Quotes May Be The Most Underused Resource of All
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about this subject of quotes. As you may know, I recently created a new strategy/process known as Quotercises.
Quotercises are exercises that allow us to get more juice out of quotes that inspire, inspirit, entertain, and inform us. I have found over the thirty-some years I have been creating quotes that people like to pass on, that as much as someone likes a quote of mine, they may not really “get” it. Many folks just let quotes go in one ear and out the other, maybe with a momentary pause to be amused or awakened by the message contained within the quote.
This poster featuring a recent quote of mine was posted by TheMasterShift.com, along with two others in the past two weeks. Already, about 7000 people have shared these quotes on Facebook, which is mind-boggling to me. It also confirms for me that it is time to more effectively share some of my newer quotes. Many older ones have been circulating online for years.
This particular quote is very ripe for one of my favorite Quotercises: To take a quote and put it into your own words, as if you were originating it (Which you are if you put it into your own words!). First, be clear on the meaning of the quote above for you, then think about how you might rephrase it, put it into a statement that reflects your true thoughts and feelings. It doesn’t have be great literature, or even be shared with anyone. This is your way to use the idea behind the quote in a deeper way, and to express yourself in an area you may have not expressed yourself before.
When I think about it, the quote above could refer to your own ability to create your own quotes. It’s great to discover quotes out there that speak to you, but even better to find one within your own imagination.
My Second Best Experience Reading a Best Books List
INC. Magazine recently published a list of the Best Ten Motivational Books Of All Time. Some of my personal favorites were on the list, like Think And Grow Rich, The Power of Positive Thinking, and How To Win Friends and Influence People. This last was my father’s favorite, as he had once attended a talk given by author Dale Carnegie, and had taken several seminars given by Carnegie’s organization.
I’ll confess my favorite experience reading a list like this is to find Moneylove as one of the books listed, which I have done on some occasions. I was absent from this one, but my second best experience is finding a friend and colleague on the list. One of the books on this particular list is Og Mandino’s The Greatest Salesman In The World. The magazine picked their favorite quote of Og’s:
“I will live this day as if it is my last. This day is all I have and these hours are now my eternity. I greet this sunrise with cries of joy as a prisoner who is reprieved from death. I lift mine arms with thanks for this priceless gift of a new day.”
But my favorite Og Mandino quote is:
“Jerry Gillies will have you laughing all the way to the bank. Gillies doesn’t just lay down rules. He shows you with techniques that anyone can use, exactly how to accomplish all the objectives necessary to attract money–lots of it.”
And this was from one of my all-time favorite reviews of Moneylove, written by Og, who was the editor of SUCCESS Magazine at the time. It was sent to me by dozens of readers. I wrote to him and expressed my appreciation and said I hoped we could meet.
I got a very gracious reply. Finally we did meet, at a National Speakers Association convention in Las Vegas. We were not close friends, but shared many delightful moments when our paths crossed from time to time.
One of these occurred when I was walking by the blackjack tables on my way up to my room at that convention. It was after midnight, and there, seated alone at one table with a cocktail in front of him, was Og Mandino.
I had just thrown my clothes on to come down to check the banquet room where we had had an evening dinner event. A fellow speaker I had just met had given me the manuscript of a book she had just finished writing. The only place I could put it as we were eating was under my chair, and I had forgotten it there. But when I went back, there was no sign of it, and security had not seen it either.
I had emptied my pockets and just grabbed my key when I went down to the banquet hall, but as I saw Og, I felt in my pocket and found one lone $5. chip. I asked Og if I could join him and, with a big smile, he said “C’mon, sit down.”
I told him I wouldn’t be there long as I just had one chip with me. He said, “Poverty consciousness! Use your Moneylove principles.”
Amazingly, we ended up sitting and chatting for over three hours, as he nursed his one drink, and I ran $5. up to $500 (my biggest win ever). When I first sat down, he pointed to his blackjack hand and his drink and said, “Some of my fans might be disillusioned if they could see me now.”
