Tag Archives: greatness

I Am What I Am!

30 Jan

Or as Popeye the Sailor Man put it, “I yam what I yam!” But what does it mean when we use this simple phrase, or when someone tells us, I am what I am. To me it speaks volumes. It says; this is who I am. I cannot change. Either accept me “as is” or forget about it. To me it’s just another whine of the powerless.

Every living thing in the universe, from the tiniest microbe to us, the most sophisticated and intelligent animal on earth, have been created to evolve. To adapt to a changing environment. It’s built into our DNA. Without change no species survives.

So why do so many people, people we know and love, refuse to even consider changing, even when faced with a looming disaster, like the loss of a relationship or of a career. My belief it is fear. Fear is the strongest emotion we face and we face it on a daily basis. We fear rejection. We fear embarrassment. And most of all, we fear the unknown, the scariest fear of all. And change is nothing more than giving up the old for the new. Be it a new way of thinking, a new attitude or a new behavior.

As modern day people we live in comfort zones, doing only those things that make us feel safe and secure. Whenever faced with the prospect of doing something new we find ourselves pushed up against the boundaries of those zones. Immediately fear begins to flood our bodies and we begin to have self-doubts. What if I don’t succeed? What if I fail? What if I lose my friends and social network when I no longer agree with them? What if don’t like the person I become? And so, we allow fear to win and paralyze us into doing nothing. But whenever fear wins understand that we lose.

There is a basic law of the universe that says; nature abhors a vacuum. This means, that as soon as you let go of your old beliefs, attitudes and behaviors new ones will take their place. And, almost always, the new ones are far better than the old ones they replaced.

If you’re faced with a failing marriage, a rocky relationship with your kids or challenges at work, maybe it’s time to face your fears and make that conscious decision to change. I’m not going to tell you it’s easy. But, I will tell you this; once you face and overpower your fears your life will become easier, and the joy and the happiness you have been seeking will begin to flow effortlessly to you.

Life is nothing more than a continuous series of choices. Therefore, choose wisely!

With Love,

Michael

Advertisements

The Sea

27 Jan

A professor took his class on a field trip to the ocean. Once at the water’s edge he handed each student a cup. Some were tall, some were short, some were thin, while still others were stout around the middle. No two cups were the same shape and no two cups looked alike.

In addition, every cup was a different color although from a distance you could see that many of the colors could fall into distinct groups. Some had a darker hue and some lighter. The one thing that all the different cups had in common was the amount of liquid they held. Each, to the drop, held identical amounts of whatever was to fill them.

The professor then had each student walk to the water’s edge and fill their cup to the very brim with ocean water and then step back into line. When every student had filled their cup the professor asked them, “What’s in your cup?” Of course, the unanimous response was water. “Yes,” replied the professor, “but what kind of water?” Ocean water yelled the students.

“Good,” said the professor. “Now let me ask you this? What’s the difference between the ocean water in the ocean and the ocean water in your cup?” One young man quickly responded, “That’s simple. The water in the ocean has sea life in it, but the water in our cups is just plain water.” His classmates all murmured in unison because his answer seemed to make sense.

“That’s not quite correct answered the professor. It’s obvious that your cups are not large enough to hold a fish, or a squid, or even a starfish, but there is still tiny life in your cup that can’t be seen. The same life that fills every drop of this ocean no matter what distant shore it falls upon. So wouldn’t you agree that the water in your cup would be identical to the ocean, only on a smaller scale?” From the looks on his student’s faces he could see the beginnings of understanding, and he was pleased.

The professor then went on to explain the message he was trying to convey to his students. “This ocean could be compared to God.  Vast, powerful and without end. Loving and nurturing to all the creatures great and small that live within it. The cup is your human body. No two are identical. Each a different shape and color from the others. No one cup is better, more important, or for that matter worse than the others, only different in outward appearance.

