This is a complete system and philosophy developed for building an awesome life that is designed to be as accessible and practical for as many people as possible.
It derives its name from the word “entrepreneur” though it does not require that one be an entrepreneur to practice it.
The Blueprint is “entrepreneurial” in the sense that it involves consistent innovation and reallocation of resources into more and more productive efforts in our own individual lives, similar to the role entrepreneurs play in the economy as a whole.
- 1 The 3 Ps of An Awesome Life
- 2 Part 3 – The Successful Action Formula
The Origin of “Entrepreneur”
The first emergence of the word entrepreneur in common use (19th century) came from the French words “entre” and “prendre” which literally mean “between” and “to grasp” but together they translate literally as “to take under” or “to undertake”.
As the word was first used it meant basically someone who produces a work of musical theater which in 19th century France meant someone who would take an artist’s vision or idea and upon deeming it worthwhile for production would raise the necessary capital to produce the show (artists themselves rarely had any money at the time and lived off of “benefactors”).
What makes the entrepreneur role noteworthy for our purposes is that such productions were very risky investments and that it was often on non-monetary terms that the entrepreneur convinced the wealthy people of the time to invest.
Since theatrical projects could not be sold strictly on the bases of their investment upside, successful entrepreneurs were those who could inspire such passion in an idea and convey it with such urgency that people would invest simply on the basis that the idea deserved to be given life, or that the world deserved to experience the idea, with monetary returns hoped for but not assured.
In the same spirit, The Blueprint is not a business plan per se and it does not use financial gain as its only metric of success. It relies on heart, hustle, a belief in amazing possibilities, and a deep sense of personal responsibility for creating our reality.
There are a lot of ways to make money… The Blueprint is about making an all around awesome life that is rich in many more ways than just a bank account.
At Peniel, we measure success in 3 key areas of a person’s life, the so-called “3 Ps of an Awesome Life”.
We also call these the 3 areas of excellence – Personal, Professional, and Physical.
Much more explanation will give to each area but for now suffice to say that each area of excellence has multiple “Key Performance Indicators” that inform progress, many of which are non-monetary.
However despite the various “currencies” or measures of success that Peniel emphasizes, it still takes a very practical view of how we actually live and recognizes that for 99% of people it is much easier to make changes that are both dramatic and permanent if we start by changing either how much money you have to work with or what you have to do with your time to make money.
This is why so much of our training is focused on starting and growing a business, particularly an online business.
Generating income from the Internet is a gateway to growth across all areas of life because it frees up time, decreases stress, and increases options.
Money stress is an exacerbator stress – it compounds and intensifies the stress we feel about other stressful things.
Money scarcity or money conflict is the cause of most divorces.
One could also argue it’s the cause of most heart attacks, bad diets, and failed businesses.
Why are celebrities always able to lose 40 lbs when they need to? Money for chefs, nutritionists, doctors, supplements, trainers, etc.
The high cost of non-processed and organic food is often cited as one of the main reasons why lower socioeconomic classes have such substandard nutrition.
Why do, as they say, the rich get richer?
Because when they start a new venture they aren’t undercapitalized and can see it through until it gets traction and they have access to more qualified professional services help.
There is lots of statistical data on this and the utopians out there are fond of citing the fact that beyond $100,000 a year money doesn’t actually “buy more happiness”.
Well up to $100,000 a year it buys a lot of happiness, in the form of reduced stress!
I would also argue that money in excess of $100,000 a year will buy a lot of the things that ARE proven to produce more happiness in life.
There are 3 of them (according to widely accepted sociological data).
The 3 expenditures that create incremental gains in happiness above $100,000 a year are (in reverse order of happiness produced):
- Investing in “memorable experiences” (travel, celebrations, etc.)
- Investing in things that free up your time (delegating/outsourcing things like laundry, yard work, accounting, even child care to a point)
- Investing in meaningful gifts for others (including charitable giving)
At the end of the day resources matter – in history class we learned that the nations that are destined to thrive over time are those RICH IN RESOURCES.
Humans are no different in that truth and just like nations they can acquire more resources (by force or by trade) and they can squander resources (by abuse or negligence).
Our Method believes this at its core… we as human can create, cultivate, and attract resources… and it is our mandate on this Earth to be a good steward of the resources we are given and a skilled harvester of more.
There is no room in The Blueprint for accepting a lack of resources as a permanent limitation in life.
Not in the world we live in now… there are simply too many opportunities for that to ever pass as an excuse.
The Resource Lever
One of the things that really sets us apart from most “personal development” or “life change” training in the market, is we take a pragmatic, resource-centric view of life.
Basically that means we see most peoples’ belief systems as an expression of their “resource reality”.
Most people believe things based on what they’ve experienced and the best way to open people up to new beliefs is to facilitate new experiences.
Hence the maxim “Insight isn’t therapy”.
New thoughts or realizations don’t change lives… unless they lead to creating new experiences.
Change occurs only through new experiences that form new neural networks in the brain, which is what most programs for “life change” are missing and why they don’t work.
I have found there’s nothing to more profoundly change a person than to give them an experience that is dramatically different and more positive than what they’re used to.
Once that is done, and the eyes are opened to possibility, then if you can show a person how to make that experience repeatable and even commonplace you open the eyes of belief.
And once people start believing in different possibilities for their life and that there is a real way to achieve them much of the life change become self-fulfilling.
As Napoleon Hill said “What the mind can conceive and believe it can achieve.”
In the world of “life change” talk is cheap.
For most people if you can help someone experience how to make more money working less time than what they’re currently doing in a way that is duplicatable and grows over time (compounding effect) then you have created more change in their life than years of therapy, personal development seminars, or daily affirmations possibly could.
So that’s where Peniel starts – by teaching you skills that allow you to generate income online and thus create a ripple effect that helps change your other beliefs about what’s possible in life and what you should expect for yourself.
After working with thousands of people I could not be more convinced that this is the right way to help people.
I’ve helped people get further with changing their belief systems about the world in 30 days of making their first few hundred bucks online than they got through anything else in their life.
Easy wins are the best therapy. They don’t have to be huge, they just have to show you that life doesn’t have to be a struggle.
And of course I recognize that there are cases where peoples’ challenges are not related to money, but there are few situations that would not at least be improved by more available resources , if only so that others affected by the challenges (the “people we love”, for example) can be less affected by them.
In creating my approach to life change, I looked outside of psychology for a more effective discipline when it comes to modifying human behavior.
There is a discipline that has historically produced far greater results at changing peoples’ beliefs than psychology ever has – Marketing.
Other than the threat of force (police) or financial penalty (taxes), marketing is the most effective method on Earth for getting people to do stuff.
So when it comes to helping people have better lives, which ALWAYS means getting them to take different actions, I asked “what would marketing do?”
In the last 20 years, through books like Contagious, The Tipping Point, Start With Why, and (my favorite) Influence by Robert Cialdini, marketing and psychology have converged, but your average cognitive behavioral therapist still isn’t reading marketing books.
I propose that they should and they would get better results if they did.
Peniel helps people change their lives by pulling on what it calls “the resource lever”, knowing that is a far more proven strategy for getting people to do things than anything psychology has come up with in 200 years.
Things like “micro-commitments”, “social proof”, and “authority architecture” have a much clearer track record than psychoanalysis.
The Resource Lever basically says that if you want people to focus on something you have to get them to commit resources to it.
If you want people to be excited about something they have to be able to get resources from it.
There are lots of resource types (currencies we refer to them as sometimes) – money, love, energy, time, thought, identity, etc. – but by far the most powerful of these for the greatest number of people is money.
Marketing is really good at getting people to focus on things by getting them to spend money on them… the problem is that marketers don’t take an oath to “do no harm” so the results are not always good for the consumer.
But that doesn’t mean we should miss the lesson.
Marketing and what it teaches us about human behavior is the best lever we can pull to influence ANYONE to do what we want – INCLUDING OURSELVES.
This is why Robert Cialdini’s book ‘Influence” is one of my favorite books… and one of the most useful ever written.
