Definite Purpose+Burning Desire

“There is one quality which one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants, and a burning desire to possess it.”

Napoleon Hill, author of The Law of Success and Think and Grow Rich

To identify one’s calling not only provides greater clarity on purpose but also gives us a greater sense of calling, which means better inspiration, direction, action, and, more likely, results. Planning should be more than to do lists and long-range plans. The process of planning can help us identify our purposes.

Plans help us improve “definiteness of purpose” and “knowledge of what one wants” plus adds fuel to our “burning desire.” Once we understand our purposes and possible results while creating the vision, we will be more likely to persevere and less likely to let disappointments hold us back.

Investing 1% of our time in planning adds significance to the other 99%. The 1% can help us focus on better priorities and feel more inspiration to take action.

Napoleon Hill, as a young journalist interviewing Andrew Carnegie, learned common denominators of doing our best exist, make a difference when learned and implemented, and should be taught at home and school, as well as places of work and worship. Often they were not taught or used (in many schools and other key places, still not taught, which we can fix). Plan for School and Life Initiative

Carnegie saw Hill was inspired and offered to introduce him to scores of the world’s most prolific people, including U.S. presidents, business leaders, and scientists such as Thomas Edison.  Hill studied and compiled their common denominators into a list of principles and practices published in essays and books.

If you read more of Hill’s work, you will see his emphasis on writing your “definite purpose” and internalizing it as a key to building desire and action. This process and plan can become a great source of motivation, habits, accountability, and results.

My research and coaching affirms, people with an “A” awareness of calling and choices are much more likely to demonstrate “A” level of “courage” and “commitment.” Without a plan, courage, commitment, and confidence average “C” level, which holds people and their organizations back. In most cases,”A” or “B” is attainable and should be developed.

I first read Hill’s books as a college student in a summer job selling Bibles door-to-door. The ideas plus the summer experience planted the seeds of my calling to help people learn and use best-self leadership. Hill’s work influenced mine and is a reason why I emphasize so much to students, professionals, and families alike that we should write plans to help us discover purpose, focus, and internalize what’s most important.

May you Plan and Lead your Life, David

Cowboy Up + Hard Work + True Professionalism = GRIT

2017-01-27-11_03_47-photos2017-01-27-11_06_53-photosProfessionalism Front Cover

Lead your Life is the #1 best practice to Plan and Lead our Lives (1 of 7).

Is your Mindset optimistic and action-oriented or do you feel entitled or defeated?

Is your instinctive response to tough situations: complain or think solutions?

Most of the time, to change our results, we need to improve or even change the way we think. Those who envision, write plans, and mentally rehearse do better.

My resolutions include at least one for developing my capacities. How about you?

May you Plan and Lead in Life, David

Courage to Try creates Confidence

To lead our lives means we need to be aware of when we talk ourselves out of taking action on a calling. My research shows people who have written their plans for callings and choices are much more likely to take action because they develop higher levels of commitment, courage, and, eventually, confidence.

Lead your Life and Plan for Life are steps #1-2 to achieve #3, Have an Impact. Because, we can only have impact if we take shots.

May you Plan and Lead in Life, David

Resolve to be a “Superager”

This post seeks to do two things for you:

  1. Inform and inspire about goals and resolutions so we include at least one about challenging ourselves to improve mental capacity so we not only can live closer to our best-selves now but also live longer with sharper faculties.
  2. Share a New York Times article entitled “How to Become a Superager” to add more research findings and discussion to support your thinking.

I pulled a few excerpts from the article that get to the point on definition and action to succeed. The full article is provided at the end. This is a summary of the core.

Superagers” are those whose memory and attention isn’t merely above average for their age, but is actually on par with healthy, active 25-year-olds….

How do you become [or remain] a superager? Which activities, if any, will increase your chances of remaining mentally sharp into old age? We’re still studying this question, but our best answer at the moment is:

work hard at something.

Many labs have observed that critical brain regions [discussed in the article] increase in activity when people perform difficult tasks, whether the effort is physical or mental. You can therefore help keep these regions thick and healthy through vigorous exercise and bouts of strenuous mental effort.

The road to superaging is difficult, though, because these brain regions have another intriguing property: When they increase in activity, you tend to feel pretty bad — tired, stymied, frustrated [at first]. Think about the last time you grappled with a math problem or pushed yourself to your physical limits.

Hard work makes you feel bad in the moment. The Marine Corps has a motto that embodies this principle: “Pain is weakness leaving the body.” That is, the discomfort of exertion means you’re building muscle and discipline.

Superagers are like Marines: They excel at pushing past the temporary unpleasantness of intense effort. Studies suggest that the result is a more youthful brain that helps maintain a sharper memory and a greater ability to pay attention.

This means that pleasant puzzles like Sudoku are not enough to provide the benefits of superaging. Neither are the popular diversions of various “brain game” websites. You must expend enough effort that you feel some “yuck.” Do it till it hurts, and then a bit more.

In the United States, we are obsessed with happiness. But as people get older, research shows, they cultivate happiness by avoiding unpleasant situations. This is sometimes a good idea, as when you avoid a rude neighbor. But if people consistently sidestep the discomfort of mental effort or physical exertion, this restraint can be detrimental to the brain. All brain tissue gets thinner from disuse. If you don’t use it, you lose it.

So, make a New Year’s resolution to take up a challenging activity. Learn a foreign language. Take an online college course. Master a musical instrument. Work that brain. Make it a year to remember….

Now, think.

Think of “senior-age” people you know. Some likely are purposeful, healthy, and self-reliant, while others may be inactive, obese, fully or partially dependent, with little purpose beyond their “doctor visits.”

Sure, genetics, injuries, and more can happen to us, though we should admit, we create most of our circumstances. Or, at least, we can create our plans, actions, and responses.

Now, think of yourself. Do we want to live fully, ever growing, and self-reliant as long as we can or do we want to take it easy, do as little as possible, focus on pleasure instead of purpose, expect others to take care of us, and lose our mental and physical faculties due to lack of use?

There is plus side to needing to work hard and stay engaged when older just as there is a down side for succeeding so much you don’t need to work anymore. If you achieve the latter, your best-self will find new purposes to add value for society and keep yourself engaged with energy. If you are facing tough challenges, you have opportunity to grow to meet the challenge to not only make your “Goliath” go away but also to expand your capacity for doing more and responding better.

Writing goals, resolutions, and actions is not a guarantee of success though it is a guarantee that you have done one of the steps required to do your best. In my work with Veterans Making Comeback from homelessness and professionals with high and low levels of commitment, I have found, there is a correlation between a person having a written plan and having a sense of calling as well as a high degree of commitment, courage, and confidence.

What callings do you feel led to fulfill?

What choices will you make for goals and resolutions?

If you “look in the mirror” for an honest assessment of what you seek, as well as where you are, and write goals and resolutions you will be more likely to live as a superager.

After reading the article linked below, I felt compelled to share this post with you and to add more to my goals and resolutions to expand my mental and physical capacities. I hope you do, too. May you Plan and Lead in Life, David

To read the article: 2017-01-03-12_42_44-photos

Author of the article:

Lisa Feldman Barrett, a professor of psychology at Northeastern University, is the author of the forthcoming “How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain.”

Ask the Mom of a Prisoner

A mother called me this Sunday morning. She had received from her daughter a few workbooks I developed she thought might help her son prepare better to get out of prison.

If you wonder if adding Plans for School & Life to school lessons and writing assignments could be valuable to the development and decisions made by people, especially young people, ask the mother of a prisoner is she wishes we would add that preparation to education and what it means to be prepared for citizenship.

This mother is also thinking of how life may be different for her son if he had thought more, wrote more, and prepared more for the plan he desired for the person he wanted to become and the life he wanted to lead.

Do you think a student with even a bit more hope and direction will be more likely to succeed as well as avoid trouble? Of course, you do.

Have your read or heard of the power of goals or other components in plans? Of course, you have.

We can take action now and improve the lives of many. Perhaps you or someone you teach or know needs a better plan for life. Or,  perhaps you would benefit from not having to pay so much in taxes to support those former students who are in prison.

What if the prisoner, that’s mom’s son, and a former student had been more inspired and informed of positive possibilities, would he have been more likely to focus his time and energy toward callings instead of be tempted to do drugs–and the things he did while impaired by drugs, which sent him to prison?

If he had outlined what he could do to achieve possibilities and to solve problems instead of repeatedly think of his problems, would he have had more hope and reason to do good things leading to a better life?

All of us can identify what we do need to do to become our best-selves. Most of us already agree, if you do those things more people will spend their time positively and less people will end up in prison, homeless, or worse.

If we added Best-Self Leadership and Plan for School & Life to K-college and/or career plus help those already in communities, how much better could we do and how much could we save in human capital and in costs for law enforcement and incarceration of too many lost souls.

A country song of the past comes to mind with a line in the lyrics,

“You’ve got to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything.”

If you want people to improve how well they stand for something good, we can invite and reward them to write their callings and choices.

We can reward students for the effort with grades in school and steps to graduation.

We can include this positive action to earning a way out of prison. “Marking time” can help a man learn the value of freedom or it can kill his spirit and numb his conscience to inspired possibilities. Time without freedom is not the only answer. Some people plan and prepare better in a year than some who exist in the system for a decade. Some veterans making comebacks I have taught and coached made more progress in a month or two than some who stayed in the system for years–with little purpose, planning, or action.

If you value this thinking, you could write an inspired idea in your plan. And, you could support Life Leaders as we seek to help educators prepare our students with plans for school and the seven areas of life. You are invited to follow this blog. David