“You are a creator by design … because you are the workmanship of the CREATOR.”
Benjamin Ugoji, Author Success Mastery Education
If I ask you, “who are you, what will your answer be?” This is a very fundamental question and it is at the heart of who you are … your identity. Your Identity whether you like it or not determines your destiny. But before we go further, I have good news for you. Your identity is not written in stones. You have the freedom and choice to choose your identity. But why do I say this.
You can change who, what and where you are in your live simply by changing how and what you think about on consistent basis.
Be reminded also that, you are where and who you are right now, is due to the sum total of all your thought to this point in your life.
From my point of view I think that your destiny characterises the direction you face at any moment in the arena of living. But it is important to mention here that this experience can change. You have the ability at any time to change your mind and this will ultimately change your thinking. Several schools of thoughts have borne credence to this truth. In the book of Proverbs … we read that:
“As a man a thinketh in his heart so he is.” from Psalms
"Great men are those who see that thoughts rule the world"
"There is nothing either good or bad except that thinking makes it so."
- William Shakespare
In the book of Romans 12:2 we read about the power of transformation through renewing your mind. “… but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.”
Thinking is the lid to your potential that can hinder your progress in life. In one of his writings the strangest secret, Earl Nightingale mentions the value of developing your thinking thus: “You become what you think about most of the time.” Our mental picture … thought, constantly govern us. “The ideas and images in men’s minds (mental pictures) are the invisible powers that constantly govern them.” Jonathan Edwards.
This is the law of consistency. The outcome you have in life is consistence with your thought.
Why do I have to bother a lot about thinking? Well, your thinking can hold the lid to your potential and hence to your performance. This reason is simple. Productivity or effectiveness is a mind-set … a way of thinking or being. Who you are is more important than how you do what you do. This is because who you are has a lot to do with your level of effectiveness to performing a particular task. But performance in itself is about control, between effectiveness (productivity or output), and input (efficiency or use of resources). How you control these variable depends a lot on your expertise to the task or activity at hand. Underneath these variables are other factors – management of resources – time, environment, labour, money, etc. Hidden also are the thinking on the task at hand and the intelligence to make it happen.
Yes, thinking! Edward de Bono defined thinking as the operating skill through which intelligence acts upon experience. It is also important to mention that Intelligence is a potential.
But what is intelligence; and what is experience? Earl Prevette described intelligence as the capacity and ability to size up yourself, size up your environment and to organise it into a workable plan that you may share life’s abundance. Put in another way intelligence is simply brain power … pure and simple. From the forgoing it is clear that the application of your thinking process and intelligence to the task at hand is integral to any successful outcome. In fact this idea is made clear by this quote from David J. Schartz:
“The thinking that guides your intelligence is much more important than how much intelligence you may have.”
But what is experience? Experience is the knowledge, wisdom and skill gained through the wise use of time.
To become productive in any endeavour is a responsibility that you put on yourself. You have to adopt the stance that I can make it work. This boils down to control. It has to be mentioned that competence and excellence are not necessarily about being correct first time. Competence often has to do with adapting to problems introduced by the environment or other parts of a given system. Adapting has to do with intelligence positioning.
2. What does productivity mean to you?
You cannot be productive or efficient until you understand what it means. It is very important to be clear about the word, “understand”. Understand is an internal construct. To show understanding is to demonstrate – meaning making, to show an intangible idea in a tangible form or to make an abstract concept concrete. In the case of productivity it has to do with increase, growth, a better outcome or performance. Unless you have this idea concerning your given task, it will be difficult to demonstrate it. I liken effectiveness and efficiency as two sides of the coin, each geared towards a particular outcome. Liken effectiveness as the ability to take initiative (doing the right thing), and efficiency as the ability to manage the initiative (doing the right thing right). You can read my article on this idea here:
This knowledge is fundamental to the game of control. You are to control two things input and output – and the relationship between which is productivity or performance.
Murphy Law … making your plan more vivid
There is a law called Murphy law which is useful here. It states that if any can go wrong, it will, and all the things that can’t go wrong some will. The aim of good control is to protect your plan from the operation of this law as far as possible, to detect trouble spots before they erupt, to prevent this accident which just wants to happen. As always prevention is better than cure.
The following are ideas for effective control:
1. Plan what you aim to achieve
2. Measure regularly what has been achieved
3. Compare actual achievement with the plan
4. Take action to exploit opportunities revealed by the information as to correct derivatives for the plan.
In a nutshell the above ideas are both leadership and management directives. You have a definite purpose and a definite plan to carry out the purpose. To achieve any given productive outcome, you need to develop mastery in leadership and management. It goes this way … you take initiative (lead), you manage (work the process); and when new problems arises you make informed decision by taking new initiative and develop plans to manage the new experience so as to achieve the desired outcome. The power of decision making is important here. You need to master three aspects of decision making process that will impact your outcome,
Your decision about what to focus on;
Your decision about what things mean to you;
Your decision about what to do to create the results you desire.
