Apr 302012

We all lose momentum on our endeavors. It is intoxicatingly easy to get excited with a sparkling new idea. It is often easy enough to plunge in headfirst and get started. But most — if not all — of our important projects will hit a wall, where part of our beautiful vision transforms into hard work and drudgery right before our eyes.

There is no magic pill to take to overcome that moment where you don’t want to continue. It simply takes persistence and will power. Don’t forget that. Believe that you can persist, and you can. Don’t give yourself an option of stopping until you get to that first finish line. Don’t forget that no project’s first finish line really turns out to be the final one. There will be an unanticipated phase two, and phase three, and phase four.

Here are a few quotes to consider and remember:

Success is almost totally dependent upon drive and persistence. The extra energy required to make another effort or try another approach is the secret of winning.
— Denis Waitley

The majority of men meet with failure because of their lack of persistence in creating new plans to take the place of those which fail.
— Napoleon Hill

Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated failures. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.
— Calvin Coolidge

Zero to overnight success in seven short years.
— Optimism Man

All of us sometimes lose momentum on a worthy endeavor. Regaining the excitement and gaining momentum from a dead stop is very hard. I think the trick to get started again is to go to your personal fortress of solitude (mine is Starbucks because I just don’t have a nearby mountain peak to climb) and create a very detailed action task list to make a couple of first downs. Then pick a day to focus only on this one project and knock the tasks out in order, as though the deadline was just 24 hours away. Although I’m a big believer in the tortoise-wins-the-race formula, a big burst of action in one superhuman day is like a defibrillator that restarts the heartbeat of your project and establishes new momentum.

Stay Optimistic and Persistent, My Friends!

I.M. Optimism Man

Apr 272012

It is easy to fall into a rut of not helping others. “I’ve got too much on my plate already!”

Help one person this week, someone that doesn’t expect it, someone who will never know that you did. How does it make you feel to have made a little difference?

If you have never read about Mother Teresa, it is well worth the five minutes. Click here for the Wikipedia entry on this extraordinary woman.

Little things add up. Few people on earth make as big an impact as Mother Teresa. But what if you made one good little thing happen every week for the rest of your life? Would it touch some people’s lives? Would it make a difference for some number of people? I think it would.

Helping others is a key step on the road to your own fulfillment and happiness.

I.M. Optimism Man

Apr 182012

Generosity is a forgotten key to your own happiness.

A lot of my articles focus on happiness because I see that happiness, though sincerely sought, is often elusive to many. Too many people pursue happiness by seeking in the wrong places — most people do not find genuine happiness in money or the things money buys — but it is hard to see that fallacy when corporations spend billions to convince you that the newest BMW or a blue box from Tiffany’s is the ticket to happiness. Others seek happiness in the pursuit of power and influence, but it is exceedingly difficult to shoulder the responsibility that comes intertwined with growing power. As the truism goes, absolute power corrupts absolutely. There are many other misguided pursuits and addictions but none reliably lead to true happiness.

An inconvenient truth is that you handicap your own pursuit of happiness if you focus on yourself. Focusing on oneself directly embraces the dark side of the force. Focus-on-self drives envy, suspicion, gossip designed to tear down perceived competitors, and greed. The bottom line is that focus-on-self invariably tears down the fabric of your own character. Over time, a person comes to realize that his or her character is no longer pure. When that happens, underlying unhappiness grows and festers even if a new Porsche sits in the driveway of your sparkling suburban palace.

We live complex lives in a complex society, but there is an antidote, a simple solution to become happier over time. It is to focus on helping others. The secret key to happiness is generosity. Genuine generosity, not convenient show-off-for-other-people — what’s in it for me — generosity, will make you happy, guaranteed.

Be generous with your time and attention. As I often observe, time is out most precious and scarce resource. In truth, money is much easier to give. When you give undivided attention and time to someone else, you have become genuinely generous. If you manage to inspire that person, to help that person in a meaningful way, without expectation of a favor returned, your generosity creates unexpected long-term results. You will find that if you do at least one selfless, generous act each week, your happiness will grow and gain momentum.

Consider these wise observations:

Many men have been capable of doing a wise thing, more a cunning thing, but very few a generous thing.
— Alexander Pope

Real generosity is doing something nice for someone who will never find out.
— Frank A. Clark

The value of a man resides in what he gives and not in what he is capable of receiving.
— Albert Einstein

When a man is wrapped up in himself he makes a pretty small package.
— John Ruskin

Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle,
and the life of the candle will not be shortened.
— Buddha

You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give.
— Winston Churchill

Happiness exists on earth, and it is won through prudent exercise of reason, knowledge of the harmony of the universe, and constant practice of generosity.
— Jose Marti

Generosity leads to happiness and happiness leads to optimism. Optimism leads to success. Success allows you to be more generous, completing the perfect circle. Set a goal, look for your first opportunity to be generous, and jump at the chance.

Inspiring others is one of the easiest and best things to do. Lots of people doubt that they can accomplish something. Pessimists surround them, telling them they can’t or won’t succeed. Go out of your way to tell them that they can. Notice when a young person does something special. It takes a little time, a little attention, and can make a great difference in someone’s life. Do whatever is within your means to help, and be amazed at how the circle of success grows from your little seeds.

I.M. Optimism Man

Apr 152012

We all understand generosity at a small, person level. But have you ever considered impacting 100 M lives through generosity? This video may not be the most entertaining, but it is well worth watching and thinking about:

Apr 042012

There are a lot of doomsday people. It sells magazines. It sells newspapers. It sells on T.V. and in the movies. Unfortunately, our minds pay rapt attention to the doom and gloom because we are wired from birth to stay alert to danger.

Sure, we have some short-term problems, some of them serious enough, but they will be solved. I don’t believe all the progress we have enjoyed in the last 100 years will reverse — I believe progress will accelerate. I don’t believe we will run out of energy — I believe we will have abundant energy and that the price of Kilowatts will actually go down. We won’t destroy capitalism with too many regulations — and sooner than later, Washington will remember that a strong private sector is critical to having a strong country. We won’t abandon our seniors without income or medical care. Our country will not be destroyed by socialism, excessive taxation, terrorists, or even nuclear-tipped rogue nations. I don’t believe that my kids will live in a world that runs out of oil while the polar caps melt, flooding vast parts of an Earth that is too hot to bear from all the smog. We are not about to get hit by some huge asteriod.  I believe my kids will have a longer, better life than I will have — no matter if we are talking about health, opportunity, or wealth.

Here is a 15 minute presentation from Peter Diamandis that shines the light on our future of abundance, not scarcity — optimism, not pessimism. Peter is the founder and chair of the X Prize Foundation, a nonprofit whose mission is simply “to bring about radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity.” By offering a big cash prize for a specific accomplishment, the X Prize stimulates competition and excitement around some of the planet’s most important goals.

I believe.

I.M. Optimism Man