Surround Yourself Within Your Vision

My Vision

If you have seen my Instagram post from today, you will know that I am writing this post from James Armstrong Richardson International Airport, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

You may think that I am travelling; however, that assumption would be incorrect. I am not here as a traveller, but instead, I am at the airport as a visionary.

You see, my vision for the future is to travel the world as a writer and speaker. Where do people need to go to travel the world? THE AIRPORT!

I have purposefully planted myself within the realm of the destination that I have for my life. I am at the airport. Sure, I don’t have a ticket YET, but one day I will. As I sit at a cafe, next to the “Domestic & International Flights” departure gates, I am consumed and engulfed within the environment and context of my future. This is where I want to be. No…this is where I WILL BE.

 

Why?

For the most part, I write my articles for this website at a local Starbucks. I love Starbucks coffee, and enjoy the environment. But, I don’t want to simply consume my environment. Instead, I want my environment to WORK FOR ME.

I can attest that as I sit here, and write at the airport, I have a feeling of excitement within my spirit – and yeah, as I said, I don’t even have a ticket anywhere! The excitement is because this setting…my goal…my dream…is activating the confidence and belief that I have for my future. My goal of travelling the world is becoming more real…like I can actually reach out my hand and touch it.

I am convinced that when you place yourself in the environment of your goals and aspirations, the excitement of the moment will inspire you to reach new levels.

Sure, I could still write the same articles at Starbucks, and probably get the same hits and views, but Starbucks doesn’t fuel my spirit like the airport can. The airport is a tangible representation of my vision. My vision is possible. Check that…my vision is my destiny.

Airport!

Jim Carrey

I love the story of Jim Carrey and how he took a piece of his vision and applied it to his current situation.

As a struggling comedian/actor in the late 1980’s, living out of his van in Los Angeles, Jim wrote himself a cheque for “acting services rendered” for the amount of $10 million dollars, and placed it in his wallet. He even dated the cheque for a specific time in the future. By doing this, he gave himself a deadline. For the next few years, whenever he opened his wallet, he saw the cheque. Although he was broke and homeless at the time, whenever he saw the cheque, a passion was refuelled and ignited on the inside to accomplish his vision. As fate would have it, within weeks of his deadline, he received a $10 million cheque for acting services rendered for the movie Dumb and Dumber.

By placing a cheque in his wallet, Jim Carrey was activating his vision. Instead of just dreaming about being a rich movie star, he took an extra step, and gave himself something tangible and real to remind himself of where he would be. Jim Carrey made his vision real before it was real.

Here is a short clip of Jim Carrey on the Oprah Winfrey show telling his story.

 

Application/Challenge

I remember a few years back, I had a vision to teach at two different schools near my house. Instead of just wishing that one day I would be hired, my wife and I would go to the school, park in the staff parking lot, and walk around the perimeter of the property (after school hours, of course).

I remember as I was walking around the perimeter of the school, I could feel my vision becoming activated. Even though at the time, I was employed at a different school in a different district, the simple act of placing myself within the environment of my vision, like the airport today, gave me an inspiration and excitement for my vision that nothing else could or would equal. Guess what? Within a five-year period, both schools hired me to be a part of their teaching staffs.

________________________________________________________________________________

Is there a particular university that you want to be enrolled in? Then I challenge you to go the university! Sit in the cafeteria. Walk around the bookstore. Walk around campus. Place yourself in the environment already, before it’s  even “real”.

Is there a particular job you want? Like me, go there, walk around the property, and make it REAL to you, instead of a far-off wish.

Do you want a 90 average in school? Like Jim Carrey, write yourself a visual of the future. Go on a computer, and begin to draft a report card that you envision for yourself, full of high 90’s in difficult courses; then place it somewhere that you will be reminded of it often.

Whatever your goal or vision, begin to surround yourself with tangible evidence that you can see, feel, and touch right now, today! Your vision will become activated in ways you never saw or felt possible.