Effective decision making skill could hold the key to the results you achieve. But this has a lot to do with how you have used your thinking skills, intelligence and weaving of different experiential stakes that could imping on the outcome that you desire to create.
Put succinctly: “Never leave the scene of a decision without taking some action however small.”
- William James, Father of Psychology
3. How to harness the power of clarity, focus, and concentration
“The foundation of mastering your personal life lies in your thoughts. What you think determines what you feel, how you perceive, your internal reality, in a word, your states. They also give you your initial road maps for navigating life.”
L. Michael Hall PhD, Author - The secrets of personal mastery.
What is it that separates winners from the rest of us? It is the fact that they have adopted, adapted and imbibed certain habits which gives them uncommon advantage above their fellows. They have learnt the importance of clarity in terms of the science (what) and art (how) of what they desire to accomplish. They have the power of laser focused habit to know how to proceed to the process of what they want to achieve. They focus on what they want, not what they don’t want and because of that all their efforts and resources are directed to the outcome they require. Focus is really easy, but you have to understand what it is that encourages you to get distracted. Focus requires attention, concentration of thought, and a high interest in the subject to be focused on. Focus is a mind skill, one of our mental attributes, which include will power, logical reasoning, imagination and perception, all of which need routine practice and repetition to master. They also through the act of their will, concentrate and follow through, knowing that real action towards achieving concrete goals is the only thing of consequence. This is the habit of self-discipline. Self-discipline according to Kop Kopmeyer is: “The ability to make yourself do, what you should do, when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not.”
There is always a law or principle toward any process. Mastering these laws and efficient application of them is the difference between the performance of an amateur and an expert. But an amateur with dedication and practice can attain the ranks of the expert and possible overtake them. There is a principle governing accomplishment. And there is a principle as to its effectiveness.
The law of cause and effect has everything to do with the results we achieve in different areas of our lives. There is also a fundamental principle to effectiveness in performance. I’ll be discussing these in this section.
4. The law of cause and effect …sowing and reaping
This is the fundamental law to all that we receive or will ever receive in life. It is the fundamental law that you can experience in your garden. The best way explain this is to look at your garden. If you desire to have a harvest of corn, you need to sow the seed of corn. You sow the seed in the soil and possible give it the tender love of care by watering it every day (as the case may be). Liken the cause as the seed you sow and the effect the experience or circumstance in your present environment. If at any time you want to change your harvest. What do you do? You have to change the seed that you sow. What is the implication of this to the way we do life? Well it is the same thing. But the problem is that most people understand this spiritual principle in the aspect of sowing and reaping as it applies to seed planting. But when it is extended to the mental faculty in the way we create what we desire they become stuck. They seek to change their environment or circumstance the effect, rather than changing themselves- the cause. It is normally said that if you remove the cause the effect will cease. For you to effectively apply this knowledge there is the need for you to understand how your mind works. You need to renew your mind. Change your mind and change yourself. When we talk about the mind we refer to two set of minds – the conscious and the subconscious mind (habitual mind). The subconscious mind is the mind that has to be renewed but the basis for its renewal will stem from the information that is fed into it by your conscious mind. Any idea you have is first impress in your subconscious mind (habitual mind). It can be expressed to the conscious mind based on the information in the subconscious mind. The subconscious mind can learn through repetition and has the ability to change its repertoire of information through learning from a new experience. One thing common to us human beings is that we need to continually learn from our experiences so as to grow. No one is born effective, we learn to be effective by changing our habits (knowledge, skill, and desire), one step at a time. We need to have a growing mind-set as opposed to a fixed mind-set so that we can reap the benefits that life presents to us on daily basis. For us to have the full benefit of this understanding we need to take advantage of the fact that in order to change our circumstance we need to change ourselves by growing as individual. For you to change the effect you need to change your thinking. This is how you acquire power consciousness. Wattle D Wallace described power consciousness as, “what you feel when you know that you can do anything and know how to do this thing.” To my mind this is made possible when your conscious mind and your subconscious mind are in sync … in alignment so to say. I know the word sync could be new to you here are the dictionary meanings:
5. The key to personal growth … change your thinking to change your life
“By thought the things you want is brought to you, by action you receive them.”
