Last week, my 13 year old niece Natia asked me: “what is the most important lesson you have learnt in your life?”

Natia was clearly quite serious (and had thought about her own answer), so I took a few minutes before responding. The video below explains my answer to her question.

How would you answer this question? What’s your lesson?

Leave it in the comments below 😉

Life is much better today than ever before.  I guess the challenge is that we have improved all of the lower parts of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, but lost a lot of the institutions and connections that helped people explore the higher elements of meaning, connection, significance and self-transcendence.

Check out the improved quality of life over the last 200 years…

  • Extreme Poverty: from 94% to 10%
  • Basic Education: from 17% to 86%
  • Literacy: from 12% to 85%
  • Vaccination: from 0% to 86%
  • Child Mortality: from 43% to 4%

Thanks to my brother for sharing the infographic 😉

I have worried for too much of my life about whether I am a success or not.

This video shares the simplest and most empowering definition of success that I have found.  It comes from Pema Chodron.  It is a wonderful reflection for me about how I am living my life.

Am I learning to forgive myself and to be a positive addition when I am with other people?

Thank you for your comments, reflections, shares and likes!

A Goldfish only grows as large as it needs to. In a small tank, it grows to about 2 inches. The bigger its environment, the more challenges it can face: the larger it can grow. It is the same with each of us as human beings.

Are you in too safe and comfortable an environment? You won’t grow. You might even do like the Sea Squirt and eat your own brain…

This video was filmed on a trip to Tbilisi to celebrate the eightieth birthday of Eka’s father.

Jack Daly says “you are either practicing in private, or you are practicing in public”.

This video is about Excellence. What is the path to Mastery? What do successful people do differently?

Success is the choice to practice in private. in this video, I also celebrate this week’s milestone: 50,000 subscribers! Thank you to all who subscribe, comment, share and contribute to the community that helps support me as I develop these ideas.

When I was young, golf was a big part of our family.  This video is about 3 life lessons that I learnt from golf.

When I was 10 my parents bought a summer house 40km from Dublin that was next to a golf course. My brothers and sister all grew up with golf all around us: playing it, watching it, watching my dad acquire new clubs, new machines to transport clubs around the golf course.

This year, my father fulfilled a dream. He travelled to Augusta this year with 3 good friends and spent the first few days on the course with the professionals.  We just watched Sergio Garcia win his first major (after 72 attempts), with a win on the first playoff hole against Justin Rose.

The Augusta Masters is one of the sporting events that I remember watching every year of my life. The last few holes have had some epic wins, and some epic losses. Success in golf, and in life, is less about the brilliance of one shot, and more about the consistent quality of 75 shots.

If you liked this post, you will also like Learning about Deliberate Practice and 17 Daily Personal Habits for a Fulfilling Life.

Getting out of your Comfort Zone.

I’m on a Sunday hike with Florian and his son Alvaro. We’re on our way toward the restaurant for lunch, when we find the river is overflowing and the foot bridge is under fast flowing water…  What do we do?

Are you waiting for permission? For the important things in life, there is nobody who can give you the permission that you need.

There comes a moment when you must commit even though you lack clarity.

“If you knew how to achieve it and could guarantee success: it is a task, not a dream” Alden Mills

Useful Links:

Jim Rohn had a wonderful saying: “Success is a few good habits repeated every day, Failure is a few bad decisions repeated every day”

If you are reading this via email, the video is here Success is a Few Good Habits Repeated Every Day

An apple a day keeps the doctor away. This is old wisdom but relates to success in our lives. What are your apples? Your daily positive habits? Let me know in the comments below 😉

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University of Pennsylvania psychologist Martin Seligman categorised hundreds of people into three groups based on how they pursued happiness:

  1. The Pleasant Life: People in pursuit of the Pleasant Life seek happiness by looking for pleasure. They are good at savouring the moment and making their pleasures last.
  2. The Engaged Life: People in pursuit of the Engaged Life seek happiness by working hard at their passions. They can immerse themselves so deeply in their passion that they sometimes come across as cold and uncaring of the needs of others.
  3. The Meaningful Life: People in pursuit of the Meaningful Life use their strengths to work toward something they feel contributes to a better world.

Warning for those who seek Pleasure

Seligman found that people who pursued the Pleasant Life experienced little happiness, while those who pursued the Meaningful Life and the Engaged Life were very happy.

Raul Aguirre recently reminded me of the ideas of Dr John DeMartini on the Pleasant Life path:  “We attract into our lives the opposites of what we seek”.  To seek to avoid pain, is to invite pain in.  To seek to avoid problems, is to invite problems in.

Which Path are you on?

Update: Raul has provided more detail of the life paths

Lawrence Kolhberg worked on levels of morality: he defined three stages of moral development. At LV*, we operate al Level 1 (the most primitive, seeking reward and avoiding punishment).

*LV is “Lower Values”, a Dr John DeMartini term for a life that is not dedicated to your personal HV – highest values.  When our life is coherent with our purpose and Highest Value (we don’t have to do much work to find it, just pay attention to where things flow easily for us) then all of our activity moves to a more inspired level of consciousness.

 Level 1 (Pre-Conventional)

  • 1. Obedience and punishment orientation (How can I avoid punishment?)
  • 2. Self-interest orientation (What’s in it for me?) (Paying for a benefit)

Level 2 (Conventional)

  • 3. Interpersonal accord and conformity (Social norms) (The good boy/girl attitude)
  • 4. Authority and social-order maintaining orientation (Law and order morality)

Level 3 (Post-Conventional)

  • 5. Social contract orientation (Laws that do not promote the general welfare should be changed when necessary to meet “the greatest good for the greatest number of people.”)
  • 6. Universal ethical principles (Principled conscience) (Laws are valid only insofar as they are grounded in justice, and a commitment to justice carries with it an obligation to disobey unjust laws.)

Six Human Needs according to Tony Robbins

 PERSONALITY NEEDS

  • Certainty / Comfort
  • Uncertainty / Variety
  • Significance
  • Love & Connection

SPIRIT NEEDS

  • Growth
  • Contribution

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In a 1954 speech to the Second Assembly of the World Council of Churches, former U.S. President Eisenhower said: “I have two kinds of problems: the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent.”

jp-kantorRobert Glazer shared this simple but powerful life management tool on his blog today – Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Urgent/Important matrix.

The image to the right shows a 2×2 matrix using the two axis of Important and Urgent.  This gives us 4 types of task:

  1. Urgent & Important
  2. Urgent & Not Important
  3. Important & Not Urgent
  4. Not Urgent & Not Important

In an un-disciplined person, category 2 tends to be completed before category 3.  In a disciplined person, category 3 is completed before touching category 2.

Success is rarely Urgent

Jim Rohn gives one of the most powerful definitions of success:

“Failure is a few bad decisions repeated every day.  Success is a few simple good habits practiced every day” Jim Rohn

There is a saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”.  Health success is an apple a day.  Failure is a donut instead of an apple each day.  You can say “what difference does 1 donut make?”  You won’t notice the damage today, you won’t notice tomorrow… but over a year: a donut a day starts to extract a price.

The urgent is often the result of avoiding the important.

By the time the painkillers are needed, it is too late for the vitamins.

Vitamins are important.

Practice Saying “No”

If you wish to spend more of your life on the important things, and less on the urgent things, there is a tool…

Warren Buffett’s definition of integrity: “you say No to most things”.  If you are not saying No to most things, you are dividing your life up into millions of little pieces that are being given to other people’s priorities.

Learn to say “No”…

…without the word “no”.

The most powerful ways to say “no” do not involve the actual word “no”.

  • Here is one powerful way: Strategic Unavailability.
  • Another is to raise the cost of your “Yes”: If someone wants to meet for coffee, I say “yeah sure, I am free on Friday at 7am at my office in Sabadell [25 mlles away]”. If the person still wants to meet then it must be important.  90% end up not following up.  The few that do, will come prepared and have done their research.  They know what they want from me.  They know whether it is worth their time.

Celebrities and Politicians have entire staffs dedicated to restricting access.  Bono, the singer of U2, has 25 people who review requests for his time, his money, his attention in order to allow only the important requests to reach Bono himself.  Barrack Obama has a whole White House staff whose mission is to ensure that he only spends time and energy on important things, that only he can deal with.

If you don’t start developing methods of saying “no” now, it will only get harder as you become wealthier, wiser, more famous, more experienced and more resourceful.

What urgent task will you say “No” to today?

Some other great posts on Robert Glazer’s blog Friday Forward: