Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Let competition inspire you to work harder

I hate to lose.

That said, I am proud to admit that competition has made me a better businessman, a better golfer and a better person. And when there isn't another company or business to compete with, I try to outdo myself. If that sounds simple, well, it is. I always want to be at my best and show my best side.

People can exceed expectations when motivated properly. This story, told by Andrew S. Grove, former CEO of the Intel Corp., a California manufacturer of semiconductors, is a perfect illustration.

For years, the performance of the Intel facilities-maintenance group, which is responsible for keeping the buildings clean and in good shape, was substandard. No amount of pressure or inducement seemed to do any good.

Then, Intel initiated a program in which each building's upkeep was periodically given a score by a resident senior manager. The score was then compared with those given the other buildings. Result: The condition of all of the buildings improved dramatically -- almost immediately. Nothing else had been done. People did not get more money or other rewards. What they did get was the stimulus of competition.

Competition drives performance. It drives people to work harder and dig deeper to deliver more than they ever thought they could.

Among the many benefits of increased market competition, according to the tutor2u website:

Lower prices for consumers.

A greater discipline on producers/suppliers to keep their costs down.

Improvements in technology with positive effects on production methods and costs.

A greater variety of products from which to choose.

A faster pace of invention and innovation.

Improvements to the quality of service for consumers.

Better information for consumers, allowing people to make more informed choices.

There's nothing like a little competition to boost productivity. Look at industry studies and you will consistently see that competition helped improve results.

I am and have always been very competitive. I understand that some people don't like competition, but you have to accept that competition is unavoidable in life. That's the way our society works. It's my belief that our society improves with competition.

Some parents don't want to engage their young children in competition. I understand their reluctance in situations where unrealistic expectations are set, but friendly competition is good.

It is critical to prepare children and teenagers to compete in the real world. As they grow older, they will face competition in schools, in the workforce, even in the housing market.

A University of Florida study found that participating in sports is a healthy way to teach kids about the positive aspects of competition. Playing sports helps kids understand how competition works in a friendly environment and that if you try your hardest, you have a better chance at succeeding, not to mention improving your health and self-esteem.

When I was in London at the Olympics, I heard an interviewer ask an athlete to predict the outcome of his race.

The athlete said, "I'll come in fifth."

Sure enough, that's exactly where he finished, even though he could easily have placed third, or even second, because two other major competitors fared poorly.

Contrast this with Manteo Mitchell, who broke his leg midway through the 4x400-meter relay but kept running to allow the U.S. team to reach the final.

I cannot emphasize enough that all my business life, I have faced competition, and I believe it has made both my company and me better. When competitors improve their products, we improve ours more. When a sales prospect mentions service, I ask what the other company promised them and then exceed it. We know our customers better here at MackayMitchell Envelope Co. It's our real leg up on the competition. We hate to lose a customer. We take tremendous pride in beating the competition, because that means we are serving our customers better.

There is an old saying in Africa that goes like this: Every morning, a gazelle gets up and knows that it must outrun the fastest lion or it will get eaten. And every morning, a lion gets up and knows that it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death.

So, whether you are a gazelle or a lion, every morning when you get up, you'd better be running.

Mackay's Moral: If you go the extra mile, you will almost always beat the competition.

by Harvey Mackay Sep 23, 2012

Let competition inspire you to work harder

Monday, September 17, 2012

To be successful, stand out by reaching out

There's an old saying that you can't judge a book by its cover. Otherwise, you might wonder what on earth Brandon Steiner is writing about in his terrific new book, "You Gotta Have Balls."

Yes, you read that correctly. Catchy title, to be sure, but a completely accurate description for the story of the guy who runs the largest sports memorabilia business in the country, Steiner Sports Marketing. The subtitle explains: "How a Kid From Brooklyn Started From Scratch, Bought Yankee Stadium and Created a Sports Empire."

Brandon's rags-to-riches story is inspirational, fascinating and, best of all, replicable. He started his life in a very poor apartment with a single mother who was often sick. He escaped to Yankee Stadium whenever he could scrape enough money together, just to have a break from his less-than-idyllic life.

A born salesman, he shares the story of his early endeavors delivering newspapers. When he was having trouble signing up customers, his mother challenged him to find other services to offer to prospective customers. What else could he do for them?

