The Sin of Being Stupid.
There are 10 SIMPLE things people can do to be smarter, accomplish more, with less shame, guilt and fear while they change the world.
“Recognize” simply means to be aware or to see what is there.
- Recognize that today’s beliefs, today’s things you are considering/pondering/thinking ABOUT can and often MUST be easily changed by tomorrow.
- Recognize that you put ridiculous limitations on your self.
- Recognize that you have wild delusions of grandeur. (I can do anything if I put my mind to it.)
- Recognize that someone else’s failure or success in anything doesn’t map over to you, though it could bring you hope or discouragement, neither of which is good or bad.
- Recognize that other people’s apparent success is more often apparent than it is real.
- Recognize that your studying people who are a) outrageously wealth (Gates, Buffet) or people who claim to be successful with evidence found in their You Tube and Facebook likes, is a waste of your time.
- Recognize that people lie, cheat and steal a lot more than you’d ever guess…and they rarely have a conscience about it.
- Recognize that believing you are incapable while being competent is foolish.
- Recognize that what people are thinking and feeling in THIS MOMENT has nothing to do with what they believe to true.
- Recognize that it is normal for people to experience love and hate, anger and happiness at the SAME TIME and feeling only ONE emotion at a time is RARE and concerning.
They know they can make “it” work and then they just stop and go do something else.
They know they can’t possibly make it work and they start in the first place.
My friend Scott Bell (Best HVAC trainer in the U.S.) loves fragrances. The man knows more about luxury colognes and related paraphernalia than anyone I know. He could sell cologne, start a business around the stuff. If he were to do so, he’d ultimately be profitable depending on the business model and marketing strategy. He’d have a million dollar business in no time. Granted he doesn’t need to do this kind of a project, but he would succeed and I would fail miserably. Same model, same strategy. Because making business or life, work, is MORE than about the strategy and model.
It’s about the WANT. I have some Armani cologne and a few other Eau de Something’s in the bathroom. Most cologne makes me sneeze. I don’t want to create a million dollar business revolving around cologne UNLESS I’m the half of the business that sets up the marketing plan and sales strategy.
I could start the EXACT same business with the same business model and marketing strategy, but I’d be stupid to do so. I am smart enough to know I know NOTHING about fragrances and I couldn’t care less about learning about the products. I would go broke because it’s just not interesting to me. And money, while interesting, isn’t enough to motivate me to move forward through the TOUGH TIMES that come consistently and often.
Every few weeks a major challenge happens. This is true in business, personal life, relationships, family. If you are in business and this isn’t true for you, your business isn’t making enough money to survive on yet. Business is very much like family life. There is ALWAYS a mess happening. Most people are so familiar with their family/relationship messes. One person won’t talk to another. One person upsets another.
(Government regulations, taxes, clients die or move, customers switch allegiance, your product is made obsolete by a new technology, a leader in the company stole all the money, someone in your family died, got a long term illness, became disabled, and on and on and on.)
This is why having a “job” can be enticing to so many people. Typically you have a survivable salary, “losing your job” is generally difficult, and frankly you get pretty good at your job pretty quickly because most people have to have very few swaths of knowledge to do their job well. Once you have done it for a year, there isn’t that much change in most jobs (not all) from year to year. THAT means you become COMPETENT very quickly and you FAIL almost never. (You do 10 things well and you do the same 10 things every week.) You FEEL successful. You FEEL smart AND you get a SURVIVABLE SALARY.
And there is nothing stupid about any of those things.
But as I type that I get nervous because working at something I’m good at for 5 years freaks me out. I need to master dozens of things or I feel no reward. I need to determine my own income or I am like a caged animal. (…like the proverbial hamster in a hamster wheel.)
And then there is another aspect of a JOB that I just loathe. There is the illusion of PERMANENCE. “It’s safe.”
Just because it’s hard to get fired doesn’t mean it’s permanent!
Guess: How many jobs does the average American have between age 18 and 70?
(7 before age 27 and 11 before 42)
Yep, in the U.S. the average person changes jobs every 4 years. In the U.K.? They change every 5 years. (How do they stand it!?) 😉
Have you ever found yourself not really going after something or someone that could be great for you?
Example: You had a great idea for a business project, started it and then gave up a few months later.
Or: You looked in the mirror and knew you needed to lose 25 pounds. You started and then stopped, only to gain it all back.
