“Big Ideas” Anyone Can Employ to Generate Success and Prosperity


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The following is an excerpt from the post Four ‘Big Ideas’ Anyone Can Employ to Generate Success and Prosperity which can be found in it’s original form here

IMG_0322In October I was honoured to give a presentation to a group of families at “Camp He Ho Ha” in Alberta, the first of four I’ll be doing for Muscular Dystrophy Canada. And I’m not kidding when I say it was (and is) an honour to speak to these groups; anytime we surround ourselves with people whose hearts, minds and souls soar DESPITE their families being affected by an illness like MD it’s a true inspirational experience, and this group didn’t disappoint! I’m especially excited to know that there are still many future events ahead where I’ll have the opportunity to speak on behalf of this wonderful organization.

But with this honour came a challenge – what would I speak about? After all, the reason I was invited to speak on behalf of Muscular Dystrophy Canada was because one of their executives saw my TEDx Stanley Park talk and thought I’d be a good fit to speak to our tribe; so far so good.

But upon reflection, I questioned if my TEDx message of avoiding procrastination – complete with the “punch” of how my son lost his ability to walk due to MD – would have gravity with families who have experienced this exact same thing in their own lives – wouldn’t it be a little bit like telling them their own story? Of course it would; and with this realization, came my dilemma.

So what to talk about? What can I say that would perhaps offer some inspiration or ideas to people who experience the same challenges as we do, each and every day? And then it hit me…

So what did I talk about? I’m so glad you asked!

 Ask And Ye Shall Receive. This idea is so powerful I wrote a post about it last year; it’s simply the notion of asking for the things we want out of life, be it the last piece of pizza, a discount on a shirt at The Gap or better still – the opportunity to be given the chance to do something truly important in life.

I learned the true value of asking for what I wanted years ago when  living in Prince George. I was new in town, and wanted to work at the best corporate hotel in the city. I won’t bore you with the details, but let’s just say after being told to “leave your resume” on four separate occasions I mustered up the courage to contact the hotel’s big dog – The General Manager – and asked him to meet with me since I would be an outstanding employee he wouldn’t want to get away. He agreed; and after our meeting I spent the next eight years working with that company, beginning as the coffee shop manager, and working my way up corporate consultant for the whole chain… not a bad return simply for “asking” for ten minutes of someone’s time, don’t ya think?

On it’s own, this is a fun little story, but did it offer any value to my audience of M.D. families last weekend? It absolutely did; because years later I used this exact same strategy to “ask” for $32,000 in funding to purchase important medical equipment for Tristan. And while it was a much harder (and longer) process than requesting ten minutes of someone’s time, the process was exactly the same… I began by ASKING FOR WHAT I WANTED; only this time it took many conversations with several people, over and over again, in a one-year period to receive what I was asking for.

The bottom line is this: If we don’t learn to ask for the things we want, we won’t ever get them, and you know why? Because the “getting” of things (be they material things, experiences, discounts, a date with that cute guy/gal, etc.) is reserved for the askers, not the “hopers” and “wishers”. Once this idea is understood, a major piece of the life puzzle is cracked, and we can then begin getting the things we want out of life;  you know, like the $32,000 bed my son now sleeps comfortably on every night.

Constant Self-Education Is Critical To Success. Here are four important lessons learned through my self-education; and while none of them will necessarily put letters behind your name, they’ll give help you understand that success comes from taking complete responsibility for your situation; then doing whatever you need to in order to get the desired result.

  • We all learn differently; but the most important thing is to actually do the work and study your topic
  • Whatever your topic is, the book (or website) has been written and is available NOW. However, it’s up to you to find them, and READ them
  • Success leaves clues; and these materials are full of clues written by people who have “been there, done that” – but again, they won’t read themselves
  • No-one is alone in their quest for success; but it’s up to THEM to go find their tribe

IMG_0333Ask Yourself “What Has To Happen For X To Occur?”. I love this idea because it’s so simple and valuable at the same time. Whenever we want to accomplish anything, all we need to do is ask ourselves this one question (obviously substituting what it is we want for the “X”) and we’ll begin to get the answers we need to achieve our goal, and you know why? It’s pretty simple, actually: We will always answer any question we ask ourselves, each and every time, but there’s a trick to doing this effectively; and it all comes in the way we craft those questions. Since we’ll get an answer to any question we ask ourselves, it’s critical to our success that we always word our questions so as to get positive answers to them.

For example, let’s say Bob’s work day is not going well – enough so that it’s causing him some frustration and anger. If he asks himself “Why am I having such a crappy day?” his brain will search for (and list off) all the things that have gone wrong that day. First there was that spilled coffee at breakfast, and then running out of hot water during his morning shower; then there was the fruitless search for a missing sock (which he never did find) that wasted 10 minutes, and made him miss his bus; oh, and don’t forget the inconsiderate smoker who stunk up the bus stop and made Bob’s coat smell, etc. – you get the idea. Bob’s brain is bringing forth all the answers it can to address the exact question he asked of  “Why am I having such a crappy day?”

But what if in the same situation Bob asked himself a better question – one that was designed to get his brain to search for positive results rather than negative ones? What then? Let’s find out!

Bob’s work day is going terrible! He missed his bus and got in late for his meeting, couldn’t find the report he needed, and realized his conference call began half an hour earlier than he thought, and he was finding himself right behind the eight-ball… what if rather than focusing on what a crappy day he was having, he asked himself “What has to happen for me to manger this situation effectively; more importantly, what has to happen so I don’t go through all this again tomorrow?” 

As Bobs brain searches for answers to these exact questions, he’ll probably get answers like “get up earlier so as not to be rushed in the morning” and “make sure I check my calendar the night before so I’m prepared for my meetings and calls the following day”, etc. – far more productive ideas than blaming a missing sock for a blown conference call, wouldn’t you say?

I’ve used this exact question to flush out what had to happen to plan huge holidays (Like this one! Shameless plug!) or running a bunch of errands around town; I’ve used it to plan amazing adventures with my family, and to help my son have unique experiences despite his muscular dystrophy. I’ve even used this question in helping to plan my mom’s funeral, so as to make sure the memorial was held in a nice place where she’d have enjoyed saying good-bye to her friends and family. So many different situations, yet always the same question… crazy, right?


About David:

When not travelling to the far corners of the earth, David enjoys speaking to groups about his life experiences; If not speaking or writing, he enjoys spending time with his wife and son, usually eating good food and drinking good wine at their home in beautiful Victoria, B.C.

David loves to hear from readers – Please feel free to contact him at his website and find his TEDx Talk here.


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