Get better.

________________________________________________________________________________

Flip The Switch

Flip the switch. What does it mean to “flip the switch”? Flipping the switch means to IMMEDIATELY shift your attitude and mindset to the opposite of your present state of mind. Just like flipping a light switch immediately creates light out of darkness, I believe we are all capable of flipping our own switch when we want to – that is, immediately creating positivity and energy out of negativity.

Is Flipping The Switch Possible For Everyone?

As I have written in a previous article, I want to be known as a consistent person. In order to be consistent however, it is absolutely necessary to be able to flip the switch. The good news is that I believe every single person has the inborn ability to do so.

You might be thinking to yourself, “Well, I would love to be able to immediately flip the switch and drop my negativity. But I can’t. I am depressed. Nothing is going right. I can’t pay my bills. My parents are getting divorced. I just got fired from my job. I am a negative person by nature.” The list of negativity and doubt goes on and on in your mind.

Let me ask you this: if someone had a gun to your head, and demanded that you immediately stop complaining, and instead start expressing cheer, happiness, and gratitude, would you be able to do it? I think you would. Actually, I know you would. We would all find a way to stop complaining.

I believe flipping the switch comes down to the basic element of desire: do we want to flip the switch bad enough? Often times, we don’t. It is easier to complain, so we continue. The cycle never breaks.

The cycle of negativity will only end WHEN YOU DECIDE IT IS TIME FOR THE CYCLE TO END. It’s always up to you if you want to flip the switch. When a room is dark, we always prefer light, so we flip the switch. In the same way, when your attitude and mindset is dark, go ahead…flip the switch.

My Experience

I have a long history of living in a dark place in my mind. For years I allowed negativity and self-doubt to rule my mindset. If I felt sad, I would act sad. If I felt angry, I would act out in anger. If I felt tired, I would act tired. I was a slave to circumstance.

When you flip the switch, you are no longer a slave to circumstance. Instead, you are the ruler and dictator of your thoughts, feelings, and emotions. What a great place to be!

Here are some simple ways I flip the switch every day:

  • When I am tired at work, I flip the switch to ENERGY. Instead of acting tired, yawning, and speaking negative to others, my energy switch allows me to carry on with enthusiasm, hustle, and spirit. Guess what eventually happens? When I flip the switch to ENERGY, eventually my brain believes it, and I forget I was ever tired in the first place!
  • When I am frustrated, I flip the switch to PATIENCE. My students will never know when I am frustrated because long before my frustration boils over, I have flipped the switch to PATIENCE. Being patient allows me to talk calmly, sincerely, and respectfully.
  • When I feel unmotivated, I flip the switch to SERVE. Laziness cannot live within an environment of servanthood, and is quickly defeated. When I feel unmotivated, I ask myself “Who can I serve, and how?”

Challenge

All of us give into our feelings and circumstance at one point or another. The key is to SLOWLY begin to change the process…instead of giving into your feelings, your feelings will give into YOUR MINDSET.

To begin slowly…here is this weeks challenge: PURPOSEFULLY FLIP THE SWITCH AT LEAST ONE TIME PER DAY.

My advice to you is to LIVE OUT A SINGLE WORD DURING THE WEEK. When you live out a word, you are required to act like it, even if you don’t feel like it. For example, if you want to be KIND this week, you will need to flip your switch to KIND even if you feel like telling someone off.

Think of a word that you want to be known as. Then, at least once a day this week, flip the switch to that word when you don’t feel like it. Slowly you will trick your brain and begin to rule your feelings.

GET BETTER!

_______________________________________________________

 

 

 

 

Ho Do I Succeed In School? Part 5 – No More Excuses!

Enough with the excuses already! If you are an excuse-maker, I promise you, unless you change, YOU WILL NEVER REACH YOUR FULL POTENTIAL. Excuses take ownership off of you, and place them elsewhere so you don’t have to be accountable. Excuses are the calling card of the AVERAGE.

