Thursday, April 30, 2015

Cultivating Creativity in Times of Crisis-by: John C. Maxwell

Cultivating Creativity in Times of Crisis-by: John C. Maxwell

Like everyone I know, I was horrified to learn of the tragic devastation that occurred in Nepal and the surrounding region when an earthquake struck. I lived in California for many years, where earthquakes were a fact of life. But I never experienced anything like the quake that hit that region last week. The destruction and loss of life are heart-breaking.
I won’t attempt to give advice to the people affected by the tragedy. What they most need from us is prayer and relief efforts. But one thing I do know is that they will need to be creative in overcoming the difficulties they are now faced with. And we can all benefit from learning more about that topic. On that note, today I’d like to talk a little about creativity.
To face the greatest challenges of life, we need to cultivate creative thinking. In times of crisis, you need to tap into every good idea you have. And of course, the best time to increase your creativity is before the crisis occurs. This can be done by establishing the discipline of creative thinking.

Here are a few ways we can do that:

1.  Spend time with creative people.

Make a habit, both inside and outside of work, of spending time with creatives. Let their way of thinking challenge and influence yours.

2. Look for the obvious.

When problem-solving, many of us make the mistake of looking only for the “big” solution. Creativity means exploring all ideas, even the obvious and seemingly insignificant ones. Often the simplest solution is the best solution.

3. Be unreasonable.

Logic and creativity can work together quite well, but sometimes rational thinking gets in the way of being creative. Be willing to look at unreasonable ideas. Often they expand your thinking and lead to breakthroughs that you might otherwise miss.

4. Practice mental agility.

Creativity requires flexibility. Rigid, bureaucratic thinking is in direct opposition innovation and creativity. So make a habit of considering every idea, no matter how difficult it might seem to implement or how much change it may require.

5. Dare to be different.

Being creative means standing outside of the norm. You must cultivate a willingness to challenge every rule and assumption.

6. See problems as opportunities.

Sometimes the only difference between a problem and an opportunity is the word you use to describe it. Whenever you face a problem, take a step back and ask how it could be described as an opportunity—to innovate, build, and improve.
The discipline of creative thinking will change you—and for the better. As jurist Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “The mind, once expanded to the dimensions of larger ideas, never returns to its original size.”
My prayer is that people who have spent years cultivating creativity are already at work in Nepal – and the Middle East, and around the world – to serve people and bring solutions to hurting nations. May we find creative ways to offer relief, and keep them in our prayers.
This article was written by: John C. Maxwell.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

How the People Around You Affect Personal Success-by: Jim Rohn

How the People Around You Affect Personal Success-by: Jim Rohn

Recently I sat down with a new friend I met for dinner. We talked about what it takes to achieve the goals you want to achieve in life. My friend is already a very accomplished marketing professional. And yet, there was lots more she wanted to do. One conclusion I kept coming back to in this talk is that a large amount of how successful you will be in life comes down to the people you spend time with.
This is why:
‘You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.’ Jim Rohn
This quote is one of the most powerful ones that I keep reminding myself over and over again. I am the average of the five people I spend the most time with. Others around myself determine how I think, how I act, and ultimately how successful I will be.

Fighting your way through the law of average: The sower and the reaper

This video from Jim Rohn is amazing. In short: You’ll face many struggles along the way if you are seeking success and happiness. If you are the sower, your seeds will get picked up by the birds first and won’t give a return. Then they will fall on shallow ground, leaving you with nothing again. Then they will fall on thorny ground and the sun will shine so hot that your small plant will die after the first day. No return either.
Then, one day, the seeds will fall on good ground and finally give you the expected return and success. The only way you can make sure that you will fight your way through this hardship is with the right people by your side.

Who are the people you spend time with?

It doesn’t matter how smart you are. It doesn’t matter how talented you are, which skills you have, where you are born, or which family you came from. All that counts if you want to be successful in life is the people you surround yourself with.
It’s a notion so simple, yet so difficult to get started with. Something I tried to do very specifically is this exercise:
  • Who are the 5 people in your life that you spend time with? As in, if your day has 24 hours, how many of those hours are spent with which people. (I’m guessing amongst people will be some members of your family, your spouse, co-workers and some close friends.) Write those 5 people on a piece of paper. (It’s ok if they are less than 5.)
  • Once you have a list of those 3-5 people, ask yourself this: Who are they? What do they do with their lives? How ambitious are they, how successful have they been, how happy, optimistic, and enthusiastic are they?
  • Evaluate carefully if those people will really be those that will help you get to the next level you want to get to. Do they push you forward when you come to them with new ideas, no matter what? Or do they tell you that what you have in mind won’t work? Will they keep you going once the birds pick up your seeds, once your seeds fall on shallow or thorny ground?
  • Make a choice of who in your list you want to continue spending time with. Don’t be afraid if none or only 1 or 2 amongst your 5 people today meet the standard of excellence you want to set for yourself. Keep going, decrease the time you spend, and increase the amount of time you keep your eyes looking for people that you want to have as one of your 5 closest people.
  • It’s ok to end up with this:
    “Since last you heard from me, I lost some friends, well, heh, me and Snoop we’re dippin’ again.” ~ Dr. Dre (Still D.R.E.)
    Don’t be afraid to lose some friends, support from your family, or anything else if that means you start surrounding yourself with the right people. Instead of becoming the average of some average people, dip with the best.

    The people I spend time with

    I believe I’m someone who took longer than most people to understand this concept. I clung onto relationships with people far too long. All of them were great people, people I respect like I want to respect every other human being. Yet, I always knew these are not the people that are dying to be incredibly successful, incredibly happy, and doing no matter what it takes to chase their dreams.
    Gradually I learnt this, working my way to spend less and less time with them. Today, the people I spend time with are just 2 people. Joel and Tom. They are most likely the smartest people I have ever worked with before. Both have a focus and determination I’m constantly blown away by. I cling onto their enthusiasm, try to learn from their skillset as much as I can and get myself lifted onto the next level: purely by being in the same room with them.
    There is no one else I spend as much time with as Joel and Tom. 90% of my daily interaction happens with these two guys. The power they have is therefore incredible. I’m highly influenced and seek to be from them and their input. I know, because of their actions, experience, and daily work, the only impact this can have on me is a positive one. It is pushing me higher and onto the next level every day.
    I’m the average of Tom and Joel.
    Whether you want it or not, I believe this is how it works. The people you spend the most time with make you. You are their average. Do you think that’s true
Article by: Jim Rohn.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

How Do You Become a Successful Failure?-by: John C. Maxwell

How Do You Become a Successful Failure?-by: John C. Maxwell

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas A. Edison
Nobody likes to fail. But if we’re honest, we understand that failure is a part of life. There is no success without some amount of failure. Great inventors like Thomas Edison experience a lot of failures on the way to a successful invention. Even the best baseball players strike out much more often than they hit a home run.
Anyone pursuing a goal of value will make mistakes and wrong decisions. So the key is to expect failure, to prepare for it, to be ready to turn it into a lesson and a stepping-stone to success. There is such a thing as a successful failure. These are some of the traits of such a person:

1.     Optimism. Find the benefit in every bad experience.

Thomas Edison redefined the failures in his experiments as “10,000 ways that won’t work.” He expected failure and counted it as one of the costs of finding a way that would work. By finding the benefit in the failure, he was able to keep attempting something great. Optimism is not limited to a few people as a personality trait. Optimism is a choice. And while it doesn’t guarantee immediate positive results, it does result in higher motivation and stronger character.

