• The Young Couple and The Secret of the Crystal Marriage

    This story is dedicated to my children

    Ray, Eric, Alanna, Jamie and Tammy

    This is built on insights that have greatly added to our happiness

     

    Chapter 1. The Excitement and Problem

    Once there was an excited couple named Maria and John, very much in love, very much looking forward to their life together.  But marriage?

    There was a cloud hanging over them, holding them back.  They knew so many people who seemed to fall in love and a few years later fall out of love. This led them to be concerned, even fearful of marriage.  They wanted their love to last a lifetime and beyond.

    They were looking for a model to imitate their success secret, a couple whose love lasted a lifetime.  They were looking for a couple who had been together for years and who were still excited about their love and being together.

    They did find some couples who had been together for a long time, but few seemed to be excited about still being together.  The very few times they found a couple still excited about being together after many years, the couple didn’t know what their success secret was; or, if they did, they didn’t feel comfortable sharing it.

    Since so many marriages end in divorce, Maria and John began discussing maybe just living together was the safest path.

    Then they saw a picture in the paper of this couple that celebrated their fiftieth anniversary who were known as “The Young Couple” because those who knew them said they seemed like newlyweds, still excited to be growing their love.  The article talked of The Secret of the Crystal Marriage that helped them continue to grow their love like a young couple. They were still very much in love.

    Maria and John immediately made an appointment to visit “The Young Couple,” hoping to discover the Secret of the Crystal Marriage.

    When Maria and John arrived at Will and Carry’s home, they were impressed; it was small, simple, and very neat.  Certainly a huge checking account was not The Secret of the Crystal Marriage.  After John and Maria were comfortably seated around the warm fireplace, they explained their challenge.

    Maria then added, “We understand at your fiftieth anniversary you were celebrated as ‘The Young Couple.’ People say you act like a young couple because you used The Secret of the Crystal Marriage to make your love last so long.  We would appreciate your sharing this Secret of the Crystal Marriage so when we celebrate our fiftieth anniversary we are still very much in love.”

    Will answered, “Carry and I would be glad to share with you our secret, actually our four-part secret.

    However, if you want us to help you live it, you need to understand what we went through to discover it and make it work.  It will take you to places many people are not willing to go these days.

    “Are you willing to look at the big picture – not just our successes, but our struggles? Are you willing to withhold judgment till you hear our whole story and why our four-part secret works so well for us?”

    Maria and John looked a little mystified.  Maria spoke, “We really are much in love and want to stay this way for a lifetime.  If you and Carry are willing to share your whole story – yes, the big picture, struggles and successes – John and I will be honored to listen and seriously consider using it.  John, I think I speak for both of us, right?

    John said with some enthusiasm, “Absolutely.  If it’s okay with you both, let’s get started.

     

    Chapter 2. The First Mistake – Searching for the Wrong Thing

    Will began with authority.  “John, I like your ‘absolutely,’ because with the love of a lifetime and beyond, the only way to be is absolute.  Let me begin by being equally ‘absolute.’  The first thing to absolutely change is what you are seeking.  I hear you want – seek – to be in love for a lifetime.

    “To be in love sounds like it is a status quo.  You get there and you got it.  That is a huge mistake many, many people make.  Love is a dynamic process.  Carry and I discovered early in our search for The Secret of the Crystal Marriage that it will make all the difference in the world if you seek to discover a method to ‘grow in love daily’ – dynamic – vs. being and staying in love – static.

    “Grow in love daily! Daily?” John repeated.  “Is that a lot to ask?  Is that possible?”

    Will again was very positive, “With the tools of the Crystal Marriage, it is!  And I think we are proof.  The Crystal Marriage is like all crystal.  Think of a glass vase and a crystal vase.  Both hold water and flowers.  But the crystal vase is clearer and more radiant than the glass vase.”

    He turned to his wife, “Carry, would you tell them how we met and began to discover the Secret of the Crystal Marriage?”

    Carry began immediately showing she was delighted to share their story.

     

    Chapter 3. The Second Mistake – Love is just a Feeling?

     “We met our second year in college. Will majored in theology and I majored in psychology.  When we fell in love, we faced and discussed many of the same problems you are facing.  It was challenging, but terrific.  The second semester of our junior year we decided to do a Semester-at-Sea together.  In early February, we left Vancouver, British Columbia to return to Florida in May after circling the globe.

    “In late-February in Tokyo, Will proposed.”

    Will jumped in with a smiling complaint, “And it took her till Sydney, Australia to say yes.”

    Carry was quick to fire back.  “Like I said, we had many of the same questions you had.  I wanted to be sure.  I finally learned ‘you are never totally sure.’ However, with thought and prayer, by Sydney I was willing to trust our love, our knowledge of each other; and with God’s help we could figure it out.”

    Will continued, “Between Toyko and Sydney, Carry and I pondered the problem you understand so well, ‘how do we make love last?’  We agreed that we would use Carry’s degree in Psychology to define love and search for what we could do to make it last.”

    Carry continued, “By Rome we agreed we would get married right after graduation.  Immediately we started working on how to make love last.  First we needed a good operational definition of love, a huge order because there were so many ways to look at love.  My senior thesis – done with much of Will’s help was: ‘What is love? What it is not, and how to make it last.’”

    “With the multitude of ways to look at and define love, we lucked out.  That ‘How to make it last’ became our guiding light.  How does love begin and what can you do to build it daily?  John, your question is as brilliant as it is huge; is it possible to consciously grow love daily?  Here is what we discovered and – with some difficulty – has worked for us most of these fifty plus years.  I say ‘most’ because as we’ll share with you in a minute, we did have a year or so when the Crystal seemed to be tarnished.

    “When you are in love, you have many feelings.  Most of which are very good.  But love has to be more than a feeling because feelings come and go.  If you see love as just a feeling, it becomes almost impossible – if not impossible – to answer our guiding light, ‘How to make love last?”

    “Love starts when you know someone and begin to appreciate and value that person. We realized this appreciating and valuing can happen on many levels: their beauty, their wit, the things they do, the way they make you feel. It is endless, which is important as you will see in a minute.

    “Then love goes in two ways at once, agape and eros as the Greeks call it.  Agape means you want to do good for that person, just because you love them, i.e. appreciate and value them in a special way.

    “The eros means you want to be with the one you love especially because you value and appreciate them so much.  Some people think that agape is the true love, the eros is weakness. But as Pope Benefit XVI clarified, agape without eros, love would not be full.  And Carry and I were looking – as you are – for the fullest most fulfilling love possible.”

     

    Chapter 4. Mistake Three – Growing Love Daily Is Too Much To Ask?

    John was feeling comfortable because the “The Young Couple” understood their problem.  Will even said his question was brilliant.  And he appreciated both their honest sharing and insight, but was thinking, ‘How can this help Maria and me?’  Maria put his anxiety into words, “This is very interesting, but how can we use this daily to grow our love so in fifty years we will be The Young Couple you are and we want to be?”

