You Already Have It

Some fantasize “If I were rich, I’d use the money for good causes.”

Why wait?

Instead of putting off generosity until you’ve accumulated more assets, find a way to make a difference with assets you might be undervaluing.

You don’t have to be rich to start practicing the mindset. Generosity is the willingness to share what you have to offer with confidence that someone will be enriched even by your smallest contribution.

It’s a way of declaring “I will not wait on more abundance before embracing the life-giving power of what I can share in this moment.”

Nathaniel Smith,  Fellow at The Mercatus Center, wrote :

We all have two hands and a heart…ears?…these are all in high demand. Undervalued assets indeed.

On the surface, Smith’s words might sound like just another way of saying “Accept everything crappy about your life and never strive for more.”

But it’s the opposite.

If you want to GET more, you have to use what you already have.

The same is true of generosity.

If you want to GIVE more. you have to use what you already have.

The path to a better life always leads through a willingness to affirm something in your life that’s already worth building on.

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The Difference That Difference Makes

Here’s what comes with the territory of being an individual.

What’s obvious to you will seem obscure to others.

This can be a source of great irritation and inconvenience in relationships.

It can also be a source of great purpose and power.

The difference is mostly a matter of decision.

In a talk I gave called “Dreams Don’t Come True, Decisions Do,” I make the following observation:

If everyone was inspired and irked by the same things as you, there wouldn’t be much of a need for you.

You can despise the differences that exist between yourself and others OR you can embrace those differences as evidence for the existence of a unique contribution that you’re here to make.

When others say “I don’t see things the way you do,” it might be more of an affirmation than an attack.

Another way to hear such words might be “I don’t see things the way you do AND that’s exactly why we need someone like you.”

I can only imagine how terrible music, art, literature, technology, and commerce would be if everyone was turned off and turned on by the same things as me.

It’s a good thing that we live in a world where there are people like you.

I hope you see it that way too.

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Remember Who the Real Enemy Is

Never participate in a contest over who’s the most disadvantaged. Everyone loses in that scenario.

If someone is fighting with you to achieve the status of “person with the hardest life,” let them win.

Build your legacy on helping yourself and others overcome hardship, not on using personal struggles to make others feel inferior.

Instead of racing others to the bottom, find a common ground that you both can use as a foundation for personal growth.

Resistance is the enemy.

Debates about who faces the most resistance is a distraction that keeps us from defeating that enemy.

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Expectations, Agreements, & Making Your Dreams Happen Through Communication

Expectation: something we want to happen or something we think will happen based on our individual beliefs about what’s reasonable/probable.

Agreement: an expectation that is communicated to another party and that the other party explicitly promises to fulfill.

Expectation: “I thought you were going to call Tom to confirm the appointment! Why would you NOT do that?”

Agreement: “We’re all set for the meeting next Tuesday. Can you send Tom a confirmation email 24-hours beforehand? Thanks!”

The problem with expectations is that most of us have different concepts of what’s reasonable and probable.

If my concept of what’s reasonable is the standard, you’re going to fall short every single time.

If your concept of what’s reasonable is the standard, I’m going to look like a bumbling idiot on my best day of the week.

When expectations clash, unnecessary disappointment ensues.

The solution: Transform your expectations into agreements.

Avoid making the assumption that other people are making the same assumptions as you.

If you know you’re going to feel resentful because of an unmet expectation, translate your expectation into a request. Then proactively solicit the other party’s agreement.

In order to be effective at this, you have to care more about creating the outcomes you want than about being on the winning side of an argument.

This isn’t about the “right” way to communicate versus the “wrong” way to communicate. This is about experiencing the peace of mind that comes from taking ownership of the results that matter most to you.

If you care about your desires and dreams, why leave such a precious thing in the hands of someone else’s ability to accurately predict what they need to do for you?

If you’re thinking “I shouldn’t have to make my expectations clear,” I agree. You shouldn’t have to.

The world would be a much easier place if we could all just count on each other to show up and deliver whenever needed without any prompting.

I’m just here to remind you that we don’t live in that world. Unfortunately, we got dropped off in the other universe. The universe where good people forget things, overlook things, miscalculate things, underestimate things, and completely drop the ball on things. It happens.

If you want to improve your odds of success, don’t just focus on what people should do. Focus on what they could do if they had better information.

It’s not just the nice thing to do. It’s the selfish thing to do. When you do that for them, you’re really doing it for you.

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Meaning: Manufactured By You

“Meaning,” as in “I want a job that has meaning” or “I want a relationship that has meaning” isn’t a single nirvana experience you get to hold onto forever simply by finding the right job or the right partner.

Meaning emerges from a pattern of thinking, observing, processing, learning, and creating that has to be cultivated over time.

Circumstances and conditions matter, but they aren’t enough to supply meaning.

Meaning is a participatory phenomenon.

Good opportunities can make things easier, but there will always be a level of meaning that has to be manufactured.

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