2.     Responsibility. Change your response to failure by accepting responsibility.

When we fail at something, it’s easy to blame someone or something else. Perhaps the circumstances or the people that we worked with. But failure is a learning opportunity. If I blame someone else, I’m just cheating myself out of that lesson. Responsibility is more important than reputation. And it tends to lead to reward, which can lead to more responsibility. Your willingness to take responsibility marks you as someone who’s mature and can be trusted to learn from the failure and keep trying.

3.     Resilience. Say goodbye to yesterday.

The ability to move on from failure is key to continuing to attempt great things. The mind can only focus on so much, so if we’re still too focused on what we did wrong, we can’t give all of our attention to attempting to do things right.
Here are five behaviors of people who haven’t gotten over past difficulties:
  • Comparison. Either measuring your failures against those of others, or convincing yourself that your circumstances were harder than theirs.
  • Rationalization. Telling yourself and others that you have good reasons for not getting over past hurts and mistakes. Believing that those who encourage you “just don’t understand.”
  • Isolation. Pulling back and keeping yourself separate from others, either to avoid dealing with the issues, or to continue to feel sorry for yourself.
  • Regret. Getting stuck lamenting or trying to fix things that cannot be changed.
  • Bitterness. Feeling like a victim and blaming others for negative outcomes.

4.     Initiative. Take action and face your fear.

When we make mistakes and then consider trying again, we all feel some measure of fear. Facing the unknown, we easily come up with a list of things to worry about. But the act of worrying doesn’t help us at all in accomplishing our goals. As Corrie ten Boom said, “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength. Just believing that failure can be good isn’t enough to help us succeed. We need to act on that belief and take a step forward again in pursuit of our dream. Only then do we learn from our mistakes and make progress.
A successful failure is a failure that we respond to correctly: by finding the good, taking responsibility, moving on, and taking action. How do you respond to failure? Which of the above characteristics would you benefit from adopting?
Article by: John C. Maxwell.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Symptoms of the Fear of Criticism by Napoleon Hill

Symptoms of the Fear of Criticism by Napoleon Hill

Criticism is the one form of service, of which everyone has too much. Everyone has a stock of it which is handed out, gratis, whether called for or not. One’s nearest relatives often are the worst offenders. It should be recognized as a crime (in reality it is a crime of the worst nature), for any parent to build inferiority complexes in the mind of a child, through unnecessary criticism. Employers who understand human nature, get the best there is in men, not by criticism, but by constructive suggestion. Parents may accomplish the same results with their children. Criticism will plant FEAR in the human heart, or resentment, but it will not build love or affection.
Symptoms of the fear of criticism:
This fear is almost as universal as the fear of poverty, and its effects are just as fatal to personal achievement, mainly because this fear destroys initiative, and discourages the use of imagination.
The major symptoms of the fear are:
SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS. Generally expressed through nervousness, timidity in conversation and in meeting strangers, awkward movement of the hands and limbs, shifting of the eyes.
LACK OF POISE. Expressed through lack of voice control, nervousness in the presence of others, poor posture of body, poor memory.
PERSONALITY. Lacking in firmness of decision, personal charm, and ability to express opinions definitely. The habit of side-stepping issues instead of meeting them squarely. Agreeing with others without careful examination of their opinions.
INFERIORITY COMPLEX. The habit of expressing self-approval by word of mouth and by actions, as a means of covering up a feeling of inferiority. Using “big words” to impress others, (often without knowing the real meaning of the words). Imitating others in dress, speech and manners. Boasting of imaginary achievements. This sometimes gives a surface appearance of a feeling of superiority.
EXTRAVAGANCE. The habit of trying to “keep up with the Joneses,” spending beyond one’s income.
LACK OF INITIATIVE. Failure to embrace opportunities for self-advancement, fear to express opinions, lack of confidence in one’s own ideas, giving evasive answers to questions asked by superiors, hesitancy of manner and speech, deceit in both words and deeds.
LACK OF AMBITION. Mental and physical laziness, lack of self-assertion, slowness in reaching decisions, easily influenced by others, the habit of criticizing others behind their backs and flattering them to their faces, the habit of accepting defeat without protest, quitting an undertaking when opposed by others, suspicious of other people without cause, lacking in tactfulness of manner and speech, unwillingness to accept the blame for mistakes.
Source:  Think and Grow Rich A Ballantine Book, Published by Random House Publishing Group 1960. Pgs 210 and 211.
Napoleon Hill Signature

Thursday, April 23, 2015

When Silence is Acceptance-by:Lori Ann Potter

 When Silence is Acceptance-by:Lori Ann Potter

Believable Lies Part 1: Silence is Acceptance

Once every eight weeks or so, our tribal community holds a meeting with the tribal council known as the Regular Bi-Monthly Membership Meeting.  From one meeting to the next, a lot of stuff can happen. In fact, there is such a vast amount of information presented in power-point presentations that, at times, absorbing it all is like trying to take a sip from a fire hose.
At the end of these meetings, a common question is offered to the members present, particularly whenever the tribal council requests feedback on a future decision they plan to make:
Are there any questions?  Remember folks…silence is acceptance.
For many years I remained silent at most tribal meetings, but my silence did not mean I accepted or agreed with everything I heard.  (I’ll explain why in a moment.) I listened, observed, and took pages of notes, and most of the time I refrained from adding my own concerns and opinions during the hour-long Q&A session at the end of every meeting.
I have a different perspective on silence.  I believe the declaration “silence is acceptance” is not only inaccurate; it’s a type of lie woven deep within the psyche of our community.  Any interpretation of someone’s intentions – absent of mutual understanding, time to research and process information, or freedom of communication within preset, respectful boundaries – is a deviation of authentic truth.  The term “silence is acceptance” is actually a subtle form of manipulation.  It’s an inherited mindset, ignorantly extended by those who follow the example of others who led in similar ways before them.
The truth is, silence can mean a lot of things and manifest in a variety of ways.  The existence of silence should never been interpreted as the absence of contradicting opinion.  Rather, silence can be either positive or negative, depending on the mindset of those remaining silent.   For this reason, we ought to be mindful to the messages relayed within our cones of meeting silence.
When Silence is Negative
Silence is negative when it becomes the language of those who lack hope; particularly those who feel their voices are not deemed important enough to be considered or accepted.  Silence can also manifest as a preference by those who lack the skills or patience necessary to communicate peacefully under pressure.   But the type of silence most debilitating is when a person’s silence entraps him or her into believing there is nothing he or she can do to influence positive change.
Why Silence Happens
Negative silence is the outcome of a passive form of bullying.  It’s the wearying affect of being condescended to, dictated or talked down to rather than respected, valued and uplifted.  It’s a reaction to a type of torture – the steady, daily water-drip antagonizing the soul of a community through passive, arrogant expression in a leader’s actions and words:
You need me.  I’m the best leader for you.  There is no one else who can lead effectively as me.  You don’t understand what I understand.  You’re not as educated/popular/acceptable/respected enough to be influential.  I am here to make the decisions for you.  I know what’s best for you and you do not.
Negative silence is one response to controlling mindsets – when every community decision is confined within the strict parameters of a leader’s comfort zone, regardless of what might be best for the whole community.  It’s a response to empty “open door policies” veiled securely behind locked doors.  It’s the result of formalizing even the simplest interactions.  It’s the affect of decades of secrecy and bureaucracy, limiting and prohibiting the community’s access to and use of information.
How Silence is Revealed – Negative and Positive
Silence is often revealed through absence, such as a poor turnout to meetings and events.  It’s when people stop asking questions, quit volunteering or refrain from attempting to offer solutions to problems.  It’s when people lose faith in a bureaucratic system; when they feel unwelcome, disenfranchised or powerless to contribute anything of value.  It’s when priorities shift dramatically as people show up late, refuse to engage and decide to leave early, viewing a meeting or event gathering as much lower on their list of importance than it used to be.
Silence is also evident in people who refuse to vote.  It’s when people believe their vote makes no difference in a situation, although in reality, their absence really does become a type of vote.  It’s an abstention allowing the majority vote of the day to rule the outcome of a decision, regardless of a voter’s stand on the matter.  It’s the only time, in fact, when silence actually becomes a form of acceptance, whether it is intended or not.
Silence is positive when it is evidence of wisdom.  There is a sacredness in silence that is seldom recognized, such as when silence is held by those waiting for the right timing to say what needs to be said in a way it might be received most effectively, whether written, spoken or both.  Silence empties the mind of clutter, allowing it to absorb and fully process what has entered it.  Silence enables one to consider rather than simply react.
It’s also evident in those who choose the silence of absence as a catalyst for positive change, even when it’s only temporary.   Removing oneself from controlling, manipulative, abusive, gossip-laden, deceitful or oppressive groups and situations, for instance.  This can include relationships, family gatherings, meetings, online groups and even some work environments.  In these situations, a person’s ability to walk away and remain temporarily silent becomes a demonstration of his or her strength – the wisdom to understand one’s limits, and the awareness that circumstances do not dictate his or her value, abilities or limitations.
It’s your turn: In what ways do you believe silence can be positive or negative within a relationship, family or community?

Becoming a Master of Persuasion-by: Brian Tracy (Part #2/2)

Becoming a Master of Persuasion-by: Brian Tracy (Part #2/2)

Learn how to get what you want through the power of persuasion.

Getting Others to Work for You

2. The second form of leverage that you must develop for success is other people’s knowledge. You must be able to tap into the brain power of many other people if you want to accomplish worthwhile goals. Successful people are not those who know everything needed to accomplish a particular task, but more often than not, they are people who know how to find the knowledge they need.
What is the knowledge that you need to achieve your most important goals? Of the knowledge required, what knowledge must you have personally in order to control your situation, and what knowledge can you borrow, buy or rent from others?
It has been said that, in our information-based society, you are never more than one book or two phone calls away from any piece of knowledge in the country. With online computer services that access huge data bases all over the country, you can usually get the precise information you require in a few minutes by using a computer. Whenever you need information and expertise from another person in order to achieve your goals, the very best way to persuade them to help you is to ask them for their assistance.
Almost everyone who is knowledgeable in a particular area is proud of their accomplishments. By asking a person for their expert advice, you compliment them and motivate them to want to help you. So don’t be afraid to ask, even if you don’t know the individual personally.
3. The third key to leverage, which is very much based on your persuasive abilities, is other people’s money. Your ability to use other people’s money and resources to leverage your talents is the key to financial success. Your ability to buy and defer payment; to sell and collect payment in advance; to borrow, rent or lease furniture, fixtures and machinery; and to borrow money from people to help you multiply your opportunities is one of the most important of all skills that you can develop. And these all depend on your ability to persuade others to cooperate with you financially so that you can develop the leverage you need to move onward and upward in your field.
The Four “P”s
There are four “P”s that will enhance your ability to persuade others in both your work and personal life. They are power, positioning, performance and politeness. And they are all based on perception.
The first “P” is power. The more power and influence that a person perceives you have, whether real or not, the more likely it is that that person will be persuaded by you to do the things you want them to do. For example, if you appear to be a senior executive, or a wealthy person, people will be much more likely to help you and serve you than they would be if you were perceived to be a lower level employee.
The second “P” is positioning. This refers to the way that other people think about you and talk about you when you are not there. Your positioning in the mind and heart of other people largely determines how open they are to being influenced by you.
In everything you do involving other people, you are shaping and influencing their perceptions of you and your positioning in their minds. Think about how you could change the things you say and do so that people think about you in such a way that they are more open to your requests and to helping you achieve your goals.
The third “P” is performance. This refers to your level of competence and expertise in your area. A person who is highly respected for his or her ability to get results is far more persuasive and influential than a person who only does an average job.
The perception that people have of your performance capabilities exerts an inordinate influence on how they think and feel about you. You should commit yourself to being the very best in your field. Sometimes, a reputation for being excellent at what you do can be so powerful that it alone can make you an extremely persuasive individual in all of your interactions with the people around you. They will accept your advice, be open to your influence and agree with your requests.
The fourth “P” of persuasion power is politeness. People do things for two reasons, because they want to and because they have to. When you treat people with kindness, courtesy and respect, you make them want to do things for you. They are motivated to go out of their way to help you solve your problems and accomplish your goals. Being nice to other people satisfies one of the deepest of all subconscious needs–the need to feel important and respected. Whenever you convey this to another person in your conversation, your attitude and your treatment of that person, he or she will be wide open to being persuaded and influenced by you in almost anything you need.
Again, perception is everything. The perception of an individual is his or her reality. People act on the basis of their perceptions of you. If you change their perceptions, you change the way they think and feel about you, and you change the things that they will do for you.
You can become an expert at personal persuasion. You can develop your personal power by always remembering that there are only two ways to get the things you want in life: You can do it all yourself, or you can get most of it done by others. Your ability to communicate, persuade, negotiate, influence, delegate and interact effectively with other people will enable you to develop leverage using other people’s efforts, other people’s knowledge and other people’s money. The development of your persuasion power will enable you to become one of the most powerful and influential people in your organization. It will open up doors for you in every area of your life.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Becoming a Master of Persuasion-by: Brian Tracy (Part #1/2)

