The American Dream is not dead

I had lunch the other day with a young man about 23 years of age. Yes, I am old enough now (at least to him) to say young man.  Ugh!  I digress.  I met him at an event I was speaking at a few weeks ago.   He got his college degree in finance from a very well-known college. He has worked with a big stock brokerage firm and that is where his passion is.  He reads all of the magazines and publications, and knows his stuff.  But what is unique about this 23-year-old, is that his family moved him from Latin America when he was 9 years old.  His family moved here with three suitcases and that was about it.  It was such a neat story.

We discussed life, goals, aspirations, cities to visit, you name it.  But something he said to me that has stuck with me for a few days now is this:  He said the American Dream is not dead.  When he said this to me, I asked him to repeat it, because I wanted to be sure I heard him correctly.  He said it again.  The American Dream is not dead. Obviously, I had to unpack this with him for a few minutes.  We discussed success, hardwork, and determination, everything that is required to live “The American Dream”.   We discussed helping people and changing lives while we change our own.  We had a great conversation and he has motivated me even more.  I like to be around people like him.   I know what the American Dream is to him, and he knows what it is to me.  But what is The American Dream?

I think it is our duty on this earth to become everything we are capable of being, whatever that is. A good question to ask yourself?  Am I doing everything I can?  If the answer is yes, that is ok.  But if you are unsure, then I think the answer is no.  So what can you do? This is a great question to ask yourself in your personal life and on the job.  My mentor said don’t just get through the day, get from the day.  When you get from the day, you squeeze every last drop out of it.

There are a lot of people who say you must appreciate what you have.  Yes, I agree with that statement whole heartedly. So a suggestion I have for you is this: Enjoy all you got, while you pursue all you want.

What is the American Dream to you?

Spare Time

We have discussed this before on selfdevelopmentaddict.   What you do in your spare time will determine your success or non-success.  Keep in mind, success to me is defined as the constant pursuit of worthwhile goals and dreams.  So you must establish what those worthwhile goals and dreams of yours are and then lay down the action steps and plan to achieve them.

For some reason I wanted to sleep in this morning.  It happens to all of us.  The difference for me this morning was that I had a good friend of mine texting me on what he was working on.  This wasn’t extremely early, but it was before I was motivated to get out of bed.  His texts inspired me to get out of my bed and quickly get on with the day and ultimately inspired me to write on this topic today. It is good to be surrounded by people who push you to be better.

Most of us have three parts to our day.  We have work, sleep, and then spare time.  It is Sunday afternoon as I am typing this, so I will classify the weekends as spare time. If you work on the weekends (As I do), then you work a lot in your spare time and that is good, but what are you working on is the key?

Depending on your work and sleep schedule, it determines how much spare time you have.  Also, I realize many of you may have families and children, lets just go ahead and say it now.  It is up to you to determine what you will get out of your life. If your life is not where you want it to be, then what you do in your spare time will determine your success.  Maybe your life is where you want it to be, for you to continue to have success and achieve more success it will require you to continue to grow and develop.  Things just don’t happen, you must make them happen. So spending time with children and family needs to be budgeted in as well.  I heard a great quote yesterday, while I was spending my spare time in a meeting with other trainers (on a Saturday) learning how we can get better.  The quote was:  “The world we went to sleep in last night, is not the same world we woke up in today”.  WOW, isn’t that true, the world changes so fast.

So what do you do in your spare time.  Well since it is Sunday, most people I know make time for their spiritual thirst and need.  Maybe you attend church on Sunday mornings or Sunday afternoons.  Then you spend time with the people at your church at dinner or lunch.  I am not here to judge right or wrong in what anyone does in their spare time, however, I would say that this kind of activity leads to other good activities and feeds a person spiritually and mentally and allows them to develop and ultimately positions them to achieve their goals and dreams, I know.

What else are you doing in you spare time.  Are you recharging?  Well, that is something we all should do.  You gotta do it for your own health and well-being.  Are you investing in yourself?  That is the question. A portion of you spare time should be devoted and invested in developing your self. Maybe it is reading non-fiction book, maybe it is listening to a webinar, maybe it is working on a small business, etc.  All of these investments are opportunities that will allow you to get closer to your goals and dreams.

What are you doing today, to invest in yourself?  Is it recharging?  Is it spiritual?  Is it learning a new skill or developing a skill?  Please share with me what you are doing.

Adding value

I have two really good friends in my life right now that have blessed me in so many ways.  On my way to meet with one of them last night I was on the phone with the other.  So for about four hours last night I talked about growth, development, relationships, business, spiritual, and life as a whole with both of them.

What is value? To me the definition of value is, worth. That seems like a pretty good definition, without having to even go to the internet to see what it says.

