Monday, November 18, 2013

Be willing to go there

By Bob Perks

"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're
on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the
one who'll decide where to go..."

― Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You'll Go!

"Off in the distance is the place you want to be, whether it's just for today, tomorrow or three.
The challenge, my friend is not in the dream, scheme or care.
but having the strength, the plan and the will to go there.

- Bob Perks, Setting Goals

There is so much we want to happen in life.  There are big plans and little hopes and dreams that keep us alive.
The problem I am suggesting is all about the will.
If you ask someone what they would like to do, or where they would like to be, most people would smile and share their inner most desires with you.
But then ask them the question that often stops them in their tracks.
"Are you willing to go there?"
We often see the dream but the road leading to it is rough, hard to maneuver and filled with pot holes.
The dream falls short because the will to make it happen is weak.
If you were told that in order to make your dreams come true you would have to go to the edge of a cliff and stand there,
would you be willing to go there?
If you knew you had to fall a few times before you could stand tall, would you be willing to go there.
Would you be willing to walk away, change, face the monster,
fight, love again, stand down or stop dreaming the dream?
I discovered a long time ago that in most cases, there is a simple answer to why people have not reached their goals in life.
They share with me all the things that they've done, all the plans that they made.  They speak of trying over and over again.
Then I tell them to answer this simple question.
"In pursuit of your dreams, what is it that you are not willing to do?"
Often there is a pause in the conversation.  Then they begin to list certain things that they took out of the dream equation.
"That may be the reason you have not arrived, not fulfilled your dreams."
One shared her dream of starting a business.
"I want to start a business but the local economy is bad."
"Then move to where it is better."
"Oh, I don't want to move."
Another talked about how his job was affecting his health.
"I hate my job.  I am so stressed out that I am physically ill.
My doctor says my blood pressure is up and I've lost too much weight."
"Then leave your job for a less stressful one so you can regain your health."
"Oh, I can't.  I'll never find another job that will pay me this much."
"So, the alternative is you could die making a good salary."
It's what they are NOT willing to do that is stopping them.
Career changes may call for more education but some are not willing to go back to school.
It's what they are not willing to do that prevents them from advancing their careers.
I recently posted another message about forgiveness.  Many shared their doubts and inabilities to do such a thing.  It is a proven fact that the benefits of forgiveness for the one doing the forgiving far outweighs the destruction it causes to carry the pain for the rest of their life.
It's what they are not willing to do.
I suggest that any dream can manifest in your life if you are willing to do what it takes to get there.
But don't feel defeated by impossible dreams.  There is an answer for that.

"Not Willing to do"
By Bob Perks

If you can't have the dream that you think that you want.
If you've tried and you've gotten nowhere.
Then change your dream to a new dream or two
and always be willing to go there.
For it's not what you've won
Or where you live in the end
It's not the size or the tries, nor you.
It's simply not what you've done so far, my friend
It's what you aren't willing to do.

"I believe in you!"
Bob Perks

Good Monday to you

Learn to appreciate what you have before
time makes you appreciate what you had. 

Be patient. Things will change for the better. 

Standing alone doesn't mean I'm alone, it means
I'm strong enough to handle things all by myself. 

Follow your dreams, they know the way. 

Once you replace negative thoughts
with positive ones, you'll start
having positive results. 

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.

Butterflies don't know the colour of their wings
but human eyes know how beautiful it is. Likewise,
you don't know how good you are but others can
see that you are special. 

When someone is going through a storm,
your silent presence is more powerful
than a million, empty words. 

Three things you cannot recover in life:
the WORD after it’s said, the MOMENT
after it’s missed and the TIME after it’s
gone. Be Careful! 

Open your heart to the beauty in Life,
and your Life will reflect the beauty in
your heart.

A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch
breaking because her trust is not on the branch
but on its own wings. 

Every morning you have two choices,
continue your sleep with dreams or
WAKE UP and chase your dreams.

I can’t change the direction of the wind
but I can adjust my sails to always reach
my destination. 

I've learned that people will forget what you said,
people will forget what you did but people will never
forget how you made them feel.

