Monthly Archives: July 2014

Turn Your Energy into Great Achievements

running-294372_150Right now you have available to you a vast fund of energy. You have not just one level of it, but two, three, four, each deeper and more potent than the one before. Most people never get beyond the first level. How can they if they quit?

“The strong do not hesitate. They settle down, they sweat, they go to the end…The biggest ones are geniuses–the ones who toil eighteen hours a day without tiring.” Author Jules Renard

Living at White Heat

Some people go through life at a fast pace and have stamina. Others seem to be walking under water, existing in a kind of suspended animation. It’s as if all life long they’ve been storing up their energy for some momentous day, some fantastic day, some great event when they will somehow need all the energy they’ve been saving up all these years.

They act as if “energy conservation” refers not to electrical energy or gas or oil, but to their energy. Or that their energy is something they can deposit in a kind of life’s savings account, drawing on it at some indeterminate day in the future. They’re continually looking for ways to stop and rest–whether on the job or in personal life.

But our energy is meant to be consumed and not conserved, to be spent and not saved. It’s meant for us to throw into the actions that will lead us to the achievements we desire. That’s its purpose. That’s what it’s for. How can you get from here to there, taking action and making a more fulfilling life for yourself without consuming your energy?

Energy isn’t a dish of ice cream that once gone is gone forever. Energy replenishes itself. You have reserves of it. There’s plenty more. You feel a surge of energy when you’re doing what you should be doing with your life and are becoming what you should have been all along.

Inexhaustible, Mozart composed his three last great symphonies in eight weeks. Composer Igor Stravinsky worked all his life in a kind of frenzy. Noted architect and futurist Buckminster Fuller was often unable to stop working until he dropped from exhaustion. Shakespeare wrote an average of two plays a year–thirty six–many of the greatest pieces of literature in the world’s history. And he was also a poet, an actor, a family man, and a producer who had to attend to the practical concerns of mounting the plays’ performance. Leonardo da Vinci was a human volcano of work and ideas. His creative ideas came out of him in a torrent, ranging from painting the Mona Lisa to his famous drawings of flying machines and tanks.

A Runner in Training

I was in training for my event, the 800 meters. That workout I decided I would run as many laps as I could at three-quarters speed. After a few laps the pain I was so familiar with set in, and the difficulty breathing. Then the pain–that great obstacle for a runner–in my legs, my arms, my chest—my whole body–became more severe and I thought about quitting. How easy that would be: just step off the track and the pain would stop and I wouldn’t have to go through this anymore. “No one is making me run.”

But that day I didn’t stop, I didn’t slow down. I increased my speed and the pain was much worse. I thought, “How long can a person endure this?” Then I thought, “I am a middle-distance runner. Middle distance runners can bear a great deal of pain.”

But then, after I had pushed myself as hard as I could and suffered that pain longer than I thought possible but continued to run, I passed into a new and miraculous state of being. One moment I was in pain; the next I was not. I had entered a place, a garden, where pain could not exist. All pain was lifted out of my body and I could breathe easily again. The running suddenly was smooth and effortless and strong, my form perfect.

That afternoon, one runner after another quit his training and left for home. But I ran lap after lap far into the night. I realized that I could run forever.

High Performers

Some people produce five, ten, or fifteen times more than other people performing the same job. That’s true of every job. That’s true of yours. I’ve seen people—ordinary people–who are not Mozarts, Shakespeares, or da Vincis, but who live and work at white heat and achieve the almost miraculous. What drives a great athlete relentlessly to work hard? The thought that his/her competitor is working harder.

The majority of leading experts in the field of exceptionally high performance believe that the sheer number of hours the person devotes to his/her development is the main determinant of expertise, more important than talent. The expert devotes many more hours than the less successful person. And that translates into who consumes the most energy.

What has Tiredness to Do with Rest?

High achievers exert more energy from the start and work steadily without long interruptions for a much longer period than the majority of people–for days, months, years if necessary. What enables them to operate continually at a higher level of energy?

It’s excitement or necessity or both, excitement over purposes or the necessity of overcoming obstacles to achieve them. People will push themselves to an extreme day after day and overcome almost any impediments when they are on fire with excitement.

But many people achieve little because they stop working at the first sign of fatigue. They’re in the habit of quitting when tired. Better to ratchet up and exert more effort then, not less. Then you acquire the ability to not tire easily and you keep gaining ground on the achievements you’ve imagined.

If you quit at the first sign of tiredness, you develop the habit of tiring quickly and giving up.

Every time you reach the point at which you seem to have no energy left, yet push yourself still further, you train yourself to draw from deeper into your reserves at will. If you push yourself on then, the fatigue gets worse up to a point. Then it fades away and you are fired up by a sense that you can go on forever. Fatigue is replaced by a new explosive surge. The result is a new freedom, a new power.

Get regular exercise, maintain a healthful diet, alternate action and rest, don’t rest long (the busiest people need no more rest than the laziest), focus on your purpose, and let your powerful desire for achievements consume you.

A Life Learning

It’s a life learning that will never fail you: you must push yourself beyond your limits all the time, without reservation. Then you create new limits which, in turn, you will surpass. You can get closer to a better life today than you were yesterday if you are single-minded and burn—not conserve–your energy.

Please follow this  blog. It will feature topics I think will be of value to you.

© 2014 David J. Rogers

 

How to Get The Book

Order Fighting to Win: Samurai Techniques for Your Work and Life eBook by David J. Rogers

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Part III Expectations, with a List of Six Steps Leading to Success

Prescriptions for Action

wellness-155162_150Your expectations can determine whether you will succeed or fail in so many things —successfully starting a business (finally, after talking about it for years), or changing your career (after talking about it for years), or dieting (after failing so many times), going back to school, and dating, staying healthy, giving a speech to 300 people or 6,000 (after thinking all your life you could not possibly do that), or acting in a play the way you’ve always wanted, writing the novel or the song you’ve been thinking about, or inventing that product. On and on.

