You Could If You Would©

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Copyright 2018 Paul Edgewater/All Rights Reserved

The first time I heard a familiar figure of speech with its syntax flipped was back in the mid-1980s when the late Dr. Wayne Dyer released his audio program, “You’ll See It When You Believe It.” * It had a profound effect on me. Not just because it was a clever title, but because by changing the order of the words, Dr. Dyer changed the saying from a trite proverb that pedals apathy, into an empowering maxim for a productive mindset. Same words. Totally different message. Most of us have heard of Napoleon Hill’s “Think And Grow Rich.” It is the book that almost every mega-successful person has read along their professional journey. Thinking-well is easier when we believe the right things.

My take on this was to switch up “you would if you could,” which is a put-down, to “You Could If You Would,” which is a challenge to the reader to take action. It’s the next step after getting our minds right. Taking action is what made Tony Robbins famous and is foundational in all his teachings.

Allow me to go off the rails a little bit. Most of us read “The Little Engine That Could” when we were children or had it read to us as very young children. The refrain was the locomotive saying to himself, “I think I can. I think I can.” This is what helped him convince himself that he could indeed do what he was called upon to do. The lesson here is clear; the locomotive both believed in himself and thought the right things to support actions taken. I’m not one to argue with the success of that book, but I believe the message would’ve been even more powerful had the locomotive said to himself, ” I know I can. I know I can.” I contend that certainty and confidence are omnipotent.

You Could If You Would©.

Just take the action, succeed, or learn from the experience. Repeat as necessary.  Have no fear. Like Robin Crow says, “Jump and the net will appear.”

Image of “The Little Engine That Could” from Kinder Books

*Note: I believe that “You’ll See It When You Believe It” may be out of circulation. This is why I linked to a youtube of this work. Check out Dr. Wayne Dyer’s website for all his works currently available.

The Art Of Personal Development (The Canvas & The Block) Copyright 2018 Paul Edgewater All Rights Reserved

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Left: “Moses” sculpture by artist Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni

Right: “A Life For Art” painting by artist Carl Paoli http://www.carlpaoli.com

“Personal Development is as much about not doing things as it is about doing them.”

~Paul Edgewater

If you are a regular reader of my material, you know that I love to make my point with analogies, similes, and metaphors. I believe that these communication tools make it much easier to influence others because the reader/listener/recipient can embrace something that is an already-accepted notion. By the way, one of my favorite books on the subject is “I Never Metaphor I Didn’t Like” by Mardy Grothe It’s a great compilation, and it’s available on Amazon.com (see my review of the book there too). Click the link below and buy it. It’s a cool book, and he has many other worthwhile works as well. Note: Keep an open mind when reading Grothe’s material; he has a tough time hiding his political leanings. If you can put those aside, you’ll enjoy his work thoroughly as I do.

https://www.amazon.com/NEVER-METAPHOR-DIDNT-LIKE/dp/B006G899N4/ref=cm_cr_othr_d_pdt_img_top?ie=UTF8 

I present the reader with two analogies that I believe illustrate a point I like to make during my talks. We may want to look at our lives and goals as pieces of art. For this example, I’d like the reader to think of their lives as both a painting and a sculpture. When we set goals for ourselves, it’s important to be sensitive to time and what can be accomplished in a fixed amount of time. For example, let’s look at a physical goal of getting into shape. There are two necessary things we need to concentrate on: doing some things and not doing other things, like doing exercise and not overeating. Both are equally important and should be done in concert with one another. This is good news. Not doing one thing offers us more time to do the other stuff. Let’s dig a little deeper.

Think of painting a picture as your to-do list. We can look at our lives and goals as a blank canvas. We can add color and texture and subject matter until we become what we envision for ourselves. The possibilities are myriad, and we can keep adding things (doing things) until we finally see what we envision for ourselves. These include, but are of course not limited to: going to school and getting a degree, or attending seminars, going to the gym, reading a book, starting healthy habits, etc. It’s important to keep the following in perspective: we can’t ‘undo’ the things we do. We will either benefit from our actions, or learn from them, but we have to do them. The master painter, John W. Gardner saidLife is the art of drawing without an eraser.”  Don’t be afraid; just do it! Finally, like Tony Robbins says, “take action!” So make a list of your ‘to-dos’ and start doing them!

Next, think of carving a sculpture as your to-don’t list. The following may or may not have transpired, but it illustrates a truth.