So Brandon, who lived near a bagel shop, told customers he could deliver bagels or milk in addition to the newspaper. Before long, he was delivering 100 daily papers, 150 Sunday papers, 100 gallons of milk every week and more than 100 bagels every Sunday. He found his passion at a very young age and parlayed it into what eventually became a multimillion-dollar business.

His success is summed up in one of his favorite sayings: "If you want more money, don't pay attention to the money. Pay attention to the thing that makes the money."

Brandon is the master of "what else?" -- the attitude that has helped him develop the winning formula for his success. This book is a game plan for any aspiring entrepreneur or anyone in business.

One of his childhood passions led to his blockbuster deal to buy the old Yankee Stadium contents for $11.5 million.

"I wanted to buy the priceless remains, from the foul poles to the lockers to the bullpen bench. I wanted every seat, and every sign -- and of course, every patch of dirt and grass," Brandon said. "In preserving these totems from the wrecking ball, we'd also be preserving a very substantial part of people's lives. We had to treat it like your grandmother's home -- respectfully, delicately. Every little piece had a meaning and a story."

His attitude stems from years of customer service, from his paper route to hotel jobs to building his own company. He reminds readers to focus on relationships, not transactions.

"Do as much as you can, for as many people as you can, as often as you can, without expecting anything in return," he says.

"Don't worry about what you're getting back from someone you're giving something to. Don't worry about how many dollars that person is going to equal for you. It's counterintuitive, but there's definitely more joy in giving than receiving. ... Most people can't do that. They're too concerned with what they're getting back from the other person. They keep score."

He continues, "Being generous with what you have without keeping score is the only way to live. It strengthens your spirit, it keeps you focused on the people who make your business what it is, and it helps breed success."

Brandon's best advice for people trying to make it big is this: Differentiate yourself.

"It's in our nature not to be satisfied, but I'm a big believer in chasing dreams instead of being consumed by nightmares," he says. "If you have a big success, try and figure out how to have another one.

"If you're trying to satisfy a client, or make a deal, figure out how you can reach or help this person in some special, unique way. Really, it's this all-encompassing ideal that can help you realize your personal potential, which can help you grow your business, or even maintain and nurture a relationship."

Steiner Sports Marketing is a remarkable business. . Why? Because of "what else?" And, really, what else could be more important?

"You Gotta Have Balls" reads like a great novel and teaches like a great textbook. Brandon Steiner's story inspires, amuses and motivates all at the same time. Read it, study it and get your game plan together.

Mackay's Moral: What else could you be doing for your customer?

by Harvey Mackay Sep 16, 2012


To be successful, stand out by reaching out

3 productivity secrets to be a superachiever

Because I do a lot of public speaking, I have developed a deep appreciation for top-notch speakers. So when I was brainstorming and looking for a real showstopper to address a group of businesspeople I am mentoring, I asked Darren Hardy, publisher of SUCCESS magazine, to be one of our presenters.

Darren is in the rare position to interview the most celebrated achievers on the planet to discover how they have created their extraordinary success. Astute SUCCESS readers use the advice to achieve more and lead more fulfilling lives. Darren's message, three productivity secrets of superachievers, was a real eye-opener.

No. 1 might surprise you because so many people want to know what successful individuals do to create great results, but the answer is just the opposite. It's not what they do at all -- it's what they don't do, according to Darren. Saying "yes" is easy, he said. The master skill, however, is saying "no." That is hard because it can cause conflict in relationships. When Darren got a chance to interview Warren Buffett, he asked the question that everyone wants answered: "What would you attribute your grand success to?" The key to Buffett's great success was this: "For every 100 great opportunities that are brought to me, I say 'no' 99 times."

Darren asked Steve Jobs, "Of all the things that you have built and created that have changed the world, what are you and Apple most proud of? His answer was, "I'm as proud of what we don't do as I am of what we do."

Distinction No. 2 of superachievers is to learn to focus on the vital few.

"A lot of us try to become master of many things," Darren said. "We try to be great at a lot of things, and as a result, we don't ever become world-class at a few things. Look at Olympic athletes, entertainers, Nobel laureates or Albert Einstein. They were all world-class at just a few things. The rest of their lives they were pretty mediocre."

Darren makes the point that long hours are very different from hard work. "A great confusion for a lot of us is that we think there are all of these functions we need to be involved in and we need to be great at," he said. "Really, like anything in life, there's about a half-dozen vital functions that you need to become excellent or brilliant at in order to create gargantuan success."