So how do you know if someone is adding value to you? Is worth something to you.   A good question, right? Here are some ways I judge it.

  • Do they talk about the things I care to talk about. 
  • Do they tell me things that I did not know before.
  • Do they challenge my thinking a little?  Ask me for clarification on something I say. 
  • Do they disagree at times with me. 
  • Do they challenge me to look at something differently. 
  • Do they challenge me. 
  • Do they say something that inspires me. 
  • Are they doing the same things I am doing. 
  • Here is a big one, when I leave the conversation, am I excited and enthusiastic about what is to come?

Can you answer yes to these questions.  There have been many studies conducted on people and how we become who we spend most of our time with.  For example:  If I spend a lot of time with people who like to drink beer and watch sports.  Chances are I will drink beer and watch a lot of sports.  I am not saying anything is wrong with that, I am just saying you become who you spend most of your time with.

I realize that we interact with people and have conversations with people all day long and not all of those relationships can add value.  However, you can have people who add value to you in other ways as well.  I have a friend that probably doesn’t do most of the above at all, however, when we get together it is a great release to my life.  They add value in that way.  However, like everything, we have to spend our time wisely, even though we are blessed with each day, what we do with that time each day is what is most important.

What if most of your time was spent with people who added value to you? They bring some kind of worth to your life.  What would that do to your life?

Brian Willett


Two great questions to ask yourself

I will never forget the day my mentor Jim Rohn asked me these two questions some three years ago.  He said it like this “The question to ask yourself is not what am I getting, the question to ask yourself is what am I becoming.”   

Two very powerful questions to ask your self.  How do you apply these questions:

What are you getting in your current relationships?  Are you getting what you need? Are you giving what the other person needs?  Then say: What am I becoming?  Is this relationship what I want.  Is it making me and us (since it is a relationship) what we want it to be, and taking us where we want to go.

On your job ask yourself the same questions.  What am I getting.  Is it a paycheck, is it security, is it fulfillment, etc.  Then again ask yourself “What am I becoming”.  Are you becoming what you want to become.

As human beings we tend to think about ourselves first, right?  Lets assume you said yes. So we do a pros and cons list and say, I am getting this, this ,this, this, this, this, this.  That is pretty good.  We can rationalize and justify that it is worth it.  But what if we ask ourselves the harder question and say, REALLY.  What am I becoming?

I have talked to many people over the years and when they make a decision to change it is usually because they didn’t like the person they were becoming.  This takes a self-awareness that is really objective.  I have talked to parents who have left jobs because they didn’t get a chance to spend time with their children.  So they were not the parents that they wanted to be. They were not happy with who they were becoming.

I have spoken with people in relationships that for the most part were getting everything they wanted out of the relationship, or what they thought they wanted.  But then they looked up one day and said “What have I become”.  I don’t like this person.  This is not where I expected to be.  I have talked to people who were athletic and active and got into relationships that were exactly the opposite.  They would usually justify and say that the relationship was great and that they love each other, but all the while they were unhappy that they were no longer as active in sports.  So they didn’t like the person they were becoming.

So let me add a third question for you.  What am I getting, What am I becoming, and the third question to ask yourself “Is this acceptable”, “Is this what I want”.

Do an assessment.  Think about all of your current relationships, your job, your friends, your colleagues, etc.  You become what you are around, you become what you are exposed to the most.  Ask your self the two questions and then the final question, “Are you good with what that is?”  The good thing about being human who can think and make decisions, is you have the ability to change your current situation and become anything you want to become.

Brian Willett


Who can explain good fortune?

What is good fortune.  Is it money?  Is it a situation? A person? A thing? Example? Technically it can be all of these things.  Does everything really happen for a reason?  Is GOD driving these things?  Was this the plan for me?  I have to say that I believe that all of these things to be true. Fortune is actually defined as luck or chance.  So good fortune would be defined as a situation or occurrence of good luck or you take a chance and win.  Kind of like a fortune cookie right?  Play these numbers and the chances you win are pretty good!  Yeah Right!

I had a friend whose wife fell down and broke her wrist.  When she went into the hospital and they did all of the tests, they found out that she had an aneurism.  They successfully  operated on her for the aneurism and she lived another 10 years.   Was the fall and the wrist breaking good fortune?  I would say that is a small price to pay for good fortune.  The check “low oil” light on your car that comes on and tells you that you may want to check your engine oil is good fortune as well.  What happens if you don’t check the oil.  Then your engine could lock up and cost you a lot of money to get it fixed.  That little light (signal) is pretty good fortune because it tells you something before it’s too late.

So recently I have had some good fortune come my way.  I don’t know if I would call it luck, because I honestly believe the better I prepare, the better I plan, the better I save, the better my good fortune gets.  But most recently I have had a great opportunity to be exposed to a few different things that have helped me predict my future some.  Predict my future if I decide to stay on the same path, that is.  Two defining moments in one week is probably unheard of, right?  But I had them.  I saw them, I felt them, I heard them, now I must take action on them.

The only way you can see good fortune is you must be aware of it and on the look out or it.  You must be willing to see it when it presents itself.  Use it to your advantage.  Sure, you could look at the fortune cookie and say.  Here it is, I am taking these numbers into Thorntons and put $1000 dollars on these numbers.  Or you can say, I am in a good situation right now, the stuff I am being exposed to really has me heading in the right direction if I stay on this path who knows where I may end up.  The people I am around right now, the influences in my life right now is exactly what I need, the future looks bright.  Take a look at what and who you are around, what good fortune is in your life right now.

Who can really explain good fortune?  I don’t know that I can.  What I do know is that I must look out for it, I must realize it when I see it, and then take action on it immediately.

Brian Willett


The biggest GAP

What is the biggest GAP?  If you put the word GAP in a google search, you would think that it is only a clothing store.  GAP has done a great job at owning the search engine to ensure they pop up first.  However, I am talking about the other gap:  definition:  a break or hole in an object or between two objects. an unfilled space or interval; a break in continuity.

So what is the biggest GAP?  The biggest GAP is between knowing and doing.  Yep that is it.  That is the biggest GAP.  How many times do we know what we should do, but we don’t do it?  I can speak for myself and say a lot.  Matter of fact, I am sure there will be something this weekend that I do that I know I shouldn’t.  Like eating a Mighty Meaty Wick from Wick’s pizza with a few beers.  However, I will put in a few miles of running right afterwards.  Still doesn’t make it right 🙂

Example:  Sorry smokers but its true.  How many years now have the surgeon generals been telling you that smoking causes cancer and other health related problems? Many. But people still smoke. How many of us know that texting while you drive is dangerous?  All of us, right.  Do we still do it?  Yep, because we are smarter, right?  How many of us know we should get the project done now instead of waiting until next week, when we will be pressed for time and it will be last minute?

So if this is the biggest GAP.  What do we do about it?   Well, I am a process guy.  I have to develop processes to protect me from myself at times.  Since we as human beings are habitual to a fault, we have to develop the disciplines and the processes that over time become habitual, just like the current habits you have established that you shouldn’t be doing.

1.  Pick something out that you know you should be doing and you are not. EX: Reading more, working out, stopping smoking, procrastination on something, etc.

2.  Now write down this commitment and take a picture of it with your smartphone and make it your wallpaper on your phone.  Studies show that most people check their phone 135 times a day.  So you will see that commitment a lot.  135 times a day at least and this is only if you are average and if you are reading my blog you are not average 🙂 you are above average.

3.  What other processes can you put into place to keep you from falling into the GAP between knowing and doing?

There are many things you can do to hold yourself accountable.  I am currently working with many people on developing processes to ensure they stay accountable to the goals they have set for themselves.  Please contact me if you are interested in learning more about these processes, also share with me some things you do to bridge the GAP between knowing and doing.




The Law of Diminishing Intent

This truly is a law.  It’s a law because it is true and without a doubt I have, and many of you have all broken this law many times in our life.

What does the law mean:  We have all had that moment when we get really excited about something, maybe it is dieting, getting out of debt, planning our day more effectively, redoing the kitchen, painting the bedroom, etc.  You name it.  At that moment we get excited about doing the “thing” but we don’t take any action to get the ball rolling on doing it.  So for every second, minute, hour, day, week, month that goes by, we lose that passion and excitement about accomplishing what we were so excited about accomplishing.

I can remember learning this lesson years ago.  It was around November or so, and I was telling a friend of mine that I was planning on starting to workout after the New Year.  Sound familiar?  He replied back “Why wait, why not start now, what is the difference between now and then?”  He was right.  I learned the Law of Diminishing intent almost 16 years ago.  He didn’t call it the law of diminishing intent, but that’s what it was.  I started that day.  Guess what?  It is a discipline that I practice still to this day.  My mentor Jim Rohn says it like this:  “The pain of discipline weighs ounces and the pain of regret weighs tons.”

The key is to set up the discipline while the emotion is at its highest.  Go buy the paint, clean the refrigerator out of all of the snacks, cut up your credit cards, go outside and run a mile or walk.  The goal here is to start down the path of setting up some disciplines in your life, some activities, that can then turn into habits that will allow you to accomplish the activity or goal that you are so excited about at that time.

Is there something in your life right now that you are excited about?  What are you doing to set the disciplines and activities in motion to ensure you keep the energy and actions moving forward? Please share with me, I would love to hear them.