The conversation I had with myself when I first read Influence, and which ensued throughout multiple rereadings over several years time, ultimately became The Peniel Blueprint and is the answer I give when people ask me what I attribute my success to.
Basically I figured out how to influence myself into doing the things that would lead to the life I want and reduce the need for willpower.
My internal conversation around the book went basically like this (starting in 2008).
“So this book teaches me how other people get us to do stuff?”
“Cool, so now I can get other people to do stuff which will be really helpful because I’m trying to make money online and I need people to buy my stuff” (cue Dr Evil laugh…)
“Hmm… I wonder if these ‘principles of persuasion’ the book talks about could somehow be turned on myself. Persuasion is about lowering peoples’ resistance and aligning the decisions we want them to make with how people naturally make decisions. Could I lower my own resistance and align my own best interests with how I naturally make decisions?”
“Now THAT sounds cool… I’m going to try that.”
[10 year period ensues where I do exactly that and my life completely transforms personally, physically, and professionally….]
(now 2020 and having reread the book multiple times) “Man that really worked. Not only is life awesome now but things just come easily… I should show other people what I did and what I learned. Maybe there’s a formula here.”
The Peniel Blueprint isn’t intended as a biography so I’ll spare the anecdotes, but trust me when I say, when I began influencing my own behavior in a conscious and deliberate way using the 6 “principles of persuasion”, everything got better – debt got paid off, my bank account grew, my waistline shrunk, my mood improved, my communication improved, I made better decisions, better opportunities found me, and ultimately the most amazing life I could possibly envision evolved around me.
The 6 Principles of Persuasion as taught in Influence are:
- Social proof
- Commitment and consistency
Throughout the Peniel training we will be studying and using these principles on ourselves to increase the probability of and decrease our resistance to our desired outcomes.
And we’ll be following a gameplan we will be “influencing” ourselves to follow.
And to reiterate, that gameplan start with the Resource Lever, ie making more money and/or making money by doing easier things.
For now, just know the 6 principles exist.
We’ll get to know them in much more depth as we come back to them again and again, and they will always be subtly present throughout training.
All of these principles have a resource component…
- What do we perceive as scarce?
- Why do we attribute authority?
- What is social proof?
- What attracts us to ‘like’ someone?
- How do we demonstrate commitment and consistency?
- How is reciprocity measured?
The answer to all these questions is “resources”.
We inspire/manipulate/convince/whatever-word-you-want-to-use ourselves every day through how we perceive resources.
And when we perceive more resource abundance our belief in what’s possible within our own lives skyrockets in a way that no amount of therapy could ever accomplish so quickly.
In the movie Jerry Maguire, Tom Cruise’s character summed this viewpoint up when he eloquently said “show me the money”.
Talk is cheap, ideas are fleeting, even hard work has diminishing returns… investing in resources is the only long term game worth playing.
This is why Peniel’s training starts with focus on the “Professional” area of excellence – it’s generally the area that determines how you acquire resources and how many of them you acquire, which is the most effective lever you can pull to influence yourself into other behaviors that will -cause a chain reaction of growth in other areas.
The 3 Ps of An Awesome Life
As mentioned, The Blueprint breaks life into 3 “areas of excellence” – areas of life in which constant and neverending progress can be made resulting in an ever increasing quality of life.
The “3 Ps of Excellence” are:
- Personal Excellence
- Professional Excellence
- Physical Excellence
The meaning of these terms may seem obvious but we define them in specific ways.
- Personal – Direct contact relationships including friends, family, ourself, and our “social” spiritual practice (any spiritual practice that involves other people).
- Professional – The network, knowledge, and resources that create our Value Exchange with the world at large. The value we give the world and the tools we use to amplify that value produce our “Impact” and our “Rewards” which are both measured across various forms of currency. Money is one such currency and this area primarily determines what we get paid.
- Physical – How we care for and develop our physical, metaphysical, and psychological resources. Physical care of the body (nutrition, exercise, and endocrine regulation), metaphysical practices and habits (including “non-social” spiritual practice ie those not involving other people), and psychological maintenance and development (personal development work, cognitive behavioral work, etc.)
