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    It is easier to give a compliment than receive one

    April 30th, 2010

    “It’s easier to give a compliment than receive one.”

    Go out and compliment everyone you meet. Be sincere and watch their reactions. I had somebody suggest this to me a number of years ago, so I went out and started complimenting people.

    “That’s a nice purse you have.”
    “This is a great cup of coffee! Thanks for making this for me.”

    By watching others I learned something very interesting. It’s very difficult for us to accept compliments.

    As I thought about this deeper and I complimented more people, I realized that there might be two reasons for this.

    First in the example I mentioned about the purse, the woman probably thought I wanted something from her. She might be thinking I am complimenting her in order to start a conversation. So, she’s not going to accept the compliment and she doesn’t see it as being sincere.

    Secondly as seen in the other example, the nice cup of coffee, some people just aren’t able to accept compliments.

    I need to look at what I’m doing when I am bestowing compliments. Compliments are not a way to manipulate people, like the woman with the purse. They’re a way to recognize people.

    Once I started thinking about compliments in these terms, it changed the way I complimented people. And also, this is an odd result I wasn’t expecting, when people started complimenting me, the sincere ones felt better and I was more able to accept the compliment rather than defray them.

    We’ve all heard people deflect compliments. “Oh, it wasn’t that big a deal.”

    I learned to say, “Thank you. I worked very hard on that. “Thank you for recognizing me.”

    This not only improved the way I interact with others, it helped me learn to enjoy praise.

    Success is not a moment in time

    April 29th, 2010

    “Success isn’t a moment in time, it’s the path between moments.”

    In the past I found myself thinking, “When I have the big, fancy house, I’ll be successful. When I have the trophy wife, I’ll be successful. When I have a Cadillac, I’ll be successful.” When I got those things I still didn’t feel successful. (I never married the woman who looked like Cathrine Zeta Jones, but I could have just by asking.)

    I was looking for things outside myself to feel good about. I was looking to the future instead of living in the moment.

    This saying reminds me that it’s not the end result, having those things or being there, it’s the process.

    This is so important, because I hear many people saying, “I can’t do this until I have this done,” or driving themselves to meet these goals and they give up the now in their quest for future success.

    The truth is when we live our lives with self-accountability and self-responsibility, when we have a community around us, and when we a positive and realistic the vision of our futures, we have success. Whether we have money or not, whether we have the fancy cars and fancy houses.

    It’s not about the future, it’s about now.

    When accountants look at the books of a business, they look at the cash flow statement, which is the things going in and out and how a business works through a period of time. This gives a real look at the business.

    Accountants also look at something called a balance sheet. When they look at the balance sheet, that’s a snapshot of the corporation at that specific date, like December 31st at midnight. Because the balance sheet only shows the assets and liabilities of a company at one moment in time, it gives no information about the prospects for the business.

    We need to look at our lives in terms of a cash flow statement, where every day we’re looking at what goes on, rather than projecting to some future point where we’re going to take a photograph of what our life looks like and say, “This is when I’ll be successful.”

    By looking at each day and a series of days we get a better idea of our progress. A better idea of areas needing improvement and areas where we excel.


    PS: After spending a week transferring the newsletter to a new company I’m back doing new essays daily. You can subscribe with the box on the right so you don’t miss a message. The new company allows me more options in sending you notices when the essays are added, and now you get introductions to the article in addition to the title. It’s a better service.

    PPS Check out the Facebook Like button I added. It’s right below this paragraph. If you’re logged into Facebook, it will show your friends who like this article. You can click on the button and let your Facebook friends know you like this article. Try it.

    When they teach chickens to play the piano

    April 21st, 2010

    “When they teach chickens to play the piano, they use positive reinforcement.”

    Consider the way chickens are trained to play the piano. A light goes on and if the chicken pecks the right key he gets a bit of corn. The chicken learns a red light means this key, a yellow light means this key, and blue light means this key.

    Once the chicken learns what color matches each key, then the chicken is given a sequence of lights.

    That’s the way to accomplish things, build a sequence just like training a chicken.

    This saying reminds me to go out and celebrate my accomplishments. These celebrations are one of the reasons I do things — to get the positive reinforcement.

    It also reminds me that when I set a large goal, I should set smaller goals along the way, so I get more positive reinforcement. More Celebrations.

    If a chicken can do it, I can do it.

    You cannot force growth

    April 20th, 2010

    “You cannot force growth, you can only encourage it.”

    A harsher version is,

    “You can drag a fish onto land, but you can’t make him grow legs and walk.”

    In my life, I’ve had many instances, too many instances, of people trying to force me to grow, people trying to force me to change. People trying to force me to confirm to their paradigms.

    I never did.

    There were also people in my life, very few over the years, who said, “Terry, you don’t have to live like this anymore. When you’re ready to stop, give me a call. Right now, I’m not going to waste any of my time with you.”

    When I heard people saying that, it was like, “Yeah, same to you, buddy!”

    I only began to make changes in my life when I was just so miserable I wasn’t willing to live that way anymore.

    As I become willing to change I didn’t remember the people who gave me lectures and heated advice about how I should be living my life. I remembered the people who said, “When you’re ready, call me.”

    Today I try to do the same thing with others. It’s not about giving advice or forcing people to accept my wisdom. It’s just about being me. When you’re ready, I’ll be here.

    I wrote the above section a few years ago. Today I am starting to see many of the people who force advice or ideas on me are really insecure people. They were looking at my behavior and judging me to feel better about themselves. The “advice” was just the vocal expression of their judgment.

    On the other hand, the people who refused to waste their time with me were making choices. They saw I had nothing to offer them, and moved on. They didn’t need to judge me to feel good about themselves.

    Owning reasons leads to results

    April 15th, 2010

    “Owning reasons leads to results.
    Owning obstacles equals failure.
    Owning success equals success.”

    This is another thing that I had heard in many different forms over the years. This must have been a very difficult lesson for me to learn, because I have quite a few different versions of this.

    What this means is I need to take action. It also means that obstacles are things I go around, not things I seize on so I can give up. They’re just hurdles. This means moving forward looking for reasons why, rather than why not.

    Expecting success is the first step in achieving success.