    Will again said, “Another brilliant question.  Shortly after Christmas – with our wedding within six months – Carry and I went skiing.  Time was running out. Maria, we were asking almost the exact question you just asked, how can we use our definition of love to grow our love daily?  On the way to the ski hill I ask Carry this exact question: “We’ve had a workable definition of love for months now.  But how can we use our definition of love to help us grow love daily? ‘What do you know from your psychology training that could guide and grow a behavior or attitude in a simple, easily and permanent way?

    Will continued with obvious disappointment. “All I got from Carry was, ‘That’s a great question!’”

    “It was a perfect day for skiing.  But the ride home was the best.  Carry said, ‘I think I have the answer to your question, ‘what’s a simple, easy way to change and grow a behavior or attitude daily?’

    I immediately said with some excitement, “Carry, can you explain?”

    Carry jumped in. “On the last run of the day – in some mysterious way – Will’s question reminded me of the Empowering Secret that Ford, Edison and Dell all used to make their great breakthrough.

    Edison used it to invent the light bulb.  Dell used it to start a billion dollar industry from his college dorm room.

    “Ford’s an excellent example. His question went from ‘how to make a luxurious auto’ to ‘how to make a car that even my own workers can buy.’  Guided by this simple, even easy to ask question, he put in the assembly line. In answering this simple question he lowered the price of a car by 65% and made the car so popular that even his workers could buy one.  Because of that simple question, buying a car went from costing his workers almost two years pay – making it impossible for workers to buy – to just two months’ pay.  The auto industry exploded.

    “The Empowering Secret is ‘Ask the right questions at the right time.’  What questions can we ask and what is the right time so we can grow our love daily?”

    Will continued. “After several more weeks of pondering and simplifying we came up with, since love begins by knowing and appreciating the other, we agreed to ask: ‘How can I value and appreciate my spouse more today?’

    “And in order to make it simple, we agreed to focus on just one question a day.  This became our Monday and Thursday question.

    “Moving to the agape which means doing good for the other just because you love, value and appreciate them so much, we agreed to ask, ‘How can I please and surprise my spouse today?’  This became our Tuesday and Friday question.

    “Finally with the eros, which means wanting to be close to the other because they are so wonderful, we decide to ask, ‘How can I be closer to my spouse today?’  This rounded out the week with Wednesday and Saturday.

    Both John and Maria took notes and pondered the simplicity of the daily question.  Then John asked, “A bit ago you said The Secret of the Crystal Marriage was four-fold.  What is the part we are missing?”

    Carry – now playing the psychologist – answered, “After a couple years we realized that each of these questions depends on the individual guestimating what would please or delight the other.  So we added a Sunday question that gave the other person the opportunity to answer for themselves.

    “Eventually at Sunday supper we added, ‘What can I do for you next week so you become even more satisfied?”

    Carry continued with a huge smile, “This helped me get Will to do something that annoyed me.  Several weeks in a row I would answer Will, ‘would you please remember to unlock all the car doors when you get out?’”

    Will took the high road, “At times, the answer to this question is very positive and insightful, like ‘I love the way you sign our Christmas Card, ‘Love, forever and ever and then some.’ This seemed to me Carry was saying she loves me so much, part of her joy was seeing us together even in the next life.  Partners need a way to share not only what they need from each other. They also need a way to share what they like from or about each other so the others does not change.”

    “Wow!” John said with surprise, seeing the light, “In just these four simple questions you promoted and grew you’re three-part love daily and provided a way to ask for what you needed from the partner.  What a great very simple total solution!”

    “Promoted, yes! And grew our love, yes!” Will replied.  “A total solved, no!”

     

    Chapter 5. Mistake Four: The Part We Overlooked

     Will continued.  “This worked very well for the first eight or nine years of our marriage as we grew closer and closer with excitement.  As our tenth year began, it seemed some of the old brilliance of the Crystal Marriage was fading.  The Crystal began to tarnish.

    Carry followed with.  “We both began to feel something was missing.  It saddened us.

    “When we received the invitation to our tenth reunion of our alma mater, we decided to go back.  Maybe we could find something we’ve lost.

    “Meeting old friends and a few favorite professors was great.  But it was the invitation to Will’s Theology Department reunion event where everything changed.  Most of the departments had a special event and Will’s Theology Event was built around a presentation, ‘The God We Overlooked – Perichoresis’

    “The first part of the title attracted us.  The second part, this Perichoresis – we did not recall ever hearing that – was more than a bit mysterious.  Will, since this is your field, I think you can explain this most simply!”

    Will paused a bit to collect his thoughts; then continued slowly.  “My favorite professor first reminded us – especially me – of some of my impressions of God – especially of God the Father:

    A wise old man who, when we sin, gets angry. I didn’t picture that Wise Old Man as the lover of fun and games – especially dancing.

    “The professor first pointed out that my sins don’t change God.  God still loves us/me weather we sin or not.  When we sin, we are the ones that back away from God, like Adam and Eve hiding from God after they sinned. God still loved them and came looking for them.

    “Then, using the same definition of love Carry and I built our questions on, he asked: If you have an infinite being like the Father knowing two other infinite beings like his Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit, wouldn’t it be reasonable that there was great joy when He loved each one?  Couldn’t you say the same for the infinite Jesus knowing and wanting to please His infinite Father that he lovingly calls Abba or Daddy?

    “Wouldn’t it be reasonable to expect more than great joy, maybe even infinite joy when the Holy Spirit loves both Jesus and the Father?  Beyond great joy to infinite joy.

    “And wouldn’t it be reasonable that the joy was so great and lasting that it called for an infinite Divine Dance? Then the professor stopped and let this idea of the infinite divine dance sink in.

    “He continue, ‘If you want more about it look up Perichoresis – many interpreted as The Divine Dance. I titled this event as – The God We Overlooked – because this Perichoresis or indwelling comes from the Fathers of the Church starting about 300 AD.  This is not something new or radical.  It is just something we have overlooked for so long.

    “’But for us the best is yet to come when you go to Jesus’ prayer to his Father in the last supper.  He said of us, ‘…that the love with which you (Abba) love me may be in them and I in them. Jn 17; 26.’

    “’This deserves time to ponder.  This infinite Jesus – and integral part of the Divine Dance – wants all the love he received from his Father (Abba) to be in us and He be in us.’  What more could he give or we ask for?

    “Then my old professor ended his talk with these his exact words ‘If we are created in the image and likeness of God, we need to get dancing – we need to get celebrating – we need to join the Divine Dance.’ Then Will paused.

    The silence gave Maria and John time to ponder Will’s three exciting points:

    – The Joy of the love in the Trinity can be represented as the Divine Dance of Love.

    – Since we are created in their image we are encouraged to join the Divine Dance of Love.

    – Jesus at the most solemn moment of the last supper confirmed it, “The love with which you (Father) loved me may be in them and I in them.”

    Carry broke the thoughtful silence.  “This event confirmed some things for us and maybe more important showed us two things we were missing.  It confirmed our analysis of love was on target and building it with questions was the simple way to go.  And we can go there daily.

    “The first thing we missed was, we tried to do it alone.  We needed God’s help to grow our love for a lifetime.

