"The Man, The Mission, The Passion" Husband, Father, Attorney, CPA, Steward Leader, Entrepreneur, MBA, Author, Builder, HBS OPM 25 Class, Mentor, Teacher

What is Your Relationship Belief System?

holding hands

People have many belief systems about relationships that powerfully affect the quality and length of their relationships. Interestingly, many of these beliefs are not consciously held or are so much part of the background or wallpaper of their lives that folks may not even realize they have them or how differently other people may feel about or view the same situation (i.e. fish discover water last).

Many people have a Destiny Belief System (i.e. it just is what it is) about relationships, love and attraction to others, physical or otherwise. In contrast, others hold what might be called a Growth Belief System about relationships which can be summarized as “effort makes a difference”. Under the Destiny Belief System school of thought, once love dies or begins to fade well, that’s just how the cookie crumbles. Under the Growth Belief System of relationships, ups and downs in closeness, intimacy, and attraction are a normal part of the cycle of life and are a sign post to try harder, smarter, longer; go deeper/closer, listen more, talk it out, touch more, read a book on relationships together, set aside time for date night or mutual relaxation (duo massages?), take a second honeymoon, visit a therapist etc., etc.

The Destiny Belief System clings to the expectation that true love “just happens” Cinderella style, that if it’s work, if you have to “work on it”, then something is wrong. While it is certainly true that physical, emotional, and intellectual attraction can be instantaneous, true intimacy (in-to-me-see) takes time. Like many things in life, relationships often boil down to “Think you can, think you can’t, you are right.”

Closing Quotes

“I mean, if the relationship can’t survive the long term, why on earth would it be worth my time and energy for the short term?” – Nicholas Sparks, The Last Song

“Relationship is an art. The dream that two people create is more difficult to master than one.” – Don Miguel Ruiz

“There are times when two people need to step apart from one another, but there is no rule that says they have to turn and fire.” – Robert Brault

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier


Come Get Your Miracle

want it bad enough

Whatever you want, you can come closer to having… if you just want it bad enough. How bad?

Well, as bad as a drowning man wants air.

That is an easy phrase to read and miss the full emotional impact so read the following and let your imagination run free to get the full impact:

Imagine falling into the water one black, moonless night, being thrown off a boat by sudden wave or turn. You are fully dressed in bulky winter clothing and wearing heavy boots. The sodden weight of your clothing pulls you down and the darkness means you are even more disoriented. You had tried to grab a quick gasp of air as you fell but all that you inhaled was frothy water further stoking your frenzied fear. You try to kick off your boots but they are tied tight. For a moment, you try to kick your way to what you hope is the surface in spite of your boots but they feel like cement overshoes. In a quick ironic moment, you wish you could take a deep breath to calm yourself. You fight your panic down enough to reach down (“wrong way” a hysterical part of you cries out!) and finally unlace your boots. Immediately you can feel a surge in buoyancy. You shrug off your jacket in the same moment and feel yourself to begin to rise. You kick frantically, feeling the blackness around the edge of your vision. You hope, hope, hope you will remain conscious long enough to make the surface. The urge to open your mouth and pull in a cool, clean air is almost overwhelming; it takes everything you have to override the reflex, knowing that it would be the death knell. Breathe! Breathe! Breathe! Air! Air! Air! The words pound at your brain like sledgehammers as you feel your strength fade.

When you want to succeed THAT bad, you will progress!

Closing Quote: (extensively edited with apologies to Eric Thomas, Secrets To Success)

There was a young man who went to this Guru,
And he told the Guru, “I want be on the same level you’re on.”
So The Guru said, “Meet me at the beach, at 4 AM.”
He’s like, “The beach? I said I want succeed. I don’t want swim.”
Guru said, “If you want succeed like me, meet me at the beach.”
So the young man got there 4 AM.
The old man grabs his hand and said,
“How bad do you want be successful?”
He said, “Real bad”.
The Guru said, “Walk on out in the water.”
So he walks out into the water to his waist.
The Guru said, “Come out a little further.”
So the young man walked out a little further to his shoulder.
The Guru said, “Come on out a little further.”
The young man, he came out a little further, the water was right at his mouth.
The young man says to himself: “This guy out of his mind.”
But the old man said, “I thought you said you wanted to be successful?”
The young man said, “I do.”
And the Guru said, “Walk a little further.”
The young man came and the Guru took his head, pushed it down into the water
Dropped his head in, held him down, down, down.
The young man struggled but the Guru had him, had him strong, held him down, down, down.
Just before the young man was about to pass out,
The Guru raised him up.
The Guru said, “I got a question for you.”
The Guru said, “When you were underwater, what did you want to do?”
The young man said, he said “I wanted to breathe.”
The Guru asked: “Anything else?”
The young man “Breathe, just breathe, nothing else.”
The Guru told the guy; The Guru said,
“When you want to succeed as bad as you wanted to breathe, then, then you’ll be successful.”

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier


The Cycle of Inquiry


“There is very little difference between people but that little difference makes a big difference.” – W. Clement Stone

One little difference that makes a big difference is possessing/acquiring CTS: Critical Thinking Skills and a fundamental part of Critical Thinking Skills is asking ambitious, focused, intelligent, provocative questions which in turn involves understanding the “Cycle of Inquiry”.

The Cycle of Inquiry involves sequentially asking “Why, What if, and How”, often over and over.

Asking “Why?” or “What is Our True Goal?” focuses on the desired outcome, the ultimate purpose we wish to direct our energies toward, the underlying meaning of the inquiry: why there is a problem, why it is a problem (for some or from another perspective it may not be a problem), why it still exists i.e. why it hasn’t been solved already.

Asking “What if?” or “How Might We?” or “What other paths lead to the mountain top?” helps us clear away obstacles in our mind, free our imaginations, and lets us see a different world. A variation of this is “Clean Sheeting” i.e. imagining that we are starting from scratch, building from the ground up versus attempting to modify an existing system or situation. If we were starting all over, what would we do different?

Asking “How?” or “What Would it Take?” leads us to the practical stage: creating action plans. When folks tell me something can’t be done, I sometimes ask “Could you do it if you had a million dollars?” Often the answer changes to “Sure, if I had a million dollars I could.” I then say “Well, then it is possible, we just need to find a more economical, cost effective way to do it!”

Questions are the “Engines of the Intellect”, leading us to challenge the status quo and seek new, different and better ways. The act of formulating questions enables us “to organize our thinking around what we don’t know.” The most effective questions are open ended (i.e. do not contain presumptions or constraints), solution-focused, action-oriented that concentrate our creative energies on transforming possibility into reality.

Closing Quotes:

“The most important part of my personality as far as determining my success has been my questioning conventional wisdom, doubting experts, and questioning authority.” – Larry Ellison

“Don’t just teach your children to read. Teach them to question what they read, teach them to question everything.” – George Carlin

“We live in the world our questions create.” – David Cooperrider

“Asking the right questions takes as much skill as giving the right answers.” – Robert Half

“To be able to ask a question clearly is two-thirds of the way to getting it answered.” – John Ruskin

 “If you do not ask the right questions, you do not get the right answers. A question asked in the right way often points to its own answer.” – Edward Hodnett 

“Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.” – Tony Robbins

“For true success ask yourself these four questions: Why? Why not? Why not me? Why not now?” – James Allen

“I found I wasn’t asking good enough questions because I assumed I knew something.” – Alan Alda

“The uncreative mind can spot wrong answers, but it takes a very creative mind to spot wrong questions.” – Anthony Jay

“We thought that we had the answers, it was the questions we had wrong.” – Bono

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier