Take Action


2012 is now well under way.  It is incredible to think that we are now into February!

Have you set your goals for this year?

Did you make “New Year Resolutions?

…and have you kept them – any of them?

Hey – I’m human too.

I realised that I really didn’t prepare for this year properly.  I didn’t sit down and review last year’s goals and write this year’s goals.  This becomes a problem, because -

If you don’t have goals to shoot for, you will allow your life to be directed by other people, or the wind…

Jim Rohn, the great personal development thinker of the 20th century, used to talk about the wind, and the set of the sail -

“It is the set of the sails, not the direction of the wind that determines which way we will go.”

I live in Sydney, on the East coast of Australia, and am privileged to have a beautiful view of the ocean from my balcony.  On Boxing Day every year, there is one of the great “Ocean Yacht Races” from Sydney to Hobart.  It crosses some of the most treacherous water in the world, and is always subject to dangerous and unpredictable weather. (so much so that a few years ago, 12 people died in the race).

Now, every year this race goes south from Sydney to Hobart in Tasmania.

It doesn’t matter what the weather is like, or which direction the wind is blowing, the race always travels south along the coast of Australia to Hobart.

We have friends around to a party on Boxing day, to watch the yachts sail past, and they always head south – we watch them…

But the prevailing winds fluctuate between North-East and South.  Our southerly winds along the coast are tumultuous, and these are the dangerous winds which regularly destroy even the greatest maxi-yachts.

During the race (which generally takes up to five days) the winds regularly change between NE and S three or four times – but the yachts keep travelling south.

The skippers have their goal, and head steadfastly toward it.

No matter which way the wind is blowing, they set their sails to travel south.

…and that is the lesson Jim Rohn was trying to teach us.  He wrote -

“In the process of living, the winds of circumstances blow on us all in an unending flow that touches each of our lives.…

What guides us to different destinations in life is determined by the way we have chosen to set our sail. The way that each of us thinks makes the major difference in where each of us arrive. The major difference is the set of the sail.”

The seasons will change – every winter will be followed by spring and new life.

Governments will change – you don’t like the current government? It will change.

The economy is bad – so what?  More new millionaires are traditionally made in bad economies than in good – and the current bad economic times are no exception…

It is not the Government, or the season, or the economy which sets your future, it is the “set of your sails” – the decisions you make and the goals you set, and most important – The ACTION you TAKE…

Writing down your goals and then wishing and hoping will not get you anywhere – you need to take action.

Similarly, taking action without a plan will get you nowhere, or at least not where you expect or want to go.  This is like sailing out and letting the wind blow you where it will.  That won’t get the yachts to Hobart, and it won’t get you to your desired destination.

I could teach you about Goal Setting, but that is a huge subject.  Possibly for an extended course later…

The simplified steps are these -

  1. Decide what you want
  2. When do you want it
  3. Plan the way to get it
  4. Do whatever is needed to achieve it – Take Action!

So, it’s not too late to set your goals for this year.  Yes – it would have been better to plan it in December, but it is certainly not too late.

So set your goals for the end of this year – What do you want to have, who do you want to be and where do you want to be by the end of 2012? Be realistic, but push yourself.

If you are broke, in debt and can’t afford the rent on your cheap rental property, then it is unrealistic to think that you will be living in a six-million dollar mansion (that you own without debt) and earning a million dollars a year by the end of this year – that will take a few years.

But you can aim to be debt-free…

Then set your sails – work out the plan for how you will get there.  What is needed by the end of each month, or each week to reach the final goal.

Then hold on against the changing winds.  Make the many minor course changes which will be needed along the way, adjust the sails and the helm as needed.  Take the ACTION required to stay on course.

…and have fun getting there…

You will sometimes fall short of your goal.  But don’t be disheartened, because at least you got some of the way there and learned a lot along the way.  You will also have become a better version of you in your effort to achieve your goals.

…and completing this year’s goal can be the first step in next year’s goals.

What’s more important – the plan or the action?

If you don’t have a plan, you will be tossed around at the whim of the wind and currents. If you don’t take action you will stay at the starting line and go nowhere.

At least with action you will go somewhere, but I suggest that neither is more important than the other.

