‘Vision without action is a dream. Action without vision is a nightmare.’
Let’s face it; we all have a ton a great ideas and plans for our future that are never realized or acted upon. We dream about these things and feel good in the warmth that those dreams bring to us, but later on down the road we find that we have not even taken one step towards those dreams. They have been a mirage that has kept us where we are and content, a trap that has us standing still. The reason for this is that we keep allowing ourselves to dream about something instead of taking the first step and getting our boots on the road.
Jim Rohn identified this trend in humans as call it the Law of Diminishing Intent. This is a phenomenon that he noticed where the longer we dream on an idea without taking action; the less likely it is that we will ever take action on that idea. The reality is that the dream feels good while the reality has risk, pain and hard work involved in it, so we sit and dream and feel good about it without ever taking the steps to turn that dream into a reality. Then at some point, we stop dreaming on that as the joy has dimmed, but that is okay since we will find another dream to hang our joy on until it to fades away. This is a self defeating trap; to dream and stand still. To avoid this trap, we need to take that dream and actually move towards it so that we are living our dream rather than just day dreaming about it.
The thing that we have to do is to take action, take the first steps towards our dreams. This takes a leap, an initial burst to get into motion and then a willingness to keep ourselves in motion. It is true that we need a idea of where to start towards our dreams, but it is not true that we need to see the entire path to get there. What we need is the path for today, for this week, and a drive to follow the path. As we move along that path and keep our dreams in our heart and mind, we will find that we have the ability to see and plan more and more of the path as we move forward. If we had sat still until we had seen the entire path, we would have been paralyzed by that waiting and never started towards our dreams to begin with. Will we make missteps along the way? Of course we will, but the only way to correct a misstep is by moving forward, learning and adapting. These are things that can’t be done while sitting still.
What dream has you raring to go but you haven’t started because you are looking for the entirety of the path? Take that dream and find the first steps, the path at your feet rather than the one all the way up the mountain. Now take that step, and the next one and the next one. Get the momentum building and adapt your course as you strive towards the top of that massive mountain.
Tell us what that first step you are going to take today is? Are you going to call a lead? Get to the gym? Hug your partner? We want to know!
And if you have a dream but aren’t sure what the first step is, email us at WithTheDrakes@Gmail.com and we will help you figure it out.
We can’t wait to see your dreams and first step in the comment!
-Dominic and Xiaoyi
I have discovered an unexpected benefit of the self growth I have been doing as xiaoyi and I work on becoming entrepreneurs. I have found that I am described as a very good sport when I am in competition. Both when I am losing and when I am winning, the people I have faced always comments on how fun I was to play against and how much of a good sport I am about things. This got me thinking one evening as I drove home after a game where lady luck was on my side and I pounded my opponent pretty badly. What do I do that makes me a good sport? What is it about me that people have such fun playing against me, win or lose? And how do I apply this to my life?
I think the first and most important part of it is that I am there to have fun. To me, that is the point of when I go to compete or to play. It is a method for me to have a good time. Having that attitude in place as I walk in, allows me to go with the flow and let the setbacks roll off my back like water off a duck. No need for me to get up in arms or agitated because the swing doesn’t go right or the dice backfire on me; they are all a part of the activity and I am taking pleasure in the activity. This outlook on the whole thing lets me laugh at my own misfortune and maintain that spirit of fun. It also helps me maintain a spirit of gratitude. I mean, I am getting to indulge in something that brings me joy, why dwell on the negative to the detriment of the whole?
The second part of it is interacting with my opponent. Though I go into something like this with a jovial attitude, I don’t assume that they are in that same place. I hope they are having fun, but I don’t assume that they can shrug off the vagaries of fate the same way that I do. Instead, I endeavor to create a connection to them during those hard moments when everything seems to be going against them. This is most apparent when I am gaming (tabletop, board games, miniature games, etc.) as the dice can play a major role in the game. When the dice backfire on my opponent, I support their incredulity in the role. “That is just unreal man, suck!” Things along that line put me and my opponent on the same side of the table and fate on the other side. We can both glare at fate and roll our eyes at the miss turns it sends our way.