Becoming a Master of Persuasion-by: Brian Tracy
Learn how to get what you want through the power of persuasion.
Persuasion power can help you get more of the things you want faster than anything else you do. It can mean the difference between success and failure. It can guarantee your progress and enable you to use all of your other skills and abilities at the very highest level. Your persuasion power will earn you the support and respect of your customers, bosses, coworkers, colleagues and friends. The ability to persuade others to do what you want them to do can make you one of the most important people in your community.
Fortunately, persuasion is a skill, like riding a bicycle, that you can learn through study and practice. Your job is to become absolutely excellent at influencing and motivating others to support and assist you in achieving your goals and solving your problems.
You can either persuade others to help you or be persuaded to help them. It is one or the other. Most people are not aware that every human interaction involves a complex process of persuasion and influence. And being unaware, they are usually the ones being persuaded to help others rather than the ones who are doing the persuading.
Persuasion Through Motivation
The key to persuasion is motivation. Every human action is motivated by something. Your job is to find out what motivates other people and then to provide that motivation. People have two major motivations: the desire for gain and the fear of loss.
The desire for gain motivates people to want more of the things they value in life. They want more money, more success, more health, more influence, more respect, more love and more happiness. Human wants are limited only by individual imagination. No matter how much a person has, he or she still wants more and more. When you can show people how they can get more of the things they want by helping you achieve your goals, you can motivate them to act in your behalf.
President Eisenhower once said, “Persuasion is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do, and to like it.” You always need to be thinking about how you can get people to want to do the things that you need them to do to attain your objectives.
People are also motivated to act by the fear of loss. This fear, in all its various forms, is often stronger than the desire for gain. People fear financial loss, loss of health, anger or disapproval of others, loss of love and the loss of anything they have worked hard to accomplish. They fear change, risk and uncertainty because these threaten them with potential losses.
Whenever you can show a person that they can avoid a loss of some kind by doing what you want them to do, you can influence them to take a particular action. The very best appeals are those where you offer an opportunity to gain and an opportunity to avoid loss at the same time.
Getting What You Want
There are two ways to get the things you want in life. First, you can work by yourself and for yourself in your own best interest. You can be a “Robinson Crusoe” of modern life, relying on yourself for the satisfaction of your needs. By doing this, you can accomplish a little, but not a lot. The person who looks to himself or herself completely is limited in his or her capacities. He or she will never be rich or successful.
The second way to get the things you want is by gaining and using leverage. Leverage allows you to multiply yourself and get far more out of the hours you put in rather than doing everything yourself.
There are three forms of leverage you must develop to fulfill your full potential in our society: other people’s efforts, other people’s knowledge, and other people’s money.
1. You leverage yourself through other people’s efforts by getting other people to work with you and for you in the accomplishment of your objectives. Sometimes you can ask them to help you voluntarily, although people won’t work for very long without some personal reward. At other times you can hire them to help you, thereby freeing you up to do higher-value work.
One of the most important laws of economics is called “Ricardo’s Law.” It is also called the Law of Comparative Advantage. This law states that when someone can accomplish a part of your task at a lower hourly rate than you would earn for accomplishing more valuable parts of your task, you should delegate or outsource that part of the task.
For example, if you want to earn $100,000 a year, in a 250-day year, you need to make $50 per hour. That means you must be doing work that is worth $50 per hour, eight hours per day, 250 days per year. Therefore, if there is any part of your work–like making photocopies, filing information, typing letters or filling out expense forms–that is not valued at $50 per hour, you should stop doing it. You should persuade someone else who works at a lower hourly rate to do it for you. The more lower level tasks you can persuade others to do, the more time you will have to do tasks that pay you more. This is one of the essential keys to getting the leverage you need to become one of the higher paid people in your profession.
Management can be defined as “getting things done through others.” To be a manager you must be an expert at persuading and influencing others to work in a common direction. This is why all excellent managers are also excellent low-pressure salespeople. They do not order people to do things; instead, they persuade them to accept certain responsibilities, with specific deadlines and agreed-upon standards of performance. When a person has been persuaded that he or she has a vested interest in doing a job well, he or she accepts ownership of the job and the result. Once a person accepts ownership and responsibility, the manager can step aside confidently, knowing the job will be done on schedule.
In every part of your life, you have a choice of either doing it yourself or delegating it to others. Your ability to get someone else to take on the job with the same enthusiasm that you would have is an exercise in personal persuasion. It may seem to take a little longer at the beginning, but it saves you an enormous amount of time completing the task.
*Article written by: Brian Tracy.

Monday, April 20, 2015

The 3 Decisions That Will Change Your Financial Life-by: Tony Robbins (Part #1/2)

The 3 Decisions That Will Change Your Financial Life-by: Tony Robbins

There’s nothing worse than a rich person who’s chronically angry or unhappy. There’s really no excuse for it, yet I see this phenomenon every day. It results from an extremely unbalanced life, one with too much expectation and not enough appreciation for what’s there.
Without gratitude and appreciation for what you already have, you’ll never know true fulfillment. But how do you cultivate balance in life? What’s the point of achievement if your life has no balance?
For nearly four decades, I’ve had the privilege of coaching people from every walk of life, including some of the most powerful men and women on the planet. I’ve worked with presidents of the United States as well as owners of small businesses.
Across the board, I’ve found that virtually every moment people make three key decisions that dictate the quality of their lives.
If you make these decisions unconsciously, you'll end up like majority of people who tend to be out of shape physically, exhausted emotionally and often financially stressed. But if you make these decisions consciously, you can literally change the course of your life today.

Decision 1: Carefully choose what to focus on.

At every moment, millions of things compete for your attention. You can focus on things that are happening right here and now or on what you want to create in the future. Or you can focus on the past.
Where focus goes, energy flows. What you focus on and your pattern for doing so shapes your entire life.
Which area do you tend to focus on more: what you have or what’s missing from your life?
I’m sure you think about both sides of this coin. But if you examine your habitual thoughts, what do you tend to spend most of your time dwelling on?
Rather than focusing on what you don’t have and begrudging those who are better off than you financially, perhaps you should acknowledge that you have much to be grateful for and some of it has nothing to do with money. You can be grateful for your health, family, friends, opportunities and mind.
Developing a habit of appreciating what you have can create a new level of emotional well-being and wealth. But the real question is, do you take time to deeply feel grateful with your mind, body, heart and soul? That’s where the joy, happiness and fulfillment can be found.
Consider a second pattern of focus that affects the quality of your life: Do you tend to focus more on what you can control or what you can’t?
If you focus on what you can’t control, you’ll have more stress in life. You can influence many aspects of your life but you usually can’t control them.
When you adopt this pattern of focus, your brain has to make another decision:  (Coming on Part #2 Tomorrow).

The 3 Decisions That Will Change Your Financial Life-by: Tony Robbins (Part #2/2)

The 3 Decisions That Will Change Your Financial Life-by: Tony Robbins (Part #2/2)

When you adopt this pattern (Information from Part #1/2) of focus, your brain has to make another decision:

Decision 2: Figure out, What does this all mean?