Many make their New Year Resolutions, and have already been beaten by them in February.  This is because of a lack of appropriate action.

So if you haven’t set your goals, it is time to do so.

If you have set your goals and think you have already failed – it is not too late!  Start to take action now, and set your sights on the goals.

The important thing to remember when setting goals is -

…choose the good ones…

Till next time,


It’s a Matter of Choice

Hey – life is full of choices.

Everything you do requires a choice – do I, or do I not…?

You get out of bed in the morning – but not before you make the choice…

Get up or stay in bed?

Work out, run, stay in bed longer?

Shower – hot or cold, wash hair or not?

Breakfast or not?

Bacon and eggs, cereal, rice-cracker and water or toast and coffee?

Most of the time we are not even aware of making choices – it all just seems automatic, or even as if there was no choice to make…

But the fact remains that every single action you take first requires a decision of whether or not to take that action.

This realization, of course, means that there can be no excuses.  You are responsible for every action you take.

At some point, you made the choice.

So today, I want to discuss two books I recently found – both about choices for our future.  One is an eBook about the future of our individual health.  The other is a book and an app about the future of our planet – and consequently our individual health.

According to Dr. James Chappell, “Those who fail to take the time to be healthy will ultimately have to take the time to be sick.”

This Health and Wellness Guide talks about our choice between health and illness.  We are offered the choice between premature death in a chronically diseased society or a long, healthy, happy, vibrant, disease free and active life.

You can read more about it here -

Health and Wellness Guide

You may not agree with everything written there – I don’t…

But there is a lot of excellent information in this book, and I highly recommend it for anyone interested in improving their health and living a long healthy life.

In 2006, Al Gore published his landmark book and film – An Inconvenient Truth. In 2009, he followed it up with the book – Our Choice.

Whereas An Inconvenient Truth framed the crisis that climate change is producing, without much discussion of solutions, this follow-up spells out what needs to be done. Based on 30 of Gore’s ‘Solutions Summits’ as well as one-on-one discussions with leading experts across multiple disciplines, the book aims, in Gore’s words, “to gather in one place all of the most effective solutions that are available now”.

In April 2011 an interactive app based on Our Choice was released for the iPad and iPhone. The app presents text, photos, videos, audio commentary, maps and interactive graphics in a multi-touch user interface. (Description thanks to Wikipedia – I couldn’t do it better in so few words)

The iPhone does not do justice to this app (the screen is just too small), but if you have an iPad, then search “Our Choice” from the App Store

eBooks have come a long way, and have, for some time now, included links to online video or audio.  But this app sets the scene for future ebooks for iPad and similar devices.  What is included in this, can not be done with a simple eBook.  This is a true application, and for only five or six dollars, you can experience the full multi-media experience, rather than simply reading an ebook or a physical book.  This is worth getting, just to see the direction of future reading…

These books, in different formats, are both about choices –

The first about choices relating to your own life and health,

The second about choices which we all make about the life and health of this beautiful Planet we call home.

Whether you agree or disagree with the content of these books, they are both well worth reading and reviewing.  Choose what you feel comfortable with, stretch your comfort zone a little, and (after careful consideration) set aside what you don’t think you can live with…

Just remember – everything in life is about choices…

So make sure they are good ones.



Procrastination is Good…

Yes – that’s right. Procrastination has its advantages…

Just think about it – I am sure you will be able to come up with more advantages than I describe here.

One of the greatest advantages of procrastination is that it saves you from having to make decisions…

If you don’t make your own decisions, someone else will make them for you.

Then there is the advantage that, if you don’t like the decision that is made for you, you can blame someone else, because it was not your decision, it was theirs…

There are two advantages – comment with more if you like.  It could be fun to make an extensive list.

The fact is that we all procrastinate from time to time.

I was procrastinating about writing this blog entry.  Yes, I had plenty of excuses, because I have been really busy in my life outside Internet Marketing and helping people online to learn about personal development.

But that is just an excuse.  In fact, all of the “reasons” people come up with for procrastination are nothing more than excuses.

We put things off because we think they are going to be difficult, or because something else seems more interesting at the time.  Don’t kid yourself that you really have a good reason.