The order given above is the order in which most people think of these topics (putting their feelings first and their bodies last).
Get your professional life in order (make more money, earn money more easily, reduce stress, free up time, have more options) and be amazed at the progress you will make in your relationships and interaction with others and yourself.
Again at risk of veering autobiographical I will illustrate how this has been born out in my own life.
By first focusing on professional excellence (making good money and doing so in a way that also produced free time) I now had time, energy, capital, and a network to reinvest in personal and physical growth.
I was able to cut ties with toxic relationships that I no longer depended on and devote more of my time and resources to creating the life I wanted.
I then put some focus on physical excellence (in blunt terms I was a fat mess when I started my online business).
Being able to afford nigher quality food was a small part of the change but it really had more to do with increased confidence, reduced stress, more time to exercise, more mental bandwidth for learning about fitness and nutrition, and more energy from better sleep (from reduced stress).
Get your professional life in order and your physical life gets a whole lot easier to deal with…
…. but most are missing 3 things that we had.
- Money to pursue solutions whatever they are
- Time freedom enough to “do the work” of solving any problem
- A deep belief that life is meant to be awesome and that if the right resources are invested and the hard work is done progress will be made
All 3 of these are equally important, and it is rare the life that has an abundance of all 3. Most people are short on at least 1 or 2 of these 3 things, so their life doesn’t progress as fast as it could.
The 3 Phases of Professional Excellence
Phase 1 – Leverage
Phase 1 of Professional Excellence is to build a “leverage” or “cash flow” business, meaning a unique type of business that can generate maximum returns for minimum investment.
This is ideal for people who do not have deep pockets to begin with and is the starting point for the largest number of people.
Obviously there is not a true-one-size-fits-all business model for every single person but rather than lose sleep over that we take our cue from economics, and make do with “that which produces the greatest amount of good for the greatest number of people” (which is the moral foundation of economics at least according to one of my favorite economists Henry Hazlett).
A huge part of the commitment and consistency principle that drives human behavior (Cialdini’s 5th principle in Influence) is becoming accustomed to the result that we want.
Assuming we want to win in the grand scheme of life, we need to pick endeavors that allow us to start building small wins as quickly as possible.
Affiliate marketing is this endeavor for the largest number of people who are looking to start a business that leverages the Internet to create both income and lifestyle flexibility.
The three sub phases of Peniel’s affiliate training comprise an “ascension model” that allow anyone to go as far as they wish within the business model.
Significant income and lifestyle improvements are available at every level, particularly super affiliate and influencer levels, and not everyone must ascend all the way through, though all are encouraged to do so.
Of note in the ascension model is that it is not only financial opportunity that increases as someone ascends – the non-monetary factors involved also contribute to personal growth and lifestyle enhancement.
Super affiliate marketing requires certain skills “greater“ than those of basic affiliate marketing – skills such as persuasive “direct response” communication, deeper understanding of collective psychology, etc. that not only are the tools of super affiliate marketing, but also have huge spillover benefit into general life.
Similarly influencer marketing has its own set of skills that have huge value across the entire spectrum of life – skills such as perception architecture, branding and styling, still deeper understanding of messaging and communication, proximity psychology, and even more “fringe” techniques such as energy wave psychology and neuro linguistic programming.
The Economic Argument for Affiliate Marketing
Before moving on to the 2nd Phase of Professional Excellence I want to take a moment to reinforce why Affiliate Marketing is the ideal starting point for most people to reshape their value exchange with the world (how they get paid).
After studying dozens of “gurus” and reading over a hundred wealth creation books the 2 most practical ideas that everyone seems to agree on regarding building wealth over the course of a life are:
- Don’t waste time
- Don’t lose money
Even though building wealth requires playing good offense and aggressively pursuing wealth these 2 staple ideas are about playing good defense.
The first, “Don’t Waste Time” gets bandied about in many different ways that hint at its deep truth…
- Fail quickly, recover faster
- Progress is Happiness
- Einstein’s quote “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it … he who doesn’t … pays it.”
