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“[Burg] has demonstrated that adding value to people's lives is the way to climb the ladder of financial success.”

~ Fran Tarkenton, Hall of Fame Quarterback and Founder/CEO GoSmallBiz.com

Archive for the ‘General’ Category

The Game of Life Begins Again Now

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

The Game of Life Begins Again Now - Bob BurgAre you disappointed in yourself that you made a mistake you simply should not have made? We’ve all been there. We all (at least, I) continue to “be there” from time-to-time.

Will you be disappointed in yourself  in the future because you make a mistake that — based on past mistakes — you’ll know better than to make again? We all (at least, I) will.

And, it’s okay. We’re human beings and we make mistakes, even when we know better. This is not to say that we should be lazy in our thinking and not care. It’s even fine to be disappointed in ourselves when we do that which we know better than.

The good news: we can continue to keep growing, and taking aim to not make those same mistakes in the future.

The GREAT news: the Game of Life always begins again now!

Happiness: It’s Really A Personal Thing

Friday, February 28th, 2014

happinessIn a recent post, we explored happiness as being a person’s main motivation. And, that it can only be attained by acting in accordance with one’s values.

I then posed a few questions and received some excellent responses. I’d like to restate the questions here, and answer them per my own understanding.

1. How do we define happiness? One of my earlier mentors, Harry Browne, defined it as, “The mental feeling of well-being.” I agree, but take it just a bit further and say, “A genuine feeling of ongoing joy and peace of mind, the result of living in accordance with your values.”

The key in both definitions is an overall feeling rather than something temporary, though every decision we make in the moment is based on seeking happiness whether it be short or long-term. Which leads to the next question:

2. Is “a sense of” happiness different for different people? Absolutely! As Harry wrote in his wonderful book, The Secret of Selling Anything (which was as powerful a “life lesson” as it was a sales lesson), “Happiness is relative. People experience happiness in different ways. People place different values on different things. What brings happiness to one person is meaningless to another.”

This is why a big mistake leaders and salespeople make when desiring to influence others is to assume that what brings us happiness will necessarily bring them happiness. It is also why influence is always about them, not about us.

The final question was:

3. If one’s main motivation is happiness, then why do so many otherwise-intelligent people seem to make decisions that are obviously contrary to their  happiness?

While I’ve never been a big fan of cliff-hangers, let’s discuss this one in the next post. Any additional thoughts based on the above?

The Motivation of Happiness

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Happiness smiley faceRecently, on Twitter and on my Facebook page I posted:

“A person’s main motivation is happiness and this is only attained by acting in accordance with his or her values.”

While I personally believe this to be the case — and I think the statement is fairly intuitive — it does bring up a few questions:

  1. How do we define happiness?
  2. Is “a sense of” happiness different for different people?
  3. If one’s main motivation is happiness, then why do so many intelligent people seem to make decisions that are obviously contrary to their own happiness?

Believe it or not…I have my opinions on all three of the above ;-). And, in a future post, I’d like to take a deeper look at these.

Meanwhile, I’d love to know your thoughts or any one of them or even all three?

How to Let Someone Down Easily

Monday, February 10th, 2014

How to Let Someone Down EasilyThis post is longer than usual. And, while this reader’s situation might not be one you’ll ever have to face, someone you know — including your child — might.

Regardless, the principle involved should still come in handy in your dealings with others.


A college student, “Patty” wrote:

“I finished Adversaries into Allies and found it to be incredibly useful. While I was reading the section about saying no I thought of a scenario that wasn’t directly addressed and now find myself actually in it. I’m wondering how your advice for saying no translates into personal relationships. I’m in college and a boy in my class last semester asked me to get coffee. Thinking it was casual (telling myself it was casual) I agreed and we have been in e-mail contact ever since. He’s now referred to our correspondence as dating which, in my mind, it definitely is not. Is there a way to politely say no while still maintaining this new friendship?

My reply:

Thank you for your nice note and kind words about the book. I’m so glad you enjoyed it.

Regarding your question, yes, that is always a difficult situation, regardless of age. Obviously, you don’t want to unintentionally lead your friend on to thinking that what you have is more than friendship but you also don’t want to needlessly hurt his feelings, and you’d like to keep him as a friend.

Depending upon whether you feel as though you could more kindly but effectively let him know by email or by phone, you can choose one or the other.

You could say or write something along the lines of…

“I was a bit surprised when you mentioned in a recent email that we were “dating.” While I appreciate your compliment, it’s not how I understand it. I hope you are okay with our just being friends, which I’d enjoy.”

If you’ll notice in the above, Patty, just as in the chapter about saying no, I didn’t include any excuses. Also, not knowing him personally and if he is rational (and, thus, can simply accept his mistake without feeling victimized and blaming you), I didn’t include any apology or add anything about you being the cause of the misunderstanding. Sometimes, it is okay to put the “onus” of the misunderstanding onto oneself even when that’s not really the case (in order for the other person to not feel defensive or blamed — remember the “I-Message”). But in this case I felt it best not to go that route so as not to give him something to grab onto. Again, just in case he is too emotional about it.

Yes, these are always difficult situations at best. I hope thinks work out. Please let me know.

Patty responded:

“Thank you so much for your advice. I emailed him and wrote almost exactly what you suggested and it worked perfectly. We are on the same page now and it wasn’t awkward or uncomfortable like I was imagining it would be. Thank you also for explaining why you didn’t include an excuse. My first instinct, even after reading your book, was to apologize for any misunderstanding because I wasn’t sure what other way to go but what you said made a lot of sense. Again, thank you for response.”

I wrote back:

My pleasure. I’m so glad it worked out! Indeed, it is very tempting (and certainly intuitive) to make an excuse or to blame oneself in that situation in order to let the other person down easily or take the pressure off. Very important in this case not to, again, only because in case he was irrational or had tendencies to be, I didn’t want to provide him with any emotional ammunition to blame you.

I remember many years ago reading a book about stalkers and one important piece of advice the author gave was that, with many of them, if you give them an excuse they’ll take that literally and believe that “if it weren’t for ________ she’d then want to be with me.”

In other words, if you say that it’s because you’re already involved with someone then they will think, “Well, if she wasn’t involved with him we could be together.” (Talk about dangerous.) If you say that you have a busy schedule then they’ll think, “When her schedule slows down we can be together.”

And, if you blame yourself for the misunderstanding, that can cause them to feel like, “oh, it’s all her fault, she deserves whatever happens.”

Of course, both are totally, totally illogical conclusions for the stalker to make but, by the very nature of what they are, logic doesn’t enter into the equation.

So, not that I’m thinking that your friend is a stalker, of course. Just not wanting to take any chances.

Sounds like you handled things perfectly.


{Note from Bob: Have you joined our Go-Givers International Membership Community? If not, visit www.GoGiversIntl.com and join us today. For just $19.97/month (for first 1000 members), our two monthly calls and closed discussion group can make a huge difference in both your business and personal success. Plus, check out the bonus gift just for joining!]

Ashton Kutcher and…Reverse Hecklers

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

Ashton KutcherInspiring, brilliant, and a much needed lesson for today’s youth!

But that’s not what this post is about.

Last week, actor Ashton Kutcher gave an acceptance speech at the Teen Choice Awards that has already become a YouTube sensation. While sharing inspiring words regarding what he has learned about life and success (cleverly couched within the frame of three counter-intuitive points), he faced a challenge that orators have had to endure and deal with since ancient times and up through the current crop of professional speakers, comedians, actors…and politicians (but, I repeat myself).

Interrupters. And, depending upon the situation, they must be handled correctly or the message can get totally lost.

Now, his wasn’t exactly the same challenge. For most presenters, these interrupters are hecklers whose intent is negative. In the case of Kutcher, it was just the opposite; a small group of young fans who were so enamored by the speaker himself that they weren’t as interested in the important message he wanted to share as in simply gushing over him.

But, that wasn’t part of his agenda. He had a message to share that he believed the young people in the audience and the millions of young people at home needed to hear; an important message; a message that could make a difference in their lives; and a message they are not used to hearing.

So, how would he deal with these, what I call… “reverse hecklers”? He simply ignored them. Like the larger-than-life persona that he is playing in the recently-released movie, he stayed so on point that his message could not possibly be ignored, nor could it be stopped. And, from a certain point on, he had the attention of the crowd. You could see it in their eyes. They were listening, they were captivated. They were “getting it.”

Yes, as a speaker or presenter, there’s a time to respond to interruptions and a time to simply speak through them. Kutcher had enough confidence in himself and his message to know that the latter was the proper course…and so that’s what he did.

And, brilliantly, at that!