Or...banking on the fact that: "People can never get enough of what they don't really need."
For years I owned a marketing firm. Still dabble in it. In fact...I teach it at the university level.
During my firm's early years I had a partner who had worked for a well-known national magazine. He was the publisher of special guides that would come out during the year focusing on different categories of products. Cars, electronics, clothes, etc. would be the highlighted in all their beauty. I remember him saying that they would be lighted and displayed in such a way as to make them "sensual."
Yes...sex (and anything else that gratifies the senses) sells, even when that sensuality is transmitted through things. Mind you, I'm not talking about some beautiful being standing next to an automobile or holding a bottle of wine...I'm speaking about the things themselves.The textures, colors, designs, and other facets that go into the manufacturing of an item are often more important than it's function or reliability. And - the lighting and positioning of that product when it's photographed do as much to make them desirable as their design.
People are easily seduced...very easily seduced. Most consumers buy first with their eyes, then...secondly, with their minds. How does one avoid the trap of the "sensual seduction of things?" Initially, one has to realize that it exists. Next, I would suggest asking the question, "Do I really need this?" The answer is probably "No!" Then...comes the "want factor." Ah...the naughtiness of it all. Marketers depend on that. Now, I'm not saying that's a bad thing. But - I'm certainly not saying it's a good things either. The job of the marketers is to get you to buy what, quite often, you really don't need. I regularly add to that statement: "With money you don't really have."
Motorcycles, cars, clothes, shoes, electronic devices, food, as well as just about every other area of "Thingdom," is made to make you want to salivate, desire, caress, "love," and possess them. They are our substitutes for the real thing...other people.
As I teach, write, train, discuss, and guide people in their pursuit of building their businesses and selling their products, I am not ignorant to the fact that, if people truly love other people and have a wonderful relationship with their friends and loved one...the need for things often diminishes. But - I also know that we are beings who also love to create as well. So - balance, it seems, is the key. Work towards achieving entrepreneurial Nirvana, while making sure to remember that people are always more important than things. That - should help make for a totally "sense-ual" existence!
For as long as humans have existed on this Earth our species has been studying the stars, planets, galaxies, and other astrological bodies, as well as their (and our) home - the universe. It is so immense that no one actually knows where it begins or ends. In fact...there isn't a person alive who can be certain that it has a beginning or an end, or...if there aren't other universes. Perhaps we live in a cosmos of multiverses.
Yet, there is one thing that I am sure of - you, my blog reading friend, are most certainly the center of your universe. Okay, you may not be the center of MY universe, but...I can tell you this - without you, your universe wouldn't exist.
You see, everything is relative. No one knows what another person's view of reality is. Nor can we be able to fully understand what goes on in another human's (or for that matter, any other living thing's) mind. So, without you, your universe wouldn't exist. It would cease to be. Or, as Monty Python might (also) say..."It is no more."
Just as the age old question asks, "If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" the same holds true for everything else, including our "universal concepts." In other words...the universe exists for you only because you are in it, can observe or detect it, use your senses to identify it, and call on your (and others') knowledge to "verify" that it is an actual entity.
However, what happens when you're gone? Once YOU'VE ceased to be...does the universe, as you now know it, continue to be "real." A philosophical conundrum? Indeed! But - one that will never be fully answered because of who must answer it.
As we go through life, we are constantly swimming through a sea of concepts and constructs. Many of which are believed by most, some of them believed by many, and a few of them believed by a small number - perhaps just one. So...before you make absolute statements, think about the dilemma each of us faces on a continuous basis, and even then - you may only be right for yourself.
Have fun dissecting things my friends...it certainly is an invigorating exercise - at least it is for one person I know...me!
For the entrepreneur, business is more than just the promise of making money, it's the realization of one's goals. Most entrepreneurs I know, including myself, are goal driven - as opposed to money driven. Any entrepreneur worth his or her salt will tell you that their businesses are a reflection of their dreams. And...if they're lucky enough to make those dreams into reality, and that reality becomes a success (in whatever form that takes), then...the money follows.
