April 29, 2016

We were packing today for a provincial home school conference this weekend where our family will be a vendor. I flipped through a book I wrote back in 2012 titled, “Developing the Business Your Always Wanted.” I have reproduced a short section from that book for you today on the Five Steps Of Learning And Retention.

Learning – the acquisition of new information or knowledge, and Retention – the ability to capture that information and recall it when wanted or needed, is actually a process that involves five steps:

First, is Impact. That is, actually receiving the idea in your mind. Impact can be in the form of a word, a visual observation or a concept. It makes no difference. Your mind is not capable of making a distinction between a visual or an actual experience. Nor is it capable of determining the difference between a conscious or an unconscious impact an idea may have on you. As far as your mind is concerned, those experiences are all the same and your mind will accept them, regardless.
If information or an experience appears real to your mind, your emotions and nervous system will react as though it were actually real.

To illustrate this point, try this simple experiment:
Seat yourself in a comfortable chair, feet flat on the floor and your hands resting comfortably in your lap.  Close your eyes, take a deep breath, let it out slowly and relax. Take another one. Let it out slowly. Relax even more. Picture in your mind a lemon resting on a table in front of you. Visualize it. See it clearly. Look at its shape – its colour – its texture. Now, mentally reach out with your hand and pick up the lemon. Bring it up to your face. Look at it closely. Squeeze it. Do you notice how firm it feels? Feel the texture of the lemon’s dimply and waxy skin. Notice the lemon’s yellow colour and round shape, with its pointy ends.  Now, hold it up to your nose. Smell it. Do you notice the lemon’s citrusy smell?  Place the lemon on the table and mentally pick up a knife that is laying nearby. Cut the lemon in two.  Pick up one half of the lemon and see the juice dripping from it. Bring the lemon up to your nose. Smell it again. Now bite into the lemon.  What’s happening to you right now? Is saliva flooding your mouth, both in your mind, as well as physically?

Now consider what just happened. In actuality, there was no lemon. You just pictured one in your mind. While this was just a mental exercise, and the lemon was just imagined, chances are, if you are like most people, the mental image you were playing on the screen of your mind triggered certain responses which manifested themselves physically. So, you can see by this demonstration, that Impact, is a critical step involved in the process of learning and retention.

The second step is Repetition. One university study revealed that an idea that was read or heard only one time was 66% forgotten within 24 hours. But if that same idea was read or heard repeatedly for 8 days, up to 90% of it could be retained at the end of the eight days.  So once you have read this manual all the way through, go back and read it again. But this time read with a highlighter, a pencil and notepad handy. Mark up the book. Write down the ideas you feel fit your personal business situation. This repetition will help you retain more of the information than if you had read it only once.

The third step in the learning and retention process is Utilization. This is the “doing” step. It is here that neuromuscular pathways are actually developed, creating a “mind muscle memory.” And according to the study quoted earlier, once you physically experience an action, it becomes twice as easy to recall as if you had heard it only.

Fourth, is Internalization. Actually making the idea a part of you. That may involve some customizing or tailoring of the idea to fit your situation or style, but it is vitally important for you to personalize the idea and make it “yours.”

The fifth step is Reinforcement. In order to maximize the effectiveness of an idea, you should continually be looking for ways to support and strengthen it. The more you can support the idea, the more you will believe it, the longer you will retain it, and the more effective it will become in helping you serve your customers’ needs.

Now, what does all this have to do with your business? Simply, this. In your daily business and personal activities, as well as throughout your experience with the information presented in this book, you are going to be exposed to a great number of ideas.

Some will be brand new, that is, you have never heard them before. Some will be ideas you have heard in the past, but have forgotten. And others will be ideas you come up with on your own as a result of something that was triggered in your mind as you read. Understanding and applying these five steps in the learning and retention process can help you retain more of what you read and experience.

April 27, 2016

I was looking for a book on one of my bookshelves the other day and came across a little booklet I did not even remember having. This booklet was entitled, “Enthusiasm! The Action Handbook! What It Can Do For You. The author of the booklet was Norman Vincent Peale and was written back in the 1970’s. The edition I was reading was published by Executive Development Systems Inc..

There were a couple of lists in this booklet that caught my eye as I was flipping through it. I want to share those lists with you today.

Steps To Contagious Enthusiasm
1. Like mumps, it can be caught, so expose yourself to enthusiastic people.
2. Start thinking enthusiastic and positive thoughts about yourself.
3. Let others catch enthusiasm from you.
4. Know Jesus Christ – experience the vitality of His spirit.

Eight Steps To An Enthusiastic Life
1. Stop running yourself down. There’s a lot that’s right in you. Empty your mind of your failures and mistakes and start respecting yourself.
2. Eliminate self-pity. Start thinking of what you have left, instead of dwelling on what you have lost. List your assets on a piece of paper.
3. Quit thinking of yourself. Think of helping others. Actually go out and find someone who needs the kind of help you can give and give it. For you will never have a continuing flow of abundance if your thought is only for yourself.
4. Remember Goethe: “He who has a firm will moulds the world for himself.” Almighty God put a tough thing into human beings call the will. Use it.
5. Have a goal
6. Stop wasting your mental energy on gripes and postmortems, and start thinking about what to do now. Amazing things happen, when you think constructively.
7. Every morning and every evening of your life, articulate the words: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13).
8. Three times every day say: “This is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24).

