“Look not at the vessel, but at what it contains.”
—Rabbi Meir, ancient Jewish Sage
Image from Unsplash by Sharon McCutcheon
In recent weeks, the subject of death has become more prominent than usual in my personal and professional communities.
The focus on being sincerely interested and seeking to fully understand others results in numerous deep and meaningful conversations.
Of particular interest were the beautiful and soulful discussions of how the passing of certain individuals with hearts of gold and other wondrous virtues has impacted the lives of so many.
How often do you look beyond the surface of the people you meet?
What value and beauty would you potentially discover by doing so, starting with those closest to you?
“Some books should be tasted, some devoured, but only a few should be chewed and digested thoroughly.”
—Sir Francis Bacon, 16th Century Lord Chancellor of England
Image from Unsplash by Thought Catalog
I have a math problem for you on the subject of books. According to Google’s advanced algorithms, about 130 million books have been published in all of modern history.
Consider multiplying 130 million by the number of hours it takes you to read an average book, giving your reading speed. To keep it simple, let’s assume it takes you ten hours. Multiply 130 million by ten and you see that it would take you one billion, three hundred thousand hours to read all the books published in modern history.
Now let’s pretend you began reading at birth, and that, given advanced medical breakthroughs, you live to be 100.
If my math is correct, it would take 876,000 lifetimes to read them all – far more if you took time to sleep, work, eat, or do anything other than read.
As you examine your book tasting efforts, which new books, or perhaps a few oldies but goodies, are worth your valuable time in the years ahead?
“What would happen if you doubled down on service?”
—Robert Richman, keynote speaker and culture architect
Image from Unsplash by Square
Did you know that it takes 5-7 times the effort and resources to obtain new customers than to keep existing customers?
With this statistic in mind, how much effort have you and your organization focused on new customer acquisition rather than making sure your current customers are delighted with you, your products, and of course, your level of service?
Customer loyalty is worth billions, however, we often slack off on our best behaviors once we close the deal. Much like when we say our “I Do” to our life partners. Given the divorce rate of about 50%, we all can see the need to maintain and more appropriately improve these relationships if they are to prosper.
What are some ways you can and will double down on your levels of service in your professional and personal communities? What would be the value of the loyalty generated?
“What is the problem that you are the answer to?”
Image from Unsplash by Hans-Peter Gauster
Consider all the roles and responsibilities you have in a typical day. How is it that you create value in your professional and personal communities?
Which of these efforts create the greatest intrinsic and extrinsic value for others and at the same time bring the greatest joy and life satisfaction to you?
Consider the overlapping of these areas as your personal and professional brand or niche. How much of your day do you expend in these efforts versus those that feel like an obligation or burden?
What are your special talents and unique abilities that light you up and solve meaningful problems in the world?
How might you realign your daily efforts to spend far more of your precious time doing what you were meant to do?
“Watch what you say. Life might be listening.”
Image from rentvine.com
Imagine you are given a special bank account when you are an infant, just learning to speak and understand language.
What you don’t know at the time is that the words you speak and hear have a form of value or credit to them. Some words contribute to your net worth, others drain and deplete your reserves. Some may even put you in debt, or a form of life bankruptcy.
Pay particular attention today to the words you speak and hear, personally and professionally. Notice how much value and wealth you create for yourself and others.
How can you fully listen and tune into the powerful and value-packed words of others? How can you more fully contribute to others by generously sharing only the richest and choicest thoughts?
“We are drowning in information and starving for knowledge.”
—Rutherford D. Rogers, Deputy Librarian of Congress
Image from Unsplash by Catheryn Lavery
Did you know that the average person has five social media accounts, and spends one hour and forty minutes browsing their networks each day?
The average adult also spends more than twenty hours online, and watches over thirty hours of television per week.
How does your usage compare to these statistics? To what degree are you drowning in information?
Unfortunately, many of us simply assume that is “the way things are,” and that we simply need to keep up with the pace of life and swim for our lives.
Estimate what percent of the information you take in through social media and other sources is truly valuable and worth knowing.
Begin today, through a more discerning perspective, to remove or eliminate at least one such source until your head is fully above water.
“What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it.”
Photo from Flickr by GotCredit
What is a day worth? If you were to calculate the monetary value of one full revolution of planet Earth, what would the exact value be?
The professional service providers who are my coaching clients often bill out at hourly rates. Just to make the math simple for this example, we’ll assume a rate of $200/hour. One 24-hour day would be worth $4,800.
Add that to the qualitative value you attribute to each day you spend with family, friends, and colleagues, engaged in enjoyable and meaningful pursuits.
Based on the scenario above, select a number which represents the value you attribute to a single day. As you look at today and look forward to tomorrow, how will you spend your “life equity” to make the most of this miracle called life?
“You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.”
Image from Flickr by SkySeeker
We live in a world of astounding abundance and variety. Consider the number of choices we have these days in the following areas:
- Food choices in your local market
- Television stations offered by your cable or satellite provider
- Beverage choices at the coffee shop
- Menu options at your favorite restaurant
- Mobile apps and social media sites
- The vehicles we choose to drive
How can you spend more of your professional and personal life with the “peach lovers” instead of driving yourself crazy trying to please everyone?
“Don’t step over dollars to pick up a dime.”
Photo from Flickr by Chaval Brasil
Imagine you are in a room and suddenly a shower of money in all denominations falls from the ceiling. You happen to have an umbrella and open it quickly to avoid the downpour of coins clunking you on the head.
The financial storm comes to a halt after a few minutes, and you are given the challenge of picking up as much money as possible in a single minute, using only your hands. What strategy would you use to maximize your payoff?
My guess is that you would leave the coins where they lay and gather up as many bills as you could.
What activities do you step over daily, in order to pick up or pursue the lower value, “shiny objects” that take up a considerable portion of your day? How can you pass up the dimes of life and go for the dollars that can make life even more worthwhile?