Who’s Personal Improvement Rules Do You Follow?
What do you believe is the fastest way to get the results you want in a specific area of your life?
Today I want to tell you one of my favorite stories that I’ve ever heard on what would be my answer to this question.
It’s one of the many genius stories from the vast peak performance library that is Tony Robbin’s brain told in his words.
This is about taking control of the information that comes into your mind. Select the information, having a plan for that information and getting it from sources that do produce results.
This about a man who because he had a limited amount of information that he had at one point, thought he had no future and was ready to commit suicide. And how when he changed the information he consciously sought out, when he sought out people who were getting results, was able to completely turn his life around and become a role model. In fact a man who’s known by Inc. Magazine as one of their hottest entrepreneurs of the year.
His name is John McCormack.
The neat thing about John is this is man who’s produced results and defied all the odds. Let me tell you a little about his background. He started out years ago in Brooklyn.
He grew up in environment where his father was a police officer, and his grandfather had been a policeman and his brother was a priest and he said he had one of two choices, be a policeman or a priest and it became pretty obvious to him that he was gonna be a policeman because he liked women too much.
Here’s a guy working in one of the toughest environments in America
And he goes out each day in an environment where wearing a uniform doesn’t protect you. Some people it makes them want to shoot you. And he had painful experiences day after day. And a limited future of what his business could be.
And one day he had an experience that jolted him, that made him think differently. That made him look at other options that he wouldn’t have looked at if he was just being seduced by following all the role models he was surrounded by.
This experience was that one day he got a call while he was on a one man patrol.
The call was to tell him that a local deli was being held up. He sprinted to the scene and as he was going there he saw two other policeman who looked like they were going the opposite way. He burst into the room…
…And Here Were Three Men With Shotguns
He didn’t know what to do so he what he did was bluffed his way through. He decided to use his intellect because he’d die otherwise. He said, “Look guys, I’m putting my gun down, put your guns down too. You guys are surrounded, you can’t get out of here.”
One guy said “Kill him!!!”
He said, “If you kill me you guys are GONNA FRY! Don’t be stupid. You probably didn’t make any money on the deal anyway. Put your guns down and I’ll let ‘em know you cooperated. How much did you guys get anyway? You didn’t get that much did ya?”
And it broke their pattern. One guy said, “We got 28 bucks.”
He said, “Put your guns down, come on, it’s not worth it. Nothings worth 28 bucks.”
He talked his way out of it.
But That Day Made Him Look At His Life In A New Way
To think he’d put his life on the line for 28 DOLLARS, and no one else was willing to back him up. To be in environment were people might shoot first and think second and to think this is what he’d limited his life to, he realized he needed to broaden his view.
So he started to search for new role models and started to search for new ways of doing things. He quit the force and went in with brother at Christmas and they took a tiny bit of money and they went out and bought a bunch of Christmas trees.
They figured they sell ‘em down in Manhattan. Slight problem. He didn’t realize that most people in Manhattan buy their Christmas trees at night and they had no electricity on the lot they’d managed to rent.
So did they give up?
Everybody told him “hey, you’re outta business. There’s no way. There’s no electricity and no way to get electricity here.”
Fortunately, John didn’t buy everyone else’s view. He didn’t allow their limited information to limit him. He said “There’s gotta be electricity.”
He and his brother went knocking door after door after door until finally they got to an old woman who let them come in and it turned out that one of her family members had been a cop and long story short, she let them use her plug.
With the longest set of extension cords in history, they managed to open their lot.
In the end they both made a profit. About $3,000 a piece. Now that’s not enough to change your whole life except if you’re smart enough to say “I need to seek out a way to make this grow.”
So he started to look for possibilities and an approach to the stock market that would make sense and started to apply it.
He Turned $3,000 Into $100,000.00 In A Very Short Time
He was so successful that the head of the firm asked to meet this man.
He sat down with him and said, “Look, you need to get in this business.” They started him out as a clerk and he moved his way up to being a broker himself.
In less than a year, John had taken his $100,000 and made a Million Dollars.