Brian Willett


Why not think rich

If you have never heard of the classic business book that is on everyones list as the top business book of all times, here is your introduction to it.  Think and Grow Rich was written by Napoleon Hill.  It is a great read and has a lot of great advice in it.  Even though this book is classified as a business book it is really a “thinking book”.  It gets you thinking about you and what you can control, which is your own thinking.

Here is a list of some os the great quotes from the book:

  • “Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success”
  • “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed on an equal or greater benefit.”
  • “Self-discipline begins with the mastery of your thoughts. If you don’t control what you think, you can’t control what you do. Simply, self-discipline enables you to think first and act afterward.”
  • “The world has the habit of making room for the man whose actions show that he knows where he is going.”
  • “Great achievement is usually born of great sacrifice, and is never the result of selfishness.”
  • “Most great people have attained their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure.”
  • “Desire is the starting point of all achievement, not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything.”
  • “Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle…”
  • “The majority of men meet with failure because of their lack of persistence in creating new plans to take the place of those which fail.”
  • “The starting point of all achievement is desire.”
  • “The ladder of success is never crowded at the top.”
  • “Education comes from within; you get it by struggle and effort and thought.”
  • “Our minds become magnetized with the dominating thoughts we hold in our minds and these magnets attract to us the forces, the people, the circumstances of life which harmonize with the nature of our dominating thoughts.”
  • “Fears are nothing more than a state of mind”
  • “Failure is a trickster with a keen sense of irony and cunning. It takes great delight in tripping one when success is almost within reach”
  • “If you do not see great riches in your imagination, you will never see them in your bank balance.”

How do these quotes inspire you to think differently today?  Please share with me your thoughts.


Have some manners

I see it everyday and I am sure you do as well.  I am just as guilty as the next person from time to time.  That is not taking the time to engage and interact with the people you come into contact with.  Think about a given day.  How many people do you interact with?  The people at the place where you get your coffee, the place you get your breakfast, the bank, your favorite lunchtime spot, tire repair center, your local meeting place where you conduct business, where you have dinner, where you have drinks, your colleagues for that matter, etc.

There are lots of times throughout the day that you interact with people and I am guilty as the next person at times being so focused on what I am doing, sending that text, or reading the last email that just came in, that I don’t give the proper attention to a person that they deserve. Giving them your full undivided attention when they are serving you is the minimum, but why not go above that!

1.  Give them your full attention no matter what.

2.  Say Good Morning, Good Afternoon, or some kind of pleasantry.

3.  Ask them how their day is going.

4.  Tell an individual person that they are doing a great job and give an example of why you feel that way.  EX:  Wow, you all are really busy right now, I appreciate how quickly you are completing everyone’s order, thank you.

5.  Give someone a genuine compliment that they may not see in themselves.  This requires you to go above and beyond, but it can make someones day, week, or month.

6.  Always say thank you!

7.  You may not have time for this, but if you do, what a great way to be courteous.  I love asking people to tell me their story.  Yep, I ask it just like that.  How did you start working here, how long have you been here, what do you like most about working here.  Who knows where this conversation will take you, I really just love hearing the stories.

Will you always get a favorable response?  NOPE! But who cares you can only control your actions.  A famous author says that everyone is dealing with something, and the fact that you can change that in one minute with your interactions with someone, is pretty cool.

Most people and I am just as guilty of this from time to time as well, just go through the day not engaging with the people who are serving you.  This is called being average.  If you are reading my blog, I know you don’t want to be average, right?  So be different from everyone else, and go above and beyond to be courteous to others, some of this stuff is just basic manners, but I challenge you to do more, because that is what we should do.

Please share with me any stories of how you did some of this today and what the results were.

Brian Willett

5 Things you must do today for your own success!

1.  Write down the one big thing you must get accomplished today or someone will die.  Not literally, but what if you approached everyday like this?  I must accomplish this one thing or someone will die.  Would you be sure to get it done?

2.  Be sure to reach across the aisle, over the cubicle wall, over the telephone, or up the hall and tell someone that you appreciate the work they do.  This not only makes them appreciative that you noticed, but it will change your posture for the day as well.

3.  Either write it down or say it.  What am I grateful for today?  Having gratitude is a real sign of maturity.  Be grateful for what you have to-day.

4.  See if you can make it through the day without complaining.  I know it is hard, but just try.  Don’t complain about the traffic, instead turn the music up and appreciate the down time you are getting.  Don’t complain about anything.

5.  Read something inspirational.  Maybe it is a quote, maybe it is a chapter in a book, maybe it is a blog.  Whatever it is, just do it.  What you pour into your mind is what will come out of you, so let’s be sure it is something of value.

Nothing too hard today, approach today with these attitudes and recommendations and share with me how your day turns out, I would love to hear.

Make it a great day!

Brian Willett