Since expectations can affect your life so deeply—can change failures to successes– it is worth knowing their secret.

Act “As If”

In an experiment adults were given the same ten puzzles to solve. When they were done working on them, half were told they had done well, seven out of ten right, and the other half were told they had done poorly, seven out of ten wrong. In fact what they were told was completely fictitious.

Then all were given another ten puzzles to solve, the same for each person. Then their efforts were actually graded. The half who had been told they had done well in the first round had self-confidence and so expected to do well again actually did better in the second, while the other half, with self-doubting expectations, did worse.

In that experiment so-called “high performers” in the first round may have in fact been low-performers. On the other hand, the people who were told they were low performers might actually have been very high performers. But that didn’t matter. What is significant is that everyone believed what they had been told and acted “as if” their expectations were factual.

In the same way, we go through life believing the expectations we hold about our chances of reaching success in anything, and we tend to act as if they are perfectly true and accurate. There are habitual-high-expectations people who expect to succeed in most everything they attempt, and habitual-negative-expectations people who expect to fail.

Self-Hypnosis

In the classic self-help book Psycho-Cybernetics, Maxwell Maltz points out that with hypnosis, people can be made to do things which they did not think it possible for them to do. For example, they might lift a very heavy object. Has hypnosis changed the person’s physical strength? Not at all. What has changed is the person’s belief or expectation of what is possible.

In fact, Maltz points out, the person has not actually been hypnotized but dehynotized from the limiting expectations he or she lived with. All life long we have hypnotized ourselves into believing that certain things are impossible. Lifting a car, for example. Yet in emergencies people with average strength have been able to do just that. Again, the person’s physical strength has not suddenly changed. What has changed is that they have broken through that self-hypnosis that we all live with. If we hold negative or limiting beliefs and expectations of our capabilities, we are hypnotizing ourselves into believing these limitations are true and accurate when they are not.

One way to change the false and limiting expectations we constantly place on ourselves is by using the technique of acting “as if” to our advantage. We can act “as if” in a positive and life-changing way. If you expect not to be able to reach success in some endeavor, or even a better life, you will probably be proven right because you will tend to act accordingly, “as if” success and a better life really are impossible for you.

But you can reverse that. You can expect to reach success by acting “as if” more positive and optimistic expectations are true. But expectations without decisions and action will lead you nowhere. You have to behave in a way that is commensurate with your expectations. It’s ridiculous to say, “I expect my book to be published one day” and not working hard to make that happen.

Six Prescriptions Leading to Success

1. Put failure completely out of your mind.

2. Remember that people with high expectations are better able to recover from setbacks. When you meet adversity and are thrown back, then more than ever you must have strong expectations that you will come out whole and happy on the other side of this misfortune. You must see the setback as only a temporary situation, and not a permanent condition. Then you must return to action more determined than ever.

3. Replace any expectations that are holding you back. All that’s needed now is to identify those expectations, and then consciously and deliberately change them into fruitful ones that facilitate success. Writing out your new expectations and rehearsing them is a good idea.

4. Act “as if” your positive expectations are true and accurate. Have confidence and boldly carry out your new expectations. You’ll meet with extraordinary success if you always put your faith in positive expectations and decisive action.

5. Surround yourself with people with high, favorable expectations of you. Avoid cynical people whose expectations of you are low–expectations that discourage, defeat, or underestimate you. A good companion is one who expects a great deal of you.

6. Have strong expectations, not weak ones. There are expectations, and then there are EXPECTATIONS! Your motivation to perform well, to achieve your purposes, to reach a better life depends not only on the attractiveness of what you’re seeking, but on the sheer strength—the power– of your expectations of succeeding. Limp, weak, non-committal, namby-pamby expectations are little better than no expectations at all. What you want are expectations that have a charge in them, that are so powerful that they will find a way through any impediment–not “I can succeed” but “I will.”

You’ll find that’s the way to succeed.

 Let Me Know

Tell me about your experiences with expectations and how they affected your life positively or negatively. I’d like to hear from you.

Please follow this “Starting Your Life Fresh” blog. It will feature topics I think will be of value to you.

The Next Post

From the next post, coming soon,  “Burn Up Your Energy in Action:”

“You must push yourself beyond your limits all the time, without reservation. Then you create new limits which, in turn, you will surpass. You can get closer to a better life today than you were yesterday if you are single-minded and burn your energy. “

© 2014 David J. Rogers

 

How to Get The Book

Order Fighting to Win: Samurai Techniques for Your Work and Life eBook by David J. Rogers

Fighting to win Amazon

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or

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/fighting-to-win-samurai-techniques-for-your-work-and-life-david-rogers/1119303640?ean=2940149174379

 

Order Waging Business Warfare: Lessons From the Military Masters in Achieving Competitive Superiority

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Part II, Expectations and Success

A Persistent Author with High Expectations

man-73318_150(1)I know an author who wrote a book that he thought had the potential to be published and sell well. His expectations high, he contacted any number of literary agents and not one was interested in handling his book, telling him that it would be impossible for it to find a public. It just didn’t have that—that whatever it takes for people to want to buy a book.

He did not give up after he had exhausted his long list of agents, but contacted publisher after publisher himself, calling them up, making appointments, pitching the book in their offices, expecting all the time that eventually he would succeed. He met nothing but failure, but still believed in his book and expected it to be published one day.

Then an editor of a small publisher called him to come down and talk. When my friend entered the office his manuscript was spread out on the editor’s desk and the editor was bent over it, reading it. The editor said, “Oh, good, you’re here” and looked up at him with a smile on his face and said, “Your book is going to be the number one best seller in the country.”

That book that he was told by experts could not possibly find a public became a publishing phenomenon and sold an astonishing twenty-five million copies in paperback alone. It became the number one best seller in the world.

Now what would have happened if my friend’s expectations of success had not been strong enough to sustain him through the many disappointments and discouragement, not powerful enough to make him persist?

The book would not have been published.

He would not have become famous. He would not have become rich.

 The Impact of Your Expectations

In Part I of this three-part article on expectations of success, we dealt with expectations as they affected any type of performance.

Persuasive people expect to be persuasive. That’s one of the major differences between them and people who are not persuasive. Talk show hosts expect to be interesting, good writers expect to write skillfully, the best students expect to get an A, effective executives expect to manage well, and the best comedians expect to be funny.

There is hardly an aspect of your life that is not affected by your expectations.

People who expect to live a satisfying life are healthier, report fewer physical symptoms, have a greater sense of well-being, and are more successful and happier. They feel less stress than people who expect the worst.

People with high positive expectations are resilient because of their expectations. They overcome obstacles and aren’t deterred. They expect to be able to handle difficulties and to succeed in spite of them. When setting a goal they consider the probability of success rather than the probability of failure. “The chances are good I’ll succeed. I can accomplish this if I work hard enough.” “This is going to work out really well for me, and I’m going to be happy.” Failure-motivated people have the opposite expectations: “I’ll never be able to do it. I’ll give it a try, but it probably won’t work out.”

 Artists’ Lives

Artists generally are “intrinsically” motivated. That is, they are motivated to persevere–often working hard, toiling long hours, and sacrificing–by the creative side, the work itself. But they often abhor the business side—the “sales” side–particularly because that’s the side that often involves their work being rejected.

When they are working at their craft, they experience an underlying expectation of success that goes unchallenged. But then they shift to the selling of their work in the marketplace, and after enduring repeated rejections—twenty, thirty, forty, or a hundred–all but those with the strongest and most powerful optimistic expectations lose their confidence and may begin to expect future failure. They may stop submitting the work, sometimes even resigning from an artist’s life, giving it up or doing it no longer as a profession, but as a hobby. I’m sure there have been many potentially superb artists who lost the expectation of eventual success and simply quit.

 Social Relationships

I have a friend John I marvel at. He has a wonderful social manner; he has that knack for making friends. He never expects anything but that he is going to like the person he is talking to, and everyone likes him. It’s something to behold.

It is often through our relationships that we reach a richer, fuller life, and our expectations directly affect the quality of those relationships. It makes not one iota of difference if the other person is a total stranger at a party, a new manager of your department, a sales prospect, or two thousand people sitting in an auditorium to hear you speak–if you expect them to like you and you behave accordingly, you will be proven right in almost every instance.

That’s true even if the other person has a reputation for being hard to get along with or the audience is a tough one. But if your expectations are the opposite, they work against you just as powerfully. If you expect a person not to like you and you behave as if that’s the case, you’ll be proven right in almost every instance, even if the person has the reputation of being very friendly and easy to get along with.

Human Motivation

The primary factor in human motivation is the self-perception of highly motivated people that they are doing well. Past success leads to self-confidence and higher expectations, higher motivation, greater persistence, and the drive to do even better. But of course the same holds true for expectations of failure. Expect to fail, fail, expect to fail the next time, fail, and on and on.

 

Let’s say you’re given an assignment at work. If you expect to do well you will work harder and increase your chances of actually doing well. Then, having done well will increase your expectations of doing well the next time. And those favorable expectations, in turn, will increase your chances of doing well again, and on it will go–high expectation-high performance, high expectation-high performance, etc.

 Expectations of Others

We hold expectations of others, and they hold expectations of us. And their expectations of us affect whether or not we succeed. Many a person is being lifted to the heights of that better life on the encouraging expectations of people around him or her, and just as many are being kept from a better life by the low expectations of others.

Parents of highly-motivated people have been shown to have a distinctive style of child-rearing. They are warm, nurturing, physically affectionate, and have high but reasonable expectations of their children. Managers of high-productivity units tend to have higher expectations of their personnel and set higher goals than managers of less productive units–and their personnel tend to live up or down to those expectations, as the case may be.

Parents’ expectations of their children’s success in math have proven to be more accurate predictors of actual performance than aptitude tests. The tests say the children shouldn’t do well, but the parents say they will, and they do. But the reverse is also true. Tests show that they have the aptitude and should do well, but if the parents expect them not to, they tend not to.

Importance in Any Walk of Life

To be successful in any demanding walk of life–and in life generally–requires a common cluster of essential attributes: intelligence, enthusiasm, drive, commitment, persistence, hard work. And high expectations

 If You Really Know It You Can Do It

In the next post–Part III Expectations and Success—we’ll look at turning factual information we have been discussing into prescriptions for action. And action, after all, is the whole idea.

© 2014 David J. Rogers

 

 

The Author

 David J Rogers is the published author of non-fiction, fiction, and poetry. His current eBooks are Fighting to Win: Samurai Techniques for Your Work and Life, and Waging Business Warfare: Lessons from the Military Masters in Achieving Competitive Superiority.

The former has been called the best self-improvement motivational book ever written. The latter has been called “a business masterpiece.”