So – what do you do about it?

You can choose to either continue to let decisions and actions happen by default, or you can choose to make a change.

It’s your choice…

Norman Vincent Peale had something to say about procrastination or inaction –

Action is a great restorer and builder of confidence. Inaction is not only the result, but the cause, of fear. Perhaps the action you take will be successful; perhaps different action or adjustments will have to follow. But any action is better than no action at all.

So, if you are ready to take action, I can suggest a few techniques to help you to practice overcoming procrastination.

1 -         Find an accountability partner.

Select someone you trust, who will work with you to keep you accountable.

This needs to be someone who cares enough about you to be willing to put in some time on a regular basis to check up on you, and scold you if you haven’t done your work.  They also need to be someone that you respect enough to take notice…

If you choose carefully, your accountability partner may also want you to hold them accountable.

From a practical viewpoint, it is not always possible to make personal contact with your partner each day, so you might set up a password protected blog on your website – WordPress is perfect for this purpose.  This way, you and your partner can each log in each day (or week, or whatever interval you choose) and state your goals for the period.

Say you agree to make three or four goals per day – they don’t necessarily have to be big, but they must be real, and designed to move you toward your major or long-term goal.  You each log in at the beginning of the period and each write your three or four goals to be achieved by the end of the period.

As you both have access to the page (and nobody else can get there) you can both write your goals, and come back later in the period to confirm that your goals for the period are complete.

You can even set up separate pages – one for daily goals and another for weekly goals (and possibly more for longer term goals).  Daily goals will be smaller than weekly goals, but will frequently be stepping stones toward the weekly goals.

…and your goals can be in any area of your life – business, health, study,…

If your partner is someone you trust and respect, then you won’t want to let them down by not completing your goals or tasks.

If they are also a good friend, then you are likely to start competing to make sure that you are quicker to complete your goals, or that you have completed more goals that your partner over an extended period of time.

Obviously, any goals not completed by the end of the period must be transferred to the next period – until they are complete…  Imagine the embarrassment of having a simple goal transferred over a number of periods, simply because you procrastinate…

This leads us to the next technique to overcome procrastination…

2 –          Using Pain as Incentive

Just in case the embarrassment of not achieving the goal that you told your partner you would – not keeping your commitment – is not enough incentive, you can boost the level of pain…

Try giving your partner an amount of money, or a treasured possession, that will hurt for you to loose, and tell them that if you have not completed your commitment by a specified date, they are to keep your money or property…

This will work – as long as it is significant enough to hurt.

Whatever you do – take action.

…and finally –

3 –          Just Do It…

We are all familiar with that slogan, and it actually says a lot.

It is all about taking action.

This takes some serious self-control.  And it is the lack of self-control which is the cause of procrastination in the first place.

We seek immediate comfort instead of delayed gratification – it is easy and comfortable…

That’s what makes this approach so difficult – It requires us to do the very thing that caused the procrastination in the first place.

Finally, you need to practice.

Whichever approach you choose, or even a combination of these approaches, you will need to practice your techniques over and over again.  Just keep practicing the taking of action, until it becomes second nature.

…and then keep practicing.

Once you take action, you will find it to build your confidence – just like Norman Vincent Peale said.

Hey, you won’t always get it right, but achieving something is better than achieving nothing.

So, instead of procrastinating, choose action!

…and choose the good ones…


Don’t Waste Time.

This morning, I was working at my iMac on one of my projects and had one of my favourite bands playing in the background.

It was the DVD of a concert, recorded in 1994 at Earls Court, London.  The finished album was produced by Robbie Williams Productions, and was called “Pulse”.

The CD version came in a special package which included a red LED flashing at about the rate of a healthy human pulse.

The pulsing light was reminiscent of the opening track of an album with one of the most striking and memorable record album covers of all time – an album which was way ahead of it time in 1973.

It was the real breakthrough album for this band, and introduced the world to a new genre in popular music.  It is hard to pigeonhole the album or the band, other than to acknowledge that their music is brilliant and their words are at once shocking (at times) and thought provoking.

The song that really struck me this morning was “Time” – a song which has been recorded live a number of times, including for the album “Pulse”.  But the first time the world heard this song was in 1973 on the album “Dark Side of The Moon”.

Whenever Pink Floyd play “Time”, you know it is a prelude to a most hauntingly beautiful song “The Great Gig in the Sky” – a vocal track without words.  If you know the song, you know what I mean.  If you don’t know the song, I can’t possibly explain it, so you should look it up on You-Tube.

Back to Time…

The Lyrics –

“Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
Fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way

Tired of lying in the sunshine, staying home to watch the rain
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today
And then one day you find, ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun

And you run and you run to catch up with the sun, but it’s sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again
The sun is the same in a relative way, but you’re older
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death

Every year is getting shorter; never seem to find the time
Plans that either come to naught, or half a page of scribbled lines
Hanging on quiet desperation is the English way
The time is gone, the song is over, thought I’d something more to say”

OK – I can’t help myself…  I will compare this with one of the “great philosophers”

You may remember when I wrote about the words of Thoreau –
“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.”

This song mirrors the words of Thoreau, but it comes as a warning – to DO something

They say – “And then one day you find, ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun”

So what are you going to do?

Will you continue “Waiting for someone or something to show you the way”?

Don’t wait!

Get up and DO something.

There are plenty of us out here who are happy to help show you the way, but it is up to you to seek us out, and then take action on what you read and hear.

They say – “The time is gone, the song is over, thought I’d something more to say”

I think that Pink Floyd had a lot to say with this song – as with many of their songs…

The real message behind Pink Floyd’s “Time”, I believe, is to point out that time is slipping by more quickly than you might think –

“And then one day you find, ten years have got behind you”

… so don’t waste any more of it.  That will only cause regret…


PS.  Go back to some of your old Pink Floyd albums and listen again to the words – they are as remarkable as the music.

In fact, revisit all of your old rock and pop albums – and choose the good ones…

How to Achieve Bigger Results…

We all recognize the much overused cliché – “taking baby steps” in order to accomplish big things.

Perhaps that’s why so very few individuals apply this astonishingly powerful principle in their lives – it just seems too simple and “cliché”.

So here, I will talk about this principle in relation to the teachings of the very well known Tony Robbins…

If you look closely at anything in nature you’ll note how physically big plants for example only consist of a number of smaller parts. It’s the sum of all the parts that make up the “largeness” that can only exist through a process of growth.

Tony Robbins frequently discusses the power of making small incremental alterations in our lives. The reason why most individuals never succeed is because in planning on doing too much all together, they never take the beginning step in doing something small.

It’s one thing to set a goal and keep it in mind.  It is entirely another to try to  achieve a big goal in a single step.

Incremental gains taps into one of the building blocks of our cosmos called compounding. Modern science attributes the principle of compounding to the very being of our universe.

The precept of compounding merely means that growth is incremental. One becomes 2, 2 become 4, 4 become 8, 8 become 16 and so forth. This is the way the world “expands” and this is the way your life builds.

If a big tanker sets off on a 5000 mile journey halfway across the world, plainly it wants to take the shortest route by going in a direct line.

Now what if the piloting system wasn’t correctly calibrated? What if the course was off by simply half a degree? The answer is easy: the tanker would wind up at the wrong continent.

The lesson of the story is that we need to truly take charge of the small things for they’re not just important but they’re everything. When it comes to accomplishing our dreams or accomplishing our goals the one very important aspect to keep close to heart is the fact that it only takes one thought to change everything.

It takes just one little adjustment that over time may have a great outcome in our lives.

In the movie The Butterfly Effect with Ashton Kutcher, this precept is beautifully exemplified. The butterfly effect refers to the knock on effect that’s created in the universe by a butterfly beating its wings.

At the start is appears almost wholly insignificant and trivial, but over time this may actually produce a hurricane or something of great effect by the accumulation of a small effort. It’s the seemingly trivial steps that sooner or later create the substantial leaps in our lives.

We frequently avoid taking the very actions essential to make our lives extraordinary as we see these actions as unimportant. Never undervalue the might of the butterfly effect. Always reinforce your decisions with actions and continue taking action towards what you want rather than what you fear.