Og was known for his spiritual energy as well as his great writing and speaking skills, but he was human like all of us. Those who knew him, admired his integrity and his genuine spiritual charisma. His books and audios live on, as he does in the memory of everyone who ever met him. I consider myself very fortunate to have done so.
Learning Requires Time To Put Knowledge Into Action
The other day, I received an email from a friend telling me about a new self-help book she discovered and felt was giving her a lot of valuable information to make her life better. This would be great, except for the fact that just since January of this year, this is the fourth “greatest thing since sliced bread,” she has discovered. Two of the others were also books, and one was a series of videos by a famous self-help “guru.” My friend is overdoing learning it but not doing it.
For myself, I set a six month moratorium on any new work purporting to change my life for the better once I come across something I think is worthwhile. Otherwise, I would not be able to put into action any good advice or suggested strategies a great author or teacher is advocating. We all need time to take in and absorb good teaching, and hurrying on to the next new best thing only provides an excuse to not follow-through on current information.
Many online information marketers practice “upselling.” In other words, once you have bought a book or audio or video or course from them, they will come back at you with something more expensive to buy. But if what they sold you in the first place was as good as they claimed, you wouldn’t need additional material for some time to come. Not if you studied and practiced their original teachings. It’s as if they were saying, “Okay, I’ve got your attention, now I’m going to tell you about what you really need to do to achieve success.”
I recently offered a Moneylove Mystery Package, and said that it was at least a year’s worth of extensive prosperity learning. I declared there was nothing else a customer had to buy from me to get my best information. But in this short attention span world, with many people self-trained to just skim the surface of things, I am sure I would have gotten a response from some of these customers if I offered more products at a higher price, with the presumption that “My first offer was just the appetizer, so here’s the main course.”
One formula that has worked for me is to spend 10% of my time and energy taking in new information and 20% on applying that knowledge. While you can set your own boundaries in this regard, I think in today’s atmosphere of information overwhelm, we all need to give ourselves some rules and guidelines.
Right now, I have enough audios and videos and ebooks to fill up the next several years–and these are just ones from friends! I will serve myself and my personal growth much more effectively if I take it slow, pace myself, and give anything I am learning that is new and exciting a real chance to make an impact on my consciousness.
The Power of Your Brain For Good Or Bad
For over thirty years now, I have been talking about and teaching about the incomparable power of the human brain. Controlling and Focusing this power is the primary means to any positive result in one’s life.
It isn’t just about feeding positive thoughts and messages into your subconscious mind. Equally important is your ability and willingness to shut down what I call “Your button from Hell.” This is the Replay button we all have inside our heads.
Now this can be a good and powerful ally in our forward movement through life, as we replay all our good experiences, and positive growth, and spiritual awareness. BUT, what many people tend to do is use this inner button to replay almost every negative event in their lives.
Think about the last bad event that happened in your life. In reality, it probably lasted for a very short amount of time–except that you kept replaying it over and over again in your mind. We all do this at times, and what determines how successful and prosperous and happy-and even healthy-we are, is how well we have learned to take charge of that replay button.
As an example, I recently was turned down when I asked a good friend to do me a big favor. We’ve done many favors for each other over the years, so I was surprised and even a bit shocked when I got a negative response. In my head, I replayed that big fat “No!” over and over again for about an hour. And then I realized that the disappointment didn’t have to last that long and was certainly getting in the way of me coming up with an alternative solution to my challenge. So I decided to replay instead a very positive experience I had had with this same friend about three years ago.
Even though I knew this was a contrived inner experience I was giving myself, designed to shut out the negative one that had just happened, it worked.
Almost every upset or worry or frustration or anger event we experience only has a major impact on our lives when we give it a longer life than it deserves by hitting that replay button.