    We needed God’s help to optimize our being images of his divine nature.

    “Secondly, we overlook the fact that we are created in the image and likeness of our creator.  We needed to upgrade our Crystal Marriage to imitate our creators.

    “The first way we wanted to imitate our creator was not keeping our love between the two of us.

    We were a bit selfish just focusing on building the love between the two of us.

    “It wasn’t just the Father loving the Son and vice versa.  They both loved beyond themselves to include the third, the Holy Spirit.  To imitate the Trinity, we needed to include others – our kids and the rest of our family and friends.

    “And probably the biggest thing – in the past we saw ourselves as just doing something between Will and me.  We needed to see Will and I building our love of ourselves and others as we were not alone.  In asking our four questions we needed to join this Divine Dance that has been going on and will go on for all eternity.

    “It make our daily efforts so much more meaningful as part of the eternal Divine Dance.”

    “On the way home from the reunion we made three refinements to the simple question of the day:

    Refinement 1

    Monday/Thursday:

    – Abba, help me join your divine dance by valuing and appreciating my spouse more today.

    Tuesday/Friday:

    – Jesus, help me join your divine dance by surprising and pleasing my spouse more today.

    Wednesday/Saturday:

    – Holy Spirit, help me join your divine dance by being closer to my spouse more today.

    Refinement 2

    – We need to focus daily on our spouse, but also include others like kids, family and friends.

    Refinement 3

    Sunday:

    – We asked each other: What can I do for you next week so you become even more satisfied and be more a part of the Divine Dance?

     

    Again there was a long silence.  Then John said, “This is a lot to consider to make our marriage a Crystal Marriage.  Of course it will be worth it.  Any hints to make it easier and doable?”

    Will replied, “We have the questions written in the place where we begin our day.  The first thing when we start our day is to ask the question of the day.”

    Then Carry added, “We also keep it very simple.  We are commited to just one action a day.”

    With much to ponder John and Maria thanked Carry and Will with the assurance they will give the four questions of the Crystal Marriage serious consideration.

     

    Chapter 6. The Invitation to the Crystal Marriage

     Six months later an invitation to John and Maria’s wedding arrived.  When Carry handed the invitation to Will she said, “This is a marriage I don’t want to miss.”

    On the happy day it was typical of most marriages.  Everyone is in their – go to a wedding – best.  The ceremony went along as expected, with one exception.

    At the end of the vows with John going first they both said:

    “… And I promise to ask our one daily Crystal Marriage question

    and take just one action daily
    so we can celebrate/dance together forever and ever and then some.”

     

     

  • Secret 9 ½ : Practice Kaizen

    The True Story behind the Story – From Junk to Best in the World

    At the end of the Second World War, “Made in Japan” was synonymous with “This is junk!”

    Today the most frequently purchased cars in the United States are Japanese, especially Toyota.

    What happened in these seventy-plus years?

    The American Americans Did Not Want To Listen To

    General MacArthur at the end of the war had unlimited power in Japan.  He brought to Japan an American quality expert W. Edward Deming who was not very well received in the USA.  Deming taught the Japanese Kaizen, i.e. continuous improvement.

    Kaizen – continuous small improvement – involved everyone from CEO to the newest line worker.

    And it worked.  As stated, “Made in Japan” immediately after the Second World War meant, “Avoid; this is junk!”  Today the Japanese auto industry is number one in the United States.

    What This Means to You

    Secret 9 said “Imitate the Champions.”  You can continue to do this with Secret 9 ½.  Consider most sports champions – tennis, golf, football, etc.  Once they are champions, they, with the help of their coach, have a well-developed plan to stay champions.

    Once you are applying the nine Secrets, you need a well-developed plan to continue improving each day, getting the most from your time and life.  Building on your productivity and life fulfillment.

    Why the Half?

    Many people ask, “Why the 9 ½?”  To be honest there are two reasons.  The first reason relates to continuous improvement and the fraction.  An integer, 1, 2, 3 etc. represent a whole.  A fraction indicates something is missing.  What is missing here?  Your continuous improvement, a small bit each day.  Those who believe when all nine Secrets are implemented they have it all, miss the fact that we can always get a little better.  And the person who quits growing is dying.

    The second reason for the ½ is an attention getter.  Were you one of the many who asked the question, why the ½?

    SECRET 9 1/2:
    The Most Successful People
    have a well-developed plan
    for regular continued growth.

     

    Problem/Challenge of this Blog: Slipping Back into Old Ways

    It is a fact of life with most skills – and the way you use your time is a skill – if you are not growing and improving, you are slipping back.  That is why the champions all have a well-developed plan to stay a champion, i.e. to continue growing, getting better each day.

    Benefit of this Blog: Continuous Improvement as a Champion

    When you have a well-developed plan for regular continued growth you will continuously improve as a champion.

    Suggestion: An Easy, Complete Method to a Well-Developed Plan

    Review the assessment in Secret 8 Blog 9, and take the appropriate action.

     

    Leave us a comment: What part of this do you find useful or have a question about?

  • Secret 8: Use the SECRETS as a System

    The Rose as a System

    Many people see the red rose as one of the most beautiful flowers and a symbol of love.  As you can see in the picture above, the rose’s beauty comes from the petals forming the system that is the rose.  If the petals were not aligned as a system to form the rose, it would lose its beauty and its privileged place as a symbol of love.

    The SECRETS of Aligned Thinking as a System

    So also with Aligned Thinking.  The SECRETS when aligned form a beautiful system to get the most from your time and live a more productive, fulfilling life.

    You can look at each of the SECRETS and see how the other SECRETS depend on it to give you the benefits the entire Aligned Thinking SECRETS offer you.  This checklist will give you a quick assessment of how the SECRETS are serving you and what you can do to enjoy more of the benefits they offer.

     

    Checklist
    Using the SECRETS as a System

    Directions: 1. Answer each question as you are presently doing, not as you wish you were doing.

    Yes means: I’m doing it well
    Sometimes means: I could use some improvement
    No means: I need a lot of improvement

    NOTE: you will find it easier to keep score if you print this by clicking on the Print Button above.

    Following the directions above Yes Sometimes     No Score Find Help At
    1. I recognize the only thing I REALLY control is just this action NOW, and work at consistently getting the most from just this action.         Blog 2
    Sec 1
    2. I have clarified what I REALLY want in my personal and professional life in writing and review it regularly.         Blog 3
    Sec 2
    3. I regularly select my MIN (Most Important Now) by taking into consideration what I am passionate about, i.e. what I REALLY want in my personal and professional life.         Blog 4
    Sec 3
    4. I avoid multitasking.  I work at being totally focused on the MIN I select, i.e. I try to live TIIMM: Total Involved In My MIN.         Blog 5
    Sec 4
    5. I know it is not only not selfish but smart to motivate my life by consistently focusing on what I REALLY want as clarified in my personal and professional life purpose/mission.         Blog 6
    Sec 5
    6. Using the Freedom Secret I turn all interruptions into opportunities.         Blog 7
    Sec 6
    7. I avoid to-do-list frustration by not using a to-do list, but a holding pen – that is always near but out of sight – and a priority list.         Blog 8
    Sec 7
    8. I see the SECRETS as a System, each one supporting and depending on all the others.  I work at implement them all so I get the most from my time and live a more productive, fulfilling life.         Blog 9
    Sec 8
    9. I recognize most champions have a coach to become and stay a champion.  Because I want to be a champion in getting the most from my time, I have an Aligned Thinking Coach.         Blog 10
    Sec 9
    9 ½ Because champions have a well-developed plan to stay champions once they become champions, I have a well-developed plan to continue getting the most from my time.         Blog 11  Sec 9½
    Total Score >>  

    Directions: 2. When the 9 ½ questions are completed score yourself; Yes= 10, Sometime=3, No=-10.

    Meaning of Your Score

    80 – 100 Fantastic You’re enjoying many of the Aligned Thinking Secrets already.

    More growth is possible and will be relatively easy.

    30 – 79 Good Job Progress is obvious.  There are many more benefits waiting for you when you implement all the SECRETS 100%.
    29 to -29     Growth Possible The Aligned Thinking Secrets offer you many benefits, especially in the area of optimizing your productivity and life fulfillment.

    A little time committed now will produce life ROI.

    -30 to -50     Great Growth Possible This score indicates there could be a significant amount of stress in your life which implementing the secrets will help overcome.
    -51 and below   Immediate Help Needed With a score this low, having a coach will be your most cost-effective way to improve quickly.

    See the FREE offer in Blog 9, SECRET 8.

    Direction: 3. Write the actions that you need to take so you can enjoy all the Aligned Thinking benefits you want.

              Bad News: Only taking the assessment with just hope of improvement will be a waste of time!
              Good News: Writing your commitment of the actions to be taken will make success easier and more certain.

    In the space below, put the actions you will take to improve your use of time by implementing the SECRETS.
    Then put your commitment in a place where you will see it daily.

    To get the most from my time, I will take the following actions…

    –                                                                                                              –

     

     

    –                                                                                                              –

     

     

    –                                                                                                              –

     

     

    Summary

    As can be seen from the above, the SECRETS support each other, thus forming the Aligned Thinking System.

    SECRET 5:
    The Most Successful People
    Implement all 9 ½ SECRETS because they form a SYSTEM.
    Skip any one and you lose part of your Significant Competitive Edge
    to Live the life you REALLY want.

    Problem/Challenge of this Blog: Not enough Time

    Is it true, “No one can give you more time?”  Yes and no!  There will always be only 24 hours in a day.  However, research shared by Dan Buettner who wrote the best seller, Blue Zones, says if you have a good reason to get up tomorrow you can add 7.5 years to your longevity.  These SECRETS used as a System can not only give you a good reason to get up tomorrow, they can help you successfully move toward goals contained in that reason.

    Benefits of This Blog: Optimize TOTAL Life Meaning

    The SECRETS working as a System make life so much easier. By using them as a system, you focus on getting the most from just this next moment NOW.  When you get the most from just this action NOW consistently, you will be getting the most from your life just one action at a time. And when that happens you are Optimizing TOTAL Life Meaning.

     

    Leave us a comment: What part of this do you find useful or have a question about?

  • Secret 7: Avoid To-Do List Frustration

    The Best Time Management Tip I Know

    Moving beyond the to-do list to the holding pen and priority list is the best time management tip I know – and that is after more than 40 years of experience with leaders in 160 Fortune 500 Companies.

    Best on What Account?

    1. It is easiest to learn
    2. Simple to use
    3. Can produce results within 2.3 minutes of starting to use it
    4. Takes only 5 minutes a day to use
    5. Can be used in personal and professional life
    6. Can be used a life time.
    7. You’ll immediately accomplish more with increased satisfaction and little or no stress.

    Problems with a To-Do List

    Let’s permit Mr. Todlif and AT Satisfied – two guys with similar jobs – to explain how a to-do list can assure you of frustration during the day and at day’s end. And how the holding pen and priority list can help you change that immediately with the investment of only 5 minutes a day.

    Mr. Todlif’s Day

    Mr. Todlif has 30 to-do’s on his list at the beginning of this day, as shown in the diagram to follow.  As Mr. Todlif works through the day, he looks at the entire list frequently.

    Suppose there are six things on the list that he would like to complete today.  Each time he looks at these six things he generates a little motivation to complete the six.  But as the day goes on, he realizes that he can only do three.  Where does the energy and motivation to complete the other three go?

    This good energy and motivation turns into frustration because he can’t do then. This once good energy leads to bad stress.  So most days Mr. Todlif realizes that he rarely completes what he really would like to finish during the day.  Research shows and experience confirm that consistent stress can lead to chronic stress. And chronic stress can lead to heart attacks, stroke, cancer; any one of which can lead to your demist.

    When Mr. Todlif reviews his priorities at day’s end he sees that during the day he added four more and accomplished only three.  He now has 31 on his to-do list.  If you every had the experience that you came in early, skipped lunch and worked late and at day’s end your to-do list is longer now that it was at the beginning of the day and you feel @#$%^&*(#@, you know what Todlif feel like.  (Todlif is short for To-Do-List Frustration.)

    Mr. Todlif’s to-do list is the list on the left below.

    AT Satisfied and The Holding Pen

    AT Satisfied converts his to-do list into a Holding Pen.  A Holding Pen is a place where you write all the things you want to remember and possible at some time do – and sometime later forget.  Decision not made.

    The holding pen has the following very important characteristics:

    1. It is always immediately available, but out of sight.
    2. As the name indicates, it is a holding pen.
    3. Some have a number of holding pen. For personal, business, others

    Another example; Do this week, Do this month, Just hold maybe do never

    1. Using several holding pens, things are immediately categorized.

     

    How AT Satisfied Uses His Holding Pen

    AT reserves the first five minutes of the day to fill out his priorities for the day.  He puts the same three things Mr. Todlif accomplished on his priority list, 1, 11 and 21.  But here are some very significant differences;

    1. He focuses only on what he can reasonably accomplished today.
    2. He is not thinking of all the other things he would like to accomplish, but can. Stress is relieved.
    3. The most important difference is at day’s end. As AT Satisfied walks to the car, he check his priority list. He says to himself, “I set three. I got three.  Success again!”

     

    AT Satisfied’s Double Win

    As the above diagram questions, satisfaction does not equal accomplishment.  Satisfaction is closer to Accomplishment as it relates to Expectations.  AT Satisfied wins first because he set on his priority list the important things that he could reasonably accomplish today.  All day he can feel that he will get them done.  At days end he is successful.  The double win is the little or no stress during the day and at day’s end.  He accomplished what he wanted to accomplish – a great feeling adding to the conviction of control over ones time and life.

     

    Problem/Challenge of this Blog: Too much to do! I never get everything done!

    SECRET 7:
    The Most Successful People
    avoid To-Do-List Frustration by
    using a holding pen and priority list.

     

    Problem/Challenge of this Blog: Too much to do! I never get everything done!