Story Time

When I was in school, I ALWAYS used excuses for failure. But, I had one excuse that I used more than any other…just like MJ and his fadeaway and AI’s crossover, this excuse was my GO-TO move.

LACK OF INTELLIGENCE! Yup…my patented “fade-away”. I failed a test? Not smart enough! Did poorly on an assignment? Not smart enough! Low grades on my report card? Not smart enough! Enrolled in summer school courses in back-to-back years because I failed? NOT SMART ENOUGH!!

You get the idea. In my young eyes, failure was never my fault. Instead, it was the fault of my genetics! For whatever reason, I told myself, I wasn’t blessed with intelligence. I was cursed with a low IQ…a crutch I convinced myself I would have to bear for the rest of my life.

Why?

Why do we invent excuses? Because the excuse makes us feel better about ourselves…even if the excuse isn’t based on reality! As a teenager, I was able to justify my poor grades and academic average on my perceived lack of intelligence. I graduated high school having never taken ownership over my poor performance…a regret I live with to this day.

For whatever reason, excuses allow failure to seem more understandable. But what most don’t realize yet, is that failure is a necessary component for growth and success (more on that in a future article).

The Truth

What is the real reason that I didn’t achieve high grades in school? The answer is very simple…I didn’t try. At all. To be completely honest, I can count the times I did homework on one hand – this includes studying for tests, exams, finishing projects, or reviewing lessons.

But…my excuse of low intelligence set me free from my laziness and poor work ethic. The excuse made me feel better about myself. It was my REASON for being lazy and not achieving.

Ownership

Ownership is another characteristic that separates  average people and excellent people. Like me in my high school days, average people don’t want to hear the truth about WHY, instead they fabricate stories (excuses) that justify and place blame elsewhere on their failure.

Late? “It’s because of the traffic.” “It’s because my alarm clock ‘didn’t go off’.” Stop making excuses, and take ownership. Leave earlier next time, and don’t let it happen again.

Didn’t finish your homework? “It’s because I had to work.”  “It’s because I had chores to do.”  “It’s because I didn’t know how to do the assignment.” Stop making excuses, and take ownership. Make time in your schedule, ask more questions, and don’t let it happen again.

Side note…If you don’t make time for something, it just means it’s not important to you. The time excuse is the lamest of them all.

It’s only when you begin to eliminate excuses and take FULL ownership over your failures that you will begin to reach your full potential.

If you are satisfied with mediocrity and never realizing what you truly are capable of, then by all means, FIRE THOSE EXCUSES OFF! However, the fact that you are still reading this article is probably an indication that you aren’t satisfied with average. Keep reading…

Are Excuses Ever Valid?

I have learned that YES, excuses can be valid! Woo-hoo!! How do you know? Here is the rule…

The next time you have an excuse, look around and check to see if anyone else has ever succeeded despite being in the same situation you are in. If nobody has ever succeed, your excuse is valid! However, it is rare.

Example…you are rude and condescending to people because you are tired. Being tired is your justifiable excuse for being a jerk! It’s not YOUR FAULT. Your rudeness is the fault of your tiredness. Phew! All good, right!!?? Nope. Why? Because there are thousands of people everyday, in locations all over the world, that are able to be kind and respectful to others despite being tired. Excuse failed. It’s lame. If others have succeeded anyway, your excuse needs some work.

Example…you cannot be successful after high school because you grew up in a low-income household and have few resources to succeed. Let me think…Jay-Z, Jim Carrey, and Shania Twain all grew up in low income families that struggled financially for years. Jim Carrey even spent a period of his life living out of his van. Shoot. I guess that excuse isn’t valid either.

Stop using your excuses as a crutch! Which brings me to my last point…

Reaching Your Full Potential

To reach your full potential, you have to eliminate excuses. It’s 100% essential to do so.

