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 BLOG >> Motivation

Positive Psychology [Motivation
Posted on November 13, 2015 @ 04:36:00 AM by Paul Meagher

I recently picked up a book called "Who Ordered This Truckload Of Dung" (2006) by a theoretical physicist who became a buddhist monk for the last 30+ years..

The book starts off with a story called 2 bad bricks that appears to be foundational for many of the stories that follow. I recommend reading the 2 bad bricks story if you want to change your perspective on measuring personal success and failure.

There are lots of "keys" to being a successful entrepreneur or investor. One of them is probably maintaining a positive outlook on life because if you become down on your project it is harder and more unpleasant to proceed. This story, and the rest of the book, provides some guidance on how to remain positive in light of life's difficulties.

I like to think I have the ability to remain positive when confronted with difficulties although I also lapse on a regular basis. Permaculture has helped me to remain positive and optimistic. Also when I run into problems that are beyond my ability to solve I often view these as learning opportunities. This week I tried to diagnose a noise coming from the transmission of my farm truck and tried to get my old MF 135 tractor started again after removing the distributor to get it fixed. In both cases, I am still at somewhat of an impasse but I feel fortunate to have been able to apprentice under a retired mechanic for a couple of days trying to troubleshoot and fix these issues. Yesterday I helped him build a small cement pad in return for the help he provided me in trying to solve my mechanical problems. Learning is fun and you often learn the most when you don't know much about what you are trying to fix or do. I don't feel stupid or get too stressed about my temporary incompetence with certain tasks.

Everybody needs their own tricks and teachings that will help them maintain a positive outlook on life. Permaculture, viewing challenges as learning opportunties, and now this book are some of the tricks I use to maintain a positive outlook. In addition to all the other skills an entrepreneur must master, one more skill is how to maintain a positive psychology because without it you are probably looking at an uphill battle both from a motivational point of view and in terms of your personal interactions with others. There are some people that seem to be positive by disposition but for many of us we must do what we can to cultivate a positive psychology. Maybe a little bit of buddhist wisdom will be helpful to you as well.

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Inspirational Obituaries [Motivation
Posted on December 9, 2013 @ 06:11:00 AM by Paul Meagher

Entrepreneurs can find numerous resources online aimed at inspiring you to become a better entrepreneur. Today I want to share with you one unusual resource that I find often includes useful inspirational content for entrepreneurs, namely, obituaries.

The number of magazines and websites on entrepreneurship has exploded over the last few years as we become a more entrepreneurial culture either by choice or by economic circumstance. You can spend days on end reading about entrepreneurship and all the things you can do to become a better entrepreneur. You can quickly become overloaded with suggestions and the question then becomes one of priority - which is the most important advice to attend to?

Nothing focuses the mind on what is important like death. It is for this reason that I often like to read the obituaries of successful entrepreneurs to see what were the absolutely most important motivations in their careers as entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurs I'm talking about are generally not leaders on a world stage, but local business people who have done well for themselves. They may have started several businesses and were recognized for their achievements by local business organizations. Their obituaries do not necessarily stand out from other obituaries in terms of length or embellishments. In fact, sometimes the shorter the obituary the better. Some obituaries want to list every accomplishment a person ever had in life and this makes it difficult to identify the critical pieces of philosophy that guided the entrepreneur. As Blaise Pascal lamented, I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time ("Je n'ai fait celle-ci plus longue que parce que je n'ai pas eu le loisir de la faire plus courte.").

Many newspapers no longer carry a daily list of obituaries. Fortunately, mine does and I am in the habit of reading the obituaries every day. I got into the habit when my own father died and I had to help in putting together his obituary for the same paper. It made me appreciate this genre of literature more and since then I feel compelled to check if anybody in my hometown has died, and if not, I do a quick scan of the other obituaries to see if anything stands out as potentially worth reading (e.g., someone who died young, someone who lived a long time, someone who looked attractive in the day, etc...). Today I was attracted to an obituary of an older man who I did not know because he looked very strong and muscular and reminded me of my uncle who served in WW2 and had a similar physical presence (my uncle is 95 and still living). I was curious as to what occupation he had that left him in such excellent shape as an older man.

His career trajectory involved a carprenty certificate from trade school (top honors) after which he spent 13 years working for a cement company. He then formed his own cement construction company and over the years started 5 other businesses related to construction. His physical bearing was probably a result of heavy work in construction. He lived by a couple of motto's which were shared in his obituary and which I will share with you in case you can find inspiration in them as well.

If you keep your sleeves rolled up, you will never lose your shirt.

People need to be capable, connected, and to contribute. With this combination, you'll only have success.

That is it. A successful life in business boiled down to two mottos that he lived by. Two mottos that rise above all the other advice and guided him in his business life. You could write essays about each of these mottos but you can't carry an essay around in your head like you can a couple of simple mottos. As an entrepreneur, one of the keys to reading an obituary is to be on the lookout for the mottos that successful business people lived their life by.