These sayings all allude to the incessance and weightiness of time as either being with us or against us depending on what we’re doing with it.
The second, “Don’t lose money”, is famously summed up in Warren Buffet’s first 2 rules of investing, “Rule No. 1: Never lose money. Rule No. 2: Never forget rule No. 1.”
By its unique nature affiliate marketing, of all business models, is the best business I have found for the average person (forgive the term but “the little guy”) who can least afford to lose time or money in pursuit of wealth.
This is o because affiliate marketing does not make the same demands of the aspiring entrepreneur that any other traditional business does (even other online business models).
Space/rent, employees, utilities, inventory, insurance, transporation costs, even sales taxes are all absent when doing affiliate marketing.
An affiliate marketer needs only to invest time or money in generating traffic (which is true of any business) and then EVERYTHING else that occurs has almost 100% profit margin.
When a campaign fails (they do) it fails quickly, and shifts can be made immediately and with endless cariety to recover just as quickly – if ads aren’t converting you just turn them off, if an offer isn’t monetizing you just find a new offer, if a list isn’t responding you just warm it up.
If lists are properly built and maintained a seemingly magical machine is built that can produce income again and again with no additional incremental cost.
There is no other business that comes close to offering this kind of upside to the person who doesn’t have a ton of working capital to grow a more cost-intensive business type (and that’s coming from a person who was flat broke and $450,000 in debt form opening 2 franchise restaurants right into a recession then paid it all off in 18 months with affiliate marketing during said recession).
Some people have criticized affiliate marketing because the raw income potential is “not as great” as other online business models.
I argue that’s a debatable claim (I know affiliate marketers who make multiple millions of dollars per month with almost no overhead cost) but even if it were true I would argue that for the average person it doesn’t matter…
The first 2 truths of building wealth are about playing good defense and you don’t need to score 100 points if 50 points will win the game.
For most people somewhere between $4,000 and $20,000 a month coming from an online business would be life changing.
So let’s look briefly at the economics of Affiliate Marketing using extremely conservative assumptions…
Affiliate Marketing example model
Let’s say someone spends a year working part time (20 hours a week) to create a basic affiliate business around a certain niche (travel or fitness or pets or sunlight worship or whatever the heck they want).
Let’s say after 1 full year (at 20 hours per week) they have ONLY succeeded at creating a business that produces $1000 per month in income (I was at $40,000 a month in 6 months so again this is an extremely conservative example).
That’s $12,000 per year in income built up after about 1000 hours of work… at first glance one can see why that might not seem so amazing.
But what is $12,000 per year in residual income that comes in from a list that requires less than an hour a week to nurture and can last for years? (not that you would stop at this point but if you wanted to measure it as a passive investment you would only account for the maintenance effort required).
Assuming that most SAFE investments (remember Buffet’s rule) return about 5% a year (the average savings account is about 1% btw) then a $12,000 per year income represents the expected return on about $240,000 in assets.
So in 1000 hours of work this person effectively built a $240,000 asset.
For most people there is nothing else they could in their life to add $240,000 in assets to their balance sheet producing a 5% zero-risk return with 1000 hours of effort over the course of a year.
All while working a business that 100% checks the boxes of being built to leverage time for the long haul AND with the lowest possible risk of losing money or being stuck in a prolonged downturn.
And THAT is the economic argument for starting with Affiliate Marketing!
Phase 2 – Growth
So we start with affiliate marketing and move through the sub-phases thereof… Basic Affiliate Marketing, Super Affiliate Marketing, and Influencer Marketing. Now what?
Well Affiliate Marketing (like all “cash flow” or “leverage” businesses such as network marketing, collectibles trading, etc.) does have some limitations.
It is the best place to START for a person who cannot afford to take expensive or time consuming steps backward but it is does fall short in one area… predictability.
Affiliate Marketing income is generally based on business-to-consumer sales… most affiliate offers are “B2C” offers where you as an affiliate are helping businesses find consumers for their products and services, and getting paid for the referrals.
