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Pl ay to w in and b e c ome a champion in l i fe
The Game of You r L i f e
Pl ay to w in and b e c ome a champion in l i fe
rex S. GibSon
Copyright © 2010 by Dr. rex S. Gibson
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner. For information on distribution rights, royalties, derivative works or licensing opportunities on behalf of this content or work, please contact the Publisher at the address below or via email info@ nolimitpublishinggroup.com. COMPANIES, ORGANIZATIONS, INSTITUTIONS, AND INDUSTRY PUBLICATIONS: Quantity discounts are available on bulk purchases of this book for reselling, educational purposes, subscription incentives, gifts, sponsorship, or fundraising. Special books or book excerpts can also be created to fit specific needs such as private labeling with your logo on the cover and a message from a VIP printed inside. No Limit Publishing Group 123 E Baseline Road, D-108 Tempe AZ 85283 email@example.com This book was printed in the United States of America No Limit Publishing No Limit Enterprises, LLC 1601 E 69th Street, Suite 200 Sioux Falls, SD 57108
The Game of Your Life
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Dedication foreword introduction 1st Half of the Game: Why We Fail at the Game of Life Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 fear: Why We Choke in the big Game Problems: Game Stoppers Living in the Past: The Games We Lost, but Can’t Seem to Let Go of Justification: no matter What the excuse, You Still Lost the Game bad Data: Playing Tennis with a baseball bat The head Game: The Loudest heckler 2nd Half of the Game: How to Win the Big Game Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12 Chapter 13 Chapter 14 Chapter 15 The Game of Life: first read the instructions The best Game Plan: everyone Wins Purpose: Your Secret Weapon for Success reality: Play Your Game and Play to Win Luck: Create it, Don’t rely on it ethics: Guaranteed Personal Victory Confidence and Courage: Your Two Greatest Teammates Goals and Targets: first Down, Touchdown, and Victory Time: Creating more Time on the Game Clock 55 63 67 71 75 85 89 103 121 17 21 33 37 41 47 7 9 13
Overtime: The Score is Tied: Score the Game Winning Goal Chapter 16 Chapter 17 finances: The energy to Create new Games business: building Your fan base for Success 135 145
rex S. Gibson Chapter 18 Chapter 19 Chapter 20 Spirituality: The Game that Sets You free relationships: You’re the Captain, Pick the right Team Gratitude: embrace Your opponents Bonus Section Create Your Game and map out Your Plan for Success Conclusion 191 211 163 175 185
The Game of Your Life
This book is dedicated to all “Players” of The Game. first and foremost, i would like to thank my beautiful wife emily, for without her help, i would never be the success that i am today. She has been an inspiration as well as an incredible teammate. She has played every position a player could…from bat boy, to player, to coach and confidant. as the saying goes, behind every successful man, there is a great woman. Thanks honey…i LoVe You! next, i want to thank my children for giving me inspiration, keeping me grounded, and helping to remind me that life iS a game and to always keep my childlike perspective of life. it is through their eyes that the game should be played. i also want to leave this book to them to help remind them as they grow to not lose their own “kid vision” as so many adults do. may you always play and prosper through games my loves! This whole book would not be possible without my parents. They gave me life and raised me with ethics and morals. They impressed upon me what can be achieved through good ‘ol fashioned hard work and never wavered from a “you can do anything” attitude. i draw strength from each of their lives and find inspiration in their marriage. i love you mom and Dad! i want to say “Thank you” to all the coaches i’ve had throughout my life; from my peewee baseball coach, to golf coaches, to inspirational life coaches. no elite athlete gets to the top without the unsung heroism of great coaches. So i raise my glass to aLL coaches and say, ThanK You!
rex S. Gibson finally, i want to dedicate this book to all the readers. it is You i wrote the book for. it is You who may be my next teammate in a business venture or helping me coach my son’s baseball team. i trust you will find inspiration and motivation to create your life how You see it. i know you have the strength to achieve all that you set out to do…and you now have the keys to unlock your potential. i postulate that you will flourish and prosper in abundance through games and rocket to the top, standing on the top podium receiving the gold medal in “The Game of Your Life”!
The Game of Your Life
Somewhere there is an ultimate Creator. one absolute source from which everything and everyone is created. everything that is comes from this Creator. it holds the stars in place and gives the moon its light. it is powerful enough to give the sun its intense energy and delicate enough to construct a rose in absolute stillness. This creative source contains all energy that ever was or will be, it is neither created or destroyed, it is the cause and effect of itself. it not only has no end, but also no beginning - it Just is. There is no end to what this Creator can do. for no other reason than for time’s sake, i will refer to this Creator as “Grace” from this point on. one day Grace decided to create a place to play (as rex will tell you). now, where would the Grand organizing Designer of the universe to go play? a Playground, of course! but Grace first had to carefully select and create this playground. it needed plenty of equipment so Grace happily began to construct the entire thing. When all said and done, the playground had slippery slides, giant swings, epic sandboxes, and a merry-go-round that would blow your mind! it had every single aspect in order to have a blast and play with no worries...one problem, Grace needed some playmates! if you are all alone on this epic playground you eventually become exhausted from 9
rex S. Gibson running alongside the merry-go-round before bravely hopping on to watch the clouds spin above your head! Grace had so many things to do in the playground and infinite games to play. So one day, after a long nap, Grace took each game it wanted to play, one by one and carefully thought about how to play. one by one, Grace made the rules for each game. after completing the game, Grace picked out a certain skills the players of the game needed and with absolute certainty, made the PerfeCT playmate to play the game with. The combination could not be more perfect. Grace picked the game and the playmate in such a way that they could both have fun every day, constantly improve and above all - be happy! how is this relevant? The perfect playmate is you. The perfect game is your life and the playground is this entire planet. The purpose is to have fun while playing with your playmates (especially the one who created you). The point of me telling you this story is to prove the point that rex states many times throughout this book. his entire philosophy is based on one basic premise: Life is a Game! he teaches you how to take even the most stressful, serious, and discouraging events in your life and how to transform those negative experiences into an event that empowers you to become better, to transform yourself and to enjoy everything!
The Game of Your Life if there is anyone who is qualified to teach this philosophy, it is Dr. rex S. Gibson. he has one of the most successful pediatric dentistry clinics in the united States (as well as many other successful entrepreneurial ventures), his income level is in the top 1% of the population and he has a wonderful family life in which everyone is healthy and happy. The most important and amazing thing about all of this is how he literally enjoys every single day. Sure he has days that are extremely challenging and frankly where others may give up, but he takes on seemingly impossible challenges, turns them into “games” (he’ll explain that later in the book) and comes out on top a better businessman and a better person. You see, the best measure of one’s character is not how they behave when success is present, but rather how they act when things get tough. rex’s character is consistent and true in all circumstances and his results prove it. i have read hundreds of personal development books; seemingly everything from anthony robbins to Zig Ziglar and while they have all helped me in some way, Dr. Gibson’s book that you are about to embark on has had one of the greatest impacts upon my personal and business life to date. i thank rex and i congratulate you as you begin this new “Game” of your Life!
In-Joy Every Page! Jeremy D Brown Author of several books including: No Limit Living: How to Think Big, Act Bold and Live With Purpose International Speaker, Author and Entrepreneur President and Founder - No Limit Publishing
The Game of Your Life
When you are a kid, life is full of fun and of games. it doesn’t matter what the game is. it could be red rover, dodge ball, checkers or baseball. They simply enjoy the game. Children are not burdened by real world problems like taxes, mortgages, car payments, jobs, marriages, and money. Children go to school and look forward to their future. remember saying, “i can’t wait to be an adult”? as we grow up, society forces us to get serious about life. They want us to believe that it’s no longer fun and games. it is ingrained in us that we need to fear the consequences of life and act with caution. Society sucked the fun out of life. it stole the childlike dreams we had as kids. Slowly you begin to believe that life really isn’t fun. all the fun and games are gone. The reality, of course, is that the world didn’t change— you did. The only distinction between the games that kids play and the games that adults play is the considerations of the players. Life is full of games, but when the game stops being fun, we lose interest and don’t want to play anymore. This book was written to help you understand how life iS a game, WhY it is sometimes difficult, and hoW you can recapture your youthful outlook on life to stack the deck in your favor so you can win the game of life! i grew up playing and competing in all types of sports. as i grew up and decided on a career, i knew i wanted to work with people and help the people i was working with. as i progressed through my training as a dentist, i found myself able to relate well with children and they 13
rex S. Gibson related well with me. it seemed that we operated on a similar frequency. Kids love games and i considered myself to be a big kid. it was as if my career found me. as i started my career, i used and applied techniques from motivational speakers i had read or heard and coaches in my past to create and grow my practice. as i grew as a person, i began to reflect on life. Drawing inspiration from the little people i help every day, i began to assimilate a theory of life, an amalgam (dental humor) of universal principles which prove that kids have it right. Life is a game and it should be played like a game, with unbridled enthusiasm and an over the ramparts zeal for life. This book will help you lay out the rules of the game, understand and avoid the obstacles to success, and cultivate the skills necessary to keep your eye on the ball to hit that home run, every time. by the end of this book you will recapture the thrill of victory as you come across the finish line first, relive the roar of the crowd as you catch the winning touchdown pass, and revive the passion which helps every olympian to greatness. See you in the winner’s circle! now…let the game begin!
1ST HALF OF THE GAME: WHY WE FAIL AT THE GAME OF LIFE
The Game of Your Life
CHAPTER 1 FEAR: WHY WE CHOKE IN THE BIG GAME
“Each time we face our fear, we gain strength, courage, and confidence in the doing.” – Author Unknown
fear is a sensation we feel when we are in danger. fear can be boiled down to its simplest element: the threat of loss. fear, or threat of loss, can be further broken down into a gradient scale. at the low end of the scale, it reaches from no fear (not afraid to lose anything), to mildmoderate fear (could lose something valuable, but not too valuable), all the way to ultimate fear (fear of loss of life). any time a person feels fear, he or she feels threatened in some way. Think about fear in terms of “fight or flight.” imagine a quarterback, well protected by his lineman, taking his time to find an open receiver, delivering the pass and scoring yet another touchdown. no pressure made for a great outcome. now imagine the quarterback whose lineman can’t seem to hold back the defense. he is under pressure every play. he has to scramble out of the pocket on every play and 17
rex S. Gibson takes the relentless abuse of sack after sack. now obviously, we are not discussing life and death, but when you see an angry, 6’4”, 350 pound man barreling toward you with the intention of mashing you into the ground, you may feel that your life could be in danger. in the first example, there is no threat. You are comfortable. The second example creates a different feeling. Your sense of awareness would shoot to another level. You would likely be making plans to protect yourself to prevent injury or worse. You would be much more attuned to the situation.
“FEAR is an acronym in the English language for ‘False Evidence Appearing Real.’” – Neal Donald Walsch
The strongest urge people have is survival, and fear is based in this need to survive. Survival is your most fundamental need, and every decision you make is based somehow on your need to survive. furthermore, all decisions that affect you personally can also affect everyone you come in contact with. for example, when you decide to cross the street, you collect the information, process it, and decide on the best way to cross without endangering yourself or anyone in the area. When you make that good decision, it means that your kids still have a father to come home to them, the office still has a valuable worker, society still has an upstanding part of the community. even though it seems like a simple example, it proves my point that every choice is based on making pro-survival decisions, and that all decisions affect all aspects of your life and beyond.
The Game of Your Life if at any time in your daily interactions with people you feel that this need for survival is threatened, you instantly feel fear. if you truly dissect the things in your life which bring you fear, then you will see that the root of that fear is the tension between your desire to survive and the threat that you will lose the means to ensure your survival.
“Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves—regret for the past and fear of the future.” – Fulton Oursler
but where does fear come from and why do we experience it? The answer lies in failed success. We all want to succeed and success comes from being riGhT. The more often you are right, the more success potential you possess. To the degree that a person experiences failure, that person’s success potential is lessened. it is simple…if a person’s ability to succeed is threatened, the individual feels fear. We will discuss in later chapters how to overcome fear, but for now, knowledge is power. Knowledge sheds light on once unknown subjects. With this small light, we take our first step to conquering the game of life.
The Game of Your Life
CHAPTER 2 PROBLEMS: GAME STOPPERS
“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” – Albert Einstein
our daily life is a tapestry of barriers; if we choose not to find solutions to these barriers, chances are we will never succeed. When we are faced with a barrier, we view it as a problem that hinders our path to achieving a certain goal. a problem can be defined as a situation that has the ability to paralyze a person and stops their ability to continue or move forward. all problems can be looked at instead as situations. here, i use the word “situation” because situations tend to have resolutions while problems do not. Problems tend to linger with no resolution in sight, while situations are merely a set of circumstances which require a resolution. Whether your circumstances are a problem or a situation depends entirely on you. most people continue to focus on the problem rather than focusing on finding a resolution to the situation and preventing similar situations from happening in the future. if carefully analyzed, you can usually see that a majority of problems stem from confusion and/or incorrect information. if you do not have the correct information 21
rex S. Gibson or the information is mixed up, chances are you will find yourself stuck with a problem because it is difficult to fix a situation that is confusing or laden with bad information.
“Don’t be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams.” – Unknown
for instance, once i was lost in Chicago and needed to get to the Comiskey Park. i was in a part of town that i was unfamiliar with and decided that i needed to get directions, so i asked a random stranger. The guy gave me directions which lead me 40 blocks in the wrong direction. This created quite a problem because i was disoriented, confused, and becoming stressed. even though i did exactly what the stranger told me to do, i was given incorrect information which resulted in an even worse situation. another common example that occurs in everyday life is when a friend or family member gets into an argument and tells you his or her side of the story. in recalling the incident, he or she may fail to provide certain details, or even alter the incident to cast themselves in a more favorable light. Due to the missing or altered information, you may come to an incorrect conclusion. You might even create more conflicts, and take actions based on altered information. in this case, you didn’t get any wrong information; you just didn’t get all of it, which creates another problem. it is equivalent to having to solve a mathematical equation that never seems to come together correctly because you are missing a key component. Like in the Star Trek movie when Spock comes back from the future and talks to Scottie, who has been struggling with an equation he couldn’t seem to solve. Spock reveals a missing piece to 22
The Game of Your Life the formula and Scottie is able to see the solution…problem solved. in real life, it is sometimes difficult to look objectively at a situation to find those missing links. We need to take off our rose colored glasses, obtain all the correct information, eliminate confusions, and seek the truth. in the truth lies the solution to all problems.
Responsibility = Problem Control
from a person’s own point of view, a problem that lingers too long is considered something that is wrong. People even say that when they are perplexed with a problem. They say “Something is wrong!” it is a wrongness. These can breed into arguments and conflicts. Let’s see how. anyone can take credit for a job well done, but when it comes to a problem, there are few who are willing to raise their hand and accept the punishment. it is a basic human desire to be right. Subconsciously, we believe the more we are correct, the greater our success potential. When problems arise, we do one of two things: find a solution and move on with life or point the blame in a direction away from ourselves. if we do the latter, we tend to place that blame in one of two categories: things and other people. blaming an inanimate object for your problems sounds crazy, but people do it every day. it is comical to observe a fully grown adult kick a car because it has a flat tire, or watch a person yell at a lawn mower because it stopped running. although such things occur every day, this is truly the stuff that insanity is made of. our other favorite target, of course, is other people. Since it is a basic human trait to believe that we are right, then they (whomever you have elected) must be wrong. in this fashion, we allow ourselves to save face and retain our self-confidence. 23
rex S. Gibson The real key to controlling or reducing problems is responsibility. (This is a truly deep subject and you may need to reread this section a few times to absorb the entire concept.) The more responsibility you assume for everything around you, the more control or influence you will have over it. You cannot control anything over which you assume no responsibility. have you ever seen the commercials on TV for the starving children in third world countries? i’m not suggesting whether should send money or not. i am merely pointing out that these commercials are a good example because they ask you to take responsibility for the kids, and by taking responsibility and donating money, you can help feed those children.
“The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem.” – Theodore Rubin
now let’s take this concept to the next level. if personal responsibility must be taken in order to exert control and influence over a particular situation, then it stands to reason that in order to exert control overt conflict or problems, one must assume responsibility for them as well. This is to say that you must assume full responsibility for causing the entire situation, both what you did to create it and any reaction from others who are in the situation with you. a great example of this is when a customer gets really heated up at a store clerk. if the clerk enters into the conflict, then the match is ignited, and a fight begins, but if the clerk simply states, “i can see why you feel that way, and i can help you with this situation,” the argument is over. by accepting responsibility, the clerk is able to be in control of the problem. 24
The Game of Your Life at this point, some of you might be thinking, “hey rex, are you saying that it is best to cow down, roll over, and give up?” Let me be clear: i am not suggesting that you admit you are wrong just to keep the peace. i am suggesting that you simply realize that you have a part in any conflict or problem. if you were mugged in an alley, the reality is that you chose to walk instead of taking a cab. if someone is mad at you because of a joke you made, you decided to tell the joke. if you run out of gas, you were the one who passed three gas stations and chose not to fill up when you had the chance. it is not easy to look at ourselves and examine our role in the conflicts of our lives, and it takes real courage to accept responsibility for causing the situations that give us trouble. it is easy to lay the responsibility on someone else’s shoulders, but doing so is for the weak and uncreative. i suggest you look at the situation from the other person’s perspective. analyze the situation and ask, “What did i do to make this happen?” and “What can i do to correct it?” Look for possible misunderstandings— maybe you didn’t explain something well. The more you start to take responsibly for the reactions you receive, the fewer problems you will have with other people. remember, you cannot have control or influence over anything unless you assume responsibility for it. if you sit back and watch the scene as it unfolds, you will see the truth. remember: problems come from confusion and faulty information. a customer becomes upset either due to confusion or to having received bad information. it is your job at this point to unravel the situation either by finding and correcting the wrong information, or by finding the misunderstanding and helping the customer to comprehend.
rex S. Gibson here is a helpful hint about what to look for: 1. Who or what was the source of information? Good information must come from reliable and unbiased sources that offer complete and unaltered data. (examples of unreliable sources: “my next door neighbor said”…”i saw it on the internet”…”my grandpa used to say.”) 2. Do you understand what is being said or what is written? There is an old phrase- if you don’t know the words, you cannot sing the tune. The same is true of our language. if you do not understand the words correctly, you cannot understand correctly what is being said or written. how upsetting it is to try to speak or understand a person who is using a foreign language that you do not know. especially if they seem to be trying to communicate something important. We need to also consider that we may not know all of the 20,000+ words in our own language, and that perhaps we are hearing the words but do not have the right meaning. once the source of the confusion is found and corrected, the upset individual can comprehend the situation. once understanding is reached, you will see him or her come up in emotion and attitude. understanding comes from being able to duplicate or replicate something exactly. This is why it is so important to make sure that the data comes from reliable sources and that there are not any misunderstanding with the words that were used. imagine putting together a Christmas present for your child. You pull all 258 parts out of the box, open the instructions, and find that they are written in Chinese. That is likely going to cause you confusion, frustration, and difficulty when it comes 26
The Game of Your Life to assembling the toy. This same principle can be applied to other people in different situations. unfortunately, people do not come with instructions or a nice step-by-step guide; therefore, it is important that you take responsibility, and use your skills of observation to duplicate and obtain understanding. Just like the upset customer or the “some assembly required” toy, the better you can duplicate a situation, the more control and influence you have over a situation.
Key Components of a Problem Solver
1. Be willing to analyze a situation objectively. a person who keenly discerns where the problem lies and what piece of information is needed to solve it will be more likely to come up with a reasonable solution. after the missing link is found, you need to correct the existing information and take steps towards overcoming obstacles that exist between you and the solution. all top athletes and teams look for ways to improve, and the best of the best analyze without emotion. They simply find the key to better performance and implement it. finding the missing piece of information is not enough if nothing is done with it. 2. Do not have excessive pride of authorship. We love to be right, but people who have excessive pride of authorship can’t look at their work critically because they are too emotionally invested in their own creations. They cannot look at their own work with fresh eyes, and thus cannot find where there may be errors. Don’t allow yourself to have excessive pride of authorship if you want to solve problems. no man is an island, and no one has all the answers, so you need to open yourself up to constructive criticism in your personal and professional life. even Tiger Woods, arguably the best golfer in history, has a coach. once you realize that 27
rex S. Gibson you can learn from others’ advice and experiences, you will find yourself opening up to solutions in places you never realized were options. 3. Understand that answers come from an unlimited stream of venues. The answer to questions can come from any number of places, so you cannot close your eyes to any potential venue. The answer may be in the least likely place. Where did aspirin come from? answer: The bark of a tree. This is an unlikely place to find a pain reliever, but it proves that answers can come from anywhere. be willing to find truth wherever it may live! The winning answer can come from anywhere. 4. Always be open to the answers. i love the saying, “Don’t ask the question if you don’t want to hear the answer.” in order to find answers, you need to possess a passion to look for a solution even if it comes from an unlikely source. You also must be willing to accept that answer. The foolish man looks past truth in search for a better truth. What i mean is don’t just look for convenient truths—find real truth. again, top athletes who remain at the top for years find ways to recreate their greatness. andre agassi changed his coach and his workout and as a result saw a resurgence to the top of the standings when many thought he was “over the hill.” as they say, the truth is not always pretty, but only when you find and use real truth can you be a true problem solver. 5. No excuses: get the job done. Successful problem solvers don’t offer excuses. no one really cares why you didn’t complete a task on schedule, or what your excuse is for making a mistake. Powerful people just do what they have to do, correct any bad products, and apologize for wronging someone. This is what separates average athletes from the elite. elite athletes simply get the job done. no one wants excuses, and whenever you offer an excuse, it takes the power out of your apology. 28
The Game of Your Life 6. Accept responsibility. The person who accepts responsibility for a problem will get it solved. i am not referring to personal responsibility, but rather full responsibility for the situation. become the parent of that problem and be willing to stick with the problem until it is fully resolved. Sometimes those problems go away quickly and sometimes they take longer, but the key is responsibility. for example, consultants come in, take responsibility, and fix a broken business. They take it on, analyze it, fix it, and then give it back. my wife was an auditor for years, and she would go in, find the problems, find the outpoints, and then provide solutions. She single handedly took a $25 million company out of bankruptcy in one year because of the amount of responsibility she was willing to take on. She literally took that company’s game from a losing season to the Super bowl. That is what great coaches do. They take full responsibility for their team and “make the win.” 7. Be decisive: don’t waste time. Problem solvers view time as a precious commodity and don’t feel the need to take a vote on every topic or issue. Some problems may require gathering information to make a decision. Good problem solvers collect data, analyze the information, make a decision, and take responsibility for that decision. in baseball, you may only get three pitches. You cannot just wait around for another. You may not get another chance. be decisive. if you are wishy-washy, you will tend to blame someone else and not take responsibility. 8. Be willing to fail. all great leaders and successful people have failed at some point in their lives. if you are not willing to fail, you will never succeed because you will never put yourself in a position to succeed. michael Jordan was the top basketball scorer in history, 29
rex S. Gibson but how many baskets did he miss? babe ruth holds the record for home runs, but he also ranks 94th in career strike outs! if you want to be great you have to try, and with trying comes occasional failure. With every failure comes a little lesson that you can learn from the next time. You must be willing to fail so you can see these lessons. There are very few things in life that can’t be recouped or fixed. making a bad decision is like taking a wrong turn: just back up and get on the right path.
“Every great man, every successful man, no matter what the field of endeavor, has known the magic that lies in these words: every adversity has the seed of an equivalent or greater benefit.” – W. Clement Stone Why do people give up when they have problems?
People give up when they become overwhelmed. The confusion of the situation becomes too great for them to handle and they simply shut down to attempt to protect themselves. When you are not armed with defenses, you become an easy victim, and are easily overwhelmed in one fell swoop, much like when america overwhelmed Japan in WWii with the atom bomb, but overwhelming a victim can be a slow and insidious process. over time, each attack weakens the victim and leads ultimately to a total overthrow. This is exemplified by a boxing champion. The champ seems unfazed early on in his career, but later; multiple blows to the head and body accumulate, leaving the champ vulnerable to losing his title.
The Game of Your Life
“The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny.” – Albert Ellis
Problems can overwhelm people just like any other force. They can come in a large, devastating form like the crash of the stock market, the loss of a loved one, or a natural disaster. They can also accumulate over time, like president Clinton’s multiple affairs, evading taxes over the years, or excessive drinking. either way, problems eventually weigh down your attitude and slow your performance. here are some simple steps to follow when you start feeling overwhelmed 1. Reduce confusion. research and find accurate information that allows you to create a workable plan to solve a problem. also, clear up anything that you don’t understand about a situation. With these two things accomplished, you have a platform from which to launch a program to solve any situations that you may be facing. 2. Shed the weight and clean up the clutter. as we said before, small problems can accumulate and eventually become large problems. assess your situation, and solve any small problems that confront you. handle each one in a prioritized manner from most urgent to least. be decisive and act with confidence.
rex S. Gibson 3. Do not allow further accumulation of clutter. Simply handle obstacles and barriers as they come up. Do not procrastinate. Keep your runway clear for takeoff, because if you need to scramble the jets, you don’t want to waste time cleaning junk off the tarmac. 4. Win. unfortunately, there are winners and losers in life. Losers are overwhelmed; winners overcome barriers and obstacles to eventual victory. This is not to say that you will win every battle; just don’t lose because you gave up. never go out without a fight. Go down in flames of glory.
Even though we don’t want problems, we must have them to survive.
one final note on problems: problems are part of the game of life. What i mean is, if you got rid of all of your problems, you would not have a game left to play. Games are made up of rules, obstacles, and goals. The problems of life are our obstacles. We neeD ProbLemS!!! They are puzzles for us to figure out, so have fun with them. Play with your problems like a cat plays with a ball of yarn. The point of this chapter is not to get rid of all your problems; it is to help you deal with them effectively so they do not create obstacles in your life.
