Archive for December, 2007

Thanks for the bright idea – stupid!

December 27, 2007

One of the great thinkers of the world was Plato.  In describing his primary philosophy he compared people to prisoners chained in a cave.  There is only a small fire illuminating our environment.  The only reality we know is that tiny space in our cave.  But every now and then some cave dweller breaks free from the chains, steps out of the cave and is immediately blinded by the light.  He can only see a blurry version of the Truth because his eyes cannot adjust to what all he sees.  Eventually though, he will see a new reality that his old comrades cannot.  So the enlightened individual returns to the cave and tries to tell the others what they are missing.  Now here’s where it gets interesting.  Will he be welcomed with open arms?  Will his old comrades thank him for sharing his new insights and opportunities?  Not according to Plato.  He suggests that the “prophet will be killed by his former colleagues — which history appears to confirm.

So 2300 years later — are you surprised when your former co-workers think you’re stupid for suggesting you can survive without a “real job” with “real benefits?”  Or for believing that you can take your idea for making a better yo-yo and turn it into real income?    Or for building a straw house (like my son Kevin is doing in Colorado).  Don’t you remember the three little pigs?  Well, sometimes old fairy tales just aren’t true.

Don’t expect your great idea to be embraced by all the old cave dwellers.  There will always be whiners, naysayers, and small thinkers.  If you’re on a different path you can expect criticism, ridicule and laughter as they huddle around their little but familiar fire.  Just don’t let them kill you — or your idea.  Keep looking for more light.

When Character meets Opportunity

December 20, 2007

I recently opened a new account at my bank.  We are changing from an S corp to an LLC so I put $500 into that account just to allow us to begin the transfer process.  This morning I looked at my accounts on line and noticed that this new account shows a balance of $50,350.84.  Obviously a banking error of some kind. 

How long should it take me to decide what to do?  Should I entertain the idea that the bank is a big corporate organization and probably won’t even miss this?  Should I consider that I have worked hard to help a lot of people and probably really do deserve this windfall?  Maybe this is God’s providence – I am destined to receive this.  Maybe all that positive thinking is paying off in new ways.  I’ve been eyeing a new Range Rover — perhaps this is just an example of turning “burning desire” into reality.

Do you know how easy it is to start down that slippery slope of justifying anything other than simply notifying the bank of their error?  With $50,000 it may seem obvious.  But what about when the cashier at Best Buy gives you $.51 too much change?  Or when the waitress forgets to add your drinks to your ticket?  Is the principle the same or does a small amount somehow get a different answer?  If so, then where does character take over?  Seems to me the easiest solution is to allow character to prevail no matter how small the amount.  Remember the story about Abraham Lincoln walking six miles to return three cents to a customer he’d unintentionally overcharged while working as a clerk in a hardware store?   It helped solidify his reputation as “Honest Abe.”  I trust that my decisions merit a similar title.

Start 2008 With A Clean Slate

December 18, 2007

Management guru Peter Drucker always recommended that you examine every part of your business regularly to determine if there is anything you are doing now that you wouldn’t do again if you could start over.

What if you did this Zero-Based planning for your LIFE?  If you could wipe the slate clean on January 1st, and look at your life in this way, what would you change?  The real hallmark of truly successful people is not that they do more but that they can decide what they are going to stop doing.  What are you going to Stop Doing on January 1st?

If you need a planning guide, here’s my brief outline for deciding what success will look like for you in 2008:  Dan’s Goal Planner

Does the idea of planning success in 7 areas of your life seem novel?

Must see Movie – August Rush

December 18, 2007

August Rush

At the recommendation of our son Jared, Joanne and I went to see August Rush recently.  Now — I’m not a movie fan – we go occasionally just for an evening activity.  I never expect anything other than a two-hour diversion – time with Joanne and some greasy popcorn.  And the movies I recommend you could count on one hand.

 But August Rush is a must see movie if you have a creative bone in your body.  Let me be quick to add that it has gotten horrible reviews.  The “experts” say it’s “annoying, absurd, flawed, silly, soppy” and even “yucky.”  But then I suspect most of these experts are looking for technical perfection, storyline logic and cinematic excellence.  I know nothing about any of those things.

Joanne and I thought the movie was absolutely delightful.  What a beautiful story of believing you have a calling and a purpose – of listening carefully, and hearing the music all around you.

The music in this movie is amazing and the story is one we all want to believe. 

 I find most of the transcendent experiences in our lives don’t line up nicely with logic and common sense.  That’s why they’re especially meaningful.  How do you “explain” or document love, beauty, the smile of a baby, new spiritual insight – or the calling to be a musician or artist.  You don’t have to – just allow it to be real for you; embrace the unique experience and create the music the world is waiting to hear.

What’s that in your hand?

December 18, 2007

Remember when God spoke to Moses at the burning bush?  God told Moses he wanted him to go back to Egypt and lead the people out to the Promised Land.  Moses looked and said – “You’ve got to be kidding – I’m not the person for a job like that.”  God assured Moses he would prepare the way and he would provide some pretty convincing miracles.  Still Moses had a hard time believing he was up to the task.  He pleaded – “I can’t speak well, I don’t have a college degree, I’m a convicted felon – please, send anyone else!”  Now here we have someone with an obvious opportunity.  Wouldn’t you like for God to lay out such a clear plan for you; and to promise success in advance.  But that wasn’t good enough for Moses.  He kept trying to convince God he didn’t have any of the necessary requirements for accomplishing this big job.  Moses said “they won’t believe me.  I don’t have anything to qualify me for doing something great.”  And God came back with, “What is that in your hand?”   If you don’t remember, it was his shepherd’s staff, which turned out to be a pretty significant part of his leadership.  He turned it into a snake, parted the Red Sea with it and did some other pretty cool stuff.

If you think you’re stuck, don’t have any unusual talents, don’t have the right degrees, and don’t have the credibility to have people take you seriously – let me ask you a question:  “What do you have in your hand?”  What natural talents do you have?  What is it that you do with excellence?  Do you make beautiful candles?  Delicious bread?  Encourage the elderly?  Sing like an angel?  Draw stunning flowers?  Handle your children with grace?  You get the idea – just look at what you have right in front of you. 

With God’s help you may already have everything you need for greatness.  Don’t balk when you hear the first strains of your music.  You may want to read the Biblical account for yourself:  Exodus 3-4:17 

Hate Your Job?

December 13, 2007

We are proud to announce the launch of the new 48 Days video channel on YouTube.  In this clip I talk about the basic concepts in No More Mondays — due to be released Jan 15th.