As many of you know, I've had some wonderful experiences and successes in my business life. I've also had some endeavors that taught me what not to do. Yet...I still consider myself a serial entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs are risk takers. Some have a higher risk tolerance than others, however, as we've all recently learned - even working for someone else brings with it enormous risks.
When I look at my classrooms full of students, or sit on the stage at commencement, viewing hundreds of graduates as they get ready to go out into the business world, I wonder. Will they be able to find jobs? Will those jobs make them happy? Will their desires be fulfilled?
Today, more and more people have to think about going into business for themselves. Everyone I know...and that includes you, has brilliant ideas - things that could change the world in small or big ways. All it takes is direction, focus, knowing one's strengths and weaknesses, being able to realize when to partner with others and when it can be done alone, and having the tenacity to stick with an idea, set a plan, gather resources, and forge ahead.
I've coached and trained more entrepreneurs than I can count. I've helped them "get on their feet," given them advice, coached them through problems, and guided them so that they could avoid pitfalls and seize opportunities. It's part of what I love to do and is integral to my own entrepreneurial dream.
Sometimes, being business brave can be one of the most invigorating endeavors of a person's life. In today's environment it may be the best choice one can make. So...think about your desires, your plans, your wishes, what motivates you, what inspires you, what makes you (or would make you) want to "get up and go" each morning, and start conceptualizing your future endeavor(s). Life is finite...one's business journey should make a person happy and as contented as possible.
In the societies in which we live, economic survival is based (whether one agrees with it or not) on business and money - yes...they are both mental constructs, but - as with so many mental constructs, we make them real. Therefore, with that reality in mind - think, grow, innovate, and work on building your business dream. There is a sea of opportunities out there. And...you can acheive your business objectives while still being kind, compassionate, sustainable, and also by putting people before profits. Because when people come first...profits usually follow (especially if you understand what it takes to have the margins you need to be successful).
If you can handle the risk...it just might be worth it - in so many ways!
The world has been going through a perceived crises for some time now. Unemployment rates are high around the globe and here in the United States the economy and jobs have been a pressing issue for the last decade.
During last November's elections there was a cry, by some folks, to elect people who will help the "job creators" - whatever that means. Never overly specific as to how those jobs would be created, the proponents of the "job creators" always tend to believe that giving economic breaks to, and loosening government regulations on, businesses will ultimately create those elusive jobs. But, I have a better idea! I've mentioned this in class many times to my university business students.
Here it is: do away with ALL government regulations on businesses. They can pollute as much as they want, ruin our water, air, and ground, to whatever extent they choose. They can also pay whatever wages they want as well...minimum wage laws would be done away with, totally. Soon, people would be hired in droves.
Plus, because there would be so much pollution, new companies would be formed to clean up all the mess our now non-regulated businesses would create. Ah...entrepreneurial ingenuity! Employment would boom! There would probably be more jobs than people to fill them.
Of course, there are MAJOR drawbacks. No one would be able to breathe clean air and respiratory sicknesses would skyrocket even further than they are now (the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries would then...need more employees too), our water would be a mess and unhealthy to drink unless heavily filtered, the plants grown in our ground would be contaminated (as would be the ground itself), the animals that ate the plants would, most likely, become less healthy (including us), and our overall health rates would deteriorate quicker than they are today (the U.S. is ranked 51st among nations of the world in life expectancy).
It is very, very, unlikely that the cleaner-uppers would be able to make our environment clean enough to negate the constant pollution emitted by the messer-uppers. And - most of us, and our children, and their children, and their children, would have an extremely tough time existing in such an environment, let alone have the money to buy much more than basic necessities.
But...people would have their precious "jobs."
It is interesting to me that people put jobs on a higher pedestal than quality of life. To paraphrase a Native-American Chief who was addressing the "White Man" about work and jobs - his words are so very prophetic: "What is this thing you call work? Everything you need is right here."
So, be careful what you wish for, strive for, and desire. Unless you fully think it through and attempt to make sure that it enhances the quality of life for everyone (including, of course, yourself), and everything, on this Earth...it can wind up being the cause of your own demise.