Order Fighting to Win: Samurai Techniques for Your Work and Life eBook by David J. Rogers

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Order Waging Business Warfare: Lessons From the Military Masters in Achieving Competitive Superiority

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Expectations and Success Part I

“Expect: to look forward to the probable occurrence or appearance.”       American Heritage Dictionary                                          thumb-up-153290_150

We will be talking about the tremendous impact your expectations have on your life in three parts. This is Part I. It discusses very briefly the effects of negative or positive expectations as they apply to any kind of performance, whether sitting down to start a novel (your first or your twentieth), making a speech, performing onstage, engaging in social networking, becoming popular, recovering from an illness, going on a diet, or making progress in your career. You’ll see in Parts I, II, and III together that your expectations affect most every aspect of your life. Knowing the mechanics of expectations, you can turn yours to your advantage.

We tend to act in ways that conform to our expectations. Your expectation–positive on the one hand or negative on the other–releases performance and sets it on a track of success or failure. One experience after another confirms this.

The Journalist

I was to be interviewed by a woman journalist. I knew nothing about her, so I asked a man who had met her. “Oh, her, she’s a real bitch,” he said. “She’s just out to nail the people she interviews.” So there they were: my expectations. I went to her office expecting trouble. I was tight-lipped and curt and kept looking for any sign of nastiness. I was having a terrible time, and I could see that she was too. It was going all wrong. I asked if we could take a short break while I made an important phone call, and I went to the cafeteria and adjusted my expectations from harmful to helpful. I went back to her office and behaved accordingly. This time I acted as if she and I would get along exceedingly well. I started all over. I smiled, relaxed, shook her hand, thanked her for having me, and showed an interest in her work. Suddenly she was friendly, smiling, at ease, complimentary. We laughed. She was a nice person. I liked her and she liked me. It was not only an enjoyable interview, but a friendship resulted from my having friendly expectations and my behaving accordingly.

Here was an application of The Law of Positive Expectation and The Law of Social Reciprocation. Your expectations, positive or negative, tend to come true, and give people something of value to them, and if they are like most people they will give you something of value in return. What do people generally want in any human interaction? Respect, recognition, individual attention, to be liked, to be listened to. Always give them what they want, and ordinarily they will give you the same in return.

A researcher asked subjects in an experiment to judge in advance of meeting another person whether they would be popular or unpopular with the other person. The subjects were right almost every time. Those who expected to be unpopular were, and those who expected to be popular were. If you expect to fail socially you probably will, but if you expect the opposite, it’s a good bet you’ll succeed. That’s because our behavior conforms to our expectations. Then through our behavior we tend to influence the other person to produce attitudes that fit those expectations, even without being aware that in fact that’s what we’re doing.

 Robert and Pete

 I have two friends, Robert and Pete. They are the same age, almost to the day. They attended the same schools from kindergarten on. They graduated from the same university in the same major on the same day, and entered the same career, and live in the same neighborhood of the same city. One seems to be about as intelligent as the other, which is quite intelligent. Robert expects to do well whatever he tackles, from repairing a garage door to getting paid well, and does. He has one success after another. Ask him and he will tell you that he is very happy with his life. On the other hand, Pete will tell you, “Everything I touch turns to…” You know what it turns to. And because he expects it to, it does.

 The Effects of Expectations on Your Health

 The impact of the mind on health has been widely documented. The field of psychoneuroimmunology explores the connection between mind and body regarding the immune system. One finding that has emerged clearly from the growing number of studies and anecdotal accounts going all the way back to the time of Hippocrates, is that psychological factors such as the patient’s and doctor’s expectations can influence the immune system and thus have an impact on the outcome of diseases.

Physicians will tell you it is very common that one patient who is not gravely ill but expects to die enters the hospital and dies, and another who is at death’s door and shouldn’t live much longer, says, “Don’t worry, I’m going to walk out of this place,” and does.

When patients given placebos in medical experiments get better, the experimenters and doctors dismiss it. They say, “That’s just the placebo effect.” But the placebo effect is the most astounding thing about the experiment–people getting better without medical treatment because they expect to get better!

There have been thousands of scientifically-conducted studies of the effects of placebos. In one study, patients who had bleeding ulcers were divided into two groups. Group I was told they were being given a powerful new drug that without a doubt would relieve the symptoms. Group II was told they were being given a new experimental drug that little was known about. Twenty-five percent of Group II found relief from their symptoms, but seventy percent of Group I, the people who expected their health to improve, experienced “significant improvement.” In fact both groups had been given the same “medicine” that wasn’t a medicine at all, but a placebo.

 Expectations of Failure

Many people are dominated all their lives by a fear of failing. But the term is a misnomer; they not only fear they will fail, they expect to, so they are dominated by the EXPECTATION of failure and avoid risks. They may take a stab at solving a problem or even at a better life, but if they fail they may never try again. And if they do succeed they may experience “encore anxiety,” the nagging sense that success was just a fluke, and their expectation is that they won’t be able to duplicate their success. On the other hand, there are people who expect to succeed in almost everything they attempt, and having succeeded once, expect to succeed again. If they fail, they consider that a fluke. Even when things repeatedly do not work out, they still expect success to come.

Our expectations affect the smallest things, even the search for ketchup. I’ve often found that when I expect not to be able to find something—a set of notes somewhere in the office or the ketchup in the refrigerator, I tend to be unable to find them. I overlook them even though they are right there. But when I tell myself that they’re here somewhere and expect to find them, they turn up.

 Self-Confidence

Powerful positive expectations propel you confidently into action. Supremely self-confident people approach their endeavors in the same way: as if it’s impossible for them to fail. Suggest to them that in hindsight it was possible that they might have failed, and they will cock their heads a little and get a surprised look in their eyes, and will say these words: “That never occurred to me.”

Whole nations can have such confident expectations. I’ve talked with many Americans who lived during World War II. The most striking similarity is that it never once occurred to any one of them that we might have lost the war, not a single one. They expected total victory.

 Next Time

In the second post on expectations we will look at how expectations affect your motivation, personal relationships, persuasiveness, popularity, learning ability, and more. We will see that our habitual expectations hypnotize us into believing they’re factual when they’re completely fictional. We’ve made them up, but we act “as if” they are true. And so, whether they are positive or negative, they are completely under our control and can be changed from negative to positive.

That makes all the difference.

© 2014 David J. Rogers

David J. Rogers is the author of  eBooks Fighting to Win: Samurai Techniques for Your Work and Life and Waging Business Warfare: Lessons from the Military Masters in Achieving Competitive Superiority.

Order Fighting to Win: Samurai Techniques for Your Work and Life eBook by David J. Rogers

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First Crisis, Then Recovery

Man sitting on a bench looking at the waterWhen crossing marshes, your only concern should be to get over them quickly, without delay”.                                 (Sonshi/Sun Tzu)

I was cheated out of a great deal of money in business by people I had trusted.

I had worked hard an entire year on a handshake, and now I had nothing to show for it. I had a wife and four children to support, and now there was no money with which to pay the bills. Devastated, I quickly fell into a depression; it was almost impossible for me to get up in the morning and I couldn’t sleep at night. I had not only lost the money, I had lost my faith in mankind. Is man’s greed so complete and is he so hopelessly selfish and that he will take the food out of another man’s mouth? I could not fathom such cruelty.

In that dark mood those dreary days, I could not make myself spend time with the family I love so much, didn’t feel like seeing friends, didn’t feel like leaving the house at all, didn’t want to talk, didn’t want to walk my dear dog, didn’t want to water my plants, didn’t  feel like getting dressed.

I am a reader, so one day I left the house and went searching for a book that would help me resurrect my damaged spirit and get me back on my feet and fully functioning again. All my life I have had what I call my “Research Angel”–some unknown factor that I trust to guide me to the solutions to my problems. When I need something, my Research Angel takes me to it.

I went downtown to a book store where I had once been a sales clerk and walked around from floor to floor, looking at book covers, reading titles, and thumbing through book after book until I found one that seemed almost to glow with a bright light there on the shelf. I picked it up and it seems to me now that simply holding it was the start of a new energy, a new focus, a new purpose.

I bought it, took it home, went upstairs to my office, turned on the desk light, and read it. Immediately I knew that book would lead me to writing the book I had been dreaming of writing for some time but could not clearly conceptualize in my mind–and it was.

I have written about how my sister Sharon’s death fueled my purpose and made me indefatigable until I had achieved it.

I wrote my book–Fighting to Win–and it changed everything about my life. After its success a major publisher told me, “We will give you a contract to write your next book.”

I asked, “What do you want me to write about?” and I heard the words every author dreams of hearing: “Write about anything you want to write about.”

And so I wrote another book that became popular: Waging Business Warfare.

That led to public speaking engagements in North America and Europe–and the realization that standing at a podium speaking to a thousand people or two or three thousand or five had been my destiny–shinjin in Japanese–the real me, the true person.

So you see, if I hadn’t been cheated by unscrupulous men I might never have gotten on the path that I was designed to follow all along.

The Research Angel

I think many people have discovered during their lives—particularly when going through tough, discouraging times–that they too have a Research Angel, whatever they call it.  A Research Angel is, I think, a powerful and undeniable intuition, a kind of unshakable knowing what’s best for you–most healthy for you–that comes from within, and an internal compass leading you over, around, or through obstacles, and out of difficulty. All that’s necessary is to relax and free your mind and have trust in your Research Angel. And to follow where it leads.

Two Questions for You

Do you have some kind of what I call a Research Angel that helps you out of crises? What difficulties has it led you out of? I would love to hear your story.

© 2014 David J. Rogers

 

Please follow this “Starting Your Life Fresh” blog. It will feature topics I think will be of value to you.

 

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Origins of My Growing Up Stories

 

The Decision to Plumb My Childhood

David in a leather jacket_copy2We set the dead aside as if we have no use for them. But I wanted to pluck my people out of time, to borrow them from eternity for a little while, to explore their worlds and to finally understand them. I had lived among them, knew their every gesture, had heard them speak so many times, and wondered greatly about them. But I didn’t know who they really were.

I longed to walk through the house in which I grew up and to look out on the street and see the wealth of familiar things that were before me every day in my youth, no sights as dear to me as what I saw from the kingdom of my porch.

I hoped to find as they had been, the people who had populated my world–to be among them again, to feel for them tenderness and pity and regret. I knew that time hadn’t disappeared, but had remained inside me. I realized that if I wanted to be with them, though most had died, I would have to discover them in myself where they still lived.

I wanted to see things as they were before my memories faded, or I died; to recapture the enchanted past; to walk the streets and beaches of my youth whose minutest detail I knew I would find waiting for me. I wanted to hold my father’s hand again, to look into his kind eyes. I wanted to revel in everything–the sounds of familiar voices, the smells of night air, the traces of my mother’s dinner in my mouth, the sight of her trying on a hat; my dead sister Sharon coming up the stairs–all from a time that was so happy.

I wanted to reconstruct my life by traveling backwards in time. I hoped to find there the origins of my mistakes, some indications of why I was now a person alone in a house by a field. I wanted my memory to rescue me from this house; to reveal lessons I had forgotten and must learn again that would help sustain me.

And so hour after hour, again and again, I remembered the days and nights of childhood. I remembered what I had experienced myself and what had been told to me. When I came upon something that didn’t make sense to me, and I couldn’t explain, or didn’t remember clearly, or couldn’t possibly know I used my imagination.

At first my remembering was over in a few minutes and was very general. But then I slowed down and remembered in finer and finer detail. Detail is the secret I discovered– details and details of details. Over and over, hour after hour, moving in ever closer, backing up and rethinking until I was satisfied and could say, “Yes, that is how it was when I was young. I have gotten it right.”