Tony Robbins often discusses the same precept. He calls it “global changes.” Global changes touch on to the effect of making just one alteration that has the might and effect to change a lot of other things at the same time.

The challenge is that this is different for every individual and most individuals “quit” after “bombing” with 2 or 3 attempts. Know this: surrendering and calling something a failure likewise produces a butterfly effect.

Ordered and congruent action towards the accomplishment of any goal is the key to establishing momentum. Every small action collects and builds on the ones before till you produce a snowball that will finally be unstoppable.

It’s likely that whatever challenges you’re currently facing, it could have been headed off by some simple decisions and actions previously.

James Allen remarked that our thoughts are “things” and that our thoughts manifest themselves in our lives through circumstances and consequences.

It’s for this reason that we need to safeguard the doors of our minds for every thought will produce a butterfly effect which at first may seem trivial, but can finally have great results and consequences in your life. Holding negative and destructive thoughts will only serve to fortify this effect.

Don’t ever take the seemingly small things for granted. It all has an effect and it all builds upon past effects to shape and direct our lives.

Utilize your time and your mind wisely and most especially “take positive and constructive action daily towards becoming the sort of individual you ultimately want to be”.

Keep your heart and mind on the goal, but don’t expect to jump straight to it – That won’t happen.  Break your goal down into steps – plenty of small, easily achievable steps.

Then take those small steps in logical order to eventually achieve your goal.  Often you will find that there will be a snowballing effect after you get started, and instead of achieving just one step at a time, a few will just fall together to speed the process.

Just keep taking those “baby-steps”…
and choose the good ones…


Anthony “Tony” Robbins (born February 29, 1960) is an American self-help author and success coach. Robbins’ books include Unlimited Power: The New Science of Personal Achievement and Awaken The Giant Within.


In the classic R&B song form the “Blues Brothers” movie, Aretha Franklin asks for respect.

She sings –

What you want
Baby, I got
What you need
Do you know I got it?
All I’m askin’
Is for a little respect when you come home
Hey baby (just a little bit) when you get home

… and later …

Find out what it means to me

In the movie, she is offering everything she has in the world to her man, and all she asks in return is just a little respect…

So, what does it mean to her?


She will give him everything just for a little respect.

But she is not the only one asking for respect…

Jackie Robinson, the first black Major League Baseball player of the modern era, broke the “baseball color line” in 1947, after about 60 years of segregation in the Major League…

He said - “I’m not concerned with your liking or disliking me… All I ask is that you respect me as a human being.”

It seems that respect is pretty important to us.

…but what is it?  How do you recognize it?

Dictionaries will give you definitions which will include something along the lines of –

  • To feel or show deferential regard for; esteem.
  • A feeling of appreciative, often deferential regard; esteem.
  • The state of being regarded with honor or esteem.
  • Willingness to show consideration or appreciation.
  • Polite expressions of consideration or deference.

Those definitions are all very well and good, but in the real world, it all comes down to the way we treat each other.

That is, our actions, not what we say…

You have heard that “actions speak louder than words”, and when it comes to respect, it is our actions which demonstrate the truth.

Respecting someone is all about the way you treat them, regardless of what you say…

You know what I mean – Someone treats you like crap, but they talk about respecting you.  No matter what they say, you know the truth – from their actions.

So what do you do about it – how do you get people to respect you?

Well to start with, you can’t force anyone to respect you, so don’t let that idea hang around…

Also, you might never be able to get a particular person to respect you – there may be some history between you that the other person just can’t see past, or the other person might simply be incapable of respecting anyone…

Sometimes you just have to accept that a person will never respect you, will not be good for you, will use up too much of your energy trying to gain their respect, and that you might just have to distance yourself from that individual!  (Sounds harsh? We will deal with this another time, and refer to one of the great personal development teachers of the 20th century…)

Two great philosophers had similar opinions about respect and being respectable –

According to Ralph Waldo Emmerson,  “Men are respectable only as they respect”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said “Being brilliant is no great feat if you respect nothing.”

I would take Goethe’s statement further… Being brilliant, beautiful, rich, charming, born into an influential family or royalty – all are no great feat…

None of these features is enough to earn respect.  To earn respect, you must first be a respectable person.

