The Hedgehog Concept | MKE Year 3 Week 15

The Hedgehog Concept

When you take care of the most important activity first, it’s amazing how easy it is to find time to do all the other stuff…the little things that are such time-gobblers.

“The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.” Isaiah Berlin explored the fundamental distinction that exists between those who are fascinated by the infinite variety of things (foxes) and those who relate everything to a central, all-embracing system (hedgehogs).”

We must ask ourselves two questions…

Q1 | What am I pretending not to know?

and

Q2 | What would the person that I intend to become do next?

You know those videos that illustrate the importance of scheduling the big things in your life first, trying to visually prove that when you schedule the big stuff first, magically it all fits in?  So for this BLOG, I’m jumping past the cleverly illustrated examples of how so many people start backwards…

…and fast-forwarding instead, to illustrating the importance of scheduling – and doing – the big things first, such as making family, faith and income producing activities the priority *imagine tennis balls being put into a tennis ball sleeve*…

Secondly, a visual explanation of how it makes so much more sense to follow the most important activity with the supporting or background details *now imagine pouring rice into the sleeve and watch it fill in the space between the tennis balls*…

Next, and time permitting, allow time for the ‘other’ stuff – the minutia – such as cleaning the house, scrolling your social media feed, updating your phone, organizing cupboards etc. *imagine sand being poured into the sleeve, wiggling its way in between the tennis balls and the rice*…

As a reward for working smarter, not harder, we can then add the ‘fruits of life’ as my friend Mark J. puts it…the fun stuff, the ‘us-time’ or ‘me-time’ that we crave *finally, imagine pouring water into the sleeve…over top of the tennis balls, the rice and the sand.*

Now, stand back and marvel at how beautifully it all fits in…So why then, do we all tend to fill our days with the sand first…???

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On too many occasions, I’ve looked at my business as a reflection of myself – only to become frustrated at the fact that I’m not making the income I’d like to make, or more accurately…need to make. I get down on myself for not doing the simple tasks…the most important tasks, rather than filling my days with ‘busy work’…all the useless, time consuming, non income-producing activities, and for what? …for nothing except the ability to have an excuse to fall back on for my lack of progress in business.

It’s far easier to trick ourselves into believing we’re actually working…when in fact we are just pushing piles of stuff around on our desks, rarely accomplishing anything of value or importance.

Justifying the avoidance factor in business…and to an extent, in every day life as well, introspection has taught me that if I fear doing the activity that will bring me success – let’s say it’s telling people about my product/service despite KNOWING that I understand my product/service – upon analyzing said avoidance on a deeper level, I’ve realized that I don’t actually have a fear of sharing my business, but rather a fear of being rejected…a fear of people not taking my advice, a fear of putting myself out there and being shot down.

So this is what happens when we concentrate – the truth reveals itself. And it does truly set you free. If you’ll allow it – embrace it rather than reject it.

The avoidance on my part is not whether they do or don’t elect to become a customer, rather for some silly and strange reason, I place extreme personal success or failure based on if they deem my advice worthy or not. I’ve equated them not buying my product/service with them not valuing my opinion – instantly, I become reclusive and my desire to be recognized for creative expression gets all bent out of shape and so I simply stop asking because then I can’t possibly be rejected. Ridiculous, I know.  This is nothing but fear, and everybody knows that nothing more than F.E.A.R. is simply False Evidence Appearing Real.  

I was re-reading How to Win Friends and Influence Others yesterday and read a quote by Benjamin Franklin…

“I will speak ill of no man, and speak all the good I know of everybody.”

It takes self-control to be understanding and forgiving. Along this #LifeChanging journey of self-discovery, I began implementing the 7-day Mental Diet, making a habit of not judging others – which has helped me realize that when I was previously jumping to conclusions about people or situations, I was merely avoiding doing that very same work on myself.

When you can face your fears – which is often [sadly] ourselves – and overcome them, it is then that we discover our greatness on the other side!

I’ve begun recognizing my own self-sabotaging behaviours, and was recently introduced to a powerful resource, a book called Get off your But! by Sean Stephenson.

From the Inside Flap (via Amazon.ca):

“This book will show you how to move beyond your limitations and begin to experience and share your gifts at the highest level.. . . Read this book in its entirety, follow the lessons closely, and watch as your life transforms into a masterpiece filled with an abundance of bliss, passion, and gratitude.” —From the Foreword by Anthony Robbins

In addition to presenting Sean Stephenson’s unbelievable life story, Get Off Your “But,” offers anyone who needs to conquer fears and insecurities a hands-on guide for overcoming the forces of negativity and self-sabotage. Sean—a successful psychotherapist—shows what it takes to overcome the big bumps in the road, eliminate excuses, end insecurities, and ultimately stand up for happiness and success in life. As Sean explains, anyone can fall victim to the “Buts”:

  • “But” Fears (But what if I fail . . .)
  • “But” Insecurities (But I’m not good enough . . .)
  • “But” Excuses (But there’s no time . . .)

Get Off Your “But” offers a practical guide for putting fear behind you and building the inner resources to become self-confident at work and at home. It’s time to get off your “but” and start leading the life you dream.

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Book reviews, as per Amazon.ca:

  • “Sean is an amazing person with an important message.”
    —President Bill Clinton
  • “Sean Stephenson is the Yoda of personal development, with less pointy ears.”
    —Jimmy Kimmel, host of ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live
  • “As we struggle with inertia to become the best that we can be, Sean Stephenson’s book informs and inspires us to stand up and keep moving forward. Thank you, Sean, for your life, your work, and your abundant sharing.”
    —Ken Blanchard, coauthor, The One Minute Manager
  • “Sean Stephenson is a hero to me. When you read his book, he will be a hero to you as well. His moving stories about himself and others who have found the gifts in their pain will teach you so much about courage and, just as important, you will learn how to build your own sense of confidence when it comes to health, career, relationships, and more. Do yourself a favor read this book! ”
    —Susan Jeffers, Ph.D., author, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway and Embracing Uncertainty
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Pockets of Time | MKE Year 3 Week 1

Hey…got a minute??

I’d like to talk about the seemingly inconsequential ‘Pockets of Time’ that make up our day. These bite-sized morsels of time can have an enormous impact on how we make our conscious decisions, which of course, then forms our habits. And everybody knows that ultimately, it is our habits that pave the way for the life we live. For better or for worse.

Let’s start by digging into what a ‘Pocket of Time’ actually is: any amount of time which makes up the in-between times…the time that fills the gaps. For instance:

  • Waiting for the bus, or in line, or for the photocopier…
  • After school before the kids come out
  • While your food spins in the microwave
  • When you’re put on hold during a phone call
  • During commercials
  • Listening to the radio in your vehicle
  • Or waiting for the traffic light to change, etc.

These small 20-180 second intervals allow us plenty of time to think ourselves into the life we want to live, or not – just as easily, we could do nothing at all…or worse…complain about all the things we don’t want, or we could log into the black hole that is our social accounts and get depressed about all the things we don’t have.

Whether it’s staring at the microwave; mindlessly channel surfing; or listening to gossip on the radio show…none of those things are going to move you closer to your greatness.

However, can you imagine what you could do with that time if you choose to apply yourself, beginning by putting these pockets to use?! Instead of watching cat videos, you could choose to do a physical chore, such as:

  • Clean out the leftovers in the fridge
  • Wipe the front of the appliances
  • Refresh the dogs’ water bowls
  • Take out the garbage
  • Write a quick love note for someone
  • Straighten the shoes at the front door
  • Organize throw pillows on the sofa
  • Purge receipts from your wallet
  • Unload the dishwasher
  • Sort the mail
  • Start writing a BLOG
  • Or simply … think a happy thought…

Your dreams are calling you...Decline or Accept

Once you can master the art of putting your physical body to better use, you might be ready to develop your emotional and mental self – this is the world within. Inside each of us is the unlimited potential to harness an unbelievable amount of thought power…yet, out of habit – or perhaps out of sheer laziness – we usually, and subconsciously dismiss the opportunity to do something productive or beneficial – simply by electing to do nothing.

In essence, we refuse to answer the call to our greatness.