Unfortunately, consumers can be fickle and unpredictable as can the companies that sell to them so eventually you might want to move beyond the “merry-go-round” of having to constantly find and promote new offers to your audience as the old ones age and consumer preferences change.
And of course you do have the occasional company that disbands or scales back its affiliate program and cuts payments to affiliates (it’s rare but it has happened to me multiple times).
So while Affiliate Marketing scores amazingly high on reward vs risk and the value of the underlying asset (the list) it does not score as high on predictability and permanence.
Which brings us to the next phase of Professional excellence… creating a “Growth Business”.
A Growth Business is one that continues to generate high leverage cash flow (ie doesn’t take on high overhead) but is willing to sacrifice some profit margin in exchange for predictability of future cash flow (so called “bankable” cash flow because you can literally borrow money against it).
Why An Agency Business is the best “Growth Business” to Start
For someone who has created a cash flow business using Affiliate Marketing the obvious and lowest risk “Growth Business” to move into is providing Digital Marketing services to Businesses (what ENTRE calls “Agency Marketing”).
Think about it – Affiliate Marketing involved a nearly total focus on generating leads and converting those leads into paying customers for various offers of products and services…
Well that sounds an awful lot like what EVERY other business int he world needs more of!
So sell those skills to them as a service…
This is exactly what I did.
I spent from 2008 to 2013 as an affiliate marketer then in 2013 I started selling those same skills to businesses who would pay anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars a month for various services that:
Generated leads (always the most popular category of service):
- Map Placement and SEO (organic leads)
- Ad campaign management (paid leads)
- Funnel creation (both)
Managed brand and reputation:
- Online Reputation Management
Engaged prospects and customers over time to increase Lifetime Customer Value:
- List Management
- Automation (setting things on autopilot)
- Multi-Dimensional Follow Up (the world outside of email, ie SMS, push notifications, messenger, etc.)
Well that’s pretty much all the stuff I learned to do as an Affiliate Marketer only now I had businesses signing contracts (that part is key) to pay me thousands or tens of thousands of dollars per year to do these same things for them.
And now I didn’t have to spend any money on traffic… I got to spend the businesses’ money for them and get paid for the privilege.
And the best part… after the first few months I didn’t do any of the work myself.
Growth Business Automation
For a business to qualify as the kind of Growth Business those of us who are building our awesome life want to create it needs to not only stabilize revenue generation but do so in a way that doesn’t hugely set us back in terms of time freedom (it might set us back a little, starting anything new is going to do that…)
This is what makes Agency Marketing the ideal fit for our Growth Business – it can be highly automated and what can’t be automated can be handled remotely.
B2B digital marketing is mostly skills-based work and there are a lot more people out there with these skills than there are people putting them to good use running their own agency business.
Right away I started building a small staff in my agency and within the first year every task I listed above I was able to delegate to a staff member.
Providing Digital Marketing services to businesses is the ultimate “next step” business from Affiliate Marketing… I now had signed contracts from businesses guaranteeing me predictable revenue for services I could find others to provide.
And from 2014-2018 I grew that into an Inc 5000 company doing over $5 million per year in revenue and where by year 3 I was hardly even going into the office (and honestly if I had it to do over again I wouldn’t even get an office I would be 100% virtual which is how Peniel teaches Agency Business).
By the way, that last piece, selling the asset, NEVER would have happened with affiliate marketing.
As amazing as cash flow businesses are no one will ever buy them from you (because they are so inextricably linked to you there’s no value in them when they pass to someone else) which is the other good reason to evolve to a Growth Business once your cash flow business is taking care of your basic lifestyle requirements.
Of course, before I expect anyone to agree with me that Agency Marketing is the correct “Growth Business” to follow Affiliate Marketing we must also look at the non-monetary factors.
For a business to be the right choice it needs to also be a fit personally.
Here, Agency Marketing also scores highly for versatility and flexibility.
I mentioned my agency had an office but also that if I had it to do over again I would not open an office.
There are thousands of marketers around the world who run digital agencies from a laptop anywhere in the world.
