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Success is a state of mind

Max Bolka

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Drawn from the book of the same title, this energizing presentation provides the necessary “mental floss” needed to clear away distractions keeping you from being your best. Bolka tackles how to overcome self-limiting beliefs and how to turn crises into opportunities. Learn why you earn what you do, and the formula to design your destiny. This session is filled with practical “how to” tips for building the business of your dreams and living life to the fullest. Prepare to adjust your thinking and succeed in new ways.

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How much would you like to grow your business? How fast do you want to grow it? This talk will help take you there.

Ninety percent of your success is determined by what goes on between your ears. So, what’s your definition of success? Don’t we all pretty much want the same things? We want enough money, some purpose to our work, good health and family relationships, and maybe some travel or hobby we enjoy. We also want to know we matter, that we’re making a difference in some way to someone. And that’s the beautiful part about success; you get to decide what it means to you.

I’ve categorized them into the seven “Fs”—Faith, Friends, Family, Finance, Fitness, Freedom, and Fun.

Write down three things that would make you feel successful. To me, true success means living 200 percent success of life—100 percent outer achievement and 100 percent inner fulfillment. It’s the inner fulfillment part that is missing for a majority of people today. Here in the United States, we live in the most prosperous country in the world, in its most prosperous time in history. We throw away and waste more food, junk, and stuff than other countries even use. And yet, many people are not happy. We are materially rich and spiritually poor, even bankrupt. So to me, true success means being happy, and evolving to the state of eternal liberation, accomplishing and enjoying the maximum in life, achieving the greatest good for oneself and for others. We’re finding out in this generation that more “stuff” is just not going to cut it. If we’re unhappy, we’ve missed the very essence of life. If our personal power, creativity, intelligence, peace, love, joy, happiness, and freedom are not constantly developing, then we have lost our direction.

Our consciousness, our awareness, our thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs create the experience of our own reality. The inner precedes the outer, and raising one’s consciousness, or awareness, turns out to be the very basis for achievement. This knowledge of how success is a state of mind, how our thoughts create our reality, and the mechanics of how like attracts like is the biggest discovery in the field of human potential in the past 75 years.

In writing the book Success Is a State of Mind, I learned that there is indeed a success mind-set, a certain way successful people view the world, how they view success, and how they view themselves. It turns out they hold two very important beliefs about success itself. First, they believe that it’s possible.

  • Do you believe it’s possible for you to double your income? How about triple? Quadruple?
  • How hard do you think one has to work to earn that kind of money?
  • Are you always rushing around, acting as if there's not enough time to get everything done?
  • If you feel you don’t have enough time now, how can you possibly quadruple your income?
  • Do you believe you would have to give up your family? Your health, vacation time, or fun?

Now, it’s easy to prove that almost anything is possible—anything. In many cases, you can just look it up on the internet. Success leaves clues all over the place. You just have to model yourself after someone who’s already accomplished what you want to accomplish. Have you personally known or do you know someone who has doubled their income in the past year? So now the question becomes, Is it possible for you? Another way of asking this is, Do you believe you deserve it? And this is the second belief system after asking, Do you think it’s possible?

More than just positive thinking, your answers to these types of questions start to reveal your inner core beliefs and, subsequently, your behavior, which then creates your results. Because, to some degree, we’re all addicted to our beliefs. We can usually see this in others, but can you catch yourself arguing for your own limitations? So let’s explore some of these core beliefs.

Repeat these phrases: “I am a money magnet! Money flows easily and effortlessly to me.” Notice how you feel when you say this. So perception is key here, because the world is as we are. If we’re tired, nothing is any good. If we feel great, we get in the zone. Same problems, different perception. If we’re wearing green glasses, then everything we see will be tinted green. If we are wearing dark-colored glasses, then everything gets filtered through that darkness. What I’m suggesting is that if you don’t like what you’re seeing, maybe it’s time to change your prescription.

  • Do you deserve to double, triple, or quadruple what you currently earn?
  • Do you really deliver that much value to the marketplace?
  • Do you charge what you’re worth? Is this why your income has plateaued?

