Tag Archives | goals

Learn To Be Lucky

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! This time of year, luck is often top of mind — have you ever wondered why some people seem to live charmed lives, full of lucky breaks, while others fall victim to one misfortune after another?

In his landmark book, The Luck Factor, Professor Richard Wiseman from the University of Herefordshire in England, answers this question, coming to the promising conclusion that luck — good or bad — is purely a state of mind.

Wiseman exhaustively researched the beliefs, habits, and experiences of more than 400 people over several years. His findings: Luck is not the result of random chance, nor are people born lucky or unlucky. Instead, luckiness can be predicted by examining people’s patterns of thinking and behavior. In other words, luck can actually be learned. Here are four core principles underlying lives of good fortune.

1) Lucky people create chance events. They are adept at noticing and finding ways to act upon chance opportunities. They tend to be relaxed and open, often discovering possibilities well beyond what they were looking for. Unlucky people, by contrast, are more tense and myopic and avoid taking risks, preferring to stay in their comfort zones.
2) Lucky people produce success by relying on their intuition. They tend to go with their gut instincts while unlucky people tend to rely more on logic.
3) Lucky people expect good things to happen. They create self-fulfilling prophecies through positive expectations, knowing what they want and reinforcing it through positive, affirming self-talk. (They tell themselves how lucky they are.) By contrast, unlucky people tend to dwell on what they don’t want… which often turns out to be exactly what they get.
4) Lucky people display a high level of resilience that transforms bad luck into good luck. Wiseman’s lucky subjects were extremely persistent, while their unlucky counterparts gave up at the first signs of struggle.

One of the most striking contrasts from Wiseman’s research was the difference in how his lucky subjects re-framed unfortunate experiences compared to unlucky folks. Wiseman explains:

“I decided to present lucky and unlucky people with some unlucky scenarios and see how they reacted. I asked lucky and unlucky people to imagine that, while waiting in line in a bank, an armed robber enters, fires a shot, and the bullet hits them in the arm. Would this event be lucky or unlucky? Unlucky people tended to say that this would be enormously unlucky and it would be just their bad luck to be in the bank during the robbery. In contrast, lucky people viewed the scenario as being far luckier, and often spontaneously commented on how the situation could have been far worse. ‘It’s lucky because you could have been shot in the head — also, you could sell your story to the newspapers and make some money.”

As Wiseman’s research reveals, the differences between lucky and unlucky people have nothing to do with blind chance. Perhaps most encouraging, luckiness can be learned, a claim the author backs up by creating a “luck school” in which he coaches previously unlucky people to adopt measurable, luck-building behaviors. The results, according to Wiseman’s research, are dramatic. “Eighty percent of the ‘luck school’ students are now happier, more satisfied with their lives and, perhaps best of all, luckier.”

So, if you want good fortune, start telling yourself how lucky you are, act upon chance events, trust your instincts, and persistently go after your goals!

What is your reaction to Wiseman’s findings? What are your beliefs about luck? Do you consider yourself to be superstitious? (According to a 1996 Gallup Poll, 25% of Americans claimed to be somewhat to very superstitious.) Did anything in Wiseman’s research surprise you? If you lived out these four “luck-building” principles consistently, what would it mean to your personal brand… and to your life?

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Why Habits Trump Goals in Building your Personal Brand

In a previous post, I shared the story of Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen’s epic 1912 victory over British rival Robert Falcon Scott in becoming the first to reach the South Pole. Amundsen’s disciplined travel plan, known as the 20 Mile March, was one of the key factors that separated him from Scott, who’s reliance on bold moves and creative bets led not only to defeat, but to his tragic death.

Scott’s approach is emblematic of our culture’s fixation on what author James Clear calls “the myth of quantum change,” which he describes as a cultural obsession with the overnight success, magic bullet, miracle cure, killer app, etc. We love to feed ourselves on stories of those who win millions in the lottery, lose 80 lbs in twelve weeks, or go from lounge singer to American Idol winner overnight.

Just like them, we want to earn more, do more, and be more right now. So in an effort to seize the moment, we set big goals in hopes of propelling ourselves towards our desired future.

The problem is, most of those big goals end up on the trash heap of self improvement. Consider these findings on New Years Resolutions from a 2014 Scranton University Study:
⋅ 40% of people abandon their resolutions before reaching the month of February.
⋅ The average person makes the same resolution ten times without success.

