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The Type-Z Guide to Success
A Lazy Person's Manifesto for Wealth and Fulfillment
By Marc Allen, Steve Anderson, Alexander Slagg
New World LibraryCopyright © 2006 Marc Allen
All rights reserved.
THE FIRST STEP
Of course you need to build your castles in the air. That's where they should be.
— HENRY DAVID THOREAU
The essential first step is to dare to dream. It all begins with a dream. Of course, how could it be otherwise? A dream seems so insubstantial, yet our lives and our careers are built on dreams; even our world is built on dreams. As James Allen writes in his great little book As You Think:
"The dreamers are the saviors of the world."
Not only that, they build it in the first place, for everything that has been created was first a dream, an ephemeral idea in the mind of someone who wasn't afraid to consider new and more expansive possibilities.
Without even being consciously aware of it, when I wrote down my ideal scene, I gave my inner dreamer permission to soar.
WRITE DOWN YOUR IDEAL SCENE
The first step is simple. Get a blank sheet of paper or boot up the old word processing program and write "Ideal Scene" at the top of the page. Imagine five years have passed, and you've been so inspired by these words — and by so many other things in your life — that everything has magically gone as well as you can possibly imagine, and you have created the life of your dreams, your ideal scene.
What does your life look like? Where do you live? What do you do? What have you accomplished? What does a typical day look like?
Let yourself freely dream. Put all doubts and fears and "realistic" thinking aside for the moment — we'll deal with those later. For now, let your spirit soar. As Steven Covey writes in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People:
"Begin with the end in mind."
C'mon! It only takes a few minutes.
Take a blank sheet of paper and write "Ideal Scene" at the top. Imagine five years have passed, and everything has gone as well as you can possibly envision. What does your life look like?
What do you do? What do you have? What kind of person are you?
When I did this little exercise the day I turned thirty, I was stunned by the vision that leapt to mind — it was certainly a quantum leap beyond my reality at the time! I imagined I owned a publishing company that was successful and ran very smoothly, publishing books I had written and music I had recorded. I imagined I had a big white house on a hill in a beautiful, quiet place.
I had no idea how to achieve this dream. I had no money, and no business experience. I had no idea how I could possibly get from here — poverty — to there — prosperity and success. There were some vague thoughts that some kind of plans must be necessary, but at first I had no idea how to even begin to imagine what those plans would be.
As soon as I dared to imagine this dream, a seemingly endless stream of doubts and fears came rushing into my mind. That's way too much, Marc. A business? You know nothing about business. And writing books? You've never done that. You're not smart enough. And recording music? That's so much work, and expense. And buying real estate? How can you do that with no money? And you have way too many goals — just pick one thing, and focus on that.
But I kept turning my thoughts back to my ideal scene. Yes, I wanted all of it, a successful business and a lot of time for creative projects and family and friends as well. Not only that, when I really thought about my ideal, I wanted it all in an easy and relaxed manner, in a healthy and positive way.
Impossible! said my doubts and fears. It's never been done in the history of humanity! I was stumped by that for a while, pacing up and down, but then I stumbled onto a single thought that freed me to follow my dreams.
LOOK AT IT ALL AS AN EXPERIMENT
My thoughts wandered to something I had once heard about the visionary and futurist Buckminster Fuller. I had been told that he came to a time in his life — somewhere in his twenties — when he said to himself that he was either going to commit suicide or look at his life as a completely new kind of experiment. Fortunately for all of us, he chose the latter, and at the end of his life was able to look back on a pretty amazing (and successful) "fifty-year experiment."
I latched on to that phrase, and said to my doubts and fears, Just give me a year or two to try this experiment: I'll go for it all, for the life of my dreams, and I'll go for it in my own unique, lazy Type-Z way, and see what happens. My doubts and fears (which seemed a lot stronger than my hopes and dreams at the time) felt it was totally hopeless; I'd obviously fail. But,I said to my doubts and fears, just let me try it, and if I fail, I won't be any worse off than I am right now!
Even my doubts and fears couldn't argue with that, so I was able to put them aside enough to begin my experiment — to chase after my dreams, in my own lazy way.
Within a year, I had the strong sense that I was on the right path. There were little indications at first, small but encouraging developments, like a check arriving exactly when I needed it, and a friend offering to help in some way. Slowly — in its own perfect time — the company moved forward and started to grow, and I wrote part of a book and recorded some music.
