100 Ways to Motivate Yourself : Change Your Life Forever by Steve Chandler, chapter name 76-80: Lighten things up, Serve and grow rich, Make a list of your life, Set a specific power goal, Change yourself first

76-80: Lighten things up, Serve and grow rich, Make a list of your life, Set a specific power goal, Change yourself first

76. Lighten things up

Sunlight and laughter. That's what cures most fears and worries. Terrifying problems are better solved in the light than in the dark. And there are many ways to bring them into the light.

Pick a frightening problem. Then do the following: Talk about it with someone, draw an illustrated map of it on a huge piece of paper, make "Top 10" lists about the problem, tell yourself some jokes about the problem, sing about the problem and, finally, dance a dance that expresses the problem.

If you do all these things, I promise you that your problem will seem a lot funnier, and less frightening, than it once did. It is impossible to laugh deeply and be frightened at the same time.

G.K Chesterton used to say that "taking things lightly" was the most spiritually advanced thing you could do to improve your effectiveness in life.

"After all," said Chesterton; "it's because God's angels take themselves so lightly that they are able to fly. And if His angels take themselves that lightly, imagine how much more lightly He takes Himself." My friend Fred Knipe is a three-time Emmy award-winning television writer who also performs as a comedian in the character of "Dr. M.F. Ludiker"—world expert on everything. Fred is one of the funniest human beings I have ever known. He never fails to lighten me up, no matter how big the problem I have.

Dr. Ludiker mounts the stage and puts his ludicrous "Ludiker Institute" logo in front of the podium—a logo that features a cartoon human brain hanging between two electrical towers. He then proceeds to give, in a mild Teutonic accent, his "advice from hell."

"With the increase in domestic violence," the doctor says, "I am advocating that home appliance manufacturers begin installing airbags." On the subject of our growing intolerance of crime, he

says—"Criminals, among the most deeply tense in our communities, will soon have trouble recruiting top people because they can no longer escape the sense that there is resentment building about what they do for a living."

"It was inevitable," he observes, "that genetic engineering would come from a generation that played Mr. Potato Head."

Knipe's editing of my writing also causes me to lighten up. (While making helpful handwritten notes on the manuscript for this book, he recommended that I refer to the Lakota shaman Lame Deer as "Super Shaman Lame Deer.")

While going through my recovery from a frightening disease that featured, at one point, uncontrolled bleeding, he left me a comforting phone message that said, "Don't worry about the bleeding. It's normal for someone your age."

Fred shares my long-held belief that humor is the highest form of creativity. It's the hardest to produce and the most enjoyable to receive. Humor, like all other creativity, is a matter of making unusual combinations. The more surprising the combination, the funnier the humor.

Your own motivational level will always be lifted by humor. Any time you are stuck, ask yourself to take things lightly. Ask yourself to come up with some funny solutions. Laughter will destroy all limits to your thinking. When you are laughing, you are open to anything.

77. Serve and grow rich

One good way to motivate yourself is by increasing the flow of money into your life.

Most people are embarrassed to even think this way. They don't want to "think and grow rich" because they think they will be thought of as selfish or greedy. Or maybe they still believe in the thoroughly discredited Marxist economic superstition that to make money, you have to take it away from somebody else. Or else they don't want to come across as being obsessed with money.

But do you know who is really obsessed with money? People who don't have any. They obsess about money all day long. It's in their family discussions, it's in their minds at night, and it becomes a destructive part of their relationships during the day.

The best way not to be obsessed with money is to trust your game plan for earning your way to financial freedom. "Our first duty," said George

Bernard Shaw, "is not to be poor."

The road to not being poor always travels through your professional relationships in life. The more you serve those relationships, the more productive those relationships will become, and the more money you will make.

"Money is life energy that we exchange and use as a result of the service we provide to the universe," wrote Deepak Chopra in Creating Affluence. When you understand that money flows from service, you have a chance to understand something even more valuable: Unexpectedly large amounts of money come from unexpectedly large degrees of service.

The way to generate unexpected service to the people in your life is to ask yourself, "What do they expect?" Once you're clear on what that is, then ask, "What  can I do that they would not expect?" It's always the unexpected service that gets talked about. And it's always getting talked about that increases your professional value.

As Napoleon Hill repeatedly pointed out, great wealth comes from the habit of going the extra mile. And it is always a smart business move to do a little more than you are paid for.

It is almost impossible to enjoy a life of self-motivation when you're worried about money. Don't be embarrassed about giving this subject a great deal of thought. Thinking about money a little bit in advance frees you from having to always think about it later. Allow yourself to link financial well-being with an increased capacity for compassion for others. If I am living in poverty, how much love and attention can I give to my children or my fellow humans? How much help can I be if I, for sheer lack of creative planning, am always worried about being in debt? "Poverty is no disgrace," said Napoleon Hill. "But it is certainly not a recommendation."

78. Make a list of your life

Never hesitate to sit down with yourself and make lists. The more you write things down, the more you can dictate your own future. There is an unfortunate myth that lists make things trivial. But lists do the opposite—they make things come alive.

I have a friend who made a list of all the positive things about himself that he could think of. He listed every characteristic and accomplishment that he could remember in his life that he was proud of. He keeps the list in his briefcase, and says he often reads through it when he's feeling down.

"By seeing all those things written down, and letting myself read them one at a time, I can change my entire attitude from being discouraged to feeling positive about myself," he says.

Writing lists of goals and objectives is also a powerful self-motivator. It's one thing to go into a meeting mentally briefed on what you want to accomplish, but you'll feel even stronger having written it out. There is something about writing something down that makes it more real to the right side of your brain.

My friend Fred Knipe sometimes travels to Phoenix to spend a day talking with me. We've been close friends since college and share an unorthodox sense of humor. Our meetings together are anything but structured. We free-associate and talk about everything under the sun.

Yet, I notice that he'll often arrive with a list.

In the days prior to our meeting, he'll jot down subjects he wants to be sure he remembers to talk to me about while we are together. And it's because our conversations are so free-form that the list is valuable for him. He doesn't ever have to call me back the next day and try to discuss something over the phone that would have been much better discussed in person.

If you've ever tried grocery shopping for a large event without a shopping list, you are aware of the nightmare it can be. Most people have learned not to shop that way. I've learned by hard experience that it can mean additional trips to the store to pick up forgotten items. Yet why is it that people don't apply that same principle to their lives? Most people take more time planning a picnic than they do planning a life. Because they know that if they don't make a list and forget the hot dog buns as a result, they are going to be called an idiot by someone.

But isn't a life as important as a picnic?

Start by listing all the things you would like to do before you die. Keep the list somewhere handy, where you can look at it and add to it. Then list the people in your life you want to remain close to and stay in touch with. Friendship is so precious, why let it be forgotten? It sounds silly to make a list of your friends, but you'll be surprised at how it reminds you who's important and motivates you to stay in touch. My friend Terry Hill, the writer, is one of the greatest list-makers of all time. He has a list of every book he has ever read, every poem he's read, and many more things I don't even know about. It gives his life a sense of history, depth, and direction.

We don't have to wait to become famous so that someone else might write our history. We can be writing our history while it happens. And when we list our goals, we're writing our history before it happens. When legendary advertising executive David Ogilvy started his advertising agency, by making a list of the clients that he most wanted —General Foods, Lever Brothers, Bristol Myers, Campbell Soup Company, and Shell Oil. At the time, they were the biggest advertising accounts in the world, and he had none of them. But in a sense he did have them, because they were in his list.

"It took time," said Ogilvy, "but in due course I got them all."

A goal gains power when you write it down, and more power every time you write it down.

What motivates you most in life ought to be in your own handwriting. People all too often look for motivation in what others have written. If you become a good list-maker, you will learn how to motivate yourself by what you've written.

79. Set a specific power goal

Most people are surprised to learn that the reason they're not getting what they want in life is because their goals are too small. And too vague. And therefore have no power.

Your goals will never be reached if they fail to excite your imagination. What really excites the imagination is the setting of a large and specific power goal.

Usually, a goal is just a goal. But a power goal is a goal that takes on a huge reality. It lives and breathes. It provides motivational energy. It gets you up in the morning. You can taste it, smell it, and feel it. You've got it clearly pictured in your mind. You've got it written down. And you love writing it down because every time you do it fills you with clarity of purpose.

In his audiotape series, "Visioneering," my old partner Dennis Deaton teaches the transforming power of lofty goals. Deaton talks about creating a "mental movie" that you watch as often as possible. He urges you to make it a movie that stars you—living the results of achieving your specific goal.

Walt Disney left us many great things: Disneyland, Walt Disney World, great animated films, and Annette Funicello. But what I believe was his greatest gift was the summing up he did of his life's work: "If you can dream it," he said, "you can do it."

A power goal is a dream with a deadline. The deadline itself motivates you. People who have created power goals start living on purpose. They know what they're up to in life.

How can you tell if you've got a big enough and real enough power goal? Simply observe the effect your goal has on you. It's not what a goal is that matters; it's what a goal does.

80. Change yourself first

Don't change other people. It doesn't work. You'll waste your life trying.

Many of us spend all our time trying to change the people in our lives.

We think we can change them in ways that will make them better equipped to make us happy. This is especially true of our children. We talk to our children for hours about how we think they should change. But children don't learn from what we say. They learn from what we do. Today's children, upon hearing us talk to them about how they should change will often say, "Yeah, right." I think they got this phrase from Bart Simpson. It's shorthand for "I'm not listening to what you say, I'm listening to what you do."

Gandhi was especially tuned in to the futility of changing other people. Yet Gandhi was probably responsible for more change in people than any other person in our era was. How did he do it? He had a profoundly simple formula. People would often come to Gandhi to ask how they could change others. Someone would say, "I agree with you about nonviolence, but there are others who don't. How do I change them?" And Gandhi told them they couldn't. He said you couldn't change other people.

"You must be the change you wish to see in others," said Gandhi. In my own seminars, I probably use that one quotation more than any other. I am always asked,

"How can I change my husband?" Or, "How can I change my wife?" Or,

"How can I change my teenager?"

People who take the seminars on self-motivation, at some point during the workshop, agree completely with the principles and ideas. Then, they start to think about the people who don't buy in. In the questionand-answer period, their questions are about those poor people. How do we change them? I always quote Gandhi. Be the change you wish to see in others.

By being what you want them to be, you lead by inspiration. Nobody really wants to be taught by lectures and advice. They want to be led through inspiration.

Sales managers often ask me how they can get a certain salesperson to do more self-motivated activities. I tell them that they have to be the salesperson they want to see. Take them on a call, I say, and let them watch you. Don't tell them how to do it, inspire them to do it.

I once attended a concert given by my daughter's fourth-grade chorus, which sang a song called "Let There Be Peace on Earth." The song's words went, "Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me...." I beamed when I heard it. It was such a beautiful expression of being the change—a celebration of self-responsibility that rarely is portrayed in young people's lives today.

What you tell people to do often goes right by them. Who you are does not.