Life coaching has become a catch-all phrase used by all sorts of people and organizations to promote a better, happier, more productive, and successful life. Some people opt for schools (a relatively new phenomenon) that certify folks to be a coach. Of course...who certifies the schools and, more importantly...who certifies and monitors the certifying agency and the certifiers? It's a question, I, and many others have asked. And, just like any other schools and those who attended them, your teacher could have graduated at the top of his or her class or the bottom - yet no one ever asks. In fact - when was the last time you asked your doctor his or her rank in their graduating class? My guess is...never. That notwithstanding, I tip my hat to the thousands of qualified coaches who help millions of people everyday!
I've been coaching people for many, many, years. So long in fact, that I actually had hair on my head when I started and my beard was all dark! I love helping people and thoroughly enjoy it when I, and they, see real progress in their lives. Getting people to understand who they are and why and how they do things, opens up doors for them that they may never have realized. Finding new success in their lives, whether from a business perspective, materialistically, emotionally, or spiritually, never ceases to make me feel wonderful.
One of the greatest things a life coach can experience is when his or her client moves away from fear, insecurity, low self-esteem, jealousy, anger, hate, and self-sabotaging and self-defeating behaviors, and begins to find the person they were hoping to be their entire life.
I began formally coaching in 1972 when I worked with my employees to help them grow and live a happier, more successful life. Now...I coach and train groups, both large (amphitheaters, huge hotel meeting rooms, and banquet halls), and small (corporate conference rooms, classrooms, and individuals' homes and offices). We're, both my clients and myself, always learning. That's why I see my capacity as a university professor as an extension of my coaching and training. I also love the fact that I continue to, through the magic of computers and teleconferencing, coach people all over this amazing planet.
If you are a life coach or have, or will, use the services of a life coach...I salute you. If you're stuck, feel "down," are looking to reach the potential you've always thought you could, want to be more content, happier, more enlightened, have better relationships, or just want to experience that "balance" so many people seem to have lost...perhaps the guidance of a coach can help. But - ultimately, it's up to you to make sure your journey is fruitful.
Inner peace seems to be what we are all in search of. Some humans realize it, others don't. Many people mask their desire for inner peace by overcompensating with and/or about other things. Often the material world becomes their substitute for inner peace. It brings them a costume, a form of self deception that hides their inner being, or so they think. However, those who recognize the depth and reality of inner peace are not taken by the mask, they know that the material only covers the nakedness of the soul.
That does not mean that one can't have material things, wealth, physical desires, and inner peace as well. It's only when the physical/material world is so pervasive in one's mind that their soul is lost in the process.
I am only an individual like you. One who has had his ups and downs and has dealt with health, happiness, sickness, and death. Through it all I have learned that inner peace can come by way of a long process or enter one's life as an epiphany. It arrives from knowledge and the wisdom of using one's mind in a cognitive way. By not being led except by one's self. It is derived through questioning...everything - and accepting nothing until all pertinent information has be deciphered. It means having an open mind and not being judgmental. The paradox comes when you finally know that you may never know. When you can flow with the energy of life as if it is a river. And...when you can enjoy the beauty of life for its own sake.
The calmness of inner peace is unveiled when one understands that a cloudy day presents its magnificence in a different, yet no less incredible, way as a day when the sun is brilliant and sheds it light on all that can be seen - like a blanket covering the Earth with a golden hue that cannot be matched by the greatest of artists. Inner peace comes when the sound of children laughing soothes one's soul like the music of a philharmonic. And...when all the things of life are viewed as a huge fabric textured by every nuance that each day brings - that is when one is engulfed by the realization that inner peace is a continuum.
With that, I have listed 7 steps that may help in one's discovery of inner peace. They are as follow:
1. Love all: Every being on this Earth desires love, including one's self. It is hard to give love when a person does not love himself, or herself, first. Be loving to yourself. That also means to forgive yourself and others so that your love is unencumbered.
2. Help many: No one can help everyone. That's impossible. But...each one of us can help a lot of people in a lot of different ways. Whether you give of your time, your money, your effort, or your advice...it doesn't matter. It is the act itself that counts.
3. Care kindly: Many people will care for others in a begrudging way. It may be their job, profession, or...they may feel that it's their obligation. The caregiver who gives without kindness is not giving care at all, but just performing a function. Kindness makes care a caring service.
