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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

32 Mind Sparks

A few years ago, my best friend Rob gave me an audiobook by Canadian motivator Mike Lipkin.

The title was Luck Favors the Brave and the content was generally very good, but it's the last chapter that really got to me. The title was 32 Mind Sparks and here's the transcript:

1. Courage
Courage means staying true to yourself. It means doing whatever it takes to honor your
intuition. It means never backing down when your instinct tells you not to. It means making
fear your ally, not your adversary. Most of all, it means acting in such a way that you are
proud of yourself the morning after. Courage means never having to regret what might have

2. Vision
Eventually, you will become the image you have of yourself so make it a magnificent one.
Describe the best you to yourself and whoever else will listen. Describe the actions you’ll take
and the results you’ll achieve. Make them bold but achievable. Harness the power of your
imagination to make it real in your own mind, then make it real in the real world. Everything is
created twice, first in your mind then in reality. The more you can sell yourself on the you of
your vision, the more you will attract forces that will help you make it so.

3. Purpose
Know WHY you want to do something and the HOW becomes a formality. But the WHY must
be a marvelous WHY. It must inspire you and greatly benefit others. Luck is attracted to
people who channel it in the direction of others. Define your WHY today, and the HOWs will
come looking for you.

4. Code of conduct
Know thyself. Hold yourself to standards higher that anyone else could hold you to. Step up
to a whole new level. Define your values, the forces that drive you at the deepest level. Write
them down. Live them. When circumstances change, you may need to change your code of
conduct, but live consciously. Be aware, especially in the challenging moments.

5. Self Belief
You have the Picasso, Michael Angelo, Einstein or Gretzky within you. Find out what your
genius is then develop it to the max. Know that you have been designed to do something that
no one else in the world can do as well as you. There are those who will pull you down and
there are those who want to lift you up. Ignore the former, romance the latter.

6. Optimism
Be brutally optimistic. Irrespective of your conditions, believe that they can only get better,
then backup your beliefs with action. Optimism is like oxygen, without it you perish. So see
things as you what them to be, then make them so, with little help from your friends. Look
back at your life, see the pattern. Things tend to right themselves, with a gentle push here
and then from you.

7. Confidence
Confidence is the ability to radiate certainty to others and in these times, it is the most sought
after skill of all. It doesn’t matter how you feel. What matters is how you make others feel.
Make them feel secure and your future will be secure. Know that you’re human and that you’ll
slip every now and then but know that you absolutely cannot afford to be tentative if you want
others to rally around you. Luck is turned out by doubt and diffidence.

8. Perspective
As the Globe&Mail says: “Perspective is everything.” When you feel the overwhelm coming
on, breathe, reflect, talk and see things from a different point of view. See the big picture,
then chop down. Break up the big picture into small pieces and deal with it one piece at a
time. Then move on to the next and the next and so on. Stay focused on each piece and you
will find the big picture assembles itself.

9. Action
“Just do it!” says Nike. I cannot say it any better. Do it before you are ready to do it. Do it
before its perfect. Do it before the other guy does. Do it because that’s how you learn to do it
even better. Do it because luck favors the person who does it first. Do it because everyone
else is waiting for somebody else to do it. Do it because you are brave, you are bold and you
want to get bigger.

10. Decisiveness
This is the core of leadership and influence. Think, research, talk, judge then decide and hold
true to your decision until you receive evidence that you should change it. Decisiveness
equals power because it eliminates doubt. Very rarely is a decision right or wrong. Just
making a decision will liberate your energies and give you the edge. What’s more, other
people will love you for it. Luck cannot reach you if you are in nowhere land.

11. Readiness
You never know where, and you never know when luck will approach you. What you do know
is that if you are not ready, luck will approach somebody else. So make sure your radar is on
at all times and treat every person as a potentially lucrative source of opportunities both to
give and to receive. Not only will they bask in the glow of your attention, they will become
advocates of your cause as well.

12. Congruence
Let your yes mean yes and your no mean no. Make your words fit your actions and your
actions fit your words. Make every part of you reinforce every other part of you. Let your
passion shine through then translate your passion into results. Make a promise keep a
promise. Luck favors the brave, not the ambivalent. So don’t sit on the fence, stand for
something then back it up over and over again. Ultimately, we all become what we repeatedly

13. Speed
The fast eat the slow. Do it right, but do it fast. Fast is sexy. Fast is exciting. Fast is
necessary. If not now, then maybe never. But fast doesn’t mean reckless, it doesn’t mean
careless. It means accelerating your current tempo. It means cutting out the inessentials, the
unnecessary and the irrelevances. Simplify, focus, act, and the sooner you make your
mistakes, the sooner you can correct them.