    The Aha of the Very Successful

     The very successful don’t try to do everything!

    They are very successful because they focus on the important things!

     

    The Creative Person

     Most people can create more to do in an average day than can possibly done.

     

    Taking these to facts into consideration, writing on your priority list only the important things you can accomplish today, takes away the feeling: “Too much to do!  I never get everything done!”

     

    Benefit 1 of this Blog: Accomplish More and More of the Important Things

    When you use the holding pen and priority list, you have less distraction from all the things you are not going to worry about today.  As a result you can focus your limited psychic energy on the important things.  AT Alumni consistently tell me they accomplish more with less effort and more of the important things.

     

    Benefit 2 of this Blog: Increase Satisfaction with Little or no Stress

    This simple 5 minute habit of putting your priorities for today on your priority list that you keep in sight and the rest in the holding pen out of sight and out of mind has several positives:

    1. Nothing is lost. You know where it is.
    2. It is out of sight. You don’t generate motivation to do these things. No stress gendered here.
    3. The few things on your priority list you consistently have the satisfaction of getting it all done.
    4. When this happens day after day, you feel more satisfied in your use of time and life control.

     

    To listen to a real AT Satisfied – a manager for Cisco – once a victim of Todlif – now a very satisfied user of Aligned Thinking, the holding pen and priority list, go to: http://www.ssainternational.com/TeleCoaching/Testimonials/ConqueringToDoList.htm

     

    Leave us a comment: What part of this do you find useful or have a question about?

     

  • Secret 6: Turning All Interruptions into Opportunities

    Secret 6: Turning All Interruptions into Opportunities

    Interruptions can cause real stress and frustration

    In my first blog post, I wrote that to get the most from your time, life and career, one of the critical talents you need to develop for yourself and all those you train or coach is time management.

    One of the most frequent complaints of people who are trying to get the most from their time with little or no stress is, “Too many interruptions!”  The picture above shows what many people feel after a day of interruptions, interrupted by interruptions.

    Secret 6 – built on my 40+ years of interviewing some of the world’s most successful People – will show you how to turn all interruptions into opportunities.

    The story of Non Nomine and A.T. will give you the secret that you can use daily – starting immediately – in any of life’s interruptions – both professional and personal.  Both came in early, set their priorities for the day to come and had accomplished priority one ahead of schedule. Both were pleased with their success. At 9:00 AM when their boss called them individually, both their planners looked like this:

    The boss called Non Nomine first. He asked, “I have a problem, can you come over a minute?”  After Non Nomine said “sure” – feeling she had to – she hung up, thinking, “How can I ever get anything done with all the interruptions I have, especially with this boss?  ‘Just a minute’ could last till five o’clock!”

    Begrudgingly Non Nomine trudged over to the boss’ office struggling from a self-inflicted case of DDP – the Dilemma of Double Priorities – the priorities she set at 7:30 and the priority of keeping the boss happy.

    A.T. received the same call. (A.T. is an Aligned Thinker, having read and implemented blogs 1-5.)  Her answer was a more positive “Sure, I’ll be right over.”  But before she went, she stopped to review some of the key aspects of Aligned Thinking that she had learned and was working daily to implement.

    She looked at the summary of her Passion (Blog2) which on her desk clearly stated.  “I want an above average lifestyle for the family I love.”  Then she reviewed the plaque next to it.

    FREEDOM SECRET

    Apply this and you can be free in all you do!

    After reviewing the plazue, she thought, “The “NC” to my above-average lifestyle is this job and a promotion.  And the key to a promotion is the boss having a problem and solving it.”

    All day Non Nomine and A.T. worked guided by their belief systems.  Non Nomine permitted herself to simmer with DDP. All too many unknowingly let themselves live with this disease.  Its symptoms are growing stress and frustration at doing something because “so-and-so” said they must. Non Nomine was about 70% solving the boss’s problem and at least 30% wishing she could be back in her office doing the things she set on her priority list that morning.  This 30% assured her of growing stress and frustration all day.  Both crescendoed when she returned to her office that night.

    She had the small satisfaction of predicting correctly.  When the boss asked her to come over “for a minute,” she said, “This might take till five.”  It took till six!  She did to her planner what she wished but could not do to her boss.  With great force she wrote in bright red on her defenseless planner “Forget it.”

    She said to herself quietly so no one heard her – but again with force that matched her anxiety, “With an interrupting boss like this, how can I get my work done?”

    A.T. was there 101% all day, rejoicing at this opportunity to take another big step toward what she was really passionate about, “that above average lifestyle for the family she loved!”  Just like Non Nomine, her day crescendoed at day’s end when she wrote in her planner with great satisfaction:

    Three months later when the boss has to promote someone, who do you think takes another step toward what she is really passionate about?

    SECRET 6:
    The Most Successful People
    use the Freedom Secret to turn
    interruptions into opportunities.

    Problem/Challenge of this Blog: Too Many InterruptionsMost jobs have interruptions of one kind or another.  At times, if there were no interruptions, there would be no job.  The Freedom Secret can turn all interruptions into opportunities like A.T. did here.

    Benefits of this Blog: Turning all Interruptions into OpportunitiesYou like A.T. can use the Freedom Secret to turn all interruptions into opportunities.  But note, using SECRET 6 is much more effective when you have Secrets 1 through 5 implemented.

    Leave us a comment.  How can you use the Freedom Secret?

  • Secret 5: Motivate Your Life

    When you focus to align every action to what you REALLY want, isn’t that the quintessence of selfishness?

    Earlier in my life, I would say “Definitely, no doubt. It is very selfish.”

    But 40 years of experience and interviews with leaders in 160 Fortune 500 Companies have shown me how wrong I was.  If you can answer just three questions, you’ll see that it is not only not selfish, but smart – even brilliant.  Why?  This is the Secret very successful people use to motivate and optimize both their personal and professional accomplishments and satisfaction.  Those three questions are:

    1. What is the most motivating and satisfying thing for you?
    2. What is best for those you are related to/serve?
    3. What is an easy example to better understand answers one and two?

     

    1. What is Most Motivating and Satisfying for You?

    When you are most motivated and satisfied?

    – When you do what you are told?

    – When you do what your boss wants?

    – When you do what you must do?

    – When you do what you really want?

    The obvious answer is when you do what you REALLY want.

    But you might rightly say, this brings up a real problem.  With boss, peers, clients and others at work and spouse, children, parents and friends at home, how can I possibly be always totally involved in my MIN?

     The Freedom Secret – when fully understood – will solve this question for you.  Here is the short version.

    The Freedom Secret

    1. You freely choose your “P” (Primary thing you want).
    Then you accept the “NC” (Necessary Condition to reach your P).

    2. If the “NC” is to costly, change the “P”.

    3. Caution: As soon as you do something because so-and-so said so,
    you are freely choosing to be a victim of “so-and-so.” Not smart!

     

    A Simple Example. 