It doesn’t take any extra effort to keep the house clean if you make a point to do so…instead of leaving your socks on the floor, just demand of yourself that you respect the house and your housemates and pick hem up when you get off the sofa, for instance. It seems inconsequential, yet truthfully, when you do tiny things to keep order in your life it saves you from having to find hours each week to clean the house. Same logic applies to your mental housekeeping since your exterior world is a direct reflection of your interior world.

Here’s what I know to be true…if you want to go on a vacation, holding a grudge over someone who went on one isn’t going to build you an airplane…you’ve got to get off your butt and start working! The same is true for your life. You’ve got to dream your dream into reality…become one with it…obsess about it [rather than about Candy Crush or Clash of Clans]. Put those pockets of time to better use. Your future depends on it.

I’m not saying you need to fill every second of every day – but if you take a personal inventory of how you behave during the pockets of time in your world, then you can begin to fill your pockets with intention and activities designed to propel you closer to your greatness!

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The good news and the bad news is it’s entirely up to you.

If you’re anything like me you spent a lot of time in your car…yeah, you could spend time listening to songs on the radio about the guy who lost his dog and/or broke his truck, but all the time I’ve been listening to the radio I’ve never heard any money come out of it!! Its never paid my mortgage or put food on my table…so instead, while I’m in the car I choose to listen to audio designed to help me become a self-directed thinker (sure, your kids might complain – but when they do, have them Google what Pitpulls’ Mom made him listen to):

  • Science of Personal Achievement by Napoleon Hill
  • The Strangest Secret by Earl Nightingale
  • A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson
  • Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

The countless hours I’ve spent with these icons as my silent partners; my guides; my mastermind alliance have supported me to new heights that I am enjoying today, and beyond. I am so thankful I didn’t mindlessly fall in line with the other sheeple and listen to the radio!!

It isn’t what I learned – it’s who I became as a result that has changed me the most and had the most lasting impact.

In Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill says:

Complaining about being poor won’t bring you riches. Wishing for it isn’t enough, you’ve got to act yourself into riches. Wishing for riches may very well bring you temporary riches, but acting with LOVE in your heart will surely bring you riches for generations.

Autonomy and Legacy are important to me – so I made a promise to myself, and a commitment to my family to be that person who creates ‘old money’ for my family – for generations to come. I chose to put my pockets of time to use to create a better life for myself and my family – a future that creates riches for generations.

Today I begin a new life is a great mantra – adds love to your mindset. Repeat this in your Pockets of Time and witness how your life changes.

To be clear here, riches isn’t about money – ‘riches’ is about anything you hold dear to your heart. I realized I didn’t need to have rich Grandparents, or an old Uncle to leave me a ton of money in his will, or the proper blood lines.

Rather, by tapping into my innate potential and reprogramming my brain;

making better decisions about what to do with my time,

I confirmed to myself that I can become anything I want;

I can accomplish anything I set my mind to!

And you can too!!

You are Nature’s Greatest Miracle.

You have it within you to Persist Until You Succeed.

Now, armed with the knowledge that we can think ourselves into any life we want…I encourage you to be brave.

Go ahead and love yourself into riches, by posting a few affirmation cards on your bathroom mirror or inside the kitchen cupboards and see how what you think about changes.

Malcolm Gladwell concludes that one becomes an ‘Outlier’ [a master of their craft] with 10,000 hours of practice. Essentially, anyone can master anything by practicing for about 90-minutes per day, for 20 years…he calls this the ‘Tipping-Point’ of greatness.

The way I see it – the ‘Pockets of Time’ are the answer; a first step towards the mastery of 10,000.

We may feel short on time to impact change in our lives overnight, or in a week, or in a month…but can you imagine how different your life would be in 2-years or 5-years or 10-years if you were to simply redirect your mindless time into mindful time? The possibilities are endless. Try new things. Make new mistakes.

10,000 hours - how much have you put in?

Today is your day – your ground zero!! Human beings have the ‘God-like’ power to control our thoughts; and since “we become what we think about” as Earl Nightingale reminds us in the Strangest Secret, then it stands to reason we can visualize into reality any life which we can imagine.

Here’s to your next new mistake. I’d love to hear all about it.

Love,

Jen

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Check out what moved me during this week of the course during Year 2: MKE 1 | Disengaging Auto-Pilot

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