The Game of Your Life
CHAPTER 3 LIVING IN THE PAST: THE GAME WE LOST, BUT CAN’T SEEM TO LET GO OF
reliving past failures is the biggest mistake humans make. We continue to judge ourselves based on what happened in the past. We tie these past failures—this garbage—to ourselves and drag it around like a ball and chain, and then when we are called upon to make a decision, instead of looking at the relevant data of the current situation, we look at our ball and chain for the answer. it is this method of decision making that holds people back. now, i’m willing to bet that each one of you is saying, “i don’t do that!” That, too, is garbage. We all do it. i’m not saying this to berate you—i am just stating facts. every athlete, whether playing pee-wee baseball, high school basketball, college football, or professional golf, has encountered this. it can make or break that athlete. What golfer hasn’t stood over a two foot putt, a gimme by any means, and had something in the back of his head say “don’t miss that…you’re going to miss that….miss it”? it is like hearing the guy in the stands saying, “hey batter, batter, batter…swing batter,” and you swing at a horrible pitch. Great athletes find a way to break through, drop the garbage off at the curb, and move on to victory lane. 33
rex S. Gibson in The New Earth by eckhart Tolle, the author explains that we have an ego, which is you, the pure you, your spirit. We also possess what he calls a “pain body.” L. ron hubbard also describes these two concepts in his book Dianetics: modern Science of mental health as the analytical mind and the reactive mind. others have described it as “the devil on one shoulder and the angel on the other.” it doesn’t really matter what you call it, the result is the same. When we hurt ourselves physically (like breaking a leg) or mentally (like failing at something), it leaves a scar, whether physical or mental. Knowing that we like being right and do not like being hurt, we simply lump all painful experiences into the same category and avoid them. When we draw on these past painful experiences we make bad decisions that prevent us from expanding into new horizons and trying new endeavors. it is a safety mechanism used to protect us from our past bad decisions by keeping history from repeating itself. it is animalistic…it is designed for self preservation. The problem is that it can lead to irrational behavior or poor decision making. avoiding making the same mistakes repeatedly is a useful tool. i believe einstein said, “The definition of stupidity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” i do not want you to repeat the poor decisions of your past, but i don’t want the past to keep you from reaching for higher aspirations. This protective mechanism is like the low oil indicator light on the dash of your car. The difference is that the human “low oil light” turns on even when the oil isn’t low: it could turn on when it is close to low, or if it thinks it might get low. The difference is that the car is using real data, and your indicator is using emotional data. 34
The Game of Your Life People, because we like to be right, try to make good decisions based on good information. The best decisions come from taking the most current data and formulating the most pro-survival answer for yourself and others around you, but unfortunately, your protective mechanism doesn’t do that. Let’s take, for example, the housing boom of the early 2000s. many people bought, built, and sold multiple houses while the prices of houses were increasing by double digits each year. That was a good decision based on good data. Then came the housing crash of 2006-2007. The downturn in the housing market came quickly and caught many people off guard. it created grave financial troubles for our entire economy. now, if you were one of those caught off guard, the protective mechanism of the ball and chain would tell you, “You made a big mistake. You are stupid. You should never invest in real estate again.” if you were to analyze the situation, however, you would find that the decisions you made about real estate investment were sound, and made with the best and most current information you had available. never investing in real estate after the housing market crash of 2006-2007 is like saying you will never walk near an orange tree because one time many years ago you walked by one and an orange dropped on your head, or that you should never eat food from a restaurant because one time it made you sick. reliving old failures fogs up your perception of the wonderful possibilities in the present moment. Say, for example, a top downhill skier has an terrible crash in the Super-G, resulting in knee joint blowouts, a fractured pelvis, a dislocated left shoulder and three broken ribs. after the body heals, the racer is left with the memory of the crash, the pain of the injuries and the agony of the recovery. it would be understandable for the racer to simply retire. his instinct says that if he were to race again, he would get hurt again. he may even go to 35
rex S. Gibson the extent of never getting on skis again. The event may have left him with such a mental scar that fear now pervades his every thought about skiing. any analytically thinking person would know that one accident does not mean you will have more, but it is the power of reliving past failures that gives the previous incident control over you. You use all your past information to help you cope with the present moment because you want to stay safe, but the real effect is that this action creates obstacles in your life.
“Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live.” – Dorothy Thompson
The Game of Your Life
CHAPTER 4 JUSTIFICATION: NO MATTER WHAT THE EXCUSE, YOU STILL LOST THE GAME
Why did you fail? Just ask and people will give all sorts of reasons. many of these reasons point to people and factors other than the person answering the question. These are called justifications. Justifications explain away failures and mistakes. no one likes to be wrong, and people will go to great lengths to make themselves right despite any actual failure or wrongness. They will give all manner of reasons why something did not get accomplished, and they will blame someone else for their failure, or better yet, they will blame an animal or an inanimate object for the failure. People spend an absurd amount of time and energy giving wimpy, Why i didn’t do this, or Why i didn’t finish that speeches. excuses and justifications are protective coping mechanisms used to convince ourselves that we are right and there must have been some outside force that kept us from reaching our goals. in reality, nothing could be farther from the truth. The truth is that you could have finished the task, but you allowed some other element to deter you from your goal. 37
rex S. Gibson Just like any other form of brainwashing, if you hear something enough, you will begin to believe it. individuals tell themselves and possibly other people why they failed, and as they do this, the lies gain momentum and power. finally, after hearing these false truths enough times, they begin to feel okay about not accomplishing their goals. in the end, not only do the individuals feel okay about the failure, but they may even create other justifications as to why they shouldn’t attempt that task again later. Justification, excuses, and blaming others are irresponsible behaviors. The truth is, anything can be accomplished if the correct strategy is taken in combination with some good old fashioned hard work. nothing in life that is worth having is easy to obtain. i want to tell you a story that is very special to me. it is a story from which i have found much inspiration and hold very close to my heart. here is a true success story about a man named richard. i know this man very well, and he told me this story many years ago. it touched me and has helped me during times when i felt i could not muster the chutzpah to drive forward. richard’s father died in WWii when he was a child. his mother remarried an abusive alcoholic who lacked the motivation to keep a steady job and was in and out of jail. When richard was about thirteen years old, his stepfather got out of jail and decided to move the family to California. richard stood his ground and refused to move away from his hometown with an abusive, alcoholic stepfather. a few years later, his mother died in a house fire and his guilt stricken stepfather committed suicide. richard had lost not only his own father, but his mother and stepfather by his fifteenth birthday. 38
The Game of Your Life although this story is sad, i didn’t tell it so you would feel sympathy for richard. i told you this as the beginning of a great success story. With all the drama and trauma that richard endured throughout his childhood, he could have easily blamed others for his circumstances and taken a life path that would have led to crime, alcoholism, and possibly his demise. This is not what happened.
“You can’t hit a home run unless you step up to the plate. You can’t catch a fish unless you put your line in the water. You can’t reach your goals if you don’t try.” – Kathy Seligman
richard worked on oil rigs as a teenager, and eventually put himself through college, had a family, and owned his own company. This is the american dream, but is also a story of hard work and perseverance. i wouldn’t be telling you this story if richard had blamed everyone else for his life circumstances and made excuses about why he never made anything of his life. i tear up every time i tell this story. Whenever i start to feel sorry for myself and want to throw in the towel, i think back to richard and all that he overcame to win the game of life. This man has been pivotal in so much of my life. he has been my motivation and my inspiration—he was even my best man when i got married. When i think that times are tough, i simply remember the story of richard Gibson and say, “Thanks, Dad. You are my hero!” if you know you are sidestepping success by convincing yourself it can’t be done, at some point you are going to have to face the music. You must face yourself and realize that all the excuses you have made about why it 39
rex S. Gibson can’t be done are nothing more than excuses you invented. as the saying goes, no one will take care of your business like you. This holds true for your life. only you are going to make your life a success, and only you can push past the excuses and justifications of your own failures.
“It is easy to dodge our responsibilities, but we cannot dodge the consequences of dodging our responsibilities.” – Josiah Charles Stamp
it takes energy to explain away your failures. if you spent as much energy finding solutions to your circumstances, you will not only create a solution, you will also not have wasted any additional energy with excuses. Stay away from justifications and excuses. it comes down to personal integrity and ethics: take full and personal responsibility for all failures. no one cares about why you didn’t get the job done. Your excuses are only to make yourself feel better about your own failure. make yourself great by succeeding. evaluate the aspects which may have contributed toward the failure, eliminate those aspects, and redirect your energy toward success! You need to change your attitude from “Who can i blame?” to “how do i get this done?” once you do this, you will begin to empower yourself and you will become much more successful. This will make you stronger, faster, and better, but only you can do it. Take charge of your own life. begin to create, take responsibility, and live from your own truth. be a leader among your fellow men and women; donate what you learn so others can win too.
The Game of Your Life
CHAPTER 5 BAD DATA: PLAYING TENNIS WITH A BASEBALL BAT
Opinions Are a Dime a Dozen
There are people who specialize in stopping others from succeeding. i don’t mean that people are literally employed to stop other people from achieving their goals, but it sometimes feels that way. at times, you will undoubtedly be surrounded by naysayers and dream killers. There’s no way to know for certain why some people are like that, but it is often because you make them come face to face with their own failures. naysayers and dream killers are people who have experienced lots of failure in their lives, and because of that, they are bitter and resent people who succeed. instead of working toward success in their own lives, they choose to spend their energy telling others why they can’t or shouldn’t reach for their goals. Let’s say that you have a dream to take an invention to market. naysayers might tell you all the reasons that you should not embark on your endeavor. They will do their best to deter you from your dream. it might be because they had ideas for inventions but never followed through, or because they attempted to follow through and failed. if you were to 41
rex S. Gibson succeed with your invention, it would be like rubbing salt into their wounds. of course, that is not your intention, but that is how it would feel to the naysayers. Some of the greatest inventors faced the greatest ridicule. many of the modern conveniences we have today were ideas that people laughed at. inventions and things of great importance came out of throwing out old ideas and traditions. People used to agree that the earth was flat, and when Christopher Columbus first said it was round everyone said he was crazy! Sometimes the ideas that people hold as fundamental truths are the very ideas that are false and holding people back from success. as long as your goal is set and you are passionate about it, let no one detract you from your mission. Listen to yourself and ask, “What is the right thing to do for me?” Stop listening to people whose only mission is to tell you why you can’t achieve what you desire. There are, of course, times when others have valid input, and these fit into the category of constructive criticism. if they are trying to intercede and help you avoid pitfalls and move you closer to success, then listen and consider what they are saying.
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
finally, whether the person is a naysayer or is offering constructive criticism, evaluate the source of the information. many times we take others’ opinions and make them our own without taking into account the source of that opinion. Poor sources come in the forms of, my 42
The Game of Your Life neighbor said, or the internet said, or my mom always did it this way. You need to learn to analyze the data and not allow bad information or opinions to be your downfall. When a fisherman casts out a net, he will catch fish but he will also bring in all the other junk from the lake. The smart fisherman will sift through the whole bounty, keep the fish, and throw back the junk. The foolish fisherman will keep everything that he drags in, regardless of its worth. Poor decision makers are like foolish fishermen—they cast out a net and bring in all types of random information that may or may not be beneficial in their decision-making process. When you don’t separate the fish from the trash, you end up going hungry because you’re filling your mind with junk. The smart, successful person is the one who takes the time to pick out all the junk, leaving only the good stuff, and making a decision based on the quality information. With all this being said, you should realize that it is going to take practice to interpret information accurately. To avoid making bad decisions based on poor data, ask yourself the following questions: 1. is the source of the opinion a naysayer, or is he or she offering constructive criticism? 2. What is the source of this opinion and how did this person arrive at this opinion? 3. is your situation the same or different from the person’s who is giving the advice? how so? 4. What do you believe to be the Truth? (Decide for yourself !) 43
rex S. Gibson opinions: everyone has them. Surround yourself with people who will offer you constructive criticism that is designed to increase your chances of success. in the end, you are capable of sifting through good and bad data. follow the four steps above and you will be well on your way to becoming a better decision maker.
Intuition: Go With Your Gut Feeling
“This is the nature of genius, to be able to grasp the knowable even when no one else recognizes that it is present.” – Deepak Chopra
What if i do all the exercises you gave me and i STiLL can’t make a decision? not all decisions are made from perfect data. even though it is important to use all data at hand to render the best possible solution, sometimes you are still missing information and the solution doesn’t seem clear. in cases like this, your intuition needs to be your guide. This means having faith in yourself and listening to what you believe is truth, regardless of what direction the data may point. When you are going through the decision-making process and you are sifting through the net to weed out the garbage and gather only the good information, remember to ask yourself how you feel about the information you have gathered. This is extremely important. The best decisions are the ones that combine good data that points to an obvious choice and that gut feeling that says, “You did the right thing.”
“Often you have to rely on intuition.” – Bill Gates
The Game of Your Life What is your heart telling you? What does your gut say? Write down the situation and all of its possible solutions. Through the process of elimination, cross off any solution that does not help get you closer to your goals. if you are left with two or three options at this point, pick one using your intuition. Decision making is not a democracy: good decisions are not based on a majority vote. We need to start learning to use our own minds. Learn to think for yourself—use your thoughts, not someone else’s. use your gut and make a decision for your own life. The best decisions are always decisions that make you feel good. They fill you with a sense of overall peace. You become excited and energized, and you have an overwhelming feeling of boom get her done! You find yourself saying things, taking actions, and getting results instead of continuing with activities and conversations that will not move you closer to your goal.
“When I’ve heard all I need to make a decision, I don’t take a vote. I make a decision.” – Ronald Reagan
The Game of Your Life
CHAPTER 6 THE HEAD GAME: THE LOUDEST HECKLER
at this point in the book, we have discussed surface level whys. Yes, you must use good data to make good decisions, drawing on past painful experiences can mislead you, and fears and problems hold us back. now is it time to discuss the deepest parts of the mind. This chapter will answer many questions, but it might bring about even more. This chapter is about you—and i mean the real you. The spark that animates the body you run around in. authors like eckhart Tolle, rhonda byrne, Don miguel ruiz, L. ron hubbard, and many more have offered answers to the human mind and spirit. These writers were all pointing to the same fact. Some were much more clear and succinct than others. The terminology that i have seen used to define mind and spirit have been ego / Pain body, the id / ego / Super ego, or the devil on one shoulder / angel on the other; every author is alluding to the same thing: there is an unknown, hidden, aberrant part of our mind that can take control of our thoughts and make us do the most irrational things. We will discuss spirituality in later chapters, but for now let us consider that there is a spiritual side to life. Let us consider that there are three parts to a person, a spirit, a mind, and a body. You are not your body or 47
rex S. Gibson your mind, you have a body and you have a mind. if you allow me to point something out to you as you read this, you use the word my in front of referencing your mind and your body. We all do. Why? They are possessions. So what are you? You are the third thing, the spiritual being, which does not mean anything else than you are you. So it is inaccurate to say I have a spirit because you are one. This is one of the greatest simplicities of life that was too simple for the complicated sciences to see. much like the law of gravity. apples always fell and no one noticed that there was a fundamental principle at play called gravity. You are a spiritual being. now do not get confused or feel weird, we all are spiritual beings. again, so many other definitions of the word spirit exists that people are confused by the word. Let’s keep it simple because it is: it is defined as you, the one who is reading and comprehending this book, not your body or your mind.
Your Mind: A Help or a Hinderence?
You have observed, as i have, that your mind can either aid you to think in rational terms and help you move ahead, or it can hinder you with doubt, unwanted emotion, indecision, and the “mental debates” inside your head, that can often be mistaken for healthy thinking or “careful consideration” when they are really laced with fear.. There is a part of your mind that is very powerful, and can override your analytical thought process. it is the part of your mind where all painful experiences are stored. it reminds you of all your mistakes and failures. it is the part of the mind where fear lives. it is that little voice that talks to you and tells you, “You are going to fail. be careful, remember what happened last time you did that.”
The Game of Your Life it is important to understand that we become fearful when we are threatened with loss, and if we made a mistake in our past, that memory tends to replay in the present. Therefore, when a situation closely resembles a previous painful experience, your past losses can override analytical thought and cause you to react in a manner which may not be appropriate or logical for the situation. We have all seen this happen to others. here are a few examples to clarify: 1. You miss the game winning free throw. The team and fans are disappointed. analytically, you have an 85% free throw average, but your confidence in your ability to come through in the clutch is shaken. next time you are in the same situation, you know that you can make the basket, but the past losses kick in and go to work and prevents you from being the hero. 2. You dated a cheerleader and the relationship did not work out. now, six years later, you will not date an ex-cheerleader, because the previous relationship with a cheerleader did not work out, so this won’t either. even though the two cheerleaders are different people, those painful experiences left in your mind identify them as the same and responds the same way to both. 3. You fell and broke your leg while skiing. now you don’t ever want to go skiing again because you don’t want to get hurt. analytically, you realize that you can safely ski down the mountain, but when you attempt to go skiing, you cannot shake the thought of your broken leg.
rex S. Gibson The real question is: how do i know if i am being logical and objective or fearful and controlled by my past losses? There are a few questions you can ask yourself in a fearful moment: 1. What emotion am i feeling right now? if it is fear or anger, you are probably not thinking logically or analytically. 2. am i really in danger? if you are exaggerating the potential consequences, then write down two or three real consequences that could result from this situation. See if there is anything significant that could truly harm you. 3. is the current situation similar to a past failure? if so, how? and how is it different? Dissect the current situation and find out why it is different, why you failed previously, and take corrective actions to avoid the previous result. 4. have courage to act on logic. Do what is rational, logical, and analytical.
Truth Is Differentiation
When you hang on to past losses, you will tend to see very few differences in situations. The present situation will seem so similar to the past situation that you will think you are heading for another mistakes causing yet another loss. “We Can’T haVe ThaT”, says the mind, so it overrides your ability to think rationally and see the differences in the current situation and the past situation which created the loss in the first place. When you maintain the ability to see both the similarities and differences in things, you will discover you can trust your judgment and decisions. 50
The Game of Your Life There is always a way to make something succeed, you just might have to put some energy into finding an alternate route. it takes courage not to react to the part of your mind that is telling you “You can’t,” or “You’re going to fail,” or “be careful, you could get hurt.” at this point you may be asking yourself, “how am i supposed to overcome this dialogue of failure?” The above four questions can help in a pinch, but to really correct the part of your mind that inhibits you and all of its harmful effects, you will need help beyond what i can offer in this book. books like The Secret and a new earth have attempted to shed some light on what we are discussing in this chapter, but in order to truly understand the mind and to ensure that you can trust your mental clarity thus decision making, i highly suggest reading Dianetics: modern Science of mental health by L. ron hubbard. This book offers in-depth insight into the mechanics of the mind and how to eliminate the parts that hold you back from a full and meaningful life.
2ND HALF OF THE GAME: HOW TO WIN THE BIG GAME
The Game of Your Life
CHAPTER 7 THE GAME OF LIFE: FIRST READ THE INSTRUCTIONS
Games are fun: just ask any kid. as a child, everything is a game, from seeing how fast you can run up and down the stairs, to hide and seek, to learning math. as adults, we tend to shorten our scope regarding what we consider a game. We limit a “game” to monopoly, baseball, poker, etc. but what do GameS have to do with Life? The answer: EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING There are a lot of similarities to life and games we have all played. The ruLeS of the game determine the accepted conduct for the game. it creates an understanding for all players as to what is legal and illegal in the game. it is the establishment of what we cannot do and what freedoms the players have in the pursuit of victory. The obSTaCLeS in a game are the things that keep you from winning. it is the proverbial “go to jail card” or the “go back three spaces” spot on the game board. obstacles are anything that gets in your way to a fast and easy victory. finally, what would a game be without GoaLS? how would you know when you have won the game? how would you know when the game is over? and what is the purpose of the game? The goal is the desired 55
rex S. Gibson outcome. The goal is the event that, when reached, concludes the game. The goal is the purpose for playing the game. as we go through the 2nd half of the game, let’s remember that life has rules, obstacles, and goals, therefore, life iS a game! Can you remember someone telling you as a kid, “Life isn’t all fun and games”? Well, as a kid, it was. as we grow into adulthood, our games get more complicated, but nonetheless, they are still games. as adults, instead of buying houses to put on our monopoly property, we buy real houses on real property worth real money. The game hasn’t changed— your perspective on the game did. as adults, the real world can seem so serious: the consequences for our actions are more serious, and it doesn’t allow enough room to have fun. because of this, we revert to our childhood visions of fun: games. many of us look for outlets to play games. We need fun in our lives, so we join a coed softball team or play poker with some buddies on friday night. if you allow yourself, you can make a game out of anything. Look around, life is full of games—just ask any kid. use childlike eyes to recapture the fun of life. Play life like a game. Set goals, play by the rules, overcome obstacles, laugh, win or lose, but for goodness’ sake have fun! Life is no fun without games, so know the rules, overcome the barriers, and win the game of life.
What Are the Rules of Life?
in order to win any game, the rules must be known and followed. Without rules, a game cannot commence, because everyone in the game
The Game of Your Life needs to be playing by the same rules. This keeps the game fair. There also need to be penalties for breaking the rules to keep the game fair and maintain the integrity of the game. every game is slightly different, and you must read the directions to understand the rules thoroughly, but the basics stay the same: don’t cheat, don’t steal, treat others like you would like to be treated, be worthy of trust, do not murder, set a good example, etc. These are the same rules that most rational people use to guide them through the game of life. although these basic rules are a good set of guidelines to follow, life is full of hundreds, if not thousands, of different sub-games. each subgame presents its own unique set of circumstances and challenges. each sub-game can have rules that are subtle or specific. in order to overcome those challenges, you must know the rules. first, you must seek out the rules. Do not assume you know the rules unless you have already played the same game. ask what the rules are. Write them down if you must, but know them and follow them. Please understand, i’m not asking you to follow some of the rules and ignore others. i’m not suggesting that all rules are intelligent, or even based in logic, but they are still the rules. an example is driving 55 mph on two-lane highway. This is an antiquated law, written at a time when fuel was scarce and cars were inefficient and had fewer safety features. That does not change the fact that when the sign says “maximum Speed Limit 55 mph,” it means you should not drive more than 55 mph on that stretch of highway. We will get into ethics in later chapters, but for now suffice it to say that personal ethics and following the rules is the only way to truly win the game of life. 57
rex S. Gibson
now we will discuss the barriers that keep us from reaching our goals. between the beginning of a journey and the final destination, you will need to pass over, around, or through one or more obstacles or barriers. i bring this point up not to be negative, but to enlighten you about the fact that barriers, which can derail your path and lead to failure, loom around every corner. They are just waiting for you to make a mistake or lower your guard. in order to reach your goal, you must remain alert and vigilant, never allowing your attention to be pulled away from your goal. if you see someone who has achieved a high level of success, you are also seeing someone who has overcome many obstacles and adversities in her life. Throughout your journey, you will see some barriers coming, and others will seem to pop up out of nowhere. Whether the obstacle is known or unknown, you will need to navigate the waters to reach your goal. one of the sayings i live by is, “Plan for the worst and work toward the best.” When you take that attitude, you can be prepared for the unexpected, or at least be able to handle an unexpected situation that arises with confidence and skill. Just like bear Grylls from the show “man Versus Wild,” the more prepared you are for the unexpected; the easier it will be for you to overcome the barriers that oppose you. each obstacle you come up against offers the opportunity to throw in the towel. That is the job of obstacles: to get you to give up. it is you against the barriers, mano-a-mano. my feelings on this subject run deep. in college, i wanted to get a tattoo, but not just any silly tattoo. i wanted it to have meaning. i wanted it to be something that inspired me when i saw it. in my research, i came 58
The Game of Your Life across a saying written in hieroglyphics. it is translated as, “he who desists after attack is the strengthener of the enemy’s heart.” nothing rings more true. neVer GiVe uP, beCauSe if You Do, You GiVe PoWer To Your oPPonenT. This slogan is with me all the time, imbedded in my skin. To this day, i draw power from it and use it daily. Too many people give up on their dreams because the obstacles have overwhelmed them. They set out on a journey with a goal in mind, but as soon as the going gets rough, they pack it in and decide to give up. in order to achieve a high level of success and maintain that level, you must build the proper emotional and mental capacity to perform your absolute best every single day. You must also have the mental fortitude to stay the course and not allow anything to stop you from reaching your goals. in other words, you must be seasoned for success. Success is not for the faint of heart. Success is a learned behavior, achieved through hard work, sweat, and—unfortunately sometimes—tears. The more you succeed, the more you will continue to succeed; success breeds success.
What Is Happiness?
When are people the happiest? When they are winning. happiness is achieved through success…through overcoming life’s obstacles and barriers while working toward your goals. Part of that formula is overcoming obstacles, fears, and barriers including the unseen obstacles that pop up unexpectedly. as discussed earlier, when you set a goal and move toward it, all manner of obstacles will present themselves. Some of these obstacles are predictable and some are not as obvious. Look at life’s little obstacles like the game Whac a mole. as an obstacle pops its head up, you whack it and wait for the next one. When it shows up, you handle it and wait for the next one. if you play the game of life like 59
rex S. Gibson a game of Whac a mole, you will find that obstacle and barriers become their own sub-game. as you whack each mole, you get one step closer to winning the game.
“Give me a stock clerk with a goal and I’ll give you a man who will make history. Give me a man with no goals and I’ll give you a stock clerk.” – J. C. Penney
Basic Rule of Life: You Grow or You Die
There is a law of nature that if you are not growing, you are dying. There is absolutely nothing in between. Take a look at nature: trees don’t stop reaching for the sun. Their whole lives they are moving up toward the sun, pushing themselves to get closer to that goal. as soon as the tree stops reaching for the sun, it begins its death. human beings are the same. The day you stop growing as a person and looking for the next goal to attain is the day you stop growing and, hence, the day you begin the descent toward death. We see this happen when older people are deemed unable to care for themselves and placed in an adult care facility. This is not to say that adult care facilities are bad, but the reality is that the average stay at an adult care facility before the person passes is less than two years. Some would argue that the person had failing health, and that may be, but if you combine fragile health with the loss of the ability to attain new life goals, the person stops growing and begins dying. Growth is defined as expansion whether personally, emotionally, educationally, or spiritually. When you stop expanding, you begin to shrink. Think about a rock thrown up in the air. The rock goes up to 60
The Game of Your Life its maximum height, there is a moment that the rock stops going up, and at that moment the rock begins to descend. This is no different for humans. We are born, we have no choice but to grow and learn, and at some point when we reach adulthood, we either continue to grow or we begin our descent toward our ultimate demise. expansion is the key to continued happiness, regardless of the circumstances around you. a person does not have to expand and grow like a rocket ship; a person just needs to continue moving forward, even if it is at a slow pace. Progress is progress! remember, happiness comes through the ProCeSS of overcoming life’s challenges while seeking to reach their goals.People can have happiness as long as they have further goals to attain. once a person stops reaching for more, setting goals, and expanding as a person, happiness is a thing of the past. So, if you find yourself unhappy, realize that you must not have a game to play. Set a goal, define the obstacles to overcome, be happy, and grow, grow, grow!
Time Out: Taking a Break from the Game
There is a misguided belief in our society that tells people to take a break, smell the roses, and retire early. The concept is well intentioned, but the people giving that advice don’t realize that retiring early could have detrimental side effects, and that being busy is really what creates happiness. i recommend and practice small breaks or vacations instead. a long weekend can do a lot to recharge your batteries. Sometimes a break can be something very simple. for example, i take mental vacations by going to motivational seminars. This may seem confusing to you, but what is the purpose of a vacation? To recharge, to get more energy, and to regenerate yourself so you can start looking for different 61
rex S. Gibson ways to accomplish your goals. i get all of this energy and information from other motivational speakers. one of the biggest turning points in my life was when i finally decided it was okay for me to be busy. i decided that, not only was it okay, but it was a really good thing, and it made me happy. once i stopped listening to people who wanted me to slow down and take a break and allowed myself to be busy, i started accomplishing so much more and, as a result, became happier and more satisfied with my life.
“Happiness is a matter of one’s most ordinary and everyday mode of consciousness being busy and lively and unconcerned with self.” – Iris Murdoch
Do more, take on more, and continue to move toward your goals. i have no desire to retire at fifty—not even at sixty. i am not sure i will ever stop. i might play a different game, but i will never stop trying to achieve more and do as much as possible. The day you stop striving to reach that next level is the day you die. no truly successful people stop working. They continue setting new goals, strategizing ways to reach those goals, and working relentlessly to achieve those ends. They continue not because they have to, but because it makes them feel good. it gives them a sense of satisfaction and contentment. The drug of powerful people is goal attainment.
“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goals.”
– Sydney Smith
The Game of Your Life
CHAPTER 8 THE BEST GAME PLAN: EVERYONE WINS
We have discussed many things up to this point, and if you absorbed even half of the concepts, you are well on your way to setting and attaining higher and better goals. There is one concept which can act as a decision lighthouse guiding you home to a place free of bad decisions. in order to understand this concept, we must establish some background information. People always align their efforts toward their goals. This is true of all people! The vast majority of people are working toward constructive / good goals, but there are the exceptions. The exceptions may not even realize that they are moving toward destruction, but outside observers can see it easily. The person who works toward destruction / failure has given up due to too many failures. So, those persons whose efforts seem to moving them in the path of destruction / failure are aligning their efforts toward their goals…their goal to fail. So, you are aligning your efforts…iS iT ConSTruCTiVe or DeSTruCTiVe?
rex S. Gibson
No person is an island. No person can exsist or succeed alone. Winning At Games In Life
Quite simply the best decisions we all can make in life would consider the broadest parts of life or the greatest benefit to the greatest number of people and things. We will call this the GreaTer GooD for short. This is how you create the best of all possible scenarios. We do not live in a perfect world where the perfect choice is available to us. a perfect choice would be one that benefits all things and people involved. here we have a question of percentages. What is the highest percentage of benefit to the most things the decision or activity touchs. Thus as we roll along through our life, we can commit to making our decisions along the line of the greater good. Those decisions would be respected by the most number of people and would prove out in time to be milestones toward our success. as discussed in the previous section, the best solution must incorporate the greatest good for the greatest number of people and things involved or influenced by your decision. a solution or decision can only be made based on information that is known at the time of the decision. This is why i suggest collecting as much information as possible regarding a particular situation before rendering a decision or selecting a path of action. 64
The Game of Your Life new information comes to light every day. With new information, you will invariably find that some of your best decisions were wrong. This tends to make you feel like you made mistakes. This is the wrong way to look at it. There may be new information today that you were not privy to when you made the decision, but that does not invalidate the previous decision. it simply means you need to create a new best solution and make the appropriate corrections. C’est la vie—that’s life. Life’s path, like a car going down the road, will require many corrections. Live today and make the best decisions based on all of today’s data.
rule: benefit the most and harm the Least! best Solution is based on all the information available at That Time
The 24-Hour Rule
This pearl of wisdom has kept me from making bad decisions in moments of high emotion. have you ever heard some gossip or received some information that infuriated you? These situations come up in life all the time, and when they do, you feel compelled to act or react immediately. The 24-hour rule can keep you from going off half cocked and regretting your actions later. remember when we discussed the reactive mind and how it can make you act irrationally? There is a fail safe switch. Giving yourself some time to re-analyze and see The DifferenCeS in a situation can lead you back to a good decision. When a highly emotional situation comes up which seems to require an action to be taken, don’t do anything. Wait, collect all the data—good and bad—sift through the information, and formulate an initial decision. 65
rex S. Gibson if the decision does not require immediate action, wait 24 hours to review the information and ensure that your initial decision is the correct choice for you. You will find that when the emotion dissipates, you can maintain your composure and use your reasoning mind to create the best solution. The more you train yourself to look for the truth in a situation, and give yourself time to process the information, the more high quality decisions you will make. The more this becomes a habit, the fewer regrets you will have. although being decisive and making snap decisions is a desirable quality for successful people, rash decisions never created a winner.
Quick Guide to Good Decisions
There are four questions you can ask yourself when making a decision. These four questions will help you decide whether the solution that you have come up with is the best possible solution: 1. is there any relevant information that i can draw on from the past? 2. is the solution created from all current information at hand as opposed to past presumptions or failures? 3. Does the solution create the most good for the majority of people and things involved or influenced, or the least harm to the majority of people and things involved or influenced by the solution? 4. have i given myself ample time to allow any emotion to dissipate and therefore not affect my decision-making process?
The Game of Your Life
CHAPTER 9 PURPOSE: YOUR SECRET WEAPON FOR SUCCESS
“This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.” – George Bernard Shaw
To review, a game has rules, barriers, and goals, but why do we play the game at all? Why do we need a goal? The answer to these questions touches on the deepest, most basic need in humans: purpose. it is the why, the drive, and the reason for doing what you do. The purpose of having a goal is that it gives you a reason to keep playing the game of life. When you get down to the basics, it gives your life meaning, and it is necessary if you want to keep moving forward. if you’re not moving forward you might as well pack it in and accept mediocrity.
rex S. Gibson The bigger the goal, the bigger the obstacles, and the bigger the reward; the main thing you have to focus on when you are moving forward through these obstacles is your why. Your why is the core reason or purpose that you have for reaching that goal. When you set a goal, ask yourself why you want to reach it. Keep asking why until your answer gives you goose bumps. When this happens, you have discovered your true why. for example, you may have a goal to earn a certain amount of money every month. Let’s say your goal is to earn $20k on a monthly basis. now, ask yourself why you want to earn that amount of money. Why do you want to earn $20k monthly? Possibly because this will give you the house and the lifestyle you desire. Why do you want to have that particular lifestyle? hmm, good question. You may want the house because of the large rooms and the open space. Well, why do you want the big rooms and the open space? Do you see my point here? You must keep asking yourself why you want to reach your particular goal. as you do this, your final answer will describe how reaching your goal will give you some type of feeling. emotion is the fundamental impulse of the universe, and it motivates our every action. The more you are in touch with your why, the more emotionally attached you will be to your goal. i cannot stress enough how critical it is for you to define what you want. You must have a definite purpose and a definite plan for the attainment of that purpose. if your goal relates to business, how many people will it take to make your company as big as you want it to grow? Continue to ask yourself questions to gain more clarity. 68
The Game of Your Life
The Right Purpose—The Right Answer
When it comes to your life and your purpose, there is no right or wrong answer. Purposes are as individual as snowflakes. What is right for you may not be right for me. being a computer analyst might be your passion, while it will never be mine. This does not make it wrong. i loved cars when i was growing up, and still do. i loved anything with a motor. i look back on my life and i am pretty fortunate that my parents wanted me to have a good education, and even though i didn’t’ become an over the road trucker, or a naSCar driver, i pursue my passion for cars in other ways. i have owned, modified and sold many, many cars. i have even had cars on the cover of Popular hot rodding. So, even though i didn’t use my passion for my occupation, i made sure my passion stayed in my life. The only wrong answer is not to follow your own path. The focus should not be on right or wrong so much as on choosing your own path instead of allowing someone else to define your purpose. When you find your purpose and set a goal that you are passionate about, nothing can stop you from attaining your dreams!
“All religions, arts, and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man’s life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence, and leading the individual toward freedom.” – Albert Einstein
The Game of Your Life
CHAPTER 10 REALITY: PLAY YOUR GAME AND PLAY TO WIN
What Is Fake Real and What Is Really Real
i once read that “reality is what we all agree on”: the grass is green, race horses are fast, and rocket ships go into outer space. actuality is what the individual perceives and holds to be true. it is a subjective thing. That isn’t to say that actuality is widely held truth. Christopher Columbus had to prove that the earth was round; he knew it was, but he had to prove it to the masses in order for his actuality to become other people’s reality. You must realize that what is actual for you, may not be actual for another person. Thus it is not a reality, by the definition above. because of our varying life experiences, our perceptions can be quite different. every person has lived a different life, with different circumstances, and different perceptions. as the saying goes, if you were to ask ten witnesses about the same accident, you would get ten different recollections of the situation. You should base your decisions on your own actuality. another word for actuality is belief. Successful people believe that they are right. They know that their actuality is correct, even if there is no other solid 71
rex S. Gibson evidence to prove it. Conviction of your own beliefs or actualities is what separates leaders from followers. how did einstein come up with the theory of relativity? Did he agree with others? no. he used his own mind, followed what he knew to be true, and created his own actuality. Then his actuality was tested, continued to hold true, and it became reality for others. What is truth? Truth is only truth if you believe it to be true. in other words, something is true only if you find it to be true. The color red to someone else will never be the same as the color red you see through your own eyes. have you ever heard a rumor about someone that you knew was untrue? This rumor could be widespread, but nevertheless, is false, no matter how many people spread the lie. Seek to know and live with the truth. many times in life we are frightened because something is unknown to us; however, if you train yourself to see the truth in situations, it will take the fear out of life. for example, if you were to walk through a haunted house for the first time, when the ghosts, goblins, or demons jump out at you, it is scary. When you walk through the second time, however, you are expecting those things and you are ready for them, so it is no longer scary. You must analyze the information and make the best decision with the information you have at the time. This includes any information from past experiences. When you find your own truth and filter the lies from the data, you learn to disregard all the junk. You learn to see a situation for what it truly is. Your vision starts to become clear and things become less scary in your life. The more you continue to work on this and keep focused, the more 72
The Game of Your Life it becomes a fixed habit in your life. This takes practice and dedication, but it can help you advance your life to a higher and richer level. The more defined your truth becomes and the more it is incorporated with integrity, ethics, and your morals, the stronger you become and the less intimidating life will be. fear blinds truth. People look away from things they fear, so any situation that contains fear must be viewed and evaluated for the actuality in it. a dark alley can be a scary place, but once that alley is flooded with light, it no longer has the same effect. if you do not face your fears and illuminate them with truth, you will be doomed to repeat history and be haunted by past failures. i’m not saying that looking at your fears is easy, just that it is necessary. The hardest part about facing your fears is finding the truth. The truth is not always pretty, but it is true. once you have faced fear and seen truth with conviction and courage, you will find yourself swelling with power you never thought you had. it is this power that magnifies your chances of expanding and achieving all of your goals.
“Fear can’t hold a candle to unswerving faith, much less muster up the guts to even attempt to blow it out.” – B. G. Jett
The Game of Your Life
CHAPTER 11 LUCK: CREATE IT, DON’T RELY ON IT
“I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.” – Thomas Jefferson
You hear it every day: “he’s so lucky to live in that house,” or “She’s so lucky to have that job.” Luck can be defined as good fortune that came to someone without his or her own doing. When most people speak of luck, they are usually speaking of good luck. according to the definition above, people are helpless victims of their own lives rather than being active players who control the outcome of the game. Luck is actually a product of hard work combined with a good strategy and the correct amount of effort directed in the proper places to achieve a certain outcome. Derek Jeter is a top baseball player and has remarkable natural talent, but he would not be as great as he is without taking batting practice every day. Top athletes know that there is very little luck involved in their successes. it is a matter of being prepared and creating a foundation of basics that create success. Keeping this in mind, an individual can either choose to cause things to happen, or be 75
rex S. Gibson affected by what life hands him. if a person chooses to create things and make things happen, then that person is choosing to be an author of their life’s events. he/she is literally writing the script to life. in order to be an auThor of Life, an individual must shun the idea of luck and believe adamantly that all things can be accomplished if one puts forth the correct effort in the desired direction. a person who chooses to be the effect of things around them, clings to the belief that he or she is not in control of destiny and, regardless of hard work will never truly reach his or her goals.
If It Isn’t Luck, What Is It?
for those of you reading this book who like the idea of being the author of your life rather than someone who was cast into the situation, i suggest you replace the word “luck” with PoSiTiVe DeCiSion. and what does PoSiTiVe DeCiSion have to do with luck? The answer lies in a person’s viewpoint. if you believe that you are in control of your life and have the ability to steer or influence life’s outcomes, then all you have to do is decide that the particular situation be that way. events in our lives happen and we wonder why and how they happened. The reality is that nothing ever happens without us putting the event into motion. The real question is, did you make those things happen or did they just magically happen? i suggest that you create your fortune by manifesting your own luck. WiLL events by asking them to be, demanding they be a certain way, and decide they take a certain form. This is more than the power of positive thinking. When you decide and stick to your decision, you make the future; you bring the event into existence. for example, no one has become a successful movie star or singer without going to auditions and taking singing or acting classes. Sure, you sometimes hear those, “i was sitting at the bar and was discovered!” stories, but the 76
The Game of Your Life person telling the story likely left out the endless rejections and broken deals that came before being “discovered.” That actor or singer was not lucky—he or she had a goal, continued to intend that the goal would be reached, and was rewarded with being “discovered.”
“I’ve found that luck is quite predictable. If you want more luck, take more chances. Be more active. Show up more often.” – Brian Tracy
You may have heard that life isn’t fair…well, it’s not. We are not all created equal. Some people have attributes that give them advantages over other people. in order to offset these so called disadvantages, you need to create your own circumstances for success. nothing happens by luck alone; we must be active players in making what we want happen. even the person who wins the lottery bought a lottery ticket. So where do we fit in on this spectrum of luck vs. PoSiTiVe DeCiSion? Do we cause it, or do we just get lucky? if you want to be luckier, then you ought to decide that more things will happen to increase your chances of getting lucky.
“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” – Seneca
People make things happen or work to put themselves into desirable situations where the chances of their success happening is so high that they usually expect it to happen. When you think about the thing that you want, you begin to move in a direction that brings you closer to it. 77
rex S. Gibson The more you think about your goals, the more momentum you create, which propels you toward your end destination or goal. by looking through the classifieds, you are much more likely to find a job than if you just cross your fingers and rub your rabbit’s foot, hoping “luck” will bring you a great new job.
It appears that the universe we live in, likes the decisive individual who shows commitment to the decision through follow up action.
How Do I USE THE POWER OF POSITIVE DECISION?
have you ever wished that a certain person would call you, and not a minute later your phone rings? Low and behold, when you pick up the phone, it is the very person you wanted to talk to calling. Coincidence? no, that’s the power of decision. Some might call it “the power of positive thinking,” or “mental visualization,” but here we are going to call it simply DeCiSion. To get what you want, create a picture of it in your mind, and make it as real as you possibly can. focus on the color, feel, weight, size—any detail you can include to make the image more realistic will be beneficial. Create it just like an artist. Keep that mental picture of your creation and keep creating it, keep doing it. You should always be changing and improving the picture, making it even more real. everyone’s mental images of what they want will be different, and that is why it is so important to give your mental image detail and specificity. even people who want the same thing will have differing images. a woman wanting to get into shape might create the mental image of herself walking into a dinner party in a form-fitting little black dress. a man with the same goal of getting in shape might picture himself 78
The Game of Your Life throwing a frisbee with his buddies on the beach, showing off his toned physique. You have to personalize your mental picture—make it your own. The most important aspect of PoSiTiVe DeCiSion is repetition. You can’t just think about what you want once and be done with it. Do it over and over and over again, day in and day out. Picture your goal as often as you can. The more you visualize what you want, the closer you will move to that picture. The more the image is present, the more real it becomes. You literally think it into existence.
How Do I Become The Author Of My Life?
Let us take a quick look at being an author of a book. Take this book for example. i wrote this book. i didn’t let someone else write the book and i just agreed to it. i didn’t sit on the sidelines while someone else wrote down a bunch of thoughts about life and then signed my name to it. i WroTe The booK. Yes i have editors and people who help me with formatting and publishing, but i created the words…i wrote the manuscript. i created the time in my life and took responsibility and said, “i’ve got something to say and i think it could help people…i am going to write a book!” in order to be an author, you have to take full responsibility. now Life is a little larger subject matter, so to author a life, an individual must come to grips with responsibility…for their life and for all circumstances, even when you don’t want to. if you allow anyone or anything to have any level of responsibility over your circumstances, you have given up your potential to be the author. We often engage in behaviors that limit our ability to be an author, such as surrendering, blaming others, defending mistakes, or evading responsibility. These actions put you in a position where you are no longer the author; you are instead one of the characters in the story. a hockey goalie may see the great Wayne Gretzky coming toward him and feel inferior to his massive 79
rex S. Gibson slap shot. in that split second, he decides the outcome. he has already decided that he will lose. he has already decided on the excuse that he will use when his team loses. This way of thinking makes the man a victim to the circustances, not the author of the situation he wants to have happen. he is allowing circumstances to dictate his future instead of being the master of his own fate. alternatively, he can choose to have the attitude that “no one can score on me. i am the best goalie in the world!” This is being a master of fate. being an author of life is all about responsibility. Your level of control is in direct proportion to the level of responsibility you take for life. many people don’t understand that concept. They think everything is somebody else’s fault and do not take responsibility for the situations in their own lives. This is not to say that bad things never happen. unfortunate events happen all the time, but the things that happen are not as important as how the individual reacts to those events. What you do and how you think following a setback is crucial to whether or not you will be the cause over your life circumstances. if you lose your job, will you sit and wallow and blame someone else for firing you? or will you choose to hold your head high and find a great new job? in the world today, many people are falling into the trap of being an innocent bystander to their own affairs, blaming their situation on the economy, a bad boss, or the ever-popular “bad luck.” in reality there are many people who are keeping their jobs, maintaining great marriages, and experiencing great success. it is these people who continue to be the author in their lives, no matter what their environment throws at them.
“Luck is tenacity of purpose.” – Elbert Hubbard
The Game of Your Life
Don’t Play the Victim
Sometimes things will happen that are just bigger than a single “you” or “i.” We choose how much we allow these things to affect us. if we simply turned off our televisions and ignored new reports when the media started smearing the economic downturn in our faces, the recent financial crisis could have been avoided. if we had all looked at ourselves as masters of our fate, as being fully responsible for our own lives, we would not have let these reports influence us. The reality is, the media won, and people went into panic mode and stopped spending and investing. results are a matter of how we handle ourselves in the situation and what we do to get ourselves out of that situation. if my business is not performing well, i act to find a solution and find a new way to overcome those obstacles. i believe the marine Corp. motto states it best: adapt and overcome! i do not blame the economy for affecting my practice because i don’t want to live my life as a victim. i don’t let the situation defeat me; i find a way to make it work. it is hard to look in the mirror and call ourselves out on playing the victim. it can be very hard to overcome the barriers of life. one thing that all successful people have in common is that when the going got tough, they rolled up their sleeves and did whatever needed to be done to make things happen the way they wanted. People told henry ford he could never make an affordable automobile, and what did he do? he made not just one affordable car, but millions of them. his creation, the model T, was the most successful car ever made. he did not let people’s negative opinions affect him. he assumed responsibility for making his dream a reality. he authored his dream of making an affordable car 81
rex S. Gibson for every american, and he made it reality. in the process, ford also invented the assembly line, a process nearly every factory utilizes today. he found a better way to do things. he was “lucky,” as we say, but his success was entirely under his control. he tackled the problem head on; he did not become an effect of it, but rather, solved it. he made it happen. in high school, someone once said i was the luckiest guy he knew. This perplexed me, because i didn’t come from a wealthy family and i wasn’t particularly smart. i just worked hard, surrounded myself with good people, and worked toward my dreams. What my friend didn’t realize was it wasn’t luck that brought me the great things i had—i brought them to myself. i used the resources i had to create the things i wanted. i wasn’t unique or lucky; i simply positioned myself to increase my chances of success. it is the same for the success stories we hear about people who come from situations like extreme poverty and rise to become business executives. They in turn raise their kids to become successful, and the cycle continues. Those people did not get where they are because of luck; they just kept pushing themselves closer and closer to their goals and never gave up on them.
Why Do People Believe in Luck?
People want to believe in the mysterious and the magical. it is in our nature to live in a whimsical fantasyland where anything we wish will immediately come to fruition. it appeals to our human emotions. That is the reason fiction and romance novels are so successful. Luck does not exist in reality; we make things happen. The person who wants luck would do well in a socialist society. These people want to be taken care of. They want things to be given to them. They think they need someone to take care of them and tell them what to do, no matter how old they 82
The Game of Your Life are. few people blossom or succeed highly in socialist societies. They don’t thrive. Socialist societies have fallen. russia, all the eastern block countries, eventually failed because they did not have the desire to move forward and do more. Without the opportunity to further themselves, people lose the willingness to do much of anything. it is like running in a hamster wheel: people may run for a little while, but once they realize they’re staying in the same place, they’ll stop moving.
“Shallow men believe in luck; wise and strong men in cause and effect.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Three Steps to Creating “Luck”
There are three basic steps you need to take to create your own luck. Sometimes, these steps happen quickly; other times, they can take much longer. it depends on the situation. Like Derek Jeter, like Tiger Woods, like michael Jordan, be the elite athlete and follow these three simple steps to victory and success. Just like a tachometer on a racecar revs up, you can rev up your luck by implementing the rPm method.
R: Responsibility P: Positive Decision M: Massive Action
rex S. Gibson Step 1: Responsibility. Take full responsibility for all situations in life. never place blame at anyone or anything else’s doorstep. Step 2: Positive Decision. Create your future by seeing it in bright, vivid mental pictures. Step 3: Massive Action. Get moving. Work with relentless effort toward your goals. The future will not wait for you to get off the couch. it is coming. You had better be prepared for its arrival. Take big game hunting as a sport. Taking responsibility puts me in the hunter’s position: the creator of things to come. When the animal is in my sights and i take aim, i am already postulating the animal going down. Then as i take action and pull the trigger, i make my goal become reality. if i miss the animal i am aiming at, i could blame it on the environment and say the wind caused by bullet to stray off course, but that would put me in a victim’s position, and in hunting, that is a very dangerous place to be. anytime i hear someone blame their lack of success on someone or something else, i know right away they are being an effect and are not taking responsibility for the situation. full responsibility no matter what happens is not a position that most people want to take—it is actually a very difficult position to assume, but it is an absolute necessity if you are going to make anything happen. is not a position that most people take—it is actually a very difficult position to assume, but it is an absolute necessity if you are going to make anything happen.
The Game of Your Life
CHAPTER 12 ETHICS: GUARANTEED PERSONAL VICTORY
Take calculated risks in life, but take them based on integrity, ethics, and morals. Without a strong ethical or moral code, doing the right thing may never occur to you. ethics is defined as right versus wrong. morals are defined as a society’s agreed upon rules and laws. integrity is defined as not violating your own personal ethics and morals. When you hold true to ethics and morals, and your decision is based in integrity, you own your actions and you will be in charge of your own destiny. Successful people maintain good ethics, morals, and personal integrity, regardless of circumstance. These values are not values of convenience—they are the mark of a leader, and you must become a leader to become truly successful. hold true to core values and be willing to fail. Success can only be had in the face of potential failure, and if you do not put yourself in a position to fail, you cannot have success. by definition, success is winning, and you cannot win if there is nothing to overcome.
rex S. Gibson There is a huge difference between leaders and followers. Success, leadership, and power are desired by the masses, yet understood by only a select few. not everyone can be a leader. it is up to you to decide which lifestyle is in harmony with your life and goals. The people who pick up books like this, read them, then apply the lessons into their daily lives and are willing to learn new principles in life are the leaders of this world.