These questions start to reveal your core beliefs around money and your work. It’s partly about self-esteem because we all have core beliefs about our self-worth, but it goes even deeper than that. For example, I’ve seen it hundreds of times. Why do you earn what you do? You earn what you do because that’s how much you’ve allowed yourself to earn right now. Our self-limiting, core beliefs hold us back from earning higher income far more than anything out there, such as education, experience, or sales and marketing abilities.

It’s OK to be rich. The one thing I’ve learned over 30 years in this business is that money can’t buy happiness, but it can allow you to be miserable in a much nicer part of town.

We all know that the financial crisis back in 2008, and the ensuing recession, was just as much a psychological phenomenon as it was a financial one. It’s a very real financial and economic crisis sustained by, if not outright caused by, a scarcity mentality and fearful emotions. It was a great opportunity to reorder our priorities, and to get real. Many people developed the habit of buying things they didn’t need with money they didn’t have in order to impress people they didn’t like. But a lot of people made a lot of money in the very same recession if they bought stocks back when the Dow was 7,500. Now it’s 22,500—three times!

So a key concept I talk about is that you are 100 percent personally responsible for your life—for what you do with it, and how you feel about it. Now, I get a lot of pushback on this one. It’s a hard principle for a lot of people to accept. They’ll say things like “Well, I agree up to 60 percent or 70 percent, but, Max, you don’t understand.” And then they’ll proceed to tell me something they think I haven’t heard over the past 30+ years. So we must grow into this one. You must believe and gain the experience that you are bigger than your problems. To live with full empowerment, freedom, and grace, we must first internalize this concept of personal responsibility. We become a victim to the extent that we make excuses and accept less.

Big question: What kind of person do you choose to be? Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “What you do speaks so loudly I cannot hear what you say.”

Your success depends primarily upon who you are. In fact, success depends first on the purity of one’s heart, and only second upon talent, skills, and ambition. We can all think of examples of people who are full of talent, skill, and ambition, and yet they never quite seem to succeed. Similarly, we all know of people who are really not all that talented or ambitious, but who are hugely successful. Who you are ultimately catches up to you, in business and in life. Your income can only grow to the extent that you do. So invest in yourself, expand yourself, expand your awareness or consciousness, and expand your mind as well as your heart.

True or False: We only use 10 to 15 percent of our brains. False. We use 100 percent of it. We just don’t understand the relationship between what’s lighting up and what we’re thinking. In other words, most of our core beliefs are subconscious. We’re constantly creating our reality, but we do it unconsciously. We’re totally unaware of the connections between cause and effect.

Maybe you get divorced three or four times before the light goes on and you realize what the common thread is among all those broken relationships. Or you have bad luck in the stock market, the real estate market, or in your business. But who chooses what companies to buy? Who chooses when to buy it? Who chooses when to sell? Yes, perhaps you lack the proper education, but who’s in charge of your education?

You might say, “Well, I hired a professional, and he lost all my money. It wasn’t my fault.” But who chose the money manager? I guess you had something to do with it. The funny part is, there are other people doing the very same things and being very successful. What’s the difference?

I urge you to know yourself and dig deeper into your subconscious core beliefs about money, business, people, relationships, and life. I’ll bet we’d uncover some beliefs that are sabotaging your efforts in these areas.

Most of our self-limiting core beliefs fall into three categories: fear, lack, and struggle.

Fear: Examine any negative belief you hold, anytime you’re not happy and at peace, and ask yourself, What am I really afraid of here? The answer may astound you. For example, we may have a fear of failure, but most people have a far greater fear of success. And while fear of failure can motivate you to a minimum level of safety and security (usually associated with the comfort of mediocrity), fear of success is bound to keep you there. Most of us have been trained to resist our fears, to try and overcome them, or to engage in avoidance behaviors. But to be truly successful, you must face your fears and learn to heal them.

