FROM RULES TO LIMITLESS

By Terry Carter, Editor

I once heard a story of a newly married couple, and the husband was helping his wife cook dinner in the kitchen of their new home. She had purchased a roast, seasoned it, cut off the ends and put it in a large pan. 

While the oven was preheating, the husband asked his new “Why do you cut off the ends of the roast? It seems like a waste of good meat.” She gave him a defensive look and explained, “My mother has always done it this way – and so did her mother.” Several months later, the newlyweds met the whole family for a big holiday meal. The husband promptly asked the bride’s mother why she cut off the ends of the roast before cooking it. She said her mom had always done it that way, and it was tradition.

After some family talk on the subject, the husband asked the grandmother why she had cooked roast that way. Being an honest woman, she went right to the point and revealed a revalation. “I cut off the ends of the roast because my oven at the time was too small to fit the whole roast.” 

She had sacrificed out of the necessity and passed on this cooking tradition to her daughter and granddaughter. And no one realized the reason or that ovens today are big enough for even the largest roast. It was simply a rule of the day because ovens in the 1940s were small.

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Much of our lives today is run by rules we learned young and still follow, even though those rules may have reached their expiration date or are simply not benefiting us. Look around analytically, and you will see that many rules we expect to be universal laws are not always accurate, such as we must have a college education to succeed. I know many men and women who have not college experience, yet they are successful, in my view.

I grew up absorbing the wisdom of my parents, and my father worked for large corporation, averaging 40-50 hours a week on a Monday-Friday schedule. I only recall him working for perhaps three companies in my life, so the mantra of the day seemed confirmed: Get a good education, work 40-50 years for 1-3 major companies and then you can retire early.

Upon earning my bachelor’s degree, I encountered a changing world that destroyed that ideal career scenario. I was laid off three times in five years in my chosen field. As a result of my desire to control my destiny, I have started or co-founded six companies so far while still staying in touch with the consulting or employee side of my life. 

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Most of us live a life of lies because we firmly grasp these rules growing up. Work hard, for example. Reality is: We all work hard, but only a small percentage work smart and employ the creative genius thereby leveraging their time, talents to get ahead. Fewer still actively create a framework that allows them to pocket millions of dollars while traveling the world in opulence.

I have means and end goals currently, but means goals are more common for nearly everyone because of the rules we heard when young. And you have means goals about career earnings, raising a family, retirement, purchasing a special home and working for a great company.

But end goals are probably where we as humans want to go because as we begin achieving the means goals set by society and our culture, many of us wind up NOT happy at all when we are in our 30s, 40s and 50s. We may have a high-paying career, but we are actually stuck in boring, stagnant positions running from home to work, home to work and home to work.

We have less time with our families than we truly want. And because of that, we often find our relationships at home suffering to the point our spouses ignore us, our children don’t want us around and our pet growls or hisses at us. For millions of Americans, it is the literal rat race, and we are the rat being chased, pressured and squeezed by deadlines, bills, work, home, retirement (if we can afford to consider it) and more.

This is a real-world case. Even with a Master’s Degree as a 1-percent earner and at the top of his or her field, the achievers today are not truly happy. Sure, they look good on camera. But many are struggling to get through each day, wondering why they are not happy with their vaults of money, garages of fine vehicles, multiple homes. And somehow, we sit in our 10-year-old Honda, driving to work from an apartment to a deadend job and believe we have all the answers about happiness. 

The truth is less than one percent of us would be content if our income fell 50-70 percent today because it is way beyond our comfort zone. But layoffs happen, and that is often a 100 percent pay cut. Retirement happens too, and many retirees settle for less than half of their full-time career income.

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So how do we get from “living within the cultural rules” to having limitless options for improvement?

We pay attention to movers like Elon Musk, founder of Tesla Motors and numerous other major companies. We learn from Richard Branson and Vishen Lakhiani and Michael Beckwith and Marisa Peer. These people are changing the potential for extraordinary achievement by ordinary folks like you and I. They are telling us how to do what millionaires Musk, Branson and Lakhiani have already done.

Lakhiani founded Mindvalley and transformed the company into a industry-leading personal development mastermind organization that is setting the world of achievers on fire currently. I am re-reading his book, The Code of the Extraordinary Mind, for the second time in seven days. The hardback version has been highlighted beyond belief because it reveals startling, new information. Since I read 40-60 books annually of business, personalities and improvement, I think I can safely say this book is probably the best book I have read in decades. 

Jack Canfield, co-author of the best-selling series Chicken Soup for the Soul, said it bluntly about Lakhiani’s book. And Canfield is an expert on this type of writing: “Vishen Lakhiana’s knowledge base and his ability to present it clearly and to actually put it into practice is above anyone I have ever seen in this field.”

