Friday, December 31, 2010

Why Not Now?

Why not change what you've wanted to change about yourself now? Why not make a decision, write it down, make a recording of it and play the recording on a daily basis?

I have the privilege of getting really close to great individuals. And do you know what I find? Deep down the majority of us feel disappointed about ourselves. We feel we could be more, love more and do more. We intensely want to make changes, but somehow lack the energy to really get it done.

We've tried so many times before and failed equally often. It hurts to always "fall back into the same old trap of daily living". We're caught in self destructive patterns, and as the spirit of youth ebbs out, silently something dies within us. Trying turns into trying less, and trying less turns into not trying anymore. With continually less faith in ourselves and diminishing hope we quietly move towards apathy. We stop dreaming, stop wanting, stop believing. And so we postpone and delay until... what we vividly could picture in our minds for the future simply never happens and evaporates. Retirement becomes the mental acceptance of reality - the definition of a defeated soul of which there are far too many.

Charles Dickens' famous story about Ebenezer Scrooge describes an old man that had grown into such a state. However, as we know, with a little help he was able to snap out of it and make at least one basic change. Today I want to assure you. You can make that same change in someone whose life is secretly miserable. What to do?

First, change one small thing about yourself that really matters. Become a little more who you really want to be. Write down what you plan to change. Make a recording that explains WHY you want to change, WHAT you will change, WHO it will affect and HOW you will do it - just a few centences in "affirmative style" expressing faith that you are already doing it. This will turn your subconscious into an ally, rushing to your aid. Without it, change is very hard. Or rather, if you can't mentally see it, impossible!

Secondly, and most importantly, consciously inspire change in others by sharing the energy you gain from changing and improving yourself.

You can do it. You can do it now!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Influence Influenceable Influential People

I influence influenceable influential people, because those are the kind of people I enjoy spending my time with. Why? Because these people tend to have closely linked character traits that appeal to me and I know that whatever I do has a long lasting effect beyond this one individual only.

My mission statement is not something I share with anyone but my most personal relationships. However, there's one essential part of my mission statement that specifically requires sharing. And so I've spoken warmly about it - shared it - for many years at vidartop.com.

One single individual can (and will) make all the difference for both good and bad. Think about this for a moment. Yes, all good or bad "stuff" is triggered by the energy from one single individual. Thus, this simple fact singles out the topic I'm most excited about and have dedicated my life to clarify and bring out in the open:

"...how [to] effectively influence influenceable influential people to influence for good?"

...with correct principles and for the right reasons or noble purposes.

What does this mean? So very much, but most of all, how one-on-one interaction has the most powerful long term effect on the human heart and mind. For this reason I strive to spend my time with carefully qualified and selected people that indeed will pass on my energy to their surrounding key relationships.

Most importantly, a person may not be influential today, but when I see in this person a) willingness to be influenced and b) a potential desire to become influential I will spend time uncovering and developing the ethics, values and belief systems of this individual to c) inspire a spreading effect.

p.s. Notice how I've shaped this particular part of my mission statement into a question. The question conveys a lot of meaning to me, some of which includes how I believe the best answers to this key question represents a lifelong quest.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Eternal Family Perspective

I recently had the most amazing experience. One that I feel profoundly has deepened my appreciation for the value and eternal perspective of my family - the perspective of any family.

Three days ago all seven individuals in our family gathered in a circle after breakfast and had a wonderful discussion. This is not an unusual thing. We get together as often as we possibly can, and especially before we go our separate ways to school, work and daily tasks. It was in this setting that I suddenly and quite unexpectedly received an impression that probably will stay with me for many years; in a split second I saw each family member as a grown-up person. As a father and mother in their own future family. I saw how my example and influence will affect them, their children and children's children -  many people in future generations.

The insight gave me an instant and almost overwhelming sense of responsibility. This long term perspective - brought to me during just a brief moment of clarity - instilled in me an enormous respect for each one. You know how we as parents sometimes treat children and adults differently. I often ask myself during daily interaction with our kids; "would I treat my colleague like that?" And, yes, sometimes I have to admit the immediate response in my mind is "absolutely not". Then I try to change or adjust my approach. These are important reflections to cause greater self awareness and correction.

Let's treat our children as the best of friends, as future fathers and mothers and with integrity. Let's treat our children the way we ourselves would like to be treated; with love and respect and as a person with a distinct identity and intrinsic inherent value. Let's send out positive and uplifting signals in everything we think, everything we say and in all that we do, every hour of the day.

And with this meaningful challenge I wish all my readers a happy holiday season and a merry Christmas!

Monday, December 6, 2010

THAT's a Great Day!

What defines a great day? When do you know you've spent your time wisely? Does it make a difference how you live today? Are there any principles that can clearly define if we're doing more than just OK?

Whenever I do public speaking, training or coaching questions frequently center around that one topic that concerns most of us on a daily basis; how to spend time and strength wisely and feel good about it?

Here's the essence of what I believe are the principles behind making TODAY count:

(1) Get Up Early
Getting up early makes all the difference! Anyone who wants to can be an early bird. It's a matter of practice and training like anything else. When you get into a habit of beginning the day early a powerful side effect gradually appears: Morning hours from approximately 04:00 - 06:00 will turn your subconscious mind into an explosive tool for ideas and insight.


(2) Ponder Inspired Literature
No one can draw water from an empty well. Nothing inspires inspired living more than pondering inspired literature.



(3) Plan Weekly
Most of the people I speak with are somehow into planning because of time pressure. I don't plan to relieve pressure. I plan to create pressure. How come? By planning on a weekly basis i don't burry myself in "the thick of thin things". I stay in control and I plan firing up what really needs momentum.


