“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” ~ Steve Jobs
A Map Dot…
As CEO of ThinkTQ, Inc., the world’s leading publisher of virtual training products for personal and professional excellence, I have access to a mountain of data on people’s performance habits, characteristics, and skills. With over 20 years now in the business of helping people “evolve” to a higher level of success, I want to share my personal observations on success and failure… thereby documenting what I see as the problems and opportunities for personal growth and development.
Our prime Mission at TQ… every waking moment… every thought we think… every product or service we develop… is designed to make it easier for ordinary people to produce extraordinary results over time.
With hundreds of millions of data points, we have found that the vast majority of people find themselves locked in a constant battle between success and survival.
They want a better life, a life they would truly love — but they are held back by dark forces that stand between them and their destiny. Thus, they unwittingly choose survival over success in every choice they make and every action they take.
They see their destiny in life as a dot on a map… some fateful destination they arrive at after they have “done the best they could, given the resources they had.”
Some people look back on their lives and wonder what they got in trade for all their hard work, struggles, and energy spent. The majority looks back in remorse and regret to what could have been.
Others — people who have dedicated their lives to the Intentional Pursuit of Excellence — understand that each day presents a unique opportunity to become all they were meant to be. They continuously grow their skills and talents, never settling for mediocrity-induced status quo, or survival thinking.
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” ~ Lao-tzu,
People who ultimately find the success in life that they desire, understand that each day they must proceed, step by step, in the direction of their dreams. They find their starting point, gain direction and courage, and fight to a successful finish.
Over the years, my interest has been in discovering the prime differences between people who continuously struggle and fail to live up to even modest expectations, versus those who rise from obscurity to high achievement.
The question becomes, “Are people born to succeed regardless of their circumstances, or is it their destiny to fail because they lack some key ingredient for enduring success?”
I will answer this question with absolute certainty.
Let’s start at the beginning!
What We All Want…
One of the most universal desires of every human being is to have MORE:
- Money and financial freedom…
- Power and control over that which is controlling you now…
- Rapid and certain career growth…
- Fun, happiness and joy.
- The peace of mind that comes when we have done our very best. (After all, if you have done your best, what more is there?)
The truth is we all want a better life for our family and friends… better health… better education… bigger and better opportunities.
From the time we learned to crawl… then walk… then run… we have been running towards the future. Some see the future as a fearful and foreboding place — and believe that their “future-self” will not be capable of dealing with the chaos they encounter along the way. They see problems instead of opportunities.
They feel as if somehow they will fail to meet the test of time.
So, they sit and wish and wait for better things to happen to them — or a savior who will drag them kicking and screaming to the success they “deserve.” Mostly, they simply choose to take little action to keep their momentum going in a forward direction. Thus, they frequently find themselves dead stopped on the road to their destiny… and don’t know why.
Others have a different mindset and do not fear failure or the future for that matter. They constantly grow stronger each day — emotionally, mentally and physically — and learn to use new tools to fight the old dragons they face along the road.
Our initial conclusion to the above question is that people who succeed, expect to succeed… and people who struggle and ultimately fail… don’t expect to succeed in the first place. Thus, they are defeated even before they get to the Starting Point for success.
The truly great news is that this is a problem that can be fixed over a short period of time. All you must do is learn to slay 3 giant dragons!
Life is Not a Video Game…
“There are countless ways of attaining greatness, but any road to reaching one’s maximum potential must be built on a bedrock of respect for the individual, a commitment to excellence, and a rejection of mediocrity.” ~ Buck Rodgers
Many people approach life in general — and their success potential specifically — as if they are playing a video game, or watching reruns of The Lord of The Rings where you can hit the pause button or reset to start over.
There is no easy button… a soft reset button… or a pause button. The future is coming at you at the rate of 3,600 seconds per hour… 24/7/365. What you do with the time you have determines if you will achieve that which you want most — or don’t.
I mention this because, after 2 decades of scientific, cause and effect research and analytics, we have in fact found, isolated and have discovered a way to tame 3 of the biggest dragons you face each day.
No question, these are the 3 giant dragons guarding the path to your destiny.
If you want to achieve success beyond your hopes and dreams, you must learn how to slay them. If you want to face them and win, you must have the right tools.
Regardless what you call them… dark forces… demons… dragons… nasty mean giants… they are not just monsters in a closet or figments of your imagination hiding under your bed. They represent what’s holding you back… indeed, standing between you and the life you want.
Slay them, and you will be on the path to high achievement — whatever that looks like to you. Permit them to turn you back from your quest, and you will end up with little of what you want most.
Become a Real-Life Dragon Slayer…
The details regarding the potency of these 3 dragons are scientifically documented. Space here does not permit me to go into detail, other than to point out who they are, and why they have power over the journey to your destiny… and most importantly, what you can do about them.
Without a doubt, if you truly want MORE out of life, you must generate the power to walk through these dragons each day. Yes, they are big and scary. They might even look bigger than you. They’re not.
The bad news is they never go away.
The good news is that with the right tools, they are easy to slay! Because, in a way, they are all in your mind.