Ultimately, how you feel about your life has nothing to do with the events in it or with your financial condition or what has (or hasn't) happened to you. The quality of your life is controlled by the meaning you give these things.
Most of the time you may be unaware of the effect of your unconscious mind in assigning meaning to life’s events.
When something happens that disrupts your life (a car accident, a health issue, a job loss), do you tend to think that this is the end or the beginning?
If someone confronts you, is that person insulting you, coaching you or truly caring for you?
Does a devastating problem mean that God is punishing you or challenging you? Or is it possible that this problem is a gift from God?
Your life takes on whatever meaning you give it. With each meaning comes a unique feeling or emotion and the quality of your life involves where you live emotionally.
I always ask during my seminars, “How many of you know someone who is on antidepressants and still depressed?” Typically 85 percent to 90 percent of those assembled raise their hands.
How is this possible? The drugs should make people feel better. It's true that antidepressants do come with labels warning that suicidal thoughts are a possible side effect.
But no matter how much a person drugs himself, if he constantly focuses on what he can’t control in life and what’s missing, he won't find it hard to despair. If he adds to that a meaning like “life is not worth living,” that's an emotional cocktail that no antidepressant can consistently overcome.
Yet if that same person can arrive at a new meaning, a reason to live or a belief that all this was meant to be, then he will be stronger than anything that ever happened to him.
When people shift their habitual focus and meanings, there’s no limit on what life can become. A change of focus and a shift in meaning can literally alter someone's biochemistry in minutes.
So take control and always remember: Meaning equals emotion and emotion equals life. Choose consciously and wisely. Find an empowering meaning in any event, and wealth in its deepest sense will be yours today.
Once you create a meaning in your mind, it creates an emotion, and that emotion leads to a state for making your third decision:

Decision 3: What will you do?

The actions you take are powerfully shaped by the emotional state you're in. If you're angry, you're going to behave quite differently than if you're feeling playful or outrageous.
If you want to shape your actions, the fastest way is to change what you focus on and shift the meaning to be something more empowering.
Two people who are angry will behave differently. Some pull back. Others push through.
Some individuals express anger quietly. Others do so loudly or violently. Yet others suppress it only to look for a passive-aggressive opportunity to regain the upper hand or even exact revenge.
Where do these patterns come from? People tend to model their behavior on those they respect, enjoy and love.
The people who frustrated or angered you? You often reject their approaches.
Yet far too often you may find yourself falling back into patterns you witnessed over and over again in your youth and were displeased by.
It’s very useful for you to become aware of your patterns when you are frustrated, angry or sad or feel lonely. You can’t change your patterns if you’re not aware of them.
Now that you’re aware of the power of these three decisions, start looking for role models who are experiencing what you want out of life. I promise you that those who have passionate relationships have a totally different focus and arrive at totally different meanings for the challenges in relationships than people who are constantly bickering or fighting.
It’s not rocket science. If you become aware of the differences in how people approach these three decisions, you’ll have a pathway to help you create a permanent positive change in any area of life.
This piece was adapted from Tony Robbins' new book, Money Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Move on Your Own Personal Initiative-by: Napoleon Hill

Move on Your Own Personal Initiative-by: Napoleon Hill

The mind that has been made to receive, attracts that which it needs, just as a magnet attracts steel filings.
The most difficult part of any task is that of making a start. But once it has been made, the way to complete the job become evident. The truth of this has been proved by the fact that men with definite major purposes are more successful than those without objectives.
And we have yet to find a successful man who did not readily admit that the turning-point of major importance in his life came when he adopted a definite major purpose.
No one person can tell another what his definite major purpose in life should be. But any successful man will verify that success is not possible without such a purpose.
Adopt a definite major purpose and see how quickly the habit of moving on your own personal initiative will inspire you to action.
Your imagination will become more alert and it will reveal to you many opportunities related to your purpose. Opposition to your purpose will disappear and people will give you their friendly cooperation.
Fear and doubt will disappear also. And somewhere along the way you will meet your “other self” face to face – that self which can, and will, carry you over to the success side of the River of Life.
From there on the going will be easy and the way will be clear, for you will have adapted yourself to the great intangible forces of nature which lead inevitably to the attainment of your chosen goal.
You will wonder why you did not find the path sooner, and you will understand why success attracts more success while failure attracts more failure.
And just a short distance ahead, you will see the great gate that leads into Happy Valley! You are not there yet, for there are lesser gates through which you must pass before you enter the great estate.
Source:  PMA Science of Success Course. Educational Edition. The Napoleon Hill Foundation. 1983. Pgs. 206-207.
Napoleon Hill Signature

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Be a Belief Magnet-by: John C. Maxwell

Be a Belief Magnet-by: John C. Maxwell

Have you ever really thought about the way a magnet works? To someone who doesn’t understand the science, a magnet’s power to attract things to it appears almost magical. Likewise, have you ever met a person who seems to attract people the way a magnet attracts metal? They believe in others, and they attract people who just magically begin to believe in themselves. But I’m here today to tell you that there’s no magic – just a desire to help others and a method of transferring belief.
When I speak to people, whether in a crowd or one-on-one, I make it my goal to increase their belief in themselves. I want to share my belief and do things with them until one day it’s not my belief in them, but it’s their belief in themselves. That’s what I call the ultimate transfer of a leader. It’s when leaders take the belief that they have for their people and pass it on until the people own it. It’s not borrowed. That’s always my goal, to help people to get to that belief level.

How to be a belief magnet

Here’s how I share my belief in people and help them find that belief in themselves.

1.         Affirmation

I was on a phone call recently with a woman who shared about how she’d heard me speak a few years ago. She told me that as I spoke at the conference, she said to herself, “Here’s a man who really believes in me.” She continued on the phone, “It just drew me to you. It just drew me to read your books and go to the conferences where you’re speaking.”
The first way to help other people believe in themselves is to actually believe in them. When people sense that we believe in their potential and desire to be successful, it literally draws them in. Then we can share that belief with them. One way I do that is to “put a 10 on their heads.” What I mean by that is, I give each person a score of 10 (on a scale of 1 to 10) when I meet them. From the very beginning, I assume the best about them and choose to believe that about them. I communicate what I believe and why. This sets them up to find that belief themselves.

2.         Mentoring

With mentoring, I invite the person into my life, to walk alongside me. As we spend time together, they experience what I experience. I especially want them to enjoy the excitement of little victories. I want them to experience successes. This helps them enjoy the feeling of a victory even before having one on their own. Then they have a better idea of what they are aiming for.

3.         Equipping

Equipping takes the next step beyond just exposing people to my experiences and victories. Now I’m focused on giving them the specific tools and skills that they need to be successful. This is when I break it down for them. I suggest areas where they can grow, books they can read, and other resources that will help them. I also empower them by stepping back and letting them do the task themselves.

4.         Practice

After I’ve equipped someone with the tools and resources necessary to achieve a goal, I have to give them time to practice. I have a friend who’s a teaching pro in golf who recently gave me a two-hour lesson to help with my swing. He was a good teacher and helped me tremendously. But when we were done, he said, “Now, you do understand that for those two hours that I taught you, you need to put in twenty hours of practice before you’ll have it down.” He was communicating that I needed to put in the work and do the tasks before I could get to the final stage.