He was high on the hog living like few people could imagine. As John said, his ego got totally inflated. He had two limousines. One for himself and one for his friends.
But you know what? Within 3 months he lost the entire million dollars he made and he borrowed a quarter of a million thinking he could turn it around and he lost that too.
So now here he is, a quarter of a million dollars in debt, with no future, no job, he’s out of the stock market and he doesn’t know what to do, where to go, thinking, a quarter of million dollars, with the rate of exchange that it’d take him to earn that as a Policeman, It might take him a decade or more if he didn’t eat to pay that off.
As a Result He Got To The Point Where He Was Totally Despondent and Started Figuring Out How He Was Gonna Kill Himself
How would he commit suicide? He went out to the beach one day and started thinking of what would be the best way to do this where maybe no one else would be hurt. Maybe an insurance policy could take care of the people he cared about.
He started thinking about what he was gonna do and he started looking out at the water thinking, maybe if I swam far enough out there, til I’m exhausted, I could just sink below the water where know one will know.
Think about the place he was in. What changed him? Never forget the power of a pattern interrupt, the ability to break somebody’s pattern when they’re in an upset state.
He got one. Here he is thinking about dying and this old man, about 75 years old, comes along, looks up and says “Hey you! Hey you! You’re ship, you’re ship!”
John looks up and says “What, What old man, What?
He said, “You’re ship isn’t gonna come in here. If you want your ship you gotta go to the dock for your ship.”
John got totally confused and said “What?”
The man walked up and said, “My name is Abe. You have something you want to tell me?”
And John looked up at him and said “Yeah.” And he started to tell him his whole story. About being a police officer, the 28 bucks and almost dying, the Christmas trees and making a million bucks and here he was 24 years old a quarter of a million of dollars in debt and he had no future. Didn’t know what he was gonna do for the woman he loved, didn’t know what was gonna happen, didn’t know how he was gonna pay it off, and then toward the end of his story all of a sudden this old man Abe turned to John and said “Hey, you got $50 bucks?”
He said, “What?”
He’s in the middle of his story and Abe asks him, “You got $50 bucks?”
He said, “Well, yeah, it’s about all I got.”
Abe said, “I betcha your $50 bucks 10 to 1 that I can beat you in a race to that pier.”
John said, “Whaddya talking about? You’re crazy, what are you, 75 years old and I’m 24. There’s no question.”
Abe said, “You don’t know who I am. I’m Abe and I’ll beat you. I betcha 10 to 1 I got $500 bucks, put your little $50 bucks up and lets do it!”
He got John upset. John said, “O.K.
Abe said, “Wait a second John, and he gave him a knap sack. He said put your feet in this. You’re gonna run in this. You still think you can beat me?”
And John was so mad at this point that he said, “Yes, I still think I can beat you.”
Abe said, “Great. Turn around. You’re gonna do this backwards.” And then he said, “Ready, GO!”
Before you know it you what happens. John is stumbling all over himself through the sand and the old gentleman Abe has made it.
He comes back and says, “Thank you very much.” And he takes his $50 bucks. And then he says, “Whaddya learn there John?”
John said, “I learned I got snockered by an old man.”
And Abe turned to him and said, “If that’s all you learned take your $50 bucks back and get outta my sight!”
John said, “Hey, wait a second. I pay my debts, we made a fair deal, take the $50 bucks, I don’t care.”
Abe said, “If that’s all you learned you take your money, you go home, I don’t wanna see you or talk to you anymore.
John said, “No, no, I owe you, take it.”
Abe said, “I’ll tell you what. You go home tonight and you think about what you learned from this. You come back, we’ll talk. If you learned the right lesson we’ll go on to lesson 2. If not I don’t want to see you anymore!”
This guy is talking to John like he’s known him his whole life. And like John asked him to be his mentor. John doesn’t even know who this guy is
But he was mesmerizing.
John said, “Well… alright.” On the way home he was trying to figure out how he was going to tell Maryanne, his lady, how he lost his last $50 bucks to an old man racing him down the beach.
But you what? He racked his brain and when he came back to see the old man early in the morning, the man said to him, “So, what’d you learn John?”