Wallace D. Wattle – Author and Philosopher
How do move to the next level in life? It’s simple, by changing the way you think. The result of your thinking is as good as the result you get. For example, if you change your mind set you change your thinking and you’ll ultimately change what you do, how you do it and the outcome or result you get. In his book “Thinking for a Change”, John C Maxwell, described six steps to a changed life. You can read the article detailing this idea here:
The six steps are as follows:
Earlier on in this article, I tried to capture the meaning of thinking. Thinking is a change process. As you must have realised people are reluctant to change in certain areas of their lives because they are resistant to change. It’s possible that people chose to maintain the status quo due to the fact that they have not developed thinking as a discipline. Or that they are reluctance or resistant to change because they don’t know how or understand the benefit of changed thinking. To refuse to think is refuse to grow and change. Changing your thinking changes your perception and hence your experience. Let me ask you this simple question.
What mental pictures are do you paint in your heart … your subconscious mind?
If you change your thinking (the mental picture) you then change your belief.
Belief and faith is the same thing. A belief is not just an idea that you possess but an idea that possesses you. From the Christian standpoint, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.” Having faith is the basis for expectation; when you change your belief your expectation changes.
Expectation is an emotional outburst that is characterised by the undisputable desire that what you want is on its way. It results in positive feelings … resulting in positive attitude. Some of the good emotions of expectation are excitement, conviction, desire, confidence, commitment, and energy. They are the results of raised enthusiasm. Expectation impacts on your attitude. If you change your expectation you change your attitude.
"Obviously, there is something more than facilities and competence that makes for accomplishment. I have come to believe that this linkage factor, this catalyst if you will, can be defined in a single word-attitude. When our attitude is right, our abilities reach a maximum of effectiveness and good results inevitably follow."
Professor Erwin H. Schell, Leadership Expert
Attitude is everything … because it is the final surge of emotion that is expressed prior to a given behaviour (what you do or didn’t do). Your attitude in life determined how far you can go – your altitude. A lot has been written on attitude and its impact on our success. In simple terms your behaviour follows your attitude.
If you continue to do what you do, then you’ll continue to get what you get. To change the result you get you need to change your behaviour. But changing your behaviour will require a complete reshuffle in your thinking and action. When you do this your performance will change. Changing your behaviour in order to change your performance doesn’t come easily. But for you to continue to grow and change it is an important decision you need to make.
Changed performance will result from changed behaviour. Your performance results from what you do on consistent basis – this gives you the impetus to change your life. Changing your performance will take time but will result in conscious but sustained experiences repeated over time until they become a habit. It could be the result of several decisions like raising your standards, changing limiting to empowering beliefs and modelling the best habits of the experiences or outcomes that you desire to master. It is a journey of continuous improvement. The lesson in this section is simple. And that is … if you want to move to a higher level of life, you have to be willing to get out of your old way of unproductive thinking and being and adopt new productive ones.
I leave you with this quote: “Commit thy works to the Lord and thy thought shall be established.” Proverbs 16:2.
This to my mind is the key to all productive endeavours.
6. Abundant Lifestyle
“Great leaders create a sense of abundance … meaning, purpose, hope, pleasure+; that engages people and delivers value to stakeholders.”
Dave and Wendy Ulrich, Creating Abundance: Leaders are meaning makers
+ I added the word pleasure to the list.
You need to be conscious of any experience that you desire to create. What does abundance mean to you? How do you create abundance in the midst of scarcity? What will and abundant outcome be envisioned through your senses? Well, the idea here is that for you to be productive, you need to have a productivity mind-set and skill-set
There is a good prescription from the book, The Magic of Thinking Big, by David J. Schartz and is: “In business, in the home, in the community, the success combination is do what you do better (improve the quality of your output) and do more of what you do (increase the quantity of your output). This section tries to capture the process to creating the effective result.
6.1 Building blocks for a purposeful, productive and profitable lifestyle … Impress - Express – Excel - Evaluate
Creativity x Organisation = Impact
The above idea is taken from the book, Making Ideas Happen by Scott Belsky. The point here is that it is only through organisation that we can seize the benefits form the bursts of creativity. If you develop the capacity to organize yourself and those around you can beat the odds. Organization is just as important as ideas when it comes to making an impact.
Whosoever you are, whatsoever you do, and whatsoever result you want to create is in the domain of your being. Who you are? You are writing a script. And that script is based on your thinking, feeling and action … which ultimately impact the result you get. What result do you want? And who are you to get that result? It doesn’t matter the question; what, why, how, when and where, they all revolve around your levels of creativity, organisation, and expression of your thought. How you are able to do this? Well, I think it is important to present here a reminder about the driving power of thought by Warren Hilton:
All human achievement comes through some form of bodily activity;
All bodily activity is caused, controlled and directed by the mind;
The mind is the instrument you must employ for the accomplishment of any purpose.