Another Triumph Over Adversity
For the third time in the eighteen months I’ve been in Panama, Tuesday night I took an overnight express bus to arrive at the border exit at Paso Canoas at 5:45. The windows didn’t open until 7am. My first hassle began then as you get a cursory luggage search before presenting your passport. I was first in line, but then wanted to check something and came back to find I was now 6th. Getting off the bus I had met a young fellow traveler from Chile, José, and then a lovely young woman from Austria, Sonia. I introduced them to each other. Since they were 2nd and 3rd in the search line, they gestured to me to come get in at the head of the line. I said there was no need as they let in about 10 people at a time, so I would still be in the first batch. A dumb decision as it turned out.
The guy just in front of me had a hard-shelled little suitcase that had a combination lock and would not open as he kept trying for at least ten minutes. There was just one agent searching, so I was forced to wait. It finally popped open, and I was next in line, when a sudden surge of about thirty members of some tour group rushed in and the agent started to search them. I went to the man in charge sitting at a desk. I complained, but he spoke not a word of English. Finally, as it looked like at least another thirty minute delay, an English speaking and efficient agent came in, heard my plight–that I had been first in line and my two amigos already were at exit window. He glanced at my backpack without opening it and waved me on through. (I have no idea why Panama does this search, as they don’t take your name or give you a receipt or stamp your luggage, and the customs agents don’t refer to it once they tell you to go get it done. One could easily bypass the search and just pretend to have had it done, walking back up to the window.)
I then officially left Panama and walked two blocks to the Costa Rican border facility where I attempted to get my passport stamped to enter that country, and then turnaround and go through the exit process and then walk back and get approved to re-enter Panama for 180 days. My tourist visa would then be automatically extended for another 180 days.
Each time I’ve done this, either Panama or Costa Rica has changed some of the rules. This time, the Costa Rican agent demanded I produce proof that I was leaving Costa Rica. She said I had to walk a couple of blocks to buy a bus ticket going from any point in CR to any point in Panama. I chose a bus going from San Jose (I’ve never been) to David, Panama. I would bet some of that $21 I paid for the bus ticket ends up in the pocket of the customs agent.
I immediate went to the exit window, but they now have a new $5 tax that has to be paid before they let you out. A small bank office a few feet from windows was closed, set to open at 9am. It was just after 7am, and this meant I had to wait almost two hours for the bank office to open so I could pay the tax. A young Costa Rican told me the bus tour company he works for can do the tax processing and give me a valid receipt to show at the window, so I walked with him another couple of blocks, paid the $5 plus $3 service fee, then went back and passed through the exit process. Several Panamanians went out of their way to help this hapless Gringo with a very small Spanish vocabulary. One man even left his place in line to walk with me to get the bus ticket.
It was sticky hot and I could have easily started shouting at the agent, but I stifled my temper. The agent at the Panama exit window was a whole different story. She gave me no grief about doing it all in an hour, just glanced at the Copa airline ticket I had printed out (they give you a confirmation number and then two days to finalize and pay for ticket), and when I took out twenty-five $20 bills folded, she quickly gestured for me to put it away without any count.
But I was still steaming from the hard time given me with the brand new rules by Costa Rican agent. And as I walked over to bus area (as has always happened before, a bus was loading and I was invited on without buying ticket (this may be a little moonlighting operation by the driver who told me the price would be $16.90) I was making promises to myself that I would never ever return to Pasos Canoas. It is nice to do it all in less than 24 hours, but the ever-changing rules are ridiculous. I played over all the unpleasant things that happened, and then something pretty amazing happened, providing me with a valuable lesson–and the whole point of this post.
I decided to widen my focus, and see if there were any silver lining, good things I might be overlooking. In other words, I did a mental/emotional turnaround. Instead of continuing to replay all the yucky things that had happened, I started counting the good things.
1. Having arrived at 5:45am, I was on bus back to Panama City before 9:30am without having to stay overnight in Pasos Canoas.
2. The great agent who kept me from being stuck in the little search room as I was leaving Panama.
3. Several Latin Americans who went out of their way to help me deal with the Costa Rican border agents.
4. The fact I didn’t have to show an airline ticket back to the U.S. from Costa Rica, which would have probably turned me around in a terrible way, forcing me back to Panama City without having accomplished my visa requirement.
