Category Archives: Motivation

A Pirate Looks at Forty – Lessons Learned From Navigating Life’s Ups and Downs

Josh Hinds - Author and EntrepreneurOK, so I’m not a pirate, but I was inspired to write this while listening to Jimmy Buffett’s classic, ‘A Pirate Looks At Forty’ — so I hope you’ll humor me.

It’s crazy to think that I used to listen to that song on tape cassette as a teenager (suddenly I’m realizing what it must have been like for those who grew up listening to 8 track tapes) and now, at the time of this writing I am 40 years old myself.

I’ll let you decide whether you want to listen to the song or not. That’s not really the point of this article anyway. Besides I’m certain Mr. Buffett will continue to do quite well without me promoting his music.

Instead, I want to share some of the things that came to me as I reflected on my life thus far. Isn’t it amazing how hearing a particular song can cause us to take a trip down memory lane?

Looking back on 40 years …

1. I used to place value on things differently. I got started in business fairly early. I was doing telephone sales in our family business at 15. As a result I was fortunate to begin reading personal development books, and listening to audio tapes around the same time. Anyway, when I was younger I remember equating “success” with how much I could earn, or the “toys” I could buy. That’s not to say I didn’t feel a sense of achievement for a task well done. Just that I distinctly remember always striving to attain “things”.

I didn’t enjoy the journey, or realize as I do now that the path is very much an important part of the equation. Perhaps the most important part in fact. When it is all about reaching the “summit” of your endeavors, there’s a very real danger of experiencing some extreme lows if, and when the results you’re seeking don’t happen as quickly as you may hope. Embracing the journey keeps you in the game so to speak. Life is to be lived after all.

2. A life well lived is best measured over time. I used to believe the “success journey” was like a statistics chart that just went up, up, up as we got older, and subsequently stacked on new life achievements. I had certainly seen enough, and read enough to know there would be challenges and setbacks along the way. I guess I just felt like somehow I would be exempt. That most certainly hasn’t been the case.

I realize now, every setback, truly has been a setup for something greater. I have had times in my life where things were slow and I didn’t even feel like I was on the right path. At other times I was riding high and I’d have to pinch myself to be sure I wasn’t dreaming. Life is slap full of ups and downs. Take heart though, because if you can accept that uncertainty is part of the journey at times, then before you know it you’ll find yourself riding high again.

I strongly recommend keeping a journal. This will allow you to track your life over time. As a result you will be able to more easily see all the successes and positive life experiences you have had over the course of your life.

3. I was lucky to have my mom reminding me from a very young age that GOD gifted me with unique talents. As I’ve gotten older I can honestly say that I have seen that to be absolutely true. Not only in my life, but the lives of countless others as well. Truly, GOD made us all for greatness.

Friend, whether you choose to believe that about yourself or not, doesn’t do anything to diminish the fact. Therefore I hope you will just embrace it as truth, and spend time each day looking for opportunities to live out that greatness that is a part of your very being.

4. It’s absolutely true what they say about it being better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all. Sure, it can hurt like heck when things don’t work out, but given enough time we almost always come to realize there were good times and positive experiences along the way. As well as opportunities for growth and such.

The good memories we get to keep and cherish, even after both people have moved on in their respective lives. I have been fortunate to have loved and been loved in return by some truly amazing women in my life. Without a doubt I’ve experienced my share of hurts, but I can honestly say for the most part I would do it all again given the chance. Of course, that’s not to say I wouldn’t correct a few missteps given the opportunity.

5. Being nice pays dividends. One thing I have seen first hand is that the old saying about nice guys finishing last is absolutely wrong. That isn’t to say that you aren’t going to experience your share of let downs or disappointments from people if you choose to help them. That said, being so guarded that you hold back your kind gestures isn’t going to protect you from occasionally being disappointed by people either.

The reality is we can’t control how others react or behave. Here’s a truth to consider. If you are doing something with the agenda, or belief that it has to come back to you in some way you’re likely setting yourself up to be disappointed, and at the least blocking yourself from experiencing the true joy that is derived from serving another person without expectation. That is, your reward is the doing of a thing for another human being. Spreading kindness. Plain and simple.

Years ago I read a quote by Zig Ziglar which said, “you can have everything in life you want if you’ll only help enough other people get what they want.” Over the years I have tried to live out that idea in my life. I’ll readily admit that at times I have fallen short. Still, at this point in my life I can clearly see how everything that I have accomplished of any worthwhile measure stemmed from my trying to help others get what they want first.

I could go on and on with this, but instead I’d love to hear some of your own reflections that you have come to believe over time. I look forward to hearing your feedback on the ideas above.

It’s Your Life, LIVE BIG!

Josh Hinds

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Life’s Storms Prepare us to Lead More Fulfilling Lives

Josh Hinds - Author and EntrepreneurIn life there will be storms. Certainly there will be sunshine and rainbows, but make no mistake, there will be storms — and they will bring with them the winds of change.

One moment we are humming right along. Life is good. As the saying goes, all is right with the world. The next thing you know you’ve lost your footing somehow and everything appears to be spiralling out of control. It’s scary. It makes no sense. How do you regain control? That of course is the million dollar question.

The answer is no where to be found. You roam aimlessly with no answer in sight. The solution, as it turns out, is that we need to give up on the idea that we need full control (or that full and total control is even possible for that matter). I would submit that total control, in every instance is an illusion.

There will always be times in our life where we experience a lack of control. That isn’t to say everything is, or that we need just sit idle during life’s challenging times. Rather than succumbing to the idea that all is lost, keep in mind the importance of spending your time working on the parts of the puzzle you can, and the things that are out of your control, well, have faith that a much higher power than you is on your side, working out what needs to be worked out for the greater good.

I realize that not everyone is going to agree with the point I just made — which is perfectly fine. I share it based on my own life experiences of having seen on many an occasion, where the pieces I could not control came together. Not always as I’d have initially envisioned them, nor even always preferred them to be, but always, in every way, ending up better off than they would had I attempted to be 100 % in control — and not been willing to relinquish control of the things I couldn’t. I’m fond of the old saying, “control what you can and let go of the rest.” If you can do that, you’ll undoubtedly find that life has an incredible way of filling in the details.

Friend, it is true that every challenging time we pass through, brings with it an opportunity to emerge stronger, better in some way for having overcome the challenge. I have seen it enough in my own life to know that without a shadow of a doubt it’s true. And I bet if you will be completely honest, you would acknowledge it is true, and that you have seen it to be the case in your life as well. Right?

Whatever turbulent times you may be experiencing in your life right now, I hope you will take comfort in knowing that all storms eventually subside, and their ending brings with them sunny days, and beautiful rainbows.

Consider that even the great flood as told of in the Bible, the story of Noah and the Ark, eventually came to an end. Remember, the great devastation that was incurred because of the flood isn’t the only thing we remember about the story — far more powerful is the opportunity that came with its ending — when the final rains fell — the promise that things would begin again, to start over, to begin anew, better, with a brighter future. Greater opportunity followed the storm. And so it is the same in our lives.

Friend, strive to look beyond where you are now, no matter how difficult things may appear, remind yourself that this too shall pass, and clear skies are ahead.

Now get out there, to the best of your ability and set out to make it so!

It’s Your Life, LIVE BIG
Josh Hinds

 

How You Spend Your Time Shapes Your Future

Josh Hinds - Author and EntrepreneurIt’s a wonderful thing to set goals. To plan for the future. But you have to be cognizant of the fact that no amount of planning alone will guarantee the outcome you hope for.

The difference, whether you see things come to fruition or not will be determined by the effort you put into what you have planned for. Interestingly, you can’t have one without the other. Planning & action. They’re twins of sorts, in that they feed each other. And make no mistake, you need a balance of both.

Planning Alone Will Not Get You The Results You’re After. You Need Consistency of Action too…

You find that balance by embracing consistency of action in your daily routine. Overtime even the most insurmountable of undertakings can come to pass. As proof consider the following examples:

The Brooklyn Bridge, which what must have been considered an unattainable idea at the time, at least initially, yet through planning, revision, and execution of the plan not only was built, but still stands to this day, having served countless people in the city it resides. Perhaps what is taken for granted today is that the actual construction of the bridge took some 13 years to build. That my friend is a lot of “consistency of action required”, on a whole lot of ongoing tasks to see it through. As they say, “Rome wasn’t built in a day, but it was built.”

Consider the career or job path you’re currently on, or think about someone you know who might be viewed as an expert in their profession. How do you think they attained that level of mastery? It didn’t happen through osmosis. It certainly didn’t happen by magic. Rather, it happened because he or she (or you perhaps) spent time in the activity of their given profession. Observing, learning, and participating in the very things which make up the particular profession.

In short, we would be hard pressed to find anyone who achieved mastery over a subject without “doing” it over a particular period of time. You can be the most studied in a subject, but until you’ve gone from academic, to applying action in the given area, you’re just not going be able to have grasped the level of those who are “in the activity” on a regular basis do.

Don’t wait for permission to get started. Ultimately you’re the only one who can grant you permission to go for your dreams…

Years ago when I first decided I wanted to be a writer, long before I ever aspired to write a book, much less get a traditional book deal and have it published (though I have now) one of the important things I managed to avoid was falling victim to the idea that I somehow had to follow a set of rules put into place by the purveyors of conventional wisdom. Perhaps you know the one I’m referring to.

The idea that I’d need to gain formal training from some college, or higher learning institution, who needed to bestow a degree on me prior to becoming a writer. Or that I would have to be more studied to get started. Or that I’d have to be flawless in my grammar, and english composition skills. Fortunately, perhaps a bit naively, I didn’t give those things a second thought.

Instead, I just did what seemed the natural first step. I fired up my computer and began to write. I wrote just as I would if I were speaking what I wanted to say. The funny thing is this is very much the same way I do it today. I wasn’t a great writer to begin with. Then again, who is ever good at what they do when just getting started? It’s the consistency, the doing of the thing overtime, which allows us to improve, to get better, to gain mastery. Consider times in your own life where you have found this to be true.

You Attain Mastery by Taking Right Action…

Friend, if you wish to excel in your given profession don’t just hope you’ll pick things up over time that will allow you to improve. Be intentional about it. Pick up a book, or audio program, attend a seminar, work with a mentor or coach, anything that can directly allow you to improve your skillset. Don’t leave things up to chance. Decide what you wish to excel in, and introduce the things into your routine that will allow you to attain the results you want to see.

Anything worthwhile isn’t going to just happen. It takes effort, but then again, isn’t that at least part of the reason we value having met with achievement? When things come easy, we don’t place the same value on them as we do those we had to work at.

Consider the 10,000 Hour Rule…

Malcolm Gladwell, in his book titled, Outliers: The Story of Success discusses the 10,000 hour rule. The basic premise is that mastery, and or greatness in a given area or endeavor takes time, a good bit of it, to excel, or attain true expertise. That isn’t to say that there aren’t exceptions to the rule, just to say that for the most part, in even the examples of the most “gifted” among us, you can identify that they put in their “10,000 hours.” I suspect you have found this to be true. Either in your own life, or the lives of those you look up to or consider experts.

The point above isn’t to scare you away, or make you feel bad if you haven’t put the time into the areas you want to excel. After all, it’s not about where you start, nor even where you are now, but where you finish that counts in the end. My hope is that you’ll realize that whatever you wish to do, to accomplish, to be, or become, will require giving your time to it. That isn’t a bad thing. In fact, that should excite you — in that effort and time on a given endeavor is a great equalizer with regards to your attaining mastery & expertise. And that my friend, is something to be excited about!

Remember…

It’s Your Life, LIVE BIG!
Josh Hinds

– What are your thoughts on the ideas above? Share your feedback in the comments below.

Gauge Your Personal and Professional Growth by Keeping a Journal

Josh Hinds - Author and EntrepreneurI’ve learned much in the years I’ve been a student of personal development. I’m certain I have become more than I would have, had I never begun this journey so many years ago. By far, one of the most important lessons I picked up was taught to me by Jim Rohn, on the importance of keeping a journal.

The benefits are vast. One of the many reasons for keeping a journal is that you not only want to take in information that you hope can help you in some way, you also want to look for opportunities to apply it in your life, and be able to review how doing so worked out for you.

Friend, you want to be able to save the experiences that helped you grow, learn new skills, the times that served you. And in some cases, you even want to be able to record those things that didn’t quite work out as you would have hoped, so you can reduce the risk that you’ll have to repeat them. Your journal, if you will keep one, can serve you greatly in this capacity.

Imagine having a resource that not only you, but your loved ones, or friends and colleagues can look back on and learn from. Keeping a journal allows you to not just float through life, but better learn from each and every experience. It helps you be an active participant in creating the life you live.

Here are a few more of the reasons journaling can be such an important tool to implement in your personal development (btw. I wrote an entire chapter on this in my book)…

– It is a wonderful place to keep score. In life, where things are often happening at what seems like breakneck speed, it is important to know whether you’re moving forward, standing still, or backing up. The best way to know is to track your results (unless, unlike me, your mind is such a steel trap that you need only refer back to it to know the answer. Doesn’t describe you? Yeah, me either). It’s the same principle of following a budget, or a marketing plan, or even just working a to do list. You can either let things float around in your mind, or you can have a simple system you can refer back to, just to make sure you are making progress.

– A powerful source of validation. We all have times where we just don’t feel like we are doing as well as we would like. It is easy to get lost in the moment, losing sight of the fact that if we could see things in totality, we have actually made great progress overall. It can help balance the line between what needs to be done, and the due credit you deserve for the progress you have already made.

– Your journal is a great “catch all” for the things you learn, whether in books, audio programs, seminars, just about anywhere, that you know if you could just recall at a later time, or somehow internalize you would be the better for it. If you’re making the effort to journal then you get the benefit of being able to refer back, and apply these nuggets of wisdom at a later time.

– Record your legacy. We all want to feel like we’ll be remembered beyond our time. We want to leave a legacy of some sort, even if we don’t give a whole lot of thought to it. And here’s something you might be surprised to consider. You are in fact going to leave a legacy of some sort. Now that doesn’t mean you’re necessarily going to be proud of it. It just means that the fact that you have lived upon this earth, and interacted with someone other than yourself, you’re going to, in some way have an impact on folks outside yourself. For this reason alone, it’s worth considering your legacy a bit.

Why not strive to leave a positive impact in some way. You don’t have to think about this in monumental terms. What I’m saying is, because you’re going to be leaving some sort of legacy anyway, why not give it the old college try as they say. When you journal, you have the opportunity to share the things you believe would be worthwhile with those who come behind you. You get to control, at least to some degree, where others go to read about your legacy.

I have been keeping a journal for years, and when I began, I wasn’t sure that I would have anything worthwhile to share. However, the interesting thing is as the years have gone by, and I’ve grown, those journals have been filled with years of thoughts and ideas that I hope will impart a little wisdom to others.

These are just a few reasons you should be keeping a journal. Hopefully the ideas above have prompted you to begin this practice yourself. It can have a real impact on your life.

It’s Your Life, LIVE BIG!
Josh Hinds