John said, “Well, I thought about it a lot. I think what I learned is what you’re trying to teach me is that if you can set the rules, you can win the game.”
Abe took his own hand and smacked it on his forehead and said, “My gosh! Kid, you got it. I’ve got two kids that are ivy leaguers, they haven’t figured it out yet. They’re gonna blow my $75 million dollars. As soon as I go they’re gonna go after my money and the money’s gonna be gone. You, with your high school diploma, you know already more than they know. Let’s talk. Let’s start our lesson.”
And over the next 9 weeks they got together each day and they went through a series of lessons. This story was like Karate Kid of the 90’s, you know. Each day they went through a lesson.
The first lesson, the first day he said, “Let me ask you a question. You think your life’s pretty screwed up don’t you?”
And John said “Well, yeah, I’ve got some major challenges.”
Abe said, “You know how to do a balance sheet?”
John said, “Of course, I’m a stockbroker.”
Abe said, “How do you do it?”
John said, “You draw a line down the middle and you put your assets down one side and your liabilities down the other one.”
Abe said, “Let’s do it with your life.” So he drew it down and said, “O.K., let’s start.”
John said, “Here’s my liabilities, I owe a quarter of a million dollars.”
And Abe looked at him and said “Why are starting on your liabilities side?”
John said, “Well, I guess that’s what I’m focusing on. I know more about my liabilities than I guess than my assets.”
“Any Man Who Knows More About His Liabilities Than His Assets Will Never Be A Winner”
He said, “You’ve gotta start on the asset side and build up from there. You get enough assets, you can handle any liabilities.”
John said, “Well, I don’t have any assets.”
Abe said, “Come on, your assets aren’t just financial. What schooling do you have?”
John said, “I’ve got a high school diploma.”
Abe said, “Put it down.”
John said, “I’ve been through the police academy.”
Abe said, “Put it down. What else?”
John said, “That’s about it.”
Abe said, “Do you speak English?”
John said, “What?”
Abe said, “DO YOU SPEAK ENGLISH?”
John said, “Well, yeah.”
Abe said, “Write it down. That’s an asset in this country. Do you know currency?”
John said, “Well, yeah, just like a stockbroker I learned how to convert dollars to yen.”
Abe said, “No, do you know currency, how to exchange money, dollars, quarters, dimes, nickels, that kind of stuff?”
John said, “Of course.”
Abe said, “Write down ‘know currency, you speak English, you’ve got this schooling. What else?”
John said, “Well, I don’t think there is anything else.”
Abe said, “Come on, do you have any friends?”
John said, “Well, not very many left.”
Abe said, “Do you have any?
John said, “Yeah.”
Abe said, “Put ‘em down. Do you have family? Put it down. Do you know your way around the Burroughs? Do you know your way around town?”
John said, “Of course.”
Abe said, “Put it down. Now look at your balance sheet. How do you feel?”
John said, “I still feel like shit.”
Abe said, “Come on, look at you, you’ve got your quarter of million on the liabilities side. It’s an asset. How many people do you know John, who could convince someone to loan them a quarter of a million dollars? Somebody with that kind of skill has got some real assets inside. Put that over on your assets side.”
John did. Abe asked, “Now how do you feel?”
John said, “I still feel like shit.”
Abe said, “John, you’re not listening. You don’t have a right. You’ve gotta remember something young man. How many people have come to this country who didn’t have any of your assets, they didn’t speak English, they didn’t know their way around town, they didn’t know currency, they had no friends, no family here with them. They couldn’t speak the language and the became MILLIONAIRES. They’re part of our history, John. You have no excuse. You must find these people who have started with nothing, none of the assets you have, who in the worst of times, have done the best. Find out what they know, seek out their information, their ideas, their strategies, learn from them and you will prosper too. You must spend the next 3 years of your life working for these kinds of people specifically, immigrants, people who’ve come with nothing and have created tremendous abundance for themselves and others. Start working washing their floors if you have to if necessary. Start at whatever level you can but learn what they know and apply it and you will live your dream.”