4. Enjoy others: Each of us needs enjoyment. We all have to laugh. As I often say, "Laughter is the nectar of the soul." Laughter and smiling, fun and enjoyment, are all emotionally and physically beneficial and makes everyone feel better and calmer about themselves.
5. Choose wisely: Life is filled with choices - constantly. We choose every action, everyday. Think about how your choices affect your life and the lives of others. The peaceful individual realizes that his or her energy and actions can create havoc or harmony, for themselves and others. Choose harmony.
6. Want little: The pursuit of material things often produces feelings of anxiety, depression, stress, distrust, greed, and many other emotions that take one's being away from peace. The most important things we have are ourselves, each other, our Earthly home, and time. The more time and energy you spend chasing a fabricated need for an over abundance of the material, the less time you will have to enjoy the peace and tranquility of life.
7. Need only yourself: Ultimately we only have ourselves on this trip called life. Of course, each one of us has other people and animals that we care about, love, and desire to be close with and to. Yet, when all is said and done...we are alone within the multitude. No one should ever be totally dependent on another person. Knowing how to be calm and relaxed in solitude is a wonderful experience. It frees us to realize that true peace materializes when we can be at peace with ourselves first. Then...one can begin to know the beauty of inner peace.
We live in a world filled with sensory delights, and yet...we keep insisting on desensitizing ourselves. We have become plugged into things that unplug us from the reality around us. In this video I discuss our situation and what we can do about it. Hopefully - you'll watch it and not just look at it, listen to it and not just hear it, and perhaps...you'll pick up a few intriguing thoughts as well.
Smell doesn't get enough press. Yeah - that's right...it doesn't! We write and speak a lot about feeling stuff and touching things (including those we love), talking and listening (both VERY important to any type of relationship). Hearing keeps our love of music, language, and the other interesting stuff that vibrates our eardrums, at the top of our lists of things we enjoy. While seeing, looking, and viewing life as it passes stimulates us as much as, if not more than, the movies, videos, and TV shows we watch.
In fact, our society is fixated on how we look and what we see. That's what style, the fashion industry, marketing, and advertising, are all about. Including - the optical/eyewear industry - where my entrepreneurial background took shape and grew, and a field that combines both fashion and vision (in both the literal and figurative sense)
And...we certainly love the titillation of our taste buds! How else can we explain the popularity of cooking shows, restaurants, wine magazines, "liquor stores," delicatessens, food courts, food trucks, all the various food stores, and the myriad of other wonderful places and stimulating venues for our gastronomic desires!
Ahh - but what about the joys of the nose?! Smells are miraculous things. You can walk by something and its odor can take you into a memory so deeply that you actually feel like you're there. There are certain "Army smells" that transport me right back to my days in fatigues and "dress greens." The smell of a skunk instantly teleports me back to my farm and living the life of a man tilling his garden, wading in his stream, riding his tractor, and checking out his barn. So...that "skunk smell" it just fine by me. In fact, I kinda like it! I guess those memories have negated all the propaganda against the "stink of the skunk" that has been "thrown out there" during my lifetime.
Of course, the fragrance industry recognizes the monetary benefits of smell. It's been with us since recorded history. I'm sure there's an odor that reminds you of someone important in your life. It could come from the perfumeries of a designer or be strictly the work of Mother Nature.
But - some of the greatest smells of all, for me, are the odors I encounter when I walk into a bakery! Mmm...they're really tough to beat! Freshly baked bread, newly made cakes and cookies, scones, pies, bagels...yum! I can smell 'em right now! Can't you?! I always wondered how a baker can resist constantly eating all those luscious things they make. The smells alone cause my mouth to water. It's like walking into mom's kitchen on a cold winter's night when the stove, oven, and counter tops are all doin' their thing at top proficiency with the best ingredients she could buy!
So my friends, take joy in the wonders of the nose. Revel in your olfactory sense. Enjoy what nature and human innovation have provided through those waves of smells that waft up your nostrils and into your brain, to be locked there for the rest of your life and brought back as a reminder of days past and experiences lived!
Now, if only you could smell that picture at the top of this post! Does anyone have any strawberry jam?
Enlightenment is a word that has taken on layers of meanings. To the spiritualist it signifies a certain heightened awareness and insight of, and about, energy and the universe. To the scientist and intellectual (who may also be the spiritualist) it also connotes a higher level of knowledge, a thirst for examining the wondrous things around us, and a desire to cognitively dissect and explain why and how things exist and work.
Too often the word is not interpreted to its fullest extent. I recall a man reacting to a poster about enlightenment on a facebook post recently. He thought that it relayed a kind of unattainable spiritual hocus-pocus. It was nonsense to him. Of course...his narrow perspective (a common cause of ignorance in reference to any subject), created a prejudice towards the word and what it implied.
I have a different interpretation. To be enlightened is to be aware of things around you. To question and learn. To not take things at face value and mindlessly follow. To be on a constant quest to understand what life is and how it functions. To learn as much as one can while knowing there's always more. To be humble in one's recognition of self and one's place in the universe while exhibiting respect for the Earth, other people and other species. It is having wisdom and knowledge and realizing that each of us is an integral part of the fabric of life.
It is also the ability to welcome discourse. To actively listen to others. To know when to be silent and when to speak. To understand that you may not always be right. To know that people make mistakes. To not blindly believe what you see, hear, or read without investigating further. To not take one's self too seriously. To know the joy of laughter. To revel in being surrounded by family and friends. And...to be at peace, show love, display kindness, and promote learning.
The beauty of enlightenment is that it's available to everyone at anytime. It might seem easy or extremely hard. It may not happen quickly or happen in an instant. It's all in how much you want to open your mind and how much you want to quench you thirst for growth. Enlightenment is powerful. So much so...that an entire age of humanity was named for it.
There's something invigorating about challenging students to think and having them challenge you in return. Listening to them discuss topics you've introduced in class is what (to me anyway) teaching is all about.
What are their real thoughts (not something they're saying to placate me)...what gets their blood boiling, their energy flowing, their minds stimulated and excited? Perhaps it's something I said, maybe it's a topic in a book, or a point made by a classmate. Whatever it is...they're thinking...really thinking. Seeing them mentally dissecting, questioning, responding, and getting their opinions out is a thing of beauty.
Often they'll stop me as the class is leaving to continue the discussion or add a point that they may not have brought up in class. Sometimes they'll approach me on campus, or sit with me in the cafeteria or lounge area, to ask me my thoughts, tell me theirs, or just continue the dialogue. It's great! I love it.
Of course, not all of them feel comfortable speaking in public, approaching their professor, or challenging the beliefs of a classmate (or me). That's where their papers come in. I am awash in pages of opinions right now. Their writings are upon me...hundreds of pages waiting to be read. This is when the introverts speak, the extraverts expound, the opinionated reinforce, the contemplative express, and the shy can yell. Papers give me a bit more insight into who sits in those seats, watches my moves, listens to my words, raises their hands, laughs, speaks, texts, dozes, or saunters in after the start of class. They're people - with lives that are textured and families who love them. They all have their problems, joys and thoughts about life. Now is when I get some additional information about who they are.
It's more difficult to read papers, from a time and energy perspective, than it is to test. Tests can (although I don't normally hold to that structure - or at the very least...not completely) be generated by a CD sent to the professor by a textbook company and run through a "scantron." All without much effort (not counting, of course, all the energy expelled by teaching the subject you're testing about!).
Sometimes...a student will try to pull a "fast one" and give me a paper that they really didn't write. Perhaps a friend took may class a few semesters before and just happened to have a paper he or she wrote for me on the same topic tucked away in a file on his or her computer. But...unfortunately for my all my students - I have a, sort of, photographic memory when it comes to papers. They flash in front of my mind when one seems a bit too familiar or similar to one I've read before. Yes...I've caught a few folks who thought they'd "pull the wool over my eyes." But...I can see in the dark and they, to their dismay, found that out. However, that's only happened on very rare occasions - maybe two or three times - in all my years of professing.
Now it begins - I will "hear" the silent students speak and find out how those who aren't the "quiet ones" express themselves in the written word. It's always interesting, if not always grammatically correct.