Some people might think that would make it hard to get business clients (not being in the town where the business owners are) but this is not the case.
The same skills that make you a good Affiliate Marketer will also make you good at attracting other types of customers for other types of offers.
My agency sold a product or service to over 30,000 businesses over a 6 year period and I never met one of them face-to-face.
As for personality fit – if you’re a gregarious “people person” and love to chat, great, call up you business clients and have lots of conversations!
If you’re more introverted like I am then just make sure they get their performance reports via email and put a staff member or two in place to answer questions directly.
You’ll comfortably be able to hire an assistant or two if you have 5-10 clients
Part 3 – The Successful Action Formula
Successful action is very different from mere action. Have you noticed the world is full of active people who never seem to be getting anywhere?
I often say being busy can be an insidious form of laziness – very often we are too “busy” to do anything productive or growth promoting.
The most successful people are those who know how to take the most successful actions – their actions get results, their actions fall in line with their strategy, and their actions are habitual, not reactive.
Most of us are familiar with the concept of a three-legged stool. A stool requires three legs to stand and if you remove one leg in the stool falls over. Similarly I have found successful action requires three “legs“ in order to stand as successful action.
If you are consistently taking action that is supported by these three legs your actions have great likelihood of producing successful results.
Getting in the habit of making sure these three legs are in place before we take action will massively accelerate the pace at which action produces positive results in our lives.
The first leg of successful action is community.
One of the greatest truths of human beings is how much we need community.
It’s been proven across numerous disciplines how interconnected we are as human beings – our consciousness, our energy fields, the flow of money, the flow of opportunity, our identities – there are so many levels at which we rely on one another to survive and thrive.
One of the conditions for successful action is to first surround yourself with the right people who can multiply the power of that action and create synergy to get more results.
In The 7 Habits Of HIghly Effective People (another highly recommended book), Stephen Covey organizes his habits into 3 groups.
Group 1 (habits 1-3): Those that move us from dependence to independence (focus on self-mastery)
Group 2 (habits 4-6): Those that move us from independence to interdependence (focus on teamwork, collaboration, and communication)
Group 3 (the 7th habit): A constant leveling up that encompasses all the other habits (“sharpening the saw”)
The second group of habits all occur within a “community” context in that they require other people…
One aspect that Covey’s book doesn’t deal with is how to make sure you have the right community in place so that the best habits can develop. In a sense, your teamwork, collaboration, and communication skills can only be as good as your community allows them to be. So it is essential to surround yourself with the right people.
The next leg of successful action is knowledge. Knowledge is how you optimize action.
Take 2 people who are exerting the same amount of effort toward a goal, and it will be the one with more knowledge who achieves it.
Knowledge allows us to see what’s possible and how it can be achieved.
One of my mentors, taught me that there are only two ways to better yourself in this world – change what you know or change who you know or in other words acquire more knowledge.
If you want to make sure your actions are successful, prop them up with a deep knowledge of whatever arena you’re acting in.
Want to make more money? You need to know how to do it.
Want to have better relationships? You need to know how to do it
Want to feel better every day? You need to know how to do it.
The third leg is philosophy, which supports action but also influences the other two legs…
When forming your community, your philosophy will inform who you include in your community.
When acquiring knowledge, your philosophy will inform what knowledge you acquire.
Ultimately your philosophy is what do you believe about the world and how do you explain it to yourself.
The human mind is a beautiful dance between rational thought and unreasoned impulse.
Ultimately to achieve results we must align our thoughts and our drives by forming belief systems that allow them to work together.
Each student must look deeply at their own personal philosophy and be honest with themselves about where there is work to do.
There is a deceptively nefarious loop happening in most peoples’ lives – we tend to get what we expect, but we expect based on what we’ve gotten in the past. So more of the same is generally what we get.
This loop defines most peoples lives and it is also what dictates what actions people consistently take and are willing to take.
The beliefs we hold, our philosophy, ultimately determine which actions we will commit to fully and which ones we will undermine with only half-hearted commitment. Committing to some things fully and other things only partially is one the cleverest ways we maintain status quo in our lives.