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The REAL reason, and one that sounds good.

JP Morgan used to say that people usually have two reasons for what they do: the REAL reason, and one that sounds good. Dale Carnegie’s book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, tells us to appeal to the one that sounds good in order to get people on our side. As effective as that is, I’l have to admit that Carnegie’s suggestion always seemed like manipulation to me rather than genuine engagement. Does it work? Sure, but it’s a philosophy based on the Western tendency to believe it’s okay for people to use each other.

That being said, when you want to pursue a business or personal vision, having a real reason that is different from the one that sounds good may not interfere with its success if we measure by profit, but it can affect the legacy of that vision. Ulterior motive also tend to lead us toward manipulation, deceit, and under-handed tactics which in time may very well poison our relationships. I’m all for success and profitability, but in the end there is no substitute for authenticity and integrity.

As you build your vision, a great way to protect that vision’s integrity is to periodically as yourself if there’s a ‘real reason’ behind your decisions that differs from the ones that sound good. As I discuss i my book, The Million Dollar Hustle, your real intention will influence your decisions, and your decisions will determine your results… and their consequences.

What can you do today to refine the integrity of your vision?

Some thoughts on the Charleston Shooting

My heart goes out to the victims of this latest violent tragedy in America. However, I can’t say I’m surprised by it.

Another mass shooting has occurred, and yet again we see that the perpetrator had a history of using a pharmaco-therapeutic agent called suboxone, which is used to treat addiction. The drug is known to be associated with violent outbursts. Yet once again we probably won’t see the Pharmaceutical industry held accountable, despite the growing list of mass shooters whose behavior may very well have had some connection to their use of mind-altering drugs.

Then we have to contend with a media determined to fan the flames of racial discord, and a government determined tp capitalize on tragedy to push gun control. Is there an agenda? It sure seems that way, given that the media doesn’t cover heinous crimes like the recent rape, torture and murder of a 16 year old girl by two men who went so far as to burn her genitals to try to cover up their crime.

Never forget that the news that’s reported is carefully selected and presented in a way intended to influence your thinking and decison making.

The Charleston shooting is a terrible tragedy, but let’s not allow it to divide us.

How to work with people you DON’T like

Let’s face it. We’re not always going to like every co-worker, supplier, vendor, and so on. Sure, it’s human nature to try to work with people we like, and most of us if we’re in a position to do so, we tend to pick vendors and supplies, for example, that we like better, even at the cost of price, quality, delivery, and more. Over the years I’ve made a conscious decision to go with quality and trustworthiness first, because at the end of the day the best interest of my clients matters more than whether I like the people who print my manuals or host my mastermind groups.

How then, do we find a balance where we can work with people we don’t like, especially when we’re in a position where we don’t have much choice?

Now, I’m a man, and we men tend to be able to work with almost anyone. Part of this is because how we tend to communicate. Men’s communication tends to be a bit primitive, it centers around status, not unlike wolves in a pack. As long as we all know our spot in the pack, we can get along well enough to function. Women, on the other hand tend to communicate for connection. Thus when a woman doesn’t like who she’s working with, connecting seems just about impossible. However, there are plenty of men and women whose ‘communication personality’ is a mix of these two styles, so let’s explore a few simple ways to deal with folks you just don’t like.

  1. Get over yourself. Most of our judgments concerning people are entirely subjective. Sometimes we’re just plain wrong in how we’re viewing them. Even when we’re right, if we let our dislike for someone get in the way of what could otherwise be a productive and profitable relationship, we’re just being childish. Who cares if you don’t like him? Focus on getting results, not on whatever it is about the person you don’t like.
  2. Re-train your brain. Find a way to overlook the things you don’t like and find something to like. I once had to work with an event planner who I thought was insincere and selfish. I don’t like selfish people, and I despise insincere people. However, he was good at what he did, and I’m a big believer in loving people where they’re at, even if they get on my nerves, so I made a conscious decision to find something about him to like. He was a pretty snappy dresser, so I thought of him in terms of his fashion sense, and as a result we got along well enough that when it was my time to speak, he gave me probably the best introduction I’ve ever received. Had I not overcome my dislike, I might have done or said something to piss him off, and that intro might not have been quite so good.
  3. Don’t get too caught up with #2. I’m not saying you have to force yourself to like everyone. Sometimes the best approach is to focus on the work that is to be done.
  4. So, how do I focus on the work? The easiest way is to determine what the measurable results need to be. As the old saying goes, if it gets measured, it gets done. The next thing to do is to check your ego at the door. Sometimes, when we don’t like someone, even determining what needs to get done can turn into a tug of war. In some cases, I’ve even let the person I don’t like take the lead, supported their ideas (unless they were really THAT bad), and let them think they were the ‘alpha dog’ just so we could get the project done, get paid, and go home. Another way is to work virtually. With things like DropBox and other online means of collaboration, we can now to a great extent remove ourselves from the personal space of people we don’t like.