The final distinction of superachievers, according to Darren, is that they've developed unconscious habits of success. As Aristotle said, "We are what we repeatedly do."

Darren said, "When you repeat an activity over and over, the reason it becomes an unconscious habit is it develops what's called a neurosignature. It actually burns a brain groove. Every time you do something, it continues to reinforce this brain groove, and we become what we practice the most."

Bottom line: You have to develop a daily routine that will lead you to success.

Mackay's Moral: Lots of people start, but few people finish.

by Harvey Mackay Aug 13, 2012



3 productivity secrets to be a superachiever

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Confidence starts with your thought process

When I am interviewing potential employees, one of the traits that I look for is confidence. I'm not referring to hubris or arrogance, but someone who understands his or her ability and is not afraid to use it.

With the college-football season just starting, it reminds me of a revealing story my good friend Lou Holtz told me when I helped bring him in to coach the University of Minnesota football team back in 1984.

"I was at a convention just after taking the job at North Carolina State," Lou said, "and I was talking to Wayne Hardin, who was coach at Temple."

Hardin asked, "Lou, do you think you're the best coach in the country?"

Lou answered, "No way. I'm not even in the top 10."

"Well," Hardin said, "North Carolina State hired you because they think you are. If you don't act like you are, you shouldn't even be coaching."

According to First Draft by Ragan Communications: "Confidence doesn't come naturally to most people. Even the most successful people have struggled with it in their careers."

The good news is that you can develop it, just like any muscle or character trait, if you're willing to work hard at it. The better news: These tips can help you strengthen your confidence. Here's what to try:

Don't compare yourself with others. Focus on your own achievements and ambitions, not anyone else's. Other people will always be more successful than you at different stages of your life and career, and obsessing about them will only send your confidence plunging. Concentrate on identifying and improving your own strengths and skills.

Track your success. Keep a log of your accomplishments, large and small. Recording victories on a daily basis will make you feel more successful, and looking over your progress will boost your self-esteem.

Practice being assertive. Take an active role in pursuing success, no matter how anxious you feel. Start by visualizing situations where you feel nervous, and picture yourself being assertive. Check your body language in a mirror, and practice good posture and a self-assured expression. Then go out and take a few chances, starting with low-risk situations. Once you've survived those, you can move on to bigger personal challenges. You may be surprised by how well practice makes perfect.

Accept that failure is not the end of the world. Learn from your mistakes. Many great achievements have been far from perfect but were more than good enough to be proud of.

Step out of your comfort zone. Push yourself beyond your known limits, and see how successful you can be. When you realize what you can accomplish, your confidence soars. Your potential is unlimited. You are the only one who can limit it.

Set goals. Decide what you want to accomplish in your career and personal life. Reaching goals is a tremendous confidence-builder. It also spurs you to set higher goals.

Prepare to succeed. Keep improving your skills and you will build confidence. Knowing that you are capable is central to a positive self-image. Take care of both your body and your mind.

One of the greatest violinists of all time was Niccolo Paganini. One day, as Paganini was about to perform before a packed opera house, he realized he had walked out on the stage with a strange violin in his hands, not his own treasured instrument. Panic-stricken, he began to play with all the skill he possessed. Everyone agreed that he gave the performance of his life.

In his dressing room, when he was praised for his superlative performance, Paganini replied, "Today, I learned the most important lesson of my entire career. Before today, I thought the music was in the violin. Today, I learned that the music is in me."

Mackay's Moral: Your mind is your most powerful ally in developing confidence.

by Harvey Mackay Sep 9, 2012


Confidence starts with your thought process

Latz: Late negotiating expert still has much to teach us

Harvard Law professor Roger Fisher, a giant in the negotiation field who co-wrote the best-seller Getting to Yes: Negotiating To Get What You Want, passed away last week. As someone who studied under him and who still teaches his core concepts, I believe it's worth reiterating them.

Separate the people from the problem.

Fisher taught that negotiations fundamentally represent an opportunity for parties to sit down side-by-side to resolve their problems mutually. And a critical component of this revolved around parties' ability to establish productive working relationships with one another and separate the people involved from the problems they faced.

At a base level, Fisher recognized that parties often get distracted by assumptions and miscommunications involving the people and personalities at the table. By doing so, they end up going down counterproductive paths and never fully exploring how to address their mutual problems.

Fisher's advice? Separately address these two critical elements.