If I was honest with myself in high school, I would have had a 90 average. But instead, I chose to believe I wasn’t smart and blamed my laziness and poor grades on my intelligence. As a result, I wasn’t successful in school, and never realized my full potential.

What is your “GO-TO” excuse? I challenge you to be completely honest with yourself. Reveal your excuse, then trash it forever. It is the only way to climb higher.

I have learned that “GREATNESS IS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF YOUR EXCUSES.”

Use this week to get rid of your excuses forever. The best already have. Get better.

_______________________________________________________

How Do I Succeed In School? Part 4 – Be Consistent

Be consistent. I’ve always believed that consistency is one of the greatest attributes of success. During my first week of school, this belief was confirmed to me more than ever. Let me explain…

The experiences one faces at school are very dramatically inconsistent from day to day. Some days are great, some days are horrible, and most days are forgettable and average. You don’t have homework, your classes were interesting, and you have plans to go out with your friends after school – great day. Your partner broke-up with you, you failed your test, and your shift at work got cancelled – horrible day. You arrived to school on time, completed most of your work in class, and enjoyed volleyball practice – average day.

The key is to speak and act the same to others, no matter what type of day you are having. This is was separates the average student from the excellent student.

It may seem odd to say, but I realized this week, that as a teacher, there are actually some students that I am afraid of. I don’t necessarily mean “afraid” in the literal sense, but I am definitely unsure if I want to approach them sometimes. Why? Because of their inconsistency. Just like a rollercoaster, forever moving up and down – to new heights and lows, and everything in the middle – their words and actions also make dramatic shifts depending where life’s path is taking them on any given day. Basically, their feelings are their primary source for how they communicate with others.

 

What Type of Ship Are You?

The reason many people are inconsistent with their actions and behaviour is because they allow storms to get inside of them, and destroy their peace.

A ship can be cruising in the middle of the ocean, with water surrounding it for miles in all directions. It will be fine, serving its purpose, until a storm blows in its direction and begins to allow water on the inside. Because of the water, the ship will eventually sink once it can’t handle the weight. It will be destroyed.

Consistent people, however, don’t allow water to get on the inside. They have  an incredibly strong foundation that will not allow a storm to have any substantial impact. The wind can blow from all directions, and be surrounded by violent waves crashing all around them, but the consistent person will stay strong. Water has no way of filling the inside.

This simple analogy is the same for life. Those that are able to keep problems on the outside will be happier, stronger, and more successful. Just like the ship, the ACTIONS of consistent people will remain unaffected – they will remain strong, steadily cruising the same course as they were before the storm.

Those that allow problems to attack and destroy their inside, will eventually sink once the weight of the water becomes too great. The symptoms of allowing too much water on the inside manifest themselves in anger, depression, isolation, low resiliency, and quitting. Unfortunately, in a sea of ships at school, I have witnessed far too many sinking. When too many ships are sinking at the same time, there aren’t enough lifeboats to save them all.

Consistency and Success at School

It’s actually quite simple to see why consistent people are much more successful than those who aren’t…

  • Inconsistent people daydream in class when the lecture is boring. Consistent people take notes.
  • Inconsistent people escalate problems by screaming at their friends when they are upset. Consistent people speak calmly and resolve issues.
  • Inconsistent people are rude to others when they are upset. Consistent people earn trust and respect by controlling their feelings and always responding kindly.
  • Inconsistent people don’t study when they don’t feel like it. Consistent people study anyway.
  • Inconsistent people skip class when their friends influence them to do so. Consistent people attend class, ready to learn, leaving their friends in the hallway. It won’t take long for those same friends to stop asking you to skip, because your consistent refusals will train them to stay silent.

Aspiring to be Consistent is the Mindset of the 1%

Consistency is very difficult to achieve. Why? Because most people are inconsistent. Most people associate exclusively with inconsistent people, and most people allow their moods and feelings to dictate how they act. However, consistency requires the opposite: your thoughts, words, and actions need to be in control – then your feelings will comply A consistent person cannot be a slave to their feelings. It also really helps if you surround yourself with consistent people.