To be respectable, you must treat others with respect.  You can’t be respectable if you lie, cheat, steal or dishonor or harm others in any way at all.

You might say that there are tyrants who have people bow down to them, and do their every bidding.  But don’t confuse respect with fear…

These tyrants gain what they kid themselves to be respect, but what they really gain is fear and hatred – usually at the point of a gun…

I said before – you can’t make someone respect you.  Regardless of how they may seem to act, if they are being forced to act that way, it is not respect, and it can only do you harm.

Instead, to become respectable, you need to treat ALL other people with kindness, honesty, integrity and respect.  Whether or not you can be respected depends on your own actions.

It is entirely up to you…

Here I go again with the personal responsibility thing.

But it is true – you are ultimately responsible for the way others treat you.  So start treating others in the way you want to be treated yourself.

Remember the “Golden Rule”?  (“Do unto others …”)

It has been true for all time.

But hey – let’s not limit this to respecting other people…

Remember, Goethe said “Being brilliant is no great feat if you respect nothing.”

He said “nothing”… He didn’t limit it to “nobody”.

He is saying that we need to respect not only other people but also other things…

So we need to include all other living things – plants and animals.  We should also include inanimate things – property (our own and that of other people…).

In my earlier posting “ Why Get Involved in Personal Development? ”, I told you about Charlie Tremendous Jones saying “You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for two things – the people you meet and the books you read.”

If you wish to be respected, and you believe that you need to make some changes to achieve this, then I suggest that “You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for three things – the people you meet, the books you read and the way you respect.”

If you want to be respected, you need to treat everything and everyone with respect.  It is all in your own actions…

…and, whether actively, or by default, you always choose your actions…

So – choose the good ones…

How Desperate are You?

“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.”

“What is called resignation is confirmed desperation…”

Are you resigned to continue living the same life you currently live?
Working too long hours?
Not enough time with your loved ones?
Frustrated by working to make someone else rich?

Join the herd…

Oh – that’s right – you already did…

That’s exactly what Henry David Thoreau meant when he wrote those lines above in 1854, after living two years in the woods at Walden Pond.

The book he wrote was called simply, “Walden”.  And in the first paragraph he explains – “When I wrote the following pages, or rather the bulk of them, I lived alone, in the woods, a mile from any neighbor, in a house which I had built myself, on the shore of Walden Pond, in Concord, Massachusetts, and earned my living by the labor of my hands only.  I lived there two years and two months. At present I am a sojourner in civilized life again.”

“I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately, I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to put to rout all that was not life and not when I had come to die, discover that I had not lived.”

Thoreau felt the need to separate himself from the herd.

Some people are comfortable being in the herd.

For nearly all, the effort required to break away makes them uncomfortable.  So you could easily argue that nearly all are actually comfortable with the anonymity of the herd – at least more comfortable than they would be trying to find expression in their own individuality…

You see, to break away,  you have to risk discomfort and fear of the unknown.

Are you ready for that?

Do you even know what you need to get started?  We’ll come back to that…

According to Tony Robbins, the well known motivational speaker, “In life you need either inspiration or desperation”.

So, you see, desperation is not necessarily a bad thing – it can provide you with the motivation to do something.  But that’s the point – you need to actually DO SOMETHING…

Thoreau helps us here.

“Do not lose hold of your dreams or aspirations. For if you do, you may still exist but you have ceased to live.”

Here, he is stressing the importance of Dreams and Aspirations…

…and this is what he refers to in the first quote when he mentions that the mass of men will “go to the grave with the song still in them.”

They will live, stuck in a rut their entire lives, and never sing the song that is hidden away, deep in their soul…

So – what can you actually do?

How do you get out of that rut?

First, Don’t keep doing what you are doing now…

Tony Robbins also uses the well known quote –
“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.”

…and it is so true…

So take stock of your life, take stock of what you do on a daily basis, and start making a change.

Remember what I told you about the words of Napoleon Hill and Michael Jackson?

Start looking at the “Man in the Mirror”.  If you wanna make YOUR world a better place, 
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change.

You will see that this is a recurring theme in much of the personal development literature.  You can actually change the world, simply by changing yourself.  Personal development has a wide reaching effect.

Thoreau says “You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.”

Now, I have lived by Sydney’s beaches all my life.  I know the exhilaration of quite literally launching myself onto every available wave – I have been an avid surfer for most of my life.

Notice that Thoreau says to launch yourself onto EVERY wave – not just the safe ones.  Now I can attest to the fact that in the surf, that can be truly frightening…

and awe inspiring…

In a big surf on a shallow reef, you can be truly justified in wondering if you will survive.

but the end result is worth it…

You learn something on every wave.

Any surfer out there will know what I mean.  Same goes for any skier, rock climber, caver, sky-diver, scuba-diver, car racer, figure skater, gymnast, or anyone involved in any risky or dangerous sport.  And not just the extreme sports-people.  The beginners will have a real sense of what I am talking about too, because they have made the decision to stretch themselves and their body to their limit, knowing there is fear involved.

In life and business, the fear of change can be just as great, and often the risk can be greater, as it may affect many more people than just yourself.  But the pay-off can also be greater.

The changes you make might make more time available to you so you can spend more time launching yourself onto the waves in the surf (or the mountain sides, or caves, or the public speaking platform – whatever you dream)…

Thoreau is telling us to take action … NOW.

Be prepared for the fact that there will be risk.

Be prepared for the fear.

All you need is faith – faith in yourself; faith in your ability to survive; faith in your ability to succeed.  Muster your confidence…

“If one advances confidently in the direction of one’s dreams, and endeavors to live the life which one has imagined, one will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” (Thoreau)

So start making those changes.  You really can break away from the life of quiet desperation, and sing your song out loud…

You really can start launching yourself onto those waves…

And as usual – choose the good ones…


Napoleon Hill vs Michael Jackson – a remarkable blend…

In 1928, Napoleon Hill first published “The Law of Success (in 16 Lessons)”.  This was based on a lecture series he had been presenting for the previous couple of years, and contains many of his most famous quotes.

Today, we are going to focus on this quote from Hill –

“No man has a chance to enjoy permanent success until he begins to look in a mirror for the real cause of all his mistakes.”

How’s that for putting responsibility firmly where it belongs…

I wrote about personal responsibility in an earlier blog, and this quote from Hill demonstrates his support for the concept.

But let’s look a little deeper…

What Hill is saying is that if you don’t accept responsibility for all of your mistakes, then you simply have no chance of permanent success.  That’s pretty blunt and to the point.

When you look in the mirror, only then will you see the real cause of all of your mistakes…

No-one else to blame

No external influences

No “bad luck”

Your mistakes are, ultimately, entirely your own.

Sure, there may have been outside influences or bad luck, but everything you have done comes down to your own choices.

You decided whether or not to allow others to influence you.

You decided how to deal with the bad luck.

In many cases, you actually made your own luck.

One of the great American golfers of last century was Arnold Palmer.  I saw him interviewed when he had come back from a “bad spell” in his career and was winning tournaments again.  In this one particular tournament, he had hit some amazing shots which some might have thought impossible.

After the tournament, a reporter asked Palmer “People are saying that you are hitting a lot of lucky shots.  Do you attribute your recent wins to good luck?”

…and Arnold replied “You know, they may be right.  But it’s a funny thing, the more I practice, the luckier I get…”

So make your own luck, and don’t blame “bad luck” for your own bad choices…

Once we have looked in the mirror at the real cause of all of our mistakes, what can we do about the mistakes and their consequences?

Sixty years after Hill published the above quote, a brilliant musician released a song which was to become his favorite, and was played (instrumental only) at his funeral after his tragic death in 2009.

Michael Jackson made famous the song “The Man in the Mirror” in 1988.  And although he didn’t write the words (Songwriters: Siedah Garrett & Glen Ballard) he often displayed in his actions that he tried hard to live by them, and helped to encourage a generation to start to look at their own behaviour.

The chorus tells us clearly and simply what we need to do –

I’m starting with The Man In The Mirror
I’m asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change

And this is the essence of Personal Development –

Take a look at yourself, and then make a change

…and it’s never too late to start…

For every change you would like to make, think it through (without wasting time or procrastinating) and “choose the good ones”.