5. The friendly agent at the Panama entrance window who made it all lighthearted, friendly, and almost fun.
6. Meeting José and Sonia. I have a feeling they are attracted to each other enough to spend at least a very pleasant weekend together in Costa Rica.
7. I am out only another $29, for the CR bus ticket and the $8 tax and fee. This is less than it would have cost to stay overnight, as I had to do in January.
So, seated on the bus headed back, my whole mood shifted to a very upbeat and triumphant one. There was great scenery on the way Eastward through Chiriqui Province, and I got some good photos out the bus window. And when we stopped at the Los Toucanes restaurant in Santiago, a large buffet place. I got one serving of boiled potatoes and one of a sweet and sour beef dish–both spicy delicious. And, finally, my iPhone charge lasted almost until the end of the trip.
Looking back thirty hours later now, I view the whole thing as a mostly positive set of experiences. But I still am determined to find an alternate route next January when I do it all again
Confirming The Power of Words
For many years I (and many others) have been citing the immense power the words we hear and read have–with a tremendous effect on our consciousness. This is one of the reasons, even as a former broadcast journalist, I have suggested watching, listening, or reading the news every day can be harmful to our mental health. Primarily because, in order to build large audiences, news media tends to focus on negative, violent, tragic news. This can tilt one’s view of the world, and even create the attitude, “If the world is so rotten, why should I bother to make it a better place?”
There’s been an uproar in recent days after it was revealed that for one week in 2012, Facebook, without telling anyone, fed positive postings or negative postings only to about 700,000 of its one billion members. The cries of “Invasion of privacy!” have been shouted, but I think there’s some missing of the point here, perhaps due to some widespread paranoia about the influence and data gathering of the large online entities like FB, Google, and Amazon. Yes, they know more about us than they probably should, and this should be regulated to some degree. So far, however, the most evil use this data has been put to is to try to sell us the latest new weight loss fad, etc.
The response to the experiment was then given to researchers at Cornell University, who came to the following conclusion.
“Emotions expressed by others on Facebook influence our own emotions, constituting experimental evidence for massive-scale contagion via social networks.”
In other words, what our FB friends send out has an emotional impact which can lead to a widespread up or down mood. No kidding! As to not telling the people involved, I doubt it would have worked if everyone knew their news feeds and timelines were being tampered with. This is one case where I think the means justifies the means. Apologies have been issued, so it’s time to get a grip and get a life.
I have, over the past few years, unfriended several folks on FB who tended to rant, rave, whine, and pontificate about how terrible the world is. Life is challenging enough without having to put up with an avalanche of negative verbal energy. I sometimes worry about people who don’t have the sense of humor I do. Of course, we feel bad if a close friend is suffering, but we don’t need a play-by-play of every symptom for days on end, so that we have the same emotional reaction as if it were happening to us. I don’t think this is what empathy is supposed to be about.
While I agree there are too many adorable cat photos and videos on FB, no one ever got depressed watching a playful kitten. And don’t get me started in the opposite direction with all the reports of torturing of dogs, cats, and sometimes even people.
What does this have to do with my main topic on this blog, how to have a more prosperous, happier, meaningful and fulfilled life? A lot, as the words we surround ourselves with act as an army of support in our efforts to make life better for ourselves and others. For most people I know, life is basically good. Perhaps this has something to do with the choices I’ve made as to who to bring into my circle. I do this out in the world, and I am trying to do the same on social media. It makes life a lot easier.
Because of who I am and the books I’ve written and philosophy I’ve taught for over 40 years, I do tend to attract hopeful, optimistic, upbeat people into my sphere of influence. I feel blessed this is so. If Facebook’s transgression on our privacy rights helps make more people aware of the importance of this, then I’m all for it.
Getting Ready Is What Determines Success In Any Activity
The Merriam-Webster full definition of foreplay:
: erotic stimulation preceding sexual intercourse
: action or behavior that precedes an event