by Guy Finley
Key Lesson: Agreeing to walk into the “flames” of resistance is the only way to find real and lasting freedom from their illusory nature.
Break Through Inner Barriers
The next time you want to go ahead with any project — whether it’s designing a rocket ship, or finally getting around to repairing your favorite rocking chair — and you start to feel those old familiar doubts, dreads, or doldrums rising up to block your way, just walk right through them. You can do it if you use new wisdom to clear the way.
One excellent way to break through these seemingly impassable inner states is to see them as being the fakes they are. This isn’t to say you won’t feel their punishing presence when you first dare to defy their threats. But each time you psychologically walk up to and past these inner disturbances, you’ll become increasingly aware that these task-resistant thoughts and feelings are just big fakes!
You must prove to yourself that these thoughts and feelings are fakes in order to know the powers that come with such a discovery. Following is a glimpse of what you’ll learn each time you take that step you’re sure you can’t.
Those negative states that try to stop you from taking the next step of any chosen journey are just psychological special effects. These obstacles of psychic flash-and-smoke are generated by the mind to keep you from disturbing its established levels of comfort. But special effects, regardless of the kind of “screen” upon which they’re projected, have no reality outside of your temporary belief in their appearance.
The truth is that these inner-barriers are without real substance, and so must vanish the moment you pass through them. Which brings us to a great spiritual truth: on the other side of the resistance is the flow. This means that each time you call on this exercise to walk through some pocket of inner resistance, you’ll find, on its other side, all the fresh energy and intelligence you’ll need to go through and complete your appointed task.
This article is excerpted from Design Your Destiny (pages 61-63).
Your ability to communicate is the most important skill you can develop to get on to the fast track in your career. Perhaps the most important thing you do in business is to solve problems and make decisions, both by yourself and with other people.
Use A Systematic Process
A major type of communication in the business organization is meetings for problem solving and decision making. The key to effective problem solving and decision making discussions, is for you to all go through the process systematically.
Define the Problem Clearly
Right at the beginning, you ask the question, “What exactly is the problem?” Clarity of definition will resolve 50% of the issues before they go any further.
Focus on the Future
When discussing a problem, be sure to focus on the future over the past. Ask the question, “Where do we go from here?” “What do we do from here?” “What are our options for the future?” Too many problem-solving discussions end up focusing all of the attention of all the people present on what happened in the past and who is to blame. The effective executive uses this type of communication to focus on where the company and the individuals are going, and what can happen in the future – the only part of the equation over which anyone has any control.
Talk About the Solutions
A second element in effective problem solving communications, is for you to talk about the solutions instead of talking about the problems. It is for you to keep the attention of the individuals in the meeting focused on the possible solutions and what can be done rather than what has already happened.
The discussion of solutions is inherently positive, uplifting and has a tendency to release creativity amongst the group. A discussion of problems is inherently negative, demotivating and tends to inhibit creativity.
The Key to Positive Thinking
You can become a positive thinker simply by becoming a solution-oriented person rather than a problem-oriented person. If you get everyone in your organization thinking and talking in terms of solutions, you will be astonished at the quality and quantity of ideas that will emerge.
Now, here are two things you can immediately to become a better problem solver and decision maker.
First, take some time to be absolutely clear about the problem that is under discussion. Give some thought to what an ideal decision or solution would accomplish. Instead of focusing on the situation as it is, talk about the situation as you would like it to be.
Second, keep the conversation focused on solutions, on what can be done in the future. The more you think and talk about solutions, the more positive and creative everyone will be and the better ideas you will come up with.
What People Need
Wealth creation occurs when you produce a product or service that people want and need and are willing to pay for at a price that is in excess of your total cost of producing that product or service. The key to business success has always been the same, find a need and fill it. We all earn our livings by serving other people in some way. Your business goal is to find out what people really want and need, and then give it to them better and faster than anyone else.
Secrets of Market Leadership
Hundreds of companies have been studied to discover the secrets of market leadership. There are three secrets. The first one is Operational Excellence — the company has developed the ability to produce its products and services at a cost substantially lower than its competitors. The second is Customer Intimacy — the company develops a close relationship with its customers based on excellent knowledge of the customer’s business. Thirdly, there is Technological Superiority — the company offers a product or service that is superior to that of its competitor.
There are several strategies that you can follow to create additional value for your customers and additional wealth for yourself. Improve your product or service in some way so that it is better than that of your competitors, at the same or at a lower price. Produce or deliver your product or service faster than your competitors. Produce your product or service cheaper than your competitors, maintaining or increasing your level of quality. Offer better follow-up and support services to go along with your product or service than your competitors. Make your product easier to acquire and more readily available than your competitors. Make your prices and terms more attractive and convenient than your competitors. Include additional products and services with your offerings, at the same price.