I will be following this line of thought in future posts, so keep coming back.

Till next time,


Are you an Active Reader?

One of my readers sent me an email the other day, in which he wrote –  “Napoleon Hill, in his book on Law of Success, states that we should read his books with a notepad handy to jot down ideas that come to you as you read the material.”

This approach is recommended by many teachers and is referred to as “Active Reading”.

You see, when you write, it takes time, and uses a different thought process to simply reading.  The physical action of writing, along with the focused thought on each word as you spell it out helps to consolidate the thought more firmly in your mind.

When you write something down, you remember it more strongly and understand it more clearly.

Some of the early teachers in Personal Development were prolific writers, and they packed a huge amount of information on every page.  Napoleon Hill’s “Law of Success” is around 1000 pages, and Haanel’s “Master Key System is longer – and every page of these works holds a number of points so important that you simply can’t ignore them…

Napoleon Hill also states in The Law of Success, that while reading his work “you should read it many times, as you will get from it at each reading a thought or an idea which you did not get on previous readings.”

…and this is so right…

Even with “Active Reading”,  your notes will need to be increased with each reading, as you pick up those points you missed the previous reading.  But when you write the notes down, you will be surprised just how well they “stick” in your mind.

You might be able to achieve this (to some extent) by typing it out into a word .doc, but it misses the physical action of writing – it is amazing how powerful this can be.

Some teachers recommend reading a book with a highlighter…  Highlighting in a physical book, or copy / pasting from a .doc does not require the same sort of intensity in studying the words, and I don’t believe that it solidifies the knowledge or the understanding in your mind as well as physically writing your notes.

The recent Master of Personal Development, Jim Rohn, always recommended keeping a Journal.  This is different from a diary (in which you write the things you do).  In the Journal, you write your thoughts and the ideas that you discover while reading.

Jim used to say that the most valuable legacy he could leave for his children was his journals – they contain the thoughts of a lifetime of one of the most wonderful thinkers of the 20th century.

You can buy blank leather bound journals from http://www.jimrohn.com – just search “The Jim Rohn Leadership Journal” on that site.  These are beautiful journals in which to store your thoughts, and the inspiration you have gained from others.

But you don’t have to use a fancy journal – it might not fit your budget.  You can just as easily get a cheap 200-page exercise book from your local stationary store.  It is not the cover that is important – it is what you write in there that counts – for you and those you pass it on to…

So start writing when you read – this is “Active Reading”.  But don’t limit the writing to that… Keep your journal handy when you are listening to audio recordings or watching video recordings.  Write down anything that inspires you – there is plenty of inspiration out there.

Practice Active Reading while you read as many books as you can.

And remember – choose the good ones…


Why Should You Be Responsible?

Today I would like to discuss this quote from Ayn Rand:

“The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.”

Ayn Rand was a champion of the philosophy of personal responsibility, and this quote exemplifies that perfectly.

Ayn Rand was a woman ahead of her time in the first half of the 20th century.  She wrote about  economic and political philosophy in fictional novels.  Her most famous works were “The Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged” – two of my favourite books and always on my “must read again” list.

Although we are focusing on Personal Development at this site, personal responsibility is important in every aspect of life.  Whether it is work, relationships, parenting, your spiritual life or leisure, nobody else can be held responsible for your decisions and actions.

You make your own choices, and you can’t hold someone else responsible for that.

… at least not if you want to claim to have integrity…

Integrity – that’s a word that is not used often enough nowadays.  But those with real integrity will understand Ayn Rand’s quote intuitively.

You don’t need anyone’s permission to make a decision, or to take action, if you have integrity.

You see, if you have integrity, your decisions and your actions will be right – you will do what is best for you, without harming others.

So, it comes down to “who is going to stop me?”

Now, plenty of people might try to get in your way, but they can’t really stop you unless you let them.  The final choice and action is always yours.

So, the only person who can ever really stop you is you.

I posed the question “Why should you be responsible?”

The fact is – you are…

Whether you like it or not!

You get to make many decisions every day, but the final result is always your choice.

… so choose the good ones …

and if all else fails, choose integrity.

Let me know your thoughts,