I wanted to do this very carefully; to take my time and not be in a hurry. My whole life had been a battle with time, but time doesn’t die absolutely, but remains in memory. The recreation by memory of impressions which later must be transformed is the essence of every work of art.

When my mind was free in time I had the impression that I had entered eternity.

© 2014 David J. Rogers

 

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Doubting Yourself/Losing Confidence

Caution sign-44463_640To be a successful samurai required tremendous self-confidence. He/she was taught, “To defeat the enemy who comes leaping at you, your spirit must be perfectly poised.” Such confidence can be learned.

 A very intelligent, very talented woman told me her story one quiet, warm summer evening as we walked along a beach and watched the gulls. Since childhood she had imagined writing novels that she would then see on shelves in book stores and libraries wherever she went. “But,” she said almost apologetically, “that was long ago and I gave that up.” Then she picked up a stone off the sand and tossed it in the lake with a plunk. “Though now and then,” she said wistfully, touching my hand, “I do wonder what might have happened if I hadn’t given up?”

I asked her, “Why did you give up?”

“Oh, I’d heard it was impossible to get a book published—told that I was dreaming. And I didn’t want to spend two years or three years or five years writing long hours, sacrificing, spending less time with my family and friends, only to be told, ‘Sorry, you’re not good enough.’ That would have hurt me very much and I didn’t want to go through that.”

I think there are masterpieces that are never written because the would-be author doubted himself or herself and so, didn’t even attempt to write the book that would have become a masterpiece. They are extremely talented. They are extremely intelligent. Their idea for the book is fantastic. But they doubt themselves and don’t try or give up at the first sign of failure, and so there is not the slightest chance the masterpiece will ever be written

Some years ago I wrote a little how-to book on job-hunting for a client running a job placement agency—really just knocked it off. One day at lunch I was in a bookstore in Chicago’s Loop and thumbed through a few best-selling books on the same subject only to conclude “Mine is better.”

That filled me with confidence, and that’s when I made a decision to actually become what I had wanted to be since the third grade when my teacher, Miss Gross, read a story I’d written to the whole class. She was at the front of the room and had quieted us all down. She read the story, and the story was mine. When she finished she said, “Isn’t that a wonderful story David has written?” It was about a time in a football game when I had been tackled. Miss Gross said that when I wrote, “Then I fell to the ground like a blob of jelly coming out of a jar” that was a simile–that was poetic. “So,” I thought, “I’ve written a simile.” I decided then, that day, that moment, sitting at that desk that I wanted to be an author and I have never wanted to do anything else. From that day on I expected to be an author.

The Dreaded “Who Am I, Little Old Me, To Attempt That”

All you need do is think of your own experiences to know this: People shrink from any effort in which they don’t foresee success. They will do what they believe they are capable of succeeding at and avoid it if they doubt–like our would-be writers of masterpieces doubt–that they will succeed. That’s true even if what they avoid is of major value to them, and even if, were they not to doubt themselves, they could do, and perhaps do quite well.

Self-doubt is a thinking-too-much, cowardice creating problem. It begins the moment that nagging little stress-filled inner voice starts whispering “Maybe I’m not good enough.” “Maybe I’m not ready.” “I wish to hell I was somewhere else.” “I will not succeed.”

Even the most confident people–the Abraham Lincoln’s, the Winston Churchill’s, world-class athletes, great actors–experience periods of severe self-doubt. But they come out of it. They shake it off. They recover.

If you doubt yourself often, your major goals and purposes are in jeopardy because self-doubters don’t set their goals high. They avoid difficult tasks.

Self-doubters may avoid a career in which, were they confident, they might excel.

“Go to the battlefield firmly confident of victory and you will come home with no wounds whatsoever.” Samurai general Kenshin Uyesugi (1530-1578)

In an experiment, adults were given the same ten puzzles to solve. When they were done working on them, half were told they had done well, seven out of ten right, and the other half were told they had done poorly, seven out of ten wrong. In fact what they were told was completely fictitious. Then all were given another ten puzzles to solve, the same for each person. Then their efforts were actually graded. The half who had been told they had done well in the first round and so expected to do well again actually did better in the second, while the other half, with self-doubting expectations, did worse.

 Expect Success

“How should a samurai behave in battle?”

“Go straight ahead, wielding your sword.”

                                                                     14th century advice to a reluctant warrior

 The key to all successes is to be found in your own mind, in what you think. The Dhammapada of Buddhism says, “All you are is the result of what you have thought.” Most of the time the lives we lead are a reflection of our expectations

More than 100 studies of 15,000 people show that those who expect to succeed are happier, healthier, and more successful.

Positive expectation people overcome obstacles/blocks and aren’t deterred. They expect to be able to handle difficulties and to succeed in spite of them. When setting a goal they consider the probability of success rather than the probability of failure. “The chances are good I’ll succeed. I can accomplish this if I work hard enough.” “This is going to work out really well for me, and I’m going to be happy.”

Failure-motivated, self-doubting people have the opposite expectations: “I’ll never be able to do it. I’ll give it a try, but it probably won’t work out.”

So reject self-doubt and choose new and more fruitful expectations.

Form a pact with someone at home and at work. Whenever they hear you doubting yourself, they are to say, “Have confidence. Be of good cheer. You’re a very capable person and never forget that. Think of how good things will be when you succeed.”

Before the job interview or sales presentation or settling down to start that book or that painting, go off by yourself. For every self-doubt you have, fill your mind with five expectations of success, five affirmations of your confidence in yourself. And do that immediately upon thinking, “Who am I, little old me…” And time and time again until it becomes a wonderful habit.

