Saturday, May 15, 2010

3 Seconds...

The book of the week was 3 Seconds by Les Parrott. Parrott does a good job explaining the importance of thinking twice in this book. Generally, people's first reaction is to keep the status quo, it's good to take a few extra seconds and conjure a success driven answer to any question you might have in life.

This book reminds me of another book given to me a few years back. The book was Keys to the Vault by Keith Cunningham, my friend met Cunningham and had the book signed for me. Cunningham wrote, among other things "Whatever it takes." I say this because it's been somewhat the motto of my life since I received the book years ago, and the book I read this week has three words at the end of the first chapter (as well as several other places in the book).. "whatever it takes." In life, it's easy to say "maybe next time" or "there's nothing I can do about it" or I've done what's required and that's enough or, last but not least, "whatever." This books main goal is to change the attitude of "whatever" into "whatever it takes."

There are many situations you may stick to average; six of them are laid out in this book. The idea is to identify the six situations and train yourself to react differently than you normally would. Just like learning any type of behavior, it takes time and practice. But once you get it down you are bound for success in each area. Additionally, you may have the correct, success-driven reaction for a couple of these situations, that's wonderful, but until you have them all down, you are not doing "whatever it takes." So let's get started...

The first situation deals with Empowering Yourself... Often you will hear people say, "There is nothing I can do about it"... That is just a defeatist attitude. What you should be saying in any self-doubting situation is "I can't do everything, but I can do something." Say it to yourself, or say it to others... but then take some action! Do "something" and do whatever it is and then go on to the next thing. Ask for help if you need it, but empower yourself to take action instead of mope around.

The second situation is Embracing a Good Challenge... Your first impulse when you have something challenging ahead of you is "It's too difficult to even attempt." That is just weak. I do not appreciate giving up, there is nothing admirable about giving up in a tough situation. With time and the right tools anything can be done. If you see yourself in a difficult situation you should say to yourself "I love a good challenge." Then tackle it head on!

Parrott's third situation is Fueling Your Passion... There are a lot of people in the world that just "Do what happens to come their way." It most often happens right out of high school or college. They take the first job that they are accepted into or do what their family pressures them to do. It's very upsetting for me when I see someone doing something that doesn't make them happy. My passion is to lead people and help people make a best of who they are, so clearly this is one area that really hits me deep. I talk to friends quite often about their futures and what they should do... It's a very very difficult question to answer for anyone but yourself. You have to take a few seconds when you are faced with a life decision and say "I'll do what I'm designed to do." Every single person has a God-given passion in life and you need to teach yourself to go for it. It might be being a loving mother, joining the Peace Corps, writing poems, or being a stock-trader. But do "whatever it takes" to get there and fuel that passion.

The fourth situation is Owning Your Piece of the Pie... The popular phrase is "It's not my problem, somebody else is to blame." I'm not sure why this is the gut reaction for people. I suppose it comes down to pride, but regardless, pushing around blame solves nothing. I can't think of a single situation in life where I would be satisfied if I was upset with a situation and everyone I talked to kept passing the blame to someone else. Anyone that has grown up in Missouri, like myself, knows of Harry Truman's line "The buck stops here."  It's a really great line. Don't pass around the blame. The best organizations in the world empower even the lowest person on the totem-pole to make the decisions to make the customer happy. Generally, the line that makes everything better and costs little-to-nothing is "I'm sorry."

The fifth situation you may face deals with Walking the Extra Mile... The average person says "I've done what's required, and that's that." I clearly don't agree with this mentality. To be the best you need to do what no one has done. If you do the minimum, that's all you'll be. Take every task you are given and do better than anyone ever has with that. Be proud to put your name behind a task. The best of the best are the ones that say "I'll go above and beyond the mere minimum."

The sixth situation is Quit Stewing and Start Doing... I think a lot of people have these big worldly goals, but when asked about them they say "Someday, I'm going to do that." What they need is a fire to be lit under them. And no one can do that better than themselves. This book makes reference to the very first book I wrote about on this website... The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz (a genius book, which helped inspire the goal of this website)... A 28 year-old man named Lou Holtz was given that book in 1966 while he was out of a job and had no money in the bank. In the book it says you should write down all the goals you have in your life and Holtz did just that, making a list of 107 goals. Some of these goals seemed completely unachievable like dinner at the White House and Appearing on the Tonight Show... Well Holtz accomplished 81 out of the 107 goals on his list. He has a picture of him eating with Ronald Reagan at the White House and he was on TV with Johnny Carson. I think the single most important part of setting a goal and getting it done is to write it down and look at it every day. Do "whatever it takes" to accomplish your goals and say to yourself" I'm diving in... starting today!"

It takes a mere 3 seconds to change a "whatever" lifestyle into a "whatever it takes" lifestyle. This book is a great tool to help you make that life change. Each chapter has a great section dedicated to training you to change your first impulse. I recommend this book to anyone. It's a great one and it's easy to read. If you have any questions on the book don't hesitate to ask. I would be more than happy to help anyone that wants it.

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