gums are still available today. Over 120 years later.
Adapt or perish. And it’s as true in business as it is in other areas of life. Wrigley Jr was a genius at it. Kodak stuffed it. And Australia Post – well time will tell. The thing is as times change, new markets open and old markets close, technology jumps ahead at lightening speed and the traditional ways of doing business become a thing of the past, we must adapt in order to survive. I’ve heard it said it’s like turning a big ship around. First you’ve got to be looking ahead and see the need. Then you’ve got to take action. Then you’ve got to be patient while it all comes together. Sometimes easier said than done.
One thing is for sure. Change happens. And there will always be upturns and downturns.
Julz and I spent a fantastic two days in Sydney this week. We had the chance to attend someone else’s gig and so we did. But as things go what we thought we’d get out of the two days just didn’t happen.
We got something even better.
Bucket loads of inspiration as our brains got a chance to enjoy time out from all the usual day to day stuff. And while most of the information was not new, hearing it again meant an opportunity to do something different with it, something we hadn’t thought of before. Something pretty damn awesome.
The thing is inspiration, innovation, those brilliant flashes of insight happen when we combine ideas. When thoughts come together in new ways. The aha or eureka moment when we really ‘get’ something in a new and different way. And it’s exciting, isn’t it. Because when that happens a whole world of possibility opens. New potentials and new opportunities are created in a flash.
Inspiration can come from anywhere. It might be someone you know. It might be something that’s said. It might be something you see or feel or experience. But you’ve got to stay open. And you’ve got to be willing to take time out and do something different. Because when you’re stuck on autopilot you’re just firing the same old neurons. And when you’re doing that it’s a sure thing that nothing’s going to change.
So if you want to create something different in your life, you’ve got to shake things up a little. Rather than just going through the motions, any moron can do that. To make changes you’ve got to get out of your daily routine and give yourself the space to see things differently. To enable your inner genius to come out and play.
And while things might not always happen as you expect them too, stay open to the possibilities. Because it just might be there’s something better up for grabs – if you’re open to it.
Have you taken a moment lately to realise how privileged we are? Living in a place where we don’t just have to focus on survival. Instead we actually get the chance to thrive. The opportunity to see what’s not working in our lives and take steps to change it. Of course, there’s always the choice to continue living on autopilot. But for those people who want to take control of their lives and actually create their own future, consciously and deliberately, as humans we have the mental tools that enable us to do just that. How good is that!
This week we received the most awesome letter from a woman who’s been coaching with us and one our great coaches for the last couple of years. And she has made the most incredible changes in her life. Financially and personally. Which makes sense when you realise one is simply a reflection of the other.
But the thing that really sticks out in her letter is how she became comfortable with being uncomfortable. Because learning to do something different, learning to be someone different, really is uncomfortable. All credit to her.
As I’ve said before, change is like learning to drive a car. The first time you do it you can’t concentrate on anything else. You have to be fully focussed. You can’t talk to the person in the passenger seat or listen to music at the same time as concentrating on the road and all those dials and pedals. And talk about having to have eyes in the back of your head. Everything is new and it all feels wrong. And that’s because it’s unfamiliar. You haven’t got the wiring in place yet. But as you practise it all becomes easier. Much easier. How many of you have driven somewhere and got there without realising how you did it?
Change IS uncomfortable. And that’s because we’re turning our back on old familiar habits in order to create something better. But the problem is many people give up when they feel uncomfortable choosing instead to stay stuck in old patterns. Because it feels easier to stay stuck with what’s familiar. And even if we don’t like it very much we’ve learned how to do life that way. But when we realise that discomfort is actually an awesome sign that you’re now doing something new, it makes it easier to stick with it. To do it again and again until it becomes automatic. Because the discomfort means you’ve broken away from the old habits and now anything and everything is possible.
So the next time you make a change just notice how uncomfortable you feel. And celebrate.
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.
But have you ever noticed that when they behave a particular way you behave in an equally predictable way?
The thing is we all get stuck in a particular way of behaving. And by the time we’re in our 30s our repertoire has become pretty narrow. Not quite hardwired, but pretty close. We get so good at what we practise.
Take for instance the people in your life that are always losing things. And you keep finding them. Or replacing them. Or take the person who keeps making mistakes and you keep fixing them. Or the partner who’s just too lazy to help around the house so you do it all. Well they’re going to just keep losing things, the mistakes will continue and you’ll keep doing all the work. Because there’s no real consequence for the other person that will force them to change. No reason for them to do something different.
When we behave in a predictable way we actually keep the problem going. Because it allows the other person to keep getting away with their less than ideal behaviour. It’s like a dance.
But what happens if we change things?
We stop fixing things, finding things, doing things?
Well my guess is the other person is going to have to do something different, aren’t they. Mightn’t like it. Might chuck the biggest tantrum because you’ve upset the status quo. You’re no longer doing what’s expected. But hey, what have you got to lose? You’re not happy with it anyway. My bet is you’ve got everything to gain.
As Ghandi said, be the change you want to see.
Want something different?
Why not make a change?
“If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. … We need not wait to see what others do.”
