Determining Your Purpose in Life or Process

Brainstorming

Occasionally, you should take time out to stop and evaluate why you are doing the things that you are doing.  Slow down to think if what you’re doing is the best idea or not. Brainstorm with pen and paper (yes, actually grab a pad of paper and a pencil).  The best ideas come by brainstorming, which provides an opportunity to evaluate your productivity, your methodology, and your overall goal. Brainstorming brings diversity of knowledge and perspectives effective for a more forward looking career. Brainstorming is a great activity, but it’s also good to talk to someone about what you are doing, in order to help establish the purpose.

Mentor Review

Take someone you admire out to lunch and pick their brain.  Tell them about what you are doing to get feedback from them.  Write down their responses, whether you believe them or not, and thank them for their time.  Make sure you pay for their meal.  Successful people like to share what they know (that’s why I have this blog) so don’t be afraid to ask them.

Technology Review

Also, keep yourself up on new technology and continue educating yourself to keep yourself alive and fresh.  It’s easy to become stale no matter what business you’re in.  Try to spend at least 2-3 hours a week just researching and finding new ideas.  It’s hard to break away from the normal routine but brainstorming with new ideas is refreshing and can renew enthusiasm.  This is part of innovation and entrepreneurship, which looks for innovations in changes in technology, among other things.  It could be that the way you have been doing things is no longer relevant at worst or at the very least, no longer efficient.  Ask yourself the following four questions:

1. Is there any new technology I could be using? — Technology may have become more efficient since you first developed your original time-saving method. Relying on an old template could be costing you time and money.
2. Have I learned any new ideas lately that I need to apply here? — You may have acquired some new skills or read about some new ideas that will handle your project even better than the time-saving technique that you are using now.
3. Are there new requirements that mean that I need to review this process? — The client may have updated his or her requirements for their projects. Using your old template or time-saving tools may not meet the client’s newest requirements.
4. Are there any other new tools I could be using? — There may be new tools or resources available to do the work that weren’t originally available when you developed your template.

Personal Brainstorming

At least once a month I block off an hour to go into a dark room and just wait for ideas to come.  I don’t anticipate thinking about any one thing, but there is something about the pitch black silence that allows great ideas to surface.  I’ve had many revelations, not just about business or problem solving, but figuring out why I thought certain ways about certain things.  It’s a chance to re-evaluate all aspects of your life and help you determine your purpose in life or in process.

You’re so money and you don’t even know it!

If you’ve never seen the film “Swingers”, I highly recommend it.  It came out in the mid-nineties and struck a chord with many in the Gen-X and Gen-Y crowd.  To get a great feel for the kind of movie this is, check out the short clip below from Youtube (it is an R rated movie and contains profanity):

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODjE-_OB3JI&feature=related

The characters from the movie have taken the words “money” and “baby” and given them wholly new meaning within the context of their group of friends.  Vince Vaughn’s character paints a great picture of what kind of attitude Jon Favreau’s character should have about himself.  It’s not just about self-esteem, its about what kinds of actions he should take if he’s really going to act like a bear with this bunny!

Now, it’s tricky to draw a metaphor from a theme in a movie that is being made by another metaphor, so I’ll try to distill the truth that I believe the metaphors point to.

Let’s say that you are looking for a job (here is my metaphor), and you are frustrated at a lack of opportunities.  Now, even a cursory knowledge of successful thinking strategies will remind you to stay positive, but it still doesn’t seem to be enough.  You’re right.  It is not enough.

You need to think through both sides of the transaction.  In this case, the transaction is a business looking for a new employee and vice versa.  Now, even referring to the former as a “business” may be the wrong word to use.  Chances are (depending on the size of the company), that it is a human resources director or some specific manager that is looking to fill a position.  Now, if you were looking to fill a position with your company, and you knew that the new employee’s success (or lack thereof) would have some sort of repercussion with you, what would you do?

Would you look in a phonebook and choose the people with the three best ads?  How is this different from having a well put together resume?

In all actuality, you would probably rack your brain to think of somebody whom you already know that would be a good fit, whether they are currently looking for a job or not.  Next, you would probably look to the people whom you trust and ask them who they might recommend for the position in question.  Only then would you put out a listing for a new employee in some sort of job-finder service.

So, what does this tell us?  If you are looking for jobs that are listed online, it’s either because the business could not find anyone else who was qualified, or all of the people they have already talked to about it are not interested in taking it.  Its not the prettiest picture, but it is closer to accurate than you might think.