Lakhiani has many unconventional suggestions. But when it comes to finding the end goals that lead you to your desired destination in life, he mentions these:

  1. What experiences do you want to have in this lifetime?
  2. How do you want to grow?
  3. How do you want to contribute?

(More on this topic soon)

WHAT MAKES YOU BETTER

By Terry Carter, Editor

Personality tests are fun games to play on the Internet. They appear meaningless. Most of us don’t take them seriously. However we all have strengths, tendencies, preferences and weaknesses that affect us each day of our lives. 

Knowing your personality or style is a major step forward in improving your skills, relationships and ultimately your future. Likewise as you understand personality traits, you will begin to comprehend your micro-managing boss not as a monster, but as a detail-oriented leader. By simply crossing your Ts and double checking your match, you will improve his view of you.

At home, it’s a good bet that 1-in-4 children gives you fits because they are nearly a mirror image of your personality, and two strong leaders will clash in the same household until they learn to respect each other and co-exist. In my family, stubbornness and leadership are strengths — and potential weaknesses — of each child. Each reminds me of a certain grandmother who most certainly would have bent any personality profile to a new setting on personal strength and a go-getter attitude.

Let me explain that I love each of my children with every breath in my body, and I would gladly sacrifice myself for them. Each is massively blessed with gifts and wisdom that would make every parent proud. All three will change the world as they remember to dream big dreams and to chase them because that is why God placed them on this Earth.

The oldest child is a natural leader, and she has flourished as an adult because she also is dependable and cares. She does not quit and is blessed with a natural ability to troubleshoot many issues. Her future is extremely bright in any industry, and she has now tied the knot with a hard-working young man. I admire her take-charge skills, her fix-it-now mentality and her potential.

The middle child is gifted as an artist, and he possesses the wisdom of a philosopher. He prefers to choose his own path and his own hours. And he bravely chose his unique path by moving to Hawaii for several years. It is a move I may have made after high school if the opportunity had beckoned. I admire his independence, his creativity and his enthusiasm.

The youngest child is the peace keeper from her childhood. Athletically gifted, she has been graced with a maturity that is equal to or even beyond her psychology-trained father. She has learned so much through trial-and-error that she now shares her wisdom with people to assist them in their daily lives. She is an inspiration to those younger and older. It is my assessment that her writing and speaking skills, among many others, will help her reach out to many more people in the future. I admire her growth and stability each day she improves her life.

This talented threesome are all unique and motivated by different forces. Yet their love for each other has never been as strong as it is now. It is all we as parents could hope for after watching the bickering, arguing and fussing among three young children.

As far as your personality goes, all of us have four behavioral tendencies, but in differing intensities. The names used vary greatly, but their meanings are similar. Most have two strengths that complement each other, such as a strong leader with detailed tendencies or a mellow person who likes attending parties, but not organizing them. Please keep in mind, all of the traits described below are neither good nor bad. They can truly be huge advantages.

Leadership Traits: Whether you call it choleric, dominance or power, this is the ability to lead, to take charge, to conquer in pursuit of a goal. Leaders lead, right? Not true. Leaders all have areas where they lead best. And as leaders mature and surround themselves with other talented leaders, they learn that it is not always necessary to lead from sunrise to sunset. Delegating becomes the better decision.

Peace Maker Traits: The opposite of a leader is a peace keeper, the individual who builds and keeps teams together. Normally this person is quiet and goes along with the leader’s decisions. They don’t rock the boat, but they are key to keeping the boat afloat in their own, subtle way.

Spontaneous Traits: The spontaneous one works on the fly and makes constant adjustments. They work better without a micro-managed plan. Give them a few genera guidelines, aim them at a goal and launch them away. This individual persuades with fun or entertainment. 

Planner Traits: Given a chance, planners plan everything, including their clothing, their route to work, their meals, the number of steps to their desk — everything. While great plans can lead to great success. Time constraints minimize planning.

Now here is your first test: Which of these general descriptions fits you best? Which is second? Third? Fourth? Most of you have two strong characteristics because they are like four points on the compass, N, E, S, W. You cannot really go east and west simultaneously, can you?

Apparently it can be done by a small minority of people — about two percent of the population. The DISC Behavior Profile focuses on dominance, influence, steadiness and conscientiousness. I took this test in 2013 and scored above a dominant 5.0 on 3-of-4 behavioral patterns. Based on natural traits, I should have scored that strong in only two areas. But I improved my results through years of intentional focused training in planning/organizational traits. 

You control your destiny. And when you understand how people around you think and respond to situations, you will be much better able to win in the game of life day in and day out. Best of luck out there.