Intentions: Good Versus Bad
any time you experience troubles in your life or your business, you have to ask yourself, “are my actions fulfilling my purpose?” if they are, keep moving forward. if they are not, you must analyze your true intentions and alter your actions accordingly. Check your intentions as well as others’ intentions on a regular basis. This will not only help you identify the right people to work with, but it is also healthy for all relationships. for example, let’s say i am working hard all day and i want to come home to a peaceful and clean home, but when i get there, i notice the dishes piled in the sink. it might move me toward getting upset at my wife or someone else; however, before i react i must try to understand what her true intention was. i know she did not leave the dishes in the sink with the intention of making me upset—of course not! She might have been rushing out the door to help a family member with something or to make it to work on time, and she just did not have the chance to get to it. now, instead of emotionally reacting, i can respond accordingly. after all, how many times have i left the dishes in the sink? 86
The Game of Your Life if you make it a habit to look for people’s bad intentions, you are barking up the wrong tree. People are generally good. Sure, there are some bad apples, but for the most part people have good intentions. We all make mistakes along the way, but when you realize people generally have good intentions; you can look past a lot of petty issues and spend less time being aggravated by others. The only person in control of your actions is you. When you surrender control over your emotions to another person or circumstance, you have surrendered your leadership. a great example of tolerance, calmness, and understanding occurred when my son and i were at the local supermarket picking up some food. i am losing my hair, and my son pointed out a guy who was bald and blurted out, as kids sometimes do, “hey Daddy, he is losing his hair too, and he has none left!” The individual my son was speaking of could have gotten really upset because it was a slightly embarrassing situation for him, but he took his experience and realized my son meant no harm, and he didn’t get upset at all. i admire people who embrace this way of life.
“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” – Helen Keller
The Game of Your Life
CHAPTER 13 CONFIDENCE AND COURAGE: YOUR TWO GREATEST TEAMMATES
“People who ask confidently get more than those who are hesitant and uncertain. When you’ve figured out what you want to ask for, do it with certainty, boldness and confidence.” – Jack Canfield
Confidence and courage may be vastly different, but in the end, they are both equally necessary to lead a rich and fulfilling life, one that is full of risks taken, goals achieved, and dreams fulfilled. it is possible to have all of the confidence in the world, but not have the courage to act. Likewise, it is possible to have courage without any confidence in your own ability. one without the other will help you achieve some of your goals in the short term, but this success cannot be sustained over an extended period of time. both are needed to prevent boredom, foster growth, and create balance in your life. it is important to examine both of these ideas in greater detail.
rex S. Gibson Confidence can be defined as knowing that you have the required skills and abilities to complete a certain task successfully. for example, a professional surfer will have no problem jumping into the ocean waters and catching a huge wave. he knows that he has the required skills to make it from point a to point b without drowning in the process. Courage can be defined as taking a leap of faith in the face of uncertainty and attempting a task without any certainty as to its outcome. Saying, “i love you” for the first time to a romantic interest is something that takes an enormous amount of courage. There is no guarantee that you will hear the answer you expect, no matter how many times you may have been in the same situation in the past. Confidence is a state of being, while courage may come in surges when we need it the most. a courageous person may run into a burning building to save a child, but under regular circumstances, the same person would never attempt such a dangerous feat. on the other hand, a confident person may still engage in the same risky behavior, but with the knowledge that he or she has the skills to come out on top. a firefighter has the skills to run into a burning building to save a child, and he knows that he possesses the skills not only to save the child, but to get himself out safely as well. instead of viewing his behavior as a gamble, he has the confidence to dive into every situation with the knowledge that he has the skills to succeed. in daily life, we rarely need adrenalin based courage to fulfill our duties and obligations, but we do need confidence. Let’s look at the concept of confidence in further detail. Confidence stems directly from competence. Competence is formulated from three ingredients: education, Decision, and reponsibility. first and foremost 90
The Game of Your Life you must educate yourself on or about a subject. Let’s take a chainsaw, for example. This can be an extremely dangerous tool without all the three ingredients to competence. if you don’t know how to start and stop it and how it reacts in different situations while using it, or what to wear for safety, operating a chainsaw could be an extremely dangerous undertaking. You must educate yourself about the tool, to know you are in control of it and safe from its’s danger. You must Decide that you are of stature and strength to be able to control the chainsaw, otherwise you could get injured. and finally, you must take responsibility for the tool, which is to say that whatever happens while you are operating it is your action. This closes the door on become a victim the saw, the tree, the circumstances you are in. if you have all three elements, you will be able to use a chainsaw competently, and as you use the chainsaw over and over again with competence, you will obtain confidence in your ability to safely operate the tool. When you are faced with not knowing how to do something, isolate what you don’t know and correct it! Without competence, there is no confidence!
ingredients for Competence:
1. education 2. Decision 3. responsibility
“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.” – Unknown
You must have all three elements to be competent and confident. if you are lacking confidence in any task, one or more of the three ingredients 91
rex S. Gibson to competence will be absent or misunderstood. When you are faced with not knowing how to do something, find which element is absent or misunderstood and correct it! When you know you have all three elements, you will gain confidence that you can complete the task or project with competence. Without competence, there is no confidence!
When Courage and Confidence Meet
Just because courage and confidence are different doesn’t mean they cannot work together. To review mistakes and pinpoint what you did wrong and how you can improve takes courage. To examine your life and understand why you don’t have the confidence to do something or revisit where a situation went wrong can be scary and embarrassing. it is easy to assume that everyone can read, but illiteracy abounds. as a society, we know this problem exists, but we look at it from a detached point of view, not really understanding its impact. for an illiterate person to admit that he can’t read would be a courageous act because of the stigma attached to it. The biggest person is one who can pinpoint his own mistakes and shortcomings, learn from them, and make the appropriate changes to better himself and others.
Simple Steps to Having the Courage to Fix Your Faults and Become More Confident
1. Admit when you need to improve on something. only big people can admit to and acknowledge their own faults. 2. Choose to change your faults. make a point to change your faults, or simply choose to gain more knowledge of a particular subject so you can have more confidence when dealing with that aspect of your life. 92
The Game of Your Life 3. Listen, learn, and absorb. The most successful people that i’ve ever met are good listeners. They absorb everything, since you never know when information may come in handy, and they learn from every experience to prevent repeating past failures. 4. Examine which ingredient is missing from the competence formula. Look at your failures without rose-colored glasses and figure out why you failed. Did you not have enough knowledge, and therefore act blindly without fully understanding the situation? Did you not have enough personal control over the situation, and allow other elements to influence the situation? Did you fail to assume the proper amount of responsibility, and therefore blame someone else for the failure? find the missing link, correct it, and try again. 5. Be sure to check your sources. Knowledge is powerful, but you must make sure it comes from accurate and reputable sources so you can have the correct information to make the most informed choice possible. hearsay is seldom accurate. We have all learned about “stock tips” given by other people. They are not trustworthy. it is the proverbial, “my neighbor said.” that often leads to a path of bad decisions. Your friends and neighbor’s intention can be good when offering advice or information, but their ability regarding verifying information can be faulty. This is not a question of trusting them as people, it is a question of their care and skill at sifting out facts. We have all passed along information without verifying the validity of the information in an effort to help. The bottom line is, you have to build your house on a solid foundation. it is your responsibility to ensure you have your facts correct that you base your decisions on.
rex S. Gibson a common mistake can also be information from an unreliable source. for example, if you need help with your finances, do not ask your neighbor who is just as broke as you are. This is like asking your friend the mechanic to fix a broken pipe that is flooding your house. make sure you are getting your information from a valid and competent source. Do they know what they are talking about? Do they have the kind of results you want? Where are they getting their information? These are all very important questions that need to be asked, otherwise you will only ever reach the level of knowledge that these people have. if you approached every area of your life this way, you would experience staggering success. The most successful people i know found the missing pieces to their problem or situation, learned what they needed to know, and then made the appropriate corrections to create success. This sounds like a simple thing to do, and it is, but it is not easy, and it will take a large amount of courage. The successful in life have the courage to know what they did not know or had the courage to face their shortcomings, and correct that before they acted. and thus their success was no accident.
Where Does Courage Come From?
Sadly, there is no magic pill that we can take for courage; it simply comes out of necessity. When something absolutely needs to be done, you will find the courage to do it; however, what one person thinks is necessary differs from what another person may find necessary. for instance, if a dog falls into a river, you may not jump in, but if a baby falls in, there is no question that you would jump in to save the child. Successful people understand their own necessity levels and act out of 94
The Game of Your Life purpose rather than fear. The stronger the purpose for any given path, the more the necessity for action, and the greater the action required for you to muster courage to complete the task.
“Have the courage to say no. Have the courage to face the truth. Do the right thing because it is right. These are the magic keys to living your life with integrity.” – W. Clement Stone
There is no reward without risk. it takes courage to takes risks, and if you set lofty goals, it will take courage to rise to the occasion, raise your necessity level, and reach your goals. The point is: set lofty goals. The higher your necessity level is, and the more you must reach your goals, the less courage you will need to start a new task or embark on new goals.
Confidence in the Face of Adversity
far too many people in life give up too early. They lack the courage to fight adversity in order to complete the task.
“Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.” – Dale Carnegie
Look at how the united States put a man on the moon in four years. how many people had to hold that dream in their minds and unwaveringly 95
rex S. Gibson move forward through the required steps for four straight years until completion? naSa had to design and build a spaceship, then figure out how they were going to get several men into that spaceship and onto the moon using a computer system that had less power than today’s cell phones. Getting a man on the moon is the result of strength of passion, determination, purpose, and courage. Don’t tell me that there is a problem out there that does not have a solution: it is a matter of your resolve to find the solution. Put an unwavering effort into finding the solution and implement it! Do you know how many people told naSa that it could not be done in four years, that it would never happen, or they were crazy for even trying? i’m sure that the people at naSa had moments where they thought, “maybe they’re right…it can’t be done,” but their purpose was strong enough to keep them moving forward until they achieved success! The only thing standing between you and the life of your dreams is an absolute, unwavering decision to act with courage and complete the goal no matter what.
intention is defined as the will to do. Let’s take this concept just a step further. When i say intention, i mean what you truly mean to have happen. This idea works hand in hand with positive decisions. if you intend to have something happen, you are creating what you want. by placing intention into your actions, you create a sense of drive to the goal. it is the bullet shot straight at the target. i want to share a story about intention. i live on a small ranch with my wife and kids. We enjoy 96
The Game of Your Life the farm life and all that goes along with it. one year, i got 120 baby chickens to boost my egg production. i got them home and situated in a large horse watering trough with food, bedding, heat lamps and a watering container. i stood back and admired my brood. i then went inside to make lunch for myself and my two boys. about an hour later, i went to check on the day old baby chicks. as i stood over their tank, something told me to lift up the watering container. To my horror, a baby chick lay squashed under the two gallon watering container. as careful as i had been to ensure this didn’t happen, one chick managed not to get out of the way in time. i picked up its cold, lifeless body. i felt terrible that i was responsible for the death of an innocent baby chick. at first, i considered simply disposing of the chick, thinking, “that’s life on the farm.” at that moment, i had an overwhelming feeling. i was not going to let this little chick die. as i held this lifeless creature, something came over me and i placed my lips on its tiny beak and gave a few puffs. Yes, i gave a baby chick mouth to mouth. i kept doing this for five minutes. To my surprise, she started breathing, at first very shallow breaths, and over the next 20 minutes, she opened her eyes and was able to stand on her own. Within an hour, it was like nothing had happened. She had been stuck under a 10 pound watering can for an hour. it would be like having a car crushing your chest. i decided to name her molly brown, as in the unsinkable molly 97
rex S. Gibson brown. To this day, i can still pick molly out of the brood. i tell this story so you can understand the power of intention. it is the concept of making things happen at all costs. The mantra, “failure is not an option,” is perfect for this situation. it takes a strong purpose and a lot of courage to overcome the adversity that life hands us. Go forward and breathe life back into your Game.
Courage to Change
Courage: why do some people have it while others don’t? i am not talking about courage in the form of heroism. The courage i am talking about is the courage to pursue your passion or purpose in the face of others who might judge you harshly. i am speaking of the type of courage it takes to maintain the dedication to follow the steps and make things happen. i am also talking about the courage to change. i am talking about having the courage to have a high level of personal integrity. only with personal integrity can you be fully responsible for mistakes, able to correct and solve outpoints, and move on with life. unsuccessful people blame others and find fault in everyone but themselves. unsuccessful people have their fingers pointed in every direction but toward themselves. This is the greatest act of cowardice.
Say “YES!” to Life
The movie Yes man with Jim Carrey is a great lesson about finding the courage to get in the game. in the movie, Jim’s character, Carl, is persuaded by a former colleague to attend a “Yes!” motivational seminar where inspirational guru Terrence bundley publicly browbeats him into making a covenant with himself. Carl reluctantly promises to stop being 98
The Game of Your Life a “no man” and vows to answer, “Yes!” to every opportunity, request, or invitation that presents itself. from that point on, Carl says “Yes!” to all sorts of opportunities, and his life begins to turn around. he meets a new girlfriend, begins learning new languages, and starts flying lessons. his previous dull, sad life begins soaring for the stars. i am not saying that you should say “Yes!” to everything, but the point is that we need to open our minds to new opportunities. You never know what joy and fulfillment will be found when you say “Yes!” to life.
Action Steps for Courage and Confidence
here are some simple steps you can follow to make yourself more open to acting with courage and more willing to take action even in uncomfortable situations. 1. Say “YES!” to Life. expand your horizons to new experiences. You never know what joys you may find. 2. Start with the basics. educate yourself and get the knowledge you need to succeed. be willing to admit what you do not know as the first step to organizing a plan on what knowledge to acquire. ask yourself if you are willing to take full responsibility for all that happens good or bad. Decide to refuse to give up. Decide to find and correct anything that is causing your plans for success to go off track. These steps will make you competent. repeated confidence breeds certainty. The more certainty you possess in your abilities, the less courage you will need. 3. Act with purpose. The more your actions align with your purpose, the less courage it takes to perform the task. 99
rex S. Gibson 4. The first step. remember, the most courageous step is the first step. Set lofty goals, raise your necessity level, and take the first step to achievement. 5. Carry out all tasks with integrity. in the process of achieving your goals, make sure that the actions you take have a positive impact on others, and that any harmful effects are minimal. 6. Always look for alternatives. being courageous and foolhardy are two very different concepts. Take risks, but make sure they are worth it. if the risk is not worth the end result, look for an alternative way to reach your goal. 7. Don’t give up. far too many people have the tendency to give up too early. all great inventions and achievements in history were attained by people who were persistent in their belief that their dreams would eventually become reality. as they say, necessity is the mother of invention. 8. Act with INTENTION. Create what you want by intending things to happen. breathe life back into your purpose and make your dreams come true. 9. Create momentum and finish what you start. When i was in college, i went out and canvassed for a political movement for renewable wind and solar power. i did my homework and knew everything i could about renewable energy, but i was still nervous my first day out. The more i talked to people, and the more donations i received, the more confident i got. This built momentum, which helped me through the entire summer until school started up again.
The Game of Your Life
“Success means having the courage, the determination, and the will to become the person you believe you were meant to be.” – George Sheehan
The Game of Your Life
CHAPTER 14 GOALS AND TARGETS: FIRST DOWN, TOUCHDOWN AND VICTORY
“A goal properly set is halfway reached.” – Abraham Lincoln
many of us go through life following directions from others without ever truly setting meaningful goals of our own. We report to work when we are told, do the job we were hired to do, and go home and do what friends and family request we do—or worse yet, sit on the couch watching TV, letting our minds travel wherever they please. This is followed by going to bed, only to wake up the next morning and do it all over again. There are occasionally small variations to this routine; however, if you were able to be a fly on the wall watching other people, you would find this to be the normal behavior of the masses. What goals do you have that are your own? Do you have a goal that you are working toward? if you don’t have your own goals, you end up living someone else’s life, and at the end of your story, you may look back and say, what happened 103
rex S. Gibson to my life? The answer to that question is: you gave it to someone else a long time ago. You are only on this blue planet for about eighty-five years, which is really not that long. You don’t have as much time as you think to create the life you want to create. if you’re not creating and achieving goals, then someone else is going to take charge and choose how you live your life. You will end up becoming someone you don’t know and looking back on your life saying, “i wish i would have….”
Since so many of us go through life not setting goals, you might be wondering what a goal is. a goal is defined as something toward which effort or movement is directed, an end or objective. a goal is what drives your life. if you are navigating life without a goal, your life is stagnant, boring, and devoid of spice. Without goals, one wanders aimlessly through life. a goal is something you have determined has value for yourself and others and you can own as yours. it is something you would like to achieve. This set direction is not an unknown; it is a clearly stated objective you are aiming for. This could be a long term goal or a short term project. many times short term goals are set to help you reach the long term goal. having a goal in your life is like having a lighthouse on the horizon: it helps to steer you in the right direction. even when we get off course, the lighthouse helps to redirect us to the end result.
Goal Setting and Fear
What does fear have to do with goal setting? our goals are in direct correlation to our risk of loss, or better stated, how much we are willing 104
The Game of Your Life to risk. The only difference between small goals and large goals is the amount of time one is willing to plan with. Some people set low goals, or no goals. Why? it goes back to the basics: they are afraid to fail or they have certain moving variables in their life that they cannot predict. it is best to set goals within the framework of what is real for you at the time you set the goals. Then, as you build more confidence, increase the size of your goals. Goals must be achievable or, otherwise you will give yourself losses. example: a man has a goal of a national restaurant chain. he is overwhelmed by the scope of the goal. There are too many things he does not know to play that size of game. he can however, with his restaurant easily conceive of having the first prototype restaurant in his own city and he can find the resources (moral support, financing, employees, equipment, etc.) easily and is confident that he can. This is wise goal selection. People who are unwilling to accept risk usually live very small and simple lives. When you want to become bigger, you must think bigger and be willing to take bigger risks, but they are proportionate risks… not excessive risks. an excessive risk is one where the potential loss is so great that it threatens you ability to continue to operate in a sane and desirable manner. it is a risk that would move you so far backward in the game of life, that you are unwilling to go there. a proportionate risk would be based on an assessment of where you would stand if you did have a loss, as well as your ability to live with that loss. no one likes to fail, so the nice thing about goals is that you get to set the pace. You can set smaller goals, which can lead to bigger goals—these are called target goals, but we’ll get to that later. Goal setting is not as complicated as most people think. it is as simple as three little questions: 105
rex S. Gibson 1. What is the purpose of this goal? 2. Why do i want to attain it? 3. What is the ratio of risk to reward in this goal, and am i comfortable with the level of risk in attaining this goal? This last question is the most important of the three because it determines how much you are willing to risk. every person is willing to assume a different level of risk to reach his or her goals. Some are willing to risk it all and jump right in with both feet, while others like to set smaller goals with less risk and slowly move toward their destination. are you a gambler? Do you want success quickly? if you do, you must be willing to take some very large risks where you could lose big, potentially everything. You also have to ask yourself: if you fail, what is the worst that can happen? by asking this question, it puts the goal in perspective: risk to reward. most people’s biggest concern is money because they link success and survival with having lots of money. i urge you to remember that money buys a great many important things in life, but it cannot and will not buy you happiness, so i want to urge you not to let a green piece of paper get in the way of you and your dreams.
Warren buffet is one of the wealthiest men in the world, and he accomplished this by taking small steps with stocks, in which he would invest, let it double, and then reinvest. To him, this strategy carried less risk. it might have taken him longer to achieve his goal, but he was comfortable with the level of risk involved. Donald Trump, on the other hand, invested in real estate to amass his fortune, and real estate holds a higher risk due to the variation and unpredictability of the market. 106
The Game of Your Life Donald Trump, however, was willing to live with this level of risk to reach his goal. only an individual knows how well they believe they will be able to control the variables in a situation in order to diminish risk. only the individual knows what they know. Therefore, risk is individual…it is unique to the individual as a snowflake. it is not for one to judge another. it is simply up to each person to decide. The greater the knowledge, the less the risk is. for an expert skier to go down a very steep mountain is little risk, as compared to a novice who invites a high probability of injury. So risk is really a measurement of how much you know.
“I believe that anyone can conquer fear by doing the things he fears to do, provided he keeps doing them until he gets a record of successful experience behind him.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
How to Lower the Risk in Your Goals
no one can be successful 100% of the time. failure is to success like yin is to yang—the key is limiting failures to minor losses and learning from them to avoid the same pitfalls later. When i look back on my life, there are very few times that i did not succeed when i truly put my mind to it. This is not because the opportunity to fail was not there; it is because i chose not to entertain the thought of failure. failure is caused by one of three things: 1. entertaining the idea that failure could happen. 107
rex S. Gibson 2. Poor control of the situation and allowing outside influences to create failure. 3. false data: receiving bad information which leads to poor decisions. from every experience, whether i have success or failure, i learned a great deal that i would not otherwise have learned. i worked with a developer once who said, “if things go badly and you can walk away with a limp instead of losing the leg, you are doing pretty well.” Success can come only in the face of failure.
Targets: How to Break Down Large Goals into Bite Sized Pieces
Life is meant to be a game, and games are meant to be fun, but when you play a very long game, it is easy to lose sight of your goals. Sometimes the goals are so far off, they seem to be out of reach. how can you maintain your focus? how do you keep the final goal in sight when it seems so far off? how do you make your goal real on a daily basis? The answer: doable steps. and that means steps that can be done on a daily or weekly basis that give you the position to say, “i did something to move closer to the goal this week”. once you have the final goal set, establish short term doable steps which act as baby steps toward reaching the larger goal. a good example is a football game. The ultimate goal is to score a touchdown, but in order for your team to score, you must reach a first down, then another. The first downs are doable steps on the way to reaching the ultimate goal of scoring a touchdown. another good 108
The Game of Your Life example is golf. a round of golf is made up of 18 holes, and each hole is made up of three to five separate strokes played from tee to green. in both games we see doable steps that help people reach their final goals. as you work toward your goals in life, your short term goals might need to change. ideally, a master goal is set with all targets outlined before you even start. unfortunately, life tends to throw us curve balls, so the smart goal achiever will reassess the next doable step after each doable step is completed. This technique ensures a smooth and seamless transition from one step to the next with no effort wasted on backtracking and redirecting.
Techniques for Efficient Goal Achievement
1. Set the goal. 2. Create doable steps toward the goal and write them all down in a checklist. 3. reassess after each step is reached to ensure an efficient path toward your goal.
Write It Down or Be a Clown
a goal that remains in your mind is like a leaf falling from a tree, floating to and fro at the slightest breeze. Goals can seem vague and directionless unless you give them life. To give a goal life, you must write your goals down. in order to ensure success on your path to goal achievement, you need to give your goals validity and solidity by writing them down on paper. Then, they become something that you can see every day. Post them somewhere that you can look at them regularly so you know what 109
rex S. Gibson track you are on and where you might need to make some adjustments to stay the course. i also encourage you to show these written goals to people who will support you. This will establish your level of commitment as well. When you have people who are aware of your goal and where you are going, they are more likely to be willing to help you achieve your goals. They can also act as accountability partners. Someone who knows your direction can help you stay on course. When you write your goal down and set the date you want to achieve your goal, you are more likely to achieve that goal. remember, that which goes unaccounted for does not get done.
Goal Setting: How to Do It
many people don’t set goals because they don’t know how, they become overwhelmed during the process, or they come up with a goal, but have no idea how to attain it. This is why it is necessary to create a program anyone can follow. i have formulated a step by step method to set your goals, find your purpose, and systematically map out your path to success. Goal setting is like a high rise building, in which goals and purposes are the penthouse. it is important that the penthouse be exactly how you want it. it is the best of the best, created by you, for you. So, before we discuss how to create a solid foundation to ensure your goals are achieved, we first need to set the goal. a goal is best set by using your idea of what is ideal or perfect. Picture in your mind your vision of what a perfect situation would look like for that 110
The Game of Your Life goal. There is no reason to set low standards or low expectations, so start with your utopia and set your goals using your idea of perfection. While you are working on creating your ideal , you must also be revisiting your purpose. it is the “why” or reason you want to achieve the goal. as we have stated before, your purpose is the most important aspect of this process. no goal will be reached with a weak purpose.
Strong Purpose = strong fortitude and relentless pursuit Weak Purpose = low fortitude and failure
beneath the penthouse are other levels, each of which is supported by the one directly below it. So, if goals and purpose are at the top, what is the foundation which supports them? The answer lies in any game… rules, guidelines, and steps (doable steps) that lead to victory. for every goal you have, you should delineate the rules of which you will follow. You must describe the guidelines that need to be met. You must formulate a plan and finally, you must write down easy to follow, doable steps that can be achieved in an orderly fashion. The more structure you give to your goal attainment, the greater your chances of success. The structure will give you the recipe for success, carried out by you, and enforced by you. example: Goal: lose 50 pounds Purpose: to increase my health and longevity 1. Guidelines and Rules: do not eat out at restaurants 2. Plans: I plan to lose 3 pounds per week 111
rex S. Gibson 3. Doable steps: Buy and read a diet book that you plan to follow. obviously there could be many more rules, and guidelines, and there will likely be multiple step by doable step procedures that ultimately lead you to success. This process should be repeated for every major aspect of your life, so that you have a well planned life. Take it one step at a time, but make sure you establish goals, purpose, Guidelines / rules, plans and doable steps for every area of your life. once you have defined what you want and what it will look like, you can start taking actions to make your vision a reality. You must have a solid vision and strong personal ethics as well as policies, plans, and projects in place to make your dreams a reality. Don’t forget to make sure that you keep your written goals, purposes, guidelines/rules, plans, and doable steps in a place that is highly visible to you every day. The road to goal achievement is riddled with potholes and obstacles which can keep you from reaching your destination. Just like in marketing, top mind awareness is the key to success.