5.         Victory

Nothing, nothing, nothing helps a person’s belief in self like success. I could give you good how-to advice and affirmation all day long, and it wouldn’t have nearly the impact that a single victory would have on your self-belief. I believe that having a win under your belt is one hundred times more important than affirmation. Remember, when I give you affirmation, it is still something I’m doing. When you achieve a victory, you’re the one who made that happen. Once someone has practiced, make sure you stand back and allow them to win the victory. That just takes self-belief to an entirely new level.
As a leader, I encourage you to set people up for success. When you believe in them to start with, and communicate that belief, you become a magnet, drawing them to you. Then when you mentor and equip them, you’re giving them the tools and experiences that keep them on the path with you. Finally, when you allow them to own the victory, you help them make your belief their own.
I hope you’ll be a belief magnet to the people you lead. It not only increases their good feelings and morale because they want to be close to you; it also shows them what they’re capable of on their own, increasing their self-belief. This is the ultimate transfer of leadership.
Article written by: John C. Maxwell.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Rohn: 4 Straightforward Steps to Success

Rohn: 4 Straightforward Steps to Success

Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines practiced every day.
Jim Rohn

Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying basic fundamentals. I’ve said it before, that success is the study of the obvious—but sometimes we need someone to remind us and show us the simplest way to get there.
Here are four simple steps to find your way to more success than you could ever imagine:
1. Collect good ideas. My mentor taught me to keep a journal when I was 25 years old. It’s the best collecting place for all of the ideas and information that comes your way. And that inspiration will be passed on to my children and my grandchildren.
If you hear a good health idea, capture it, write it down. Then on a cold wintry evening or a balmy summer night, go back through your journal. Dive back into the ideas that changed your life, the ideas that saved your marriage, the ideas that bailed you out of hard times, the ideas that helped you become successful. That’s valuable, going back over the pages of ideas you gathered over the years, reminiscing, reminding yourself. So be a collector of good ideas, of experiences, for your business, for your relationships, for your future.
It is challenging to be a student of your own life, your own future, your own destiny. Don’t trust your memory. When you listen to something valuable, write it down. When you come across something important, write it down. Take the time to keep notes and to keep a journal.
2. Have good plans. Building a life, building anything, is like building a house; you need to have a plan. What if you just started laying bricks and somebody asks, “What are you building?” You put down the brick you’re holding and say, “I have no idea.”
So, here’s the question: When should you start building the house? Answer: As soon as you have it finished. It’s simple time management.
Don’t start the day until it is pretty well finished—at least the outline of it. Leave some room to improvise, leave some room for extra strategies, but finish it before you start it. Don’t start the week until you have it finished. Lay it out, structure it, put it to work. The same goes for the month ahead—don’t start it until you have a plan in place.
And, the big one, don’t start the year until it is finished on paper. It’s not a bad idea, toward the end of the year, to sit down with your family for the personal plans, to sit down in your business for the professional plans, to sit down with your financial advisor to map out money plans. Plan out your calendar, your game plan, for all of life’s moving parts.
The reason why most people face the future with apprehension instead of anticipation is because they don’t have it well designed.
3. Give yourself time. It takes time to build a career. It takes time to make changes. It takes time to learn, grow, change, develop and produce. It takes time to refine philosophy and activity. So give yourself time to learn, time to start some momentum, time to finally achieve.
I remember when Mama was teaching me a little bit about the piano. “Here is the left hand scale,” she said. I got that; it was easy. “Here is the right hand scale.” I got that, too. Then she said, “Now we are going to play both hands at the same time.” “Well, how can you do that?” I asked. Because one at a time was easy… but two the same time? But I got to where I could play the scales with both hands. “Now we are going to read the music and play with both hands,” she said. You can’t do all that, I thought. But you know, sure enough I looked at the music, looked at each hand, a little confused at first, but finally I grasped it. Then I remember the day when Mama said, “Now we are going to watch the audience, read the music and play with both hands. Now that is going too far! I thought. How could one person possibly do all that? By giving myself time to master one skill before we went to the next, I got to where I could watch the audience, read the music and play with both hands.
Life is not just the passing of time. Life is the collection of experiences and their intensity.
4. Change yourself. Learn to solve problemsbusiness problems, family problems, financial problems, emotional problems. The best way to treat a challenge? As an opportunity to grow. Change if you have to, modify if you must, discard an old philosophy that wasn’t working well for a new one.
The best phrase my mentor ever gave me: “Mr. Rohn, if you will change, everything will change for you.” I took that to heart, and sure enough, the more I improved, the more everything improved for me.
You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight.
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Monday, April 13, 2015

Benefits of a Pleasing Personality by Napoleon Hill

Benefits of a Pleasing Personality by Napoleon Hill

Since no one ever voluntarily does anything without a motive, and no one desires to labor without the promise of reward, let us briefly review the benefits one may enjoy when he develops a pleasing personality:
a. A pleasing personality attracts the friendly cooperation of others, and thus prepares the way for master mind alliances.
b. It insures the maintenance of a positive mental attitude which is a prerequisite for success in all constructive human endeavor.
c. It qualifies one with the most important fundamental of leadership in any calling or profession.
d. It establishes harmony with one’s own mind, which is the first requirement for harmony in relationships with others.
e. It is an essential asset for the accumulation of material riches.
f. It is a builder of self-reliance.
g. It helps convert defeat into victory.
h. It increases the space one may occupy in the hearts of others.
i. It discourages friction in all human relationships.
A pleasing personality also brings other advantages. We have listed only the more important ones, but any one of them alone is sufficient to justify all the effort put into the development of a pleasing personality.
There are those who believe that a pleasing personality is an inherent quality with which only a few are endowed at birth. Perish the thought! A pleasing personality is an asset of priceless value which can be attained by those who are willing to pay the price of its development. And an important part of this price is a sincere, wholesome love of people.
Source:  PMA Science of Success Course. Educational Edition. The Napoleon Hill Foundation. 1983. Pgs. 195-196.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Leadership Lessons from Ruth-by: John C. Maxwell

Leadership Lessons from Ruth-by: John C. Maxwell

Last week, I shared an excerpt from my newest book, Wisdom from Women in the Bible. I’m so excited about this book, because it represents my heart for the Biblical principles of leadership. The excerpt was from the story of Ruth, a courageous and caring woman who made decisions that changed her life and the lives of others.
You can read last week’s excerpt here. Now, I want to continue with the rest of the lessons we can learn from Ruth. This time, we’re focused on leadership:
We hesitate a moment. Which do we want more? To stop Ruth and ask her questions? Or to move forward and meet the next person? We sense our time here is limited and decide to keep walking. As we do, I reflect on what Ruth said and on her story in the Bible. With each step, leadership lessons become clear to me from Ruth’s life:

1. Do What You Know Is Right, Not What Looks Right to Others

The logical thing for Ruth to do when her husband died was to go home to her own family and look for a new husband. Naomi suggested she do that. And Ruth’s sister-in-law Orpah followed that advice.
Ruth could have allowed her questions and doubt to influence her to leave Naomi. But instead her heart came to grips with what she believed. She moved from the agony of questions she could not answer to the reality of answers she could not escape. She felt a deep conviction that she was to stay with Naomi. And she followed that conviction.
As leaders we need to remember that. Strong convictions precede great actions. When we know something is right—and that conviction is bolstered by the knowledge that our motives are pure, as Ruth’s were—we need to follow through. Others may second-guess our thinking and our decision-making. But when we know what’s right, we can’t let those things throw us off. We need to stand by our convictions. As Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said, “Convictions are not merely beliefs we hold; they are those beliefs that hold us in their grip.”