“So, what exactly are these 3 dragons,” you ask? Here’s a short introduction.
Dragon #1. YOUR FORGETTING CURVE:
The fact is, we forget about 66% of what we learn in just a few hours. Put simply, we just “forget to remember.” We go to the seminars, read the books, listen to the audio programs, get training and within an hour, we have lost 50% of what we just learned.
Lots of ideas in… but little sticks.
The scientific name for this is the Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve which proves that, without spaced repetition of the information we are learning, what we know is quickly forgotten — before we have a chance to use what we’ve just learned!
Ebbinghaus discovered that when we acquire a new idea, much of our forgetting occurs right away. A SIGNIFICANT amount of information is forgotten within twenty minutes of learning it; OVER HALF OF THE MATERIAL LEARNED IS FORGOTTEN WITHIN AN HOUR. Although we forget almost two-thirds of what we learn within a day, retention does not decline much beyond that point.
In other words, if the information is retained for a day, the knowledge is there to stay.
Ebbinghaus’ Forgetting Curve is important for two reasons:
- The blue curve (top) shows that after JUST ONE REVIEW, you can expect to recall about two-thirds of new information for several weeks — even more, if it is “meaningful” and related to what you are doing. With multiple reviews, recall is permanent.
- The red curve shows how much you can expect to FORGET without review. Numerous experiments and studies have shown that, typically, YOU WILL FORGET ABOUT 80% OF NEW MATERIAL IN 2 WEEKS — if you do not review or incorporate those ideas into your daily activities.
The Message is Simple. Reinforce to Remember.
It doesn’t matter if you have a Harvard MBA or a degree from the school of Hard Knocks — overcoming this dragon is not optional. It’s a REQUIREMENT for success in this results-driven economy.
Again, this dragon standing between you and more out of life never goes away. You must do battle with it each and every day. Be sure to choose the right tool.
Dragon #2. COGNITIVE BIAS:
This is a dragon that causes you heartbreak on a daily basis. You may not understand the scientific term, but it is a fact of life for people who struggle to succeed.
Cognitive Bias simply means that your brain is wired to solve NEW PROBLEMS using OLD FAMILIAR SOLUTIONS.
Neuroscientists have proven that our brains have a tendency to fall back on the familiar, rather than expose us to the risk of putting a hot, new and potentially better idea to work for us.
What good is a fresh new idea if we forget to remember it? Worse, what good is a new idea if we never use it?
Doing the same old things the same old way is comfortable, but it is not the same as consistently doing your 4 R’s.
Remember, the key to EVERYTHING… your happiness… your sense of wellbeing and meaning… career growth… financial success… EVERYTHING… comes down to this: Do more of the RIGHT THINGS… The RIGHT WAY… At the RIGHT TIME… For the RIGHT REASON.
You’ve heard this your entire life and it’s pretty simple on the surface. Just do it!
To a very large extent, the dragon named COGNITIVE BIAS is what holds you back from the life you love. Slay this dragon and you will find the most efficient and effective route to lasting success. After all, just how successful will you be if you constantly do the WRONG things… for the WRONG reasons… in the WRONG way… at the WRONG time?!
Dragon #3. NEGATIVE BIAS:
I have saved the best for last! This is the King Dragon, holding sway on the other two. It is both simple to understand and simple to keep at bay.
Neuroscientists have found that our brains have evolved over time to prevent us from harm. Right down to our DNA, our brains are wired for SURVIVAL, not HAPPINESS.
The big take away from the hard scientific research is that our brains are not OPTIMIZED FOR SUCCESS… rather, they are wired to keep us in a state of negative awareness.
This single human trait is what has allowed us to survive in an increasingly changing and hostile environment.
Under brain scans, scientists learned that our brains respond very little to POSITIVE stimuli such as walking on the beach… looking at a beautiful sunset… seeing a beautiful man or woman. Positives cause the scans to barely light up.
When exposed to a negative such as a horrific fire… a plane crash… wild animals… snakes, cliffs, starving children… ravages of war… our brains light up like the proverbial Christmas tree.
Our brains have been wired to keep us from harm, not promote high-risk activities that might lead to greater success.
The buzz-phrase that neuroscientists use to describe Negative Bias is that “Negatives stick to us like VELCRO… where the positives stick to us like TEFLON!”
Negatives hang in there our entire life. Positives just roll off us like water on a duck’s back.
Please do not confuse this dragon with being depressed, negative, pessimistic or gloomy. This dragon presents a rewiring opportunity that is remarkably simple to do: Simply take in 5 times the number of Positives for every Negative thought you think each day. Scientists call this, “taking in the good.” While the negatives never really go away, with dedication, they can be tucked away, out of sight, out of mind.
A Thought Before Concluding…
Look at your life as it is right now. Are you where you need to be on the road to your destiny?
Now that you understand that these 3 dragons control everything you will ever be, do or have in life, what are you going to do about them? They are the gate keepers standing between you and your best life possible.
Slay them each day, and you will make the rest of your life the best of your life.