“I don’t care how much power, brilliance, or energy you have; if you don’t harness it, focus it on a specific target, and hold it there, you’re never going to accomplish as much as your ability warrants.” – Zig Ziglar
The Game of Your Life
Momentum and Goal Achieving
With goal achievement comes momentum. Like a bicycle, the more you pedal, the more momentum the wheels have, and the faster you can go. When you set goals, you choose the game you want to play. once you set your goal, a goal that you have passion and purpose to achieve, your passion creates emotion, which creates action, which produces results.
as you can see from the diagram above, the starting point of every invention, business, or enterprise is the goal. When you set the goal, you literally create a real thing from pure thought. You build the vision and commit to the goal. 113
rex S. Gibson as you entertain this new vision, it will cause you to feel a certain way. This thought process sets up an emotional tone within you that will begin to attract everything you need for the fulfillment of the idea. as you hold the vision, stimulating positive emotion and attraction, this will cause you to take action. You will begin to do the things you must do in order to achieve the goal. When you see this cycle through your thoughts, feelings, and actions, you will produce the desired results. When you realize the goal, or manifest the intended results, you have arrived where you began: setting a new goal. now you are in a position to build bigger ideas and establish better goals. Thus, the cycle starts all over again. The cycle is the same, but you are now a different person. Through the goal achieving process, you have become a better version of yourself. You have elevated your awareness and can see the world through a heightened sense of being. in this way, your visions, purposes, and goals will be more profitable and meaningful. This flow continues to grow if you continue to flow with it. much like a rotating wheel, it will continue to rotate if uninterrupted. as you continue this process, and as the goals get bigger, you will experience a high that will motivate you to the next goal. You create self satisfaction because you are winning the game by attaining new heights. This winning, or goal attainment, builds massive momentum. use this momentum, and as you achieve the first goal, achieving the next one becomes simpler, and you start to get in the zone of goal achievement. This zone will help you achieve goals that you might never have dreamed possible. 114
The Game of Your Life The biggest mistake people make is to reach a goal, then take a long break and let the momentum they have created dissipate. There is a law of nature: energy does not disappear, it is simply transformed into different forms. an example would be an electrical plug. if you plug in a lamp, the energy that comes out of the socket runs through the cord and is transformed into light. The energy built from accomplishing your goal must be transferred somewhere. if it is not transferred to a useful form, then it will transform into an unusable state. There is an energy explosion that happens when you can say, “i did it!” Something must be done with that energy. Start developing the habit of sparking it into the next goal to create bigger goals. This process is about choices and creation. use that energy as a springboard to another goal. Life is a game, so let’s play it and play it hard!
No Man Is an Island: Human Magnetism
Without a defined purpose, goal achievement is difficult, even impossible. This is the basis of a strong why: if your purpose for obtaining a goal is weak, then your energy to obtain the goal will be weak. if your energy is weak, it is not only difficult for you to achieve your goals, but it does not foster the desire for others to assist you in your achievement. a person’s purpose energy is called their “human magnetism.” if a person exhibits good, strong, positive energy toward a desired goal, other people will feel that energy and want to be around it. everyone has felt attracted to someone. i am not speaking about a physical attraction. i am talking about the kind of attraction which makes people just want to be near another person. it is that feeling like you are almost pulled toward them…like metal to a magnet. This sense of human magnetism is natural, and everyone has felt it at one point or another.
rex S. Gibson Some games are played alone; others require a group working together toward a common goal. This is where a person’s human magnetism is important. Great coaches, inspirational speakers, and leaders possess this energy. The reason we follow certain people and do not follow others has to do with a person’s human magnetism. a person with strong purpose and high energy creates an almost magnetic point of attraction. it is seemingly impossible to resist joining in and helping that person achieve her goals. The greater your purpose, the more people you will attract to join your cause and support your purpose. When you have a strong driving force, it makes it easier to wake up in the morning and work toward your goals.
Life Without Goals
a life without goals would be mundane, monotonous, and painful. it would be no fun! i suggest that you take a hard look at yourself and figure out if you have life goals, because if you don’t, then you are just circling the drain. even my three year old son has a goal: he wants to learn how to ride his bike without training wheels. Life does not exist without targets or goals, even if they are undefined or need a little tuning up. We need goals to survive, but if you have goals that are weak or undefined, others will define them for you and you will eventually begin living their goals. Your entire life will be the effect of what someone else says you should be, do, or have. You will no longer be in charge of your life when you allow others to take over and give you the goals they think you should have to succeed. in russia before the fall of communism, workers were told what job they were going to have and how to live. The government told them what they could and couldn’t do. They didn’t have to have any goals; they just had to do what they were told. because they had no goals, they were 116
The Game of Your Life missing the spark of life. They were not happy or productive, which led to the demise of the entire country. When you allow others to dictate your life, forfeiting your rights as a human being and an individual, you allow the world to take control and decide who you should be. Think for yourself. Plan and make goals for yourself. Without this, life cannot be fulfilling or meaningful. if you relinquish your own self determined life path, you have no identity, and you just become someone else’s minion. be proud, stand tall, and make decisions for yourself. Self determined goals are the mother of invention, philosophy, and free nations. Where people are allowed to think for themselves, strive for success, and produce in abundance without penalty, you will find happy people. You can establish the overall level of happiness of a country or society purely by increasing freedom of thought and action. Sometimes the truth is hard to look at, but you are at an intersection in your life. You need to have a conversation with yourself and find out what needs to happen to make you feel alive and be happy. be as creative as you can and start taking action and setting goals. Goals are necessary to have a meaningful existence, so set some goals that will keep you stretching and growing into your very best!
Have Courage to Set Goals
it is going to take courage to start living a different life. reaching for your dreams is not always an easy task. Changes have to take place within you first. as those changes happen, there might be people in your life who are uncomfortable with those changes. Simply ask yourself what 117
rex S. Gibson you truly desire, what you want out of life, then set the goal and take action steps. Since your goals will be different from someone else’s goals, someone else might be uncomfortable with the new direction you are taking, but you need to check within yourself. if you feel you are going in a direction that will move you closer to the life of your dreams, don’t take a vote, just take action. i am not telling you to leave a path of destruction in your wake by making decisions that are self serving and ignorant, but the bottom line is that you are the only one that can make you happy. how many people grow up and become something only to reach the end of their lives and wish they had done it differently? have the courage to find your own path. People so often don’t follow their own path because they are afraid of what others will think or don’t want to upset the people in their life. if you don’t make self determined goals to move yourself forward, you hurt yourself and, eventually, everyone around you. by not choosing your path, you elect to give up your ability to find your own life, and that can only lead to one thing: a miserable and lonely existence trapped by others’ wishes and desires.
“What man actually needs is not a tensionless state, but rather the striving and struggling for some goal worthy of him. What he needs is not the discharge of tension at any cost, but the call of a potential meaning waiting to be fulfilled by him.” – Victor Frankl
The Game of Your Life maybe you believe that you can’t change without upsetting everyone close to you. There is no way to make everyone happy, but there is always a way to accomplish any goal. The point is not to make everyone happy; it is to become a unique spiritual being, to create yourself and follow your own path. Truth and honesty are your best allies. if you think you are going to upset a loved one or friend, simply tell them the truth. Don’t justify your actions or make excuses; simply let them know what your plans, purposes, and intentions are, and how they might be able to help you reach them. it is always better to involve your friends and loved ones in your goals. remember, goals are easier to reach if you have assistance from others, and those closest to you can be your best allies on your path to success. Stay true to yourself, follow your own voice, and remain persistent, and soon you will find yourself winning the game of life.
The Game of Your Life
CHAPTER 15 TIME: CREATING MORE TIME ON THE GAME CLOCK
Time is nothing but an illusion created by man. have you ever heard someone say, “i don’t have time,” or “i just can’t make time”? Why is this? Those saying such things believe that they are not in charge of life. They feel the effect of time. Time is their master, over which they have no influence. in reality, time is created by individuals. Time is a choice. You must choose whether you or time is the master. When someone says, “i don’t have the time,” they are basically conceding power to a concept, an illusion created by themselves. it is no different than giving power to the bogey man under your bed. Time can only exist when an individual creates it in order to accomplish tasks. many people make the excuse that they don’t have time or can’t make time, and this is true, in part. one aspect of time is physical: you have a certain amount of days or hours when you are awake to get things done, but of course you can make time. for example, there are people who can multitask and do more in one afternoon than others can do in a week. This doesn’t make them superhuman; it just means that they have mastered the concept of creating and managing time.
rex S. Gibson
“I am long on ideas, but short on time. I expect to live only about a hundred years.” – Thomas A. Edison
i have an incredibly busy schedule, but because i create my own time, everything that needs to be done gets completed on schedule. between taking care of my three kids, running my business, investing in commercial real estate, writing a book, playing an active role in my church, relaxing and reading, and managing my 20 acre farm, you would think i would be stressed out and overwhelmed, but i’m not. This is because i am master of the time i create. how do i do this? Well, i carefully plan out my day and surround myself with people who are extremely efficient and well organized. by doing this, i create time and am able to accomplish 10 times the work of most people in a single day.
How Can I Create Time?
Please do not confuse the concept of creating time with magically slowing down the clock and adding more hours to the day or more days to the week. instead, look at the concept of creating time as simply writing down and scheduling all the tasks that you need to get done by a specific date and eliminating the lag factors. You create time by looking into the future and seeing the potential barriers that could prevent you from getting things done. You then have to try to control these variables as much as possible. for example, if you have to write an important speech for a seminar, carve out enough time to complete such a project, handle any issues that may come up that could derail your focus, and get to work—don’t pause, walk around, 122
The Game of Your Life flip on the TV, or any other nonsense. instead, sit down and write the entire speech. focus instead on the end product, the goal. Today, i left the office and had seven errands to run before i went home. i wrote them all down and prioritized them according to location. i took a few minutes to think ahead, which made running my errands much easier. i could have spent hours running all over town, but i managed to get everything done relatively quickly with little backtracking.
Open Your Schedule
The most common mistake individuals make when trying to master time is living solely by the clock, sleeping at a certain time, eating at a certain time, and waking up at a certain time rather than when their body is ready. instead of thinking “i’ll go to sleep around 11 p.m.,” change your thoughts to, “i go to sleep when i’m tired.” i love waking up early, before the sun comes up, because it is the time of the day when most people are still in bed, and thus it is free from distractions and gives me the opportunity to work on whatever i need to work on for myself. once you let go of the idea that you need to do certain things at certain times, you will open up spaces of time that you never even considered, allowing you to get more done.
Do It Right the First Time
Do it right the first time; reduce redoes. There are times when you know you rushed through something and could have done a better job. The big mistake people make in order to save time is creating a quick fix instead of taking the time to solve the problem well. as my grandfather used to say about carpentry, “measure twice, cut once.” it is best to get a 123
rex S. Gibson good product the first time, because redoes can be costly in both time and dollars. if, however, you don’t do something right the first time, don’t look at it as a failure, but rather as a chance to make corrections that will save you time in the future. it can be a chance to weed out previous errors and streamline the process to increase efficiency next time. The more you learn from your mistakes, the less likely you are to be doomed to repeat them, and the more likely you will be to create more time for yourself.
Workability, Efficiency, and Perfection… In that Order
Let me be very clear: i am not saying everything is good versus bad or sloppy versus well made. i am, however, differentiating between doing a good job that meets high standards of craftsmanship, and spending an exorbitant amount of time chasing perfection. it is best to start with a workable product, create ways to do the job more efficiently, and then perfect the product and start that cycle over again. in this fashion, you are constantly improving the product that you are making while using your time more efficiently and turning around to make the product better again.
The Game of Your Life
Time = Money
There are two ways to amass wealth: make more and save more. We have already addressed creating the precious commodity called time, now let us address saving it. You must realize that, like money, your time is valuable. if your time is valuable, you must establish what your time is worth. establish your hourly rate. for instance, when planning a vacation several years ago, i spent hours searching for the best bargain on accommodation. i searched every website to get the best possible deal. in the end, i wasted five hours of my time on a matter of a few dollars. if i were to say that my “hourly rate” is $20/hour, and i spend five hours, totaling $100, but only saved $20 on the hotel room, i actually lost $80. i would have been much better off setting a budget for my vacation, and setting myself a time limit for how long i should search for a good hotel. Was it really worth five hours of my time to save $20? no. i could have used my time getting more important things done and creating more time or money. managing your time wisely is all about 125
rex S. Gibson making good decisions. Don’t over think the situation. make a decision and put it into action. Just like a text book, concepts learned early in the book are used in bigger, more complex concepts later in the subject. The Three concepts from Previous chapters that are going to help you here are: 1. first find a workable solution…you can improve it later 2. use the information that you have at hand riGhT noW to create the best possible solution 3. be Decisive
How to Be Productive
being productive can be defined as being able to complete a large number of tasks in a short period of time. When someone says they are busy, it usually alludes to a sense of being out of control. The busy person is in the middle of multiple projects, few of which are being performed well, and none of which are getting completed. under these conditions, most people tend to get stressed out, frustrated, and end up losing it. in the end, the busy person loses in every possible fashion. They don’t finish most projects, and the ones that get completed are not done well. The lack of completed projects creates a sense of spinning out of control with no clear path, and no end in sight. finally, failure embeds itself in their minds, preventing them from taking on future projects and causing a loss of self-confidence and motivation, because they start to believe the voice saying, “if you try to do a lot of projects, you will fail.” 126
The Game of Your Life The solution to becoming productive and not just busy is simple. it is called “completed action,” or a “done.” everything, and i mean everything, has a beginning, middle, and an end. We have discussed goal setting and getting started on projects at some length. We have also discussed how to systematically carry out a plan, project, or goal. The end of this process is a “’done.” it is the completed project, job, or task. if one does not complete a task before starting another and another, it is the equivalent of starting a dozen novels, but never finishing any of them. Lack of completion leaves one with a sense emptiness, a void that can only be filled with a “done.” The path to the completion of any project, job, or task is simple. There are three key elements: 1. Target dates: set a firm date to have the project completed. Work doggedly to ensure you hit your target date. Completing your task on time opens up possibilities to start more projects, which could open more doors for you. 2. Be decisive: eliminate the word maybe from your vocabulary and replace it with either yes or no. nothing can proceed forward from a maybe. When you are forced to navigate maybes, your ability to achieve your goals is extremely hampered. having maybes in your life is like needing to walk across a room full of balloons. if every balloon represents a maybe, how would you reach the other side? You have two choices: you can push, move, or swim your way through the balloons, hoping that you end at your destination without missing the mark, or you can take out a pin and pop each balloon as you make a decision. Should i buy the dog? no—pop! Where should i go on vacation? hawaii—pop! Do i have the money to buy a new car? 127
rex S. Gibson Yes—pop! if you made a decision on every “balloon” in your life, the room would un-clutter and you would be able to move swiftly and decisively toward your goals. 3. Focus: do not allow obstacles or distractions to interfere with progress. Keep your eye on the prize. Do not allow anyone or anything to deter you. it is only done when it is a “done!” remember, no one wants to hear excuses about why something didn’t get finished. Stop being “busy,” pop your balloons, and move swiftly toward your goals and life dreams.
“The successful people are the ones who think up things for the rest of the world to keep busy at.” – Don Marquis
Be Present—Create Quality
no one likes to feel rushed. People in a hurry usually look stressed out and frazzled. The word “hurry” usually implies a lack of quality. if a customer senses that you are in a hurry, it is likely that they will assume that they are going to receive a low quality product. That is not necessarily true. it is possible to create quality work while also being efficient. Speed does not indicate an absence of focus or quality. The key to creating quality in a short period of time while not looking like you are in a hurry is being present. being present is a matter of focus. it means devoting your attention to the task that is right in front of you at that moment. undesirable results only occur when you allow your attention to wander. as a pediatric dentist, i practice this all day. because children have short attention spans, i have to be fully engaged 128
The Game of Your Life with each patient. i get into the appointment, focus on the task at hand, and get the job done. another example would be a professional tennis player. The ball is volleyed from court to court at speeds sometimes over 100 mph. it takes focus to operate at these speeds and yet deliver a backhand with precision. The same could be said for washing your car, doing your taxes, or playing with your kids. Woody allen once said, “90% of life is just showing up” What i am trying to impress here is… give that last 10% and not only have your body there, but aLL of you. be PreSenT…be There. When people are not in the present moment and not engaged in what they are doing, they are being motivated by fear of time. They fear that they will not have enough time. This is a vicious cycle. When you are not in the present, you tend to make mistakes, which take precious time away from the future, causing you to rush and taking you further out of present time, and on and on. When you have other things on your mind, you can’t fully achieve the results you desire. To be fully present and efficient, you cannot be thinking about anything else apart from what you are doing. Whether it is educating your child or fixing the lawn mower, it is important that you focus solely on the task at hand. When i played golf, i found that when i hit a bad shot, it was because i was either dwelling on the previous hole or thinking about the next one. i was not in the moment, not focusing on the present hole. i would rush the shot and end up failing to play my best. if you are focusing on the future and constantly trying to make up for lost time, you are not using the time you have in the present wisely. in the end, not being present to concentrate on the task at hand will delay you even more. 129
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“The past is a memory, the future is a mystery, but today is a gift…that is why they call it the present.” – Master Ugway from Kung Fu Panda
Motivation and Procrastination
i don’t want to dwell on the negative, but this book would not be complete without addressing a few major game stoppers to goal attainment, product achievement, and life satisfaction. one of the most common is procrastination. You may have uncompleted projects, you may be slowed down by indecision and maybes, you might even be terribly unorganized, leading to a tremendous number of redoes, but there is no greater time waster than procrastination. People tend to put things off because they think they will be more motivated tomorrow. People look for a message from God, or wait for a life changing event to motivate them into action. if you wait for motivation to come from an external source, you will be waiting for a very long time, maybe forever. The truth is that you won’t be any more motivated than you are today unless you create your own motivation. Yes, it’s nice to have a partner to work out with you. Yes, it is great to have someone else cheering you on, but the truth of the matter is that you must find motivation from within. no great champion ever reached the pinnacle of his or her success without first finding the fire within. Procrastination is the perpetual stop of life. remember, if something is not growing, then it is dying. Procrastination is the stalling out of growth. it is the obstacle that prevents people from achieving great things in their life. it is usually accompanied by excuses, reasons, and 130
The Game of Your Life justifications, but if we all want to survive and we must grow to survive, why would we choose to stop growth? The answer is fear. fear of failure is the root of procrastination. as we discussed earlier in this book, man has an irrational side. it prevents us from making good choices, and propels us toward bad choices in the face of several good options. it is your job to do one of two things: 1. overcome your fears through sheer force of will or repetition of success. 2. Seek help to eliminate your fears and the parts of your mind that hold you back. only through the elimination of your fears will you be able to act boldly and with confidence.
Now, Now, Now
“Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.” – William James
Don’t wait! find your motivation, overcome or eliminate your fears, and get busy making your life what you always wanted. as The teacher in the movie Dead Poets Society said, Carpe Diem: SeiZe The DaY! now is always better than later, no matter the situation. remember, success breeds success. The more you succeed, the more confident you will become in your ability to achieve your goals, and the less likely you will be to procrastinate. as Larry the cable guy says, “Get ‘er done!”
The Game of Your Life
OVERTIME: THE SCORE IS TIED: SCORE THE GAME WINNING GOAL
The buzzer sounds and the score is tied. We are going into overtime. in the first half of “The Game of Your Life” you learned where failure lives and what causes failure to occur. in the second half, you learned how to strategize and systematically carry out the game plan to victory. overtime happens when two great opponents’ skills are tested and come up in a dead heat. Who will win? The victor is the player or team who goes above and beyond their everyday skill. The victor is the one who thinks more globally and has a more balanced team. The winning team is the team that does not rely only on their offense or their defense to win the game, or depend only on that one star player. The one who wins overtime is the one who has the energy and fortitude to go more than four quarters, more than two halves, more than 18 holes. in order to be truly successful and win on a grand scale, you must have panoramic vision, a vision which creates a stable base from which to repeat victory after victory. as any boxer, golfer or lineman will tell you, you must have a great foundation from which to deliver your power. This section will address the parts of life which can derail the best laid plan, foil the most well structured strategy, and be the reason for seeing only limited success. 133
The Game of Your Life
CHAPTER 16 FINANCES: THE ENERGY TO CREATE NEW GAMES
“It’s just as easy to be happy with a lot of money as with a little.” – Marvin Traub
We live in a society that worships money. if you don’t have it, you want it, and if you have it you want more. however, the critical difference between those who have money and those who do not is perspective. Truly successful people realize that money is nothing more than a tool that can be used to trade, barter, and gain access to more resources. True, there are some rich people who view money as a status symbol rather than a tool, but as history reveals, these people are usually bad at managing the wealth they have. The game of monopoly is the perfect example. if you use your money wisely, buying property and strategically placing houses or hotels on those properties over time, you will create a real estate empire the likes of which Donald Trump would envy. however, if you spend your money recklessly or don’t take opportunities that could reward you with a return on your investment, you not only find yourself not creating more money, but dodging the bill collectors and hoping to skip over your land baron opponents’ 135
rex S. Gibson properties, which can only be kept up for so long. eventually, your lack of foresight, reckless abandon for advancement opportunity, and mismanagement of money will land you in the poor house: game over. Chances are you have read more than one story about a person who went from rags to riches overnight by winning the lottery. many of these stories end up with a winner who is left with a life in shambles and a bank account that reads zero all because of mismanagement. many people believe that money equals happiness. i am not saying that you cannot be rich and happy, but what i am saying is that money can create experiences that cost money. money does not and will never equal happiness. many hollywood movie stars are living proof of this. They buy expensive houses, exotic cars and spend $300,000 on dinosaur bones or the like. They use money to fill a void, and not as a tool.
Why Does Money Dominate Our Lives?
money becomes a dominating force when it is mismanaged or given more importance than it deserves. even a person living well within his means can be dominated by money rather than dominating it. it is a matter of choosing your master. Who do you want to be the master: you or the money? You need to decide which is more important: living a well-rounded life, or validating your existence by the balance of your bank account and materialism. The main reason our economy took such a sharp downturn in 2006 is because of the excessive greed that exists in our society. We have let money become all consuming, the ultimate holy Grail. Please don’t get me wrong, there is no fault in wanting to earn more money, but there is fault in letting it run your life and fill your every thought. There is also fault if a person does not maintain good ethics and act morally in obtaining money. if all of your thoughts and 136
The Game of Your Life actions revolve around making money, then you are letting money run you rather than work for you. People who have problems with money put themselves in a position where they are no longer in charge of the money. They get so far into debt or are so consumed by materialism that they can no longer see the big picture. They cannot see that money is no more than a piece of paper. of course, everyone makes mistakes, but unless you learn from these mistakes, you can never get past being broke or living paycheck to paycheck. We live in an entirely different day and age than our parents did. back in the 1960s and 1970s, our fathers had one or two credit cards, used only for emergencies, and everything else was paid for with a checkbook. People wrote checks because there was money in their accounts. The only reason to go into debt was to buy a car or house. in the 2000s, we have veered so far off track because we are led to believe that we need more than we actually do. Today, people think they need big houses in the suburbs, with summer houses in the hamptons and cabins in Vermont. This has become the norm even for the middle class, just as luxury brands that were once inaccessible to the masses are now an expectation rather than a privilege. our parents lived much more modestly. Granite countertops were reserved for the ultra wealthy. i’m not saying you should not have nice things. You are entitled to have all the possessions your heart desires. my point is living within your means. Live at a level at which you are comfortable. Do not buy into the middle class “keep up with the Joneses” mentality. Do not desire so much materialism and place yourself in debt so deep that the slightest bump in the road causes complete financial devastation. it is the principle of being in control of the money. money has power and you must be able to control and use that power wisely. money in the form of 137
rex S. Gibson debt can turn against you and create restless nights and stomach ulcers. Just like a 700 horsepower hot rod, if used properly, can propel you to a very respectable quarter mile time. if the same hot rod was used by an unskilled driver simply attempting to keep up with his opponent, he could find himself thrown into the barricades or possibly worse. if you don’t have the ability to pay back the debt you currently have, you should not be buying more than you absolutely need.
“Money never starts an idea; it is the idea that starts the money.” – W. J. Cameron
How to Dominate Money, Not Let it Dominate You
money becomes a problem when you don’t know how to use it properly. if an individual starts viewing money strictly as a means of buying rather than expanding, he or she will eventually run into problems. There is a difference between managing money and being a risk taker in investments. one is business and one is personal. in a business, risks are a necessary part of the process, but you need to take calculated risks and keep it simple. if a person keeps her finances simple, her portfolio will read as follows: good credit, a fair amount of cash in the bank, and a small amount of debt. it is a very simple principle. i like to use the motto “everything in moderation.” This applies well to money, whether it is business or personal. Living on either end of the spectrum can carry its own risks. in order to keep from making catastrophic financial decisions, it is always best to be somewhat conservative. by following a moderate financial path, you may pass up a few get rich quick schemes, but you also insulate 138
The Game of Your Life yourself from financial devastation. here are some easy principles to use to create a stable financial base: 1. use cash and avoid borrowing money, if possible. if you don’t have the tools you need to build a house, there is no shame in asking your buddy to help you out and lend you some. however, there is shame in continually asking for more tools without giving back the ones you borrowed in the first place. modern society has gotten into the bad habit of continually borrowing vast amounts of money on a regular basis without repayment. Keep your conscience clear and your name debt-free by always giving back before you borrow more. 2. Do not carry balances on credit cards. many years ago, most people did not have credit cards. They used cash or a checkbook. With cash or checks, you have the money in your account: it is your money to spend. in the past 25 years, credit cards have become available to the masses. The problem began when our society lost the cash in hand mentality and began to carry high interest balances on credit cards. The interest was so high that it became impossible for people to be able to pay off the balance. The simple rule with credit cards is: pay off the balance each month. Let the credit card help you instead of you helping the credit card company. Credit cards can be a useful tool to bail you out of a tough situation when you don’t have enough cash and can be a great way to earn money back or points to spend on other items. 3. use money to move forward, not backward. Like all tools, money should be used to help you make progress, not hold you back. if you keep getting further into debt, you cannot move forward, and thus end up moving 139
rex S. Gibson backwards. Soon you will be stuck, and because of your bad credit, no one will want to help you out of the hole you dug for yourself. 4. Value the money you have. if you don’t appreciate the money you have, you will likely lose it as quickly as you made it. if taken care of, it will take care of you in savings and returns. 5. Live within your means. america is the land of excess and materialistic competition. Keeping up with the Joneses has been taken to a whole new level of unnecessary competition and purchases. To avoid overspending, you should allocate your money for different areas of your life, including savings, and keep a small amount in a slush fund. a slush fund is an account in which you keep leftover cash after all the bills have been paid and a deposit has been made into your savings account. for example, if i want more golf clubs because i have a tournament coming up, i save for it on a monthly basis until i have enough money to pay for the new clubs. most people in america live beyond their means, yet ignore the basics. i had a parent come in with her daughter for a checkup. The patient received an exam, but the parent didn’t want her teeth cleaned because finances were tight. Later, i find out that family had just gone to hawaii for two weeks. People put the things that really need to be attended to on hold while they continue to buy false happiness that puts them further into debt and can morally bankrupt them. 6. bankruptcy is not a great thing, but it isn’t the end of the world. Disney went bankrupt seven times. Donald Trump also went bankrupt. Claiming bankruptcy may give you the fresh start you need. The key to bankruptcy is learning from your mistakes. Don’t make the same 140
The Game of Your Life mistakes over and over again, such as overspending on credit cards and not paying off debt while continuing to pay high interest rates.
How Do I Get More Money?
if you know the right techniques, it is easy to attract more money into your life. no, i am not referring to get rich quick schemes, Vegas, or lottery tickets. What i am referring to is investing in yourself. Yes, that’s correct; you will instantly attract more money into your life as soon as you make the choice to value education, because in the long run, it is the one thing that can never be a bad investment. Whether you attend a trade school, college, seminar, or university, the education you receive will unlock opportunities that will directly translate into more cash for you. no one can take away a trade or an education. once you make the decision that you are worth investing in, you take one step closer to success and honest wealth. Surround yourself with other successful people, because, while misery loves company, it never makes any money. i know very few miserable wealthy people, and the ones who are miserable are that way because they either didn’t earn their wealth or they got wealthy and stopped expanding and growing. Surrounding yourself with success stories will help create momentum, open doors to more opportunities, and help you to meet like minded people who will help your business and personal wealth flourish. alternatively if you surround yourself with people who just like to party and drink tequila, chances are slim that you will open the doors to any new opportunities; in fact, your wealth will probably shrink, and you could end up being morally bankrupt as well.
rex S. Gibson in addition to being in close proximity to success, you must be willing to grow and continue to look for new opportunities to develop yourself. if you remain stagnant, you will never grow or increase your wealth. even if you work at a fast food restaurant, you need to ask yourself what you can do to grow and move up the ladder, ultimately earning more. Keep in mind, as you continue to grow and open yourself up to new ideas, never to fall out of love with what you do. The moment you start resenting what you do is the moment your customers and business partners will begin to see through the façade. The world’s wealthiest people are wealthy and happy because they love what they do. Their cohorts and customers feel their passion, and this translates in the end into more profits.
Getting More vs. Earning More
Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to get more money without earning it through painful labor. The steps to getting more rather than earning more are as follows: 1. Surpass expectations with other people. instead of doing the bare minimum, go above and beyond what is expected. for example, if you let me borrow your car and i bring it back washed and filled up with gas, i surpass expectations with you. as soon as you start giving more than expected, you will start receiving more than you expect. The more you surpass people’s expectations, the more money will flow towards you. it is not magic, it is the generation of good will and credibility that makes you the preferred person to deal with, no matter what the relationship is. 2. Good service is the key. Your level of success is determined by the level of service you provide. i didn’t 142
The Game of Your Life succeed in business by treating people poorly. i am successful because my patients are my business. i make them my top priority. Take mcDonalds, for instance. They don’t serve the best burgers in town, but they do serve them with a smile. Their level of service is the secret to their success. 3. High quality products. no matter what industry you are in, you must deliver a high quality product. in my office, we have an entire section dedicated to quality control, which covers all areas from patient experience to office environment. i make it a point to treat my patients how i would treat my own children and deliver the same quality of care that i would to my mother. 4. Be honest in all of your actions. Cheaters never prosper. That line never goes out of fashion.
How Do I Sustain Wealth?
Getting more money will become easier over time, and as it does, it is essential to understand the secret of sustaining it. The principles that sustain wealth are no different from those that were discussed earlier in this chapter. People tend to fall into a trap when they forget the basic principles of sustaining wealth, and they start making new rules. The key is never to lose sight of how you got where you are. remember, wealth management and life success are both based on the factors discussed throughout this chapter. These principles are constant and will never change. Life is not a get rich quick scheme. There are three tried and true methods to sustain wealth: 1. Look at the statistics. You have to quantify whatever you are doing. monitoring ebbs and flows in business or personal finances is critical to successful wealth 143
rex S. Gibson attainment. You must realize that there will always be high points and low points. Sometimes these ebbs and flows can form predictable patterns. as you monitor and predict, you can begin to adapt and possibly prevent the downturns that create monetary stress for business and personal finances. i continue to be in business throughout economic downturns because i had the foresight to see the upcoming recession, so i adjusted my office and turned up the quality control to ensure we didn’t lose patients unnecessarily to poor customer service. 2. Keep your finger on the pulse. a lot of people don’t keep close tabs on what is going on in their business or personal finances. it can be time consuming and arduous. i wish i had a nickel for every time i heard another business owner say, “i wish it would just run itself.” businesses can run themselves, but they usually run themselves straight into the ground. The same goes for your personal finances. You must keep your finger on the pulse of your money, whether it is from day to day or week to week, so you can catch the trends before you become a victim of them. 3. Always have a reserve. always have a certain amount of savings set aside for rough times. This is the best way to weather any storms and be prepared for the surprises that life throws at you. a safe number is to set 5% of all earnings aside in a reserve account. This is a savings account, and that money is not to be touched except in the case of a true emergency. money is just a piece of paper—a simple tool that can be used, exchanged, and manipulated to provide you with a better life. it is critical to remember that you must not become a slave to a piece of paper; instead, you must be its master by controlling how much you spend in relation to how much you earn. 144
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CHAPTER 17 BUSINESS: BUILDING YOUR FAN BASE FOR SUCCESS
Some businesses are good; others are great. Then there are those that are truly outstanding. We live in an age when every industry is becoming more technologically advanced and competitive. in the past, it was enough for businesses to rely on word of mouth or local advertising, but this has changed. With the emergence of social media and a much smaller global marketplace, it is often difficult for a business to determine which course of action can help foster growth and success and which course will distract from the main philosophies of the business. i have taken a close look at my own business, and in doing so have come up with the principal tenants of my business. i am firmly committed to these principles, regardless of how much the marketplace changes or technology advances. although these principles are specific to my pediatric dental office, i believe they can be applied to any business.
“You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.” – Zig Ziglar
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Treat Others As You Expect to Be Treated
This is one of those principles that seem to be promised far too often and delivered far too little. it is the simplest rules to live by which can have the largest impact. always ask yourself, “how would i like to be treated in this situation?” if you answer the question, then actually follow through with that answer, and you will never go wrong. by following this principle closely, i am able to sleep well at night and know that i have done my very best for the people i serve. once i had a patient, a 7-year-old girl, who strongly objected to having treatment. her mother was frustrated, my assistant didn’t know what to do, and the girl was getting more and more nervous by the minute. So, before asking the girl to sit or lie down, i just talked to her like a human being. i didn’t command her or tell her what to do. i addressed her unwillingness, helped her understand why we had to do the procedure, and gave her alternatives. i took the time to do it right, and she finally sat down, we did the treatment, and she didn’t make a peep. at the end, i got a high-five and a big hug, and everyone was happy. i treated that girl the way i would have wanted to be treated. This principle applies to paying customers and close friends. i have had clients appeal to me who have run into hard times. how would i want to be treated by if i were in their shoes? i help a lot of people and donate services, tens of thousands of dollars’ worth every year, to needy people in central oregon. much of my philanthropy goes unrecognized outside of my office, but that does not stop me from continuing to donate my 146
The Game of Your Life time and services. if the roles were reversed, i would hope that someone would help me, so that is what i do. i went into my field to help people, and i am in business to help as many people as possible. This principle also applies to standing behind your work. a person really has only one person to answer to: himself. We have discussed personal integrity in previous chapters, and this is where it is applied in business. When confronted with correcting a situation, or fixing a broken product, one simply needs to ask, “how would i want to be treated?” if every business owner understood and applied this simple, yet highly effective technique, customers would beat a path to their door. i stand beside my work and treat my clients as i would want to be treated. This is how i have built my practice brick by brick. i give my patients great care so they can have an experience that is far better than their parent could ever have had. i strive to be the dentist a parent wishes they had as a child.
Keep It Simple and Do What You Do Best
The best things in life are not complicated and not hard to understand. using a business model that stresses simplicity is always best. i do not practice extravagance in my office. i check, clean, maintain, and fix teeth as necessary. i advise on the eruption of baby teeth and give recommendations on how to help permanent teeth come in properly. and finally, i give advice on how and where to get problems fixed that fall outside of my range of expertise. my practice is built on the nuts and bolts—the reading, writing, and arithmetic, if you will, of dentistry. it is too difficult to be good at everything. as a wise man once said, “a Jack 147
rex S. Gibson of all trades is a master of none.” Know your limitations and do business within those parameters.
If You Advertise It, You Must Live Up to It
People see through false claims quickly. You can’t say you cook the best burger in town and deliver a dried up old patty with soggy lettuce on a stale bun. You have to actually serve the best burger in town! mcDonald’s is a great example because they deliver exactly what they advertise. They claim they deliver fast food and good service—not stellar service, but good service—and this is what they deliver. Your claim must match your performance. You message must be congruent with your service.
Treat Every Customer Like a Member of Your Family
This point is very simple, but it is number one in my practice. if i’m working on a child, i look at that child as if he or she were my own son or daughter. When a patient walks in for treatment, i instantly imagine my three- and five-year-old children. i consider how i would approach them, not only from a behavioral or emotional standpoint, but also regarding treatment. if there is a small cavity, for example, would i fix it, or would i provide treatment methods that would slow it down? i sleep easily knowing that i treat every child as though he or she is the most important child in the world to me. This perspective gives me the confidence to stand tall when i talk to parents. i don’t always have the luxury of telling parents that their children have no cavities, but when i explain the recommended treatment, i stress 148
The Game of Your Life that if the child were mine, i would fix the cavity, despite my emotions. This perspective not only gives me a great foundation to stand on, but also allows me to keep my integrity. every business should utilize this concept. Let’s pretend i own a restaurant. if my mother and father were to come into my restaurant, i would make sure to go above and beyond to give them extra special service. The concept is simple: if you would give extra special service to your family, you should treat your clients with the same TLC. anyone who is willing to spend their hard earned money on your business deserves to be treated with the best service you can provide. This technique is what separates average businesses from outstanding businesses. Treating every customer as you would treat your family ensures that everyone receives excellent care. it also levels the playing field to assure that you are not playing favorites. Treat everyone with the same wonderful, caring attention—everyone.
Don’t Take Anything for Granted
if you do not value what you have, there is no point in getting more. moving forward and thinking of ways you can improve your business and yourself does not mean you should neglect the great things you already have. appreciate those great things and look for ways to make them even greater. once you start taking things in your life for granted, your personal and business life will fall into dangerous territory. imagine always believing that your spouse will be there for you, regardless of how you treat him or her. That would be dangerous, because it’s likely that if you ignore them, abuse them, or are unable to fulfill their needs; your spouse will eventually leave you. The same goes for customers. as 149
rex S. Gibson soon as you automatically expect them to give you business without your appreciation, they will leave you. The key is to appreciate each and every customer as if they are your first, and potentially your last.
Giving More Than Expected and Provide Good Value for Your Services
i want people to be so satisfied with their experience in my office that they are happy to pay for the services they receive. The concept we are working on here is “fair trade”. remember when you were a kid and you traded Joey a baseball card for a matchbox car. both parties were happy and felt they got a good deal. if a customer feels that she did not receive good service, or did not receive the goods that were worth the fee, in their mind it was not a fair trade. if the customer feels that he received great service for less money than he expected, then the customer experience is great value. There are many ways to deliver a delightful surprise to a customer by give them more than is expected. Put on your thinking cap and make a list of ways you can do that, and those are your actions that make you stand out form the crowd. The whole idea behind providing excellent service is that customers are not reluctant to pay the bill. They are so pleased and wowed with the treatment or services they received that they are happy to pay. Then and only then do they walk out feeling like they had a great experience. This also has additional positive side effects, given that satisfied customers will say good things about you in the community. They will be your cheering section and will help bring in more customers for you to provide with excellent care. When an individual or a business gives more than was expected, that person or business is well on their way to massive success! 150
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Luck: There Is No Such Thing
Success is not based on luck. Success is created through strategic planning and sound business principles. Just take a look at any hugely successful movie franchise like harry Potter or Twilight. if no publicity appearances, interviews, or marketing plans were in place, the movies would not have become as wildly successful as they are. You could be the best dentist in the world, but if you don’t a have strategic game plan, chances are you won’t be able to run a successful practice. if a restaurant has great food, but poor service or a remote location, it will not be successful. To ensure your success, reach out to people who are likely to become regular customers and provide them with service beyond belief. Go that extra mile and make those people say, “Wow!” i call my patients after procedures to check up on their progress, see how they are doing, and make sure they don’t have any questions. i don’t have to do this— most dentists don’t—but i want to provide my patients with the best possible service. i know that, as a parent, i would really appreciate knowing the dentist cares about the well being of my child, even after the procedure is done and the bill is paid. i would really appreciate a phone call, so that is what i do. only fools rely on luck for success, and only the unsuccessful blame bad luck for their failures.
Have a Positive, Upbeat Atmosphere
businesses should strive to create an environment conducive to making customers and employees smile. Life is too short not to smile; besides, the average person spends twice as much time at their place of employment as they do with their own family. 151
rex S. Gibson Creating a positive, uplifting attitude in the office is absolutely necessary for any successful business. The feel or the atmosphere of an office is called the tone. Just like in music, a high tone is upbeat and uplifting, and a low tone is deep and heavy. This tone is created by a combination of staff attitudes and the physical environment of the office. People are happier in an environment that is aesthetically pleasant, which is to say, pretty or appealing. This does not mean that the office needs to be covered in gold leaves or have bouquets of flowers all over. What it does mean is that the office should be appealing to the senses. it must look clean and tidy. it must smell fresh or, in the case of a restaurant, like good food. The staff should be well dressed and appear professional. This all contributes to the physical tone of an environment. mastery of tone comes when a business owner can take a place commonly associated with unpleasant memories and turn it into a fun and inviting environment. in my dental office, i have videogames throughout the office for kids to play, and there are televisions playing movies for kids to watch during treatment and in the reception room. The walls are painted bright yellow and red to pump up the energy level in the office. Cartoon characters are also smiling from the sunny walls. i applied these principles in my own office to make it bright and lively. from the moment you walk in the door, you can’t help but feel happy. of course, the physical environment is not the only important aspect of an office’s atmosphere. The emotional environment also plays a big role in creating the right tone for the office. The emotional tone is created by using a top down philosophy. This means that the owner and the highest ranking personnel establish the tone of the office. With great 152
The Game of Your Life power comes great responsibility. This means that the owner or highest ranking personnel are not allowed to exhibit low emotional toned behaviors or attitudes. i, as an owner and a doctor, make sure not to bring any negativity into the office. even if i am having a bad day, i check my emotional baggage at the front door. my patients come to me for extraordinary service, not to listen to problems that may be going on in my life. i must be present in the moment in order to provide the top quality service that my patients have come to expect from me. if i’m carrying around my emotional baggage, my attention is not fully on the patient. if a high ranking person in an office is chipper and upbeat, it has a trickle down effect that diffuses to the entire staff, and is subsequently felt by the customers. Since customers and patients work with multiple people in an office before leaving, the same rules i have for myself apply to the entire staff. “natter” is defined in the world book dictionary as grumbling or fretting. natter is the discussion subjects such as family problems, stock market drops, or pets dying where there is no positive end result or action step as a target for the conversation. The result i am pointing out here is actually destructive, and that is the lowering of the mood of a group plus wasting of time. We all have problems, losses, and unfortunate circumstances. Some people choose to broadcast them to those around them, to “gain understanding”, but they fail to realize they bring others down. Conversations in my office are supposed to be upbeat and cheerful. if a negative conversation must take place, i have established a “negative zone.” if someone is having a negative conversation, the office policy is that they go to that area to have the conversation and then come back with a positive attitude. This way, the conversation will not have an influence on the customers or other personnel. 153
rex S. Gibson being around someone who is so happy can be slightly annoying, but if you are around that person long enough, you will start to be happy too. if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em! They drag you into a better mood—despite occasional kicking and screaming—because emotions and moods are contagious. it is important that the only feeling we spread in the office is happiness. it is important for any successful business to remember 1) why they are there, and 2) who they are there for. You are there to take care of the people who come in your front door. Without them, you have no job, so it is essential that they come first. This is the simplest equation for business ever created. i continually remind myself and my staff that the patients who walk in the door give us a purpose. Without them, we would have nothing: no jobs, and no business. every customer, every client, and every patient should be treated like gold, because when you boil it down, they are the only reason you have a job. business is based on supply and demand, and we must create a demand by continuing to make our customers number one.
Always Seek to Improve
i don’t want my tombstone to read “average husband,” “average father,” or “average dentist.” i would much rather exchange that average for a more exciting adjective like “irreplaceable.” a large part of being irreplaceable is always growing, learning, and developing yourself and your business. an example of how i’ve taken my practice to the next level is by hiring consulting groups to show me aspects of my business that i may have missed or overlooked. by reading this book, you too are receiving consulting to better your life and create a better situation. Getting an outside perspective allows you and your business to gain fresh insight 154
The Game of Your Life and adjust to suit the current demands of clients. it is important to find increasingly better ways to reach your clients. innovation, along with honesty and trustworthiness, are always highly valued by customers. if you are not growing, you are dying. in today’s fast paced world, if you are not moving forward, you will soon find yourself moving in reverse. Seeking to improve is the essential element in having a successful business. in fact, it is the only way for any business to survive over a long period of time. even companies like Pepsi and mcDonald’s are constantly seeking new ways to improve the service they provide their customers. i have used two different consulting groups. Different consultants bring different perspectives simply because they have varying experiences and philosophies to draw from. Smart business people absorb all information and synthesize it to improve their current business model. i’ve never strived to be average; i’ve always wanted to be the best at what i do. it’s a more exciting game to play. no one says, “i hope i come in fourth out of seven players. fourth would be great!” no way—that’s no fun! Set those dreams high and go for the wow factor. allowing yourself to remain stagnant will cause you to become bored and complacent, and you will eventually stop applying the principles that made you successful in the first place. remember, never stop applying a successful action—that is the biggest key to success! When you find something that works, continue it, whatever it is. Do not change for the sake of change. apply changes only when the previous action stops being successful. While it is essential to seek out ways to improve, it is also important to value what you have. i am always moving forward and improving myself 155
rex S. Gibson and my services, but i am content and spiritually peaceful on the inside. moving forward and thinking of how great your business can be does not mean you should neglect the great things you already have. appreciate those great things and look for ways to improve upon them. and don’t take those great things for granted. You may have a client for years and just assume she is happy and will always be your client. The day you take her happiness for granted is the day you lose her. Treat everyone with new eyes and do not take anyone’s happiness, satisfaction, or loyalty for granted. use the principles that made you successful in the first place to keep clients happy. Look for new ways to continue to keep them satisfied.
Define the Company Culture and Maintain It
unlike the tone of an office, which is set by the highest ranking personnel, the culture is set by all employees working together in harmony. maintaining the culture is everyone’s job. The culture of a business is like a marriage: even the best marriages must constantly be worked on and nurtured. Spouses must take the time to care for their relationship and make sure it remains in balance, and the same is true for managing your company culture. Just planting a seed is not enough to ensure a beautiful flower will spring forth; the seed needs nutrients, water, and sunlight to transform, and even when the flower blooms, it continues to need nurturing or it will wither and die. The owner and/or executive committee of a business is responsible for caring for customer relationships and making sure they continue to blossom. every person plays a part in creating and sustaining the culture of a business, but the higher you are in the organization, the more responsibility you have for keeping the culture alive. Culture is everywhere, and it is important to realize this in order to create and sustain the culture you desire. 156
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How Do You Keep Company Culture Alive?
answer: have fun, keep disagreements to a minimum, and only have people around who fit into your culture. it is of paramount importance to have fun with your work, because you spend more time at work than you do with your family. You devote at least 75% of your life to work, and you split the remaining 25% between being with your family and sleeping. So, while you are at work, you should create a culture that is fun and inviting that makes you want to be there to make that 75% the best it can possibly be. if you are not having fun, you need to create some fun. everyone has a different definition of what they find joyful or interesting. find something that makes you happy and incorporate that into part of your culture. it will make it easier to sustain your culture if you enjoy it. it is everyone’s responsibility to remain attentive to the company’s culture and to stop any problems that might compromise the fun and positive energy. it is important that everyone is a team player and is not afraid to call someone out who is not respecting or helping the team. everyone needs to hold their coworkers to the same values and principles that make up the company culture. The more people you have on your side holding you to the same standards, the better your business will be. The football team that makes it to the Super bowl is comprised of the guys who really pulled together, worked as a team, and held each and every player accountable. if a player is not running hard enough, they make sure he knows he is hurting the rest of the team and needs to shape up. This is called group ethics: the group ensures that its own members are up to the group’s standards. 157
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“We are a company that lives and breathes a philosophy that’s centered on not only making sound business decisions but also personally and professionally finding ways to contribute to the well being of society. We are also a company that understands community.” - Magic Johnson
emotions can get jumbled and messages misinterpreted when one team member attempts to help another team member improve. Problems need to be handled, but sometimes, in the process of handling a problem, execessive and dramatized emotion can arise. Dramatized emotion is when someone exhibits so much emotion that the emotion then becomes inhibitive toward the solution for the problem. it is the emotion that the person is injecting that becomes the focus of attention rather than the real problem or situation. We have all been around a dramatic person, who when relating circumstances, can be counted upon to describe situations with far more drama in them than there was in truth. “Drama queen” has been the recent label in vogue to describe this person, but it is not accurate as it points to women and drama is not gender specific. Dramatized emotion can destroy relationships, and is often the root of all upsets and misunderstandings. it immobilizes and alienates other people. and for some people , that is their exact intent…and for those people, you may just simply show them the door out. There are two ways i have found to contain the damaging effects of dramatized emotion in the office (this universal principle can be applied to any relationship, not just office situations): 158
The Game of Your Life 1. Consult an individual’s willingness. 2. Look for the intention of the other person. Let’s take “consulting an individual’s willingness.” it is as simple as seeing if an individual is willing to play by the rules…are they willing to do what it takes to play on Your team? no one likes to feel forced or pressured to do anything, but certain things must be done in order to run a successful business. i have a written set of procedures and policies that every employee must follow. i never ask an employee to do something that i, as the owner, am not willing to do. This being said, i know that everything that i ask an employee to do or perform is reasonable, ethical, and needed. an employee must agree with the group’s philosophy, decide to follow the procedures, and abide by the policies of the organization. This agreement must be obtained through the employee’s own decision. if an employee is unwilling to comply with the company’s policies and procedures, or they have some disagreement with the mission statement or purpose of the business, then that employee will quickly become unhappy. if the employee begins to natter about how upset they are, then the upset feelings can spread like the bubonic Plague, affecting other employees and potentially bringing down the tone of the office. i monitor my staff ’s actions and attitudes to see if there is someone who acts like a plague on the positivity of the practice. if i find such a person, i quietly and discreetly pull that person to the side and have a frank conversation about his willingness to be a part of our group. if the employee decides to come into compliance, then the problem is solved. if the employee decides not to comply, then he is not a good match for the business, and there will be another job somewhere else that is a better fit for his abilities and personality. by 159
rex S. Gibson consulting a person’s willingness, agreements can be reached without individuals feeling they’ve lost their self-determination. There are four steps to correcting an individual: 1. gain understanding of what is the expected or desired behavior or attitude 2. Get the individual to come up with the solution. ask, “what do you think you should do?” make sure the individual come up with their own solution unsolicited from you. if the person replies with a solution that does not mirror what is expected in step 1, then repeat step 1 to ensure the individual understands what is truly expected and desired from you or the team. 3. next, ask, “are you willing to do that?” if the answer is Yes, you now have a willing participant in your group. if the answer is no, then there is either a misunderstanding of what is wanted from the individual or the individual is not a good match for your team. if it is simply a misunderstanding, then go back and clear up the confusion and obtain their willingness, otherwise, you may need to separate from that individual. 4. finally, after you have their understanding of what is wanted from them and you have their agreement that are willing to do it…ask, “Can i trust that you will do that?” This is an important question because trust is the basis of most relationships. if a person says that they will do something, but actually do not fulfill their promise, the relationship becomes strained. now let’s look at intention. intention is defined as what is truly meant. it is the reason behind the action. The fastest way to diffuse any upset is 160
The Game of Your Life to ask, “What do you think employee x’s true intention was?” Knowing that people are generally good and that most people do not intend hurt or harm, the answer people usually come up with is, “They didn’t mean to hurt my feelings.” Take that step first in any disagreement or upset and watch the upset dissolve. as we stated earlier, most upsets stem from dramatized emotion and misunderstandings. if you find yourself feeling upset with someone, you could defuse the situation with a preemptive strike by saying, “i realize that you didn’t mean to hurt my feelings, but when you said [blank], i felt upset. Can you help me understand what you really meant?” by doing this, you can not only prevent an upset, but gain understanding and avert unwanted culture killing drama in the office. This trick is also very useful in spousal upsets: try it and watch your arguments disappear. if someone is not having fun and is not happy working in the culture of my office, then it is not a good match. Certain people fit in with certain cultures. one must realize and respect that the world is made up of many different types of personalities. one should never belittle others, or make them feel like there is something wrong with them just because they don’t fit into your culture. it is important for you, as management, to look at each individual team member to make sure you don’t have someone who is not following the rules or dragging someone else down. The old saying, “one bad apple spoils the bunch,” is very true here. unless you can spot the sources of the problems and deal with them, the weeds will spread, and one dandelion will turn into hundreds.
rex S. Gibson
“Setting an example is not the main means of influencing another, it is the only means.” - Albert Einstein
i love the saying, “you deserve what you tolerate.” if you constantly tolerate someone performing at a subpar level, that is what you will see time after time. if you allow a culture where people are always needing correction and consistently messing up, that is how your culture will evolve. When you tolerate an action, you are saying that action is okay, so it will continue. if you tolerate something, you deserve it—that is it.
finally, the best way to create and maintain culture in an office is by setting a good example. i never ask anyone to do something i would not do myself. i also make sure i live up to the high standards i set for the practice, no matter the circumstances. i’ve had plenty of crummy days, but i check my baggage at the door and walk into the office with a smile on my face and make the best of it. i make sure i am always setting a good example for my staff. i couldn’t very well ask them to leave their problems out of the office if i were always complaining about my life at work, so i make sure to act the way i want them to act.