2. Following Your Heart with Integrity Can Increase Your Influence with Others

Because Ruth followed her heart and went with Naomi to Bethlehem, her influence on others increased. Instead of looking down on her as a foreigner, the Hebrews noticed her and admired her. She gained the favor of Boaz, who told her, “I’ve heard all about you—heard about the way you treated your mother-in-law after the death of her husband, and how you left your father and mother and the land of your birth and have come to live among a bunch of total strangers. GOD reward you well for what you’ve done—and with a generous bonus besides from GOD, to whom you’ve come seeking protection under his wings.”
When Ruth followed her heart and made her decision, she stood out from the beige lives of others. She impressed the people of an entire town, including the elders, who blessed her, declaring,
May GOD make this woman who is coming into your household like Rachel and Leah, the two women who built the family of Israel. May GOD make you a pillar in Ephrathah and famous in Bethlehem! With the children GOD gives you from this young woman, may your family rival the family of Perez, the son Tamar bore to Judah.
By following her heart and doing what she knew was right, Ruth went from being a foreigner to being someone who was respected, blessed, and honored.
When you follow your heart and do the right thing, your leadership potential increases. Leadership is influence, so anything that increases your influence and favor with others makes it easier for you to lead.

3. Remember to Be Humble and Keep Working as God Blesses You

When Boaz recognized Ruth and started to bless her, it might have been natural for her to slack off. After all, she was receiving the favor of a relative who had the power to redeem her and the property that had once belonged to Naomi’s husband. But Ruth remained faithful and kept working hard. Scripture says she worked hard before Boaz invited her to eat with him. Afterward she got right back to work and gleaned in the field until evening. And then she threshed what she had gathered before going home. This is the pattern she followed until both the barley and wheat harvests were done.
When God grants you favor as a leader and you receive His blessings, don’t let it go to your head and don’t let up. Keep working. When you have favor and momentum, push ahead. Naomi understood this. When she and Ruth began to receive Boaz’s favor, they didn’t just sit back and enjoy the provisions he made sure they received. Naomi capitalized on them. She told Ruth to lie at Boaz’s feet, as a sign of her desire to seek his protection. And he graciously gave it. He immediately became their advocate.
God wants His people to be recognized by others because of their love. I think we too often forget that. Ruth’s words of wisdom are a good reminder. If we love others and follow our heart in the way we treat everyone, it’s hard to go wrong.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Who Inspires Tony Robbins?

Who Inspires Tony Robbins?

Why these 6 people made the life coach’s list of people who have influenced him
Marie Speed
Tony Robbins says there was no one to mentor him growing up, and he credits books for starting to show him the way. Throughout his life, however, he has partnered with or learned from several people from a wide array of disciplines. Here are the six people on his tribute list:
First and foremost is early mentor Jim Rohn, an Idaho farm boy and Sears clerk who made it big as a motivational speaker and author. He presented seminars all over the country for 40 years, was a millionaire by age 31 and wrote 17 books. Robbins met Rohn when Rohn was about 50, and he just 17. “He was a beautiful man,” Robbins says, who taught him “happiness and success in life are not the result of what we have, but rather of how we live and what we do with the things we have makes the biggest difference in the quality of life.”
In the 1970s, John Grinder co-created “neuro-linguistic programming” (NLP), a communication approach that combines a person’s neurological processes and behavioral patterns that its founders believe can be changed to achieve specific goals. Robbins says he became partners with Grinder soon after meeting him, and NLP is how he “learned to do things like wipe out a phobia.”
Robbins started out actually coaching Peter Guber, the chairman of Mandalay Pictures (most recent films, The Kids Are All Right, Soul Surfer and Bernie, with hits including Rain Man, Batman, The Color Purple, Midnight Express and many more). Guber also owns the Golden State Warriors and the Los Angeles Dodgers and is chairman of Dick Clark Productions. Robbins says, “I’ve known him for 25 years—we mentor each other—there is not a more creative human being I know.”
Robbins is also an unabashed fan of casino magnate Steve Wynn, whom he describes as “one of the smartest, most passionate persons you would ever meet—with the highest standards. He is a force of nature.”
Robbins also cites Mark Benioff, CEO and founder of, as a mentor. is a cloud computing company Benioff started in 1999, and Robbins says it has been cited as the “most innovative company in the world” by Forbes four years in a row. “He came to my seminar, and he said his ‘sales force would not exist without Tony Robbins.’ He is a genius at innovation.”
Finally, Robbins points to Paul Tudor Jones, founder of Tudor Investment Corporation, as a great influence. With a net worth in the $4 billion range and ranked by Forbes as the 108th richest American, Tudor Jones is a financial mastermind. He also created the Robin Hood Foundation. Robbins says, “I learned from him how to win, no matter what happens.”

Friday, April 3, 2015

The Need for Change by Napoleon Hill

The Need for Change by Napoleon Hill

The real test of a man’s belief in a positive mental attitude and of his faith is in the challenge of change which he must meet every day of his life. One of the first requirements for enduring faith and success is a capacity to accept and profit by change.
It has been said that the only permanent thing known to man is change. In order to preserve the faith which will give you power for the attainment of success, you must make yourself flexible enough to adjust to all types of change. If you are flexible, you will ride with the tide of change instead of going down under it.
Consider the following suggestions and determine which, if utilized, would strengthen the power of faith you need each day.
Change from the habit of thinking about and fearing the things you do not desire, to the habit of believing you can and will make life pay off on your own terms.
Change from the habit of thinking and talking of the physical ailments you may have or fear you will acquire to the habit of speaking and thinking of the perfect health you desire, until you develop a “health consciousness.” Remember that imaginary ailments can do you as much harm as if they were real, if you accept them and encourage them by fear.
Change from the habit of desiring more material things than you need and can use, to the habit of sharing your riches so that they will serve others and thereby multiply themselves in your behalf.
Change from the habit of self-satisfaction to the habit of positive discontentment sufficient to keep you searching for more knowledge and wisdom to make your life richer both spiritually and materially.
Change from the habit of intolerance to the habit of open-mindedness on all subjects, toward all people, remembering that a closed mind doesn’t grow, but atrophies and becomes powerless.
Change from the habit of fault-finding to the habit of looking for the good in other people and letting them know that you have discovered it. It is true that people will see in you whatever you see in them, be it good or bad.
Change from the habit of self-pity to the habit of facing facts about yourself and the real causes of your fears and worries. Remember that the looking glass will be helpful in making this change.
Change from the habit of speaking disparagingly of others to the habit of praising them, for this is also a habit which will inspire reciprocation.
While you are considering these suggestions, be sure to recognize the difference between your needs and your right to receive. We need many things which we have not earned the right to receive. The one sure way to obtain the right to receive is by going the extra mile, putting others under obligation to you by rendering more service and better service than that for which you are paid.
Source:  Succeed and Grow Rich Through Persuasion. Penguin. 1992. Pgs. 154-155.
Article from: The Napoleon Hill Foundation.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Wisdom from Women in the Bible by: John C. Maxwell