Nobody can go back and start a new beginning
but anyone can start today and make a new ending.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Proven Ways to Get Along Better With EVERYONE

Everyone tells me that they have difficulties getting along. With their colleagues, with their bosses, with relatives etc.
But they never look introspectively.
1.  Before you say anything to anyone, ask yourself 3 things:

    1.  Is it true?
    2.  Is it kind?
    3.  Is it necessary?

2.  Make promises sparingly and keep them faithfully.

3.  Never miss the opportunity to compliment or say something encouraging to someone.

4.  Refuse to talk negatively about others; don't gossip and don't listen to gossip. 

5.  Have a forgiving view of people.  Believe that most people are doing the best they can.

6.  Keep an open mind; discuss, but don't argue.  (It is possible to disagree without being disagreeable.)

7.  Forget about counting to 10.  Count to 1,000 before doing or saying anything that could make matters worse.

8.  Let your virtues speak for themselves.

9.  If someone criticizes you, see if there is any TRUTH to what he is saying; if so, make changes.  If there is no truth to the criticism, ignore   it and live so that no one will believe the negative remark.

10. Cultivate your sense of humor; laughter is the shortest distance between two people.

11. Do not seek so much to be consoled, as to console; do not seek so much to be understood, as to understand; do not seek so much to be loved as to love.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Listen, or wait

A young and successful executive was traveling down a neighborhood street, going a bit to fast in his new Jaguar. 
He was watching for kids running out from between parked cars and slowed down when he thought he saw something.

As his car passed, no children appeared. 
Instead, a brick smashed into the Jag's side door!  
He slammed on the brakes and reversed back to the spot from where the brick had been thrown. He jumped out of the car, grabbed the kid who threw the brick and pushed him against a parked car shouting. "What was that all about? Just what the heck are you doing?"

Building a head of steam he went on. "That's a new car and that brick you threw is going to cost a lot of money!!"

"Please, mister, please. I'm sorry, I didn't know what else to do!!" pleaded the youngster. 
"I threw the brick because no one else would stop..." tears were dripping down the boy's chin as he pointed around the parked car. "It's my brother," he said. "He rolled off the curb and fell out of his wheelchair and I can't lift him up." 
Sobbing, the boy asked the executive, "Would you please help me get him back into his wheelchair? He's hurt and he's too heavy for me."
Moved beyond words, the driver tried to swallow the rapidly swelling lump in his throat. 
He lifted the young man back into the wheelchair and took out his handkerchief and wiped the scrapes and cuts, checking to see` that everything was going to be okay. "Thank you and May God  bless you," the grateful child said to him. 
The man then watched the little boy push his brother down the sidewalk toward their home.

It was a long walk back to his Jaguar ....a long, slow walk. He never did repair the side door. 

He kept the dent to remind him not to go through life so fast that someone has to throw a brick at you to get your attention.

God whispers in your soul and speaks to your heart. 

Sometimes when you don't have time to listen, He has to throw a "brick" at you. 

It's your choice: Listen to the whisper, or wait for the brick.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

You choose

I woke up early today, excited over all I get to do before the clock strikes midnight. I have responsibilities to fulfill today.

I am important. My job is to choose what kind of day I am going to have.

Today I can complain because the weather is rainy or...
I can be thankful that the grass is getting watered for free.

Today I can feel sad that I don't have more money or...
I can be glad that my finances encourage me to plan my purchases wisely and guide me away from waste.

Today I can grumble about my health or...
I can rejoice that I am alive.

Today I can lament over all that my parents didn't give me when I was growing up or...
I can feel grateful that they allowed me to be born.

Today I can cry because roses have thorns or...
I can celebrate that thorns have roses.

Today I can mourn my lack of friends or...
I can excitedly embark upon a quest to discover new relationships.

Today I can whine because I have to go to work or...
I can shout for joy because I have a job to do.

Today I can complain because I have to go to school or...
I can eagerly open my mind and fill it with rich new tidbits of knowledge.

Today I can murmur dejectedly because I have to do housework or...
I can feel honored because the Lord has provided shelter for my mind, body, and soul.

Today stretches ahead of me, waiting to be shaped.
And here I am, the sculptor who gets to do the shaping.

What today will be like is up to me.
I get to choose what kind of day I will have!