Lack: Another root cause of many self-limiting beliefs is the concept of lack. You either believe the universe is unlimited in energy and resources, or you don’t. There’s no in-between. For most people, their world consists of lack—lack of time, lack of energy, lack of money, lack of health, lack of clients. “If only I had more XYZ, then I’d be happy.” Well, is there enough to go around for everyone, or isn’t there? You tell me, because either way you’re right, and your world will reflect your beliefs. The inner precedes the outer.

Take the concept of time, for example, which, by the way, is a uniquely human phenomenon. Animals do not have more heart attacks at 9:00 a.m. on Monday mornings than at any other time during the week due to self-imposed stress or their experience of time. It’s man made. Yet you, me, Oprah, Donald Trump, Tim Ferris, and Bill Gates, we’re all given only 24 hours a day. So how are you investing yours? More importantly, how do you feel about time? Because ultimately, all time management is self-management. Studies are now coming out to show that your perception of time, how you experience time, influences how your body metabolizes time. In other words, those people who are type A personalities, who are wound up, constantly running around trying to beat time, tend to age more rapidly. We call it being stressed out, and then burned out, and then constantly burned out, until you age quickly and die prematurely. Repeat the following phrases:

  • I have all the time I need to accomplish what’s important to me.
  • My time is constantly expanding in both expected and unexpected ways.
  • God is the source of all abundance, including my time.
  • I am grateful for the time I have.
  • I have all the money I need to accomplish what’s important to me.
  • My money is constantly expanding in both expected and unexpected ways.
  • God is the source of all abundance, including my money.
  • I am grateful for the money I have.
  • I have all the energy and health I need to accomplish what’s important to me.
  • My energy and health are constantly expanding in both expected and unexpected ways.
  • God is the source of all abundance, including my energy and health.
  • I am grateful for the energy and health I have.

With all these examples, take a look at why you might feel you may not have enough time or money. What are the possible underlying core beliefs you hold in these areas that might be preventing you from accomplishing your goals? Become aware of your intentions, your beliefs, and your subsequent actions, and try to make the connections between cause and effect.

Whether you know it or not, you’re in energy management. Do you want to know how to get great energy? What do you say to yourself first thing in the morning when you wake up? It matters. Turn to your spouse and say, “Good morning, Gorgeous!” Then look yourself in the mirror and say, “Hello, Handsome!” You think it’s silly? It works! For about the first week, your wife is going to think you’re cheating on her. Try it, and let me know if it doesn’t change your energy for the entire day.

Struggle: A third area that trips up most people is the underlying belief that life is a struggle. We have to be serious, especially in our business, right? After all, the harder you work, the more responsible you are and the more you deserve a higher income, right? Says who? Where did this belief come from, and is it really true? Look around you. I have a joke when people ask me how I’m doing. I tell them, “I’m a very busy, important person, but no one believes me.”

Most people need to prove how important they are. Sometimes this entails showing how hard they work and how they’ve overcome obstacles, so they deserve the good life. They even create the obstacles to overcome.

We love to sacrifice, using struggle as an excuse to show what a good person we are. Movies are famous for perpetuating the struggle myth. Good triumphs over evil, but not before a good battle takes place, sometimes with the entire galaxy at stake. Even love must be fought for, struggled to obtain. Unrequited love is one of the most popular romance themes of all time. We’re taught through social conditioning that if we struggle enough, eventually boy gets girl—89 minutes of struggle with one minute of happy ending. But what if we were born happy, lived blissfully, and died happy? No, we love the drama, don’t we?

So be on the lookout for how the subconscious beliefs you may hold about fear, lack, and struggle impact your behavior and, subsequently, your results.

It’s all a matter of what you put your attention on because what you put your attention on grows stronger in your life. Change your attitude and you change your life. This is how you create your own reality.

It’s about how much attention you place on things, how often, and how strong your thought force is. In other words, how easily can you manifest your desires? The question becomes, What are you putting your attention on?

Success is a habit, and I’ve developed six steps you can use to replace existing, non-useful or unhealthy habits with ones that will help you achieve success the way you defined it earlier.

Six Steps to Designing Your Destiny

Step 1: Get centered—mentally, emotionally, spiritually. Successful people have a success routine that helps them start each day staying centered, peaceful, happy, focused, and productive.