Since the biggest focus of New Year’s Resolutions is weight loss and health, consider this: Only 5 percent of those who lose weight on a diet keep it off—95% regain it, and a significant percentage gain back more.

The Problem with Goals

via pexels.com

Like the New Years Resolutions in the study, most goals are simply visions of some desired future outcome. And though there’s certainly nothing wrong with crafting a clear vision of a bright future, the problem is, we have little control over whether or not we achieve those outcomes. Imagine setting a goal to lose 20 lbs in six months, for example. When you really think about it, you have very little control over whether or not you will shed those pounds based upon envisioning the outcome–you really don’t.

But, by contrast, you have almost complete control over how often you go to the gym every week, how accurately you record everything you eat, or how much water you drink each day.

To be more accurate, the problem isn’t with the goals themselves, it’s the type of goals you set. I used to be a huge proponent of outcome-based S.M.A.R.T. Goals which stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-Focused and Time-Bound, but, through countless personal experiences as well as coaching others, I’ve discovered that activity-based goals–simple, repeatable disciplines consistently executed–have the greatest potential to produce real change.

The problem is, that takes time… something our ‘microwave, download-on-demand’ culture strongly resists. But consider these facts:

⋅ If you read 30-60 minutes a day in your chosen field, that translates into one book per week, resulting in over 50 books per year. In three years, that is 150 books in your area of focus – quickly allowing you to become an expert in your field and, according to self-development expert Brian Tracy, putting you in the top 1 percent of all earners in our society.
⋅ A 25-year old who invests $100 a month in a conservative Roth IRA will have accumulated over 1 million dollars by age 65.
⋅ Several years ago, author Nathan Barry, as an alternative to setting goals for his writing career, instead committed to the discipline of writing 1000 words a day (light work for a writer). By the end of the year, he had enough content to publish two books, earning him over $300,000 in profits.

These are impressive facts, yet how many people do you know make and keep commitments like these? Despite our obsession with lofty goals, massive gains and big wins, it is our habits–repeatable daily disciplines compounded over time–that produce the most significant results in our lives.

Your assignment: Think of one habit you could develop that, if consistently committed to for a significant amount of time, would dramatically impact your life in 2017? What would it mean to the quality of your life in three years, five years, ten years? What is keeping you from starting?

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Guest Blog Post: Remembering the WHY with Stephen Twomey

I’ve written several posts about the importance of getting started — specifically, getting started with the development of habits in order to help us reach our lifelong goals — and the importance of keeping in mind your initial motivation: why you got started in the first place. This week, I’m featuring a guest blogger: Stephen Twomey, local Traverse City business owner, husband, father and fellow fitness enthusiast. Read on as Stephen explores the ways in which getting in touch and staying in touch with the WHY that fires us up can help us press through the WHAT and the HOW when times are tough.


Consistency is the key to achieving anything in life. We have heard our parents, our teachers and self-help gurus state, “It is not about how you start but how you finish that counts.” And to finish well requires consistency. And while I agree with that axiom, it is with one significant caveat: To finish well, you must actually start. Far too many people plan and plan and theorize without ever applying their learning to the actual task. Information without implementation accomplishes nothing.

In the entrepreneurial world we call them “Couch CEO’s.” They are equivalent to NFL couch quarterbacks or social media critics who scream at players and refs, or spew out venom and what they consider to be sage advise, but never actually do anything.

So at the risk of stating the obvious: In order to finish well, you must first start. But this post is not about starting. It is to encourage and inspire those who have started to endure, and to not give up when tests and tribulations come your way. Whatever your goals are, you need to remember them. Remember the reason why you started in the first place.

Ever since I was in 7th grade, I dreamed of owning my own company. It started when I was playing paintball with my friends. The problem was that paintballs are expensive, especially when you have a rapid-fire paintball gun! So I did some research and discovered that I could buy large quantities of high quality paintballs online, package them into bags of 100, and sell them to my friends locally that not only saved them money but allowed me to play for free. It was the old “buy low, sell high” plan, and it lit a fuse in me to one day be a business owner.

That early experience led me into several career paths that eventually evolved into my own business. There was a season of learning, of data gathering, of gaining expertise. But eventually you have to take a first step. You have to launch. And once that happens, so does adversity (broken promises, deals that don’t go through, etc). And this is where perseverance comes in. This is where remembering the dream—WHY you started in the first place.

