Archive Page 2

31
Mar
15

x marks the spot

Why do so many people try to hold us back from moving forward in our lives? Didn’t we all learn early in life that we should celebrate the successes of others and strive to emulate them? According to Theory Y believers everyone wants to live a life of purpose and reach their greater levels of joy, peace, energy, and prosperity. Yet how can they possibly do that if their every waking moment is spent obstructing, impeding, slowing, slandering, or demotivating others? Their cup of hostility and insecurity runneth over and they work to slather and sling it on as many as people possible.

Chuck Reeves, author of Journal of a Climberhaters, stated, “Successful people do not resent successful people. Unsuccessful people do.” Boom! There it is. In today’s technologically superior yet higher-order-thinking deficient society, we are obsessed by spewing out judgments and pious pontifications. It’s always been there since the dawn of mankind, but the sheer volume and saturation of it in today’s world does not bode well for the up and coming would be leaders. By disparaging when we should be debating and turning teachable moments into bloody massacres, we are encouraging people to kill rather than to query.

We’re so busy hating the oppressor du jour that we forget life’s what we make it. Who cares who gets the credit? Miserable, thumb-sucking, complaining, griping boneheads, that’s who. As Zig Ziglar said, “You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.” So why is it so hard to see that, ipso facto, the opposite is true? “You will get nothing you want in life if you impede other people getting what they want.” Of noticeable absence is the presence of any higher-order thinking skills. Resentment, jealousy, envy; whatever you call it it’s one of the seven deadly sins. Yet somehow we feed ourselves a steady diet of it in today’s society.

Thus proveth the Theory X that people are lazy, cynical and would rather complain than attain. What to do about it? Model a more proactive approach. In all your communications, be proclamatory, not accusatory. Be an extorter, not a retorter; and finally, be a relater, not a hater. I worry about those whose existence is spent seething at the successes of others. Successful people should always inspire us to greater heights, and if that is not the response you have in your heart when others tell you of their good fortune, you might want to take a tough, long look at what’s going on inside of you. There is no suck in success!

15
Jan
15

Do Unto Somebody What Somebody Did For You

mentoringToday is Thank Your Mentor Day! Without mentors, this world would have ceased to exist a long time ago. Indeed, mentoring gives you the chance to live your life over and over again, well into eternity.  And to honor those who shaped my world in ways I never could have done alone, I salute you and share three ways you can pay it forward so someone else can have a tremendous life!

Feel My Pain: Life is too short to make every mistake there is to make. This is where a mentor can save you years of anguish and unspeakable pain. We like to think that to be a mentor we have to constantly be dispensing all kinds of crazy wisdom and dazzling brilliance. But did you know that one of the best ways you can mentor others is by sharing your mistakes? There is something inherently redemptive about bearing witness to your own pain in an effort to lessen the pain of others. Thank you Cumberland Valley School District for showing me numerous classroom films that vividly displayed the effects of drinking and driving, chewing my food too quickly, contracting STDs and other horrors of becoming sexually active,  and frying your brain on drugs. You saved me from some of life’s biggest mistakes!

The Door of Opportunity: Many of us feel that mentors are supposed to be these unbelievably well-connected individuals who, with one call or nod of the head, can make the impossible happen.  While it’s really great if you have such a person among your contacts, being a mentor is as simple as providing developmental opportunities for your mentee and taking an interest in developing them. In other words, by making a simple recommendation or submitting someone for an award, you create a favorable circumstance for them. Case in point: in 1984 I was a cadet at New Mexico Military Institute preparing to graduate. I was uncertain what I should do next academically when my Air Liaison Officer, Major John Schaeffer, nominated me for admission to the US Air Force Academy. I didn’t realize this was going on behind the scenes until he handed me my acceptance letter. The fact that he took the time and effort to put my name in the hat for such an incredible opportunity is still one of the most defining moments of my life.

A Few Good Words: All great mentors are able to get right to the point with the fewest of words. Too often we erroneously assume that we have to invest years and countless interactions before we can make a difference in someone’s life. This is just not true. A few words said at just the right time may be all someone needs to launch them into orbit. When my father was on his last breath, he squeezed my hand and told me he knew I would take his business to levels he never could. That was the sum total of our succession planning and the only thing I needed to propel me forward. Even years later, I still feel the squeeze of his hand and the whisper of his voice as I put my nose to the grindstone and go about the challenges of running a business.

So go out there and do for others what somebody did for you! Share some insights, submit an award, make a phone call, or utter a word of encouragement. You never know what these small, yet incredibly impactful, events might make on someone’s life. I know what a difference it made in mine, and I will continue to live the Golden Rule of Mentoring until my last breath and then spend an eternity watching the legacy unfold.

22
Dec
14

What Difference Do I Make?

You've got the whole world in your hands.

You’ve got the whole world in your hands.

