Thursday, September 27, 2007

Step 3: When a Good Story is No Good

by James Arthur Ray

No doubt you've heard the idea that there are two types of people in this world: dreamers and achievers. Dreamers want to talk about big ideas, while achievers put them into action.

Do you tell good stories or take action?

In truth, all of us have the potential to be either one, and most of us have spent some time in both camps. The fact that you're receiving these e-mail lessons leads me to believe you are already on the way to becoming an achiever. Yet if you are struggling to make positive things happen in your life, you may temporarily be in dreamer mode, wanting something new but coming up with a lot of reasonable sounding excuses about why it's hard or even impossible. These are what I call "good stories."

There can always be a story...

Not long ago, I made a presentation for Canada's Century 21 agents, which reinforced something I discovered a while back: People are a lot better at creating excuses than they are at creating results.

I had been there, speaking to most of the same people, several years ago when many people had explained their lack of Harmonic Wealth™ this way: "The market is so slow, there's too much inventory, and too many choices. People can't make decisions, so we can't sell anything."

If that were true, wouldn't you think that when it's become a seller's market, the results would be different? But in a sellers market the same people were saying, "There's not enough inventory and not enough choices for people, so we can't sell anything."

The story has changed, but the results are exactly the same.

Hmmm. It seems to me that we can always make up a good story no matter what's going on in our lives. In The Power to Win Weekend, I ask people to think of a situation in which they are very successful in getting results. Then I ask them, if they were so inclined as to come up with some excuses for why they couldn't have performed well in this area, could they do it?

The excuses are amazing...

And of course they could. You can always come up with truly excellent reasons for failure. But the fact remains: Good stories don't make up for lack of results. Put another way, success does not equal failure plus a good story. A friend of mine loves to relate how a mentor of his used to set up "accountability worksheets" with checkboxes labeled "yes" and "no" for each result he had promised to produce. "You know why there's just checkboxes on this sheet?" the mentor would ask.

"Because this way there's no room for excuses. You can't fit your story into that little box. All I want to know is if you did it or not."

You either have results...or you don't...

In the last e-mail lesson I sent you, I urged you to "enjoy the journey," to make the most of the here and now instead of pinning all your hopes and dreams on the someday or something you may have been deluded into thinking would bring you happiness. Today, I'm going to ask you to do something that may seem like a 180-degree turnaround: Measure your wealth by your results, rather than by your activities.

But I'm not actually asking you to do anything contradictory. You can do both.

Consider the story of John Wooden, dubbed the "winningest" coach in college basketball history. Coach Wooden led the UCLA Bruins to an unprecedented ten NCAA championships and is one of only two individuals inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame as both a player and a coach. Yet one of the hallmarks of his coaching techniques was never to focus his team on winning. Obviously, every team member knew that the object in a game was to outscore the opponents — everyone knew the goal. But when they were practicing and playing the game, they didn't focus on the score; they focused on giving their best in every moment. They focused on maximizing every play, every dribble. Coach Wooden would call this cornerstone of his coaching "industriousness."

Are you giving 100% to what you do?

Yet Coach Wooden knew the difference between industriousness that creates results and mere busywork. They didn't play to pass the time; they played to get better and better at the game. In the end, the results the Bruins created tell the tale of a talented team that knew how to win without obsessing over the score. That's not just a good story — that's a great story.

Let's take a little trip...

Here's another way to think about it. Let's say you're taking a trip from San Diego to Atlanta. From the minute you get in the car, you know that you want to ultimately end up in Georgia's capital, so you have a map and a route to follow. But do you drive with your eyes on the map or on the road? Clearly, you keep the end in mind but focus on the task at hand.

When you get to Roswell, just outside of Atlanta, you come to a detour. What do you do about it? Do you pull off to the side of the road and gripe about it? Turn around and drive for several days back to San Diego with this story about a detour and how you drove around for hours? No. You regroup. You check the map. Then you go forward. You get to Atlanta another way. And you go home with the great story of your visit to one of the best cities in the South.

Activity does not equal accomplishment...

Think of your life, are your results creating a great story? Do you know the difference between true industriousness and meaningless activities? Are you committed to reaching your destination despite any detours?

Now, let's apply this to you:
Take a look at an area in your life where you currently aren't getting the results you want. Why do you think that's true? Write down your own "good stories." Are you willing to settle for less than your best in this area from this point forward?

Choose another area where you are getting good results. Why? What are you doing, thinking and believing? Write down your "great story." How can you apply these thoughts, beliefs, and actions to the area where you currently aren't getting results? How will your results be different if you did?

Are you following the Wooden principle of industriousness in your life, maximizing every action and every moment? How can you get even more from your efforts, including more enjoyment?
In over two decades of teaching thousands of people, I have noticed one big difference between those who achieve Harmonic Wealth™ and those who just talk about achieving.

The ones who just talk about it are interested in wealth.

The ones who achieve are committed to it. They follow Coach Wooden's principle of industriousness: they work to maximize the efforts and results they get from every moment.

That's why I see so many successful, committed people in The Power to Win Weekend. The ones who attend are willing to put their time, money and effort on the line because they want to make the most of their lives.

They're not willing to settle for any less than their own best efforts, and they seek out the best coaching available to help them become more. They find that coaching and direction in The Power to Win Weekend.

Are you ready to create your own great story?

If you want to know more, simply click here. I hope you will make the commitment to creating the results of Harmonic Wealth™ in your life. I look forward to our next lesson, and perhaps to seeing you at our next Power To Win Weekend.

Your Coach,

James Arthur Ray

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