An example of this occurred in connection with the 1985 summit between President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Prior to the summit, Fisher helped convince Reagan's staff that setting a specific agenda for the summit was less important than activities like joint brainstorming, which was focused on building the parties' relationships.

Focus on interests, not positions.

Fisher and his co-authors Bill Ury and Bruce Patton in Getting to Yes tell of two men in a library arguing about whether to close a nearby window. One wants it open, the other wants it closed. They seem like irreconcilable positions -- until the librarian asks each why he wants it open or closed. One answers that he wants fresh air, and the other answers that he dislikes the draft.

The librarian then closes the window, walks into the next room and opens that window -- providing fresh air and eliminating the draft.

This classic example illustrates the power of exploring interests (why you want something) versus positions (what you want). Arguing over positions will often lead to deadlock and frustration. But if you can elicit the true interests underlying a party's position, it often leads to creative options satisfying all the parties' interests. That's a real win-win.

Insist on objective criteria.

Of course, important interests do conflict in many negotiations. And you can't always find ways to satisfy everyone and expand the proverbial pie. Sometimes you just must find a way to cut up the pie in a way that everyone finds acceptable. Fisher here recommends you "insist on objective criteria" that provide an independent, credible principle underlying your solution.

Instead of simply saying "I want this or else," say "I want this because it's market value based on this appraisal," or "because it would be unprecedented to provide an employee at your level with stock options," or "because it is only 5 percent above our cost, and we need to make some profit," etc.

Develop your BATNA (Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement).

I used to think traditional notions of power -- like wealth, market share, military might, etc. -- automatically translated into negotiation power.

Fisher taught me this is not true. Instead, Fisher taught that negotiation power primarily derives from having a really good alternative to doing a deal with the other side. The better your alternative, the stronger your leverage. And vice versa.

The world's biggest company might have weak leverage if it really needs you and can't get your product or service anywhere else (thus it has a really bad BATNA, or best alternative to doing a deal with you).

Likewise, a large financial institution on the edge of bankruptcy might have strong leverage with the government if the government's alternative to bailing it out (its BATNA) is a crash in our economy.

Fisher will be hugely missed. But his contributions to the field live on through the millions who put these ideas into practice.

by Marty Latz Sep 6, 2012



Latz: Late negotiating expert still has much to teach us

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Campbell channels Andy Warhol for new soup cans – USATODAY.com

CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) – Campbell Soup is tapping Andy Warhol for another 15 minutes of fame.

New limited edition Campbell's tomato soup cans with art and sayings by artist Andy Warhol will be sold at Target stores Sept. 2, 2012.

Mel Evans, AP

New limited edition Campbell's tomato soup cans with art and sayings by artist Andy Warhol will be sold at Target stores Sept. 2, 2012.


New limited edition Campbell's tomato soup cans with art and sayings by artist Andy Warhol will be sold at Target stores Sept. 2, 2012.
Sponsored Links

The world's biggest soup maker plans to introduce special edition cans of its condensed tomato soup bearing labels reminiscent of the pop artist's paintings at Target stores starting Sunday. The 1.2 million cans will cost 75 cents each.

The promotion comes as Campbell looks to turn around its struggling soup business after years of declining sales. The company plans to introduce dozens of new products this year.

The cans to be sold at Target will come in four color schemes, with famed Warhol quotes, such as "In the future, everybody will be world-famous for 15 minutes."

Campbell Soup's embrace of Warhol's iconic imagery is a switch from its initial reaction to Warhol's use of the cans in a painting, when the company considered taking legal action before deciding to see how the paintings were received by the public.

"There's some evidence to show there was a little bit of concern," said Jonathon Thorn, an archivist for Campbell Soup. "But they decided to take a wait-and-see approach."

By 1964, however, the company realized the paintings were becoming a phenomenon and embraced the depictions. Campbell's marketing manager even sent Warhol a letter expressing admiration for his work.

"I have since learned that you like tomato soup," William MacFarland wrote in the letter. "I am taking the liberty of having a couple cases of our tomato soup delivered to you."

Later that same year, Campbell commissioned Warhol to do a painting of a can of Campbell's tomato soup as a gift for its retiring board chairman, Oliver G. Willits; Warhol was paid $2,000 for the work. Campbell also invited the artist to visit its headquarters in Camden, N.J., although Thorn said there's no indication a visit ever took place.

The red-and-white Campbell label made its debut in 1898. Significant changes to the front of the can have been made only a handful of times since then.

After Warhol completed the Campbell boardroom painting, the company had no further contact with him until 1985, when the company commissioned the famed artist to paint packages of its new dry soup mixes for advertisements. Warhol died about two years later.

In 1993, the company bought a Warhol painting of one of its tomato soup cans to hang in the boardroom of its headquarters. The company also has a licensing agreement with the Warhol estate to sell clothing, magnets and other gear, mostly overseas, bearing the artist's renditions.

Campbell has sold Warhol-inspired cans on two other occasions, although on much smaller scales. In 2004, the company sold 75,000 four-packs of Warhol-inspired cans at Giant Eagle, a Pittsburgh-based supermarket operator. During the holiday season in 2006, the company sold 12,000 units at Barney's, a high-end department store, in New York.

by Associated Press Aug 29, 2012


Campbell channels Andy Warhol for new soup cans – USATODAY.com

Happiness is a way of life that's up to you - USATODAY.com

"What makes me happy?" It's a question we all should ask ourselves periodically, because all of our actions should, in some way, be directed toward achieving happiness. Initially, thoughts of riches beyond imagination may fill your mind. Or your thoughts may center on the car/house/job of your dreams. If you are honest, you will probably find it to be a more difficult question than you would expect.
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Abraham Lincoln is purported to have once said, "Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be." Abe knew what he was talking about, and in the final analysis, I think you will find that the only thing that can make you happy is you.

Happiness is just a state of mind -- so are anger, sorrow, disappointment and loneliness. The mind is the most powerful tool in the universe, but you are the one who controls it. Like your car, if you see your mind heading in the wrong direction, you can steer it the other way. You need to recognize when you have negative feelings and go a different direction. You don't want to be dwelling on the situation that brought you to that emotional state.

Of course, it is easier to steer your mental car toward happiness if you have directions. That brings us back to the question, "What makes me happy?" By answering this question, you will be drawing the map. Try an easier question if you are stuck: "What has made me happy in the past?" My guess is that it was not something material.

My definition of happiness is not the fleeting, live-in-the-moment feeling that accompanies a birthday present. Rather, I think of happiness as a way of life.

Truly happy people may have difficult times, but they know how to bounce back because they know better times are possible -- and probable. They are content to have more positive thoughts than negative ones. They also understand that their happiness depends largely on how much happiness they share with the people around them.

Happiness is a powerful, addictive narcotic. Step into the bliss often enough, and you'll carry it with you and seek situations that perpetuate it. Build a powerful reserve of positive feelings that will carry you through the tough situations that life throws at you.

Studies have shown that too much stress can inhibit your immune system, causing many of the health problems that plague our society. Heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcers, migraine headaches and mental illness are just a few of the health issues that have been linked to excessive stress.

So, in addition to improving the quality of your life, reducing your level of stress and increasing your happiness may also help to save your life.

Researchers at the Institute for Aging Research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine questioned 243 people who were 100 or older. According to a blog for pharmacy technicians at cphtcentral.com, researchers "found that centenarians tend to share certain personality traits (in addition to other factors, like genetics). In general, these long-lived people are:

Outgoing.

Positive-minded about other people.

Full of laughter.

Open with their emotions.

Conscientious and disciplined.

Unlikely to obsess about anxieties or guilt.

"The scientists point out that these characteristics don't necessarily represent a cause and effect relationship. They did notice, however, that in many cases the personality traits they observed weren't necessarily lifelong tendencies, but behaviors their subjects learned as they grew older. Focusing on the good and not worrying about the negatives may have a positive impact on overall life expectancy."

So now that you know what finding your bliss could do for your quality of life, why wait? Organize your life so you have time to do the things you love.

I am not advocating that you abandon all responsibility. Life's pressures are going to prevent you from playing golf seven days a week, and even sunsets start to look alike after a while. You may not be able to quit your job to become a professional singer. However, the more attuned you are to what truly makes you happy, the more your life will align itself with the things you value and treasure.

As Albert Schweitzer said, "Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful."

Mackay's Moral: Only you can draw the map of the road to your happiness.

by Harvey Mackay Aug 20, 2012


Happiness is a way of life that's up to you - USATODAY.com

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Change attitude to rise above frustrations

You are driving to work when another driver suddenly cuts into your lane and nearly clips you. You immediately get mad, and it sets you off for the morning.

One of your co-workers calls in "sick" -- again -- meaning you will be doing double duty for the third time this month. Your own work is piling up while you try to cover for her.

