Tuesday, September 14, 2010

ETR: Stop Messing Up

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Tuesday September 14, 2010

"The only solutions that are ever worth anything are the solutions that people find themselves."

Satyajit Ray

A Simple Way to Stop Messing Up Your Life and Business
By Rich Schefren

I've been struggling with a single issue in my business for eons...

Now don't go jumping to conclusions... It's nothing serious... In fact, in the grand scheme of things, it's quite insignificant.

But it's lingered longer than it should.

Kind of like an annoying jingle you can't get out of your head.

Nonetheless, yesterday I finally got...

Fed Up!

So... I took action.

I called one of my mentors and asked if we could meet. I felt he'd know how to solve my problem once and for all.

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But he was busy till 7:30 p.m.

So, with several hours to kill, I went to the cigar bar and decided to do a root-cause analysis on this persistently persnickety problem myself.

Before we go any further -- I'd like you to...

Imagine This...

You're in your house. You've got your car keys in your hand. The lights go out... power failure.

You can't see a thing. You stumble around in your living room and... you drop your keys.

You look around for a moment and you realize you're never going to find them in the dark.

But you look outside and notice that the streetlights are on.

In your mind, a light bulb goes off. You think...

"Hmmm... I'm not going to sit around here in the dark and grope around, looking for my keys, when there's a light on outside. I'm going to go out there... under the streetlight... and then I'm going to look for my keys."

Now don't laugh... This makes a lot more sense than you might realize...

Okay, so you're out there... you're groping around... and you're looking for your keys.

You're looking and looking and your neighbor comes along and asks, "What happened?"

You say "Well... um... I dropped my keys."

He replies, "Oh, I'll help you look for them."

Now the two of you are down on your knees... looking for your keys...

Finally, he says to you, "Um... is this where you dropped your keys?"

You say, "Well, um, I actually dropped them in the house."

Perplexed, he says, "You mean to tell me that you dropped your keys in the house and you're looking for them out here in the street? That doesn't make any sense!"

You respond, "Well, it doesn't make any sense to grope around in the dark, when there's light out here."

Ridiculous? Yes.

Are you guilty of thinking this way? Probably... and...

More Often Than You Realize

Think about it: Isn't that exactly what we do when we have a problem?

When we (finally) decide to fix it, we tend to look outside for the solution.

Now don't get me wrong. There's value in getting outside opinions, solutions, and strategies. Heck, I try to provide that to you every time I write an article for ETR.

But shouldn't we first look inside? Inside our business... inside ourselves... inside our minds?
Hold that thought.

Let's go back to me at the cigar bar. Remember... I'm doing a root-cause analysis of my problem to kill time before my mentor arrives.

Can you guess what happens next?

If you guessed that -- in the three-and-a-half hours I had on my hands -- I figured out I was the cause of the problem... and there was a simple solution to it after all...

You're Right!

So what's all this have to do with you?

Well, I made this graphic to sum it all up for you...

Today -- pick a problem... It could be personal or professional... any type will do. But this time, instead of seeking a solution outside (books, blogs, friends, mentors, etc.), spend an hour or two thinking things through.

How could you be the cause of this problem?

What would you do if your life depended on solving it today and you couldn't ask anyone for advice?

More often than not -- you'll find your answer.

When my mentor finally arrived, I explained my problem... I told him what I had figured out -- the cause and the solution -- and he said, "I couldn't agree with you more."

And we spent the rest of the night swapping stories...

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"Here's looking forward to next week."


"I just wanted to contact you to say that I look forward to your Journal every week. I think you are a very clever writer and you have obviously made your own success by doing some hard work. I hope that one day I am even a quarter of the success that you are. Thank you for your advice in your Journal, and here's looking forward to next week."

Bernadette Bentley

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Today's Words That Work: Dipsomania

Dipsomania (dip-suh-MAY-nee-uh) -- from the Greek for "thirst" + "mania" -- is alcoholism; a compulsive desire to drink.

Example (a used by Joe Queenan in The New York Times): "[John] O'Hara's fiction featured gangsters, barflies, bookies, murderers, floozies, two-timers, louses, dipsomaniacial doctors, craven adulterers, and all-purpose creeps. No American writer ever introduced fewer likable characters."

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