Is Materialism Blocking Your Efficacy?

What are people on the move doing to live a better life?

The people I find myself working with are the shakers and movers in society, yet while they are being highly successful at having an impact in the world we share with them, they are also taking the time to focus on the intimate details of their life. In doing so, I believe (and so do they) they gain far more meaning and enjoyment from all life has to offer.

What are some of the things these influential people doing to increase their efficacy and quality of life?

I find them spending time looking inside, digging up their pasts, exorcising their personal demons, finding new ways to increase love exponentially in their lives and decreasing (or eliminating) the negative influences that may loom in the areas surrounding their lives.

While that is somewhat vague, I find many of them seeing materialism from a different perspective and taking action to prevent materialism from blocking their efficacy, and you might like to give it a go, too.

They find themselves re-thinking their connection with material things. It’s as if, at some point, something clicks inside them and they see the high value of the things most valued by the world as less meaningful, and these material things lose their sheen when they no longer offer any degree of satisfaction. In some cases, a loathing emerges as they see these high fashion items as an immense con game. It doesn’t mean they stop playing the game altogether, but they are able to remove the false emotional connection to their former materialism.

If you want to see where someone’s heart is, take a look at where their money goes.

These influential people who are looking for deeper meaning in life are using their resources, including their financial resources for doing or promoting the greater good in the world. Of course, they all have their particular flavor, and no two philanthropists hearts are the same, therefore these individuals are able to impact the world independently in an invisible collectivity that really does make huge differences in the world we share with them.

You, too, could take an active part

In fact in many ways I am endeared to that percentage of the 99% who are sacrificing to contribute to a better world, who you think wouldn’t be able to afford it. One statistic that comes to mind is the comparison between the giving of the WalMart owners, versus the giving of the employees of WalMart who are often barely getting by. The low-remunerated employees out-give their employer 100%.

You can see these people have heart and they’re putting their money where their heart is and they are making a difference. Even though their contribution may individually be small, say ten to a hundred dollars a month, collectively they have a profound impact, while it appears the owners could care less.

Unfortunately, you do seem to find the most wealthy one percent of the world’s population not giving a rat’s care about the rest of the world which is stuffing money in their pockets 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For many of these people nothing matters more than the money they can glean from the masses, and you find them frolicking in lavish lifestyles that some of us (maybe even you) desire to mimic, because don’t we all want a better life?

But is this the definition of a better life?

The people who I find myself working with see their monetary health as a key component in their enjoyment of life and feel like it is the energy which fuels their ability to have a greater impact on the world. You can tell by what they do with it, and they are not enslaved by materialism, which would only take the energy and put it back in the pockets of the one percent.

What are you doing with your resources?

You can use your resources to make the world a better place.

If your knee-jerk reaction is to insist that you do not have the money, take another look at people with so much less than you, who are taking action, giving a portion of their resources, including money and time to help make the world a better place.

Are you ready to make a difference?

Signs of a Bad Relationship

If you’ve found this searching the Internet looking for signs of a bad relationship because you might be with the wrong person, there’s a good chance that you may be courting the wrong person. What do you do when you find yourself loving the wrong person? You start expending some effort to see if you can cut off a potential disaster before tying the knot. The last thing you want to do is to wake up one day discovering you’ve married the wrong person.

If you’re already married, you may be saying, “I married the wrong person. What do i do now?” First of all, we all can hope that you’re over-reacting. Often after you’ve committed and made vows to love someone else no matter what, no matter what is waiting in the wings to make a laughing stock out of you. Love can sometimes be a cruel joke. Nonetheless you don’t want to think, “I married the wrong person.” Or find yourself asking, “Did i marry the wrong person?” Chances are things are not as bad as you think, you’re just having second thoughts (like buyer’s remorse), but if you have married the wrong person, here are some signs of a bad relationship.

Obvious Bad Signs

Some of the easiest signs determining you’re not in a healthy relationship are the ones that are painfully obvious, such as sharing more negative energy when you’re together than positive, engaging in harmful habits such as drinking, smoking, laziness, gambling, addictive behavior, lying, angry outbursts with a veiled (or overt) threat of violence, or clear signs of a lack of self control i.e. over-reacting, overeating, overspending or unexpected credit charges.

Lack of Integrity

In a healthy relationship, you can depend on your partner. You know if they’ve told you he or she was going to do something, you can rest assured that it will be done. If you’re not in a healthy relationship, promises are made but rarely kept and important integrous signs will be lacking, such as trustworthiness and dependability. If someone is not integrous, they may be disingenuous, selfish, and also lack empathy, warmth or have the ability to maintain any meaningful connectedness.

How Do You Feel About You?

When you first met, you had a relatively fair amount of self esteem and found yourself enjoying life. But since your hookup with your partner you’re finding how you feel about yourself and the things that you find joy participating in, thinking or daydreaming about on a rapid decline. In healthy relationships, as you spend time with your partner, you feel better about yourself and find ways to enjoy life together, even if the things you do together are markedly different from the things that you used to do before you met.

You Are Not Encouraged or Supported

You can take an honest look at your life and review your personal growth since you’ve been together. Does he or she have a positive influence on you, encouraging you to life a better life full of more fulfillment and happiness? This is what you should expect from a great partner, who is a supportive team player. It’s a huge red flag, if your partner puts you down, doesn’t support and offer to help you with projects that are meaningful to you, or worse yet, puts you down or laughs at these things.

If your growth is hindered and is not supported, there is no team. And relationships are the ultimate team, where lives are delicately balanced. If you can’t think of ways you’ve supported and encouraged each other to grow, or haven’t grown together, this is not a good sign.

When You Are Not Around

What does he or she do (or not do) when you’re not around? If he or she lives one life when you are around and a completely different life when you’re not around, chances are you are living separate lives. This is a clear indication that your lives are not compatible. If effective relationships, partners share each other’s interests and give and take. If their lives are compatible, they can find consistency in the lives they live, even if they are separated, the tone remains constant and stable. And if he or she is not mindful of you when he or she is away, there is no intention of maintaining a connection (even if only a text or emoticon). Not a good sign.

The Blame Game

If you, or your partner, is blaming the other for not being able to live a better life, this is not a good sign. It’s one thing to blame your partner to his or her face, but if you do blame or complain about them behind their back, to your family and friends, the damage is more dreadful and the effects more far-reaching. If either of you cannot keep a handle on your potential to blame the other person, you will never feel like this could possibly be a healthy relationship.

The Silent Treatment

If you find your partner cutting you off, stonewalling, or giving you the silent treatment when they are not getting their way, or for any reason, they may be blocking you from participating in his or her life in any significant way. If you cannot find ways to communicate and reach out to each other, even in difficult times, no good could come from this.

Lack of Connection

If there is a strong emotional attraction, it’s easy to overlook how deep your intellectual connection is. After a while, though, you start to see your conversations have no deeper meaning, it all seems so superficial and lacking substance. They seem friendly and talkative enough, but there is just surface talk, mostly centered on them and/or their past experiences. Wonder why they aren’t more interested in the meaningful details of your life? The answer is simple; they’re not that interested in you. If you stop to think about it, and realize that you know more about our partner than your partner knows about you, there’s a good chance you’re paired up with someone who is far more concerned with themselves than you, and possibly a narcissist.

Criminal Background

A criminal background could be a huge red flag, but before you throw the baby out with the bathwater, consider that while many people feel that people cannot change, I have been in the change business for X Years a long time. People can change, but it doesn’t come easy. If your partner is honest and upfront about their less than integrous past and they sound like they are taking full responsibility for where they’ve come from and how they’re changing their life (they are not blaming anyone or anything for their circumstance or behavior), and you can see and feel the difference, you may be witnessing a metamorphosis. Even so, you should proceed with caution, because just as likely that you may be witnessing a real transformation, you could be set up to be the next victim of a psychopath. You must decide what you can live with, just be careful.

Your Loved Ones Are Cautioning You

Your relationship should never be controlled by others, because often our friends and family truly do not have your best interests at heart. Sadly, it is true more often than not, that our friends and relatives are far more selfish about us and our connections to others than they could ever see or admit. They just know they are hurt or jealous because someone else is getting the best of you. But, if you’re seeing a pattern among the people who love you the most and you are finding they are sincerely concerned about your relationship with your partner, consider they might be able to see something from their vantage point you might not be able to see from your own. So, if the people you care about the most, and you know they care about you likewise, and they’re urging you get out, you might want to tale a look around to see if their concerns have merit.

Something’s Just Not Right

If you find yourself in a relationship that looks good on the surface, you know you have no reason that you can put your finger on indicating that something may be amiss, yet you feel something in your stomach or heart that just doesn’t seem right about it, this may be your inner voice or intuition telling you that things are not as they seem. Start to recognize your inner guidance systems attempt to warn and protect you from potential unwarranted exposure or harm. If you are certain these feelings are not from some other medical condition or in response to questionable restaurant shrimp, start looking for clues as to whether or not this relationship is in your best interest.

Weigh the Pros and Cons

If you’re thinking about taking a deeper look at your relationship and possibly calling it quits, take the precaution of looking at the statistics, just to prove to yourself that your concerns are not just based on mood or wavering emotions. To do this, simply create a basic T Chart and on one side list all the positive things about your relationship. On the other side, list all the negative things. Reviewing the list may help bring you back into a sense of calm as you realize the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages. On the other hand, if the relationship clearly has more negatives than positives, it might be a good idea to start taking a closer look at your partner, and asking yourself if it’s not time to think about putting an end to it.

My intention is not to dissuade you from being in the relationship that you are currently engaged in, but there is no doubt that you deserve an awesomely healthy relationship so that you can enjoy all this life has to offer. Hopefully, you are not in a toxic relationship and fortunate enough to consider these things prior to marriage, if not, you are in a far more precarious position.

Sometimes bailing out is not the answer, if there is hope for change and finding a new path that you and your partner can travel together. But if it looks like there is more pain than gain along the way, and you’re seeing signs of relationship ending, just realizing you are on different paths and honoring this fact by allowing your partner to go on without you, may be the best option as you walk away and let it go. Feel free to seek advice and opinions from others but keep in mind that these people are not you. Only you can and must make your own decisions and ultimately it is you that reaps the rewards or consequences of your decisions. Be cognoscente and smart and follow your heart.

10 Ways to Increase Your Performance

1. Why

Ask yourself why you want to increase your performance, whether it’s at home at the office, in your relationships, in your bank account, wherever you want to increase your performance, ask yourself why? Why do you want to have marked improvement in the area at hand (there may be many areas where you might desire to experience a marked improvement but focus on which area feels the most pressing, right now). Once you define your why (which may change along the way) you have the base of your motivation to change.

2. Visualize

You need to create an image of you achieving your highest and best in this area of your life. What does the endgame look like if you could have anything the way you want it to be, all you dreams realized, the absolute best result or outcome; what would that look like? In your mind create the absolute best result in full color, what would it look like, feel like, smell like. Notice key markers, find visual representations of these key markers and find images that represent them. Images you can cut out of magazines, or print out, and tape it somewhere you can see it. Put it on your bathroom mirror, your refrigerator, your workstation, etc… Nobody else needs to know that that image represents, it’s just for you to act as a reminder that you know what “better than this” would look like in your wildest dreams.

3. Play Hide and Seek

Start looking for opportunities that will move you closer to where you want to be (and alternatively further away from what you don’t want). An amazing thing happens, once you are aware of your “Why” (#1) and you’ve seen in your mind’s eye how much better it could be, if you start looking for opportunities to advance or change, suddenly you start to see them appear. It doesn’t take long, and you will notice these opportunities were always there, only you couldn’t see them because they were hidden from view. Not so much hidden, as your beliefs or a lack of self worthiness obscured them from your awareness. Something has been calling you to a higher state, a better life, a more fulfilling way of living with increased satisfaction and love, but because of your reticence, you were unable to see it or didn’t believe you were worthy of having it better. Keep seeking and you will find ways to close the gap from where you are and where you want to be.

4. Make a Plan

A plan is like a map that can get you from here to there. You need to know where you are and where you’re going. Just as a map has markers between here and there, like you know if you’re travelling from one city to another, there are going to be towns you will have to pass between here and there. Knowing you’ve passed on of those key checkpoints ensures you are making progress (you might even stop to have a coffee or piece of pie – like little rewards or celebrations – along the way, but don’t tarry, keep moving). Thinks of ways you can start to assure you’re moving and making measureable progress. Make a schedule, prioritize activities and constantly check in with your internal GPS to evaluate your progress. Above all, stay on course and keep moving in the direction of where you want to be.

