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Looking for Gold, the Key to Finding Gold

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As many of you know, one of the principles taught in The Ownership Spirit ® seminar, the Othello Principle, states “The Eye Sees What the Mind Looks For.” During the past two days I found myself deriving significant benefit from applying this principle, although it took me a day to wake up and use it.

This weekend I dedicated my time to attending a two-day conference that was geared in part toward helping people live happier, more fulfilling lives by shifting from self-centered living to other-oriented, unselfish service. Both days were replete with outstanding messages from outstanding speakers.

Knowing that nothing has the sure memory of a notepad, I planned on taking notes during the conference, so I could retain as many pearls as possible.

Throughout the Saturday sessions, I made copious notes. When I heard an enlightening idea, I wrote it down. Frequently, as I captured the thought, I said to myself something like, “Wow, that was brilliant.” Or, “There’s a superb insight.” And, “What a ingenious way to illustrate that point. Never heard it put quite like that before.” By the end of the day, I had recorded several pages of valuable ideas and concepts.

Later that night, I went back over my notes. As I did so, something dawned on me. I realized something about the way I had been participating in the conference. It was reflected in the way I had recorded the notes. My point of view was more like a journalist reporting on the concepts rather than like a participant intent on growing and improving by applying the concepts. I thought I had been earnestly engaged in the messages, but my viewpoint was more intellectual than practical. As a result, the actual benefit to my life was quite limited.

And, I thought about that. “Why was I intellectualizing so much? Am I afraid of change? If I’m truly seeking to improve, I need to look for and identify specific points of change.”

Without boring you with any more personal introspections, the end result was that I made a commitment to listen differently to the next day’s sessions. I decided to look for things to do, not just things to know and note. I made a commitment to convert any suggestions made by the speakers into actions. In fact that is how I entitled that day’s notes—“Actionables.”

I am still amazed at what a difference that made in my experience the next day. I thought I had gotten a lot out of the first day’s sessions. Insignificant, compared to what I gained from the second day’s sessions.

As I write this blog, I have, just to the side of my laptop, two sets of notes. One is a list of great ideas that tickled my intellect. The other is a list of meaningful action steps, goals, and changes that, when applied, will improve the way I live my life.

It’s amazing what I can either overlook or what I can see, just by how I set my mind.


Your thoughts about my thoughts…

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  • Rachel Stewart

    Thank you for sharing your personal insight. I think this is very powerful! Action is KEY!!

    I read something today that was along those same lines. The concept was to take your notepad and draw a verticle line down the middle. On the one side you write down ideas and concepts that are important from the message and perhaps quotes that stuck out. And on the other side, you write ACTIONS that you are inspired to take. I think the results can be life changing and I am commited to do this with every other important meeting I attend.

  • Cecily Markland

    I had to smile when I read this post because what you describe here is what you had already prompted me to do! As I read an advance review copy of your new book, "Ownership Spirit," I found myself doing something very similar to what you describe. Yes, I had several passages that I thought were "wise" and "wonderfully worded." But, the thing that really hit home was that, as I read your ideas about victim-thinking and about taking personal responsibility, I began making a list of "action items" to apply in my own life. Even in the stories and case studies, which are moving and monumental examples of "ownership," I found plenty of principles and practices that spoke directly to me., many of which I have duly converted to my task list … and I can’t wait for the book to come out and re-read it for all the "next step" ideas I intend to incorporate! Thanks for your insight. It’s much appreciated.

  • Kevin Fuselier

    As I read this, I thought about the concept of dominate thoughts. Since I attended your seminar in February I have learned and continue to learn that where your dominate thoughts are the rest of your time, your attention, what you talk about, what you write about (your notes), your money and even your spirit will follow. This is what I love about your material… when we are more conscious of our mindset we can experience life in a more meaningful and fulfilling way.
    Thanks for inviting me to your Qummunity and I am so excited for you and your progress on your book !

  • Amy Williams

    Thanks for the reminder! Something I began including in my own seminar handouts (both when I give seminars and when I take them) is a page in the back that has space on one side for "Ah-ha moments" and on the other for "Action Items". I have found that for me, just as you described…because I am inspired by a thought does not mean I will act on it…my behavior has to be intentional and there’s no better way for me to insure that than to make a concrete plan to use what I have learned. It is also easier for me to integrate the new knowledge into my own thinking rather than keeping it at an observer’s distance if I engage in the practical planning and application of what I have learned. This is one thing that helped me integrate so many of the concepts I learned in "Ownership Spirit". Thanks again.

  • Sam Palazzolo

    Dr. Dennis,

    Once again…You’ve hit the nail on the head! I just got out of a workshop that lasted two days. Your message caused me to go back through the MOUNTAIN of implementation information that I accumulated over two days and filter them for implementable action items!

    Thank you for sharing…Let me know how I can serve you!

    Sam Palazzolo
    President & Chief Influence Officer
    Pathos Leadership Group

  • Dennis Deaton

    To each and every one of you who have commented on the this blog about converting constructive concepts into actions, I thank you. Sharing the ways you have applied the idea reinforces the "gold" for everyone, including myself. There really is no end to the ways we can benefit from staying alert to the crucial difference between "knowing about" something and "knowing" something to the degree that we apply it to alter and improve who we are and how we act.

    Cecily, thanks to the application you suggested, I have printed off a simple little form — 6" x 9" –to insert into the back of books, so I can capture and convert key ideas into action items.

    As we have thought about "application vs. mere information," I suspect a lot of us have recalled quotes like Charles Spurgeon’s statement, "Wisdom is right use of knowledge." Even in the seemingly modest matter we are discussing, the potential is immense. And that reminds me one more thought to apply: "by small and simple methods are great things accomplished."

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