A huge motivator for me is my family. I have an amazing wife and two precious sons who mean the world to me. I press through the challenges of owning a business in large part for my family—not only to provide well for them, but also to have the flexibility to be with them as husband, father, coach, mentor, tear-dryer, counselor, referee, and human play mat.

via Steve Twomey

What about you? When you are facing struggles and you are tempted to quit, what keeps you going? What gets you out of bed, or keeps you awake at night? Getting in touch and staying in touch with the WHY that fires you up will help you press through the WHAT and the HOW when times are tough.

What keeps me going is faith, family and friends. I want to honor God in every area of my life, be a great husband and father, and a faithful friend. But to do that requires me to do some things that don’t come natural to me… as in getting up five days a week at 5 a.m. to work out. My physical fitness is directly tied to my mental and emotional state, which impacts my work day, my family, etc. When I connect the discipline of regular rigorous exercise to wanting to live a God-honoring, well balanced life, that’s the motivation I need to press on rather than roll over and hit the snooze button.

So to all you starters, keep going! Don’t quit! Yes, there is adversity. Sometimes life can kick us in the stomach and leave us breathless. It’s one of the reasons that having great friends to support you when those times come is so important. But I am a firm believer that the only way to fail is to simply give up. As long as you do not admit defeat — you instead get up the next morning and put one foot in front of the other, and you stay with it — you will succeed.

In conclusion, a blog post from me would not be complete without a movie reference. In the movie The Dark Knight, Alfred asks Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale), “Why do we fall, sir? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.” Bruce Wayne responds, “You still haven’t given up on me.” To that Alfred states, “Never.”

Well my friends, as long as we do not give up on ourselves, we learn to pick ourselves up (and each other from time to time), and we keep moving forward, we will be a success. Here’s to the journey!


Stephen Twomey is a resident of Traverse City, Michigan. He is married to his beautiful wife, Jane, and they have two young sons. Stephen is the owner of SEOTraverseCity and MasterMindSEO. When he is not working, he enjoys spending time with his family, snowboarding, weight training and hiking.

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How to Make 2016 Your Best Year Ever

Do you recall this Monster.com ad that debuted during the 1999 Super Bowl?

I love this ad! The humor lies in the absurdity — the contradiction. Ten year olds don’t aspire to file and climb their way up to middle management. Quite the opposite! Most kids that age have this infectious idealism. They want to be astronauts, generals, President of the United States, sports heroes. They want to change the world.

by Paul Filitchkin | stocksnap.io

What happens as kids reach adulthood?

Unfortunately for many, as they grow up, life slowly starts to beat them down until they end up settling for something far less.

Author Todd Henry, in his captivating book, Die Empty, writes: “No one charts a course for mediocrity, yet it’s still a destination of choice, chosen in small, seemingly inconsequential decisions over time.”

Did you notice the last image in the Monster.com ad? It says, “What did you want to be?” In other words, what dream, goal or aspiration did you have at one time that you have given up on?

The Problem with New Year’s Resolutions

With the Christmas holiday just a few weeks away, many of us, filled with anticipation of the fresh start of the new year, will set big, bold resolutions for our health, relationships, careers and our faith.

But for most people, by the beginning of February, those big goals — those plans to make 2016 the best year ever — will have worn off like a Florida sun tan in a northern Michigan winter.

Consider these statistics from the University of Scranton:
> 40% of people abandon their resolutions before reaching the month of February.
> The average person makes the same New Year’s Resolution ten times without success.
> Since the biggest focus of New Year’s Resolutions is weight loss and health, consider this: Only 5% of those who lose weight on a diet keep it off—95% regain it, and a significant percentage gain back even more.

What’s wrong here?

Why do so many dreams and goals fall apart so quickly? What keeps so many capable people from living out the best versions of themselves? More importantly, what can we do differently? What are some critical attitudes, qualities, and behavior patterns that will enable you to make the coming year, if not your best year ever, at least one you can look back upon with deep satisfaction?

In my upcoming posts, I plan to share some powerful insights from a wide range of authors, coaches and other influential people who will shed light on living well. Stay tuned!

Think back to when you were the age of those kids in the Monster.com ad. What did you want to be when you grew up? To what extent have you lived out your dreams? Where have you fallen short? I’d love to hear from you.

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