Some call it their Hour of Power. For example, they’ll spend 20 minutes in prayer or meditation, 20 minutes reading uplifting inspirational or personal development literature, and 20 minutes exercising.

What does your morning routine look like? Write down three habits you can do every day that you know would make you more successful.

Step 2: Think big. Do you remember when you were a little kid and jumped off the stairs? You started with the first step, then went up and jumped off the second step, and so forth. Why? Because you just didn’t believe that you couldn’t fly!

Most of you have no idea what power lies within you and how much you could achieve if you really wanted to. All that’s needed is to become clear on your vision and perhaps a little guidance or encouragement. Helen Keller once said, “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight and no vision.”

Let me ask you this: What do think is the biggest difference between a financial advisor earning $100,000 a year and one making $500,000 per year?

  • Are other people who are more successful really that much smarter than you?
  • Are they that much better at what they do?
  • Are they that more technically competent?
  • Are they that much better with people?
  • Are they that much better at delegating or time management?
  • Do they have some secret knowledge you don’t know about, or skill that you don’t possess?

Now, in some isolated cases, this might be true, as we all have different strengths. But you know what the real difference is? They think bigger. People who think big tend to achieve big things in business and in life. In over 30 years of doing this, I have found that lack of vision is the major reason why many people never reach their full potential. So as long as you’re going to the trouble of thinking, think big!

For many people, when they are just starting out, they feel invincible. But as time goes by, many feel lucky just to be getting out of bed in the morning without too many aches and pains, perhaps barely able to pay their bills (no matter how much they earn. I know advisors who gross $500,000 a year who have lots of debt and are stressed about money).

So what happened? While we all start out thinking big, several factors tend to restrict our vision over time. First, we slowly become socialized through reward and punishment until we conform and think like everyone else (smaller). “Get down off there, you’re going to hurt yourself! Who do you think you are? What do you think, money grows on trees? You’re too short, tall, black, white, thin, fat. You don’t live in the right part of the town or country. You don’t have enough connections. You don’t have enough education. You have too much education and experience. You’re overqualified.” If you listen to other people, you’ll end up like other people. Besides, what if they’re wrong? What if you really can be rich, healthy, happy, travel the world, and be a good parent or grandparent and a responsible businessperson, and do some good in this world? What if they’re wrong?

Sir John Templeton, one of the greatest money managers of all time, had an old saying, “You can’t outperform the market if you buy the market.” You must be willing to do something different than everyone else if you want superior results. Admittedly, thinking big is going to put you in the 2 percent club, so you must be inner directed, as opposed to other directed. If you must get outside feedback, get it from the other 2 percent of successful-minded individuals.

In addition to socialization, another reason we often stop thinking big is that we become so engrossed in the necessary details that we lose sight of the big picture. Thinking big is really an exercise in emotional detachment, in gaining perspective, and in taking time out from the smaller activities of life, which can hinder our long-term growth. Taking time out to think, to develop our state of mind, is not always easy to do in the fast-paced world in which we live today. But it’s an absolute necessity in order to keep our perspective and regenerate our intelligence and creativity. Even when we take vacations, many people are so busy doing, they never get any true downtime to just be. We all need space, free from demands, deadlines, expectations, and judgments, to explore who we are and what life is all about. Free time, with absolutely no agenda, is rich with potential. How can we grow if we have no space or freedom to dream, to experience who we are?

A third obstacle to thinking big is fear, and as we discussed above, it can come in many forms. We’re afraid to think big; we’re afraid to ask; we’re afraid of failure, success, and rejection. But visionaries tend to have good self-esteem. They feel it’s OK for them to have more, do more, and be more in life. They act despite their fears, and they realize that one should never act (or not act) out of fear. Always come from a position of strength (love) and never from a position of weakness (fear). The best way to come is from strength. There’s an old Chinese proverb: “Ignore the dragon and it will eat you. If you try to confront the dragon, it will overpower you. If you ride the dragon, you will take advantage of its might and power.”

Just keep asking yourself, What do I want? What do you want? Most people are unwilling to write down really big goals. They’re afraid to ask for what they really want because they don’t believe they deserve it, and they’re afraid of failing. But successful people find a way to give themselves permission to think big, to feel deserving, and even to fail. As Les Brown says, “Dare to live your dreams!”

Repeat these phrases: “I’m a big thinker! I deserve to be rich! It’s not failure; it’s feedback.”

Let’s take a moment now to go back and look at your three habits. Are they pointing you toward some goals you’d like to accomplish? Are they connected to the three items you wrote down earlier?

If not, just come up with three other goals you’d like to accomplish. I’d like you to have a total of three goals, whether they include your habits or not. It can be anything in any area of business or life. But I want you to think big. Dream a little at this point, and as we go along, I’ll teach you how to make those dreams a reality.

Step 3: Be specific. Being specific forces you to focus. Everyone wants to work less, make more, lose weight, and be spiritually fulfilled, right? The problem with these goals is what? They’re not specific.

If you want to make more money, how much are you making now and how much would you like to make? Write down where the money is going to go, and start acting on those goals as if you already had the money. This doesn’t mean going into debt, but it might mean going out and test-driving that new car. Feel what it’s like.

Tell them what color you want. Take a picture of yourself in your new car. Or get out and walk the stores and talk to people near the neighborhood where you’d like to live. Envision what it would be like for you to live there. It costs you nothing. Similarly, if you want to work less, how many hours do you work now, and how many would you like to work?

All your goals should be measurable. If you can’t measure it, it’s not a good goal. Even for “feeling” goals, define exactly what situations need to occur in order to produce that feeling, so you can definitely tell whether or not you hit the target, and you can measure your progress along the way. Make a list of what you would do with that free time. These now become your new goals.

Let’s go back to your three super big dream goals, and let’s make sure they are measurable. Be specific. Quantify it. Put a number on it. How will you track your progress and know when you’ve accomplished each one?

Step 4: Take action. Take action and the universe will respond, I promise. It doesn’t always respond the way your ego likes, but it responds. If you want to be successful, you can start any time. Your only true failure lies in the failure to start. The reason why so little is ever accomplished is usually because so little is attempted. Anyone in the advice-giving business knows this.

Your clients have to act on your advice in order to benefit. You get out of life what you put into it. If you don’t act, you won’t get the results. And don’t worry, when you do act, the results will absolutely be according to the action. It’s a scientific fact. Newton’s Third Law of Motion: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. You can restate this Law using many other perspectives. In computers, it’s GIGO—Garbage In, Garbage Out. In Eastern philosophy, it’s called karma. In Western religion, the saying is “As you sow, so shall you reap.” And in Asheville, NC, where I live, they say, “What goes around comes around. . .honey!”

Let’s go back to our big dream goals, now that they’re specific and measurable. What action steps can you take to move you closer to your goals each day? If the action steps are big projects, keep chunking them down into smaller pieces until you have manageable, specific action steps you can take.

So what do you do if you get stuck? What if you have the vision, you’re thinking big and have everything written down, you’re being very clear and specific about your goals, you’re taking action, and you’re still not seeing the results you want? What do you do? Double it. Yes, double your goal. I know, this one always takes people by surprise and is often a stretch. It even ruffles a few feathers, but that’s OK. Sometimes you need to shake up your belief system, so you get different results.

Now I know what you’re thinking: “But Max, you don’t understand. I don’t have enough time to accomplish my existing goals, and you want me to double it?” Yes, and particularly if you’re getting stuck or if you hit a plateau. Notice I didn’t say do twice as much. I said double your goals. Here’s why.

From my days of running a nationwide financial planning and investment business, I learned how to become a true contrarian, and it turns out to be a very successful strategy. In investing, when do you buy? You buy when everyone else is panicking, because that’s when prices are the lowest. Then, when do you sell? When everyone else is running around wildly elated that things are going so well because that’s when prices are the highest. Admittedly, this takes the greatest emotional fortitude, but it pays the greatest financial rewards. People get so engrossed in their emotional fear and greed that they end up making all kinds of excuses to justify why they’re doing it backward. Or as I like to say, “Ours is not to reason why; just buy low and then sell high.”

We can transfer this concept of being a contrarian to the process of goal setting. What do most people do when they get stuck? They either keep knocking their head against the wall, compromise, or give up altogether. But all of those options violate the first rule of goal setting, which is to think big. I didn’t say think big unless things get difficult or even frustrating, and then it’s OK to think small and shrink from your dreams. This backward way of thinking has led to an entire method of teaching goal setting that says you should set reasonable or attainable goals. Those people are saying, “Let’s not even try for anything too big or difficult because we don’t want any chance of failing. We want guarantees!” I don’t even really call that goal setting. If you buy into that system of designing your destiny, nothing new would ever be created or accomplished. In almost every case that I have seen, when financial advisors have the courage to overcome obstacles by thinking outrageously big and taking action, they far surpass their original goal. To succeed beyond your wildest expectations, you’ve got to start with some pretty wild expectations.

So, now that you’ve got all your goals written down, and all your action steps neatly lined up, I want you to step out of your comfort zone, go back, and double your goal. Just double the numbers you wrote down when I asked you to be specific.

But what if you make a mistake? That’s what everyone is afraid of, isn’t it? So what? We all make mistakes from time to time. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Don’t worry what you’ll look like; that’s just ego.

If you’re going to make a mistake, go ahead, do it with style. I’m not saying to blindly take unnecessary risks, but if you start from where you are and just take the next step, it’s usually not that risky. If you make a mistake, make it once, learn from it, and move on. And if you’re smart and get good at using your power of observation, you’ll learn from other people’s mistakes too. Because you’ll never live long enough to make them all yourself.

The universe is constantly sending us signals, but many times we’re not listening. First, it whispers gently, in the form of intuition or a gut-level feeling. Then, it sends people and things into our life to try and tell us. Next, it flicks us in the eyes to try and catch our attention. And if that doesn’t work, sometimes we have to get hit over the head with the universal two-by-four. And while that may sound funny, it usually manifests in some kind of tragedy in our life. Just tune in and be with the experience. Don’t resist it. Feel what the situation is trying to tell you. Don’t try to superimpose your will on it, what you think should be happening.

Step 5: Commit. Too many people dabble half-heartedly in marketing, in relationships, with every decision they make. This is a major problem because doubt will kill you. Fear, doubt, and indecision paralyze.

Back to when you were a kid and you learned how to ride a bike. Remember that fateful day when they took the training wheels off and guided you down the road? You had no idea what to do, but you held on, and then you fell down. What happened? Did you say, “That’s it! Put the training wheels back on, I’m done”? No, you had a vision. You wanted to be like the big kids, and you didn’t even care if, in the beginning, some of your friends laughed at you often. Success is the best revenge!

There’s an old saying, “If you want to take the island, you’ve got to burn the boats.” Don’t look back; just commit to getting the job done, no matter what. Too many people today fool themselves and try to fool others by making excuses. They have the disease of excusititus. But, of course, those who can, do. Those who can’t, make excuses. Don’t succumb to the disease of excusititus.

Step 6: Rinse and repeat. This entire process of designing your destiny is just an exercise of seeing how quickly and easily you can manifest your desires. Nobody does everything perfectly the first time they try.

Don’t judge yourself, and don’t take things so personally. If you feel too much pressure, just de-personalize the entire process by relabeling it what Tony Robbins calls “Effective Outcome Development.” Remember GIGO. Don’t be attached. If you don’t like the results you’re getting, just change the input. It works for everything.

Just take the action and get out of the way. The thing is just to start, to see the opportunity and pursue it, even though in the beginning you’re not totally sure of all the answers. Don’t wait to overcome all possible objections before you start. Take the first step down the corridor, peek behind each door, and see if it holds something for you to learn or experience. To quote Oliver Wendell Holmes, “I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving.” The only prudent way to start down the road to success is to move your feet one step at a time. Once you take action, you’ll find the entire universe moving with synchronicity to support those intentions, which are life supporting and right for you at the time. Pretty soon, you’ll find yourself running just to keep up. Then the question will become, How much success can you stand?

Once we take 100 percent personal responsibility for the role we play in creating the results we see in our own lives, and go through these six steps I’ve discussed, so-called miracles start to happen. A miracle is just a name we give to something that we don’t yet understand. Once we understand how it works, we start to accept it as an everyday occurrence. And pretty soon, we call it a (scientific) fact. We see this regularly now in medicine, technology, communications, business, and education.

I’ll give you a quick personal example of a miracle. It has always been my wife’s dream to go to India. Because we’re connected, last year, out of nowhere, I received an inquiry off my website, and 90 days later, I was speaking down the street from the Taj Mahal to 1,500 financial advisors.

In conclusion, life changes the day you realize you’re not going to live forever. To the extent you can, you want to spend your time doing things that matter, with people who matter to you. So just pick something that excites you. If it doesn’t pull you out of bed in the morning, then I suggest you stay in bed until you come up with something that does because life is too short to go through it dabbling half-heartedly.

Because the truth is, you have the power to do anything, go anywhere, and be anyone you want. In his classic book As A Man Thinketh, James Allen states, “Circumstance does not make the man; it merely reveals his thoughts to himself.” How true! Any so-called “problem” is just an opportunity to re-create yourself, to adjust your sails.

Again, it operates on the principle that what you put your attention on grows stronger in your life, precisely because your attention is helping to create it. In the financial world, for example, we say something appreciates when it grows in value. Similarly, when we appreciate something nonfinancial in our life, it too grows in value. This principle works both in the positive and negative sense. However, most people just focus on those things they don’t have, instead of being grateful for those things they do have. So what grows more in their life? Those things they didn’t want in the first place.

Remember, thoughts carry energy. Positive thoughts carry positive energy, and negative thoughts carry negative energy. If you want to have unlimited energy, the place to start is with your thoughts.

Who wants to change their life? Right here, right now. It’s free, easy, and fast, and you don’t have to get involved. Don’t complain. Don’t gossip, don’t criticize, and don’t complain. And don’t be surprised if there’s nothing to talk about in the beginning. Do you like to do business with happy people? OK, then be that happy person other people like to do business with.

All we’re doing here is changing a habit, but a habit that has infinite implications for your health, wealth, and well-being in all areas of life. And you’ll have unlimited energy. Instead of expending negative energy avoiding situations and conflict, expand your energy and sphere of influence by staying centered and, when given a choice, choosing positive thoughts. Find a way to love it or leave it. But don’t be attached, and don’t complain. So now we can say get clear on your desire, take action, stay out of the drama, and don’t complain. Commit to this for 30 days to establish a new habit, and tell me if it doesn’t change your entire life.

The six-step process again for designing your destiny is:

  1. Get centered.
  2. Think big.
  3. Be specific.
  4. Take action.
  5. Commit.
  6. Rinse and repeat.

And along the way, be happy and don’t complain.

I’ll ask you the same two questions I asked in the beginning of this presentation. How much would you like to grow your business? and How fast do you want to grow it? You see, you have a choice. It’s the old 80/20 rule. The top 20 percent of the financial advisors most likely make 80 percent of all the money. The rest of you, the bottom 80 percent, get to split the remaining 20 percent among you.

Now, to accomplish all this, you are going to need the right attitude. Repeat this phrase: I do hereby promise to lighten up, to take myself and my problems less seriously, and just for today, to give up my job as Director of The Universe!

Max Bolka is a veteran of more than 30 years in the financial services industry. He has spent more than 20 years speaking to advisors around the world, providing systems and techniques to grow businesses in new and unexpected ways. Bolka built a nationwide financial planning and investment firm, working with clients from New York to Hawaii and abroad, and now speaks to motivated listeners everywhere from India to Indiana. He specializes in partnering with advisors to provide clients with comprehensive legacy planning and succession planning for business owners.


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