Or Perhaps: You start a savings plan only to eliminate the plan by taking all the money out six months later to buy something.
These are obviously all simple examples of very painful SELF LIMITATIONS.
Let’s be more precise and real: You made a decision and then you pulled the plug on yourself. You pushed what you wanted for YOU away and rejected yourself. Here’s a scary truth:
Rejection hurts just as much when you REJECT YOURSELF as it does when someone else rejects you!
It’s so important to understand this, isn’t it?
YOU (your “self”) stop yourself from doing something you want to do (limit). The more you think about it, the more you realize how unsettling it is!
There’s yet another common way that you limit yourself.
This one, like the previous, has a self punishing device built in. You make it easy for others to be upset with you.
Quite often people commit to something big; (sure I’ll be the captain of the team and take on more responsibility than I should possibly commit to…) usually at the request of another or perhaps to a group of people. These “pressure commitments” are often recognized in the moment but glossed over by the desire to fit in and conform to the group. Over committing almost never pays off. I’ve learned to say, “if it’s possible I will.”
It doesn’t solve all problems related to over commitment but it goes a long way toward preserving your day to day self regulation units!
Knowing your true and real limitations can save your life load in some REALLY IMPORTANT ways, most importantly in the moment you need to decline being the captain of the football team.
Key point: There are real limitations that must be considered in life.
You can do almost everything you want in life, but no one can do everything they want in life no matter what you see on Facebook to the contrary.
Meanwhile, imaginary limits can imprison you in other ways. Your mind will often create looping doubt and fear about your ability to create a better life.
That simply means that the doubt and fear is healthy at the beginning of a consideration. As time moves forward you “test” and discover whether the choice/decision makes sense and at that point you can choose to no longer doubt. Fear takes a little longer to dispel. Doubt is about thoughts and you control them (or you can). Fear of course is more often about nonconscious feelings and emotions. A different story!
Doubt is the very powerful double-edged sword in life. Without it, you will fail. With too much, you will fail.
Short-term doubt, especially short-term doubt that happens early in the process of decision and action is very, very, very important.
In fact, if you DON’T DOUBT EARLY, you may very well be feeling overconfident which can bring about truly terrible results.
People who fail while trying to succeed at anything, will tell you to erase doubt. Get rid of it. “Eliminate doubt. Doubt is negative.”
Doubt is not “negative”. Doubt at the right moment reveals brilliance.
If more people doubted, then evaluated the doubt, then worked through whether or not “it” could be done, people would accomplish far more “miracles” and set aside those things that aren’t going to happen.
Imagine someone says, “Hey John, write a book on how to get cats to be more helpful around the house.”
“Oh OK, I’ll get right on that,” briefly wondering through his positivity if the idea is a sound idea. Then six months later after searching the world over for stories of helpful cats in business and housekeeping, John finds out that this is an ill conceived project….on top of having no market.
If John would have doubted that, it would have saved him five months and 29 days.
If you burn up too much life on projects because of misplaced “positive thinking”, you’ll go bankrupt having missed life entirely.
While we’re here on missed stuff…
Do you ever feel that you’ve missed out on life? Maybe you think life has passed you by?
Today you find out how to push possibility by breaking down some doors.
Cracking the Code to Break through Self Limiting Beliefs
You begin to feel life has passed you by because you allowed self-limiting behaviors to take hold for long periods of time. Perhaps you’ve worked in a Hamster Wheel for years. And then someone presents you with an “opportunity.” Unfortunately the opportunity is outside of you and within the walls of a corporation.
Caveat: Corporations, big companies, employ half the people in the U.S. and I suspect the same is true in most places in the world. I consult to corporations regularly and I recognize that while a lot of people in those big buildings might do quite well from their coffee table, they are already earning a quarter million dollars per year and switching out may not make sense. Similarly, there are a lot of learning experiences in corporations that quite frankly occur on someone else’s dime.
And it is tough to make an argument against your normal everyday person learning the lessons of business on someone else’s money.
But here’s the deal: Because of the structure of corporations, people tend to be trained to perform a narrow set of tasks and so very efficiently. This works to the benefit of the company which wins because they have lots of people performing at a very high standard in the various aspects of doing business.
After years of working “inside” a lot of people are very uncomfortable with the notion of leaving that high performance cube and jaunting out into the big world of uncertainty.
