Free Gift from John C. Maxwell

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Are you willing to trade your happiness for your pleasure?

Are you distracted by shiny objects

The other day I received a gift.  Someone close to me gave me "The Little Book of Big Quotes" from one of my favourite motivators - Zig Ziglar.  I was so thrilled to receive this gift that I chalked it up as an early Christmas present.

It is full of many superb quotes, but one in particular drew my attention... "The chief cause of failure and unhappiness is trading what you want most for what you want right now!"

Are you as excited as a child on Christmas Eve?

This got me thinking about the joys of Christmas.  There is a heightened sense of anticipation on Christmas Eve as kids struggle to fall asleep knowing that during the course of the night a man in a big red suit with a deep voice and cheery smile will be leaving a series of gifts under the Christmas tree.

They wake up eager and energised, making a bee-line towards their presents.

Wrapping paper is ripped to pieces and cast-off alongside the boxing that holds the latest toy or gismo that is making the rounds that year.  Their smiles reveal their happiness as they play with their newly acquired status symbol!

Are you tossing aside your dreams?

But as the day draws to a close, these toys are often found, discarded in a corner, tossed away like a crushed coke-can.  With the battery power fading, they soon lose their appeal and become expensive trophies that mark the time of brief enjoyment for their young owners.

What are you willing to sacrifice?

My mentor John Maxwell wrote about the Law of Sacrifice in his best-selling book "The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership."  He says that "A leader must give up to go up."

When it comes to sacrifice, we have the choice of putting in the hard work up front and enjoying the rewards later, or taking instant gratification whilst putting off the task at hand until a later time.  Maxwell teaches on the pitfalls of the latter strategy...

"You can pay now and play later, or play now and pay later."  But whenever you put off the payment, the cost always increases because of compounding effect of the back-end.

Are you trading off what you want most for what you want right NOW?

Here are 5 questions to ask yourself the next time a shiny object catches your attention:

  1. What will it really cost me to do this now?
  2. What is the benefit to me to focus on this now?
  3. What will it cost me to do this later?
  4. Who will benefit the most if I focused on this now?
  5. What will I have to give up to make this a priority?

So, the next time that you get tempted to pick up that shiny object, use these 5 questions as your guideline and save yourself from losing something that you really want for something that you want now.


You are a product of your decisions

It's impossible to grow without changing

For things to change, I need to change!

This is a phrase that rang loud and clear in my ears as I re-started my career here in New Zealand following a 12 month spell of unemployment during the late 1990's.  I went through all five stages of the classic loss and grieving process... Denial and Isolation; Anger; Bargaining; Depression; & Acceptance.

Once I gained acceptance of my role within the position that I found myself in, I was able to take up the mantra and change myself for the better.

I'm not a product of my circumstances

If you find yourself in a position of frustration, I encourage you to look at the following five questions and see if you are cause of your predicament:

  1. Did you make poor decisions leading up to this point?
  2. Are you in the habit of blaming others for your problems?
  3. Are you in denial over the results of your actions?
  4. Are you unwilling to take accountability over your actions?
  5. Are you in the regular habit of reviewing your actions and their consequences?

Where you are today is the direct result of all the actions that you have taken to date.  Maybe it's time for you to grow up and change your own nappy!


Your consistency will breed security

Everything in moderation... including moderation

When you look at yourself and your work ethic, answer the following question with honesty - "Am I consistent with my work ethic?"

In his book 'The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth', John Maxwell talks about the Law of Consistency.  He challenges the reader to understand their motivation for wanting to keep on improving.

Motivation Gets You Going - Discipline Keeps You Growing

"Knowing what to improve and how to improve are critical to consistency in personal growth.  But," he says, "so is knowing why." John encourages us to take 'The Why Test' that Mike Murdock recommends to help you judge whether you have tapped into your 'whys'.

Answer these five simple questions to find out how closely you are aligned to your motivation for personal growth:

  1. Do you constantly procrastinate on important tasks?
  2. Do you require coaxing to do small chores?
  3. Do you constantly talk negatively about your work?
  4. Do efforts of friends to encourage you irritate you instead?
  5. Do you start small projects and abandon them?

If you answer yes to most of these questions, you haven't tapped into a strong enough why to keep you growing.  I would encourage you to continue your path of self-development and use it to enable you to grow above those that surround you.


Change yourself, not your scene

Very often a change of self is needed more than a change of scene

They say that a rest is as good as a holiday. 

Some people say, "All I need is a change of scene for things to improve!" But will a change of scene make a difference?

The reality for most people is that when they get back to the grind, it's back to the same old, same old! 

For things to change, I have to change

At the risk of teaching you to suck eggs (no pun intended), here are five things that I recommend for you to review about yourself and your working environment:

  1. Am I positive in ALL interactions?
  2. Am I willing to take control over my emotions?
  3. Am I willing to accept responsibility for the outcomes of my decisions?
  4. Am I living as a victim in B.E.D. - Blame; Excuses & Denial? or
  5. Am I living as a victor using my O.A.R. - Ownership; Accountability & Responsibility?

So the next time you're looking for a change of scene, try changing yourself instead.  It could be must cheaper and drive more results your way!


For your seed to germinate you have to be in the dark

Your brightest glory follows your darkest hour

There will be times in your personal and business life that will seem dark and desperate.  Your back will be against the wall and progress will appear fruitless.

Most people will lose hope at that point and might quit the race.

Yet this is the best time to persevere and carry on.

Perseverance produces fruit

For a seed to bear fruit, it needs to be planted in (ideally) rich soil and then watered and fertilised. The dark, camp environment becomes conducive to its growth.  The process allows the seed to fie to itself and to then produce fruit that can be harvested.

As you struggle through these dark times, remember that your perseverance will produce the required fruit to help you burst through the topsoil and enjoy the bright sunlight to nourish your on-going growth.