This week’s virtue: Courage (Week 17 HJ)

I was going to sit here and write about this lack of focus that I’m dealing with right now, but (a) it’s a little bit because of all the pasta I’ve eaten in the past 24 hours (wheat brain!) and (b) we just did focus last week.

Onto something new.

My virtue this week is courage, and I have opportunities.

Just today I made two phone calls that, two years ago, I would have put off for weeks. It doesn’t matter what they were. I made them. I was assertive. I was rewarded (intrinsically).

When we started our MKE journey, I put my podcast on hold so that I could dedicate the time and energy to the Master Keys. But accountability in other parts of my life has fallen off. I’ve stopped doing some of the work on myself that’s important to me.

So this week I’m going to kick the podcast back into life, asking listeners to let me come back into their ears three months early. Not the easiest thing to do, but this time we’re coming back with vulnerability and honesty instead of forcing a new episode every week just because I said I would, at the cost of quality.



Week 17: Concentration and focus (talking DMPs)

Today, we interviewed a young lady named Awilda Rivera for a podcast (that’s not the royal we; Kelvin does the show with me).

If you look at her website, you’ll see that she is a spiritual adviser, success coach, yoga instructor, reiki practitioner and certification-awarder, and she performs weddings, too.

That might sound like a lot — it did to us, too — but to her it all comes down to focusing on exactly how she wants to help people, and she can explain it in right around five seconds.

We were astonished. We’re taught that in order to really succeed, we should focus on one thing.

But, we were also reminded of this week’s lesson from Haanel (17-11):

Concentration does not mean mere thinking of thoughts, but the transmutation of these thoughts into practical values[.]

I decided to dig a little deeper, so I pulled out my trusty dictionary. Concentration means

exclusive attention to one object; close mental application.

Focus, on the other hand, means

a central point, as of attraction, attention, or activity.

So Awilda has a focus. All the things she does lead her to that one central place. And when she’s doing work toward that focus, it’s concentrated work.

That’s like our DMPs, right? We want lots of things, but when it call comes down to it, we get a one-sentence shot at our focus. Here’s mine:

I make a better world by helping people become happier, healthier, kinder and more productive.

I could probably take the productive bit out, since that follows from healthier and contributes to happier, but I like the ring of it.

All of that encompasses a whole bunch of things. Diet, exercise, sleep, volunteerism, research, lifelong learning, meditation, making lists…ellipses…But it all does have a narrow focus, something I can concentrate on, as our exercise this week tells us:

33.  For your exercise this week concentrate as nearly as possible in accordance with the method outlined in this lesson. [Snip]

34.  If you wish to eliminate fear, then concentrate on courage.

35.  If you wish to eliminate lack, then concentrate on abundance.

36.  If you wish to eliminate disease, then concentrate on health.

37.  Always concentrate on the ideal as an already existing fact.[Snip]

Be what you will to be!

Week 16: Discipline and motivation

Yeah, I know. I wrote about discipline in Week 5. But I heard something today that brought it back to the forefront for me.

I was out for a run — my first outdoor excursion in a couple of weeks since coastal Georgia had its longest cold snap and first accumulated snow in 30 years over the past week and a half — listening to the Discipline Equals Freedom Field Manual.

One of the chapters is on motivation.

“Don’t count on motivation,” author Jocko Willink says. “Count on discipline.”

This was certainly one of those days that I understood exactly what he meant.

I recognized last week that I haven’t been taking my own medicine lately. Yesterday, the cold snap finally broke, and most of the ice and snow were off the streets (with a winter storm every few decades, the city and county don’t bother keeping a salt or sand store, so we’re basically at the mercy of the weather to take care of the wet stuff). I went to the gym, got in a workout, and played racquetball with some friends for a couple of hours.

This morning, my training calendar said I was due for a four-mile run. My body was really unhappy with that prospect after yesterday’s overindulgence in exercise.

No matter. It had been 16 days since my last outdoor run, so I was going, come hell or high water.

When the motivation isn’t there, I go because the calendar says I’m supposed to go.

The same, of course, goes for anything, including our readings, our blogging, our kindness postings.

Not motivated to write? To do something kind? To read Haanel? To tell people you did something kind? Do it anyway. Use the discipline we’ve learned practicing every day. Don’t wait for motivation to show up. Sometimes it doesn’t.


Course talk: Recognition of readiness

I decided I’m not ready to create a course yet.

Here’s why: I’m not doing enough in the way of taking my own advice.

I can certainly teach people what I know, but as CDBaby founder Derek Sivers says, “If more information were the answer, we’d all be billionaires with perfect abs.”

Notice that I’m not a billionaire with perfect abs. I could be with the knowledge in my head, but I’m not.

I don’t think I need to be all the way there to launch a class, but I should be certainly a lot farther along that road than I am.

So, time to buckle down, do for myself, and get ready for a course either in the fall or the spring.

For now, time to do the work.

Week 15: What will you give up?

Above my desk is a painting of a W.E.B. du Bois quote. It says, “The most important thing to remember is this: To be ready at any moment to give up what you are for what you might become.”

It immediately popped into my mind when reading 15-5 in Haanel.<blockquote cite><em>We cannot obtain what we lack if we tenaciously cling to what we have. We are able to consciously control our conditions as we come to sense the purpose of what we attract, and are able to extract from each experience only what we require for our further growth. Our ability to do this determines the degree of harmony or happiness we attain.</em></blockquote>

There’s probably not much else to say at this point &mdash; is the old blueprint gone yet? Are we moving forward? Have we shed what we need to shed, or are we at least willing to?


Week 14: Lessons from Cool Runnings

Quick notes from Cool Runnings. 

1. If you start, finish.

It’s maybe the final lesson in the movie, but probably the most important. Remember Haanel saying that not finishing what you start set up a habit of ignominious failure? Those guys picking up that sled at the end and carrying it across the finish line was a reminder that the run is over when you cross the line, not when your sled crashes. You don’t have to win to succeed, but you do need to finish. 

2. Keep your friends around you.

Derrice and Sanka know each other. Well. They support each other’s dreams. They know the rest will fall into place because they hold a strong enough bond that whatever comes their way will get sucked into their tractor beam. 

3. Know who is on your team

You don’t have to like your teammates, but when you’re working toward the same goal, you have to have each other’s backs. Junior and Yule get it, eventually. 

4. Be undeniably you

After their miserable first run, Sanka reminds the crew they are Jamaican, and if they need to appear a little out of place because that’s who they are, so be it. 

Week 14: Persistence — the ax and the oak

We’re wrapping up Scroll III of The Greatest Salesman, and then this reminder came across my Instagram feed.

#100to0: READ CAPTION👇🏽 . EVERYONE wants to know the “SECRET” to success. . People spend their whole lives looking for it. . For years Ive thought about what I would tell someone “the secret” was if I had only a minute to tell them. . I found the answer in the Axe. . The Axe is such a simple tool, but incredible tool. . Its not complicated. . Its not fancy. . Its not glamorous. . Its IS extremely effective. . Its been a tool that's literally shaped our landscape, build civilizations and provide for families for hundreds of years. . There are four aspects to making an Axe effective: . 1. You gotta swing the Axe. No trees get cut down with the Axe laying on the ground. You gotta swing it…HARD. . EFFORT . 2. You have to hit the tree in the same spot over & over & over again. It does you no good to go up & down the tree swinging wildly. You have to hit your mark many many times. . CONSISTENCY . 3. You have to have a sharpen blade. It does you no good to pound away at a tree as hard as you can in the same spot with a dull blade. You have to be notice when the blade gets dull and take a minute, step back and sharpen it. . SELF AWARENESS & PERSONAL SKILL DEVELOPMENT. . 4. Even if you swing as hard as you can, in the same spot, with the sharpest blade…cutting down a tree takes time. You cant do it in just a few swings. You have to keep going until the tree starts to fall and gravity brings it all the way down. . PATIENCE & PERSEVERANCE . The Axe is amazingly simple, yet labor intensive….just like success in anything. . If you are not making the progress you think you should and cant figure out why…I 100% GUARANTEE you that the answer is in one of the 4 elements of The Axe. . My wish for you is to approach your life as a Lumberjack would approach using an Axe. . Apply these four elements to whatever you are doing and you'll find "The Secret to Success" really isn't a secret at all. . TAG 3 FRIENDS WHO NEED TO HEAR THE “SECRET” to success and Ill pick a few people for a 20 minute skype call.

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