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

When does a man need a brother

Lonely and alone, discouraged and empty hearted
That's when a man needs a brother

When the burden is heavy, the load too much to bear
That's when a man needs a brother

When in despair, and needing someone to care
That's when a man needs a brother

When the strong arm on your shoulders make the tears flow free
That's when a man needs a brother

When the words, "we'll make it through together" seem so sweet
That's when a man needs a brother

When courage is needed and strength to carry on
That's when a man needs a brother

When you think you can do it alone
That's when a man needs a brother

Fifty shades of failure - a confession

By Dennis Price

Boobs. Butts. Dicks. There you go, sexual reference out of the way to justify the title.

What I really want to talk about is the ONE attribute(and a dozen different manifestations) that drives failure and concomitantly drives success if you can manage to avoid it.
  1. I have asked one of the leading coaches/consultants in the world what, in his opinion, is the single biggest issue that stands between a person and success. What was his answer?
  2. What is one of the most powerful persuasion techniques identified by Cialdini?
  3. What is the one thing that you need in order to establish yourself as an authority?
  4. Which psychological principle (also identified by Cialdini) drives the success and growth of Facebook and much of Social Media?
  5. What is the basis of a long-term relationship?
  6. What, according to Maslow, is the highest need-state that humans aspire to?
  7. What trait do people value most in the people who turn to for important advice?
  8. How do you measure success in a social world?
  9. On what factor does the success of a politician to get things done rest? (Even faceless men in Labor.)
  10. What is the cornerstone of effective, believable communications?
  11. What is the most powerful behavioural influence in the lives of young people?
  12. The fundamental driver of fashion purchases and the longevity of the industry can be ascribed to one common desire. What is that? (BTW, the same applies to tattooing, pop music and any fad you care to list.)
  13. Why do you have to watch the latest viral video?
  14. Have you met someone always wants to know how they are going or how they can do better?
Here are the answers:
  1. Self Esteem (or lack there of)
  2. Social Proof
  3. Credibility
  4. Liking
  5. Love
  6. Self-actualisation
  7. Trust
  8. Fans and Followers
  9. Authenticity
  10. Charisma
  11. Peer pressure
  12. Desire to fit in (while pretending you are focussed on being new and with it)
  13. Fear of missing out (FOMO even has its own acronym, it is that pervasive)
  14. Feedback (need to receive endorsement and validation)
Carefully consider these responses.

Can you see that they are shades of the same thing? (Albeit not quite 50.)

If I had to choose one word that describes the sweet spot in all those responses, I will opt for LIKING. 

For example: Credibility is a formal shade of liking. Love is an intimate shade of liking. And you can do this for each of the responses above.

People want to be liked. They don’t always like themselves but we have universal desire to be accepted and to belong and be part of some tribe. We don’t want to miss out and we don’t want to be alone. We want love and respect.

No matter who you are and no matter what you are prepared to admit. You want to be liked. And no matter who you are or what the socio-economic lottery gifted you; you are insecure.

The need to be liked is a thirst that can never be slaked.

The worst thing you can see to someone is: ‘I don’t like you.’

When the teenager screams ‘I hate you’ at the parent who denies them a late night out, they are instinctively resorting to the most primal and powerful weapon to inflict as much pain as they can on another human being.

Every character ailment or dysfunctional attribute in your make-up can ultimately be traced back to this one fundamental thing.
  • Bully? Insecure about their likability, so they do the things that make them unlikable so that they cannot be tested.
  • Arrogant? Once were liked and ran with it…
  • Compulsive re-tweeter, selfies on Facebook or Instagram? Wanna be liked…
  • The office politician? Say the right thing for the right audience… anything to fit in.
  • The class clown? Anything for a laugh…
  • The hero who saves the day? Likes the adulation…
  • The volunteer does it because it makes them feel good…
  • Customers want ‘customer service’ because the respect afforded them in this manner makes them feel good about themselves…
I could go on but the list is endless.

Your successes (and failures) in life are determined more by your likability than skills and even more than (inexplicable) luck or any other single factor. (Inheritance aside if you measure success in financial terms.)

Suffice to say that understanding this need is a powerful insight, and being able to manage it within yourself and others will uniquely equip you to conquer the unconquerable and once and for all make you a master of your destiny.

Confession time: I am not one of those people who are instantly likable. The truth is I am (lucky or unlucky enough) to be reasonably smart and articulate. I have a strong contrarian streak. I can think on my feet and poke a hole in most arguments and improve on any idea that is floated. I love words and ideas. I innovate and create.

Those who know me well will tell you that I tend to use all of the above toprevent people from being/becoming too close. Yip, despite the qualifications and pretty reasonable résumé, I too, am insecure. Just like you. The difference could be that you may or may not have recognised it for what it is and may or may not have admitted it to yourself. We are all insecure, and it simply manifests itself in different shades of failure.

I am driven by logic and rational argument. I value facts. I want to determine what is right and what is wrong and want to be able to justify everything I do. Even if I annoy someone, I just want to be right.

In fact, when I annoy someone with my rationality I can count that as a win. I am happy because then I don’t have to worry about being liked. (It would be completely irrational to be care about being liked by an dumb ass, right?)

Psychologists believe that the reason why some many Hollywood stars – the epitome of attractive, successful and rich – so often become victims of addiction and loutish public behaviour because they literally can’t believe their luck. They suffer from an ‘impostor syndrome’.

Even people who are well-liked (even admired), still need to have it constantly validated. Bill Clinton is arguably one of the most charismatic men of our time, but even he needed to other ‘exploits’ to bolster his ego. Monica wasn’t thathot, so those shenanigans clearly weren’t about sex.

Much like a magician misdirects the audience’s attention, many people create artificial character deficiencies to deflect and misdirect people’s affections. I (or anyone else) actually make it harder for people to know the real person because we fear that the real person is not good enough to be liked.

We all do that. We find a way of coping with the need to be liked and one logical way to deal with it is to make yourself less likable so that there is a rational reason why people don’t like you. Deep inside you know that is not really who you are; so perversely you then know that the reason why people don’t like you is wrong and therefore not truly a reflection of yourself. Your ego remains intact.

BUT - it’s not all bad. I am intensely committed and loyal. I always deliver – usually more than I said I would. (Can you see how event these positives traits can be traced back to inherent insecurities and the need to be liked?) I am highly ethical and honest. I work damn hard and always do the best I can. (If you were to become a client, history shows that you will be a client for a long time once we get to know and trust each other.)

When people really get to know me, they respect me, like me and trust my judgement and so forth; all the good stuff we thrive on. I may not be the first person called when the party is being organised, but I am the one they call when they lose their job.

But this post is not about me.

It is about you and your business.

And I want to provide you with some pointers as to HOW you can use these insights to your advantage. That is, I want to share the process you can use to become more likable, whilst simultaneously becoming slightly less dependent on having that need fulfilled.

Step 1: 
The starting point is SELF-AWARENESS.

This is much harder than it seems. Being aware of the impact you have on other people is clouded by your insecurities and self-delusions. The way youthink you are perceived is probably not the way you are actually perceived. In all likelihood it is not as bad as you think it is.

Human beings cannot deal with incongruence between who they think they are how people perceive them. They will behave/act in such a way as to synchronise their behaviour with how they think they are perceived. But if your perception of other people’s perceptions is faulty, then your behaviour becomes misaligned with both who you really are and who other people think you are.

Knowing yourself is hard thing to know. (Maybe because it is the one thing that you can never know objectively.) And it is hard for introverts (who are not focussed on the externalities) as well as for extroverts who are focussed mainly on the externalities and not their inner feelings.

Step 2: 
Validate your self-perception with some feedback from people whose opinions you trust and value.

It is not easy either, because the natural response is to justify and explain away those observations – especially if they hurt. You need some external input so that you can calibrate your sense of self with reality. (Which may explain why ‘life coaching’ is a booming business.)

Getting a reality check is critical. Don’t wait for a heart attack or a divorce or a retrenchment to force it upon you.

Step 3:
Accept yourself.

There is a fine line between being self-satisfied and self-acceptance; and finer still, the line between self acceptance and unwillingness to change.

Those bad habits of our old insecurities are hard to shake and we wear them like a comfortable old jumper long past its use-by date. But you can’t move forward if you don’t accept the essential person that carry around inside yourself.

You must want to change because you (love and) accept yourself. It is not about accepting yourself only after you have changed.

Step 4:
Practice honest likability.

Once you admit you want to be liked (just like everyone else) you need to proactively source some liking. That is a clinical way to say that you should surround yourself with some people who will like you.

This is actually quite easy – unlike the first three steps – because if you want to be liked, all you have to do is to honestly like other people first. 
How do you practice ‘liking’ people?

You smile. You listen. You get them to talk more about themselves and you don’t talk about yourself. You give them stuff. Not presents, but your presence. Not money, but your time. You give people your respect and your love and the way of the universe is that it returns to you – as corny as that sounds.

There is one catch. If you want them to genuinely like you then you must genuinely like them. You can’t fake the abovementioned strategies in order to be liked. You have to do it because you want to like them.

If you do it for the purpose of inducing reciprocal liking, you will fail. You have to ask yourself the critical question: how genuine (authentic) are you about liking and wanting to like other people? This is the key.

And that, dear friend, is the simple process to follow if you want more success.

If you apply some common sense to it, you will appreciate that the need to be liked is such an innate need of ALL people, and therefore it is also a need of CUSTOMERS shopping in your store and it is a need of your STAFF selling to those customers.

1.      How can you leverage this powerful psychological insight to the benefit of your business?
2.      Is your customer experience designed to deliver on this need and are your staff skilled and committed to delivering on it?

Like most powerful insights, it is actually relatively simple. Once you know ‘WHY’, the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ follows easily. When the employee understand why something happens, they can buy into the ‘what’ and ‘how’.

Think about this: A retail employee has an opportunity all day and every day to experience some 'customer love' which could satisfy their innermost needs; yet retail suffers from high staff turnover?

Success is not achieved by running a 2-hour workshop and telling staff what to do. Sustainable success requires one to shift the culture so that the business becomes geared towards delivering this new experience.

And of course, LIKING is only one of those powerful heuristics. There are dozens, but it is not practical to implement all. Typically six or even just four of these heuristics will cover most scenarios with most customers and give most staff a skills set to interact effectively with customers and that will suit their personal preferences.

The image below is the framework we used with one client. It illustrates how the various decision heuristics are categorised into four key types. Each employee finds one or two of these categories more suitable and they can explore them in more depth and embrace it and make it there own.

The science of persuasion differentiates between alpha- and omega strategies, and they have different roles to play. ‘Devil’ strategies are Omega strategies and Alpha strategies are labelled ‘Angel’ in this diagram. (‘Liking’ falls into the ALPHA category if you haven’t guessed.)


The heuristic used depends on the stage of the relationship, the type of product you sell and the customers’ disposition.

The key point is: There is indeed a science to selling, and it is based on understanding emotions.

Some people are ‘naturals’ just like some people are naturally charismatic. But not enough people are, and definitely not all your staff (maybe not even you) may be a ‘natural’ at interacting with customers.

The good news is that anybody can learn to use these principles. As a trainer (or a performance support architect) you must put together the right pieces of the puzzle, help people discover how people really function and help them overcome the barriers that prevent them from becoming the person they need to be. That is the biggest part of the job.

The easy part is to give them practical tips on how to approach a customer or where exactly to stand relative to the customer (etc.) to create the optimum environment for selling.

Monday, November 04, 2013

The Container and the Content

By Ajahn Brahm 

A local journalist called and asked me “ What would you do, Ajahn Brahm, if someone took a Buddhist Holy Book and flushed it down the toilet?” 

Without hesitation I answered “Sir, if someone took a Buddhist Holy Book and flushed it down the toilet, the first thing I would do is call a plumber!” 

When the journalist finished laughing, he confided in me that that was the most sensible answer he had heard. 

Then I went further. I explained that someone may blow up many statues of the Buddha, burn down Buddhist temples or kill Buddhist monks and nuns; they may destroy all of this but I will never allow them to destroy Buddhism. 

You may flush a Holy Book down a toilet, but you will never flush forgiveness, peace and compassion down a toilet. 

The book is not the religion, nor the statue, the building or the priest. These are only “containers.” 

What does the book teach us? What does the statue represent? What qualities are the priests supposed to embody? This is the “content”.

 When we recognize the difference between the container and the contents, then we will preserve the contents even when the container is being destroyed. 

We can print more books, build more temples and statues and even train more monks and nuns, but when we lose our love and respect for others and ourselves and replace it with violence, then the whole religion has gone down the toilet.

 Extract from Ajahn Brahm’s upcoming book. “Good? Bad? Who Knows?”