How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Weedeating

I hated to weedeat. I never wanted to do it again. I thought that if I killed the grass, I wouldn’t have to do it again. Every spin of the plastic blades was murder. I wanted the grass to die. And it did.

But something worse returned.

Bare ground, like power, abhors a vacuum. There is always a nefarious weed seed ready to grow in place of the previous grass. But unlike grass, weeds grow at a faster rate, and in weirder directions.


Instead of simply trimming the grass, now I had to trim the tops and sides of the crazy-haired weeds. They too would have to die. But there was nothing I could do to kill them. It was me who had to change.

Instead of fighting the grass, I would work with it. Instead of trying to kill the grass, I would simply trim it back. Two things happened: I started to actually enjoy weedeating and the grass didn’t die.

Zen masters who trim bonsai trees seek, “a kind of oneness with nature and with the universe” and they used it as a discipline to aid enlightenment. Trimming bonsai trees was also used as a means to meditate.

When you’re out weedeating you have a lot of time to think. This time can be used to appreciate nature and practice an attitude of gratitude or it can be used to be vengeful and hate your life. I’ve done both.

Thomas Campbell, physicist, author, and expert on consciousness, believes love is the opposite of fear and love lowers entropy while fear increases entropy. 1 John 4:18 says, “perfect love drives out fear.”

When we decide to love what we are doing and change our attitude about work, we reduce entropy and help bring harmony to our lives and the lives around us. In this, I’m reminded of this poem from 1100 A.D.:

When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world.
I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation.
When I found I couldn’t change the nation, I began to focus on my town.
I couldn’t change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family.
Now, as an old man, I realize the only thing I can change is myself,
and suddenly I realize that if long ago I had changed myself,
I could have made an impact on my family.
My family and I could have made an impact on our town.
Their impact could have changed the nation and
I could indeed have changed the world.”
by Unknown Monk, 1100 A.D.


One of the words I kept hearing over and over in 2013 was “mindset”. Mindset is kind of the new hip way to describe what our elders used to call “attitude“.

A mindset can be positive or negative, just like an attitude. A positive mindset is about overcoming limiting thoughts and having an abundance mentality.

When you start to reprogram your mindset to a more abundant mentality, you stop seeing problems and start to see how your limiting beliefs that are getting in the way.

“What stops people are their limiting beliefs about themselves, their self worth, what they don’t actually have. What I’ve found is that people are not actually afraid of failure, they’re very afraid of success,” said Dane Maxwell, founder of The Foundation, an organization that helps people start software businesses by overcoming their limiting beliefs.

Pat Flynn, a leading business leader said, “One of [the common themes that millionaires have] is that they don’t have that fear. They train themselves to be excellent ‘receivers,’ to be open and willing to receive massive amounts of money, which for some reason a lot of people are scared of. I know I kind of went through the same thing. I could feel myself sabotaging myself…not taking it to the next level when I totally knew that I could have. I think the whole mindset thing is so important.”

Dane Maxwell continues, “There are a lot of things that you can logically explain, but for whatever reason you can’t seem to make it happen. You’ve got a limiting belief, you’ve got something you’re stuck with, you’ve got a road block and you’re not going to be successful until you get that thing reversed. And unless you have a kind enough, compassionate enough, gentle enough teacher that without judgment will help you reverse that, you’re not going to move forward.”

You have a finite amount of mental energy so what you choose to spend it on matters. In business you might call this an opportunity cost because thought spent in one direction could prevent you from spending thought in another direction. What you think about is incredibly important because it influences everything else in your life.

There is a war going on in your mind. What are you doing to win? Are you moving towards success or are you self-sabotaging? “The Power of 1%” says that, “Just 1% [improvement] per day…has a dramatic effect and will make us 37x better, not 365% (3.65x) better at the end of the year.”

If you improve 1% a day you will improve 3800% in a year.” –James Altucher

I started writing this post on September 6, 2013. Almost 2 years later I’m just now completing it. What stories have you started that need completing? Let’s complete more stuff, 1 day at a time. A year from now we’ll be 37x to 3800% better. :)

Are you just going to stand there?

Tipton Pork Festival ParadeI was standing with my family, talking and waiting for the parade to start.  It was that time of year again.  The Pork Festival had come to town and today was the big day.  On Saturday, there is a big parade and everyone who wants to see it lines up along the parade route for a view of the action.  My family had decided to set up under a tree and so I was hanging out in between the tree and the road.  You can see from this picture that I was basically riding the yellow line.  I was going to head back to the house either at the start of the parade or before in order to be at the house in case guests arrived early for my son’s first birthday party, but as I was standing there, the guy to my left said:

Hey buddy, are you just going to stand there? I don’t mean to be rude, but I won’t be able to see the parade from here if you’re standing there.

I replied, “No, I’ll be leaving before then.”  It was rude, but I didn’t really mind.  It made me think, “Erich, are you just going to stand there or are you going to do something about the situations you find yourself in right now?”

I’m a big fan of the ability to change your outcomes based first on changing how you feel and think on the inside.  However, in practice this is not always easy to do, nor sometimes does it seem to be effective.  The Law of Attraction would tell you that the reason things don’t always seem to improve is because I say they don’t. This may or may not be true, but the result is the same.  I am going through the motions: I am limiting negative thoughts, I don’t listen to the news, I only read or listen to positive and/or educational material, I focus on what I want, not what I don’t want, and I take action.  I have been sleeping less and working more.  I am focused on Internet Marketing as my primary business model. And the results are starting to show.  I now have blogs that make money daily, but there are still those which are not.  The Law of Focus says that whatever you focus on, expands.  That is why T. Harv Eker says not to complain, but to act instead.  Acting is what I am doing, I just wish it was happening faster.

So what are you going to do about it?

Successful people never quit.  They are experienced at overcoming obstacles because they view themselves as bigger than any obstacle.  I will double-down and refocus my efforts, to ensure success.   And…my parents just showed up.  Let the party (and the rest of my life) begin!

Mind your manners and mix your metaphors

During a rain storm last week, I saw a caterpillar scooting across the sidewalk.  He was trying to get from one rain soaked area of grass, to another.  It seemed like he was going in a new direction to a better, drier place, but he was really going to end up in a location much like where he started from.  Since I was walking there, it was not exactly the safest place for him to be.  But, I happened to be looking down, and he was spared the weight of my 200 lbs on his back.

Someday, if he makes it, he will become a butterfly.  You usually don’t see butterflies moving about in the rain.  Rather, we often see them on a bright sunny day when times are carefree and relaxed.  The butterfly can see where he is going from his view up high, and he has the wings to get him there.  If the wind blows the right way, he doesn’t really have to work much at all to get where he wants to be.  Being a butterfly is pretty sweet.

Maybe you can see the life metaphor within the caterpillar/butterfly example.  It’s not all that subtle, but it is something that might encourage you in the right moment, the next time you feel stuck and see a caterpillar struggling around on its belly like the cursed serpent of the Garden of Eden.  Perhaps the sight of a butterfly will raise your spirits and put a song in your heart when you realize how free you are, just like your winged friend.

It’s lovely and touching.

The only problem is… it’s not always the case with life as we know it.

There are times at the beginning of an endeavor when everything comes fast and easy.  The rails of life are greased with opportunity butter, and you’re coasting at a comfortable speed.  The grasshopper flies around and eats whenever he feels like it, not seeing the need to store up food for a drought or a literal rainy day.  The tiny ant works hard and saves food up for those hard times.  He doesn’t enjoy the beginning of the season when much time is spent searching and gathering, but he does live to eat and survive through the winter.

I promise that I didn’t just watch “A Bug’s Life”.  But my mind was taken to these fables and metaphors because of the stories I have heard and the movies that I have seen.  We are still dealing with bugs, but these stories seem to be painting different pictures of life and experience.

Or are they?

Metaphor, like beauty, is often in the eye of the beholder.

If you are moved to tears by a song that reminds you of a romantic relationship, and you later learn that the artist was singing about her dog, does that change the authenticity of your feelings?  Individual interpretation happens at nearly every experience of life.  You may even feel differently about an experience in the past just by remembering it now, based on your current knowledge, understanding, and feelings.  Its difficult to say if we can be truly objective about anything.

If a friend’s death causes you to slow down and smell the roses, or get busy with some task that you were delaying, both are constructive and positive.

Very little of life is either/or.  It’s not always black and white.  Some principles are not foolproof and will fail when applied liberally to all of your dilemmas.  There is often an exception that proves the rule.

So as you enjoy today, and experience a metaphor for life, pay attention to how your actions follow your understanding of that metaphor.  If there is a disconnect, then I would guess there to be another stronger principle in your life that is overlapping and overriding what you observed today.  Keep seeking.  Find the principles that are truly guiding your life and your actions.

And remember…. mind your manners and mix your metaphors.

4 Steps from Wanting to Receiving

I went to bed last night thinking about my experience earlier in the day with my daughter at the gas station.  We walked there to get my wife a coke, but had some “extra” money to get her some candy.  When we walked through the candy aisle, she started looking at the bags of candy on the left and I looked at the money I had.  I had to bend down and tell her that she could only look on the other side of the aisle, in a section in which I could afford to buy her something.  In bed that night I started thinking how much more awful it would be to do similar things in the future to clothes she’ll want to buy, trips she’ll want to go on with friends, etc..

All that we have been reading about, hearing about, and preaching about, start doing and acting on it – believing it.  We know it’s true, but I would encourage you to develop the faith.  If I could boil all of our conversations about this down, it would go something like this:

Develop and understand what you want.
– Desire, or love, is what keeps you attached or attracted (as in Law of Attraction) to the rest of the steps involved. I would venture to guess that for both of us right now, this desire is to first be able to pay all of our bills monthly, then be able to provide extra for our families.

Believe or train your mind to believe it. – Faith is the next step, bridging the what (desire) and the how.  This is where limiting thoughts from yourself, friends, family, and society creep in, but can be let go through self-talk or mental exercises.  It’s a matter of being acutely aware of your thoughts and managing them towards your stated desires.

Act as if you have already received it.
– This means both being thankful for everything you have now, but also what you will have in the future.  It also means acting how you will be after receiving the desire, for example, developing systems and/or routines for paying bills and saving money once the revenue starts coming in, believing that it will and we need to be prepared for it.

Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. – This adage means to not review a gift before accepting it.  Once you have the desire, have trained your mind to believe it will occur, and have started changing actions to prepare for it’s arrival, the next step is it’s arrival.  Make sure that for more open-ended desires like “more money” you are also open-ended on where you expect the money to come from.

I’ve been listening to an audio version of Peter Drucker’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship book.  In that book, Drucker talks about how entrepreneurship is not about starting a new business, but identifying surprises, incongruities, or miss-assumptions, and then creating something new that shifts resources from an area of lower yield to an area of higher yield.  The reason I bring this up is because sometimes businesses, which are ran by humans with similar brains and emotions to our own, go through this same process.  Some succeed and some fail.  Let me give you an example:

Drucker talks about Macy’s department store in the early 1960’s.  We can assume that the desire of the business was to earn revenue.  They believed that they could and acted as if they had already received the revenue by purchasing buildings, inventory, and machines to process the transactions.  But in the early 1960’s, more revenue started coming from appliance sales than from fashion and for twenty years, managers worked to suppress these appliance sales in order to keep the ratio of fashion-to appliances the same.  Then in the late 1970’s new management embraced the change and despite rampant inflation, Macy’s department stores began beating the market.

Another story is about IBM thinking they would sell equipment only to universities and scientists until one day they were bothered by a woman who complained that she could not get an IBM sales rep to come down to her library to talk to her.  The next morning, the head of IBM walked into that library and closed a deal with enough revenue to cover next month’s payroll.  That was when IBM decided two things: that they would start selling to anybody and start asking for the money up-front.  You see, the original sales rep desired to make a sale, he believed that he could make sales, but when a sale came by that didn’t match his idea of what a sale would look like, he passed it over.

Even I encountered this yesterday while doing micro-niche searches for the Thirty Day Challenge.  I kept coming up with results matching resumes and jobs, but every time, rejected them as not what I was looking for.  Then it dawned on me that what I was looking for should only be classified by the mechanisms and categories that got me there.  As long as it fit the goal (desire) of finding a micro-niche that had over 80 hits a day and less than 30,000 competing websites with phrases that matched mine, I had found what I needed.  To clarify, there are two steps past that (SEO competition review and Monetization) which my brain may have been pre-filtering for, but it’s hard to tell pre-filtering from bias.

Be sure and check out what Zac has to say about this topic in particular in a blog post he wrote back on January 6, 2009 entitled Who Limits Your Success?

More > If you liked this post, be sure and check out > The Law of Focus…