You are angry because your teacher went back on their word? Speak positively to him/her anyway. You’re upset because your friends cancelled on you, talk to them kindly anyway. You’re angry because you failed a test that you studied hard for? Speak softly to your teacher anyway. Accept responsibility.

When your thoughts, words, and actions are in control of your feelings, welcome to the 1% club, my friend. You are now consistent. You are now one of the most trustworthy people in your school. Probably in your community.

Conclusion

Get into the habit of reminding yourself to be consistent. I once had the word “consistent” as the wallpaper on my phone. When you wake up, remind yourself to be consistent. Post it in your locker. Write it on the back of your hand.  Get others to remind you. Do what you need to do to to be successful.

I challenge you to act differently this week. If you haven’t already done so, begin to chase consistency by taking control of your thoughts, words, and actions. Post it somewhere highly visible so you will be reminded of it often. Be that strong ship that stands out in a sea of mediocrity.

_______________________________________________________

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Do I Succeed In School? – Train Your Mental Toughness

As a teacher, one of the biggest tragedies I see students consistently make is that they give up too easily. In fact, many students give up after failing just once! I am confident that if you are able to triumph and persevere through setbacks and difficulties, you can easily separate yourself from your peers. Why? Because when your friends and peers are quitting, you will be breaking new barriers. The tool you need to develop is mental toughness..

I purposefully train my mental toughness often. It isn’t fun, but when I am able to complete tasks that others won’t, I will be able to accomplish what others can’t. There lies the separation of excellence and mediocrity…

When your peers are daydreaming in class, your mental toughness will be locked-in to absorb all of the information being taught. Yes, we teachers try to make all lessons fun and engaging, but sometimes we miss the mark – I admit, the lesson could be boring! It is incredibly important to LIVE-OUT your words. It’s been said that you shouldn’t judge a person by their words, but instead, you should judge them by what they do. So when I suggest to you that you should train your mental toughness by engaging in tasks that aren’t fun, I will do the same to prove my point.

Right now, I am blogging from my gym in Winnipeg. It’s 11:30 PM. I arrived at 8:45. I am currently on a mission to complete 1000 pull-ups in 10 hours. Oh yeah…I am completing this mission THROUGHOUT the entire night. I am not leaving here until 7 AM. Why did I choose to do this at night? Simple…it takes more mental toughness to complete the task.

 

Here is  my journey…

I have found some time in my workout to blog my progress. I have scheduled myself to complete 100 pull-ups every hour for 10 hours. I have currently completed 250 pull-ups in the first 90 minutes, so I have an hour.

How am I feeling? It’s human nature to focus on the negative…I am worried that my hands are starting to blister and are becoming extremely painful. I am worried I won’t be able to finish. I am reminded of a past world-record holder, David Goggins, who completed 4030 pull-ups in 17 hours – he had 3rd degree burns on his hands and had to stop in one of his first attempts. I don’t want that. I am fighting negativity right now.

However, my mental toughness, which I have consistently trained for years, is beginning to defeat my negativity. I am getting energized because I know that when most are getting ready for bed, I am still grinding. Overcoming challenges, huge challenges, will increase positivity and renew your mindset! I guarantee it!

Update…it’s 12:42 AM. Progress is being made: I have completed 400 pull-ups. My hands are still sore, but the pain isn’t progressing. Why? Instead of focusing on the negative, I searched for a solution: I googled a CrossFit technique for how to grip the bar properly to avoid blisters and rips. Bring on the remaining 600!

Update 2… it’s 3:19 AM. I have stopped at 676 pull-ups – kind of a weird number I know, but my body and mind needs a break. I’m not going to lie, it was a struggle to get through the 500’s and 600’s. I wanted to go home. The thought of doing another 500 pull-ups AND staying here for another five hours is beginning to torment my mind.