5. Avoid Distraction

Invariably, when you start to make significant advancements in your life, you will face opposition, both from external sources, like other people (including people you love becoming more needy, requiring more or your attention) and circumstances that will appear as to be thwarting your efforts to push through to the nest level, as well as internal sources, like your lack of belief in yourself, or negative self talk, all designed to distract you and throw you off course. And if that wasn’t enough to distract you, you will notice the media, and your personal devices will increasingly be finding was to keep you from achieving your highest and best. Learn to say, “No,” to distractions and resume you’re looking for opportunities to move closer to what you want.

6. Educate and Correct

Read books, blogs, and when you are able, get an accountability partner or coach. When you start making the move from a comfortable (or tolerable) way of living to a completely new plateau, it’s good to have ideas on how to make the journey. You can get these ideas by reading about who others have made the transition. An accountability partner or coach is like having a co-pilot or being able to check in with the weather service and tower (as if you were flying a plane and wanted to know how the weather might affect your flight and making certain the flight path was clear). Having another set of eyes vested in seeing your dream come true can help immensely, when your vision is limited to the view from your cockpit, allowing you to make important corrections along the way.

7. Question and Listen

Being in a constant state of openness can be highly beneficial. Don’t excommunicate others who might have a valuable tidbit that might be helpful for your journey. Don’t eliminate the possibility of learning from someone else (what to do, or not to do) by immediately discarding someone else’s point of view. Ask questions along the way, and wait for the answers, always being open to hear the input of someone else. Realize that whoever is giving you advice may not have the best answer. Even though they are adamant and passionate, don’t judge them, if their advice does not resonate with you. Realize they are only doing the best they can with what they have. (That person, who may sound like a kook today, may be highly valuable to your journey in the future.)

8. Honor and Gratitude

Honor those who have supported and helped you along the way, with the highest respect and gratitude. For if it were not for them (whether their influence was good, or bad), you would not be on the path that you are on today, and you would not be making the progress you are making to achieve your highest and best. Be gracious, seeing the good in all things (even if they look bad at the time) because they are moving you closer and preparing you for what lies ahead. Give thanks in all things, because this is the journey that gives your life meaning and a reason to live a life better lived.

9. Maintain Your Resources

Keep an adequate awareness about your personal resources which you have for your journey, don’t lost them. You’re going to need them. This includes your own personal health and wellness. Take time out to enjoy the journey, to relax and refuel along the way, because the last thing you want to do is to run out of gas along the way. Do not neglect your body, the vehicle without which you would not have the ability to make the journey at all. Think about keeping it in tip top condition – at least the best condition possible – for your journey. Good health will make the journey so much more enjoyable and satisfying.

10. Give It All You’ve Got

Pursue your goals with passion and heart-felt admiration and love. The more you put in, the more rewarding the payoff, as well as all the milestones between here and there. The less you hold-back, the greater the gain. Be willing to push through when the getting gets rough (as you are likely to meet resistance along the way) and have an exciting story of perseverance when you have made it through.

Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to traverse this path, follow it through to its logical conclusion and to be a light to others in search of taking on the task of daring to live a better life.

How to Work a Room

Q: Where do you find individuals to model?

A: Working the room at networking and/or social events; and so should you.

Successfully working a room is a complex method that either comes naturally to you, or will take a lot of concentration and work to develop the skills necessary.

Your assignment (should you choose to accept it) is to go forth, find a venue and work the room yourself. If it’s outside of your comfort zone, then you are a true hero; not just the hero in your own story but a beacon of hope for others – who, like you – are struggling taking this critical step, too.

If you know people in this venue, do not hang out with them. Make it a priority to meet people that you don’t know, ask them who you should introduce yourself to and set your feet in motion. Consider sitting next to someone you don’t know.

Here are 10 things to help you prepare for the next phase in your journey as you develop your networking skills.