Mary and I have had the great pleasure of meeting up with a lot of people recently who’ve been attending our courses, sometimes over many years. And it’s such a beautiful opportunity to share with people on a deeper level. One of the things we hear most often is how people have begun to live more consciously as a result of our workshops. Becoming aware of how they are thinking, how they are feeling, how they are responding rather than just living on autopilot, day in day out.
Most people don’t realise this is one of the great secrets of change… becoming aware.
Why? Because when you become aware, you give yourself the opportunity to step back from a situation and make a different choice. Awareness is one of the first steps to change.
Unfortunately the world is full of people living on autopilot. Taught how to act, and think in a particular way from a young age. Never questioning. Never noticing that the life they are living, the thoughts they are thinking are not really theirs but somebody else’s. What a waste of precious life.
But once you’ve mastered the ability to notice what you are thinking, notice how you are feeling, notice the choices you are making, in other words observing yourself as you would somebody else, it doesn’t take long to make massive changes. Just this weekend we had the pleasure of talking to a woman who tells me she is now unrecognisable as the woman she was 12 months ago. Her life has opened in wonderful ways she could not even have dreamed of.
I salute everyone on this journey to awareness. It takes great courage to be honest with yourself, being open to noticing your strengths and weaknesses. So much easier to blame the world and those around you.
But what do you gain by blame?
What could you gain instead by becoming more aware?
How come for one person the world is full of arseholes and they attract them like magnets? And it’s everybody else’s fault. While for another life is just peachy.
Most people don’t realise that what we put out is exactly what we get back. It’s one of those universal laws. And that’s why two people can have the very same thing happen to them, but experience it in completely different ways.
It all comes back to mindset.
And that’s a direct reflection of our beliefs.
If for example, we see the world as a dangerous place, all we’re going to do is hone in on the dangerous stuff. It’s like we set our subconscious the task of singling every bit of danger out just to prove to ourselves what we already believe is true. And it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, doesn’t it. Every dumb arse out to get us.
But another person, who believes the world is just this great big awesome adventure will attract quite the opposite and the very best of everything.
We can do ourselves, and other people, other situations, a great disservice by being locked into a mindset that doesn’t allow us to see something else entirely.
As they say, if you don’t like something, change it.
If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.
The magic of this is that in changing the way we think about something, we often find the problem simply disappears. Because everything starts in the mind.
Ghandi was right. Be the change you want to see in the world.
Embody it and it will come back to you.
What situations is your mindset attracting?
Who in your life could you set free by being willing to see them differently?
Is it time to get your check up from the neck up?
There’s no time like the present to change your mind.
A traveler came upon an old farmer hoeing in his field beside the road. Eager to rest his feet, the wanderer hailed the countryman, who seemed happy enough to straighten his back and talk for a moment.
“What sort of people live in the next town?” asked the stranger.
“What were the people like where you’ve come from?” replied the farmer, answering the question with another question.
“They were a bad lot. Troublemakers all, and lazy too. The most selfish people in the world, and not a one of them to be trusted. I’m happy to be leaving the scoundrels.”
“Is that so?” replied the old farmer. “Well, I’m afraid that you’ll find the same sort in the next town.
Disappointed, the traveler trudged on his way, and the farmer returned to his work.
Some time later another stranger, coming from the same direction, hailed the farmer, and they stopped to talk. “What sort of people live in the next town?” he asked.
“What were the people like where you’ve come from?” replied the farmer once again.
“They were the best people in the world. Hard working, honest, and friendly. I’m sorry to be leaving them.”
“Fear not,” said the farmer. “You’ll find the same sort in the next town.”
You might know it as moonlighting. That work that we do after hours. A side project that fulfils our need to create something for ourselves. Perhaps it’s a hobby. Perhaps it’s a second job. Perhaps it’s building a business. After all, with the technology we have today it’s never been easier.
Time and time again it’s become glaringly apparent to me how important that bit on the side is. The way I see it, the need for multiple streams of income is no longer an option, but a complete necessity. And it’s because everything is changing so rapidly. Whole industries can vanish overnight. And if you’ve got all your eggs in the one basket, you’re gone.
Last weekend we enjoyed the fruits of somebody else’s labour. After all, those who know me know I’m going vegetarian. Well, in this instance it was fruit actually. Mostly grapes. Without their skins or flesh. Just the juice. Fermented for easy digestion of course. And it came about because four friends, having a beer after work some years ago wondered if they could build a wine business on the side. Didn’t know if it would work. Didn’t know if it would make money. But they decided to give it a go anyway. To build something for themselves beyond their day jobs. Something outside the world of teaching and plumbing.
A decade and a half later and they’re taking out medals. And yes, they sacrificed (a lot of) nights and weekends. And yes, it took blood, sweat and probably many tears. But fifteen years down the track they’ve built something worthwhile for themselves.
Something that reflects their creative energy.
Something to give them more than just a pension in retirement.
Something that has given them that sense of fulfillment we all crave.
I reckon looking back they’d feel pretty good about that decision to give it a go. Because pursuing their passion has paid big dividends.