However, I have two choices: to remain mentally tough, keep going, and become more confident having defeated a huge challenge, or go home, get comfortable, and sleep only to wake up feeling frustrated and weak because I didn’t stick through with the challenge. The thought of the finish line is keeping me going. I don’t want to waste 676! 324 more and I am home baby!

Update 3…it’s now 4:48 AM, and I am beginning to slow down. I was doing sets of five pull-ups, now I am doing sets of 2 or 3. I am at 850 pull-ups now! The frustration I was feeling earlier is completely gone. All I see now is the finish line. It’s amazing the power that grinding through mental and physical exhaustion can have on your mindset. The feeling of accomplishment is going to be awesome!

Update 4…its exactly 6:00 AM. One hour to go to meet my deadline, and I have completed 950 pull-ups. I have a huge problem though…my right elbow is beginning to seize when I flex it. I can’t physically do anymore pull-ups right now. My plan is to rest another 20 to 30 minutes and see if somehow I can pull off the last 50. I am determined to be mentally tough, but not at the price of sacrificing the physical health of my body. I need to be smart here.

Update 5…it is 3:44 PM!! I finished all 1000 pull-ups by the time the clock struck 7 AM. What an unbelievable feeling of accomplishment. I went straight home, and fell asleep for 6 hours. My body is sore and aching. My hands are blistered up, and it’s very painful and difficult to bend my right elbow. Not a problem though, as these aches are temporary…the feeling of achievement is going to last a lifetime. The trade is well worth it.

As I reflect on those crazy ten hours of both mental and physical exhaustion, I cannot help but think of the intense struggle that I experienced. Between about 2 AM and 4AM, the urge to quit was incredibly real and powerful. I honestly felt I was going to stop. Probably more so than physically, the struggle was incredibly intense mentally. My mind was pleading with my body to stop and drive home to the comfort of my bed.

How did I get through the struggle? Two things: I focused on the joy and celebration of meeting the end-goal of 1000 push-ups, AND I spoke positively to myself all night..”You can do this!” “Go to the bar and do 5 more!” “You are more powerful than your feelings.” I refused to let negativity enter my mind…but that is a lesson for another time.

The next time I encounter a problem or a boring task that I’d rather not do, I can simply pull from my experience of 1000 pull-ups to guide me through to success and completion. For example, I really dislike marking assignments and preparing report cards. Both can become very tedious and boring. Next time I need to mark assignments or prepare report cards though, I am going to remember standing underneath a pull-up bar for 10 hours – if I can complete 10 overnight hours of physical and mental exhaustion of pulling my body over a bar 1000 times, certainly I can grade assignments for two hours! The confidence that I have earned through incredibly hard work will lead me to achieve greater success in other areas of my life later on. Now that I know I am capable of great things, minor challenges or annoyances will be easy to defeat.

You want to have an extremely successful school year? You want to achieve higher grades than you have ever achieved before? Then you need to train your mental toughness! Don’t worry though, it isn’t necessary to do so in such an extreme way as staying up all night at a gym and completing 1000 pull-ups; but you can study for an hour every night, can’t you? You can tell your friends you won’t be going to the party this time. You can review notes during your lunch-break and spares. You can workout when your friends are playing video games.

When you diligently practice mental toughness you will be ready for the boring lesson. You will be ready to study for hours in preparation for a major exam. You will be ready to complete your shift at work with diligence because you have been strengthening and conditioning your mind to stay mentally tough. Your peers? They will be quitting. They will be going to parties. They will stop when their mind tells them it isn’t fun anymore.

You tell me who is going to have the more successful school year: the student who quits when times get difficult, or the student who perseveres through challenges. I think it’s pretty obvious.

As you can see, the joy of triumph was worth the pain and agony…

                        

Be sure to check out my other articles and E-book on Amazon.

Follow me on Twitter and Instagram.