On the other hanf, when my dice are on fire, instead of taking obvious joy in the results, I instead put myself in my opponent’s shoes and commiserate with them. “Wow man, sorry. My dice want you dead.” Little things like this, again, put my opponent and I on the same side of the table. I know and they know that the competitive side of me is happy for the good roles, but I am showing an understanding of being on the other side of fate’s stick and that creates a connection between us.
These things can be used in all sorts of situations in life. Realizing that everything isn’t as earth shatteringly important as we often think it is, is the first step. Most of time, we can shrug, let it roll off and laugh at the vagaries of life. This helps us to maintain our own sense of gratitude and helps to show others that the pains in life don’t have to ruin our joys. Secondly, this portion is a great way to deal with people. Finding ways to move from being across the table from them, aka in contention, to being on the same side of the table is a powerful tool. The problem is the thing that should be across the table, the thing that needs to be countered or solved and by putting ourselves on the same side of the table as the other person, we can gang up on that problem. We create a sense of camaraderie and cooperation that can’t occur while both people are glaring at each other rather than at the problem and our goal in our business here is to help you improve your life so that you enjoy more fun, freedom and fulfillment.
Next time you are out and participating in a competition of some sort(or life), remember these ideas and see where you might be able to implement them into your contest/day. It feels great walking away having won the joy of being a good sport whether you won or lost the event. It is always a win in my books.
Yourself before your Health:
Everyone one of us has struggled with some aspect of our health in our lives, be it our weight or our appearance. I know that I have tried many things since I gained those extra pounds to get rid of them with varying degrees of success, but the common theme is that the weight came back in short order. Most people can relate to this having spent time on diets and with weight loss pills and the like, finding that the achievements they do get to never stick around. This is a good metaphor for many of those other physical health aspects of ourselves that we try to change over the years from our appearance to our cholesterol and blood pressure. By concentrating on the immediate problem, we gain successes that doesn’t stick around. The reason for this is that we are constantly treating the symptom rather than the problem.
We have already seen how our world is shaped by the lens that we look at it through, that our perception of our reality creates our reality. This problem is no different, yet we never analyze the lens that we look at ourselves with. The reality of it is that, for the vast majority of us, we have a negative outlook on ourselves and our worth, even to ourselves. We don’t believe that we deserve even what we have, much less those dreams on the horizon. This outlook of negativity is a perception filter that we have in place when we look in the mirror or into ourselves and it is one that we rarely analyze and adjust to better suite our lives and the lives that we want to live. Simply put, our perception of ourselves is creating the reality of ourselves.
So the task in front of us one that we have done time and again at this point as we look to achieve our dreams. We have to analyze the perception filter that we are looking at ourselves with and work to change that filter so that we can see ourselves as wonderful and deserving people. We need to change that core belief in our own worth before any exterior work will stick. It is time that we worked on ourselves from the inside out rather than the outside in, though most never even move in when they work on the outside.
The process is going to be a tough one, even worse than changing one of the filters we look at the world with. We have to take that same attention to analyze the filter that we look at ourselves and we have to realize that it is a flawed and detrimental to our dreams and goals as our old external filters were. We have to change it so that we can see ourselves as deserving and healthy people so that when we change the exterior to match, those changes will stick rather than be sabotaged by the flawed self filter we have in place. For me, I use self-talk scripts. These are short things that I can say at certain points in the day to reaffirm the beliefs that I want to hold. They can feel very silly when you start them, but repetition makes them a reality in our lives and will work to change the filter we have in place. There are other methods out there from meditation to self help books and classes.
It is time to find that a method to work on our emotional health and inner self so that when we make those great external changes, we have the framework to support those changes as well. Continue reading
Follow Your Passion:
The world has changed. The ease in which we can get information and to reach other people has made the world a very different place than it was ten or twenty years ago. This change has made a world where we can all actually follow our passions rather than finding some way to survive through life. We can now learn to thrive instead of just survive and we should all take the steps to achieve that goal.
For many people, this means finding a way to work for themselves and make their own way in the world. These people don’t want to be tied to a job that is defined by others and regulated in what they can do, how they should do it and when they should do it. People are taking advantage of this change in the world to break free of those constraints and define their own work and their own lives. Yet there are still a massive number of people that do not make that break and still follow an outdated form of surviving in this world. Today is the day that we take the first step to remove ourselves from those masses and walk the path to become free.
There are a couple challenges that we will face as we first step out onto that road. The biggest is going to be our own fear and it will come in one of two flavors generally. Either we will be afraid of failure or we will be afraid of success. If we are afraid of failure, that is just a matter of shifting our mindset and realizing an important thing, everyone successful that we look up to have failed at some point. Failure is not a source of pain and ridicule; rather it is a source of learning and growth that will let us succeed in the futures. By taking that truth to heart, we can overcome our fear of failure and turn it into an anticipation of growth. The other fear, the fear of success, is one that our culture trains into us. We have been trained that those people that are successful are somehow inhuman, that they have no empathy or compassion. This is just false; most of them give back to their communities and the world in ways that most can only dream of. We need to just swallow this fear and push ahead. We will learn when we are successful that this fear was nothing to be afraid of in the first place, but it is going to take an active effort to ignore that fear until it is proven false.
The next challenge we will face and the most important to understand as we become free of the past world is to understand and follow our passion. We have already discovered our Why, the reason that we want to be free, but we not have the chance and choice to fulfill our Why in a way that is massively fulfilling for us. We can find the things that bring us the greatest joys in life and turn that into a livelihood and path to obtain our Why. The modern world has freed us from the old constraints that might have stopped us from following our passion so it is our challenge to find the method to follow our passion that is most fulfilling to us.
For me, I love to write. I love to sit down and create stories and worlds from the images in my mind or to share the knowledge and experiences that have shaped me and will shape me in the future. I get to follow that passion every day now and my life has improved immeasurable for that change. Even simply writing for you each day and sharing here has helped make my life more fulfilling.
It is time to overcome your fears and to find your passion. Today is the day that you can start on the path to become truly free from the shackles of an old world and make your way into the dawn of a new world. I’ll see you there and take joy in the path you take, so please share it with me and the world and if you need advice or support in learning how to follow your passions, reach out to us here at With The Drakes and xiaoyi and I will be delighted to help you.
Life’s too short to have bad days. What are you doing to make today Fantastic?
Belief Creates Reality:
I have lived most of my life only believing in things once I was able to see that they worked, be it a new contraption or a business idea. This has led me to a lot of disappointments as those ideas kept falling short of what I had hoped of them. Needless to say, this created a downward spiral to left me at a point in my life where I dismissed most of the things in life that could have made my life better because my assumption was that they would fail. Recently, I realized that this sort of pessimism was not the life I wanted to live in and have been working on changing my outlook ever since.
As I worked on changing my outlook, I came to really understand something important in life. There is a simple fact that our minds and our bodies have far more potential than we give them credit for and it is the belief we hold that limits us in those regards. A poignant story is that of a group of mountain climbers who got trapped in a cave due to an avalanche. Due to their experience, they were able to determine how much time they had to live to be rescued. The interesting point is that only one of them had a timepiece and made sure to fudge the time when asked so that they others believed they had more time. As it turns out, the only one of them to die before they were rescued long after their calculated time was up, was the one with the actual time. The other’s belief that they still had time convinced their minds and bodies to keep fighting, keeping them alive long after the one with the timepiece had given up and died.
This story is an example of how our belief can affect our lives and how we live them. With my belief that no venture would succeed, I was internally making sure that they didn’t succeed. Once I came to hope again and to take that hope and turn it into a belief that things will work, I am finding that things work out positively more and more. I have chosen to no longer be the guy with the watch, instead looking for the signs that reinforce the beliefs that I want to hold.
This practice takes work, just like any other shift in the mind. For me, it takes being very conscious of my own mental processes as a approach a new idea or endeavor and making sure that I focus on the positive beliefs and hopes rather than the doomsday crier in my head. It is a very active thing for me at present and time and again I find myself falling back in to old patterns, but as I keep struggling against those old patterns, I find it easier and easier each time. Soon, I will live in a place where my positive belief is shaping the reality of my life rather than my negative beliefs. The simple fact that I came to realize is that my belief was already shaping my life, so it was time to change my beliefs.