Upon your birth God infused you with a small piece of himself. He sees you as his Greatest Miracle, the Greatest Miracle in the world. That piece of him is the spark of life which animates your body. Some may call it the soul, but it needs no name. It is your humanity. It’s what makes you and me the same.

So please remember this: whenever you harm another person, by your words or deeds. Whenever you bully another because you think you’re superior. Whenever you see another human being as less than you. Whenever you show a lack of respect for another, you aren’t doing it to them alone; you are doing it to yourself and to God. You see each of us is God walking around in cups of different colors, shapes and sizes.

And there is something else my students that I want you to know: God makes no mistakes and creates nothing but perfection. Therefore, you are perfect. And never let anyone tell you different! Oh, and one other thing, you were created for GREATNESS and not littleness. The choice is always yours.”

Luckman’s Law: With love you have everything. With fear you have nothing.

With love always,

Michael

When Did You Die?

10 Jan

Was it when you were in your early forties? Or, maybe about the time you received your AARP invitation at 50? Perhaps it happened when all the kids left the house and about the time the first grandkids came?

Oh wait, that’s not the title I wanted for this blog. I meant to ask, When Did You Stop Living? Because that’s what this blog is about.

Back when I was growing up many companies had a mandatory retirement age, it was 65. And although my grandfather owned his own business he too chose this age to “start taking it easy and enjoy the fruits of his labor.” He died two years later. And he wasn’t unique. The Chicago obits were full of names of men his age.

Recently my wife and I had dinner in Las Vegas with my first ex-wife Phyllis and her husband Jeff. Several years back they bought a beautiful home in the Del Webb retirement community of Sun City Anthem, and I bought a home in a typical mixed neighborhood. They love Sun City. It is full of their peers. So is mine.

During dinner I shared with them how 2013 had been a tough year for me. I had several physical problems to work through, my mother passed away and my new venture as an author and international speaker was slow in gaining traction. Phyllis, never missing an opportunity after 40+ years to mold me into this perfect man, asked me, “Why, at your age do you want to continue working, let alone start a new business? You should (how I love you shoulds), sell your home and buy in Sun City. With your Social Security and savings you can finally enjoy life.” The assumption being is that, for some unknown reason, I’m not enjoying life now.

This is not the first time someone has suggested to me that my lifestyle choices were wrong. This is how I responded to Phyllis and the others: When I go grocery shopping I want to see show girls on their day off, and not someone’s granny pushing a walker. Plus, I don’t mind walking from the back of the parking lot where the non-handicap parking spaces are. I’m not dead yet. (For clarification purposes: you can always spot a showgirl. They’re tall, stand as straight as an arrow and have this sort of regal presence as they push their carts down the aisle. I am sure you can picture the difference).

I have this overwhelming belief that each of us was created by our creator for Greatness. Greatness being your fulfillment of your life’s purpose. For some that greatness may come in their early twenties, for others their forties and for some, even in their seventies. Greatness does not have a “best by” date. Not unless you arbitrarily set one. Or, worse yet, allow others to set one for you.

This subject is very important to me, and I think to a lot of others as well. So here is your first homework assignment. For the ladies; go into the lingerie department and buy the skimpiest and sexiest underwear you can. Who cares if the thong gets lost. It will make you feel sexy and that is ALL that matters. For the men; get a prescription for an ED medicine. You probably aren’t going to bust many zippers, but knowing that your pencil still has lead in it will do wonders for how you see yourself.

Until my next blog on this subject remember this: There is no such thing as the inevitable. The inevitable is only what you create.

Love,

Michael

It’s Resolutions Time! Again?

30 Dec

I often wonder who came up with the idea to create a list of New Year’s resolutions. A list of all the things we are unhappy with about ourselves, and the “wish” that we will miraculously change over the coming months.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I believe in change and I believe that each of us has the power within to change practically anything about ourselves. We are that powerful. No, what concerns me about New Year’s resolutions is the way we go about creating these changes.