(4) Five Tasks a Day
It's in my system. Every day I define the five most important tasks. Those five are the most important, high priority areas that I stay focused on no matter what happens. Of course I sometimes don't make it to doing all five, but here's the magic. I keep them in my pocket. They excite me. They're clear. It's not too much and I enjoy the victory of getting done what's truly most important (by how only five items forces me to say no to "all the good").


(5) Replace "Why Me" With "Thank You"
The attitude of gratitude - the mother of all virtues - is probably the single most meaningful and useful source of happiness. Every day consists of a break-down in plans, interruptions, instant needs, accidents and the like. When these occur, we are asked to respond in the moment. People who ask "why me" are typically reactive. Those of us able to respond with "thank you" have the edge to stay proactive.


(6) Get Regular Exercise
I can tell when my life is out of balance. It's when I don't get regular exercise. The antithesis also holds true. Getting exercise three times a week can be a good sign of a balanced lifestyle.


(7) Never Succumb To Discouragement
If you are tempted to think negatively, feeling down or speak self destructive language, make it a rule to replace it with a positive thought. Your emotions are a result of your internal dialog. Never, never, never put yourself down. If you do, you've lost before you even began.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Question Is Not "Evolution Or Creation"

Did you ever feel like you have to choose between evolution or creation? Between science or religion? I get the impression that's what the world throws at us. But I never saw it that way.

In my frame of thinking, there never was an opposition between science and religion. That they sometimes may seem to be in conflict is obvious, but this is not, however, such a major problem as most people will have you believe.

If either science or religion does not lead to useful facts - to support in practical living - it must be a waste of time and effort altogether. Let me explain what I mean by this...

As a young boy I recall being surprised when people were of the opinion that science and religion are two different poles. Why is it that anyone would claim we have to choose between science or religion? To me, the two were always one and the same. Science and religion just pose two different ways or methods to approach and uncover truth or fact; "things as they were, things as they are and things as they will be".


Religious Faith and Scientific Evidence
Both religion and science gradually enlighten the mind (just as I suspect God intended this process to be). To the degree that science and religion are not yet in line with each other, there is yet more truth to be found.

When my teacher in school would speak about evolution theory he made the big bang sound like a scientific "event" without a master mind behind it. To me, that makes no sense. Neither does it make sense that an almighty God operates with a magic wand in "Harry Potter style" not knowing himself the forces behind his commands. No, God must be a God of science, knowing and mastering every bit of information and controlling every kind of power available to man in this universe. Whether it be electricity, chemistry or even sheer will power, a supreme being would have an insight into these like no one else. To assume anything less would simply be the result of a fanatic and one-sided religious mind.


Let me provide two quick examples to illustrate.


"Religious" example # 1:
When the bible says the earth was created, the historic meaning and context of the word "create" means to "organize". Religious fanatics may have believed that God somehow made earth out of nothing. Does this make sense? No. Rather, it means that it was organized out of stuff and matter already at His disposal. It's the only logical thinking behind this. 


"Religious" example # 2:
When the bible says the earth was formed in seven days, religious fanatics may have believed that God somehow made the earth in the blink of an eye. Does this make sense? No. Rather, it means that the ecosystem was established during an extended period of time divided into seven parts, none of which must have been equally long in duration.


And so it goes on and on. What used to be perceived as dogmatic beliefs appear to be in obvious harmony with scientific theory. However, the same goes from a scientific point of view. One quick example to illustrate.


"Scientific" example:
When theories imply that all life forms are evolving and adapting - even genetically - to circumstance, scientific fanatics may have reached the conclusion that this happened by chance. Does this make sense? No. Rather, it means that this process, like any other process, can only have evolved with the support of a steady hand. For as the second law of thermodynamics (i.e. entropy) states: "Time creates disorder". Had there not been something that kept all of this in "order", it would have rapidly disintegrated and crumbled into disorder. Take a look at the world around you, even the sky and the universe. Scientific theory only supports the fact that someone (or "something") oversees all this.


A Scientific Miracle
It is my conviction that with the enormous amount of scientific discovery and progress we've witnessed so far, a religious person should only increase in faith because of it. Likewise, any scientific enthusiast should find ample evidence that there indeed must be a master mind behind the awesome ecosystem upon which we live and of which we are an integral part of. Take a minute and just breath, smell, taste, listen - just feel it! Who can deny it's not both a miracle by divine providence as well as a reality of pure (scientific) genius - all in one?

Over time we will learn more about how the world came to be. There's no doubt it. But even that is a type of faith, is it not? Think for a moment; "is there really such a big difference between science and religion after all?" I don't think there is. A smart scientist has faith, just as a devote believer makes use of empiric testing and the faculty of logical thinking.


Life Is Seeing AND Believing
A true believer does not disregard scientific progress. If he or she does, it's the result of a closed and ignorant mind. The same goes for a scientist or a believer in such. If anyone disregards records of incomprehensible historic events without honestly searching both the value of these as well as his or her own heart ends up poor indeed.

What is life? I believe the essence of life is searching, finding and exploring new ideas and theories about existence. I also believe life is more rewarding when we do so through a lenze of faith. Why would anyone claim that scientific methods or religious faith don't go hand in hand? Why would anyone believe that science and religion do not eventually lead to the same insight and understanding? Why would anyone suggest science and religion are mutually exclusive? It is my conviction, and time will tell, we need both.

p.s. Even though the great philosopher Augustin in many ways did err from today's point of view, he may have been one of the early representatives of exactly this main principle: The uniting of science and religion.