Wisdom from Women in the Bible by: John C. Maxwell

Wisdom from Women in the Bible by: John C. Maxwell

This week I’m excited about the release of my latest book, Wisdom from Women in the Bible. Like my two other Giants of the Bible books, it’s written in a narrative form, but it’s still filled with the things that I’ve learned from each featured Biblical character. This time, I focused on female leaders in the Bible, and I got to imagine what it would be like to meet these inspiring women. Here’s just a taste of what you’ll find in Wisdom from Women in the Bible:

RUTH: Follow Your Heart to Find Your Hope

“I greet you in the name of the Living God,” the woman in pink says. “I have been asked to tell you my story. Walk with me.” She walks slowly through the meadow. You and I move alongside her.
“When I married Mahlon,” she begins, “I thought I was the most favored woman in the world.”
The wife of Mahlon—this is Ruth!
“My father arranged the marriage, of course, and I didn’t even mind that Mahlon was not a Moabite like me,” Ruth explains. “I also accepted that his widowed mother would be living in the same house with us. Mahlon was a good man. He was kind, hardworking—and handsome. I hoped for a good marriage. What I did not expect was to love this new family so deeply. As I got to know them, I came to love everything about them: their traditions and customs, and the God they worshipped wholeheartedly. They were my true family, more so even than my own mother and father, to whom I was born.
“We had been married only a short time, so short that God had not yet given us children, when the unthinkable happened. I lost my dear Mahlon. And before my mother-in-law Naomi and I were even finished mourning, Mahlon’s brother Kilion also died. I understand that no one escapes pain or death in life, but this gutted me. Just when I’d found my right place, it was taken away from me. We were alone in the world, with no way to live. In those days a woman couldn’t own property or direct her own affairs. She had to depend on a husband, brother, or father.
“Naomi insisted that Kilion’s wife Orpah and I go back to our fathers’ houses. We had been honorable women, so we knew they would take us back. Orpah left. But I—I felt like I had a huge decision to make. I felt like Naomi was my family. What was I going to do?
“What I decided that day taught me one of life’s most important truths, and now I want to teach it to you.” She stops walking, turns to face us, and says, “Follow your heart to find your hope.”

Following Her Heart

Ruth pauses for a moment, watching us to see if we are listening carefully, taking in what she is trying to help us understand. Then she begins to walk again, with us at her side. And she starts to explain what she means:

“My Heart for Naomi Outweighed Everything Else”

“My decision was to stay with Naomi. Immediately we left Moab for Judah, her homeland. When we arrived in the town of Bethlehem, we had no hope. I could tell Naomi had given up. She thought God had abandoned her. I knew that she had come back home to die. So be it. If she was going to die, I would die with her. I would be buried alongside her, among her people, who were now my people. I didn’t care what happened to me. My heart felt things my eyes could not see, and it knew what my mind could not understand. Naomi had been so good to me, how could I not be good to her?”

“My Heart for Naomi Led Me to Boaz”

“When we got to Naomi’s old homeland, I knew I needed to do something so that we would not starve. God in His loving-kindness told His people to always leave the edges of the fields unharvested for people like Naomi and me. So I went to gather grain during the harvest.
“I believe it was no accident that I ended up in the fields of Boaz. When you make a God-honoring decision with the heart, God guides you with His hand. I didn’t know it, but God had made a way for me. Boaz had already heard about me, and he protected me like I was a member of his household. He fed me and he even gave me extra grain to take back to Naomi.”

“My Heart for Naomi Led Us to Hope”

“When Naomi found out I had spent the day in the fields of Boaz, her relative, she realized God was providing for us. It rekindled her hope and she came alive again. The old Naomi was back. She knew Boaz was a good man, so she told me what to do so that he would become our kinsman redeemer—and my husband. Where once all had looked dark and hopeless, we now possessed a bright future.”

Life Lessons from Ruth

As we walk silently for a while, I think about what Ruth has told us. It must have taken a lot of courage for her to leave her home and everyone she knew to travel to an alien land. In that way, she was like Abraham. She would have been seen and treated like an alien—a foreigner. Despite this, she followed her heart.
When Ruth speaks again, it’s as if she has anticipated my thinking. She says,

“Understand that in God’s Eyes There Are No Outsiders”

“When we left for Judah, I knew I would be an outsider to the Children of Israel,” says Ruth. “But I wasn’t a foreigner to God. He accepted me as a part of His family. And He made it official when Boaz married me.
“Maybe you’ve felt like an outsider at times. Some people feel that way their whole lives, like they don’t fit anywhere, like nobody understands them. Even Jesus was treated as an outsider. The people He came to save didn’t recognize Him or want Him.  But you don’t have to be on the outside looking in. God invites you to be a part of His family. All you have to do is say yes to Him, and you’ll be His adopted child. He loves you and wants you.”

“When You’re in Distress, Let Love Motivate You to Change”

“My world fell apart when my husband Mahlon died. I had found my place in the world, and then it was taken away from me. What was I to do?
“What drives you when your situation is dire? Is it fear? Worry? Frustration? Resentment? Bitterness? None of those emotions will take you in the right direction. Instead look for love. Love will carry you forward. Follow your heart.”

“Hold on to Faithfulness Because It Is the Father of Many Blessings”

“I trust God for Who He is, not for what He does. But God rewards faithfulness. I was faithful to Naomi, and God blessed me by directing me to Boaz. Boaz was faithful to God and His Law. When Boaz realized that we were relatives, and that someone in our clan needed to help us, he went to the elders of the town and contacted our nearest relative to see if he would help us. When that man couldn’t fulfill his duty, Boaz took action to redeem our property and care for us. He was faithful to God, and as a result, God blessed both us and him.
“God always makes a way for those who love Him. The guidelines He gave for the harvest blessed us with food.  The guidelines He gave for treating widows blessed us with a new family and me with a husband.  And of course, that led to my greatest joy of all, giving birth to my son Obed. He became a blessing as he fathered Jesse, who fathered David, Israel’s great king and a man after God’s own heart.
“When you are faithful to God, He will bless you. You may not know how He will do it or when He will do it, but you can always be sure that God is faithful.”

The Prayer of Ruth

Ruth stops and says, “Before I leave you, I want to pray for you. Would that be all right?” We both nod yes.
“God My Redeemer,
“You are faithful and good. You love us and want the best for us. First I pray that my friends would know their own hearts. When they are in doubt or distress, help them to be sensitive to You. Speak to them through Your Spirit, and help them to have the courage to follow where You lead. And I pray that You would always reward them with hope. Amen.”
When we open our eyes, we see that Ruth is smiling at us. “My friends,” she says, “my time with you has come to an end. But your next mentor is waiting for you ahead, outside the gates of the city. Keep walking along this path, and you will find her.” With that Ruth turns and walks back the way we came.
Article by: John C. Maxwell.