Often the buoyancy of the holidays (too much cheer, food, spending) gives us a false sense of optimism when it comes to changing lifelong habits. We believe that change will come automatically when we once decide to make that change. Nowhere within the listing stage do we ever ask ourselves, “Can I do this? What plan do I have to succeed? What sacrifices will I have to make? Am I biting off more than I can chew?”

According to a January 2013 article in Forbes magazine only 8% of people who make New Year’s resolutions succeed. If a doctor wanted to perform surgery on you and then shared with you the fact that in better than 9 of every 10 patients the surgery was an utter failure, would you still agree to go under the knife. I have my doubts. Yet, millions of people will sit down over the coming days and create a list of changes they desire in themselves, yet knowing somewhere deep within, that they are going to fail.

Does this mean that you shouldn’t make New Year’s resolutions? Of course not. Go ahead and make your list, but then do the following:

  • Prioritize your list from least important to most important. Then choose the most important item on your list to begin. One item, no more. Once you succeed with this resolution the others will be much easier to attain.
  • Plan the next 90 days and how you’re going to succeed. I suggest learning and using SMART goals. You’ll find them in my book Overpowering Fear or just Google them. If you’re going to lose weight ask yourself, “What help do I need to accomplish my goal.” Over the years I’ve used Weight Watchers and Nutrisystem. Choose a system that feels comfortable for you. Don’t think you’re going to accomplish this alone, YOU WON’T.
  • (This example can be used for most goals). If your goal is to get more sleep create a log to fill out just before you go to bed. Write down the time you went to bed and if you’re not getting to bed on time, write the reason. Review this log at the end of every week. You’ll see that the reasons you wrote down were meaningless. If it was important for you to watch Scandal to the end, ask yourself, what the episode was about? If you can’t remember then it wasn’t very important.
  • Accept the fact  that no great change happens without some sacrifice. Whether it be food, time, alcohol, video games, etc. you are going to have to give up something. Prepare to give up the known for the unknown.
  • Because you create your life through your thoughts, don’t let thoughts of failure derail you. Done right, you have a greater chance of success than failure. Whenever a negative thought enters your mind causing unwanted fear say to yourself, “Thank you for this thought but I choose not to accept it. Instead I ask for a thought that is just the opposite.” It may sound crazy but it works.

For those who try my plan for accomplishing their New Year’s resolutions, I would love to hear back from you. Tell me your successes and your failures. My goal is to make this work for everyone.

Love,

Michael

From Failure to Success!

10 Dec

Every failure brings with it the seed of an equivalent success. ~Napoleon Hill

It is my belief that each of us is born for greatness and that each of us deserves to have everything that we desire. But how many of us actually achieve this, our destiny? Not many I’m afraid.

In my lifetime I’ve known people who seemed to have all the attributes for success; intelligence, charisma, charm, personality, and a host of other qualities. Yet, no matter the industry or other career path they’ve chosen, they have always struggled. And I’ve known people who lacked most of what my first example possessed, yet they have risen to the top, almost effortlessly. If you managed a sales force or owned your own company you know what I mean.

Up until about a dozen years ago I was like most people, baffled why some succeeded while others of greater talent floundered. I had an inkling that it might be because of fear and the individuals inability to fight through and overpower their fears. Hey, all I had to do was look at myself, a fear based person since birth.

In studying fear I came to realize that all of us feel fear, very often the very same fears as others, but some have the ability to feel the fear, yet do what is necessary to succeed. While others allow fear to stop them in their tracks.

I came to realize that one of the greatest of all fears is the fear of failure. Most of us acquired this fear when we were quite young, probably after our egos got bruised when our classmates laughed at us for a wrong answer. As we got older this fear actually grew and we began to avoid taking risks in our lives. Risk is nothing more than giving up the known for the unknown. But the unknown almost always includes failure.

When you were just an infant you learned how to crawl, then you learned how to pull yourself up to a wobbly standing position, albeit holding on to something for support. Then you let go of that support and took your first step. Did you then race across the room doing back flips? No, you probably plopped back down to the floor. So, you crawled back to that table or chair for support and started all over again. Did you think of yourself as a failure? Of course not. This is how we all learn.

Was there a seed of success in failing and failing, and then finally learning how to walk? Of course there was; you learned to run, to jump, and to dance.  

I am now going to give you permission to fail. Yes, go ahead and take a risk. It’s OK to fail. Why do I want you to fail? Because that’s how you learn. That’s how you grow. And please remember this: Failing does not make you a failure. It just moves you one step closer to success, as long as you don’t give up.

Love,

Michael

What Do You Deserve?

8 Nov

 “I bargained with Life for a penny,
And Life would pay no more,
However I begged at evening
When I counted my scanty store.

For Life is a just employer,
He gives you what you ask,
But once you have set the wages,
Why, you must bear the task.

I worked for a menial’s hire,
Only to learn, dismayed,
That any wage I had asked of Life,
Life would have willingly paid.”

-Jessie B. Rittenhouse

There is a chapter in my book Overpowering Fear: Defeating the #1 Challenge in Sales and Life entitled, Littleness versus Magnitude: Your Choice. I developed my beliefs about this choice from the book A Course in Miracles. In ACM God says that each of us are given free choice; we can choose a life of Littleness or a life of Magnitude, which I prefer to call Greatness. For most of my life I didn’t believe that I deserved greatness, and so by default, I accepted littleness. Sure, there were moments in time where I did achieve greatness, but to me they were just flukes, nothing to pin the hopes of my future on.

I am happy to say that I don’t believe that anymore.

Like me, too many people have been raised with the conviction that they don’t deserve to have everything that they want. That others are more deserving. That they have to settle for less. Or that life is a zero sum game where if they get everything they want, somewhere, someplace others will have to get less. If you’re one of these people who believe this then you are absolutely wrong. In fact, you deserve to have everything, be everything and do everything that your heart desires. You are a child of God and God denies himself nothing and he did not create you to struggle and have less than you desire.

Let the poem above be your guide. Life will pay you any price you ask if only you believe that you deserve it. I want you to take my word for it, YOU DO DESERVE IT!  Ask God, Spirit or the Universe for what you want, believe that you deserve it, and have faith that it will materialize in your life. And it will.

It is not that you ask God for too much, but that you ask Him for too little! ~ A Course in Miracles

Love,

Michael

A Power Greater Than You

16 Oct

Early morning every day, I have a conversation with God or the voice for God, the Holy Spirit, as described in A Course in Miracles. Or as I like to address Spirit, Infinite Spirit. The first thing I ask for is a perfect day. And what do I mean by a perfect day? A day where everything comes my way and one where everything goes my way. I am always open to receiving all the wondrous things the Universe holds in store for me.

Another thing I ask for is that I am always in the right place at the right time. Doing and saying the right things at the right time. I have asked for this for as long as I can remember. In my studies of A Course in Miracles I came upon the following quote on what to ask of God:

“Where would You have me go Father?”

“What would You have me do?”

“What would You have me say, and to whom?”

And then just let go.

They say that whatever problem you are facing; just turn it over to God. Let go of it. Let go of the worry. Let go of the outcome. Just let God, Spirit, the Universe do their work. But we don’t always do that and I’ve often wondered why.

I think its fear. We grow up believing we need to be self-reliant. That it is okay to ask God for the big things, but when it comes to our everyday lives and the things that cross our path daily, we should take the initiative and solve our own problems. Some of you may have grown up in homes where you were admonished not to ask God for the little everyday things. She was too busy and you were bothering her. Not so.

A Course in Miracles also says: “It is not that you ask God for too much, but that you ask him for too little.”

Each of you has a power greater than yourself who is ready and willing to bring you all that you ask for. Don’t think of yourself as too tough, too smart or too macho to reach out and develop this most wonderful relationship.

I guarantee you it will change your life.

My love always,

Michael