    You don’t like getting up on cold mornings to go to work.  The un-insightful you could say, “I hate this, but the boss will really be mad at me if I don’t come in.”  You just make yourself the victim of the boss!  Caution: any time you do something because so-and-so said so, you make yourself a victim of so-and-so.

    Using the Freedom Secret, you say, “I don’t like to get up on cold mornings, but it is the ‘NC’ to my ‘P.’  What is my ‘P’?

    “I really want to get ahead.  My ‘P’ is to build a great future for myself and my family.  I accept the ‘NC’ because I really want this great future, i.e. I do it because I want to.”

    It is still hard to get up!  But who is more motivated and even satisfied?  The person who is getting up because “the boss said so?”  Or the person who sees getting up because this the “NC” to get what he/she really wants, a great future for himself/herself and the family.  Using the Freedom Secret you can be free in all you do.  This means because you are free in all you do, you can be more motivated and accomplish more than the person who is a victim of the boss or the situation.

     

     

    1. What is best for those you are related to/serve?

    Again, consider these three examples:

    Do you want your spouse to do something good for you because they love you and want you to be happy, or because they have to?

    Do you want your boss to be good to you because he/she really cares about you – being good to you is what they really want?  Or because he/she has to even though they would rather not?

    This can even apply to the clerk at Starbucks.  Do you want to be served by a person who really wants to serve you – and you get the feeling they delight in serving you the best latte?  Or the person that obviously serves you because they must?   The sooner they get you out of the way, the better!

    Again, the world would be a more motivated happier place if everyone understood and lived by the Freedom Secret.

     

    1. What is an easy example to better agree with answers one and two?

    A person of the last century that is most famous for serving the lowest of the low in the most miserable conditions was now Saint Mother Teresa. She could not have done what she did, and how she did it, if she had to.

    Reading the life and works of Mother Teresa from many sources, it is obvious to me that she always did what she really wanted.  Her “P” was to serve Christ in the poor of Calcutta.  Her “NC” is working with the very, very poor with very little to work with.

    Suggestion: read the full SECRET 5 below.  Ask yourself, “Does Saint Mother Teresa seem like one of those Most Successful People?

    SECRET 5:
    The Most Successful People
    know it is not selfish but smart
    to motivate their life by clearly
    focusing on what they REALLY want.

     Problem/Challenge of this Blog: Life doesn’t have much meaning anymore

    If you are always doing things because of so-and-so, you are making yourself a victim.  Living as a constant victim certainly does lack meaning.  The Freedom Secret can help you overcome this quickly.

    Benefit of this Blog: Optimize TOTAL Life Meaning

    Aligned Thinking helps you optimize TOTAL life meaning with just this next action by doing what most people believe impossible:

    – Consistently align just this next action to – the riches – the values – the life – you REALLY want.

    Even with boss, clients, and peers at work and family and friends at home, the Freedom Secret can guide you to eventually do just this next action because it relates to – the riches – the values – the life – you REALLY want.

    And when you can do it consistently with just this next action, with practice you can do it with every action.  On that day you have Optimized TOTAL Life Meaning

     

    Suggestion: Leave us a comment how you can use the Freedom Secret to optimize your life.

  • Secret 4: Focus Totally on Your MIN

    If you want to overcome too much stress and frustration and accomplish more with increased satisfaction and happiness, building the Aligned Thinking™ Habit to use Secret 4 is key.  It’s simple, with proven hints to help.

    SECRET 4:
    The Most Successful People
    are totally focused,
    on just one thing at a time –  their MIN.

    Overview of the Blog
    1. The myth you don’t want to fall for – multitasking
    2. The self I don’t like
    3. The self I want to be

     

    1. The Myth You Don’t Want to Fall for – Multitasking

    Some people are convinced that multitasking is the way to be more productive.  Actually, research shows it is the way to be less productive.  Experience shows it can consistently cause stress and even get you killed.

    If you put “multitasking” into Google, nine of the first ten entries are research that show multitasking increases productivity is a myth.  Fedstival, a U.S. Government magazine, in its July 19, 2016 issue has an article under the heading, “Neuroscientists Say Multitasking Literally Drains the Energy Reserves of Your Brain.” The heading I like best is from the Wall Street Journal, “Multitasking Makes You Stupid.” And it can get you killed texting and driving.

     

    1. The Self I Don’t Like

    A client I highly value told me, “Coach Jim, I get more out of the stories you tell about yourself than those you tell about others.”  So this is me and the self I don’t like.  When I ask the 5-SECOND MIN Secret, “What’s my MIN related to what I really want?” (Details see blog 4) Let’s say the answer is clean my desk.  There is something in me that wants to do something more important – even though I know this is important.

    Another part of the self I am trying to overcome is looking at the time and thinking, “How soon is lunch?”  First, asking that question makes lunch come all the slower.  Another part of the self I am trying to lose is looking for some immediate satisfaction.  Not do this large – and important task – but make this call and do this little errand.

    Each of these examples have one thing in common.  When I use all the excellent tools of Aligned Thinking to select my MIN (Most Important Now), my psyche pushes back.  That is the self I don’t like. It does not lead to peace of mind.

     

    1. The Self I Want to Be – and WHY

    When I use all the great tools Secrets 1, 2 and 3 offer, I want to correctly select my MIN and then have my total self focused on the MIN – and nothing else.  Once I set all else out of site in my holding pen, I want my total self – my total psyche and all my power to focus on just that one task.  When that happens there is peace and productivity.

    And it has happened.  Take this morning.  I was discussing with a client the unique program that he would like me to build for his group so that they feel and act more like a team.  This is something I understand as valuable to him.  Something I value and feel I have a lot to offer.  I was as I would like to be – always in the TIIMM mode.  TIIMM stands for Totally Involved In My MIN.  There was great productivity, peace and even excitement in our discussion.

     

    A Hint That Has 3 Simple Parts – Tested and Proven to Work

    The hint that works best for me is the following:

    – Once I select my MIN, any other thought is treated like a bad thought.

    – I set my iPhone alarm for 50 minutes.  Working 50 minutes with a 10 minute break has proven in a day’s time to accomplish more than just working a straight 60 minutes.

    – Then I play the T5 game.  If I work TIIMM – Totally Involved In My MIN – for just 5 minutes, I reward myself.  Sometimes that is a drink of coffee. Sometimes it’s just a pat on the back that I have started and doing well.

    The good news.  Each of these 3 parts is simple to do.  The bad news – I have a very bad self to change – as stated above.  The good news; it is working. I’ve been at this blog for 45 minutes and it’s moving.  I suggest you test these 3 simple steps out.  It’s helping me be the self I want to live with.  It can do the same for you.

     

    Problem/Challenge of This Blog: Too Much Stress and Frustration

    When you let yourself multitask, you are thinking of several things that you would like to get done.  But research shows that only one – if that – will get done well.  The desire to get the others done goes into energy to get the others done.  Since that energy can’t be totally used, it causes frustration which causes stress.

    The self I don’t want to be – described above – also causes frustration that leads to stress.  As I shared above, when I am TIIMM – Totally Involved In My MIN – the stress and frustration I experience when I’m the self I don’t want to be goes away.

