Saturday, June 25, 2011

Work Smarter, Not Harder

It happens only when I am still
Then, sometimes, a small voice comes
Whispering in my heart
Words that guide my life
Words that know the power of words
To change the world
Words create our world
Sustain and destroy our world
And that is why
The dreamers are the saviors of the world

That last line is from James Allen, in As You Think: "The dreamers are the saviors of the world." Great success begins with a dream. Working skillfully, working smarter not harder, begins with first daring to dream and then daring to write a plan to reach that dream. It's as simple as that.

The stock market is up today, and I earned more money today, doing absolutely nothing (except writing some of this), than I earned in total in the first 35 years of my life. (Of course, when it goes down I lose more money than I made in my first 35 years - but, in the long run, the stock market is still a good place to have some of your assets.) I've learned something over the years about the great wisdom of the phrase we've all heard a hundred times:

Work smarter, not harder.

When I was 30 I decided to start a publishing company. I had no money, no job, and no knowledge of business. I simply decided to do it and started affirming In an easy and relaxed manner, a healthy and positive way, I am creating total success. Sometimes I'd add in its own perfect time, for the highest good of all. And I discovered over the years how powerful those repeated affirmations can be.

The first five years of the company, however, were chaos. We lost money every month. I was affirming that I was creating success, but I was blocking the power of those words to become fulfilled thru my doubts, frustrations, fears, and limited thinking.

During the first five years we kept consulting with other people, trying to find the right mentor, someone that would take our hands and guide us. We learned a lot from other people during those years, but no one stepped up and told us how to run the show. I finally realized I had to be that person.

I can probably trace the moment that my company began to be successful - it was the moment I stopped looking for someone else to guide me because I finally realized, after five years of looking elsewhere, that the best possible guide was within me.

The best possible guide and mentor for you
is within you.

Instead of asking other people the important questions you have, ask yourself first. See what answers you get.

Ask the teacher and visionary within you for
guidance, and you'll get it.
Ask and you will receive.

I often just wander around my yard asking myself questions. (I remember a phrase from an old Buffalo Springfield song: Well hello, Mr. Soul, I dropped by to pick up a reason. Whoever wrote
that song was doing exactly the same thing.) I ponder things, just by asking myself questions, and then quietly listen and hear what words emerge.

Over the years I've often pondered the words Work smarter, not harder. I stroll around and ask myself, What do those words mean? I know they're meaningful words, important words, words that can help me tremendously.

A funny thing happens with words and phrases like that: They're so obviously true that they're repeated, over and over and we've heard them so many times that we just blow them off because they're clich├ęs. Oh yeah, the mind says, I've heard that before. I know that.

Yes, we've heard it before, but do we really know what it means? Has it had any effect in our lives? I've always had the sense with that phrase - and with so many other great words - that if we really understand those words, they can be applied in our lives. They can change our lives. That is how powerful they are!

Work smarter, not harder.

What do those words mean? I've gotten many different answers to that question over the years. Here are a few of them:

(1) Hard work is not the answer.

This runs counter to a lot of our early conditioning. Doesn't it take hard work to succeed? Isn't working hard a virtue?

It is, to a point. But our society has taken it to an extreme, and the result is a workaholic, Type-A culture that has forgotten to relax and enjoy life. Don't work too hard. Take it easy, in fact. In the long run, working with ease will accomplish more than working from stress.

(2) Dare to dream. Look at the big picture.

These words are powerful, life-changing words:

The dreamers are the saviors
of the world.
- James Allen, As You Think

(3) Make a plan.

What does it mean to work smart? It obviously means looking at the big picture, your long-terms goals, and then making a plan.

To work smart is to set a clear, concrete goal in your mind, and to keep focusing on that goal and taking whatever steps can lead you to that goal.

These are just some of the words that come to me when I ask myself what it means to work smarter, not harder. Sometimes the words I hear from within are words I've heard elsewhere, from James Allen, Eckhart Tolle, Jesus, Buddha, Thoreau, Gandhi, Martin Luther King or many others. Sometimes the words are completely original, as far as I know.

The most powerful words for you are the words you hear in your mind when you ask yourself questions and then listen silently for the answers.

The best answers are those
that come from within you.

Work smarter, not harder.
Dare to dream, make a plan, and go for it,

one small step at a time.

Be well, be in peace.

-Marc Allen

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