14. Follow through
First with the head, then with the heart. Originate the idea, then execute it fiercely. Get
traction when the rubber meets the road. Be a great follow upper because they’re so rare.
Anyone who can actually make things happen is going to be the go to person for many, many
other people. Forward to the basics. Become known as a doer, not just a talker and luck will
favor you.

15. Adaptability
Be like the water, not the rock. Be like the chameleon, not the peacock. Be like the acrobat,
not the marionette. Be the change you’re looking for. Keep the core sacrosanct, but shed
your outer layers to suit the climate. Keep asking 2 fundamental questions. How can I
resonate with the people around me at the deepest level and what must I change about
myself to hum at the same frequency as the atmosphere around me.

16. Play full out
If you are going to do it, then do it. Don’t semi, quasi, kind of, sort of; do it. Do it or don’t do it.
Play full out very time you’re in the game. There’s no such thing as an unimportant meeting,
presentation or sales call. If you’ve got the privilege of even one minute of another person’s
lifetime, make it count. If you give it everything you have, you will have everything to give.
There’s a power that comes with holding nothing back: it’s called momentum, it’s called pride,
it’s called traction with your customers.

17. Sharing
After survival, sharing may be the most fundamental of all human drives. Without it nothing
feels or tastes the same. So give in to your instincts. If you what to increase your share,
share. Share your joy, your resources, your insight and your information. If you hold what you
have, it will wear you down and slow you down. There’s a reason why we are designed to
share: it’s called cross pollination. What I share with you and what you share with me
enriches both of us in a way that neither one of us could have achieved alone.

18. Generosity
I love this word. It means giving abundantly and freely. It means being free from meanness
and smallness of mind. Of all the traits that attract luck, this may be the most compelling. To
be generous is to be great, to be large, to be copious. If you’re generous, you’re already
wealthy. In your own mind, you have more than enough to give to everyone around you.
Generosity is great business and it’s a great way to live your life. Of all the things I try to be
every day. Being generous may be the most important.

19. Mentorship
Mentor was the loyal advisor of Odysseus, entrusted with the care and education of
Telemachus, Odysseus’s son, in the great story by Homer. Today, a mentor is someone who
is perceived to be wise and trusted coach or teacher. A mentor however is also someone
who commands your total trust and respect. Mentorship is the art of achieving that status.
Mentorship is almost always requested by one person from another. Honor the request when
you receive it and you put a huge deposit in the luck account.

20. Friendship
A friend is someone who you like and choose to spend time with. A friend is someone who is
there to give you assistance when you need it most. A friend is someone who is your support
in tough times. A friend is the antidote to loneliness and isolation. A good friend is good to
find, to keep, to have and to hold. Be a good friend and you will bask in the glow of reciprocal
affection. True wealth is measured in true friends. Be one.

21. Humor
Humor is a way of looking at the world through sun tinted lenses. It’s the ability to perceive
what’s comical or amusing in any situation. It’s also the ability to express that comedy so that
other can share in the laughter. The highest form of humor is the ability to see the funny side
of things that are not funny so you can lighten other’s load. Humor and joie de vivre go hand
in hand. Develop your sense of humor. Spend time with humorous people. Without humor life
can be a dark place indeed.

22. Doing more
It’s the foundational law of success. Exceed other people’s expectation even by a heartbeat
and you differentiate yourself from 99.9% of other people. In times of overload and
overwhelm, most people struggle just to do what’s necessary. Those who do what’s possible
get all the juice. Doing what’s necessary is the beginning, not the end. Do just a little bit more
and you will succeed. Do a lot more and you will soar. And remember, the more you do, the
more you will be capable of doing. It’s called learning in action. Start today and never stop.

23. Expecting more
If you expect more, you look forward to more. Your regard more things as likely to happen.
You anticipate more. You are also open to more. You sense more. You feel more. You have
more excitement. You also have more heartbreak and disappointment. So what? The amount
of excitement and fulfillment you experience massively overcompensates the pain you may
go through. So expect more from yourself, from life and from others. The alternative is to
expect less and the moment you expect less, you contract daily until there’s nothing left but a
shell. It’s your call.