Your reputation in the marketplace determines how much you can sell, and the prices you charge. The friendliness of your staff and the ease of doing business with you is a key part of your reputation. Your credibility with your customers, the degree to which they see you as trustworthy and dependable is a key value to your customers. Selling to an individual customer requires an impeccable reputation and a focus on the improvement your product or service makes in their lives. What does your product achieve for your customer? What does your product help your customer to avoid? What does your product help your customer to preserve? How does your product help your customer to get better results in his life?
List three ways that you could improve the relationships that you have with your customers.
In a free market economy like the United States, the customer is the king or queen, and they rule supreme. Business and entrepreneurship are devoted to serving customers, to improving the lives and work of ordinary people. This is what makes the American dream possible.
The Spark plug of American Prosperity
The entrepreneur is the spark plug in the engine of the free market and the business system. It is the entrepreneur who recognizes and anticipates a customer need, then assembles the resources necessary to satisfy that need at a price that yields a profit. It is this ability that creates all wealth and opportunity.
Entrepreneurship is Risky
Entrepreneurs are those who take risks to produce goods and services for customers, gambling that the customers will be there to pay prices high enough to yield profits. These profits are essential for the entrepreneur to repeat the process of developing and producing even more products and services in the future.
The Companies of Tomorrow
Some of the biggest and most profitable companies in America today, such as Microsoft, Dell, Oracle, and Apple, did not exist twenty-five years ago. Each year, new companies emerge and older companies disappear. The process of “creative destruction” in the marketplace never ends. Customers’ wants and needs are changing continually, like the weather, from one day to the next, they never remain very long.
The Dynamics of the Free Market
The free market is the vast national and international meeting place where buyers and sellers come together to negotiate and decide what to sell, what to buy, at what prices, and under what terms. The “bright side” of the free market is when businesses strive to please customers in the short term while simultaneously thinking about planning for the long term. The best businesses are those dedicated to building and maintaining customer loyalty so that once they sell something to a customer, the customer is so happy and satisfied that he or she buys again.
Competition Brings Out the Best
To succeed in a competitive market, many of the very best qualities of the individual are demanded. At a minimum, a successful entrepreneur requires courage, both to begin in the first place and persist against endless problems and disappointments. An entrepreneur must be optimistic, energetic, visionary, determined, intelligent, flexible, and able to bounce back repeatedly from disappointment and temporary failure. An entrepreneur, above all, requires an instinct for identifying what products or services he or she can produce and offer that extremely demanding customers will buy and pay for.
What the U.S. needs today is a new birth of liberty expressed in a national commitment to promote entrepreneurial activity by removing the hindrances that hold it back. What is your entrepreneurial dream? What steps can you take to make your dream a reality?
The most successful people in any society are those who take the longest time period into consideration when making their day-to-day decisions. This insight comes from the pioneering work on upward financial mobility in America conducted by Dr. Edward Banfield of Harvard University in the late 1950′s and early 1960′s. After studying many of the factors that were thought to contribute to individual financial success over the course of a person’s lifetime, he concluded that there was one primary factor that took precedence over all the others. He called it “time perspective.”
What Banfield found was that the higher a person rises in any society, the longer the time perspective or time horizon of that person. People at the highest social and economic levels make decisions and sacrifices that may not pay off for many years, sometimes not even in their own lifetimes. They “plant trees under which they will never sit.”
An obvious example of someone with a long time perspective is the man or women who spends ten or twelve years studying and interning to become a doctor. This person takes extraordinarily long time to lay down the foundation for a lifetime career. And partially because we know how long it takes to become a doctor, we hold doctors in the highest esteem of any professional group. We appreciate and admire the sacrifices that they have made in order to be able to practice a profession that is so important to so many of us. We recognize their long time perspectives.
Long Time Perspectives
People with long term perspectives are willing to pay the price of success for a long, long time before they achieve it. They think about the consequences of their choices and decisions in terms of what they might mean in five, ten, fifteen, and even twenty years from now.
Short Time Perspectives
People at the lowest levels of society have the shortest time perspectives. They focus primarily on immediate gratification and often engage in behaviors that are virtually guaranteed to lead to negative consequences in the long term. At the very bottom of the social ladder, you find hopeless alcoholics and drug addicts. These people think in terms of the next drink or the next fix. Their time perspective is often less than one hour.
Delayed Gratification is the Key to Financial Success
Your ability to practice self-mastery, self-control, and self-denial, to sacrifice in the short term so you can enjoy greater rewards in the long term, is the starting point of developing a long time perspective. This attitude is essential to financial achievement of any kind.
Practice a long term perspective in every area of your life, especially in your financial life but also with your family and your health. Think of where you would ideally like to be in five years and begin today to take steps in that direction.