Persevere and Succeed

Do not—do not–avoid difficulty. To reduce self-doubt and gain self-confidence requires experiences of mastering difficulty through perseverance. Now, if you set your sights low and experience only easy successes, you come to expect quick and easy results, and your sense of confidence may be shattered if you do not succeed. But blocks, dragons, difficulties, and setbacks serve a useful purpose. They teach you that success usually requires sustained effort. An author may revise a short story, novel, or essay she finds difficult 75 times before she’s satisfied. A ballet dancer intent on a beautiful performance may practice turning her ankle in a particular way a thousand times.

Once you become convinced that you have what it takes to succeed, you persevere in the face of adversity and quickly rebound from failure.

And once you succeed in achieving one goal you will tend to set higher goals.

You needn’t be victimized by your thoughts, your expectations. They’re under your control. You can choose your expectations as easily as you pick a rose from a bush, and in doing that, you are choosing your success.

© 2014 David J. Rogers

 

How to Get The Book

Order Fighting to Win: Samurai Techniques for Your Work and Life eBook by David J. Rogers

Fighting to win Amazon

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Thinking Too Much

Man thinking-23838_640The Happiest People in the World Are Those Who Have Made up Their Mind

But The Following People Are Stopped

I have a friend who visited Hawaii many years ago. Stepping onto Hawaiian soil, he thought, “This is the place where I was meant to live. It is the most beautiful place on earth. I should move here.” Hundreds of times over the years he has talked about doing that, and of how his life would be improved if he did. He is unhappy with his current life and has been as long as I’ve known him, and he himself says that there is nothing holding him back. So why doesn’t he move? He is suffering from an inner block. He goes back and forth endlessly about the need to get a fresh start—“I really should go,” “Yes, I really should go,” “One day I’ll go” and here it is thirty years later, and after so many conversations with so many people he is no closer to moving to Hawaii than he was all those years ago. Something stops him.

It is no secret that many people are extremely dissatisfied with their jobs and like my friend talk again and again about doing something about it. But something stops them and they feel helpless and so they complain, they gripe. Griping is their substitute for taking constructive action. They are jealous of people who are happy with their jobs, their lives. They continue talking and something continues to stop them.

I know of a woman who when she was a schoolgirl was ridiculed cruelly again and again by a thoughtless teacher for not being able to master arithmetic. She was made to stand up in front of the class and was told, “You are stupid,” and she came to believe she was stupid. She has never recovered. Now grown up, she has virtually no self-confidence and thinks, “I am stupid.” Something stops her from getting rid of that thought. Many people are being stopped because long ago someone hurt them and they have not been able to get that hurt out of their mind.

I’ve met many, many people who find out that I have written books and say that one day they will write a novel. But they don’t. How many have you met? Probably as many as I have. But the novel is never written. They keep saying, “One day…Just wait and see.” Something stops them.

And how many people have you met who said many times that one day they would quit their jobs and start a business? As many as I? But they didn’t. Something stopped them.

The Release of the Arrow

The samurai of Japan were professional soldiers in the service of a Lord for the thousand years between the 9th and 19th centuries. They were like our soldiers in Afghanistan in the service of our country. Before the sword became the samurai’s principal weapon, the bow and arrow were. It was said that Yoshiie Minamoto (1041-1108) “shot arrows from horseback like a god. He galloped like the wind.” Tametomo Minamoto was such a strong archer that, attacked by two men in battle and finding himself with but one arrow remaining, he shot it completely through the first man and into the second. A valuable bird belonging to the shogun Yoritsune escaped from its cage. A bowman quickly fired an arrow which gently grazed the bird, bringing it fluttering to earth without even one damaged feather.

The release of the arrow is the most difficult problem which archers face. It is said that there has never been a perfect release. Archers—practitioners of the art of the bow called kyudo–were trained, and are trained today, not to think about the release. Not to analyze, not to think, “Okay hand, let the arrow go,” but to release it with “no thought” as unconsciously and effortlessly as “a drop of dew falling from a leaf. “

Thinking Too Much Makes Us Cowards: The Awful “What Ifs”

The Chinese character for “cowardice” is composed of two symbols, “meaning” and “mind.” The coward is one who finds too much meaning in things. He or she thinks too much. If you’re thinking too much like my friend and the unhappy workers and the woman who thinks she’s stupid and the others, and it’s making you a coward–driving you away from taking constructive action to better your life rather than to action–this could be a block you’ll want to conquer. You’re thinking yourself into inaction, and that must stop.

You’re thinking too much when you spend an inordinate amount of time anticipating what could go wrong. Then your mind doesn’t flow from one thought to another, but gets caught or snagged (toraware in Japanese) or stopped (tomaru).

You can’t get out of your mind the awful “what-ifs”– “What if something happens?” “What if I blow it?” “What if I lose?” “What if I get hurt again?” or for that woman who has been stopped since childhood, “What if I look stupid?”

All the people above—the would-be novelists and business starters, my friend, the unhappy workers, the woman without self-confidence–all except the archers, are being caught, snagged, or stopped time and again, and that is interfering with their lives.

To avoid getting snagged you need “a mind that knows no stopping” (tomaranu kokoro ), but that flows smoothly from one thought to the next, like the mind of the archer.

Whenever you find your thoughts getting caught, snagged, or stopped, tell yourself to get back to tomaranu kokoro, “a mind that knows no stopping.” For your own good and peace of mind, stop that endless analysis, that incessant mental chatter. Put an end to “What ifs” and DO something. Be like the archer releasing the arrow with ease and self-assurance.

A Decisive Style of Life

What I am after is a decisive style of life. Two things are necessary if you are to reach your Hawaii, to start your business, to write your novel. One is decisiveness. The other is the ability to take the action necessary to implement your decision. A decision without action doesn’t count. You get no credit. You can’t have action without a decision. The decision should move smoothly into action. They should be one thing—decision & action, decision & action, decision & action.