Most people at least intuitively know that a Coffee Table Business is a solid choice on which to build a future but instead of starting their own business they go right back into someone else’s world.
I’m approached regularly by people who want me to invest in land development, companies drilling for oil, buy apartment complexes in Denver, to invest in their upcoming movie, to become an executive distributor in their new business opportunity.
None of these things are good ideas for me. None have anything to do with what I am seriously serious about in life
Most are destined for failure from the start no matter who does the buying and managing, but certainly I don’t belong in their UNLESS there is a lifelong passion to do something in one of those areas.
You need to believe in YOU
I actually hate the sentence. But it’s a starting point.
The worst part in investing in someone else’s “sure thing” isn’t the money down the tubes, you can replace that. What you can’t replace is time…that is time you NEVER get back.
All you have to do when you initially evaluate a Coffee Table Business idea is think quickly about three things:
- Time you will invest. (If it’s too small, the project won’t be profitable.)
- Can you accomplish this outcome from your effort alone? (Relying on others is…iffy at best.)
- What is the relative ease of connecting with plenty of people to whom you can be valuable.
Do an evaluation: Let’s say you want to sell vitamins.
Someone wants to buy $40 (gulp) of vitamins per month from you. You get paid $10 (25% on the sale).
It takes you an hour to make the sale. (Believe it or not, about 1/10 of people will buy something inexpensive from you, just because you asked.)
You knocked on 20 doors to find 10 people at home to propose your offer, of which one lady was nice enough to say “yes.”
20 doors. That’s about an hour.
You earned $10 per hour.
That’s not a disaster but it’s not ideal.
Before you say “no” to this project, DO realize that if you have very loyal customers and re-orders happening while you build even more business, you in theory could be earning $20 per hour in two months. (10 for the new business plus all your renewals autoshipping.)
Now all of a sudden you have an interesting situation. If you’re good enough to consistently develop those relationships and can ship for next to nothing you have something to think about!
The money is terrible up front but if Vitamin X does something awesome and people are loyal to you, this could turn out to be a profitable venture after all.
But there is a drawback. 160 doors per day is 1000 doors per week. That’s 50,000 doors per year. That is a decent sized city and you might not feel all that comfortable in certain parts of the city. Or maybe you will. Maybe this will be a blast.
With most business models like this, the further away from home you become the fewer sales you make. Door to door is a tough, though not impossible biz. Even though it is POSSIBLE you could do very well with outstanding customer loyalty, I’d still have you reconsider it.
The answer for this chance of a lifetime is probably a gentle “no.”
Evaluating a project is the first key to de-limiting your future. In fact evaluating MANY projects and becoming good at determining whether something is sensible enough to put your attention on, is a very good skill to develop.
YOU have enormous potential. To see it manifest requires time. That time needs to be invested in YOU and something you are passionate about for quite some time. You have areas of excellence.
Doing the right projects for YOU is what makes YOUR life work.
It’s what generates wealth and a full life.
After evaluation you have one significant problem that could still stop you cold. It has nothing to do with math.
Here’s what holds everyone back….
The problem with the vitamin project was simple. You created an absolutely limited life. You have one marketing tool (you) and you have no strategy to build loyalty. You have no real competitive advantage because Vitamin X is probably the same as Vitamin Y. The business model is as old as dinosaur tracks and it generally has the same result that the dinosaurs did…
Instead? Do something that you will want to do every single day.
Limiting yourself by neglecting predictable and likely outcomes is big, but Self Sabotaging your Self in other ways is an even larger problem.
Persistent Doubts About Yourself
Luckily, most of your current self-limiting beliefs are easily identified as helpful or harmful. We need only spend some time examining them and decide which beliefs we want to keep and which we want to discard.
Take a moment to think about your own perceived self limitations. These are beliefs. Not facts.
What do you believe you can’t do, yet, that you’d like to do?
What do you believe you’ll NEVER be able to do, that you’d like to do?
Why do you think so?
Seriously. Answer the questions.
Even if you make a lot of nickels every year, still play the game …it’s only your life after all….
If these concepts seem vague and you’re not sure what your own limiting beliefs are, take some time to write them down. Try phrases like this:
“I can’t ___________ because___________.”
Fill in the blanks, and don’t hold anything back.