24. Trust
Trust is a strong belief that things will happen just the way you want them to. Trust means
faith in yourself and other people to do what has to be done. It’s a reliance on yourself and
others to deliver on commitments. Your word becomes your strongest currency. Trust is also
a willingness to do whatever it takes to honor your word and to help others do the same. If
you can continue to trust despite everything, you will prevail. Trust is the most direct route to
well being and peace of mind.

25. Endurance
Life is a long game. Victory goes to the person who can outlast everyone else. Endurance
means human durability. Endurance is the capacity to stay the course irrespective of
setbacks, frustration, threats or fatigue. It means never, ever saying the words: “I give up.”
The history of broken dreams and broken people is the history of people who couldn’t endure.
Often, they broke down as they were about to break through. So don’t turn back as things are
about to turn around, hang in there just a little bit longer, and then a little bit longer. Hang in
for as long as it takes and you will take what you long for.

26. Resilience
Resilience means springing back from adversity. It means standing tall after slipping or
tripping. It means being elastic so you can stretch without snapping. Resilience means
staying buoyant when life threatens to sink you. It means being tough but flexible so you can
bend without breaking. Resilience is what you have when you know you have no alternative,
either you spring back fast or you perish, either in body or spirit or both.

27. Conditioning
It’s all about being in the right condition to succeed. It’s about training your mind and body to
go where your competition cannot follow you. There is a direct symmetry between your
willingness to train and your frequency of wins. You have the raw potential to be the best
there ever was at something. Your mandate and my mandate is to transform your potential
into performance and then sustain it, day after day, month after month, year after year. Get
into a mental and physical conditioning program that keeps you juiced and stay on it. It takes
big time effort to live in the end zone. But then where else is there?

28. Consistency
Consistency is the ultimate mark of a professional. Consistency means being at the top of
your game whenever you are playing your game. The difference between mediocrity and
brilliance is in the variance of your performance. The mediocre are awesome some of the
time. The brilliant are awesome all the time. In fact, if you’re brilliant you’re often the only
person who knows that you are not playing at the top of your game. Even on your off days
you appear on. So burn your excuses, make every phone call or meeting a masterpiece. Life
is a game of inches says Al Pacino. Each new superb performance takes you to the next, and
the next, and the next… Consistency is the quickest route to mastery.

29. Interpretation
Nothing in life has any meaning except the meaning you give it. The difference between
excitement and panic is simply the difference of how you interpret what’s happening to you.
That’s why two people can react so differently to the same event. One person translates the
event as an opportunity and the other as a threat. Remember, the champion sees the
opportunity in every threat. The also-ran sees the threat in every opportunity. If you see
everything as an opportunity that leads to something else you will consistently find more
opportunities. This is otherwise known as luck.

30. Sense of Wonder
To have a sense of wonder means to be constantly filled with admiration, amazement and all
about the surprises life brings us every day. A sense of wonder is the ultimate protection
against cynicism and fatigue. On any given day, you and I are gifted with a series of
extraordinary sights, sounds, feelings, tastes and smell that provide a fest for the senses.
Enjoy them consciously and with gratitude. There are no small things in life. Everything is a
miracle if you choose to see it as such.

31. Affinity for Adversity
There is trouble on the way. It’s coming. In fact, it’s coming soon to an office near you. Maybe
you caused it and maybe you didn’t. It doesn’t matter. What matters is how you handle it. It’s
not enough just to accept it, you have to relish it. Adversity is like a gymnasium for the brain.
The more problems you are forced to handle, the stronger your mind becomes. So love thy
problems. The more successful you become, the more problems you are going to have, you
may as well celebrate them. They have been given to you as your ongoing tutorials in the
school of life.

32. Letting Go
Travel light. Forget what you do not need to remember. Unlearn what doesn’t serve you.
Above all, let go of your grudges and anger towards anyone. Remember the Chinese
proverb: the person who plans revenge should first dig 2 graves. Think about it, life is about
losing things. Once you’ve lost them, leave them behind. Keep the lessons learned, that’s all.
It’s your choice: you can prepare for the future or suffer because of the past. Let the past go
and be free to be all that you can and where meant to be.

1 comment:

Jacques said...

Reminds me of the poem "IF" written by Rudyard Kipling