It might have happened, just like the story of Michelangelo being congratulated at the unveiling of his immortal David.

“How in God’s name could you have achieved a masterpiece like this from a crude slab of marble?” a fan is supposed to have asked him.

“It was easy,” Mike is said to have said. “All I did was chip away everything that didn’t look like David.”

(source: https://quoteinvestigator.com/2014/06/22/chip-away/)

What can we take away from this? What we want to become is already inside of us, and all we have to do is get rid of the parts of us that get in the way (or stop doing certain things). Think again about losing weight. Those six-pack abs are hiding behind a layer of fat. Get rid of the fat and expose the abs. The parts of us that need to be chipped away can be physical things (like the fat), but also intangible things like bad habits (like over-eating) and poor thinking (like a bad attitude). There’s another ‘plus’ to not doing certain things: Contrary to not being able to ‘undo’ actions we take in the painting analogy above, we don’t have the same risk with our ‘to-don’t’ list in the sculpture analogy. It is challenging–if not impossible–to regret not making poor decisions or taking counter-productive action. For instance, we can never be hit by the train if we don’t chance trying to cross the tracks when it’s coming. We are all guilty of doing things we shouldn’t be doing and not doing them makes our lives so much better. The masterpiece of David lies in wait in all of us. All we need to do is chip away everything that doesn’t look like what we want to become. These are usually going to be poor habits. So make a list of your ‘to-don’ts’ and stop doing them!

Thank you for your interest! If you found this useful, please subscribe and share!

Please visit Carl Paoli’s website. He is one of the greatest artists of our era.

Be sure to read my other metaphors about Personal Development:

https://edgewaterblog.com/2017/12/03/the-scales-of-personal-development/

https://edgewaterblog.com/2018/03/23/succeeding-means-making-the-cuts-copyright-2018-paul-edgewater-all-rights-reserved/

Stop apologizing

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I receive a lot of emails every day. Many are people are soliciting my business, and I don’t mind this at all. What I do mind is how people craft their message. Without knowing it, many people who write email marking campaigns are irritating the very people they are trying to close.

Here are two tips to NOT piss off your prospects.

1st tip: When expressing why we are reaching out to the recipient, it’s best not to use passive language like:

“I wanted to see if you are interested…”

or

“I just wanted to check up to see if you had any questions…”

Do not make apologies for reaching out. Don’t preemptively dismiss your proactivity. You have nothing to defend.
Instead of writing an email that says:

“I just wanted to touch base and see if you were interested in…blah, blah, blah…”

Write this instead:

“Your time is valuable, as is mine. If you are interested in learning more about my offer, let me know. If you have no interest, please let me know that too, and I won’t bother you anymore. We are both too busy to spin our wheels. Thank you and much success.”

Stop apologizing for striving for your success. Frankly, it pisses off people who have their act together. I want to know you are busy and I want you to value your time as much as I value mine. Grow a set and talk to me like an adult and not like a scared child. If I don’t respect you, I’m not giving you my business. Don’t apologize for reaching out to me!

2nd tip: Do NOT put “Re:” in the subject line on your first email. If you think your prospect is stupid, then do this. If you treat your prospect like a 12-year-old, they will act accordingly. When I see “Re:…” in the subject line when I know I never emailed this party, I want just to hit ‘delete,’ but I take the extra step of opening the email, unsubscribing and blocking the sender. How dare you put “Re:..” in the subject line when I didn’t email you first.

I want you to succeed, and the best way to do this is not to piss off your prospect.

Thank you for your interest.

www.PaulEdgewater.com

 

Succeeding Means Making The Cut(s) Copyright 2018 Paul Edgewater All Rights Reserved

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Succeeding cuts many ways!

If you are delighted with your life as it is right now, there is no need to read any further. If however, you’d like to make some improvements and grow, please read on. Your time is valuable, so I’ll be as concise as possible!

Before he retired, my father was a Latin teacher. As a very curious child, I peppered him with linguistic questions, and he taught me to look at the roots of words when l studied my grammar. Unlike my father, I’m no linguist, so the following isn’t etymologically accurate, but when it comes to inspiration, it’s spot on! English, while a Germanic language, has a lot of Latin influences. For instance, there are a lot of words with the root “cis” (very loosely: Latin, meaning “cut”). In addition to describing myriad acts with regard to cutting (see below), I have found these words to be extremely useful in explicating the steps I believe are necessary for us to succeed in life. Can we all ‘make the cut?’ Read on.