If you can, meet with the most high-ranking person that you already know at the event (a special guest, event promoter, or other friend) visit with them briefly and ask them who you should talk to next (who could most benefit from your service or help promote your service).

How to Work a Room in 10 Steps
1. Introduce yourself
2. 30 second elevator speech
3. Ask about them
4. Listen
5. Care
6. Can they help you?
7. Can you help him/her?
8. Exchange cards
9. Invite them to call you
10. Next

Avoid the person who appears to be purposely avoiding interaction with others. But acknowledge them with a friendly nod as you work the room, letting them gain their own courage (if that is what they lack) from witnessing yours.

If you must proceed blindly simply walk up to someone who possesses a commanding presence and isn’t actively engaged in a conversation. Feel confident enough to break character for a moment and honestly say, “I expected to see someone I knew, here, but to tell you the truth, I don’t see anyone in this room that I know. What’s your name?”

Once they’ve recognized your plight, he or she will likely be enthusiastic about introducing you to some other folks in the room to help you get started. If not, try the same approach with another person who appears to be a confident extrovert. Really, all you have to do to get the ball rolling is to

1 Introduce Yourself

Be polite, friendly, smile and say, “Hi, my name is _________ … and you are?” It really is that easy.

They may or may not ask about you, nonetheless, early on, comment on the event, their appearance, then:

2 Give your 30 second elevator speech

You have rehearsed this and can recite your 30 seconds worth without it sounding as if it was simply recited or memorized.

Never be shy discussing your business with anyone. They may not need your services, but may someone who does.

3 Ask about them

After you’ve established who you are and what you do, begin learning about the person you’re meeting. Ask exploratory questions. You’ve indulged yourself, now it is time to connect and discover more.

Have they travelled or done this before? Ask them why they are here.

Don’t ask questions that can be answered with a simple yes or no. Invite them to expound by asking who, what, when, where and how questions. When they’re answering questions, they’re doing the heavy lifting.

4 Listen

Yes, your intention is to promote yourself but you do so by listening to the person you are meeting.

Listen for clues for ways you can help them on their journey or can help you on yours.

Practice active listening. Look them in the eye (this may be uncomfortable for some, at first but it is an important component of effective communication). Make the effort to paraphrase and repeat portions of what is being expressed by the person you are meeting.

5 Care

Don’t just acknowledge the other person, but show them that you care. You can express caring about a stranger in a brief conversation by nodding or making appropriate facial expressions to mirror the emotions that they might be feeling at a deeper level as they speak.

6 Can they help?

As they are expressing themselves, be listening for ways they might be able to further your purpose.

7 Can you help?

Suggest a way that you might be able to help them, if appropriate, based on this brief exchange.

Emphasize how you can help them rather than how intellectual you are. People are interested in what you can do to help them.

People appreciate generosity and authentic offers of assistance and your help may simply take on the form of an empathetic ear and compassionate understanding of their plight.

8 Exchange cards

Do not force a card on everyone that you speak to. Offer your card only if it would be beneficial for this person to contact you later.

Remember, this is not a sales call, but if this person might see a need for your service, product or skill(s) – or if they have asked for your card – then absolutely you should give them one.

Likewise, if they have skills that you might need, either now or in the future, you should request their card.

If you get someone else’s card, write notes on it, so that you can remember who they were. Getting other people’s cards is actually more important than giving out yours… and this only works if you follow-up and invite them to participate with you.

9 Invite them to call you.

If you’ve given them a card and there is potential that you may be able to serve them in some way, make sure to invite them to call you so that you can discuss more details of the possibilities that may be uncovered in this brief interaction. Remember, this is not a sales call, nor is it a time to close. Keep it brief, because you must move on…

10 Next

Move on to the next person. If you don’t know who you should speak to next, ask the person you are wrapping up with. In most cases, you will find them eager to suggest someone that you should talk to and may even escort you to the person and introduce you.

Exiting the event

Don’t just leave. Thank the presenter, guests; re-connect with the people you’ve connected with before you make your exit.

Following the event

Follow-up. If you do not contact them again, then there will likely not be potential gain. Give them the opportunity to move through your social circles.

It’s all about building lifelong clients and friends via relationship.

Excerpt from Success Attributes © 2008 David M Masters used by permission.