June 13, 2009

The Three Major Obstacles to Growth according to Brian Tracy

The more you learn, the more you can learn.
—  Brian Tracy

And the more you can earn.

Brian Tracy spoke live in Toronto at a private fundraiser this week. My son Jeevan wanted to attend and so did I. We talked to Brian briefly afterwards. I thanked him for teaching me about affirmations in the early 1990s in The Phoenix Seminar.

If you've seen Brian live, you know how entertaining he is. A spoonful of humour helps the lessons go down. Brian dishes out spoon after spoon, lesson after lesson.

Brian identified three major obstacles to growth
  1. the comfort zone
  2. learned helplessness
  3. the path of least resistance
Naturally, he shared solutions too.

The Comfort Zone
Did you exchange a walk-on part in the war for a lead role in a cage?
—  Pink Floyd, Wish You Were Here
Getting into our comfort zone is much like sliding into a warm bath. Soooo tempting. So difficult to leave. How much time do we spend on Entertainment vs Education? For many, that's not pleasant to contemplate. I see many people who aren't more capable now than last year, five years ago or 10 years back. So much wasted potential.

How much do we spend on our mobile phones and cable/satellite tv? Probably much more than on educational material. Ignoring the cost, consider the time spent. This can be scary.
Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new. —  Brian Tracy
We can escape the gravitational lure of our comfort zone by having a Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG). This phrase was coined by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras (authors of the classic Built To Last). Here are examples from Wikipedia.

Learned Helplessness
I think I can. I think I can. I think I can. I know I can.
— The Little Engine That Could
If you say "I can't", you're thinking like a victim. You're giving up internally. You're not betting on yourself. In this phase, we tend to surround ourselves by other losers. The joy of shared misery.

There are lots of examples. A baby elephant tethered to a pole tries to break free but can't. An adult elephant can escape but doesn't try.
thanks, for the trouble you took from her eyes
I thought it was there for good so I never tried.
--- Leonard Cohen
Sometimes we need help to escape from our chains. We might even have the key, but didn't know.

The Path of Least Resistance
Water takes the easiest route. Like water, we're lazy too. Unfortunately, what's valuable doesn't come easily.

We can break the habit of laziness through repetition of something worthwhile. Good habits take as much effort to acquire as the bad ones. Brian reminded us that we all work on commission: we're paid in proportion to our results. We want to add more value.

Brian was also promoting iLearningGlobal.tv (iLG) a website offering videos, audio and ebooks on a monthly subscription. There's also an affiliate program if you're looking for ways to make more money. Thankfully, there were no demonstrations or pressure to join. This made us more interested but we left without making a firm decision.

Brian Tracy is well worth seeing live. You'll laugh. You'll learn.


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