There is many more nuggets of gold in this little booklet which I would encourage you to read enthusiastically. You might even finding yourself saying, “I’M EXCITED, HOW ABOUT YOU!”

April 26, 2016

When you don’t know what you don’t know, the truth can be right in front of you and you don’t see it. In fact the best place to hide something is right in the open. This is exactly what Jesus said He was doing as He taught with parables. Reflect upon Matthew 13:10-15, “The disciples came to him and asked, ‘Why do you speak to the people in parables?’ {11}  He replied, ‘The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. {12}  Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. {13}  This is why I speak to them in parables: ‘Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. {14}  In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: “‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. {15}  For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’”

Jesus was calling His disciples to use discernment, to seek and look for underlying truth, to look beyond the obvious in understanding the secrets of the kingdom of heaven. When you think you know all there is to know your teachability just dropped to zero. The result, “though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.” A passion that refuses to settle but is always seeking to discover and learn is important to growth. There is always more to learn, more to understand if we are willing to courageously look for the truth.

I would encourage you to move forward. Be willing to be out on the edge. Explore and use your God given abilities to seek out truth and apply it with wisdom. Then share it with those who are open to greater possibilities in their life. Remember, “Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.”

April 25, 2016

Your intentions are very powerful. Your actions ought to be motivated by well thought out and love inspired intentions. Jesus said, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12).  It is important to consider your desired outcomes before making choices. When you do you are far more likely to also consider the intentions you send out through your actions.

Far too often actions come as a result of automated reactions built upon habits you have built from past experiences. The result is an academy performance of the blame game. What is really happening is a lack of personal responsibility for thoughts, feelings, beliefs and attitudes. In such a situation conscious, positive intentions are non existent. Is this what you really want for your life?

If a farmer wants to harvest a crop of potatoes there are steps which must be taken in order to get a crop of potatoes. There are intentions to be set. There are plans to be put together. There are action steps to follow. There must be perseverance related to the intention, plans and action steps demonstrated. Finally there will be the blessing of the harvest received. It began with an intention.

What are you doing to improve the process of setting your intentions so that you get what you are looking for? There are processes to help you along this path if you are willing to learn what they are and willing to take the initiative to get there. It is a choice whether or not you choose to take advantage of that help. So, what is your intention in terms of your intentions?

There are a group of Intention Leaders, whose intention is to help you fine tune your intentions so that your actions and choices are congruent with what you want in your life. Make a decision to learn how you can align your intentions with what you want.

Go to http://www.bobmclellanintentionleaders.com now and determine what you intend to do to consciously chose the desired outcomes you want for your life.

April 24, 2016

Billy Graham said, “The strongest principle of life and blessings lies in our choice. Our life is the sum result of all the choices we make, both consciously and unconsciously. If we can control the process of choosing, we can take control of all aspects of our life. We can find the freedom that comes from being in charge of our life. So start with what is right rather than what is acceptable. “If you don’t make a decision, then time will make it for you, and time will always side against you.”

When you chose to make choices based on what is right do not expect everyone will agree with you, but realize that is okay. Not everyone agreed with or accepted what Jesus declared to be truth. He even repeatedly declared He was speaking truth, but since it did not line up with current accepted thinking what He said was rejected.

I recently came across a story about a man who believed God had given him a mission to go outside his cabin and seek to move a huge rock that was located outside his cabin. The man did this day after day. For many years he toiled from sun up to sundown, his shoulders set squarely against the cold, massive surface of the unmoving rock, pushing with all his might. Each night the man returned to his cabin sore, and worn out, feeling that his whole day had been spent in vain. Finally he got discouraged and decided what he was doing made no difference because the rock wasn’t moving anywhere.  One day he decided to make it a matter of prayer and take his troubled thoughts to the Lord. “Lord” he said, “I have laboured long and hard in your service, putting all my strength to do that which you have asked. Yet, after all this time, I have not even budged that rock by half a millimeter. What is wrong? Why am I failing?”

The Lord responded compassionately, “My friend, when I asked you to serve me and you accepted, I told you that your task was to push against the rock with all your strength, which you have done. Never once did I mention to you that I expected you to move it. Your task was to push. And now you come to me, with your strength spent, thinking that you have failed. But, is that really so? Look at yourself.”

“Your arms are strong and muscled, your back sinewy and brown, your hands are callused from constant pressure, and your legs have become massive and hard. Through opposition you have grown much and your abilities now surpass that which you used to have. Yet you haven’t moved the rock. But your calling was to be obedient and do what was right. You were called to push and to exercise your faith and trust in my wisdom. This you have done. Now you are ready to do what you have been preparing for all this time.”

The time to make the choice to do what is right is now, not someday, because if you don’t make that decision, time will make it for you, and time will always side against you.