We all have been there; listening to a training on how to improve our lives and be successful and the message that is preached is to go at it with 100% intensity and drive. How many times have you heard something along those same lines? How many times have we tried to do that and found that we could not maintain the drive as our mind and body burnt out? I know that I have done that more than a few times in my life and have abandoned dreams because of it. I have some to the conclusion that I was misunderstanding the message and not picking up on an important aspect of the trainings. The simple truth of it is that we need balance in life rather than just drive.
The message that I didn’t understand in all those trainings, is that the drive to hit our dreams and activities with 100% intensity is referring to the drive we need when we are doing those activities. Most time in these trainings, the speaker talks about the things in their life that has improved. Yet if you read between the lines, you will realize that those things are not always 100% drive towards the professed goals. This is because the trainer is naturally taking balance into their own equation, working with that full drive when they are working on their dreams and goals, but taking time here and there to enjoy the fruits of their labors. I have no doubt that they are indulging in those fruits with the same 100% intensity, and when they are, they are using them to recharge their batteries. This is the only way to make the pace and drive we have sustainable. We can’t be working on our dreams every moment of every day, unless we can create a balance in our lives that still achieves the steps needed to reach our goals and gives us the time to recharge.
One of the secrets to this balance is to never let the recharging period become the status quo, allowing our dreams to stagnate and die. We need balance, that there must be a give and take between the aspects of our lives. This can be a tough road to walk, but we are all dedicated to learning how to walk our path and keep moving towards our dreams.
For me, this balance comes in spending a day each week to connect with my good friends and play a board game, it gives me a connection outside of the driving dream that my wife and I share and a place to let my internal stores get refueled. What sorts of things do you do to recharge those batteries so that you can drive forward along your path with steady and constant momentum instead of getting dragged down by the quagmire or having your tanks run dry and ending up on the side of the road hoping for someone else to rescue you?
Life’s too short to have bad days. What are YOU doing to make today fantastic?
The Big Change: Social Reactions:
When I started writing about the big change to cut my long hair, I was focused on the physical reactions I would have and the psychological reactions and how to tailor both of those to create the future for myself that I wanted. focusing in on the change and how the change effected me. This has been something that has helped me grown in profound ways that I have shared already. The thing that caught me off guard was the social reactions that have arisen from this change. I knew that I would be treated a little differently by those that knew me and probably significantly differently by those that don’t know me. I did not expect the profound ripple effect that I had on the world directly around me.
The small changes in how people interacted with me where just what I expected and for those that already knew me, they were slight and disappeared into the background noise of life very quickly. The change in how people approach and talk to me has been a bit more noticeable. I have become more acceptable in the eyes of the normative culture and as such, more people are talking to be out of the blue and interacting with me on a more familiar level than they had when I had long hair. I am getting to see how the socially created snap judgments affect how people respond in their day to day lives. That has been fascinating to watch and all, but didn’t shake my expectations of the world around me.
The change that did shake that foundation was the social change that occurred in direct response to this change. I work for a long standing (over 100 years old), conservative company and have for a few years now. The change to cut my hair was catalyzed by the company. The long hair was against dress code and after two years, somebody finally decided to demand that the dress code be enforced. Since I had been thinking of making this change for many years now, I took it as a sign from the universe that it was time and walked into the change with joy and excitement instead of anger or annoyance.
A little over a week after I had cut my hair, I was once again called into my manager’s office and advised to remember that I was a trailblazer. As it turns out, the whole incident with my hair rippled up the chain to the director of human resources who decided that keeping good employees was more important than that part of the dress code. The dress code for the company now only defines that men’s hair be well groomed and doesn’t have the stipulation that it be cut so as not to touch the collar. Going one step further, they have allowed earrings in all employees as long as they are not gauges. Now, let’s really drive this change home as it was driven home for me. This company is over 100 years old, at this point and seen as a conservative company in the industry. To the point that just this past year they have allowed employees to wear jeans to work once a week. This isn’t a position where the employees are in front of the customer all the time, or even frequently, but we still could not wear jeans, even as recent as a year ago. Now it is only okay to wear jeans, once a week. My situation caused this change averse and steadfast company to make a massive change in the way they interact with their employees.
That change was completely unexpected in my world, but has become a symbol of the Fact that I can affect on the world around me. It has been an empowerment for me and will serve as a reminder of what I am capable of for years to come.
The Big Change: Psychological Reactions
It has been a little bit since I have cut my hair and made that big change in my life. The impact of the physical change has begun to fade at this point and I am getting used to the whole thing on that level. It is at this point that I am starting to discover the mental changes that have been showing up and I wanted to take a little time to share those.
First off, when I did the change, xiaoyi and I developed some mental ideas of how the change would affect me. These were not just guessing at what the change might be, but rather a deliberate and active focus we wanted to move forward with the change. This is an example of the active and deliberate living that we are practicing and helping others to learn and grow through. The basic idea is that we decided how we wanted the change to affect us emotionally and mentally rather than just roll and dice and see what came up. To that effect, we decided that the change would be a symbol of my change and growth as well as my desire to keep moving towards the person that I want to be. We decided that it would be a turning point to really drive into my psyche those changes that I wanted. To that end we created a self-talk script that I use at least twice a day. To put it simple, it is a script that reminds me of the intentions that I went in to the change with so that I can be active and deliberate in my daily actions to adhere to that.
The intention and the reality of the change have been right on and I expect that it has more to do with going into the change with an outcome in mind than anything else. Every day I read that script and refocus my mind and emotions on that outcome and then, during the day, anything that reminds me of the short hair is also a reminder of the outcome that I wanted in life. This has resulted in me being a happier and healthier person all around. That is what I was going for, that I would embrace the joys in life more fully and find the joys in life so that I was happier and healthier person. That intention and the fact that I remind myself of that intention every day and every time I am reminded of the change has worked to put that intention into place and change the way I interact with the world. The change has been a wonderful one and an experience I plan to take into any other large changes into my life. The extension of deliberate living into this avenue of change has been a wonderful and growing experience.
I would suggest that you look at your life and see what changes are on the horizon for you. Once you have identified them, take the time to be deliberate about the mental and emotional changes you want to move forward with in regards to that change.
The Big Change: Physical Reactions:
Recently I went through a major physical change in my life and have decided that I want to keep an eye on the corresponding changes that I noticed in my life that occurred as well. The change was simple in terms of what happened, but also profound and I wanted to make sure that I maintained an awareness as I get used to the change. Since I was in grade school, I have had long hair and always wore it in a ponytail. This was a part of my identity for the past twenty-plus years.
I cut my hair.
Now I am not talking about trimming it back some or changing how I wear it, I am saying that I chopped it all off. I now have a mostly buzzed head with a shock of longer hair in the center. Needless to say, this change is producing many strange things in my life as I adapt to the new situation.
The first things that I have been noticing since making this change are they physical change. The back of my head has been covered for most of my life and now the slightest breeze can be felt. It is unnerving at present to feel these sensations that I have never actually felt before in my conscious remembrance. I have even startled and flinched now and then as I feel something along the back of my head that my brain can’t identify immediately. This has been both a little nerve wracking, but laced with excitement as well. The new sensations are as thrilling as they are surprising and I am finding that I am becoming over stimulated almost constantly. This has tipped my brain into a sort of light headed feeling for most of the day.
In some ways, this reminds me of the slight discomforts I have felt emotionally as xiaoyi and I continue working with our network marketing and I take the steps to have the financial freedom I desire. An odd discomfort that isn’t really all that scary but that can, at times, make me flinch as I grow into the new skill sets and ways of thinking.
My morning routine has been odd as well as I have adapted to a very different process to get ready. I once used a brush to get a well-groomed ponytail in place. Now I am using a comb and some water to try and get the unruly hair on the top of my head into some semblance of order. I think I might be changing my perception, so that the chaos isn’t a bad thing.
The reaction of those around me has also been interesting. Most acquaintances take a fast double-take and then comment on the change. Some comment a couple times, but that has been it. The reaction from xiaoyi has been fun though. She has been doing constant double takes and commenting on it again and again. We even caught her modifying her subconscious behavior at home, as if we had a guest over, because that portion of her brain doesn’t recognize me yet. This has been fascinating and I am looking forward to seeing how other people I am very close to react to the change. I haven’t told any of them about it yet and am waiting to see them in person to let them in on the secret.
The physical changes have been interesting enough, but I am really looking forward to the mental changes that are coming, both the ones that I am guiding for positive change in my life as well as the ones that are going to blindside me. It should be an interesting ride.