It is good to think, it is good to solve problems, and it is good to anticipate the future and consider the probabilities and make plans. It is natural to worry and fret. But for action-oriented people deciding is not usually a long period of reflection. They tend to do things not hastily, not recklessly, but fast. At some point, either you are going to write your novel or you aren’t. All your analysis and all the fretting and all the going back and forth must end– and you must throw a stake in the ground and say, “This is what I’m going to do. No two ways about it. No more conversations. No more back and forth. No more delays.”

And then release your arrow with ease, like a drop of dew.

© 2014 David J. Rogers

How to Get The Books

Order Fighting to Win: Samurai Techniques for Your Work and Life eBook by David J. Rogers

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Order Waging Business Warfare: Lessons From the Military Masters in Achieving Competitive Superiority

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 Let Me Know

Tell me about the obstacles you’re facing.  Is thinking too much interfering with your life?

 

 

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Face Up to the Truth; You’ll Be Better Off

 

You Want Above All to See the “Suchness” of Things. That May Be “Dangerous,” But Beneficial

truth-257159_640Now you’re taking action and getting rid of blocks—opponents, dragons. The first step in conquering both inner and outer opponents/blocks is acknowledging if and when you have a fight–a block you want to get rid of–on your hands. Sounds simple, right? Well, it is not so simple for many people–maybe most people.

I know a man who is extremely wealthy. I was going to use the word “rich” rather than “wealthy,” but decided against it because his life is not rich. He is unhappy, but he refuses to (1) admit that to himself and (2) to take steps to change his life so he will be happier. He refuses to “see” the real reasons for his unhappiness.

Not a single skill is more important than seeing. The samurai is taught ichi-gan, “first eyes.” The samurai “two eyesights” is kan-ken. Ken is looking; kan is “seeing into.” Everyone looks. The fighter sees into, even if what is seen isn’t pretty. See your opponent–your blocks and shortcomings in yourself–and you’ve got a chance to make improvements in your life. Being blind to them, you will probably never improve it.

The goal we should be seeking is to have no illusions—no illusions about the world, about others, especially about ourselves. Illusions are called gen in Japanese. Gen seeing is the worst kind of seeing it is possible to do.

The best seeing is simply applying the art of not kidding yourself—and it may be “dangerous” because when you see without illusions you may have to face the startling fact that after years of deceiving yourself or ignoring the truth, now it becomes apparent that many of your troubles and disappointments were your own doing–no one else’s.

An Experiment

An interesting laboratory experiment was conducted on responses to stress situations. All the subjects were told that they were about to receive a painful electric shock. Some of them tried to deny the shock by thinking or fantasizing about something else.

Others chose to confront the shock. They wanted to get it over with, and felt they could do something about it, if only by getting themselves ready. Instead of choosing to remove their attention from the impending shock as the others did, these individuals chose to concentrate specifically on what was going on in the laboratory or on preparing their bodies for the electrical charge. The deniers not only felt helpless, but their heart rate measurements showed that they actually experienced much more stress than the confronters.

Life is like that—full of shocks that you have the power to confront if you want, and if you do you will experience less pain in the long run.

So that’s where you begin—facing up to the truth, whatever the truth may be and however difficult it is to face. But some people learned as children to run from the truth, and have been running from it all their lives. They have become sprinters from the truth.

  Guidelines

  • Whenever you’re up against an inner or outer opponent, confront it. If you are afraid or self-doubting face them. Are they so terrifying? When a dragon is stopping you, reflect on it. Ask, “Why am I being blocked? Why am I afraid to speak up? Why do I feel so miserable right now? What is it exactly that’s stopping me?” “I’m wealthy, so why am I so unhappy?” The dragon may have been stopping you for many, many years, possibly most of your life. And it will persist unless you start facing it.
  •  Don’t try to kid yourself and others by saying, “I don’t know what’s blocking me.” You always know.  You don’t have to go up  to a mountain top and reflect. You know right now. All it takes is admitting it to yourself in an honest, forthright way. It is extremely difficult to say, “Thus far my life has been pretty much of a failure and it is the result of what I have done.” Yet, that realization may be the beginning of a new life. Think of the illusions you are hiding behind.
  • Talk with a trusted friend–an honest friend. Most people avoid hurting a friend’s feelings by avoiding telling him/her the truth about shortcomings they see. You share in his or her illusions. But a real friend is one who will help you see clearly, without illusions, and will kick you in the teeth CONSTRUCTIVELY.
  • Never ignore a block. If you drink, eat, quarrel, lose, spend etc. too much you’ll have a tough time getting things under control unless you see  the suchness of the situation. Never let an illusion control your life, not even for a moment.
  • Detach yourself slightly. Whenever you confront an opponent, a block of any kind, inner or outer, don’t see it as your opponent, only an opponent. It’ not your problem, it is a problem.  Look at the block dispassionately and as objectively as you’re able.

It is only then–when you are seeing properly–that you can apply techniques to conquer blocks that we will be talking about in the future.

LET ME KNOW

What are the blocks you need to face without illusion if you are to lead a better life? What dragons have you faced and conquered?

Please join the discussion and subscribe to this davidjrogersftw.com blog. It will feature topics that I think will be of value to you.

© 2014 David J. Rogers

How to Get the Books

Order Fighting to Win: Samurai Techniques for Your Work and Life eBook by David J. Rogers

Fighting to win Amazon

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or

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/fighting-to-win-samurai-techniques-for-your-work-and-life-david-rogers/1119303640?ean=2940149174379

 

Order Waging Business Warfare: Lessons From the Military Masters in Achieving Competitive Superiority

Waging Business Warfare812sCY9edLL._SL1500_

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