Incisive (from medieval Latin incisivus, from Latin incidere ‘cut into’ (see incise).
To get to where we are now to where we’d like to be, we first need to be incisive. We must be remarkably clear and direct; sharp; keen; acute). We have to know what we want, and we have to state our goals in a clear and direct manner. There is no room to be nebulous. The reason a bulls-eye is a bright red circle with a very defined outline is so that there we have no doubt where the target is. Our goals should be the same way. Napoleon Hill called it “definiteness of purpose.” For instance, if we want a promotion at work, the goal should be the exact position desired (E.g.,* “branch manager” or “CEO,” not “I want to move up”). If we want to have more money, we need to have a number to shoot for, E.g. “$25,000,000” not “I want to be rich.” Be very specific with all goals and that takes some soul searching and incisiveness.
Next is when we need to dig deep into our intentions. After we have established our specific goal, we need to ascertain what obstacles there may be between where we are now and where we would like to be. Sometimes this can be in the form of external forces or conditions. But if we are honest with ourselves, more often than not, it’s something inside us. This is where we need to make a psychological incision (from Latin: to cut in, or an opening or slit). We need to cut into our mindset to expose our challenges and strengths. After we make this psychological incision, we know what we bring to the table. Be incisive.
Excise: (from Latin: excis- ‘cut out,’ from the verb excidere, from ex- ‘out of’ + caedere ‘to cut,’ i.e., tissue, bone or tumor from a body; to completely remove). At this point, if we see that we have challenges or other roadblocks, we must excise them. Much like a surgeon removing a tumor, we too need to make excisions to rid ourselves of mental plunder. These may be in the form of negative attitudes, or a lack of confidence, etc. We need to cut these out of the equation. These excisions can also be applied to bad habits and proclivities. If the reader takes just one thing away from reading this blog, it is this: on the road to success, it is just as important not to do some things as it is to do other things. If we are engaged in destructive behavior or wasting our time, we have to stop that before we take constructive action and use our time productively. We are all given just 24 hours a day. We get to choose how to spend those, and with whom we spend them. If we desire success, we need to make sure we leverage our 24 hours with discretion; excise negativity and engage in positivity.
It is now when we make a Decision: (from Latin: to cut away from, or a resolution, conclusion, commitment, resolve, determination, choice). See above; to do one thing, we must not do another. We have to decide which path we are going to take. Tony Robbins reminds us that it is in our moments of decision, that we shape our destiny. Think of the fork in the road; we can only take one path at a time. Let’s make sure we choose the one that leads us toward our goals.
Since we are discussing Latin, it’s apropos to end with this quote from Shakespeare’s Julius Ceasar. In act 3, scene 2, 181–186, Marc Antony calls Brutus’s stabbing of Caesar “the most unkindest cut of all.” But when it comes to our personal development, the cuts we covered above are indeed the kindest cuts of all because, without them, we may never realize the success that can be ours.

*More Latin: “E.g.” stands for exempli gratia, ‘for the sake of example.’

Thank you for reading. Please share your comments and share!

The Scales Of Personal Development

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Copyright 2017 Paul Edgewater/All Rights Reserved

Think of every song you’ve ever heard. Think of all the songs you’ve loved during your life (also the ones you didn’t like). Think of all the styles of music to which you’ve ever been exposed. Now think of music from a historical perspective and how many pieces of music have been written since the first melodies were accidentally hummed by one of our primitive ancestors. Now think of music as we move into the future. We know that creative artists and musicians will continue their unbroken streak of writing new material until the end of time. Now think about this. All this music, from the beginning of–and to the end of–time, is all based on seven main notes.

I’m going to assume many musicians are reading this and are thinking about all the 1/2 steps (sharps and flats, etc.) and some will want to tell me that this is only true in Western music, as some other cultures have their octaves divided into 12 notes, such as with Indian music. Or that even with Western music, if we look as a chromatic scale, we are looking at 12 notes. Fair enough. But all music is based on octaves, and however we break that up, each octave represents a new plateau, nuance, and they all contain “C, D, E, F, G, A & B.”

Why the big musical set up about personal development? Good question. As we find in the good book, Ecclesiastes 1:4-11 “There is nothing new under the sun.” (http://www.bible.ca/ef/expository-Ecclesiastes-1-4-11.htm) All musical notes have already been invented; they all exist and can and will only change in their permutation. Ditto with all the philosophies pertaining to personal development. It’s all been figured out before. It’s all been communicated before. It’s all been written before. It’s all been shared before. They all already exist and can and will only change in the permutation. Success and failure are very simple and very old concepts.