Many obituaries have been written about Nelson Mandela since his passing. I don't have much to add except the observation that many admired him for his tenacity and persistence, he never gave up hope or his goals for a free South Africa where many would have given up after 27 years of incarceration. This lesson in persistence from Mandela's life is played out in the lives of many people who do not achieve the greatness Mandela achieved. To achieve anything significant you need to "keep your sleeves rolled up", otherwise you will not achieve what you set out to achieve. You can find your lessons in entrepreneurship from the death of exemplary people like Nelson Mandela, but you can also find them closer to home in the obituaries of those who have achieved success in your own local communities.

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The Adversity Quotient [Motivation
Posted on October 3, 2013 @ 05:48:00 AM by Paul Meagher

Let's get motivational!!!

In Chapter 12 of Orrin's Woodward's book, Resolved: 13 Resolutions for Life, he discusses the concept of Adversity Quotient or AQ for short. AQ was developed by Dr Paul Stolz as a potential predictor of what it takes to achieve success in business. According to Orrin, AQ is composed of three components that can be represented by the formula:

AQ = IQ (Intelligence Quotient) x EQ (Emotional Quotient) x WQ (Will Quotient).

Watch Orrin's YouTube video to learn about the first two components of AQ:

To learn about the third component, the Will Component or WQ, you can read about the story of Colonel Sanders as told by motivational guru Tony Robbins:

The key to success is to decide what's most important to you and then take massive action each day to make it better, even when it doesn't look as if it's working.

I'll give you an example. Have you ever heard of a guy named Colonel Sanders? Of course you have. How did Colonel Sanders become such an unbelievable success? Was it because he was born wealthy? Was his family rich? Did they send him to a top university like Harvard? Maybe he was successful because he started his business when he was really young. Are any of these true?

The answer is no. Colonel Sanders didn't begin to fulfill his dream until he was 65 years old! What drove him to finally take action? He was broke and alone. He got his first social security cheque for $105, and he got mad but instead of blaming society or just writing congress a nasty note, he started asking himself, "What could I do that would be valuable for other people? What could I give back?" He started thinking about what he had that was valuable to others.

His first answer was, "Well, I have this chicken, recipe, everyone seems to love! What if I sold my chicken recipe to restaurants? Could I make money doing that?" Then he immediately thought, "That's ridiculous. Selling my recipe won't even pay the rent." And he got a new idea: "What if I not only sold them my recipe but also showed them how to cook the chicken properly? What if the chicken was so good that it increased their business? If more people come to see them and they make more chicken sales, maybe they will give me a percentage of those additional sales."

Many people have great ideas. But Colonel Sander was different. He was a man who didn't just think of great things to do. He put them into action. He went and started knocking on doors, telling each restaurant owner his story: "I have a great chicken recipe, and I think if you use it, it'll increase your sales. And I'd like to get a percentage of that increase."

Well, many people laughed in his face. They said, "Look, old man, get out of here. What are you wearing that stupid white suit for?" Did Colonel Sanders give up? Absolutely not. He had the #1 key to success; I call it personal power. Personal power means being persistence in taking action: Every time you do something, you learn from it, and you find a way to do it better next time. Colonel Sanders certainly used his personal power! Instead of feeling bad about the last restaurant that had rejected his idea, he immediately start focusing on how to tell his story more effectively and get better results from the next restaurant.

How many times do you think Colonel Sanders heard no before getting the answer he wanted? He was refused 1,009 times before he heard his first yes. His spent two years driving across America in his old, beat-up car, sleeping in the back seat in his rumpled white suit, getting up each day eager to share his idea with someone new. Often, the only food he had was a quick bite of the samples he was preparing for perspective buyers. How many people do you think would have gone for 1,009 no's - two years of no's! - and kept on going? Very few. That's why there is only one Colonel Sanders. I think most people wouldn't get passed twenty no's, much less a hundred or a thousand! Yet this is sometimes what it takes to succeed.

If you look at any of the most successful people in history, you will find this common thread: They would not be denied. They would not accept no. They would not allow anything to stop them from making their vision, their goal, a reality. Did you know that Walt Disney was turned down 302 times before he got financing for his dream of creating "The Happiest Place on Earth"? All the banks thought he was crazy. He wasn't crazy; he was a visionary and, more important, he was committed to making that vision a reality. Today, millions of people have shared in "the joy of Disney", a world like no other, a world launched by the decision of one man.

So this should give you the gist of what AQ consists of (i.e, IQ x EQ x WQ). A few questions you might want to reflect upon are:

  1. What is your AQ?
  2. Are you born with a certain AQ or can you develop it?
  3. If you can develop it, should you learn more about the concept in an effort to develop your AQ or do you need to learn by doing - by throwing yourself into situations that will help you develop it? Perhaps it is a "mindfulness" thing, a trained consciousness of some sort?
  4. How important do you think AQ might be in predicting whether you will be successful in business?
  5. Be critical - Is AQ just motivational mumbo-jumbo to entertain the masses? Are socio-economic factors, or some other set of factors, a better predictor of business success?

Math Note: The mathematical relationship between the variables cannot be a simple multiplicative relationship. Orrin states in his video that high levels of intelligence are not required to have a high AQ which would mean that a ceiling function might be required to restrict the range or perhaps a decay function of some sort to rescale the IQ score. How each of these AQ components are scaled would be critical to developing a predictive mathematical model from the AQ = IQ x EQ x WQ formula.

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