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It’s no secret that I claim to be having more fun than anyone else I know on a regular basis. Admittedly, the comment is quasi-tongue-in-cheek, but the fact of the matter is, it genuinely is an important life-goal for me, and I take having fun seriously. This episode is a bit about the why, what, and how of having fun.
And it’s more than just play-time fun. Sure I love riding my bicycle, becoming a better bourbon connoisseur, hanging out with friends, cooking, target & skeet-shooting and ballroom dancing among other things; but I’ve been consciously following the “have more fun” theme as a quite serious business and brain-development strategy for a long, long time.
It was, in fact, 1982 (which – Yikes! – was 37 years ago) when I concluded that my work life and career had to be fun, or I could never be successful. Since then, I’ve read, listened to and watched a lot different folks trying to learn enough to actually have a career that was not only successful, but also fun.
Most of the really good stuff I learned though, came not so much from studying as from direct conversations with other people. One of those was and is Paul Nicholson from Doncaster in the UK. He’s an IT tech guy I met ten years or so ago in Hamilton, Bermuda. We had a common client there.
Frankly, I was a bit suspicions of the guy at first. Consultants – and I can say this because I are one – are acutely aware that consulting budgets are extremely limited. The more consultants a client has hired, the fewer the dollars available for me.
Paul, it turns out, had and has a totally different attitude. I don’t remember his exact words at the time, but here’s the gist of what he told me… “I’m an IT guy. You’re a sales management guy. The process this client hired you to implement is going to generate a whole lot of additional data, all of which will need to get collected, stored, analyzed and reported. That’s great news for me. How can I help you get your job done?” In other words, I was going to generate more work for him, and he was following his own personal Rule #3 – “Create Don’t Compete.” I’ll get into that more shortly.
Needless to say, he and I hit it off, and in our humble opinions, mutually did a bang up job for that client. We’re also still in touch now, long after that project concluded.
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But back to the point of this episode, which is how much one can learn from other people just by paying attention. I’m going to share Paul Nicholson’s “5 Rules” that serve as the foundation of his Happy Me philosophy. (You can also check out Paul himself reviewing this material here.) I’m not in total agreement with him, but our debates about our differences have taught us both a thing or two.
One more thing about Paul before I get into his rules. The guy is humble. He regularly points out that he’s not an expert. He constantly cites the sources of his ideas. In my book, that’s the kind of guy we should pay attention to.
Rule #1: Use Your Billion Dollar Brain
Can’t say I ever thought about assigning a dollar value to my brain before I met Paul, but I can’t help but be in violent agreement. He notes that none us really understand just how fantastic our brains are. But they are indeed stupendously fantastic, right?
So Paul’s conclusion? “Focus on the results you want and your brain will figure it out.” Go ahead and set huge goals. Be bold. Be wild. But commit. You don’t know how to get there, but your brain will figure it out. Trust your billion dollar brain.
And speaking of goals, he goes on to describe three kinds of goals.
- Type A Goals – You’ve done it before
- Type B Goals – You’re pretty sure you can do this
- Type C Goals – Your “Fantasy” goals
Needless to say, it’s those C goals you want your billion dollar brain working on.
Rule #2: What you think about you become
OK, not a new idea. The fact of the matter is though, that negative thoughts produce negative results and positive thoughts produce positive results. Police yourself. We need to be aware of what we’re thinking. I’ll add my own corollary here, and it’s also an old, but powerful notion. You become the average of the five people you hang out with the most. Be a real friend and help them police their own thoughts too!
Rule #3: Create don’t compete
Told you I’d get back to this one… This rule is actually one that I struggle with. I love to compete. For me winning is fun. For crying out loud winning is fun for everybody! So don’t we all need to compete constantly so we can experience that thrill of victory?
Yes, but… If you’re using your billion dollar brain and setting those big, hairy, audacious goals, you’re going to wind up not winning. A lot! There are always a lot of defeats on the road to victory.
That’s why we need to constantly create according to Paul. Every time you create something, you learn something. Create a great email message. Create a great golf shot. Create a great meal. Create a great relationship. Create a great whatever and you’ve got something. More importantly, you’ve learned something. And you’re that much better equipped to win – – – eventually.
Rule #4: Trust The Feel
You might be familiar with Maya Angelou’s admonition to “Just do right.” “Trust the feel” is very much the same sort of notion. We all have an innate sense of right and wrong. We also have an innate sense of what will and won’t work. What feels good probably – almost certainly – IS good. What feels right probably – almost certainly – IS right. Your gut is usually – almost always – right the first time. Trust the feel. Do what’s right. It’ll be amazing.
Rule #5: Follow The Four Rules For Great Self-Esteem
Yeah, I know, Paul cheated on this one and slipped in a few extra rules… Let’s let him slide. They are all related to feeling better about yourself, which inevitably will lead to having more fun. So here we go:
Rule 5A: Forgive them
Do it for yourself, NOT for them. Holding a grudge hurts you at least as much if not more than the other guy. Let it go.
Rule 5B: Forgive yourself
NEWS FLASH!!! You’re not perfect. You’re going to do stupid stuff. Your instinct will be to beat yourself up much worse than anyone else would. Recognize that. Wipe your own slate clean. Otherwise all that burden will slow you down.
Rule 5C: Be the best you
Remember the old U.S. Army commercials? “Be all you can be.” Same idea. Paul contends that the key to this rule is Reset-Reset-Reset, especially when you’re not in the zone. Simply be aware of when you’re in the zone and when you’re not. And do so all the time! Be the best you, you can be today …and every day.
Rule 5D: Go at your own pace
This does not mean go slow. It does, however, emphasize “Go!” There’s no need to proceed at some arbitrary pace, but there is an intense need proceed. Persistence!
So there you have it. Paul Nicholson’s 5 Rules. Good stuff and food for thought.
I’m your Intentionally Vicarious host Todd Youngblood, urging you to check out more of Paul’s insight at paulnicholson.com and to check out the bonus IV episode that consists of a conversation Paul and I had recently. I’m thinking that combining some of his thinking with intentionally vicariously exploring, questioning, learning and thinking still more – you just might get started along the path of having more fun than anyone else you know.