    Benefit of This Blog: Accomplish More with Increased Satisfaction and Happiness

    When I’m the self I want to be, I know I accomplish more and that leads to more satisfaction.  And there is a feeling of well-being that is wonderful. I am not fighting with myself.  I selected my MIN and focused on it for at least 50 minutes till my iPhone said time for a ten minute break. Productivity, peace, satisfaction.

    How does happiness fit in?  There are many, many definitions of happiness.  Here is one that I really care about.

    With Secret 2, I clarified my passion in writing and reviewed at the beginning of today.  With Secret 3 and the 5-Second MIN Secret, I selected my MIN.  When I am TIIMM, I experience the peace of not fighting with my worse self. And this peace is all the more important because I know this MIN is helping me enjoy the life I really want.

    Accomplishment, satisfaction, happiness!  It’s a great feeling.

     

    Suggested Action

    Test these 3 simple steps for a week and see how it helps your accomplishment, satisfaction and happiness.

     

    Question for You Now

    Leave me a note related to the part of this blog that is most important to you.

  • Secret 3 – Connect the Only Thing You Control to Your Passion

    Secret 3 – The Story of 3 Seekers

    Secret 3 is best explained by the story of 3 seekers.  They were each looking for more from their time with little or no stress.  Specifically, they each felt like their problem was not accomplishing enough which led to low satisfaction.

    These three were:

    Mr. Do-What-I-Feel-Like

    Mr. Goody-Goody

    Mr. MIN

    They each decided what to do next depending on what they wanted from life.

     

    Mr. Do-What-I-Feel-Like

    Mr. D was committed to freedom.  The quintessence of freedom to Mr. D was when he decided what to do next, it meant doing what he really felt like.  His feeling was the key.  However, it did not work well for his accomplishing more with greater satisfaction.  When he decided what to do next, there was always a few moments of immediate satisfaction.

    But he began sleeping late because he felt like it.  He found it difficult to hold a good job. This led to drinking more because in the moment it felt good.  Drugs followed.  As the pattern kept up, Mr. D’s future was not good.

     

    Mr. Goody-Goody

    Mr. G found it easy to give people what they asked for.  There was less arguing and combat that way.  Mr. G was well liked.  However, when he occasionally stopped to review his accomplishment and satisfaction, it felt good people liked him.  But in his heart-of-heart, he asked himself who was guiding his like.  The answer did not speak of optimizing accomplishment and satisfaction.

     

    Mr. MIN

    Mr. MIN lucked out.  He discovered the 5-Second-MIN Secret.  The 5-Second-MIN Secret says before you decide what to do next, you ask yourself this simple nine word question: “What’s my MIN related to what I really want?”

    He discovered it took less than 2.5 seconds to ask the question.  And most times about 2.5 seconds to answer the question.

    Mr. MIN liked this 5-Second-MIN Secret because of what it gave him.  The first part, “What’s my MIN?” helped him focus on WHAT to do, his “Most Important Now.”  This did several things.  It helped him avoid the myth that many live under thinking that multitasking is more effective.  It is not!

    By consistently focusing on his one MIN this moment, he could be more productive.  He avoided the stress of many things and only being able to accomplish one.  This focus helped him do a better job with the important things.  And that led to great satisfaction in the moment and especially when the day was done.

    The second part of the 5-Second-MIN Secret helped in those 2.5 second clarify the WHY.  This next action is important because it helped him make progress on what he REALLY wants.  Mr. MIN took Secret 2 seriously. (See Blog 3)  He clarified what he was passionate about in writing and reviewed it day; sometime on tough days even more frequently.

    Mr. MIN is aware that the value of his action comes from why he does it. And he is happy that most of his actions during the day are selected by his values. He is pleased with the Aligned Thinking Loop.

     

    Aligned Thinking Success Loop

    Just ONE MIN: Optimizes Accomplishment + Satisfaction

     

    1 > 2 > 3   what you REALLY want drives – motivates – every action.

    3 > 2 > 1   Every Action takes you back to what you REALLY want.

    Each action takes you a step closer to the Life you REALLY want.

    With each step – each action – you have the satisfaction that you’re on the Journey to the Life you REALLY want.

     

    When he explained to a friend the power and beauty of the 5-Second-MIN Secret, the friend asked if it did not seem selfish to always be deciding what to do next because of what he really wants.  Mr. MIN pointed out that some of what he REALLY wants has to do with the above lifestyle for his family and friends. But because he is able to do what he REALLY wants most of the time, life is more satisfying and productive.  (Actually this will be discussed in detail in Secret 5.)

    Last, Mr. MIN pointed out that beauty and simplicity can be found in your own backyard (See the picture up top.)  The 5-Second-MIN Secret is totally within the power of anyone’s “backyard.”  Anyone can ask this simple nine word question.  He said it has totally changed his life and can do the same for anyone who uses it daily.

     

    SECRET 3:
    The Most Successful People
    let their Passion – what they REALLY want –
    define their Most Important Now (MIN).

     

     

    Reviewing – The Challenge/Problem Secret 3 Will Help Overcome

     

    Category: Not Enough Accomplishment & Satisfaction

    It is simple to see why Mr. Do-What-I-Feel-Like and Mr. Goody-Goody would like accomplishment.  Of course there are many other ways to decide what to do next.  Recalling Secret 1, Start with What You Control, since the only thing you control is just the next action NOW, it is of critically importance the criteria you use to decide what to do next serve you well.  Not to have a clear criteria can make it possible that sometimes you use Mr. D’s or Mr. G’s criteria.

     

     

    Reviewing – Benefits You Can Expect

     

    Category: Accomplish More, and More of the Important Things

    Mr. MIN has three things in his favor:

    1. He is always working on his one MIN.
    2. This one MIN is consistently motivated by what he REALLY wants.
    3. He avoids the stress of thinking of many things he cannot accomplish right now.

    All this adds up to accomplishing more, and more of the important things.

     

    The Huge Bonus

    Increasing Satisfaction with Little or No Stress flows from the fact that Mr. MIN is focused on one thing at each moment.  That means that he is going to feel more satisfied in the moment because he is not experiencing the frustration of thinking of many things that he cannot accomplish now.

    And when he does this day-in and day-out, he will feel better at day’s end and with his life accomplishment.  (This blog 4 is listed under both increased accomplishment and satisfaction?)

     

    You as an Aligned Thinker

    An Aligned Thinker can do what most people believe impossible:

    Consistently align just this next action to – the riches – the values – the life – they REALLY want.

     

    Secrets 1, 2, and 3, especially the 5-Second-MIN Secret will go a long way in helping you enjoy

    all the benefits of being an Aligned Thinker in both your professional and personal life

     

    Leave Us a Comment

    Leave us a note telling us what part of this you find more useful or what you would like to hear more about.

  • SECRET 1. Start with What You Control

    The dawn of a new day and all it promises- Using SECRET 1 of 9 1/2

     

    Few would disagree that the skill to manage your time is one of – if not THE – most critical skill to develop if you want to live a more productive, fulfilling life.