Throughout the many different roles in which I’ve served, there has always come a time when I had to wonder if I was actually making a difference in the world. This type of reflection is a healthy one if you use it to grow yourself into new directions of service.

I recently shared with a group of students at a social-responsibility class at Central Penn College three things they are likely to encounter as they go about a life spent making a difference:

Bigger is not better:  Laurence J. Peter said, “Bureaucracy defends the status quo long past the time when the quo has lost its status.” I used to think that the bigger the company, the smarter and more ethical is was. This is not necessarily true. High walls can be a haven for low morals and the more bureaucratic an organization is the more likely it is to tolerate incompetence. It’s in the nature of bureaucracies to be bloated, full of bull, and to ensure the beneficiary is beholden to their interests.

Size does matter; the smaller the better. In 2011, according to U.S. Census Bureau data, there were 5.68 million employer firms in the United States. Firms with fewer than 500 workers accounted for 99.7 percent of those businesses, and businesses with less than twenty workers made up 89.8 percent. In short, small business is what actually makes the world go round and packs the most economic punch.

Only you can make a difference: Nations, industries, companies, religions, races, etc., etc., etc., are not good or evil. The only thing inherently built to do good or bad on this planet is man. And we are only held accountable for our own actions. Never, ever underestimate the power of the person as you go up against those who couldn’t care less about doing what’s moral, ethical or legal. As my father, Charlie “Tremendous” Jones, so famously said, “Have you ever seen a monument dedicated to a committee?”

What continues to shape the world of social responsibility is the gift of the individual. The power of the purse is felt most when the hands that hold it are freely and selflessly giving. Giving by individuals makes up the vast majority of contributions received by nonprofit organizations. Giving USA 2013 estimates that individual giving amounted to $228.93 billion in 2012, an increase of 3.9 percent in current dollars (1.9%, adjusted for inflation) from 2011. This accounts for 72 percent of all contributions received in 2012.

Cause and Effect: According to the laws of physics, the effect can never be greater than the cause, so you need to have a burning commitment to the mission at the heart of all you do. If you work for a company, that’s slavery. If you work for yourself, that’s selfish. If you work for others, that’s worship! Your role in making the world a better place should be a blessing, not a curse. If social responsibility is a J.O.B. you’re doing it wrong.

Every living thing on this planet has an obligation to give back something—anything! It may be time, talents, or other resources. It may be connections, or just a warm body needed to complete a task. Wherever we are in life, it is our sole purpose to be doing unto others as we would have them do unto us. And if we need help, we need to be willing to help others. John D. Rockefeller said, “Charity is injurious unless it helps the recipient to become independent of it.” If you need help, get it, and then go about the business of helping others.

May your 2015 be filled with countless tremendous opportunities to serve and bless others!

12
Dec
14

all i want for christmas is a purpose in life

giftMark Twain said the two greatest days in a person’s life are the day they’re born and the day they find out why. Seeing as the first day happens regardless of anything we do, we should focus all our earthly endeavors on the second day. This year, give yourself the ultimate Christmas gift and find out what you were born to do.

So how does a person go about unwrapping their life gifts? Our gifts only become readily apparent when we use them. Therefore, at any given moment, there are thousands of things we are capable of doing if we are willing. All it takes is for us to act.

One of the most transformational books of all time is Victor Frankl’s gut-wrenching memoir Man’s Search for Meaning. In it, Mr. Frankl quickly puts man’s search for meaning in perspective. He insists we stop asking life what its meaning is because life has already given us everything we need to begin living.

The meaning of life is a life of meaning. There’s a big difference between a life that’s achieved success and a life that’s achieved greatness. Success is measured by what a person does; greatness is measure by what a person gives. The only way to give meaning back to life is to know why you are here and then it becomes quite obvious what your purpose is.

“I bargained with Life for a penny,
And Life would pay no more,
However I begged at evening
When I counted my scanty store;

For Life is just an employer,
He gives you what you ask,
But once you have set the wages,
Why, you must bear the task.

I worked for a menial’s hire,
Only to learn, dismayed,
That any wage I had asked of Life,
Life would have paid.”

― Jessie B. Rittenhouse

18
Nov
14

the kids are alright

With so much lamentation about the youth of today, it was encouraging to experience a fresh perspective on our future leaders, one that will restore your faith in humanity. I sat on a panel for our Congressional District where we interviewed candidates for the United States Service Academy nominations.

I reviewed each of the applicant’s resumes two weeks prior and was astounded by their many accomplishments. The panel took twenty minutes to speak with each candidate, asking a series of questions, and I took note of the recurring themes that defined these future leaders…

Adversity: When asked if they thought they learned more from success or adversity, 9 out of 10 of them replied adversity. I’m that I had figured that out by age 18. They all realized the role of struggle and challenge in making them better individuals. This was not a group of babies with the silver spoons still in their mouths. Some came from single-parent homes, blue-collar backgrounds, working as hard as they could in the public school system. As one candidate so aptly said, “Success could be just luck. Adversity motivates me to improve.”