When some “new” personal development guru comes along, they are simply a new messenger reaching a new audience with a new permutation; they are saying nothing new.

A lot of personal development uses acronyms and abbreviations to help us remember the message. Acronyms like: “L.I.F.E. Live It Fully Everyday” and abbreviations like: “T.C.O.B. Taking Care Of Business, or like Elvis put it, “TCB.” I’m going to throw a ‘new’ abbreviation into the mix, and it’s based on the notes of music.

“CDEFGAB”

“C” stands for “COMMITMENT.” If we aren’t committed to our objectives, we are only fooling ourselves. Success is hard enough when done correctly. It’s almost impossible when done incorrectly, and one of the biggest mistakes we can make is to have ‘an out,’ or a ‘backup plan.’ This is anathema to commitment. By having a backup plan, it tells us we’re not committed to our objectives. Think about marriage; if we have ‘an out’ or a ‘backup plan,’ it can only mean we are not in it to win it. The relationship is a but a whim. Our goals and objectives are worthy of the same commitment we give to our ‘committed relationships,’ or we will fail at all of the above. Julius Caesar said, “If you want to take the island, burn the boats.” In other words, eliminate the back up plan.

“D” stands for “DECISION.” Tony Robbins reminds us that it is in our moments of decision that we manifest our destiny. Truth. The Latin root of the word “decision” literally means “to cut off.” In the modern usage, when we decide something, we are cutting ourselves off from other options (see “commitment” above). To do a certain thing, we must not do other things. We must decide what our objectives are and commit to accomplishing nothing else. https://www.tonyrobbins.com

“E” stands for “EXCELLENCE.” If we don’t excel in our endeavors, we will be ‘also-rans.’ ‘Calling it in’ won’t cut it if we want to achieve worthy goals. With excellence comes quality, merit, skill, talent, accomplishment, preeminence, supremacy and mastery (a few fringe benefits we enjoy when we strive for excellence). More on “excellence” can be found here: http://tompeters.com

“F” stands for “FOCUS.” Since we are humans, we come equipped with a survival skill: awareness of our surroundings. It’s hard-wired into us. This is a handy tool if we are in the wilderness crouching over at a stream to get a drink of water. It keeps us alive, because we hear, see, smell and are aware of natural predators in our midst. This same survival instinct that kept primitive humans alive is also a detriment to success in the civilized world. We get distracted by everything. It takes almost all of our mental energy to stay focused on our objectives because everything and everyone is clamoring for our attention. Think about having a staring contest. On paper, we should be able to stare at one another forever. How simple; just stare at one thing and don’t do anything else. But as we all know, inevitably, our nature kicks in, and our eyes have to look away lest we miss something. Multiply the difficulty of staring at one thing for a long time a thousand fold when we concentrate our focus on achieving something great and/or challenging. The world is full of distractions with distracted people. Let’s not be one of them.

“G” stands for “GREATNESS.” Not much to clarify or explain here. We either commit to Greatness or decide we’re okay with being also-rans. It should be said though that the word “great” has been watered down in the modern vernacular. If someone discovers the cure for cancer, that would be truly “great.” If we are trying to set up an appointment with a business associate and we both agree on a time and place for a meeting, that is most definitely not “great,” yet we always say it is, don’t we? I’m guilty of this just like everyone else. In our quest to be “great” in our personal development and achieving goals, let’s make sure we are thinking of the work and the true weight it carries (think “great” as in “Alexander The Great” not “Can meet at noon on Tuesday? Yes? That’s “GREAT!”).

“A” stands for “ALTRUISTIC.” When we succeed, we owe it to the human race to share what we’ve learned. I’m not just talking about charity either (it should go without saying that tithing is an essential component of being a well-rounded, person of value). I’m talking about sharing our lessons with anyone willing to listen. How many Galileos, Newtons or Einsteins did civilization need for the entirety of the human race to benefit from their minds? Just one of each because they shared their discoveries with the rest of us. Their minds didn’t turn to dust without first documented what they learned. While this seems to be a standard operating procedure in the sciences and the arts, it isn’t a standard operating procedure in the personal development world. It seems that every generation has to learn this stuff over and over. I don’t know why this is. The best minds in personal development have almost all written books, yet their teachings seem to be forgotten when they are gone. Let’s stop this here and now. If you and I learn something that will be of value to others and for future generations, let’s commit to shouting it from the rooftops so all can benefit. I would like to add that your life and mine would be a lot more fruitful if the writings of Samuel Smiles were required reading in school instead of Einstein. They teach us about Einstein (which is good and useful), but the stuff that can make our personal lives amazing (like Samuel Smiles) isn’t even on the radar. For a list of recommended reading, please visit my website: www.PaulEdgewater.com and check out https://www.britannica.com/biography/Samuel-Smiles

