By Jim Sheridan.
Whether you’re excited about the NFL starting up again or not, you have a financial goal (or you should have if you’re reading this!), and reaching that financial goal is, within a certain context, much like getting the football to the end zone.
This week I’m going to give you a secret tonic that will grease your heels on this heroic run with that ball…
Yesterday evening I took out my recycle trash bins. My neighbor was in his driveway cleaning his car, and he ignored me, just carrying on washing. On the way back from dropping the recycle trash bins by the roadside, my neighbor said, “I don’t know why you bother with that Democrat s*%t.”
I said, “Excuse me? What Democrat s*&t is that?”
“Recycling,” he said.
Say what? Recycling = Democrat??
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Can someone please tell me how putting out the recycling bins makes me a Democrat?! (Long time readers may recall that I’m neither Republican or Democrat or anything. I don’t discriminate; I dislike and distrust ALL politicians equally…)
And then I remembered that the election-oriented dogma is peaking, and that people in America seem to have this off-the-shelf package deal of values. Evidently if you put out recycled trash, you’re a tree-hugger… oh, and that must mean you’re a Democrat. Interesting chain of logic.
Anyway, my neighbor awaited my reply. How would YOU have replied? This is what this letter is all about: how to deal with certain situations that will get you to your goals (if applicable).
I really had 2 options, we all do:
1. Argue, tell him a few things, and expose his incoherent nonsense for the pure idiocy it was.
2. Say, “Yeah, I guess you could look at it that way. You’re car’s looking great. Nice job.”
You face 2 options like this daily, don’t you? Retaliate or diffuse. One choice is automatic, the other more considered. And most importantly, you face these options a LOT on your path to your financial goals.
So back to the football analogy…
You’re the red team, and your opponents are the green team. The green team are waiting in their half, defending their end zone. If you can make a touchdown you’re financially free. Fair and simple? Okay. There are just a couple of little snags in this football game…
You’re the only person on the red team wearing a red shirt. Your other players are undecided between red and green currently- they’re just wandering around your end without a shirt on. They’re indifferent, and they have had no contact with you yet.
So, you have a choice now: you can either try and run through the green team by yourself while avoiding these neutral players (good luck with that), or you can talk these currently neutral players into putting a red shirt on, and carving you a path through your opponents to that end zone.
Which would be easier? To get those neutral players to put a red shirt on, right?
Whether you realize it or not, you face this dilemma each day… and you do NOT choose wisely. Those shirtless players are the people you face each day, the people on your path to success. They’re “annoying”, they’re in the way, and they’re not wearing a red shirt like you.
BUT THEY CAN HELP YOU. Agreed?
And how do we treat these shirtless players? What’s our most common tactic to get them to put a red shirt on and play for us? How do we frequently act around most people?
We criticize them.
If you’re like me and the rest of the human population, you criticize people. You do this regularly without even thinking or knowing you’re doing it. You do it most to the people you love or are friends with. You do it randomly at will without a second thought, with the belief that it will somehow make you feel good to ‘get it off your chest’. Even when you tailgate someone you’re effectively criticizing them for driving too slow, in your opinion.
We criticize all the time. Why do we do this? We do it because we are frustrated that this ‘annoying person’ can’t be more like us, can’t believe what we believe, because we want to convert them to our way of thinking.
In other words, we demand an unconditional surrender to our own way of thinking, and we use criticism as the tool of choice to achieve this goal.
And how’s that working out for you? Did you find criticism bent many people to your way of thinking lately?
No, I thought not.
Will criticism get those shirtless players to put a red shirt on and play for you?
How do YOU feel when you’re criticized? If you’re like most people, you go on the defensive. You argue otherwise, even if you suspect or know you’re wrong. You even feel resentful towards that person!
As Sun Tzu warned in his ‘Art of War’, you should never back your enemy against a cliff, for he will fight to the death or risk falling over the edge.
You know what I’m saying is true. If you and I want to stoke up bitter feelings that may endure to our graves, let’s just start criticizing each other. Do that to those shirtless players and they won’t just not put a red shirt on… they’ll go and put a green shirt on and play harder than they’ve ever played… against YOU.
Criticisms are like homing pigeons; they always come back to you somehow. What you’ve done is insult their ego, their belief system, and you’ve diminished their pride. And their (and your) ego would rather die than admit defeat, so you’re now in a duel to the death instead of an alliance.
Think back to your goal: to win this ‘annoying’ person over to your way of thinking… to have them put a red shirt on. If you criticize this person, it will cause two things to happen, neither one of them helpful to your goal:
1. It will cause resentment.
2. It will not change them to your way of thinking.
So why do we do it? It’s not logical. Because we are not creatures of logic, we are creatures of emotion.
I’m going to tell you something now that you’ll find immensely liberating if you take it on board. This single sentence will bring you peace, clarity, and productivity. Ready? Here it is:
People hardly ever believe they are wrong, and nothing you do or say can change that belief.
This acceptance of truth will change your life. Once you understand that everyone thinks they’re right, you’ll stop wasting your time trying to convince them otherwise with criticism and arguments. You’ll stop trying to make them a clone of you.
Most people would walk off a cliff before they’d say that you’re right and they’re wrong!
NOBODY ever wins an argument. If you ‘win’, you also lose, because the resentment in the other person now will cost you in some form. “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.” Avoid arguing with these shirtless players.
Here’s another liberating truth:
Most people believe they are superior to you, at least in some way.
It’s just the nature of the ego. Once again, armed with this knowledge, you’re better equipped to get those shirtless players to help you. They clearly aren’t going to help you if you act superior to them, because this challenges their belief that they are superior to you!
Here’s another crucial axiom to remember:
Given a choice, nobody does anything they don’t want to.
So you have to get these players to WANT to help you. They aren’t going to do it from the goodness of their hearts. Sad, but true. How can you achieve that? Phrase everything YOU want them to do into something that THEY want to do. How do you know what they want to do? By doing something very few people do these days:
Take a GENUINE interest in other people and their lives.
So it all boils down to that. Hence the saying, “Give and ye shall receive.”
Don’t be a selfish, money-grabbing hustler. It won’t get you very far into the green end of the field. If you take an interest in others you’ll make friends and find a way to form a mutually beneficial alliance. But if you criticize them you’ll make enemies and block your path to success. When you look at it this way, it’s hard to believe that we make the wrong choice all the time, isn’t it?
So let’s try this out for a week and see how things change. And why not start right now with your spouse and children?
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