Occam’s Razor

How can you become the person you want to be? The answer may be right in front of you, camouflaged by things that are not real. Make sure you don’t stagnate because of your fear of situations that are not going to happen.

English philosopher William of Ockham is credited with Occam’s razor theory. In a nutshell, the theory states that the simplest explanation of a problem is likely more accurate than a complex explanation. He “shaves away” the common explanations before spending time and resources on rationalizations that require more assumptions. Albert Einstein had a similar philosophy when he advised: “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

In medicine, doctors are taught to use Occam’s razor in illness diagnosis. The doctor looks first to the most common cause and moves to the next alternative only after ruling out the most common cause. Except in rare cases, a diagnosis of a common illness is the result.

What does Occam’s razor have to do with you? If you want to close the gap between where you are and where you want to be, start looking to improve the simple things.

Ask yourself: What am I doing today that is preventing me from being the person I want to be?  What can I do differently? The solution begins with you. More than likely, no uncommon conspiracy is preventing you from being your very best. You have control over your actions, so take control. 

Don’t try to complicate what is within your control. Beginning today, take control of what you can control and quit blaming and justifying. You will see your results improve immediately.

Learn more about how you can become the person you want to be. Order Quit Drifting, Lift the Fog, and Get Lucky today from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, CornerStoneLeadership, or through your local bookstore.

Doer or Drifter?

Are you a doer who is on a mission to achieve your clearly defined goals? Or are you a drifter who allows external circumstances to determine your next move?

Finding and pursuing your purpose is essential to success and happiness. Your purpose is more than a wish; it’s your guide that powers everything of importance. Even though your purpose evolves throughout your life stages, it doesn’t change based on temporary events that occur during each stage.

I’ve seen people who have not identified a priority that they would put above everything. Then, when the next hot deal comes along, they overreact. If you’re consistently creating a new reason for being, you don’t have a compass that reveals the true direction of where you’re heading. You may believe you’re winning, but you’re not winning at all.

Without a clear and consistent purpose, you will drift. You’ll move wherever the winds of the moment take you. That’s not a good or productive way to exist. No one I’ve ever known planned to become mediocre, but most people who don’t have a clearly defined purpose unintentionally allow mediocrity to seep in as they drift along.

The following story illustrates my point:

A couple was vacationing in Hawaii. Neither of them was a beach veteran, but they decided to try snorkeling. Before going into the ocean on their own, they took snorkeling lessons in the safety of their hotel pool. Soon they were prepared for their adventure. They got their fins on and masks ready and headed toward the Pacific to discover the unseen beauty of the ocean’s depths.

They were having a great time. No one else was snorkeling in the area. In fact, there was no one within sight. The water was perfect—calm, gentle, and relaxing. As the couple snorkeled face-down in the water, they were fascinated by the radiantly colored fish, spectacular plant life, and coral reef. It was a remarkable experience, but it was about to become unforgettable.

The guy lifted his head from the water and looked around. He quickly realized they had drifted out to sea. He could barely see their hotel in the distance. His wife was only a couple of yards from him. When he got her attention, she looked up and immediately recognized the dangerous situation they were in.

Their relaxing snorkeling adventure was over. They began swimming for their lives toward the shore. They swam for quite a while before finally reaching shallow water, where they could stand up and walk to the beach. Once they reached the beach safely, they collapsed in the sand, totally exhausted.

When they woke up that morning, they had no idea what was in store for them. They were near disaster while enjoying what they thought was a peaceful, relaxing time. They had drifted without realizing what was happening to them until they looked up. Then they were shocked to find they were not where they began and certainly not where they intended to be.

Most people drift occasionally. However, rarely does anyone drift to a destination they would have chosen. They get caught up in their day-to-day activities and become distracted, disoriented, and lose perspective. Then, they look up to discover they’re a long way from where they thought they’d be.

Life doesn’t have to be that way. You can choose to drift or choose to live and work with meaning and purpose. A clearly defined purpose allows you to intervene in any drift that may come your way.

Learn more about how you can quit drifting and become the person you want to be. Order Quit Drifting, Lift the Fog, and Get Lucky today from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, CornerStoneLeadership, or through your local bookstore.

Change is good … You go first.

Change is Good … You Go First was the pithy title of a book several years ago. As creative as the title is, the candor that it infers is even more true. Who wants to change? Without a crisis, why change? If we must change, you lead the charge. 

I believe we should hug change when it comes our way. Change is usually resisted because we are confined to our own perspective, personal experiences, and data points. For instance, if you were raised in a military family, your perception of normal is based on the experiences you had growing up. If you were raised in a small rural town, your data points are small-town experiences. If you were raised in a large urban city, your opinions are formed by completely different data points. You also have data points based on the size of your family and your place in it, such as oldest, middle child, etc., as well as the gender of family members, religion, ethnicity, and significant personal events that molded your thinking. In most cases, your beliefs and ideas are generated from a small sample size of people whose experiences are like yours.

When a change comes along, foreign data points are introduced. A natural reaction to basically anything new and different is intimidation. When you expand your data points, your knowledge and wisdom are increased proportionately. However, even with new information the passion and pride of your traditional viewpoint may subconsciously overrule your ability to endorse a new perspective.

If you want long-term success and happiness, you must continually make changes. I’ve seen people hunker down, refuse to change, and wind up losing everything. They keep trying to saw sawdust at the risk of losing everything.

Change should be hugged and welcomed, even when things are going well. John F. Kennedy once said, “The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.” There is a lot of wisdom in that simple statement. Most people won’t even think about their roof until rain is dripping on their sofa and flooding the floors. Then, they have to repair the roof, the sofa, and the carpet. They would rather do anything but change…even if a disaster is coming.

In order to grow, you must let go of your comfortable, traditional ways of thinking. That’s the beginning of progress. Change should be embraced and hugged without fear. It allows you to move forward and look to the future with confidence.

Since things will change, why not hug change when it shows up?

Learn more about how to hug change and become the person you want to be. Order Quit Drifting, Lift the Fog, and Get Lucky today from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, CornerStoneLeadership, or through your local bookstore.

My friend Phil

Being great in small things is among the best traits of the most remarkable people. You, too, can stand out from everyone else by doing just a little more than people expect.

Phil is a friend and one of the most amazing people I have ever known.  I consider him the gold standard of being great in small things.

I have thought a lot about what makes Phil so exceptional. My conclusion is that he is extraordinary because he is naturally friendly, well trained, and an avid reader. But he has a greater talent. I think Phil’s main quality is that he loves his work, and it shows. He once told me: “I love going to work because I get to meet more new people every day.”

Phil is a terrific example of how happiness at work begins before you leave home.

Most people say they “have to go to work.” Do they?  Of course, you have a duty to make a living. But if you continually say you “have to,” you reinforce that you’re required to do something you don’t want to do. I would be shocked if Phil ever woke up and told his wife, Amy, that he had to go to work, even though work is necessary to pay his bills. It may sound like a minor thing, but “having to go to work” is a negative way of looking at something important in your life. I bet as soon as Phil wakes up, he smiles and tells Amy, “I get to go to work again!”

To be great, you must be like Phil and love what you are doing. What if you changed your attitude from “I have to go to work” to “I get to go to work”? That one attitude adjustment transforms you from being a victim who must work into an optimist who acknowledges that work is a gift and a privilege. This small thing can make a huge difference for you and those around you.

Learn more about how to be great in small things and become the person you want to be. Order Quit Drifting, Lift the Fog, and Get Lucky today from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, CornerStoneLeadership, or through your local bookstore.