Thursday, February 28, 2008

Framed By Words

Words…..They’ve been used to make us laugh and cry. They can wound or heal. They can offer hope or devastation.With words, we can make our noblest intentions felt and our deepest desires known.From the very beginning when the first words were uttered,the ability to communicate has played an important role in our world. Whether within our own thoughts, spoken or written, words have the power to transform the world we live in. Love, laughter, heroism, friendship, and virtually every emotion we feel as human beings can be inspired by words. Unfortunately, fear, anger, and hatred, can also be invoked by words.

Throughout human history, our greatest leaders and thinkers have used the power of words to transform our emotions, to enlist us in their causes, and to shape the course of destiny. Words do not only create emotions; they create actions. And from our actions flow the results of our lives. When Patrick Henry stood before his fellow delegates and proclaimed, “I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!” his words ignited a firestorm that unleashed an unbridled commitment to extinguish the tyranny that has suppressed them for so long. The simple Declaration of Independence, an assemblage of words, became the vessel for change for a whole nation.

Listen. The whole world was framed by words. The Almighty God “spoke” out what was in his minds. He expressed his desires in words, and whatever He said, He saw. In other words, the whole world was formed by words. Your world too, is formed, and will be formed, by words! What are the things you said about yourself, your situation, your family and your nation 5 years ago? I can bet that they are the things you are seeing now

I personally remember the things I said about myself and my future 7-10 years ago. Then, I was a young man from the back side of the desert. I was from the interior of the inferior. However, I came in contact with the word of God. Then, I began to shapen my world with words. As a young speaker then, I used to declare in words then things that seem so impossible and far out of reach. Once I said loud and clear “Soon, I will earn foreign exchange through public speaking”. Today, all the things I said, I have seen! I am already saying the things I want to see in the next couple of years.

The words you speak and words spoken around you can change your life forever. I have being around people using negative words on their kids. I once knew a mother who usually calls his son a “coconut head”. There is nothing inside coconut except water! No wonder they guy turned out to be just better than a moron. Such is the power of words. In all humility, I have never being “broke” since I changed my financial vocabulary. Whenever you say “I am broke”, it is like something shuts down inside of you. You can’t think straight again. Your system behaves exactly like that. Whenever I have less money than I need, I’ll rather say “I am overcoming a cash flow problem”. You can’t imagine the difference that makes. It’s just amazing!

"Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind."

"Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me." I remember saying those words when young to try and convince myself of its truth in the face of painful words thrown my way. Unfortunately, it is far from true. Verbal insults, verbal abuse, and the power of words to affect your emotions and actions are well demonstrated in science. For example, scientists have found that just hearing sentences about elderly people led research subjects to walk more slowly. In other research, individuals read words of 'loving kindness' showed increases in self-compassion, improved mood, and reduced anxiety.

I once read that a word is like a living organism, capable of growing, changing, spreading, and influencing the world in many ways, directly and indirectly through others. I never thought about a word being 'alive' but then I thought of words spoken 3,000 years ago, written down and passed through many generations, and they seem quite alive when read or spoken today, having lived 3,000 years. As I ponder the power of the word to incite and divide, to calm and connect, or to create and effect change, I am ever more cautious in what I say and how I listen to the words around me.

“A tongue three inches long can kill a man six feet tall."

The words of your mouth are a creative force. They play a big part in predestining your future. Your words are the architects of your life. The tongue is like a tool. We need to use our tools of the present to build the future we desire. You see, your future will someday be your present. Your present will someday be your past. You can chart the course of your future by your compass... your tongue. It will guide you like a rudder... into either troubled waters or a calm sea. But, don't be misled... it WILL guide you.

The words you speak create an atmosphere. If you are going to have a meeting and you really pump it up and build it, what happens? People come with expectancy! They come excited. Your words have set the stage for success! One of the foundational revelations of a wise leader is to learn to control his or her words!

Remember, Samson slew 1,000 Philistines with the jawbone of an ass. Way too many businesses, lives, and relationships are destroyed with the same weapon...’’

Words can take you from where you are now to where you want to be. Words can kill. Words can make alive. You can create your future with your vocabulary today

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Law Of Continuous Improvement - Part II

Loosely translated, the Japanese word kaizen means 'continuous change for the better'. More and more businesses now follow this principle to ensure they stay competitive, but this approach is equally valid for individuals. If you allow your skills to stand still and become out of date, it is all too easy to fall behind others and lose your competitive edge.

When we stop learning, we stop improving, and that can only lead to career stagnation.That is why it is important to maximise every opportunity for learning that comes along. None of us can rely on what we did and how we performed yesterday to sustain us. Developing a personal improvement process is a key part of ensuring we can meet the demands of our changing business and personal worlds.

I like the way Kim Collin puts is. He said “Strive for continuous improvement, instead of perfection”. Isn’t that wonderful? If everyone of us can commit to a life of continuous improvement, I bet the world will be a better place to live in. We need to actively search for a better way of doing things.

Strive for continuous improvement, instead of perfection - Kim Collin

Let me share with you some steps to continuous improvement.

1. Discard conventional fixed ideas.

The very idea of kaizen is unconventional. And the truth is, most people do not practice continuous improvement in any area of their lives, let alone all areas. About ninety-five percent of the people in this world have absolutely no interest in taking action to improve their lives. Conventional, fixed ideas would suggest that it is not necessary to continue learning throughout our lives. In the New Economy, however, the stakes are higher than ever. Those who continue to think that their formal education will take care of them for the rest of their lives are in for a rude awakening.

2. Think of how to do it, not why it cannot be done.

The pessimist will create all kinds of reasons that something can't be done. The optimistic, forward thinker, on the other hand, knows that "if the why is strong enough, the how will come." Focus on the outcome. Then, come up with all the ways that the outcome could possibly be accomplished. “…Determine that the things can and shall be done. And then we shall find the Way..” said Abraham Lincoln.

Determine that the things can and shall be done. And then we shall find the Way - Abraham Lincoln.

3. Do not make excuses.

Start by questioning current practices. Making excuses for not doing something is easy. Again, focus on the outcome. Then, take action. There is no excuse for not trying something. There is absolutely no harm in trying. I remember back in my secondary school days. I had a friend who was the best in Mathematics. There was something I noticed about him – he wasn’t afraid to try difficult problems. While people like me will drop a question just because it “looks” difficult, this guy never bulged. He’ll try every problem. The truth is, he didn’t get all of them, but he was way ahead of all of us who didn’t try at all!

4. Do not seek perfection.

Do it right away even if for only 50% of the target. If we all waited for perfection, we'd still be reading by candlelight and riding horses to work. Once you get to a certain point (whether it's 50% or 80%, or another number that makes sense), then run with it. In other words, take action. Then, adjust as you go along.

5. Correct it right away, if you make a mistake.

Stuff happens. Accept it, and adjust accordingly. If you've absorbed and accepted #4, then you're almost anticipating the necessity of corrections. Acknowledge that the mistake happened, especially when it affects other people, and then correct it. When an airplane is in flight, it is rarely exactly "on target". Most often, it's a little off course on this direction, or slightly off in that direction. But the pilot (or auto-pilot) constantly adjusts, and the plane ends up at its destination. The same is true of personal development.

6. Do not just spend money for kaizen, use your wisdom.

It is not enough to simply buy a tape set to learn skills, or to merely attend a workshop or seminar. These are wonderful (and essential, in my opinion) first steps, but action is key. Learn, yes. But then take action based on what you have learned.

7. Wisdom is brought out when faced with hardship.

Challenges are usually undesirable, but they can be tremendous learning opportunities. Obstacles will present themselves, and you will be a better person for having done what it took to overcome them.

8. Ask "Why?" five times and seek root causes.

The question "why?" is extremely powerful. As stated in #2, if a person has a strong enough "why", he or she can accomplish anything. The question "why?" can serve to either strengthen our conviction about something, or help us to discover that it really wasn't as important as we thought it was. At a minimum, it helps us to get to the root of the issue. Each time you ask "why?", you reveal a new layer. You go deeper, and deeper. Then, after four or five answers, you'll get to the real one. Try it!

9. Seek the wisdom of ten people rather than the knowledge of one.

Much has been written about the power of group thinking. Whether it involves seeking one or two other people's opinions, holding a meeting with others, or more formal brainstorming or mastermind groups, there is power in numbers. If you want to find out how to be successful at something, ask someone who has already done it. Better yet, gather several people who have already done it. With libraries, the internet, and other resources available today, we have more opportunities than ever to gather the wisdom of others.

10. Kaizen ideas are infinite.

Kaizen is a process of learning and growing, steadily and continually. There are always ways to "tweak" elements of your life in order to improve them. It has been said that life is a journey, not a destination. And practicing the philosophy of continuous improvement, of kaizen, will help you to make the most of that journey!

See you on top!
You are destined for the top of the topmost top! See you there!!