I started to see — and then to believe — that not only was it possible to create success in an easy and relaxed manner, in a healthy and positive way, but that it's the very best way to do it. All our stress doesn't help us one bit; in fact it works against us. The more we relax, the more effectively we do any kind of task.
I had no role models that I could think of. So I looked at it as a fascinating, worthwhile experiment. This little book is a result of that experiment. I'm not asking you to believe me, or to believe in anyone or anything; I'm simply inviting you to try these few simple steps, purely as an experiment, and see what happens.
Does your ideal scene include a life of ease? If so, make it a priority, and hold this thought in mind: It is possible to succeed, in any way you choose to define success, and still have a life of ease.
Right now, before you go on, I encourage you to pick up a sheet of paper and write your ideal scene. Just let yourself go, let yourself write whatever pops into your mind. You can always go back later and cross things out, add things, and rewrite. For now, just let your spirit soar.
It's a worthwhile experiment.CHAPTER 2
THE SECOND STEP
First you build your castles in the air, then you build the foundations under them.
— HENRY DAVID THOREAU
Did you write your ideal scene? Even if you're really lazy, all it takes is a few minutes. You can do it lying down if you want. You can do it in bed. When I first wrote it down, the day I turned thirty, it probably took less than five minutes.
The next step will only take a few minutes as well.
TAKE THE NEXT STEP
It doesn't take much time to work smarter instead of harder.
Take another sheet of paper, write "Goals" at the top, and list every goal you can think of for the next few years. If you've written your ideal scene, your goals will be right there, in your ideal scene. You've got a picture of where you want to be in five years, now what are the goals you need to reach to get there?
My goals were: Start a publishing company. Build a successful company. Start writing a book. Complete a successful book. Start recording an album. Record a successful album. Start studying real estate.... (A lot of my goals involved starting things, because I had nothing going at the time.) The first time I did this little exercise I had a total of twelve goals. (Now I'm down to six.)
Let your imagination soar. You've dared to dream of an ideal life for yourself. What goals do you have to achieve to make this happen? Write them down now — every goal you can think of at this moment.
Take another sheet of paper, write "Goals" at the top, and list every goal you can think of for the next few years.
Let your doubts and fears go for a moment. (As I said before, we'll deal with those later.)
If you could do, be, or have anything, what would it be?
Without goals, our life has no direction. With goals, our life has direction and purpose. Now that you've made your list of goals, here's a very good question to ask yourself: How can I achieve these goals? How do I get from here to there?
A good place to start is to do the next thing I did on my thirtieth birthday after I wrote my first list of goals. I took another sheet of paper and wrote each goal as an affirmation. The word affirmation comes from the Latin root ad firmae, which means "to make firm." The right affirmation can be very powerful: When we find an affirmation that works for us, it focuses our creative minds on our goals in a way that, in itself, overcomes a great many of the doubts and fears that naturally arise as soon as we set an expansive goal.
Write each of your goals as an affirmation.
Phrase your affirmations in the present tense, preferably with the word now in it. Don't affirm I will build a successful business or I will have a rewarding artistic career, because the words place your success in the future. Put it in the present: I am now building a successful business and I am now creating a rewarding, fulfilling artistic career.
Make your affirmations in the present, as if they're happening now:I am now creating financial and artistic success.
Find the words that work for you. What works for one person may not work for another. Word them positively. Don't affirm, for example, I am no longer in poverty. Affirm instead something like, I am sensible and in control of my finances. I am creating total financial success.
Keep working and playing with each affirmation until you find the wording that's best for you.
You'll end up with a list of your goals as affirmations, on one or two pages. (I always try to keep it to one page.) There are some extraordinarily powerful words I suggest adding to each affirmation. I discovered these words in a book titled The Dynamic Laws of Prosperity by Catherine Ponder, a Unity Church minister.
Before or after each affirmation, add the words in an easy and relaxed manner, in a healthy and positive way.... And sometimes, wherever it feels appropriate, add the words, in its own perfect time, for the highest good of all.
Keep repeating those phrases, as part of your affirmations: In an easy and relaxed manner, in a healthy and positive way, I am now creating abundance in my life.
Before or after each affirmation, add these powerful words:in an easy and relaxed manner, in a healthy and positive way....