The Game of Your Life
CHAPTER 18 SPIRITUALITY: THE GAME THAT SETS YOU FREE
Sports icons and successful people are seen by many as god like. of course they are not, but the most successful athletes and businessmen have firm roots in their spiritual beliefs. as discussed at the beginning of overtime, no powerful action can come from an unstable base. a firm belief in your spirituality creates the unshakable base from which you can launch your most powerful plans and deliver the most precision actions while knowing Who You are and WhaT You STanD for. man has always used religion and faith to connect to the divine. in every culture, belief systems stress the importance of looking beyond one’s physical being and connecting with a deeper force. Looking beyond one’s existing circumstances makes room for what can only be referred to as one’s spiritual path. a spiritual path can be defined as searching for a constant internal force that brings strength even in times of great conflict and turmoil. it is that one thing that really brings you peace and solace, and instills an unshakeable belief that all things will eventually work out for the best. regardless of how hopeless your current situation may be, your spiritual path will give you strength. one of the most important ways that a spiritual path accomplishes this is by instilling feelings of togetherness. for instance, the belief in a 163
rex S. Gibson bigger order gives a sense of connection and motivates you during dark times. it is about discovering who you are in terms of your purpose in the larger scheme of life. each individual is responsible for defining his or her own spiritual path, based on their observations and experiences. Spirituality is something that is extremely personal—that is why it is protected under our constitution. Some people form their spiritual values and beliefs at an early age, while others take longer to form their beliefs. over the years, i have studied the major religions of the world and come to the conclusion that all religions basically have the same intention: trying to keep people moral and ethical. Despite the superficial differences between major world religions, they all give people the sense that they are connected to something bigger than themselves. all major world religions and their leaders—the Pope, Dalai Lama, muhammad, Jesus—stress a similar theme: humility, honesty, good will toward others, and belief in a creator.
“In order to experience everyday spirituality, we need to remember that we are spiritual beings spending some time in a human body.” – Barbara De Angelis
Using Religion to Make Other People Wrong
i find it necessary to cover this point before going any further in this chapter: it is human nature to want to be right—the more right you are, the higher your chances to live a long and happy life. This is the 164
The Game of Your Life reason that there have been so many religious wars. This is the reason that people strap bombs to their bodies and blow innocent people up on a bus. This is the reason evangelicals chastise others for their beliefs. but, the reality is simple: All religions share the same core values; they just use different language to teach the same lessons. The difference comes in the form of human evaluation…human interpretation. as Shakespeare said, to err is human. it is the way that we interpret the written word that creates conflict among religions. in our attempt to be right, we make other people wrong. When you make someone else wrong, you have a tendency to upset the other person because, like you, they think they are right and you are wrong. Get it? i had a conversation with my mother the other day, and the conversation turned to the concept of unconditional love. i was using the words non-judgemental, and she was using the words “Grace”. We were both speaking of the same concept…love without making others wrong. With this love came non judgment, which kept us from making others wrong. You see, loving unconditionally, being non judgmental, and acting with “Grace” all mean loving without judgment—they are three different ways to say the same thing, and i’m sure there are many more ways to say it. Stop requiring others to use your language and instead find the common concepts and intentions behind their words. Seek to understand others and their intentions and you will find that you are a better person in the eyes and doctrine of your own religion.
rex S. Gibson We can argue until the cows come home about who is right, and which religion is right, but that will go nowhere fast. Look for the goodness in others and find the intentions behind their actions. religious beliefs are meant to be personal and individual. each person has the right to be right, so love unconditionally, love without judgment, and don’t make others’ beliefs wrong.
What is Spiritual Awakening or Enlightenment?
my questions, studies, and observations have all led me to realize that i am a spiritual being, and that life has a deeper meaning beyond the surface level. This realization was the beginning of my spiritual enlightenment. my spiritual awakening came with the realization that i am much more than the body i walk around in. Life is a game, and we play that game with a body, but the soul or spiritual being is what and who we really are. Since the soul and body must coexist, it is important to find balance. You need to accept that you can either choose to participate in life fully and take responsibility for all things that happen to you, or you can become a victim. only when you start to accept both aspects of your being, physical and spiritual, can your life come into harmony. Think back to when you achieved a really big goal. Can you recall feeling bigger than your body? That sensation is you, your spirit. Your spirit can be immense and can do things that your body alone cannot accomplish. This does not mean that you should concentrate only on the spiritual aspect. You need your body. You can’t just teleport to places—we’re not in Star Trek—but you must find a way for both aspects to coexist. 166
The Game of Your Life in order to make sure body and spirit are in harmony, it is critical to stay away from negative forces that weigh you down. if you have ever had the sensation that you feel small and that people’s opinions are crushing your wellbeing, you know what i’m talking about. To avoid this, you need to remain strong enough to stay above all of these outside influences. Stay outside of people’s opinions. You need to stop listening to depressing news about the economy, the stock market, and the people who cause you unnecessary stress on the drive home from work. a useful motto to help guide you through life is, “Play the game above the bar.” To obtain any form of real spirituality, one must maintain a high moral and ethical level. hence, play above the bar. it does not matter what god you pray to or what religion you subscribe to: the knowledge of right and wrong must be your core value. inner peace comes from finding your spiritual path. You must own up to making yourself a better person for real or the path is not being traveled honestly. You must be the author of life…your spiritual life. if the key to your success is daily prayer or meditation using yoga, use that as a vehicle to reach your goal of balance. People who are truly aware always behave in the same manner, regardless of religion. The Pope and the Dalai Lama, despite their different religious creeds, share similar behaviors and outlooks on life. They are all well above the bar and are unconcerned with what other people say or do. That is my definition of an enlightened spiritual being. They practice unconditional love as a first value, and that gives them the tolerance to understand any man or women of any race, color, creed or religion. from understanding all other relational problems can be absolved.
rex S. Gibson
How to Find Your Spiritual Path
1. Always ask questions. ask questions, but at the same time acknowledge that others have the right to hold their own beliefs. When it comes to spiritual paths, whatever you truly believe is truth for you. never allow someone to invalidate your beliefs and likewise, never invalidate anyone else’s beliefs. Just like anything else in life, if something does not make sense, ask questions and seek answers. Seek to understand it, not judge it. You should not ask a question to which you are not willing to hear the answer. along with being willing to hear the answer, you must also be willing to accept the fact that that answer may change your entire viewpoint. The bottom line is: what is true for you is true for you. investigate all avenues. When you find one that doesn’t work for you, look for another. There may be courses on religions of the world at your local community college that can help you sort out questions about each religion and its belief system. i suggest you go to different churches and speak to many people about different religions. Keep your eyes open and be willing to accept truth when and where you find it. 2. Explore your path. Start exploring your spiritual path. ask more questions and see if what you find brings you to a place of feeling bigger. When an individual has a feeling of greater personal power and freedom, he or she is experiencing the sensation of feeling bigger. it is the sensation of being unstoppable, indestructible, but also kinder, more tolerant, more understand, less likely to be a victim to people and things, and most of all, more loving in general. You are using a spiritual path to build a better you. 168
The Game of Your Life 3. Explore deeper. if it makes you feel right, then go for more. You know the path is right when you feel like a better person for simply being on that path. it takes courage to hold your own beliefs and have conviction despite what others say. You will never be a complete spiritual being until you are convinced of it, despite what your family or next door neighbor might say. real spiritual enlightenment is found when you can listen to others’ religious beliefs without invalidating them or believing they invalidate your own. reading a book about the Dalai Lama does not make you a buddhist. Likewise, reading hitler’s manifesto doesn’t automatically make someone a nazi (so long as they don’t blindly accept whatever they’re reading). open eyes, open mind. if you can’t investigate, then you either need to dig deeper into your own religion, or you need to start searching for a new path. 4. Tests are a normal part of the spiritual path. When you find your own spiritual path, that does not mean you should no longer test your beliefs. if a spiritual path is right for you, it should remain true despite the circumstances surrounding you. for example, a mathematical theory does not become law until it holds true no matter the mathematical question it is used in; the same can be said for your spiritual path. The more your path is tested, the stronger it becomes. The more often it holds true, the stronger your beliefs will become. religion is meant to fulfill you, and if you only practice or believe in something because “it’s the right thing to do,” or “that’s how i was raised,” or “my mother would be angry if i didn’t believe” then you are living a false life. That is the saddest existence someone can have, living a lie and believing someone else’s truth while ignoring their own.
rex S. Gibson 5. Start looking into yourself. Truly look into your core and confront questions like, “What am i about?” “What am i doing?” “What is my purpose?” “What is my real reason for being here?” There is no one religion that is right for every person. religious freedom gives individuals the right to hold their own beliefs. The biggest key is having something that you believe to your very core, despite possible repercussions. When you find your truth, your inner power starts to become bigger and bolder, and you become full of purpose. You need to find your basic purpose, not one that focuses on making the rent check or car payment or mortgage, but the basic purpose for why you are here. if you don’t find that one thing, you will never be fulfilled or happy. People tend to give up after looking in one or two places. They turn to what is socially acceptable or what their parents hold true instead of considering whether it is their own belief. Don’t misunderstand me: it is absolutely fine to believe as your friends or parents do, as long as you truly hold those beliefs as yours. it takes strength and courage to seek out and stand up for what you believe to be true. You are entitled to your opinion as long as you find happiness and your own truth without harming others along the way. 6. Make spirituality a part of your daily life. as previously mentioned, it doesn’t matter what vehicle you use to get in touch with your spiritual side; the important thing is using that vehicle to reach your end goal. Whether you use meditation or prayer, handling snakes or dancing at midnight, as long as it helps you to find inner power and peace, then you need to make it a part of your daily life. religion and spirituality is not for convenience; it should run to the core of your being. People who do not make time for their spiritual practice are missing a truly rich part of living.
The Game of Your Life 7. Practice your spiritual beliefs honestly. Just like the rules of driving or baseball, spiritual and religious rules are rules. all religions have basic rules that need to be followed, and people who break the rules will never be highly spiritual. You cannot break even minor moral or ethical laws because you will always find yourself trying to apologize for something. if you look at the basic tenets of the major world religions, you will find that they are all very similar: kindness, respect, humility, service, generosity, altruism, etc. They are the same things your parents taught you as a child: don’t lie, don’t cheat, don’t steal, don’t murder. The rule that cheaters never prosper is probably the most basic truth when it comes to spirituality. You can’t break the rules and hurt others while on an upward spiritual path. i am not saying that you are not entitled to make mistakes—we are human— what i am saying is to keep your intentions true. breaking your religious beliefs should be the exception, not the rule. Keep your morals in line, practice your tenets with conviction, and create the least amount of harm while living a full and fruitful life.
“Great men are they who see that the spiritual is stronger than any material force, that thoughts rule the world.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
The Importance of Finding Your Spiritual Path
i encourage people to find their own spiritual paths during a time when our society’s core values have slipped, crime is up, and divorce rates are at an all time high. as our society slowly and unsuspectingly slides down a slippery slope of moral corruption, as our society’s moral compass is in need of repair, now is the time to seek out and hold firm 171
rex S. Gibson the faith in your religious views. it is in these deep seated beliefs where real purpose lives. Without deep, personal purpose, you may be missing the basic reason for our existence. finding your spiritual path will lead you to greater inner power and peace. People who are never content are those who have not found a good spiritual path and are always questioning the validity of their lives. a lot of depression comes from people not really knowing what their spiritual path is. i don’t know how someone could be depressed or sad if they possess certainty of spiritual beliefs. it is not possible to have feelings of emptiness if you are firm in your spiritual beliefs. There are times when people make the mistake of substituting their spirituality for drugs in order to make sense of their lives and find peace. if your mind is clouded with chemicals, your ability to find spiritual peace is inhibited. When i feel very spiritually at peace, i feel like i am in an altered state: a self generated high that won’t get me a Dui. as a final point, remember that the book is called “The Game of Your Life.” So many people have pondered the mysteries of life, the “who am i?” and “why are we here?” Seek your answers in your path toward spiritual freedom. Greatness comes in a package, and finding your spiritual path is a key ingredient to creating a complete package. You don’t have much choice as to whether you are going to play the game of life or not, so you might as well find the answers to “who am i?” and “why am i here?” The answers may create rejuvenated purposes for playing the game of life, but if nothing else, you have found the stable base from which to play the game…rock solid.
“Spiritual cowardice is not only weakness but wickedness.” – J. B. Gambrell
The Game of Your Life Your spiritual path is never something you put off and do tomorrow. Tomorrow is too late. i watched a kids’ movie called Kung fu Panda, and in that movie master ugway says, “The past is a memory, the future is a mystery, and today is a gift…that is why they call it the present.” i received spiritual guidance from a cartoon character in Kung fu Panda! You can find inspirational information and enlightenment anywhere; you just have to be open to it. Play a game with yourself and see how many times a day something happens that makes you think, “Wow, that is uplifting!” most of us are too busy pointing out the negative things in our day to be aware of all the good stuff around us. Start paying attention and look for the amazing things that happen to you throughout your day.
The Game of Your Life
CHAPTER 19 RELATIONSHIPS: YOU’RE THE CAPTAIN, PICK THE RIGHT TEAM
Pick me! Pick me! remember playing football on the playground as a kid? Two people were chosen to be captains of opposite teams. all the other kids stood across from the two captains, as one by one, players were chosen by strength, alliance, or attribute. no one can play football without teams. it is not designed as an individual sport. This is true for many games and in particular, the game of life. We were not designed to be alone. from the moment we are born until the moment we die, we are surrounded by people. These people help us grow, mature, learn, and often help to direct our life paths. family members and friends are often an extension and a reflection of who we are. american society stresses the importance of individuality and the ability to be self sufficient. We are all individuals, and we would like to think we can do it all by ourselves, but we usually find that we can’t. as the saying goes, no man is an island. relationships are present in every aspect of our lives. in a restaurant, the customer and the server have a relationship; there is a symbiosis that is needed to successfully carry out the exchange. it is true that we have the ability to survive on our own if 175
rex S. Gibson absolutely necessary; however, there is something engrained in us that makes us need and want to be around others. We cooperate with others for physical, emotional and spiritual support. for instance, if you set out to build a skyscraper all by yourself, you would not be able to do it. You need other people to aid you in getting things done. You need to form positive bonds with others to achieve your goals. for these reasons it should be obvious that you need to be very good at constructing relations with other people. but we must have a deeper field of vision. We must dissect our lives and see the various people, places, groups and things we touch with our decisions and relationships while we move through life. We need to take into account those people, places, groups and things when making our decisions in life. When we discuss life, we are talking about the parts of our activities that we care about and spend time and attention caring for. So life for us is usually the care for and management of ourselves, our family, our work and groups we work within. it is also our relations to our community, and to some degree our care for people we would say we do not even know, yet somehow we identify as our brotheren. Support and help may be found in the least likely places. remember, when making decisions in life, create the greatest good for the largest number of people your decision will touch. While it is true that we need others to aid us, we must realize the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships in any area of your life. if we continue to engage in unhealthy relationships, chances are we will not move any closer to our goals because there will be no exchange of benefits. unhealthy relationships are often one sided and do not aid in any sort of growth. When relationships are not mutually 176
The Game of Your Life beneficial, members involved tend to feel that something is off center. healthy relationships are based on a mutual exchange of benefits. for example, imagine that i own a baseball franchise, and i chose a player and paid him a top salary to perform at an expected level. if the player hits 58 homeruns and has a batting average of .400, helping to lead our team to the playoffs, i’d say that we had a nice mutual exchange of benefits. if the player ends up underperforming and the franchise misses the playoffs, there is no mutual exchange of benefits. as the owner, i feel like i overpaid for underperformance. That sounds simple, but most relationships are not simple. relationships are complex, continually evolving, and can exist for long periods of time. in order to ensure that relationships remain healthy, we need to continually create those relationships. When relationships fail, it means that one or more parties in the relationship have failed at creating the relationship. building relationships is like being an artist: your success depends on your continued efforts to create new and various forms of art to sell. if you create one sculpture, but never create any more, your career as an artist will fail. There are a few key steps that we can take to ensure that we continue to create and re-create our relationships.
How to Create and Re-Create Relationships
1. Use the principle of delivering more than is expected. if you use this principle, you set up a situation in which others will want to exchange with you. for instance, if i bring flowers home to my wife rather than just giving her a peck on the cheek or a simple “hi” and proceeding to sit on the couch, i am creating the potential for a positive return. This is just like any fair trade: you get out what you put in. Creating a great relationship is basically giving more than someone else expects. it might be as easy as a sincere compliment or filling 177
rex S. Gibson the tank up with gas after you borrowed a friend’s car. When you deliver more than was expected, you become indispensable. 2. Communication is key. Communication is the most important aspect of any relationship. many people believe that communication consists solely of what one says, but in reality, it consists of much more. it is not just what you say, but also how you say it. The tone in your voice and how your body is positioned, as well as the energy you radiate when the communication is delivered, is massively important. Communication can happen very quickly, or it can take much longer, depending on the nature of the relationship and the individuals involved. for instance, i can have a short conversation with my sister every few months and our relationship is solid. We don’t have to talk on the phone for hours to maintain our close bond. in some of my other relationships, i need to put in hours’ worth of time and effort in order to make sure that we are on the same page. it is up to you to figure out what level of communication is needed for the various relationships in your life. each person has a built in communication barometer that tells us if there is enough communication in a relationship to maintain it. even though every person possesses this barometer, not everyone is aware of, or uses it. if the other person with whom you are communicating appears to be taking your communication wrong, it is your responsibility to figure out what was misunderstood, or miscommunicated. how do you do that? ask questions. The simplest method is saying, “i can sense that something i said upset you or might have been misunderstood. Tell me what is going on.” This gives you insight into how the other person received your communication. You must have your radar up when you throw out communication to detect what is coming 178
The Game of Your Life back by paying attention to the reaction you receive. You need to adjust your communication if it was not received in the manner you intended. 3. Take full responsibility. Taking responsibility rather than placing blame is key to quelling any disagreement. have you ever been in an argument where the other person was very upset, and you took all the blame for the situation? all the wind goes right out of their sails! better yet, have you ever seen two people argue about who was more wrong? it would go like this: “i’m sorry, i was wrong.” “no, no, no, i was wrong!” ”no, it was my fault.” ”no, it was my fault.” it sounds funny, but if you take responsibility for the situation, the level of hostility dissipates; it might even stop the disagreement without any other action becoming necessary. The only reason people don’t do this is pride. as we discussed earlier in this book, people want to be right. The more willing a person is to accept responsibility, and in essence be wrong, the fewer conflicts he or she will have to deal with. 4. Replicate Exactly: the key to full understanding. in order for any communication to be complete, the person listening must be able to repeat or paraphrase what the other person said. Communication can be convoluted and polluted either as a result of misunderstanding the original communication, or because the communication comes through other channels or persons who then incorrectly interpret and replicate the original communication. but why? if i say something, the other person should understand, right? not necessarily. The problem is that people are as individual as snowflakes. Their personal experiences and perceptions are different. This makes each person hear a conversation differently. So, no matter the person’s background or previous life experience, the 179
rex S. Gibson key to full and proper communication is getting the receiver to replicate exactly the intent of the original communication. 5. Do not make assumptions. This point is simple. Don’t make assumptions about anything! if there is any question in your mind, ask for clarification. Get good information from good sources, ask questions until you feel comfortable that you are fully informed, and make your own decision on a situation. 6. Intentions: people are generally good. if you take the stance that people are out to get you, your existence will be haunted by poor communication, surface friendships and few deep or lasting relationships. assume that people have good intentions. if you have good intentions, you can engage in open, honest relationships with others rather than relationships based on false fronts. Good intentions allow you to see the other person’s viewpoint by walking in their shoes for a minute in order to understand where they are coming from. 7. Don’t lie, cheat, or steal, and treat others how you would like to be treated. and don’t look for relationship advice in a magazine. Seek to make yourself better, and don’t try to hide things. Clean consciences come from clean hands and deeds. 8. Appreciate the differences in people. We are all individuals, separated by our viewpoints of life. We each see through different sets of eyes, and each have a different set of experiences to draw from. The combination of these aspects can create a very interesting situation. if you asked ten eyewitnesses about a single car accident, you would get ten different perspectives and ten different stories. This is due to 180
The Game of Your Life the fact that each one of those witnesses had a slightly different angle from which they viewed the accident, and they may have heard or focused in on something slightly different during the accident. The point of this story is that people are different and we need to appreciate the differences. 9. See life through their eyes. as we just stated, people are different and see every situation with a different set of eyes combined with a different set of past experiences. With this being said, we see through our own eyes, create our own reality, and judge life based on our own experiences. Try to see through another person’s eyes to understand how they arrived at their decision based on what they saw, heard, and felt, combined with their past experiences. in other words, take their perspective. if you do that, you can begin to understand their position, with understanding comes peace. 10. Embrace the challenges. all relationships experience highs and lows. remember, relationships are a team sport, and understanding and empathy are needed to succeed at the relationship game. Seek to constantly improve your relationships and realize that the job is never done. even after a building is built, it still needs maintenance, and so do relationships. it is only through experiencing times of difficulty and adversity that we can truly appreciate our relationship with our spouse or partner.
Not All Relationships Work
Contrary to what some self-help gurus may preach, not all relationships work, and not all are worth your time and effort. i believe that if you put all of your honest effort into a relationship and it is still not working, you need to cut your losses and move on. There are some relationships 181
rex S. Gibson that take a lot more time and effort than others, and there may be times when you realize that you do not have the necessary time or energy to continue with them. The best relationships are the simple ones. if a relationship is overly complex, there is probably something wrong. Keeping this in mind, how do you know when you should stick with a relationship and when you should move on? here are some simple factors to consider when making this type of decision: 1. Is it overly complex? if it is overly complex there is something out of balance. for instance, if i spent all of my time worrying whether a friend was angry with me or not, it would distract from the friendship. a relationship needs attention, but when it starts to require an exorbitant amount of attention on a regular basis, it will eventually wear you down. relationships should be symbiotic. if a relationship requires an extraordinary amount of attention, you need to either reduce the complexity or disconnect from the individual. 2. Not everyone is going to like you. i’m not a suspicious individual, but i do know there are people who don’t and will never like me no matter how hard i try. You don’t have to like everyone and everyone does not have to like you. Sometimes it is best to call a spade a spade and part ways. The point is not to stop working on relationships; the point is to cut losses. There are millions of people in this world—go and find the people that you get along with. attempt to please 95% of the people 100% of the time, because you will never please the other 5% no matter what you do. 3. Is it mutually beneficial? relationships require a certain amount of sacrifice, but if they take more than they give, you may have a problem. assess whether what you are putting into the relationship is worth what 182
The Game of Your Life you are getting out of it. in the end it must always come back to balance. 4. Does this person fit into the definition of a friend? friends are great. friends discuss life, exchange jokes, and help each other. The last part of this is the most important. The best definition of a friend is anyone who, by their very presence, increases your success potential. This could be a stranger who stops to help you with a flat tire, or the tutor who helps you pass the test. it might not be the “friend” who is telling you gossip, or the “friend” who is trying to get you to take a break from your studies to have a beer, or even the “friend” who listens, commiserates, and gets you even madder about a situation without offering any viable solutions. remember, a true friend increases your success potential, so evaluate your friends and make sure they fit the definition. You may find that you had a whole lot more friends than you thought, or you might find you have some so called friends who don’t fit the definition. use courage and untinted glasses to evaluate these relationships and see the individuals as they truly are: friend, foe or mere acquaintance.
“The only way to have a friend is to be one.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
The Game of Your Life
CHAPTER 20 GRATITUDE: EMBRACE YOUR OPPONENTS
Gratitude vs. Complacency
Throughout this book, i have talked about setting goals and making your life better. You should always remember to be grateful for what you have. Pat yourself on the back and give thanks for the things you have and the emotional barriers you have overcome. i never stop appreciating what i have accomplished, yet i maintain an attitude that i will not settle for things as they are. no matter how bad life gets, it can always get better, and no matter how good life is, it can always be better. much like we talked about before, if you are not setting bigger goals for yourself to accomplish, your life will become stagnant. When you stop stretching, your life begins a spiral in a downward diretion, and your outlook begins to change for the worse—you start to have a gloomier outlook on life, and you don’t get out as much. The further you sink into this despair, the less you remember to enjoy life. You should be grateful for what you have—there is no doubt about that—but don’t become complacent or unwilling to strive for more. 185
rex S. Gibson When we talk about being grateful, keep in mind it is not always about what things you have acquired, but also about being grateful for the person you have become. all of your things will belong to someone else when you die, but who you are will last forever. Set a goal that will keep you progressing, and goals that will inspire your absolute best effort every single day. You are reading this book, so that must be what you truly want: to be the best you can be. no one wakes up in the morning thinking, “i can’t wait to be average!” When you read that sentence, you might smile or laugh at how it sounds, but that is exactly what many people do each morning without even realizing it. even Donald Trump, who has more money and assets than most people could even dream of, is still pushing and looking to accomplish more. he sets goals and systematically sets out to accomplish them. many of us might associate the word more with greed, but it’s not about obtaining things so much as moving your life forward and continuing to grow. Through all of your disappointments and successes, think of all the priceless lessons you have learned in the process. Consider how much richer your life is because you had a goal and worked toward it. now, this is not about comparing yourself to someone else, or beating someone else at the game; it’s about moving yourself toward greatness. it is about creating rather than competing.
Be grateful for your accomplishments, but don’t relish them for long, because the status quo is un-motivating.
When we continue to achieve our goals and move forward, we begin 186
The Game of Your Life to experience a sense of inner peace and happiness. i have a note in my bathroom that says: “Life isn’t about finding yourself; it’s about creating yourself.” if you are trying to find yourself, you could search forever. Life is about creating yourself…being the author to your own life. only you can define you, and this task is not meant to be done by anyone but yourself.
Give Some, Get Some
Sometimes the toughest decisions in life are not the ones that directly benefit you, but rather, the ones that benefit others. i’m talking about generosity. Generosity doesn’t always have to involve money; it could be your time or your wisdom in a field in which you are an expert. i donate at least 10% of my income to various charitable groups on a regular basis. This is just my own personal income it does not include what i donate through my office. i donate to 4-h, little league baseball, gymnastics teams, my church, and more. i have bought more Girl Scout cookies than i could ever eat, all in the name of generosity.
“To educate yourself for the feeling of gratitude means to take nothing for granted, but to always seek out and value the kind that will stand behind the action. Nothing that is done for you is a matter of course. Everything originates in a will for the good, which is directed at you. Train yourself never to put off the word or action for the expression of gratitude.” – Albert Schweitzer
rex S. Gibson i feel strongly that i create a positive effect through my business. for several years running, my whole office has raised money for Special olympics through an event called The Polar Plunge. We recruit families from our office to join us to support children and adults with special needs by sacrificing our bodies to the frigid winter waters of the Deschutes river every february. i also have a program operated through my office that is called The Great Candy buy back, in which my office buys candy back from children after halloween. all the candy bought from the children is shipped to american soldiers serving abroad. in 2009, we bought over 700 pounds of candy from the kids of central oregon. another worthy cause to which my office has donated time and money is Saving Grace, a non-profit group specializing in aiding battered and raped women and children. every summer, Saving Grace puts on a children’s festival with hundreds of booths and games for kids. all of these groups are in alignment with my personal purpose, which is to help as many people as i can. i have found that synergistic energy is created when i donate to organizations that align with my own purposes. it gives me a sense of contributing to the betterment of my fellow man and donating to the greater good of our society. These are some of the most rewarding things i have ever done. i have made it a goal to see how many people i can help and how wide a zone of influence i can create.
“Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.” – Les Brown
There are so many ways to give to others. Start being creative and look for opportunities to give back to your community. if you are reading 188
The Game of Your Life the paper and you see someone in your town whose house just burned down, find some things in your house that you don’t use and donate them to the family. if you hear of a family in your area that is suffering from medical turmoil, contact someone in their family and ask if you can donate your time if you cannot help monetarily. many times you can start a pool at your office in those situations where everyone donates two dollars to deposit into the family’s medical fund. Start being an advocate for those less fortunate than you.
Foster Confidence in Others through Gratitude
Keep in mind that no matter how much you develop your own personal confidence and courage, it is equally important to foster confidence in those around you. This can be done by developing your positive outflow of energy and praising others. You need to be thankful for what you have, and the most obvious way to show this appreciation is through gratitude. Gratitude is an outflow of energy. The more positive energy you send out, the more you get back. The more you praise others, the more they will think of you in all areas, including business. Confidence and courage can bring unlimited success, but like all other gifts, they need to be shared.
The Game of Your Life
BONUS SECTION: CREATE YOUR GAME AND MAP OUT YOUR PLAN FOR SUCCESS
5-Day Fast Track to Success
as discussed throughout the pages of this book, it is critical to have a solid plan that you can use on a consistent basis. This section will clearly outline the steps that you can take within the next five days to define your purpose, set clear goals for your life, and put that purpose into action so that your dreams come true. You will need a pencil before we get started, because you are actually going to create your 5-day fast track one step at a time. i have created a template at the end of Day 2 to avoid any confusion, and i will walk you through the rest step by step. first, i will give you a few exercises to complete. if you need to, i encourage you to refer back to earlier sections in the book to help bring clarity to your thoughts. i have broken this process down into five days 191
rex S. Gibson because i want you to review the previous day’s work before starting the next section of the fast track. as stated earlier, i apply the 24-hour rule to major decisions, so you may need to use the same technique. We are creating a blueprint for the new you, so we need certainty. Good Luck and have fun—i’ll see you in the winner’s circle!
Day 1: Decisions, Goals, and Purpose
Welcome to Day 1 of your new life. We will focus on three main points today: decisions, goals, and purposes. Take out your paper and write down the date at the top of the page. The first thing we are going to address is decisions. DECISIONS: The power to decide is yours. You have the power and ability not only to decide, but to change your decision. it is as simple as making up your mind. Just like royalty, you decide, and it is written. i don’t like to assume anything, so i need you to first show that you have decided to change your life by writing on the first line of the page, “i have decided to change my life, and this is my plan to do it.” GOALS: if you have read the entire book, you are probably bubbling with ideas. You likely have lots of goals you want to achieve at this point, but we will just start with one. after we complete the whole 5-day fast track, you can complete the exercises again for other goals. The second time through is faster, and subsequent exercises will get even faster. for now, take out a full piece of paper and write down all the goals you have. Put your goals into categories: self, family, groups, society, the planet, and your spiritual beliefs. Keep this piece of paper for later fast track exercises. from that piece of paper, decide on one goal. Write this goal at the top left corner, just below your decision 192
The Game of Your Life statement. The goal needs three specific attributes: a name, specificity, and a deadline. PURPOSE: Your purpose is the main motivation behind all of your actions. it is that one thing that remains constant and keeps you happy and balanced even throughout difficult times. Your purpose does not change. it is everlasting—the drive behind your achievements, the motor under the hood, your internal power. it is the reason you do what you do. When things are done without purpose, they fail. remember that your goals and purpose need to be aligned or you will fail. on another full piece of paper, write down all the reasons you want to achieve this goal. Keep writing down new whys until you feel you can articulate your purpose for embarking on this journey. Take that purpose statement and write it directly below your goal statement. This is all we are going to do for Day 1. We will give it a day (in accordance with the 24 hour rule) and pick up where we left off tomorrow. GooD WorK! See you tomorrow!
Day 2: The Path to Success Steps
Welcome to Day 2 of your new life. Please pull out the exercise you completed yesterday and review it to ensure you are decided on your previous work. If you need to modify yesterday’s work, please take a few minutes and make any changes you feel are necessary. now it is time to move on to the next part of the fast track to success. now that we have established where you are going and why, we need to create a strategic roadmap to clear away any obstacle that may prevent 193
rex S. Gibson you from reaching your destination. Life is a game, and like any game it consists of rules, obstacle/barriers and Goals/Purposes. on Day 1 you defined your goals and purposes, but now you must identify your obstacles and formulate a way to navigate around them. We will create a program for success. (Please refer to page 98 as you work through Day 2 exercises). GUIDELINES AND RULES: These are the rules of the game, the laws which, if you break them, mean defeat. These support the goal by keeping everything involved in this goal focused. it keeps those who might stray off course focused on the target. There may be multiple guidelines and rules to follow, and each one must be delineated and specified. SamPLe GuiDeLineS and ruLeS for DifferenT areaS of Life Don’t drive if you are drunk. if i have to drive, i should not drink. Don’t spend more that i make. Spend time each day with my children. Learn one thing new each day. have rewards for correct behavior for my children. never make decisions when i am upset. Check out thoroughly the people i do business with- remove upsets in advance. my spouse is my team mate, not an opponent, treat then with respect. Listen to people, even when you do not want to. Grant people importance. Do not take short cuts, do things right as it is always better in the long run. never risk my families asset basis to increase wealth. Work with only productive people who have verifiable production results. 194
The Game of Your Life Keep my planning ahead of my activities. PLANS: Plans are best done by a realistic assessment of the resources you have available. You plan with what you have, not with what you do not have. most people fail at planning because they are trying to “think up” a plan at a table, when they really need to go out and talk to people and locate the things they need to accomplish the goal. You cannot build a house with no material. So the first plan might need to be to find the resources to work with. Keep in mind that there may be multiple plans for one single goal. DOABLE ACTION STEPS: This entails the break down of single action items that are doable in a small span of time (day or week) so that there is actual progress toward a goal. it is important to get some inertial going and moral established so that there is enthusiasm to crush any barriers that might come up. now that we have defined what we will be doing today, let’s get to work. an example has been created for you as a template. (Please refer to page 98 as you work through Day 2 exercises). Take out your exercise from yesterday and, directly below the purpose statement, leave a two-inch gap, and write GuiDeLineS and ruLeS. as defined above, write one or more rules that must be followed in order for you to succeed in attaining your goal. below your GuiDeLneS and ruLeS, you will define your PLanS. Please write what you intend to do to support your efforts to achieve your goal. There may be multiple items, so write down each one. be very specific and establish a deadline for completion that is in line with your goal deadline. finally, directly below your plans, create a list of DoabLe aCTion STePS that must be completed sequentially to 195
rex S. Gibson reach your goals. again, like plans and goals, you need to establish deadlines for each step to be completed. Do you feel overwhelmed? Does it still feel like your goal is out of reach? if the answer is yes, then review your steps and hunt for any missing steps that need to be added to allow the next step to be easily done. as you move through this part of the exercise, you may get stuck and need some help. i have created a series of six hints that might help you complete your exercise: 1. Look for obstacles that are preventing you from achieving your goals. You will not succeed if you do not identify the obstacles you need to overcome. These can be big or small, physical or emotional. unfortunately, no matter what you want to do, there is always something that will prevent you from doing it. it can be as simple as filling your car up with gas or as complicated as moving across country. Whatever the obstacle, it needs to be confronted head on. You can look for obstacles by plotting out the sequence of events that need to happen in order to work your way to success, and then listing possible barriers that may keep you from your goal. 2. Find a way to eliminate obstacles without leaving a wake of destruction in your path. There is always room for change. if your obstacle is something physical, modify it; if it is a person, work on improving your communication with him or her by being honest and expressing your intentions, goals, and purposes. at the end of the conversation, the person will either agree with you and stop standing in your way, or you will need to ask them kindly to step aside so you can achieve your goals. remember, always take full responsibility for your actions. 196
The Game of Your Life 3. Look for whys of previous failures. Looking for whys will point out ineffective strategies of the past. Write these whys down on paper, and be brutally honest with yourself. Life is a series of mistakes, and in order to correct these mistakes, you identify the circumstances, figure out what went wrong, and find a way to handle them. When you look at your past performances, you should concentrate on previous mistakes that had similar purposes or circumstances. if the situations are similar, you have a better chance of using the past situation to get through the current one by correcting and avoid those previous mistakes. 4. Make it simple and effective. The best strategies are simple and straightforward. in my experience, the most effective method is incredibly simple: a checklist. as you create and write down the step by step program, leave a blank next to each step so you can place a checkmark there when it is done. This way you will always know what is next. it keeps things simple and sequential. 5. Surround yourself with like minded people. The more you surround yourself with successful, like minded people, the faster you will achieve your goals. if your environment is filled with unsuccessful, or unhappy people, you will be affected by all of the negativity. The ones that are negative are still going to be there, but you must learn how to deal with them more effectively. if they are not on board with you and your purpose, you must either ask for their willingness to help you, or ask them to kindly move aside and keep your communication with them to a minimum. 6. Who are some people who can help you? appreciate those people and gain power from them. Thank the people who help you achieve your goals and then reciprocate. There is a synergy of power when one person helps another to be successful. attract more power to yourself 197
rex S. Gibson through appreciation. for instance, if you go to a rose garden and don’t see the beauty around you, you are not really appreciating it, and if you’re not appreciating it, you are not giving any power to the garden, and are thus depriving it from any positive energy that you can bestow on it. To prevent confusion, i have created a full example of Days 1 and 2 on the next page. Please use it as a reference if you need to. This is all we are going to do for Day 2. We will follow the 24 hour rule and pick up tomorrow. GooD WorK! See you tomorrow. Date ____________________________________________________ Decision Statement ________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________ Done Deadline ____ _________ Goal Statement: ____ _________ Purpose Statement: ____ _________ Guidelines and rules ____ __________ Plan: ____ __________ Doable action Steps: ____ __________ Doable action Steps: ____ __________ Doable action Steps: ____ ___________ Plan: ____ __________ Doable action Steps: _____ __________ Doable action Steps: ____ __________ Doable action Steps: ____ __________ Doable action Steps: ____ __________ Doable action Steps: _____ __________ Doable action Steps: ____ __________ Doable action Steps: 198
The Game of Your Life
Day 3: The Action Day
Welcome to Day 3 of the new you! Before we get into today’s exercises, I want you to briefly review your work from yesterday. If you thought of any other policies, plans, or projects, add them now. Likewise, if you need to modify any targets, finish that before moving on to Day 3 exercises. all right: you have decided on a goal, identified your purpose, laid out a program to achieve those goals, and now it is time for action. Stop rationalizing and get the job done! You must be ready to change and you must be ready to disagree with and push past the “whys” that are stopping you. People who are successful have high GPas. i am not speaking about grade point averages. Success does not necessarily rely on intelligence. Success relies on a person’s willingness to make things happen.
G - Goals P - Purpose a - action
GPa stands for goals, purposes, and actions. You have established a goal that you would like to achieve as well as a good reason for embarking on this journey. now we need to find the start switch, the fire, the ignition that sets you in motion. 199
rex S. Gibson There is a law of nature: an item will remain at rest unless acted upon by an outside force. a perfect example of this law is when you sit on a tack. When you sit down on a chair, you would normally remain at rest, but if you sit down on a chair with a tack on it, i’ll bet you won’t remain at rest. You’ll probably jump up out of the chair. Pain is a strong motivator, and people generally seek pleasure and move away from pain. because of this principle, it is easy to establish that change occurs in people when the idea of staying the same becomes too painful. This leads us to a natural sequence of events: i am not a huge proponent of dwelling on the negative, but sometimes it is necessary to establish a sense of urgency. Write down all the consequences that will happen if you don’t achieve your goal. i don’t want you to sugarcoat it. You need to be brutally honest with yourself. now, keep writing down consequences until the thought of allowing things to stay the same is so painful, and you see that you have so much to lose, that you feel like you just sat on a tack. When you feel that sensation, we are ready. now get moving! Start with the first project of the first plan and check off each item as you complete it. as you move along your path to success, you might need a little pep talk, a boost to re ignite your action. here is a method i developed to break a block in your path to goal attainment.
The Game of Your Life
Boost Goal Achievement with the RAM Method
Rewards: you should reward yourself for achievements. We need to feel the perks of our success. Give yourself something tangible that you can have, touch, or experience as a reward for achieving a target or goal. You will often get affirmation from other people, but not everyone will understand your goals. You need to reward yourself because only you know where you started and where you are going. if your income is $50k and you are talking to someone who is making $1 million, they might give you a simple pat on the back without realizing how much you struggled to meet your goal. Don’t look for other people to validate you; you need to validate yourself, so give yourself something tangible that validates your successes. Add spices. Do things that give you pleasure. Sometimes during the process of goal achievement, things can get a little serious. Stop. remember that life is a game and games are supposed to be fun. Take a break if you feel life getting too serious. Simply stop and have some fun. Go outside and run around. Go play with you kids. Whatever you do, go get some fun back into your game. it is the best investment in your goals process you can make. 201
rex S. Gibson Multi-task and be more efficient with time to get more done with the time you have. for example, i like to shop at Super Wal-mart because i can get all my groceries, toiletries, pots, and pans in one spot, which gives me the ability to get more done in less time. i go to one store for all ten things instead of going to ten different stores. in order to avoid unneeded repetition, you need to be well organized so you only have to make one trip. nice Work! now it’s time to get into gear and be the author of your life... the master of your destiny... the elite athlete in the Game of Your Life. See you tomorrow for Day 4.
Day 4: The Monitoring System
Analyzing progress is the key. Graphical analysis and statistics with numerical valuation in relation to dates is best because it gives you a clear picture of where you started, where you are, and how far you have come. It also demonstrates where the program may have strayed off course. This method is most effective when analyzing your progress on the path to a particular goal. It also offers formulas to help get you back on track. for example, to monitor weight loss, you can graph pounds lost over the course of time. The other part of monitoring is modification—if what you are doing is not getting you closer to your goal, then you need to change your methods. as you monitor, if you are not hitting targets or having success, there must be a glitch or hiccup in your planning that you have to modify.
The Game of Your Life
What To Measure
if you look over what you are doing and you find a sensible numerical way to measure progress, then you can get some accountability going for yourself and it will help you stay on track. The improvement would be obvious on a chart and it would reinforce your drive and effort, however it would also show when and if you slacked off. anything can be charted, but the key is to isolate intelligently the right measurement for what you are doing. another common word for charting is graphing and we will use this word for reference. basics about graphs: 1. Graphs needs to be scaled properly. This means that whatever numerical scale is used, the graph should almost fill the scale from top to bottom (see graphs below). 2. Each graph has a specific time frame in which it is measured. it can be daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly (see graphs below). 3. Each graph’s time frame of measure should represent the most reasonable time frame for the situation being graphed. for example, weight loss should be measured and graphed daily or weekly, but is less effective monthly or yearly. it is just the opposite for measuring savings accounts: they should only be measured monthly or yearly. 203
rex S. Gibson 4. Read and interpret graphs from left to right. You should plot the graph left to right, and be sure the higher the line goes, the better the statistic. 5. As you get closer to attaining your goals, the graphical line should be moving in an upward direction. Therefore, if you are graphing weight loss, the lowest number will be at the top of the graph. if you are graphing a savings account, the highest number will at the top (see examples below).
There are 3 types of graphs to use depending on the situation.
1. Regular upward graph: the lowest numbers are at the bottom of the chart and increase as you progress up the graph. (if your chart graphs saving money, for example, on day one you have $0, and after thirty days you have $300.)
The Game of Your Life 2. Upside down graph: the highest number is on the bottom and the numbers get smaller as you progress up the chart. (for weight loss, on day one my weight is 200 lbs, and on day thirty, i weigh 175 lbs.)
rex S. Gibson Straight line target graph: This is a graph that has a straight line from the where you begin to the final goal. You then overlay your points to track your progress. This will help predict the success of the project. (for example, to chart sales: i want to sell 1200 shirts in a month. The first line is a straight, solid line that starts at zero and goes to one hundred over a 30 day period. Then each day, you place a dot on the graph aligning with how many shirts you sold that day. You then connect the dots that represent your information to create a second line. You can then follow your progress through the month and predict success or make adjustments if necessary.)
There are many computer programs that you may be able to purchase to create your graphs. You can even do them by hand on paper. it does not matter how you do them as long as you Do Them. i have found a very easy program which is designed for statistics and graphs. The software program is called management by Statistics by masterTech. You can go to www.mastertech.com to purchase your own copy and begin tracking your statistical way to the winner’s circle.
The Game of Your Life
Day 5: Continue, Review, and Reorganize
from Day 5 on, you must continue the plan you have set and start making new goals, action steps, and graphs. Day 5 is when you start changing all aspects of your life. it is also the continuation or creation of a well-rounded and happy life. now that you have decided to improve yourself, look at the rest of your life Take each of these areas and do the same activities for each. as you start to improve yourself, you will see that happiness is not just improving yourself, but rather is a holistic aspect of your life. You can be a personal success but a mess otherwise. a happy individual is well rounded in all areas. 1. Self: Go back to the original piece of paper on which you wrote your personal goals. Start the fast track exercises again, and formulate goals, purposes, plans and doable action steps to improve yourself as needed. 2. Family must come directly after you. Start with yourself, then begin working on your family, because you can’t help another group unless you have things in line with your family. You can’t be in the middle of an ugly divorce and be effective with other people. as each area of your life improves, the responsibilities increase as well. You must have a good foundation to build your house upon. Decide what your goal is for your family. Do you want kids? how many? Where do you want to live? Do you want your kids to go to a private school? if your purpose is to be a successful family man, then create a plan to make it happen. Consider the barriers and figure out ways to overcome them.
rex S. Gibson 3. Groups: two or more individuals with a common purpose. an example of a group could be a 4-h Club, a ski club, an office, or a group of people who get together for a fantasy football league. Whatever the group may be, it must be examined to see if it will further your purpose by helping you achieve your goals. if it does, consider how you can benefit that group and make it better. after this has been determined, go through the steps we already mentioned. find your purpose in that group, then lay out the goals of the group. You can have personal goals for yourself, but you must look at what the group’s goals are first. for instance, if the group’s goal is to watch football and eat junk food and you are not really on purpose with the goal, you either have to leave the group or make it better so it can fit your goals. 4. Society: the city, state, and country that you live in as well as that area’s government. You have the power to make small changes that will have a large impact. for example, if i don’t think that our government or local city councilmen are good, but have a friend who i think would make an excellent councilman, i will help him run. it could even be something as simple as voting. if you try to make positive changes but your country refuses to change, then leave. Consider what country can you go to and how you will benefit that country. There are people who are trying to escape dictatorships every day, yet most people who complain about the american government are still not willing to leave the country. You must find a society that will work for you, because you will never be fulfilled if you are operating in a society that you do not agree with and can’t support. We are getting into some really big stuff here because this is the step where you must take on a lot of responsibility to move up to the next level. not everyone can be Gandhi or the Dalai Lama, so you’ll need to set your goals and make them reasonable for 208
The Game of Your Life you. You don’t have to run for president; just make sure you vote for the president you think will best benefit your country. You can even encourage people to abide by the law and pay their taxes. Your actions don’t have to change the world; they just need to push it a little closer in the right direction. 5. The human race: It is composed of all humans, and every one needs to be treated equally. amnesty international is a great example of an organization fighting for human rights, but what can you do? Start small by helping at a soup kitchen, treating people well, and furthering mankind. Little acts like pulling out chairs or opening doors go a long way. Personally, i give away dental services to unfortunate kids. it may seem small but it makes a difference. 6. The planet: This includes all plants and animals as well as the planet itself. Concentrate on pollution, recycling, and anything that will help the planet. You must look at the purpose of earth (to sustain life) and how you can contribute to sustaining life on this planet. Whether through a soup kitchen or helping in the aftermath of a tsunami, how can we further the purpose of sustaining life? 7. Your spiritual beliefs: What is the purpose of this? it is to understand you. open your eyes and expand your horizons. once you find your path, further that path. a lot of people are scared of spirituality because they are afraid to be wrong. This one has been ingrained over hundreds and thousands of years of mankind saying, “You must believe! ignore other voices and listen to your own voice! once you do, you will find certainty.”
The Game of Your Life
Conclusion: Standing on the Podium
ahhhh…The last page of the book. The point when most people consider themselves done….game over. not so with this book. The very second you read the last word on this page and set the book down, you will be shifting into a higher gear by creating your game and deciding your future. You are at least two car lengths ahead of most people by reading this book. most people don’t even realize that life iS a game. You are now one of the privileged few who know why we fail, and how to tip the scale in your favor. You have been given the cliff notes, the cheat sheet if you will, on how to win the Game of Life. The rules are simple, the obstacles abound, but you now know you need them, and you are in possession of a step by step recipe to catapult you to the next level. it is time to Grow, expand, and play bigger games. The whole point of this book is to help you understand how life is set up like a game. Did you stop to think that reading this book was a game in itself? You knew the rules: read the first chapter, then the next, until you finish the book. You had obstacles: lack of time, kids interrupting, job, yard work, etc. finally, you had a goal: finish the book. You just finished the first game of your new life. 211
rex S. Gibson Knowledge is power. You only know what you know, and you don’t know what you don’t know. That may sound like a silly statement, but it is true. before you picked up this book, your view on life was different. You now live in a new moment in time with new information. Like we discussed back in early chapters, the best decision at any one time is made with the information at hand at that time. by finishing this book and its exercises, you have been enlightened with new information. You are operating from a whole new set of rules. You are working with new knowledge. You now know what you previously did not know. it is time to see the world anew using the starry eyed vision of a child. Skip, laugh, play, and live life to its fullest. Play games…they are everywhere. They are meant to be exciting, invigorating, exhilarating, and downright fun. because you are alive, you don’t have a choice of whether to play the Game of Life…You only have the choice of how you play the game of life. as we part for the day, i want to remind you to set goals, create targets, and pursue them relentlessly. i want you to live life with purpose and passion. remember only you will make you happy. i wish you the best. You don’t need luck. You are in possession of skill that will elevate you to new heights. have fun, and play hard. if you have to play the game, you might as well play it at your peak performance. use what you have learned and remember the problems of life are only obstacles. They are simply part of the game. finally, remember, as you stand on the podium, accepting your medal, listening to the roar of the crowd, and feeling the exhilaration of victory, it was you who made it happen. it was you who took responsibility for 212
The Game of Your Life your life. it was you who found your purpose…and it was you who made it happen. Go out… author your life... create your game… and Win the Game of Life!!! You can follow me on YouTube.com, facebook, and through my office website zookadental.com. i also encourage you to go to Vook.com and look at the exciting next evolution in books: interactive books. You will find “The Game of You Life” with additional video links, tutorials, and motivational clips to help boost you in your endeavors.
rex S. Gibson For additional reading on this subject, I suggest: ready for anything— 52 Productivity Principles for Work and Life The e myth revisited Dianetics: modern Science of mental health Self analysis Scientology: a new Slant on Life Scientology: The fundamentals of Thought The Problems of Work The Way to happiness Who moved my Cheese? The four agreements a new earth David allen michael e. Gerber L. ron hubbard L. ron hubbard L. ron hubbard L. ron hubbard L. ron hubbard L. ron hubbard Spencer Johnson, m.D. Don miguel ruiz eckhart Tolle
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