You have the ability and capability to create the result you want through application of your psychology and physiology. But let us look at the look again at the power of focus; the brain doesn’t understand the difference between what you want and what you don’t want.
What the brain understands is what you are focused on. It is important to be reminded here that what we focus on increases. But how does the human brain take advantage of this principle of focus to furnish us with our desires. Well, the Reticular Activating System (RAS) is the part of the brain that brings things into our awareness. It is part of our subconscious systems. It makes us notice things in our environment. It also filters what we bring into our awareness – including what we ignore.
Our RAS conscious mind leverages the RAS to get what we want in life.
If you learn how to use it, you can change your life and you can win. In a nutshell, the conscious mind reminds the subconscious mind what your RAS is focusing on. By being clear and purposeful about your focus the subconscious mind will go into work to create the picture that the conscious mind has impressed upon it. This is the key to taking advantage of the partnership between the brain, mind and body association.
In this section I’m going to discuss the principle that governs your ability to create the object of your desire based on your thought process. Remembering that thought is about things.
“Desire is possibility seeking expression, or function seeking performance.”
Wallace D. Wattle – Author and Philosopher
The first principle of any creative endeavour is to have a clear idea of what it is that you desired to create. Note that the key word here is to create. What does it mean to create? You need to have a mental imagery (mental picture) of what it is … size, shape or form. This is important because if don’t have the idea within impressed in your subconscious mind you cannot express it. So the beginning of the whole creative process is to have the “impress” stance.
6.2.1 Percept – Patterning for change
You need to mobilise all your senses to have a picture of what it is that you desire to create. More than this you need to see what you desire from the eye of faith. In patterning for change you need to be aware of the principle of applying the representational systems (using your five senses) as to the form of the idea you have in mind be it tangible or intangible. This is like having a conception of the idea.
6. 3 Express
“What man does actually is but expression of and completion of his inwards thought (mental pictures).”
- William Ellery Channing, Preacher
It is important to express your thought through processing. This is made possible by being able to tap into the brain power. You need to process your thought by making use of the different parts of the brain. Being flexible and integral in the way you organise your thought by tapping into different part of the brain the left and right hemispheres is very important as to how you bring variety and value to your creation. This will depend on your personal disposition.
6.3.1 Process – Analyse and Organise with impact
Any creative process can first be uncertain and in great disarray. But through the application of the brain power … through tapping into the different part of the brain as in the Whole Brian Theory™, it is possible to maximise the potential of the human brain. It could be a daunting process initially as it involves a lot of attention, focus and concentration to cyclic or sequential steps as to organise the ideas into a workable plan of action.
The ability to excel will depend a lot on the work you have done in the first two stages. This requires a lot of practice. For you to deliver excellence consistently you need to continuously improve your skill in developing your thinking in your chosen discipline or interest. You have to realise that habit is the intersection of knowledge, skill, and desire. Realise that knowledge is the theoretical aspect of habit (what and why), skill is the practical aspect (how), and desire is the motivation (want to do).
6.4.1Performance – Massive and consistent Action
Performance has to do with doing what you do and how you do it. But to perform with great impact has to do with excellence … performance that is consistent to create impact. The development of this type of performance requires that you are effective as a person /organisation as well efficient in the way you maximise your resources as to leverage them to achieve the desired outcome. It is a lesson in persistence and perseverance.
6.4.2 Model the best – success leaves clue
What if you can model the habit of great performers and therefore shorten your learning time while at the same time leverage your output? This is the reason for you to develop the habit of continuous improvement by taking advantage of the provisions of technologies like Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), that can be used to fast track your performance.
“Feedback is the breakfast of champions.” To improve any concept, process, system, or accomplishment, there is the need to continually evaluate your outcome. Why evaluate? To evaluate is like a snap preview of how your activity went. The best example to evaluate an outcome is to use the PMI acronym devised by Edward de Bono. It’s simply to ask some questions based on the outcome. These are … what the positive about the situation is. What is minus about it? And what is interesting concerning it?
6.5.1Profit – value in the experience
You should able to ask some fundamental as to the worth of the experience. This in terms of the experience achieving the outcome it set out to accomplish. What impact it has on the benefactors and how they befitted form the process as a whole in terms of the life changing experience. You need to generally appraise the situation in terms of hind sight and ask yourself or those involved … “how did it really go,”
This exercise is very useful as a learning tool as well as a quality assurance framework to add value to future contribution.
You can read more about thinking and success principles through this link: