25 Little Ways to Celebrate Success

It is great to celebrate, no matter how small your successes. Here are 25 small ways to celebrate.
  1. Do a little dance
  2. Tell someone
  3. Write it in your journal
  4. Treat yourself
  5. Punch the air
  6. Take a break
  7. Tick an item off your to-do list
  8. Give yourself a sticker
  9. Shout: “Yes!”
  10. Put a mark on your calendar
  11. Plant something
  12. Take a photograph
  13. Give someone a present
  14. Give yourself a thumbs-up (use a mirror)
  15. Play some triumphant music
  16. Thank someone for their support
  17. Throw away something you won’t need anymore
  18. Let off a party popper
  19. Sing a victory song
  20. Pat yourself on the back
  21. Smile
  22. High-five someone
  23. Congratulate yourself
  24. Share it on social media
  25. Buy everyone cakes

Bonus Ideas

  1. Enjoy the results of your achievement
  2. Start planning your next success!

Acknowledgements

How to Spring Out of Bed in the Morning

Reboot your morning routine!

Some people hate getting up out of bed in the morning, whilst others leap out of bed, full of excitement about the day. Here are some of the things that have helped me become less addicted to my duvet.

My Story

I used to be very bad at getting up in the morning (which is partly why I used to be late for everything). These days, I generally like getting up. Why? Because I love my mornings (well, mostly!).

Your Five Steps To Success

Step 1: Get Enough Sleep

If you don’t get enough sleep then you won’t want to get up.

To be honest, this is still the area I struggle with most in this process. Nevertheless, I’ve come to recognise that it really is essential that I get enough shut-eye if I want to get up full of enthusiasm for the day.

Less sleepy, more leapy!Kramii

Step 2: Plan a Wonderful Start to Your Day

Plan to do something you really enjoy first thing in the morning. As you go to sleep, imagine how much you’re looking forward to doing it. Don’t over complicate you plans. Just pick one thing you’re really looking forward to.

If you’re looking for inspiration, check out some of the things that work for me towards the end of this post.

Step 3: Eliminate the Negatives

If there are things that make getting up miserable, eliminate them. For example, you’re unlikely to want to get up if the rest of the house is cold.
In my case, I overcame this problem by putting my heater on a timer, rather than having to get up and switch it on manually.

Step 4: Practice Your Morning “Leap”

Literally, practice hopping quickly eagerly out of bed in the morning. This will help train your body to get moving in the morning.

Step 5: Don’t Give Up

It isn’t easy to transition from being a duvet lover to being a morning person. So:

  • Take it a step at a time
  • Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t manage it every day
  • Reward your successes

One Final Tip

Some people find that dawn simulation alarm clocks help them get up in the morning. The idea it gradually lights up your room before you need to get up, and therefore stimulates your body to feel more awake. Based on a friend’s recommendation, my wife bought a one for our 11-year-old son. Whilst he still struggles to get up in the morning, the clock does seem to make things a lot easier for him. YMMV, of course.

 How I Like to Start My Day

For me, the perfect day starts like this:

  • I have had enough sleep, and basically feel refreshed.
  • I get up slightly earlier than everyone else in the house, ready to enjoy a little “me time”.
  • I take a leisurely but refreshing shower.
  • I spend some time just staring into space, letting myself wake up slowly.
  • I do a little reading, ideally something motivating and enjoyable.
  • I enjoy a hearty breakfast. Ideally a Full English, but almost anything is good.
  • Then I get everyone else up, and spend a little time with my little family.

Of course, real life rarely works out that way, but even if I enjoy just a couple of these things in the morning, my day has got off to a pretty good start.

So,  what does your ideal morning look like? And what can you do to achieve it?

Acknowledgements

The Parable of the Talents: The Faithful Servants

The Parable of the Talents offers some powerful insights into effective investment and personal growth.

Introduction

The Parable of the Talents is a story told by Jesus to illustrate deep truths about what really matters in life. As recorded in Matthew’s gospel, it reads like this:

A Story about Three Servants

14 … A man went away and put his three servants in charge of all he owned. 15 The man knew what each servant could do. So he handed five thousand coins to the first servant, two thousand to the second, and one thousand to the third. Then he left the country.

16 As soon as the man had gone, the servant with the five thousand coins used them to earn five thousand more. 17 The servant who had two thousand coins did the same with his money and earned two thousand more. 18 But the servant with one thousand coins dug a hole and hid his master’s money in the ground.

19 Some time later the master of those servants returned. He called them in and asked what they had done with his money. 20 The servant who had been given five thousand coins brought them in with the five thousand that he had earned. He said, “Sir, you gave me five thousand coins, and I have earned five thousand more.”

21 “Wonderful!” his master replied. “You are a good and faithful servant. I left you in charge of only a little, but now I will put you in charge of much more. Come and share in my happiness!”

22 Next, the servant who had been given two thousand coins came in and said, “Sir, you gave me two thousand coins, and I have earned two thousand more.”

23 “Wonderful!” his master replied. “You are a good and faithful servant. I left you in charge of only a little, but now I will put you in charge of much more. Come and share in my happiness!”

24 The servant who had been given one thousand coins then came in and said, “Sir, I know that you are hard to get along with. You harvest what you don’t plant and gather crops where you haven’t scattered seed. 25 I was frightened and went out and hid your money in the ground. Here is every single coin!”

26 The master of the servant told him, “You are lazy and good-for-nothing! You know that I harvest what I don’t plant and gather crops where I haven’t scattered seed. 27 You could have at least put my money in the bank, so that I could have earned interest on it.”

28 Then the master said, “Now your money will be taken away and given to the servant with ten thousand coins! 29 Everyone who has something will be given more, and they will have more than enough. But everything will be taken from those who don’t have anything. 30 You are a worthless servant, and you will be thrown out into the dark where people will cry and grit their teeth in pain.”

— Matthew 25:14-30 (CEV)

Who are The Characters in the Story?

The characters in the story are:

  • The Master
  • The Faithful Servants
    • 2TS, the Servant who received 2 Talents.
    • 5TS, the Servant who received 5 Talents.
  • The Unfaithful Servant, 1TS, who received just 1 Talent.

The Faithful Servants: What is their story?

The story of these two faithful Servants is similar, so we’ll consider them together.

  1. They receive Talents from the Master
  2. While the Master was away, they invested the Talents
  3. As a result, they double the number of Talents that they have
  4. They receive a reward from the Master on his return.

What are the servants given? What are Talents?

Many illustrations imply that a Talent is a small coin. However, a Talent is actually a unit of weight. When used as a measure of money, it refers to a talent-weight of gold or of silver. It is unknown exactly what the monetary value this represents, but the important point is that this is a very large sum of money.

Just as many assume that a Biblical Talent is much smaller than it actually was, I think many of us underestimate our own talents. But I’m getting ahead of myself…

What do these Talents symbolise?

There are different views:

  • The gospel
  • The gifts of the Holy Spirit
  • Natural abilities
  • Our material possessions
Some sources insist that the parable is only about one or other of these. Despite this, the parable appears to illustrate principles that apply in all these areas.

Where did the Talents come from?

From the Master:

Every good gift… comes from heavenJames 1:17 GNB

What are Your Talents?

Exercise

  • Make a list of your Talents, big and small.
  • Highlight your main Talents in the list.

Notes

Interestingly, in a group where I asked about people’s talents, the initial reaction of some members was that they have no particular abilities or talents. However, even the things we often take for granted are important. Consider basic human abilities:

  • Body = ability to do things
  • Brain = ability to think
  • Hearing = ability to listen
  • Mouth = ability to speak

We may be a 2TS rather than a 5TS, but we all have Talents.

Compare 2TS and 5TS

What are the similarities between 2TS and 5TS?

  • They both take on responsibilities.
  • They are both faithful.

What are the differences?

  • They have different abilities.
  • They are given different starting points.
  • The gifts that they are given have different values.
  • Their potentials are different.

Why Two Faithful Servants?

The 1TS could look at the others and say, “They have more than me – I have been set up to fail!”. But the 2TS can look at 5TS and give the same argument. However, he does not do so – he is just faithful. By including both faithful servants in the story, Jesus shows that we cannot excuse ourselves by pointing to the differences between others and ourselves.

Exercise

Make a list of the people with whom you compare yourself, and how.

  • Does this impact what you do with your own Talents?
  • Is this a good thing?
  • What can you do about it?

So, Does it Matter How Much We Have?

To some extent… but how effectively we use what we have is more important.

What Did the Servants do with the Talents?

We don’t know exactly. We know they invested them.

Did the Master tell them to Invest?

The Bible does not say so.

So, how did they know what to do?

Did they know because they knew the Master, because they observed him and saw how he did business?

Has our master left us alone (as he did with these servants)?

No! We have the Holy Spirit to help us.

Exercise

Look through the list of Talents you made earlier.

  • Do you actually invest them?
  • Could you invest them more effectively?
  • Do you need help from others to develop your talents?

Exercise

Consider your Main Talents. Set SMART goals for you development and investment of these Talents.

Did they work for themselves or the Master?

They worked on behalf of the master, not for themselves. Their initial funds came from him, and always belonged to him. And the return on their investment belonged to him, as well.
But they benefited, too.

What were their Rewards?

  • Praise
  • Greater Responsibility
  • Joy

What else did they gain?

  • Continuing to work for the Master (fellowship?)
  • Abundance
  • Increased influence
  • Greater opportunity to do more of the Master’s business

What was the praise for?

The Master does not praise them for their productivity, but their faithfulness.

Exercise

Consider your responsibilities.
Make a list of the key people (or groups of people) in your life. List your main responsibilities to each of them.

  • Are you meeting your responsibilities?
  • Do these responsibilities play to your strengths? Do they fit in with your Main Talents?
  • Do you want more responsibility?
  • Could you take on more?
  • Can you shed some of the responsibilities that do not fit in with your Main Talents to focus on your strengths?

Did the Servants keep the talents?

It looks like it. In fact, they keep both the original talents and the ones that they made.

How do we develop/grow our talents?

By investing / using them.

 Acknowledgements

These notes were made following a group discussion that I led some years ago. Thanks to all who contributed.

Further Reading

Despite my misgivings about some of the things taught by LDS, I would be remiss if I didn’t reference their beautiful illustrations of this story. Note that you’ll need permission from owner if you want to use these images (not from me!).

The Three Dimensions of Daily Renewal

Our personal productivity is primarily determined by three things:

  • Our motivation
  • Our physical ability
  • Our mental clarity

In order to stay on top of our game, we need to work on these daily:

  • Our purpose
  • Our fitness
  • Our organisation

As the good book says:

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.2 Timothy 1:7

Some People Won’t Get It

Some people just don’t get it, won’t get it or can’t get it. And you can’t make them.

Perhaps they don’t know, don’t think, or they just don’t care. Perhaps they’re insecure, or they’re jealous or they’re afraid that they‘ll lose if you win. Or, perhaps they’re afraid that you will get hurt, and they’re trying to protect you. Whatever the reason they don’t get it, don’t let the witless and the grit-less stop you from believing in yourself.

Now, if someone you trust says you’re wrong, you had better take note, because maybe they’re on to something. So, check your facts, check your logic and double-check your heart. And if it all comes out good, don’t sweat the doubters and the haters. When all is said and done, their problem isn’t with you, but with themselves.

Sometimes it is the people you least expect, the ones who really should know better. Sometimes it is your leaders, your advisors and your staff. Sometimes it is your friends, your family, or even your spouse. And sometimes, it is the whole jolly lot of them.

And sometimes, let’s be honest, sometimes it has been you, and me. So let’s not get all self-righteous about this. We all get it wrong, sometimes. So, “patience grasshopper”. Some of them will get it if you take the time to explain it, some will get it when they see it, and others will get it when they try it for themselves.

But, there will always be the ones who’ll never get it, no matter what you try. Even the Master had problems with the citics and the haters, the flouters and the doubters. ‘Cos haters gonna hate and doubters gonna doubt. That’s just the way it is. So, just let it go, and let them be. And above all, don’t let them stop you doing what you need to do. Because, when you’re right, you’re right.

Some people just don’t get it, some won’t get it and others just can’t get it. And you can’t make them. But if you get it, then live it. When all is said and done, that’s what counts.

Acknowledgements

Are You Heading for a Winter of Regret?

Will your life be a life half-lived? A life of regret?

