JLM & Associates offers personal development counseling to help you take control of your personal and business success. Learn how to seize the kind of income you deserve and achieve the successful future of your dreams.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

We Make Ourselves

There is a couplet of Shakespear which goes: “It hath been taught use from the primal state / That he which is / was wished until he were.” And Manas adds: “Men make themselves.

We make ourselves, as persons, all the years of our lives, as a species, all the years of human history. What we wish will come. Remember how we could wish for something and have it come true. As adults, we do that. Sometimes we live to rue the day, and wish we could get our real wishes; we become the living embodiment of them.

That's why we know that the things on which scientists and engineers are working on today will eventually come about. We have never put an idea into the realm of possibility, and set out to work on it, which has not come about.

Today, we can walk on the moon, see different galaxies, and have an actual station in space. We can build artificial limbs, cure diseases and even some cancers. We can communicate verbally as well as visually instantly around the world via the Internet.

We make terrible and painful mistakes as we move onwards into time, fashioning our own world in the way in which we think it will best do the job. We often work at cross purposes and come to ruinous clashes, but our intention, as humans, is good. We really seek what is good, what is best for us. And because we do, we will in time achieve the kind of world we all want.

None of us now living may see it, but it's in the works, I truly believe. Everything in nature struggles upward, all humans included. Most of us want what is best, what is good, for ourselves, and our families. We are stopped most often by the anarchy of nations and by those who seek power, who think that they know what's best for us and that we don't.

But despite coming through the bloodiest century in the history of mankind, what we are making of ourselves is better than what we've been. We see a new social consciousness everywhere. People are beginning to care what happens to other people. It's almost as though, for the first time, they're beginning in really large numbers to realize that we're all part of the same family.

We make ourselves, collectively and individually. If we relinquish control over our own lives and just drift with the crowd, it is still our decision to do so.

When I mentioned that we would achieve the kind of world we want, I did not mean to indicate that we'll be happy with it when we get it; we'll probably wont' be satisfied and looking for some kind of new way. Perfection is an ideal impossible to achieve, so we'll always have something to strive toward. It's in the striving that we grow and in which lies our hope for the future.

Each of us is, at this moment, the sum total of his or her thoughts to this point. We make ourselves; through our wishes, through our real desires, through our daily thinking.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

How To Win An Argument Every Time

Some friends and I were talking this past week about how to avoid arguments. The answer is to ask questions, to make the other person define his or her terms and prove his or her point, and usually the argument will evaporate before it really begins.

That's the way to win an argument without having to argue at all. Just be gentle and wise as to how you go about it. Under no circumstances, tell a person he or she is wrong. No one likes to be told, emphatically and finally, “You are wrong.” It burns the person's ego; it makes him or her feel smaller and want to spoil for a fight and jump into a heated argument.

If you let the other person do the talking, you inflate his or her ego; listening is the direct opposite of arguing. You don't have to agree with everything the other person says but your willingness to listen makes the person know that you understand, or at least, will attempt to understand his or her point of view.

When you argue with a person, you are attacking his or her ego, which goes off the instant an outsider touches it. However, if you admit that the other person is right on small, insignificant points, you'll find yourself getting your own way on the big issues.

Arguments always tend to wander away from the main issues and get cluttered up with trifling connections to which you can yield gracefully without sacrificing your main convictions. By conceding points that don't matter, you'll get credit for being broad-minded, and this keeps the other person more reasonable.

Have you ever noticed how voices rise higher and higher during arguments? Have you ever been trapped into making rash statements and displaying bad manners? No wonder. Your system was full of adrenaline; you were ready for a fight. But at the same time, you'd sidetracked your capacity for straight thinking.

Benjamin Franklin once said that the ability to remain calm when the other person disagrees with you is the loftiest human accomplishment. He also said that the way to convince another is to state your case moderately and accurately. Then scratch your head, or shake it a little, and say, that is the way it seems to you, but that, of course, you may be mistaken about it. This, then, causes you listener to receive what you have to say and, like it or not have to turn around and convince you of it, since you seem to be in some doubt. But if you go at the person in a tone of positiveness and arrogance, you only make an opponent of him or her.

This was the kind of tact and good judgment that Franklin made one of the greatest sales in history. He sold a group of men the idea of adopting, and signing the Constitution of the United States.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

It Comes Down To Excellence

Here are few reminders for those of us who expect to survive and prosper in the world of business, and advice for the person who plans to go into business for him or herself or rise in the ranks of their current corporation.

The first piece of advice is to accept the fact that people do not need what you have to sell them. You may think they do, but they don't. Accept the fact that needs are not important, but that wants are very important. Millions of people ought to have what you are selling, but until you make them want what you have, they will never buy it.

Remember this: If someone is made to want something badly enough, nothing in the world can stand in the way of him or her getting it. Nothing happens until someone sells something. The salesperson, the want-creator is a very important person.

It's good, isn't it? Sometimes we forget who the salesperson is. The salesman or woman is the person with the briefcase getting on the plane, and visiting your office.

But the salesperson is also the man or woman behind the door marked “President.” And he or she is the person burning the midnight oil at the advertising agency who knows the truth of advertising great, Leo Burnett's comment that “Any fool can write a bad ad, but it takes a real genius to keep his hands of a good one.”

It was also Leo Burnett who said, “After all the meetings are over, the phones have stopped ringing and the vocalizing has died down, somebody finally has to get out an ad, often after hours. Somebody has to stare at a blank piece of paper. This is probably the very height of lonesomeness. Out of the recesses of his mind must come words which interest, words which persuade, words which inspire, words which sell. Magic words. I regard him as the man of the hour in our business today."

And the former president of BBD&O, Charles Brower once wrote: “When you try to formalize or socialize creative activity, the only sure result is commercial constipation. The good ideas are all hammered out in agony by individuals, not spewed out by groups.”

This should be of particular interest to the modern business owner or executive who carries the delegation of authority to the point where even he or she expects all good ideas to come from minds other than his or her own.

In the end, the formula remains the same today: Excellence in every department of your business. Excellence renewed every day.

We all know, really, what it takes to succeed in the world today. But it's good to be reminded once in while to re-affirm our belief and start looking in corners for signs of the dust of complacency.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Only One Enemy

Each of us has only one enemy, himself or herself; an enemy difficult to ignore and full of cunning.

And no one knows their enemy better than the person who must manage his or her own time. For example, a salesperson working on commission, or a person trying to break a bad habit or lose weight.

One of the hardest things a person can do is to look at himself or herself objectively, realistically, without self-glorification, deception, or despair. An analysis of yourself can pay rich dividends in a variety of ways: increased effectiveness and impact on others, better personal relationships, and greater personal fulfillment

Getting to know yourself is not simple. Psychologists agree that each of us builds up a strong network of defenses which act to protect us from others and, incidentally, ourselves.

All of us are born into this world helpless and dependent. In order to survive, we need to lean on others. The child growing up learns to turn to mother not only for comforts of physical help, but for the rewarding comfort of approval.

As we grow older, we continue the search for approval from the widening circle around us. We want friends not only to like us, but to approve of what we do. In their approval, we find assurance of our own worth.

So great is the human need for love and approval that we will often deceive ourselves, if necessary, rather than face the fact that we might now deserve it. Undisguised, our behavior might not always merit approval all of us do things that are inconsiderate, unkind, and downright cruel. But rather than face ourselves in an unkindly light, even to our own eyes, we unconsciously will protect our image of ourselves.

We rationalize. We say, “I did it because,” providing supposedly good and substantial reasons for our behavior. We protect, disowning the fault and seeing it as the other person's problem. We displace by blaming someone else for our own faults that we can't accept. We compensate by stretching ourselves in one area when we have failed in another.

Our defenses serve two purposes. First, they represent an attempt to prove to others that we're really fine people, and anything we do wrong is done for the right reason, they help us to deceive ourselves.

Know your enemy, and you can overcome him or her. Know yourself, the ancient advice still heads the list, and perhaps you can overcome the only real enemy you have: yourself.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

If you take everything that's been said or written on human achievement, analyze and study it long enough, you'll be left with two vital factors. Two factors that every person needs to live a successful and happy life.

Do you know what the two factors are? The first is a goal; the second is creative thinking. This is why anyone can be successful; these two factors are there for the asking for every human being. They're free and they can lead us to the life we want. Sure, this is an oversimplification, but after everything else has been taken away, these two factors are all anyone needs for success.

First the goal; you decide what it is you want. Once this is established, the mind comes into play. For example, if a child wants to fly an airplane, he simply turns to his imagination, and away he goes. His goal is to fly, and in an instant he's doing it.

If he still has that goal as an adult, his mind draws him to learn. Soon, he's flying with an instructor; later, without one. If his goal is to build a better plane, well, that's tougher, but well within the ball park. He can do that too. He can become an aeronautical engineer and work on a new generation of airplanes.

It is the misunderstanding of the importance of these two factors that keeps millions living far below their true potential for living. If a person has a goal and doesn't understand the importance of creative thinking, the importance of his or her mind, the goal becomes and daydream, a harmless fantasy.

There is a place for daydreams and fantasy in our lives, and we all indulge in them, but we need to understand that with just these two factors, goal setting and creative thinking, there are few things that we can seriously consider that we cannot achieve. The important thing is to be able to distinguish between what is achievable and what is fantasy.

So, whether it's finding the right person to marry or the right job, or achieving a particular position in life, or earning a certain income, or owning a particular home, or playing golf in the middle eighties, whatever it may be, the odds are overwhelmingly in our favor if we stick with our goal and bring the full power of our mind to bear.

We have only to give it all we have to give, for a sufficient length of time, for it to be ours; really ours, not in fantasy, but in truth, in fact.

You can have anything you want in this life, within reason. The problem is, most people don't know what they really want. They never really decide on a goal, or, at least seldom do and then stay with it until it's achieved.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Great Ideas

We often hear or read of people saying their idea or ideas have been stolen by someone, or large corporation, and complaining because they have not been properly compensated.

In the first place, if you've got what you believe is a valuable idea, apply for patent. Just call an attorney that specializes in intellectual property. If you're not willing to invest money in your own idea, it's best to give it away. Besides, what did the idea cost you?

Several years ago I sent an idea to one of the major car companies just to see how they would respond to it. My idea was to put some sort of electronic attention-getting device on cars when they back up, similar to warnings made when commercial vehicles back-up.

I felt maybe an idea like this could prevent a tragedy or even save the life of a playing child or a sleeping pet, to say nothing about hurting someone in a parking lot.

To make a long story short, I sent the idea. My letter was returned to me with a note that I should include proof of a patent or a copy of my patent application before submitting an idea. I didn't even get a thank you.

Most companies have many ideas already in their files that they have never bothered to develop. I can get ideas all the time and so can you. What's an idea worth? It's worth nothing at all unless we put it into action ourselves, or try to patent or copyright it.

It's no big deal. Just call an attorney, get a book on the subject or check out one of the many legal services available on the Internet.

One idea can make you millions if you put it to work and have enough faith in it to take some risks. I've received hundreds of ideas over my career from people to the effect that they have a great idea for a book, and why don't I write it? Why don't they write it?

Everything you see, buy, or use was once an idea in someone's head. Companies don't steal our ideas. They're usually getting along fine without them. If you get an idea you think might solve a problem, get it patented immediately.

Getting ideas is much like making a discovery: It can be worth a little or a great deal or nothing at all. Ideas are responsible for everything we see around us, the music we hear, the clothes we wear, everything that wasn't already here when we showed up.

Ideas can fill our lives with meaning and joy and love, as well as their opposites. If we're idea people, it shows in every department of our lives.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Reasons Why People Fail

Have you ever wondered why people fail? Here are the 10 most common reasons I have found during my career. Make sure you're not making any of these mistakes:

1. The misunderstanding or ignorance of the universal law behind success of any kind, which is, simply, that you have to give before you can expect to get; and you will receive in direct proportion to how much of yourself that you give. Your rewards will be in exact proportion to your service. Some may not like this universal law, but that doesn't change it. If you want to increase your income, you must increase your service to others.

2. The inability to concentrate on what is really important and what isn't. Give the great majority of your attention to the really important matters, delegate the details, and use your spare time for things that you enjoy.

3. The lack of organization. Make certain you know exactly where you're going, and plan to work to get the most out of your time and abilities.

4. One of the greatest causes of failure is thinking you can ever stop learning and trying new and better methods. Would you buy stock in a company that closed its research and development department? Of course not. Your continuing education is your own personal research and development, without it, you can't expect to grow.

5. The loss of faith in what you're doing, or in yourself. If you do not sincerely believe in what you're doing, if you lack faith in it, get out of it and into something that you can throw all your heart, talents and abilities.

6. Clinging to the status quo. Many people try to hang on to what they have and don't realize that the only thing upon which they can definitely count on is change. The world is changing every day, and more rapidly than at any time in its history. Welcome change, because it brings with it new opportunities for growth and expansion.

7. Forgetting who the boss really is, don't ever forget that throughout your working life, no matter what job you have, your boss is always the customer. The customer is king. Customers will continue to spend their money on the products and services you deliver if you earn and continue to earn their confidence and respect. You won't get one cent from a customer if you fail to earn it. That is the way it should be.

8. Another great cause of failure is thinking you should do just what you absolutely have to and no more. It doesn't work. You have to do more than you're being paid to do. Go the extra mile in everything you do.

9. A lack of understanding. At regular intervals, you need to take stock of your strengths and weaknesses, and work to strengthen both.

10. Giving up too soon. Never give up; persistence is still the most important ingredient for achievement.

Ten reasons for failure: For every one of them, there are a hundred ways to succeed by sticking with the universal rules. Success is really nothing more than knowing where you're going and making the best possible use of what you have.