“B” stands for being the “BEST.” I’ll admit to being hard-headed on this one until I was exposed to the teachings of Bo Eason. I’m now committed to being the best in my commitments and goals because of this great man. Please check him out. One of the most profound thinkers of our time. Here are a couple of useful links:

http://boeason.com

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QiHjXugzSXM 

In closing, I’ll throw another musical analogy in the mix. Picture a piano keyboard. Not only do we find the seven main notes, but we also see seven full octaves. Let’s think of the next goal we want to accomplish as the lowest octave at the left side of the keyboard. Once we achieve that one, we continue to move over to the right, covering all the octaves until we’ve mastered our “CDEFGAB” system. You may be thinking, “What happens when I’m done accomplishing seven great things?” Fair question. Here’s my answer: After you accomplish seven great things, get another piano and start over because you’ll be able to afford a really nice piano and you’ll be really good at personal development!

Please share this with the people you love!

Thank you for reading!

GAME OVER (guess who won?)

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The type of people who win at life, never change:

  • Those of us who are unafraid of not belonging to a group.
  • Those of us who celebrate rugged individualism.
  • Those of us who lead and don’t rule.
  • Those of us who are keenly aware of sowing and reaping.
  • Those of us that set goals.
  • Those of us that have contingency plans, yet rarely need them.
  • Those of us who would rather be on the giving side of charity than the receiving side and make a point to be.
  • Those of us who tithe.
  • Those of us who reject the pretense of anyone who hasn’t walked the walk on which we are embarking.
  • Those of us willing to share our life-learnings with those who are ready to learn.

There is nothing new under the sun and the rules of winning are constant and evergreen. Don’t reinvent the wheels of success; only refine them and improve upon them. Even as they are, they will serve us well.

For more information about winning at life, please visit me at:

www.PaulEdgewater.com
Thank you!

Smiles Make Money!

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When I was a teenager, I worked at a telemarketing company setting up appointments with homeowners for thermal window presentations. We were each given a very small cubical, a phone, a few torn-out pages of the reverse directory phone book and instructed to call everyone up and down each street until someone said “yes.” One of the tools they gave us was a mirror mounted directly in front of us, so we could see our facial expressions as we spoke with people. Underneath the mirror, there was a small sign that said “smile and dial,” because people can hear a smile in your voice. Try this with your friends. Speak on the phone with a smile and then without. Have them tell when you smile. Invariably they will guess correctly. Remember, our clients are aware of our smiles too!
It’s been said that a smile only has value after you give it away to someone else. That’s not just touchy-feely, tittle-tattle either; there is a plethora of hard, scientific data to back that up with facts.
A 2001 study from Jörn P.W Scharlemann shows that a smile increases trust amongst people by 10%. A 1991 study by Hinsz & Tomhave shows that when you smile, you get reciprocal smiles from 50% of people (pretty good odds!). A 1978 study by Tidd, Kathi L.; Lockard, Joan S., titled the “Monetary significance of the affiliative smile: A case for reciprocal altruism.” showed that service staff earned significantly more than their slack-faced, bovine-like peers. If you’re not sold yet, a 1952 study by Abel & Kruger suggests that smiling people outlived their forlorn friends by an average of 7 years!
The eyes are also powerful communication tools. More than that, our eyes tell people if our smile is genuine or not. A smile that just engages the mouth is forced. A smile that includes the eyes is genuine. These genuine smiles are called a “Duchenne” smiles, named after a 19th-century neurologist from France who figured all this stuff out. Also, make sure when you smile, that you proudly display your crow’s feet–we all them! It’ll show the world that you are indeed happy to see them and that you have been smiling a long, long time!
Let’s begin each day with a big smile and wear it all the way to the bank!

Copyright 2017/Paul Edgewater/All Rights Reserved

www.PaulEdgewater.com