Well, they continued to have these lessons. When the 9 weeks were up, this man named Abe turned to John and said, “Our time together is over. It’s time for you to go out in the world and start doing it. You’ve gotta be able to learn the answers for yourself, now. You have enough information.”
John said, “Well, I still want to be your friend, I don’t even know your last name.”
Abe said, “You don’t need to.”
John said, “Abe, I want to know it. I want to come here and after I become successful I’m gonna build a statue right here on the beach in tribute to you.”
And Abe said, “You don’t need to do that.”
John said, “You don’t understand Abe, the day you saw me here on the beach, I was ready to commit suicide.”
Abe said, “I know. It was easy to see. What you don’t know John, is that same day I was walking the beach for a similar reason. That same day I felt the same kind of pain because that same day I found out my wife had cancer. And I was praying to God for an answer and I looked up and there you sat and there was my answer. John everything happens for a reason. We’re all here to receive our lessons. It’s time for your next set.”
John McCormack went out and based upon that quality information he obtained, he sought out even more. And for three years he worked with 2 incredibly successful businessmen, multi-millionaires that started with nothing, coming from other country’s.
Not knowing the language, not having an education, and having no money, having no friends, nobody in influential places, one of them even coming here in the depression turning it all around to become incredibly successful and John has applied what he learned to become one of the most successful people Tony knows, not only financially but emotionally.
What he did with his salon chain, Visible Changes, has not only earned him the title of one of the hottest entrepreneurs but has earned him unbelievable respect because of what he does with his people.
This is a man who’s found a way to teach his people to become more successful in an industry of hairstyling where the average person makes between $12 – $18,000.00 a year. Many of John’s stylists were making over $40,000.00 a year by creating a greater quality environment than anybody ever dreamed of in the hairstyling business. Greater environment and greater service than anywhere else.
The bottom line is, it’s never the environment, it’s never the economy, it’s never your potential, you’ve got all you need, all you need to do is feed your mind. You’ve got to seek out those role models, those people who’ve done it who can give you the quality information that can both inspire you and instruct you to take your life to the next level.
Where you know that the human spirit is stronger than the environment. Where you remember what you know inside about your capabilities and you make that capability into reality.
That’s the essence of this message.
The overall essence of today’s talk is to remember anything that you can dream can see, believe, act upon, and learn from, you can bring into reality.
EVERYTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE UNTIL IT’S POSSIBLE
Regardless of the environment and while the current economical season may feel like winter to you, I want you to remember there are those who learn to enjoy and even prosper in this season, right now, in these supposedly challenging times. (You’ve gotta see this post here if you wanna see how to live this mindset…)
And two, it’s good to remember that throughout human history men and women have come up against much tougher situations than we’re currently experiencing. You might want to check out a book called the “History of Knowledge: The pivotal events, people and achievements of world history” by a man named Charles Van Doren.
Talk about putting things into perspective. When you start thinking about what man has been through and you look at what little things we’re dealing with, suddenly you begin to realize, “Hey, this too shall pass.”
That the cycle of human history is one of continual improvement. Right now we’re going through changes in our economy. Companies are becoming more efficient, people are being laid off, it looks like a very scary thing. How many times have we gone through it before?
***Guess what? This talk was taped in 1997***
It’s an economy that is breathing. It’s been blowing out and exhaling for a long time and now it’s inhaling. A chance for you to take a look at how you want to position yourself over the coming years.
But if you allow yourself to get caught up in the mental trap, in the psychology of the crowd, then you get to live in fear. Not only do you get to live in fear, but you get to let your life show up like everybody else’s life and I would submit to you that most people in our culture are not living their dreams. They’re not experiencing the joy or happiness that they deserve. They aren’t making the difference or contributing at the level that they really want or they’re doing it but they’re not feeling the joy that comes with it.
You don’t want to be one of those. Don’t play by the herds rules. Make and shape your own rules based on people who get the kind of results you want and feel the way you want to feel.
Talk to you again soon,
Note Taking Nerd #2
PS. For more nerd perspective on personal improvement, go check this out here and see for yourself why people have raved about it . . .