Mentoring: They each had someone in their lives who guided them when they were younger. For some it was an uncle who served, for others it was a school counselor who praised them for their leadership potential. Never underestimate the role you can have in developing a future leader. Robert Frost said, “I am not a teacher, but an awakener.” Somewhere along the line, someone awakened the seeds of greatness in these individuals, giving them a desire to develop themselves to the fullest.

Discipline: Show me what a person does with their idle time and I’ll show you where they’ll be in twenty years. Each of these candidates had a resume more robust than most adults. They served on sport teams, in academic societies, in community activities. They ran fund raisers, mentored younger students, and worked a variety of jobs. To say these young people were hard workers would be an understatement. If idle hands are the tools of the devil, this group is nothing but divine. As one commented, “I try to keep my schedule full in all areas of my life.”

The closing question was, “why should we chose you over the other candidates?” My favorite answer was this: “I can’t speak for the others; I’m sure they’re all very highly qualified. All I can speak for is myself and tell you that I have done the very best I can and am ready to serve.” So next time you lament the millennials, remember this next batch of leaders on the horizon. The one thing we can all do for them is to take the time to encourage their greatness and model the discipline they’ll need to be the best of the best. And if we do just this, I can assure you the kids will be more than alright; they’ll be tremendous!

 

05
Nov
14

It’s not me; it’s you…or is it me???

Self Awareness 2Self-Awareness is a Paradox.  The more of it you have, the more you realize how little you actually possess. It’s like the guy who tried to be tactful by saying, “Somebody around here’s deodorant doesn’t work.” His friend turned to him and said, “It can’t be me; I don’t use any.”

We all love to imagine ourselves as incredibly self-aware, but when a story, a point, a sermon, or an illustration comes up we always assume that it’s our neighbor who desperately needs to hear it and not us. Our time is spent judging whether our neighbors, friends, co-workers, and family members are blissfully unaware of their deficiencies or just too self-absorbed to notice.

Despite 61 percent of Americans acknowledging that a gap does exist between the skills Americans have and those employers seek, 95 percent consider themselves to be either qualified or overqualified for the positions they hold. With such a disparity, one has to ask themselves if they are ignorant or egotistical.

It’s in our nature to think of ourselves as much more than we are and to find fault in everyone else. To avoid this trap we must constantly ask, “What am I not aware of about myself?” In doing so we can cross the critical threshold from unconsciously incompetent to consciously incompetent.

Self-aware individuals speak with candor, admit their mistakes, thirst for constructive criticism, and exude a quiet confidence. They can stay true to themselves because they know who they are. They can keep their ego in check because they are acutely aware of their ignorance.  Power is not a motivator for them. Individuals lacking self-awareness constantly place blame on others, fault-find like it’s going out of style, and possess a firmly entrenched victim mentality. Their base camp is the Isle of Denial and they intend to stay there.

There are two proven ways to increase your self-awareness. First, spend time learning from others. Seek their council and input. Consider everything they say and do and how you can apply it to your life. Second, read personal-development books. How can we develop if we don’t read the manuals?  Life’s too short to make all the mistakes there are to be made, so save yourself some time and heartache and read….and never stop. As Gandhi said, “Our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world as being able to remake ourselves.”

16
Oct
14

The Mystery of Self-Motivation

MOSMConsider how hard it is to change yourself and you’ll understand what little chance you have of trying to change others.
My father, Charlie “Tremendous” Jones, told me that you don’t find motivation, motivation finds you. But there are things you can do to ensure the rays of motivation shine down upon you. Motivation is attracted to positivity, kindness, humility, meekness, and selflessness. If you keep surrounding yourself with books and people that model and amplify these, you will actually begin to morph, one motivated molecule at a time.
It starts slowly, and then it explodes. The more motivation you spread, the more comes back to you. My father literally burst at the seams, so powerful was his lifelong transformation. Once motivations takes hold in you it must find an outlet, and this is where the magic happens.
This is why the person who has solved the mystery of self-motivation is unstoppable. We cannot rely on any physical presence on this planet to be there for us. That’s why I am always so repeatedly surprised when people’s hopes are devastated by a person or event. The only guarantee you have in life is your belief in yourself.
When you have matured to the point where your own motivation is built-in and self-recharging, you will begin to experience life in a way few others have. Learning the dynamics of motivating yourself far exceed that of being able to motivate others. And in actuality, you can’t have the latter without the former.

Today marks the six-year anniversary of our founder’s—and my father’s—homegoing. To celebrate, we’ve published his timeless wisdom in our latest Life-Changing Classic, The Mystery of Self-Motivation. Go online today to get your copy and enjoy a 30-percent-off sitewide celebration until the end of the day. Thank you for helping us change the world one book at a time!




Tremendous Tracey


CEO Tremendous Life Books. Book Evangelist

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