Nobody else will read this.
Even if one of your ideas seems ridiculous and you logically know it isn’t true, write it down anyway.
Once you’ve identified as many of your limiting beliefs as you can; take a closer look at them. Are any of them hopelessly impossible, or do they just feel that way?
“I want to be an NBA Basketball Star?”
“I can’t be an NBA Basketball Star because I’m 5’0″ and 41 years old.”
Two obvious real life limitations. LET GO OF THIS KIND OF STUFF. Doubt is VERY important here. You should doubt this because you physically can’t accomplish it.
Here’s some useful questions to ask yourself.
- Have other people been able to accomplish something that you want to accomplish?
- Have you accomplished anything in the past that was difficult?
- How did you overcome the obstacles you faced?
- Could you apply the same process to any goal?
There are no right or wrong answers here, only what you honestly think and feel. Now set your list aside (we’ll be looking at it again later in this series of articles).
Deep beliefs go deeper…
Belief: The Foundation of Your Life
Your beliefs are the foundation upon which your entire life rests. Much of this foundation was formed through childhood conditioning, the experiences you’ve had during the course of your life, and the conclusions you’ve drawn as a result of them.
Every action (or non-action) you’ve taken during your lifetime has been encouraged or discouraged by these beliefs.
Beliefs are typically created quickly, rapidly reinforced, and carved into stone in days or weeks.
And, of course, most of the situations in your life are a result of your actions (or in-actions).
In order to begin pushing your limits and increasing your potential, you need to examine the beliefs you have about your limitations. You’ve started the process by making a list of your most obvious perceived limitations, but in order to effectively and permanently change them, you’ll need to challenge them and actively work on expanding your concept of what is possible.
Whether you realize it or not, you have a certain internal “set point” where you think your capabilities stop in any given arena.
These set points can vary according to the intensity of your beliefs and they may be different for different activities.
For example, you might know that you are good at one activity but feel you are terrible at another.
(and that can be darned useful if true!)
It can be helpful to examine the reasons WHY you feel this way, because quite often your limiting beliefs hold no substance whatsoever.
- Maybe someone you looked up to, told you that you were too weak to be great at sports, so you never bothered to find out.
- Or your friend laughed at your artwork and you decided it was a stupid hobby anyway.
(I laughed at my own artwork and realized it was a poor choice for a hobby for me….)
It’s bad enough when other people set unnecessary limitations for you, but the problem is compounded when you begin doing it yourself.
What happens is that so many people have told you that you are not capable of much of anything so you decide your are disabled…or dis-capabled.
I hate the word, “disability.” Perhaps you will join me in using a more productive term, “handicap.”
The prefix “dis” is a loaded message that says, “NOT” to the brain.
Handicap is simple. It means you are missing a puzzle piece…not the entire puzzle.
Imagine the guy in a wheel chair.
That isn’t a disability. It’s a handicap. A handicap is something that is acknowledged and is taken into account in some competition….
In competitive sports, it’s factored in the point spread.
Teams don’t quit competing because they are underdogs.
And how many people in America have “disabilities?”
Too dang many.
Lots of people in wheelchairs operate million dollar companies.
That’s not a disability, it’s a disadvantage. (And some even argue against that!)
People are told something, and they start to believe it.
…that they can’t do X.
What a shame this is!
Do you see the pattern of destruction and the dimmed potential that stems from it? For most of us, it takes only ONE negative experience to start an avalanche of massive proportions. Of course, it doesn’t usually happen quickly but is rather the result of years of gradually decreasing belief in ourselves….from lots of avalanches.
Before we go any further, it’s important to understand that your limiting beliefs were FORMED, typically by others, in your life and sometimes by you.
Either way, these useless notions and beliefs can be unformed, smashed, rolled into a ball and re-formed into something else entirely – just like a lump of clay. Your beliefs are malleable and flexible!
Key Point: Beliefs feel like “facts”, but they are simply thoughts that have gained strength because of sheer repetition on your part.
When you really start to get this, it becomes very exciting!
Suddenly a whole new world opens up to you, a world in which just about anything is possible.
How do limitations affect your potential?
Think of your limitations as a ceiling that hovers at a certain height over your head. The ceiling height is different for each person, but all ceilings have one thing in common: they determine “how high you can jump”.