I try my best to work with people I like, but when that’s not possible, this simple approach has helped me to get along with people even when I really just wanted to tar and feather them, so give it a try.

Dealing with dream killers

Okay, so you have a dream. Maybe you’ve started planning for it, and it’s become a vision. You’re taking decisive action toward it’s fulfillment. Naturally, you’re excited about it, because you believe in it, so you go ahead and share it with those near and dear to you… or maybe you’re already telling anyone who will listen.

However, they don’t believe in it… and they’re not that nice about it. They point out its downsides, find fault with it, ridicule it, try to convince you that you’re not ‘qualified’ to achieve it, or maybe they even point how others are already doing something similar, or how others have tried and failed. Very often, many of us who get this kind of reaction get discouraged and let our dreams die, allowing others to rob us of our potential for success and greatness. We’ve been assassinated by dream killers.

First, we have to understand WHY so many people are dream killers. Not all of them are petty and vicious. Some of them just don’t want to see you fail miserably. In other cases, they’re just projecting their own fear of failure onto you, or because they fear they might ‘lose’ you if you do happen to succeed. In some cases, dream killers are people who secretly resent your ambition, because you’re willing to take chances that they aren’t willing to take. If you succeed, you underscore how they might have succeeded if they had just had the nerve to try.

When I went to Wall Street, I had lots of dream killers around me. I quickly learned how to handle them. Now, you can go hard core and just completely cut them all out of your life, but sometimes that just isn’t practical. In my case, I couldn’t cut off my family members, because at the time I was broke and lived with them. So I limited their access to me, especially whenever I was feeling discouraged or vulnerable.

Keep your discouragements, setbacks, and vulnerabilities private, at least with regard to the dream killers. You may even want to play things close to the chest in the early stages of a business or product launch so that the dream killers around you don’t get a chance to discourage you.

Now, we don’t get to choose our families, but we do have control over who our friends are, and how much time we spend with both. With this in mind, be purposeful in how you use your time with them. Make a habit of reserving more of your times for those who would encourage and help you. Don’t allow those who don’t value your dream to use much of your time!

Another thing I learned was to do my homework with regard to whatever I happened to be working on, so if anyone suddenly took on the role of a dream killer they weren’t going to win a debate with me about my dream. I also started using the ‘feedback’ I got from them to help me determine weaknesses in my plans. Even then, I took what they said with a bag of salt, not just a grain, because I knew that some of what they had to say was based on their own flawed thinking and incomplete knowledge.

I also had to recognize that people who are deeply entrenched in mediocrity will naturally criticize, ridicule or condemn those seeking to rise ‘above’ them. History does not kindly remember the critic. Would you put what the dream killers have to say on your tombstone? Then why listen to them?

Feed your dream. Find ways to encourage and motivate yourself. Many successful people create ‘vision boards,’ where they post pictures of the lifestyle they’re aiming for, or reminders of why they’re pursuing their dream. With every project I’ve ever worked on, I’ve always tried to come up with more reasons why it will work than why it won’t, and I remind myself continually of those reasons. Chances are, if I’m working on something, you won’t win an argument with me about it. Be more thorough in nurturing your dream than anyone else could be in trying to discourage it.

Stay focused. No matter what the dream killers have to say, keep working at your dream, one decision at a time. It’s your dream, not theirs, your life, not theirs.

Life is short. Don’t chase your dreams, hunt them down.

Ferguson – Don’t believe the hype

This whole things stinks of divide and conquer. Resentment, hatred, riots and people hating one another because of their race play very well into the agendas of the elite, folks. Michael Brown’s death is being used to create a frenzy, while the media is silent about a 12 year old boy being shot dead by a police officer. Why? Ferguson was apparently a more fertile ground to incite riots.

Examine the evidence, come to your own conclusions, but please, whatever you think happened or didn’t happen, don’t let it diminish your love and compassion for others. Vandalism ad destruction won’t bring the dead back, but it sure will make those who hate you for no good reason feel justified, and may even convert others to their cause.

The grand jury made its decision. Let’s move on and be better people than whoever we think was at fault, and find better ways to bring about the change we want to see.