Permit them to hold you down, singe your enthusiasm or cripple your resolve, and you will simply become a victim of these dark forces.
These dark forces are no longer hidden from you. Now that you can see them, you can deal with them!
I have tried to condense 20 years of research and reflection into this short article on your Journey to Destiny. We have helped millions of people systematically improve their performance through our simple 3 step program of Self-Measurement… Self-Evaluation… and Self-Improvement.
We truly understand what you are up against. Our Mission is to help you cut through the blur and cut these dragons off at every opportunity.
The key is the unconditional commitment to EXCELLENCE and the total rejection of MEDIOCRITY… what we call Intentional Excellence.
Excellence is not an act, it is a habit. Like all habits, you must make them work for you… or they will certainly work against you.
“Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” ~ Aristotle
Each day presents a new opportunity for growth or decline. When you choose to employ a status quo, business as usual SURVIVAL mindset, you waste a day that could have led you closer to your goals.
Now, you might be saying to yourself, “Just how can I move forward in the presence of these formidable dragons?” The answer is, “Get the right set of tools!”
As part of our 20th-year membership drive, all you need to do is sign up for these TQ tools and you will start to understand how the TQ training program works:
Because you can’t always SEE how well you are performing…
We invented the world’s first Time Prism to cut through the blur of daily life.
1. Use the Time Prism to separate the blur of your life into 10 easy to see, color-coded areas of your performance that are either holding you back or propelling you towards the success your want. This resource is FREE. Test Your TQ Now…
2. Engage each day with our Daily Lessons in Excellence. Listen to the Midas Minute… read the TQ Key idea of the day… answer the 3 personal questions asked. In just 3 minutes each morning, you will gain wonderful new ideas that will help you install The Excellence Habit™ deep within you. This resource is FREE. See TodaysTQ.com…
3. Use our Dreams, Goals and Plans Center to not just track your progress, but to create the inspiration needed to achieve those goals that are MOST important to you… fast. This resource is FREE. See TQ Goals…
4. If you are serious about accelerated personal growth, be sure to get The Power of TQ and 10 Choices of Intentional Excellence. Go Here Now…
5. If you have been seeking more purpose and meaning in your life, order Success On Purpose: The Starting Point for a Life of Happiness, Satisfaction, and Significance. Go Here Now…
6. Sign up for our next 100 Day Crash Course in Maximum Success. Learn More Here…
“Most of us are continually engaged in some form of pursuit. We are seeking excellence within one or more areas in our lives, and that is the basis of our motivation. It is human nature to have a need to get ahead, need a little something more—it’s in our DNA. Although we may not be certain of what we need at any given moment, we know there’s something. It’s a competitive itch and desire to improve that never goes away.” ~ Lorii Myers
These dragons are real. I have greatly simplified the science behind this article. If you want to know more, simply Google to your heart content.
These dragons are the gatekeepers between you right now and the future-self you must grow into to achieve enduring success.
They will stand between you and get more of what you want out of life until you learn how to conquer them.
Take these dragons seriously, as they will hold you back from achieving all your dreams and goals.
Use our TQ tools to slay the dragons at your front door each day.
My personal Mission is to install The Excellence Habit™ in 200 million people around the world in the next couple of years.
If we are successful, the world will be a far better place for all of us.
Definite pass this article on to anyone you feel is facing the dragons and don’t have the tools to win.
The TQ system I outlined above is absurdly simple: a 3–minute daily engagement in learning and discovering = far greater success… in far less time.
While we have mountains of facts, graphs, and testimonials, the only thing that matters is you and your personal growth. Try my way and you will see the simple logic at the heart of the matter.
As I said above, every single thing we do, every thought we think is focused on smoothing out the bumps and potholes on the road to your destiny. To help you conquer these 3 giant dragons.
Simply put, we make it easier for you to produce extraordinary results over time.
Always remember The key to EVERYTHING… your happiness… your sense of well-being and meaning… career growth… financial success… EVERYTHING… comes down to this: Do more of the RIGHT THINGS… The RIGHT WAY… At the RIGHT TIME… For the RIGHT REASON.
You’ve heard this your entire life and it’s pretty simple on the surface.
However, it gets real deep real fast.
What should I be doing with the one life I have to live? What gives me a tremendous sense of passion, purpose, and meaning? Am I really doing the right things, for the right reasons — most of the time — or am I just kidding myself?
The sad truth is, most people THINK they are good at their 4 R’s — BUT — in study after study over the last 20 years, we have found that’s not the case.
Yes, each day we are alive, we are on the same journey — the road to excellence that ultimately becomes our destiny.
Excellence requires a COMMITMENT to performing better today than you did yesterday.
Excellence requires the COURAGE of your convictions.
Excellence requires unshakable DETERMINATION.
Excellence requires systematic and measurable TRAINING.
With all your heart, mind and soul.
E. R. Haas, CEO
“Excellence is a better teacher than mediocrity. The lessons of the ordinary are everywhere. Truly profound and original insights are to be found only in studying the exemplary.” — Warren Bennis