…or will you live wisely, love well and serve greatly?

Leadership guru Robin Scharma often begins his talks with the following poem from Shesh Lehka by Rabindranath Tagore:

Why not print it out and put it somewhere so that you can read it regularly?

 Acknowledgements

Image courtesy Brian Lary via freeimages.com.

Principle: Your Affections Follow Your Investments

There is an emotional side to investment that is often overlooked and misunderstood.However, one of the key principles of investment is that every investment involves emotional investment.

There is a psychological principle at work here, that means that, whenever we invest our resources into something, it becomes charges with emotional value. In other words, our affections follow our investments.

When we understanding this principle, we can use it to bring about positive change in both ourselves and in others.

Understand the Principle

I first came across this principle in the Bible, when Jesus said:

Your heart will always be where your treasure is.Luke 12:34

… and I must admit, I had no idea what this meant when I first read it. Indeed, I was clearly not the only one: I’ve heard several talks on this little phrase, and in every case the speaker turned it around and said that all this means is that we tend to invest in the things we care about. True as that may be, that really isn’t the point of Jesus comment, as I learned when I visited the dog track a few months later.

Gone to the Dogs

Now, I am not much of a gambler, but when some good friends invited me to the dog races I decided I go along and see what it was all about. I must admit, it wasn’t what I had expected. I was surprised by the pleasant, family-friendly atmosphere track-side, and for some time we just enjoyed the atmosphere and watching the dogs.

Then someone suggested we should place a bet on the next race. Although I wouldn’t normally be bothered, on this occasion I felt I could afford to lose the few pence that I was being asked to contribute. So we all chipped in, and between us we contributed enough to place the minimum bet.

We put £2 on Number 3 in the next race.

As the race was about to begin, we all took our places at the rail. Then they were off! Number 3 got off to a good start. He rapidly moved into third place, behind number 5. We cheered him on, urging him to the front of the pack. To our delight, he surged forward, moving from third to second place, then easing into first! We cheered more loudly. He was looking good for the win!

But Number 5 was creeping up on him, and Number 4 was looking strong, too.

“Come on Number 3!”

Then disaster struck. 5 passed 3! Then 4 passed them both! 3 made a valiant effort, but he just couldn’t keep pace. Moments later, as the action drew to a close, it was clear that it was going to be a race between Number 4 and Number 5. Sure enough, Number 5 crossed the line as the clear winner, with Number 4 was a respectable second. And poor old Number 3? By the time he crossed the line, had dropped back to 6th place.

As we lamented our loss over a greasy hot-dog and a polystyrene beaker of refreshing tea, I realised something: all the time we were not betting on the dogs, we didn’t really care which one came first. But as soon as we had invested in one of them, we immediately found that we cared about it. We really wanted it to do well.

More recently, I’ve come to see that all investment is like that. Whenever we invest in something – whatever it is, whatever we invest – we become emotionally bound to that thing. We care about it. We cheer it on. We want it to succeed. We value the thing we invest in. It is not that we have any choice in the matter, either. We are just wired up that way. It is just a principle of the thing.

See the Principle Work

Here are a few examples of this principle in action:

The IKEA Effect

The IKEA Effect is an example of the principle that “Affections Follow Investment”. The IKEA Effect is the name given to the psychological phenomenon whereby people develop an emotional attachment to the results of their efforts. The term was coined to describe the results of a series of experiments that demonstrated that people place higher value on things that they build themselves over identical things that have been built by other people. It is the reason that people have a disproportionate effect for furniture that they have assembled themselves over furniture that is delivered pre-assembled.

An example of the IKEA Effect occurred with the introduction of instant cake mix, back in the 1950s. At first, there was resistance to the product, at least in part because housewives felt that their skills were being devalued. However, when one manufacturer changed the recipe so that the baker was required to add an egg, sales increased significantly. The evidence suggests that the extra effort required to make these cakes was a key ingredient (no pun intended) in the success of the product.

Other examples of the IKEA Effect occur when you pick-your-own at a farm, when children visit the Built-a-Bear Workshop (my son adores “Owlie”, a cuddly toy that he “made” at Build-a-Bear in Southampton), and with those bags of crisps that contain the little blue bags of salt.Based on investigations of the IKEA Effect,

researchers have concluded that:

Labour leads to love.

Easy Come, Easy Go

If people tend to value the things that come through great effort, it follows that they are less likely to value the things that come more easily. Indeed, we’ve all heard stories of lottery winners who have gone bankrupt, people with massive inheritances who have ended up penniless, and people who have made it big in the entertainment business who have frittered their money away on fast living and spending sprees. For example, research statistics suggest that, within five years of retirement, an estimated 60 percent of former NBA players are broke. It seems that we care little for things that have cost us little, whereas those things that are hard-earned are less easily squandered.

Good Money After Bad

People have a tendency to fall in love with their own ideas, One reason for this is that they are ideas that they have already invested time and energy in developing. This tendency has both beneficial and damaging consequences.

On the negative side, for example, it is one reason that people are willing to “poor good money after bad”: because they become emotionally attached to product in which they have invested, and find it difficult to break that attachment.

On the positive side, in my career as a programmer I have repeatedly observed that customers become passionate about a product when they have had a hand in its design. They can become great ambassadors for it when it is rolled out to their colleges. In contrast, those who have a solution thrust upon them are far less likely to view it positively.

Apply the Principle

The principle can be applied in many circumstances – indeed it applies whenever you make any kind of investment, be that an investment of:

  • Time
  • Money
  • Possessions
  • Mental effort
  • Physical effort
  • Anything else

Moreover, you can deliberately use the principle to make positive changes in both your own life and in the lives of others. The ways you do so will be determined by what you want to achieve, your creativity, and your understanding of the principle itself.

Here are some suggestions:

Do You Want to Influence Others?

To care about the environment?

  • Get them involved in clearing litter, removing graffiti or pulling supermarket trolleys out streams.

To be committed to your group?

  • Give them something to do. Even simple things like making tea or setting out chairs.

To love your product?

  • Get your customers to help you design it
  • Allow people to customize it
  • Give people a free trial period – during which they will invest their time in learning it
  • Make it harder for people to obtain (e.g. by making it rare and exclusive)
  • Make it more expensive

Want kids to eat up their vegetables?

  • Get them to help you cook the meal.

Want people to come to your event?

  • Charge for the event instead of making it free
  • Encourage people to buy tickets before the event, rather than on the door
  • Ask them to state preferences before hand

Want to Change Your Feelings Towards Someone?

In his best-selling book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey told a story about a man who came to him with a problem. The man said, “My wife and I just don’t have the same feelings for each other we used to have. I guess I just don’t love her any more and she doesn’t love me. What can I do?”. Covey answered, “My friend , love is a verb. Love – the feeling – is a fruit of love, the verb. So love her. Serve her. Sacrifice. Listen to her. Empathize. Appreciate. Affirm her. Are you willing to do that?”. Covey recognised that feeling follow actions, that when we invest in someone, our affection for that someone increases. Of course, this works in all relationships, marriage included.

Do You Want to Increase Your Self-Esteem?

Invest in yourself:

  • Take time to discover your strengths
  • Nurture your talents
  • Eat better
  • Improve your fitness
  • Smarten up

Do You Want to Escape from Unhealthy Behaviour?

Then stop investing in it, and invest in an alternative:

  • Spend time thinking about the benefits of the behaviour you desire.
  • Spend less on the habit. The first step in my kicking a chronic caffeine addiction was to find cheaper ways of feeding by craving.
  • Invest in other, less destructive ways to feel good.

In the book, Switch, the Heath Brothers observed that change is hard when you have no emotional imperative to change, but is much easier when you feel like making change. You can use this information, along with this principle, to make significant changes in your life.

The method is follow the advice in the adverts, and…

Just do it.Nike

But don’t try and do all of it. Not yet, anyway. The trick is to make a small investment in the change you want to make. This could be an investment of time, finances or effort. You don’t have to feel like making the investment, you just have to make it. Having made this small investment, you’ll be a little more committed to achieving your goal, even if the investment you made didn’t actually bring you closer to achieving it. Rinse and repeat. Little by little, the amount you invest will increase, and your commitment to your goals will increase as well. When you’re sufficiently motivated, you’ll move heaven and earth to reach your chosen destination.

Acknowledgements