    Without the ability to manage your time:

    – There is too much to do!- You’ll feel like you never get everything done!

    – It will be hard to focus on what is really important!

    – Others will control your life!

    – It will be challenging to concentrate on getting the most from your life and career!

    Add to all the above stress building that can even shorten life. All this points to the fact that the skill to manage your time is very critical.

    Time Management is Key – Wrong

    Very wrong I discovered.  Wow!  It was a shocker.  Here is my story.

    I began my journey to discover the 9 ½ SECRETS the Most Successful People Use with hope, challenge, disappointment and opportunity.

    Hope that I could have my own business and help many people reach their full potential.  Since you have dreams; I’m sure you can relate to mine.  I not only wanted my own business to earn a good living for myself and family, I wanted it to be life-giving to many others.

    Challenge because we were just married and did not have great savings.  To buy the franchise to start my own business that would be life-giving would take about a year’s salary before tax. Wow!

    Disappointment.  Our first child was still born.  We were married only a year, and our first born went to heaven before we even met him.  This event, greatly anticipate, was such a disappointment.

    Opportunity. As sad a Louie’s passing was, it meant that my wife would still be working another year.  So we decided to bite the bullet and invest in the franchise.  I left a very secure job as math supervisor in a large school system with the hope in a year our fledging business would prosper.

    A Shocking Start

    It took me nine months to sell the first program.  By that time we were expecting our second child. I’m sure you can imagine how I really wanted this first ever program to go very well.

    I was so scared it might not go well that, after the third module – traditional time management – I interviewed each of the eight participants.  I wanted to be sure they were getting it and I was responding to what they felt they really needed.

    I remember the day and the place like it was yesterday: It was Wednesday, March 19, 1975 at St. Regis Research Facility.  At the end of my interview with Dr.Bob Bauress, he asked, “If I have something that I can’t make go faster or slower; I can’t give you any of mine; and you can’t give me any of yours, do you control it?”

    I stammered, “I guess not, Bob.  What are you talking about?”  What do you think he was talking about?

    The Two Questions That Changed My Life – And Can Change Yours

    “I’m talking about time,” Bob replied.  “Time is the way we measure the turning of the earth.  And no one can make that go faster or slower.  If you want a really good time management program (I’m thankful to this day he didn’t say “you have a crummy one!”) you need to answer these two questions for us:

    1. What do we really control?
    2. How do we get the most from it?”

    I told Bob I would give his two questions some thought, and get back to him.  How would you answer these two?

    The Answer to Question One

    If you consider two facts, the answer to question one will jump out at you.  The past is gone!  The future is not here yet!  So, the only thing you control is just this action now.

    With that simple answer there is good news, bad news, and good news.

    The Good News

    Your life just became very simple.  Since you only control one thing, to get the most from your time and live a more productive, fulfilling life all you need to focus on is the only thing you control – just this action NOW.

    Review the challenges we started with:

    – There is too much to do!

    – You’ll feel like you never get everything done!

    – It will be hard to focus on what is really important!

    – Others will control your life!

    – It will be challenging to concentrate on getting the most from your life and career!

    When you figure how to get the most from just this action NOW, you will be able to overcome each of the above including overcoming the stress that come with each of the above.

    The Bad News

    It is not easy to figure how to get the most from just this action NOW.  Many books exist talking around the real question.  But few begin by acknowledging the obvious – the only thing you control is just this action now. 

    You can build on the past.  You can plan for the future.  But whether you like it or not, you can’t live in the past.  You can’t live in the future.  The only place you can live is in the here and now.

    Here is the bad news in one sentence: It is difficult to get the most from just this action now, and do it consistently, day in, day out, work days, personal days, all day and all night.

    The Good News

    After Bob asked me those two questions, I had the answer to the first question – What do we really control? – by sundown that day.

    The complete answer to the second – How do we get the most from it – took me years.  But the privilege that I had, and the benefit that I bring to you is the following.  It has been my privilege over the last 40+ years to interview leaders in 160 Fortune 500 Companies and endless small companies.

    It is those many interviews, I discovered the 9 ½ Secrets the Most Successful People Use to Get the Most from Their Time and Live a More Productive, Fulfilling Life.

    During all those years, as soon as I discovered a tool or technique that worked, I would test it by sharing it with others.  The 9 ½ SECRETS that you will have access to with these blogs will have been tested, refined and proven with the insights and brilliance of thousands of people.

    My Story

    That is the story of how I discovered the 9 ½ SECRETS the Most Successful People Use.  And I can honestly share with you, these 9 ½ SECRETS have changed my life.

    I am convinced today I am getting the most from my time, starting with the awareness I don’t control my time, but just this action NOW.  For the sake of full disclosure and transparency, I’m not perfect.  I am always learning.

    My goal of these blogs is to share my journey in discovering, using and enjoying the 9 ½ SECRETS so that you can also discover, implement and enjoy them.

    One other thing I want to share with you.  I have had a forty year battle with happiness.  What is it and how do I get more of it?  I’ve made lots of mistakes.  But I feel finally today I know what happiness is, and how to enjoy more of it.  I also want to share my mistakes about happiness so you can avoid them.  And my discoveries about happiness so you can enjoy them.

    My Promise for Your Story

    In the blogs to come, I will share with you every important detail of my story so you can make it part of your story.  If you review each of the coming ten blogs, you will understand exactly:

    – What the 9 ½ SECRETS the Most Successful People Use are

    Challenges/Problems related to each and how to overcome them

    Benefits you can expect from each.

    Your Part to Receive Full Benefits of the 9 ½ SECRETS

    1. Share with me the answer to the question that will follow each blog.
    2. Register so you don’t miss a blog. To register, go to: www.TheAlignedWay.com/FreeBlog

    Reviewing – Challenge/Problem Category

    Secret 1   The Most Successful People
    Start with what they control – just
    this action now.

    I Can’t Control My Time

    As seen above, no one can control time because that is the way we measure the turning of the earth.  And no one can make that go faster or slower.

    The Good News is, you just need to get the most from just this next action.  When you do that you will be getting the most from your time and live a more productive, fulfilling life.

    This process is called Aligned Thinking.  These 9 ½ SECRETS will help you do what most believe impossible: consistently align just this action to – the riches – the values – the life you really want.

    We will help you get the most from your time by acknowledging we do not control time, but just this action in time.  These blogs will show you how the Most Successful People get the most from just this action and build the Aligned Thinking Habit to do it consistently day in and day out.

    Reviewing – Benefit Category

    The Easiest Way to Get the Most from Your Time

    Since the only thing you really control is just this next action NOW, getting the most from your time and living a more productive, fulfilling life become elegantly simple.  You just have to focus on getting the most from just this next action NOW.  The good news, when you understand SECRETS 2 – 9 ½, you’ll understand the simplicity of getting the most from just this next action.

    In each of the following blogs, I will explain one of the remaining nine SECRETS, including what SECRETS 9 ½ is and why you need a ½ SECRET.

    ACTION: Register to receive each weekly blog at www.TheAlignedWay.com/FreeBlog

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