I wasn't aware of it at the time, but over the years I have realized that those words overcame a lot of the doubts and fears that inevitably arise whenever we affirm something expansive. It won't be easy, whisper our doubts and fears. It certainly won't be relaxed. Starting your own business or succeeding as an artist is stressful! It may not even be healthy for you. It may not be positive. Those four words — easy, relaxed, healthy, positive — can, when repeated often, have a lifechanging effect. These four little words can overcome the paralyzing power of even our deepest and most pervasive doubts and fears.
Many people in our culture don't believe that it's even possible to succeed and still have a life of ease. Or they believe they need to work really hard, maybe even be Type-A workaholics, before they can succeed — and then they can relax and have a life of ease.
Many people even equate success with stress: There's a deep core belief that success has to be stressful, that's just the way it is, you have to be a Type A to succeed. I absolutely disagree with this belief (and I'm not the only one!). There are many people who believe exactly the opposite: The more relaxed you are, the more at ease, the more you can and will succeed.
You make better decisions when you've considered everything in a relaxed state. (Everyone knows the value of "sleeping on" something — what can be perplexing in the afternoon is so often simple and clear the next morning.) The decisions we make in stressful states so often lead to more stress; it's the plans we make and ideas we have when we're relaxed that can take our success to a much higher level.
These four words — easy, relaxed, healthy, positive — can help you not only achieve your goals, but give you a far better quality of life as you're doing it, starting now, this moment.
After I had repeated those words a few thousand times, I could see and feel the changes in my life. I came not to just believe but to realize in my life that I could succeed in an easy and relaxed manner. And if I can do it, so can you. It's not all that complex or difficult, either. You take a huge step forward when you simply write down your affirmations and repeat them often.
Write a list of goals as affirmations and carry it around with you. Repeat your affirmations often to imprint them on your subconscious mind.
Write or print out a list of your affirmations and carry it around with you. Read them often. Every time you read them or say them or write them, you are imprinting those powerful words on your creative subconscious mind.
Once you've written your list of affirmations, you'll start getting ideas about the next steps to take that move you toward the fulfillment of your goals. Or you'll hear someone tell you exactly what you need to know at that moment. Or some coincidence will happen that will suddenly propel you a lot closer to your goal. Soon a plan will form, sometimes spontaneously, and you'll discover you can take the next obvious steps in an easy and relaxed manner, in a healthy and positive way.
Even if you disagree with many things I say, I challenge you to make a list of affirmations, repeat them often for a few weeks, and see what happens.
I believe these principles and practices work not because I made some leap of faith and came to believe them, but because I tried them and saw them working in my life. I had a huge number of doubts and fears when I started taking these few simple steps (consisting of just notes on a few pages of paper!), but I saw remarkable changes in my life in a short time.
Doubts and fears continue to come up, of course. But we can learn to effectively deal with our doubts and fears. This is the next essential step toward creating the life of our dreams.CHAPTER 3
THE THIRD STEP
If you think you can, or if you think you can't, you're right.
— HENRY FORD
We've taken the first essential step. All it involved was writing our ideal scene on a single sheet of paper. The second essential step is to write your goals as affirmations.
Have you done that yet? C'mon, all it requires is one or two sheets of paper! And they might just be the most vitally important, even powerful, pages you've ever written.
The words you write on those pages become your most important tools for success. Those words guide you, over time, to discover the next steps you need to take. It's very mysterious how it works. You could call it magic, if you like. You can call it anything you want; you can look at it as tuning into your natural, innate creative energy. I like to think of it as modern, effective magic that has had a great impact on my life, in an easy and relaxed manner, for the highest good of all.
This is a course in magic — modern, effective magic.
It all begins with a dream. First, we dare to dream, and then we give flight to our imagination. Let it soar. What kind of life would you like ideally? What goals are necessary for you to focus on in order to get from here to there? We put these goals on paper, and affirm they are now coming into our lives.
Then what happens? As soon as we allow ourselves to dream, doubts and fears come up in almost all of us. The bigger the dream, the greater the doubts and fears. They can seem overwhelming. They cause us to doubt ourselves. They can make us feel foolish for dreaming in the first place. They can make us completely forget our dreams, and settle for lives of dullness and struggle.
Excerpted from The Type-Z Guide to Success by Marc Allen, Steve Anderson, Alexander Slagg. Copyright © 2006 Marc Allen. Excerpted by permission of New World Library.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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