Without a strong, but healthy belief in yourself, you will either stand still and achieve nothing, or stand still and unwisely wait for success to find you.

So why do I encourage you to be a bad man from the rated R movie and not the guy from the PG-13 movie who everyone really hopes makes it happen?  Because we live in an R rated world, and great opportunities are MADE and not handed out.

If you think too highly of yourself, you will expect the winning lottery ticket to be mailed to you, even if you don’t play the lottery!  You believe that you are destined for greatness, but immune to the preparation and effort that goes before it.  Even if you are handed a baton (let’s throw another metaphor in, shall we?), and you haven’t prepared yourself with effort and determination, you will falter.  You may get the digits, but by waiting too long to call, you will blow the opportunity.

The other extreme is to be meek, and to look at opportunities with fear and trembling.  You can see 10 ways in which the endeavor will fail, so you abort before launch.  Even if you see one or two ways in which it could succeed, you stand still to avoid the possibility of failure.  The truth is that standing still is a failure all by itself.

The key is to be balanced and healthy.  Get out there and talk to the people you already know.  Let them know that you are serious about finding something new and you value their opinion.  They may just refer you to someone else, but it is highly unlikely that they will ignore you.  In fact, the only way to guarantee that you will end up with nothing is to venture nothing with your current contacts.

Whether you want digits, a job, a relationship, or a new chapter in your life, it takes belief in your mind before you can go safely in your body.  Don’t just think “money”…. BE “MONEY”!

Like Attracts Like

like-attracts-likeConverse to magnetism, in life, like objects tend to attract like objects. Good attracts good that the same way bad can attract bad. Trips to the doctor beget trips to the hospital and so on. Have you ever heard the expression that the more money you have, the more money you’ll make? That’s because money also attracts more money.

Pay attention to the thoughts you have right now. Are they good thoughts or bad thoughts? Are they thoughts of growth and improvement or limiting thoughts or thoughts of despair. How do we know what thoughts in our head are true and which ones we just placed there? Just because you have a thought in your head, doesn’t mean it’s true.

If you follow this thought out a little further you can see that if your thoughts are not true, then you can place thoughts there that are more fitting to your desired outcome. Some self-help books call this “self talk”. Some people view this as lying to yourself. I am proposing that your mind is always lying to yourself, so why not use the thoughts that it is telling you for good instead of detriment?

Let’s take a moment to go back to the thought about like attracting like and view some specific examples in science, nature, and in social settings.  If you grab a glass of water, then drop some oil in it, watch as the oil at first dissipates, then collects back together as the molecules are more attracted to each other than to the water.  Now, go outside, find a lake or pond and watch as the fish congregate together or how the “birds of a feather flock together”.  And lastly, visit a high school cafeteria and see how the children naturally segregate into various groups among the tables.

It’s the same way with adults and in life.  Rich people are more comfortable hanging around rich people. Poor people are more comfortable hanging around poor people.  It’s not that they can’t or don’t mix, but there is a level of uncomfortableness with this mixing.  I’ll be discussing comfortableness in a following post, but for right now I just want you to see how like objects are naturally attracted to like objects.

Now that you can see how it is naturally occurring, can you see how money naturally attracts more money?  Let me give you some practical examples by starting with nothing.  A man goes out and offers his services in return for pay.  This person is now considered experienced at what he does and can advertise this fact in either a resume or in an advertisement.  The man is now able to offer his service for a higher pay or in higher volume, thereby making more money.  This is active income, but if he manages his money well, the money will begin accruing passive income through savings and investments.  This man has now gone from having nothing to having something by doing one thing well and attracting more of it.

You may have heard of Dave Ramsey’s debt snowball.  Well the snowball is an example of like attracting like.  Paying down debt begets paying down more debt.  And once the debt is gone, the snowball can then turn into a snowball that instead of “beating debt” begins to “build wealth,” as Dave would say.  I highly encourage you to check out Dave Ramsey’s books.  They have helped many people create a plan for how to get control of your personal finances.  Dave likes to say that if you don’t manage your money, your money will leave you.  This is akin to the idea of what you don’t manage, you don’t value, which is what I recently blogged about in The Law of Focus.

The Law of Focus is much about like attracting like. Because you are focusing on something, measuring it, and valuing it, when you come across more of it, you will collect it or because you are so fond of it, others will bring it to you. This could be in the form of more work or just word of mouth (free advertising). For example, just like in the story of the man who had nothing and began offering up services, once you start down a path, people around you notice your path, and start to help make it straight for you. This is only natural. For those who don’t know which path to go down, that is the subject of a future blog post.

Cheers!