You have tickets for a ballgame you've been looking forward to attending with your family, but the dark clouds overhead open up and ruin your plans. Your kids are disappointed, and you curse the weather gods for spoiling your day.

Wouldn't it be great if you could control your emotions and shake off these events, along with all the other things that might happen to you on any given day? It's natural to be upset when things don't go according to plan. But all too often, we overreact and start a domino effect that prevents us from seeing the positive side of anything.

George Foreman, former heavyweight boxing champ, makes a great point: "Being angry and resentful of someone is like letting them live rent-free in your head."

Controlling emotions is a challenge for people of all ages, but it can be done. You are the only person directly responsible for your emotions. No one makes you respond in a certain way.

"The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives," said American philosopher William James -- in the late 1800s, no less. Clearly, the problem has existed for ages.

Fortunately, there are some very effective strategies for getting a grip on your emotions. It takes practice, but the payoff is unmistakable. Your blood pressure will thank you, too.

Practice good self-care. Take care of your own physical, emotional and mental needs. Someone who does this on an ongoing basis will be able to handle negative emotions better -- and not become a threat to others.

Identify what anger and frustration feel like, both in your head and in your body. If people are cut off from their feelings, there is a much higher chance that they will act rashly.

Get out of the stressful situation and take a walk. Take the time you need to process your feelings and emotions. Perhaps it's enough for you to take a deep breath and count to 10, slowly.

Vent to someone who will listen without judging.

Find a temporary distraction. Engage in an activity that will take your mind off the upsetting subject.

Take action. Think about how the situation could be positively changed and then encourage steps to help solve the problem.

Communicate your desire for change to others who can help make the change a reality.

Think about "what's right" rather than "what's wrong."

According to a story on businessballs.com, "A gardener ran a business that had been in the family for two or three generations. ... For as long as anyone could remember, the current owner and previous generations of owners were extremely positive, happy people. Most folk assumed it was because they ran a successful business. In fact, it was the other way around.

"A tradition in the business was that the owner always wore a big lapel badge, saying 'Business is Great!' even though it went through tough times like any other. What never changed, however, were the owner's attitude and the badge.

"Everyone who saw the badge for the first time invariably asked, 'What's so great about business?' Sometimes people would also comment that their own business was miserable, or even that they personally were miserable or stressed.

"The badge always tended to start a conversation, which typically involved the owner talking about lots of positive aspects of business and work. Even the most miserable would usually end up feeling a lot happier after just a couple minutes of listening to all this infectious enthusiasm and positivity.

"It is tough to measure an attitude like this, but to one extent or another, it's probably a self-fulfilling prophecy. The business owner freely admitted, 'The badge came first. The great business followed.' "

Mackay's Moral: Attitude is the mind's paintbrush -- it can color any situation.

by Harvey Mackay Jul 29, 2012



Change attitude to rise above frustrations

Monday, September 3, 2012

Let your imagination pave way to success

Take a look at the back of a dollar bill. A pyramid with an eye at the top is on the left. Over the pyramid is the Latin inscription "annuit coeptis," which means "providence has favored our undertakings."

In his book, "Wisdom Well Said," Charles Francis takes an in-depth look at what the images mean: "The pyramid symbolizes the strength of the union of the states. The top of the pyramid is unfinished, meaning there is still work to be done to make our system even better. The eye stands for the all-seeing God, Supreme Builder of the Universe. Benjamin Franklin chose this motto because he believed imagination was the singular characteristic of the people he helped to forge into a new nation."

If we want to cultivate creativity and imagination, a good place to start is with children. Children don't recognize limits on possibilities. They look through that different lens -- that is, until we train them to focus on the practical.

A friend shared a story from the NewsOK website about two parents working on Christmas cards with their 6-year-old son. The son's job was to lick the stamps (back before self-adhesive stamps were available). The boy balked because he didn't like the taste of the glue on the stamps. His parents prevailed, and, reluctantly, he went to his room to finish his assignment.

Before long, he emerged with a big smile. Every envelope was stamped. His stunned father said, "But I thought you didn't like the way the stamps tasted when you licked them!"

"Yeah, that was yucky," the son replied. "So I just licked the envelopes and then stuck the stamps on."

Mackay's Moral: The only person who can put limits on your imagination is you.

by Harvey Mackay Jul 23, 2012


Let your imagination pave way to success

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