If your ceiling is built up high, you have great potential and can achieve much in your life. If your ceiling is built down close to the top of your head, you will only achieve the bare minimum for comfortable survival (or even less).
Now, as you consider self-limiting beliefs, you have to ask yourself:
“Who crafted your ceiling?”
To be sure, you had help, especially early on, but here’s the truth: You have crafted your own ceiling. You set the height of your ceiling based upon the things others said to you, and the conclusions you drew about your capabilities.
Just like your other beliefs, the height of your ceiling is very flexible and is constantly in a state of flux. When you first set a desired outcome, you might be fired up and motivated to make it happen. At that point, your ceiling is soaring far above your head. As you begin to stumble on obstacles and lose your initial motivation, your ceiling probably begins to drop steadily.
When you give up because it seems too hard, your ceiling practically rests against the top of your head.
Is motivation the only way to raise your ceiling?
No, not at all!
Another great technique involves honestly assessing your true capabilities, and beginning to work on expanding them. If you’re pretty good at something, work on becoming great at it.
If you think you’re terrible at something, yet driven, keep doing it until you get better….or better yet, ask someone else to be involved in your project and do this part.
The fact is that working on strengths is rewarded in achievement.
Don’t get me wrong. You need to be competent in a number of areas to succeed, but you don’t need to be THE BEST in a lot of areas to succeed.
This is an ongoing process of honest assessment, small but consistent effort, and evaluation of progress. It’s not rocket science, but it does require an attitude of determination and patience.
This process of expansion begins to take on a life of its own the longer you work at it. Before long you’ll be scoffing at limiting thoughts and attempting things you never would have dared consider before.
Here are some additional ideas for raising your ceiling of potential:
a) Question your past “failures”. Did you REALLY fail, or did you just give up too soon? Explore the lessons you learned from each “failure” and see if you can use the insights to form a better plan.
b) Be willing to pick up an old dream or hobby and start working on it again. Did someone convince you that your dream was stupid and not worth the effort? Did you really agree with them, or did you simply choose to believe without question?
Re-examine your dreams and aspirations. If any of them still stir your soul, follow where they might lead.
c) Set new targets and begin to expand your concept of what you’re really capable of. Consistently strive to raise your ceiling by thinking and dreaming BIGGER. When you reach the place where you think you need to stop, take one more step. Just one; and that one step will often change everything, either internally or externally.
People have this incredible habit of lousy timing. They quit right before the next door was THE door.
d) Challenge the limitations that others have tried to place on you. Write out your reasons for knowing they were wrong and enter into a dialogue with them about it (even if the other person isn’t there, you can do this process on your own). Try phrases like these:
“You have no idea what I’m capable of because _________.”
“I know you’re wrong about this because __________.”
You won’t be convincing others of anything, only yourself – which is the only person who counts in this scenario!
Again, this is a process, so don’t lose heart if you don’t see much progress right away. It’s like building a snowman. The ball is small when you start rolling it. But then momentum kicks in and that ball gets big.
Keep questioning your limiting beliefs and keep expanding your perception of your potential. Every bit of effort you can put toward this activity will pay off later.
Keep limiting beliefs in check by…
Think Like A Farmer
A farmer plants a seed in April.
He waters, fertilizes, takes care of it for months without seeing much of anything.
Then there is all sorts of stuff there to see until finally it is BIG and you harvest it all in the fall.
Successful people think like the farmer. Plant, harvest, save half, repeat.
Facing Your Fears
As you begin challenging your beliefs and expanding your potential, you will face some fears along the way. This seems scary because most of us are used to cowering in the face of fear. We tend to avoid situations that make us feel uncomfortable, and I don’t know of any situations more uncomfortable than fearful ones!
However, most fears are truly nothing to fear.
Fears are stronger than beliefs because fears control TWO levels of cognition.
So overcoming fear is TOUGH by “thinking positive,” or thinking much of anything.
Your fears are conditioned responses to stuff.
Bit by poisonous snake….stay away from snakes… That’s a direct result experience becoming belief.
Fear is nothing more than a conditioned response to a perceived danger. If we believe that something is dangerous or harmful to us, we naturally will fear it.
Some fears WILL save your life. So THINK when you feel fear.
Most fears however are triggers of unfamiliarity or discomfort. Here you have a chance to grow as a person.
Walk through the fear and you WILL WIN.
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