The Zig Effect

While preparing for a very special edition of “Born to Win” in Dayton, Ohio, I decided to write a tribute to the late Zig Ziglar.  It’s wrapped in a story about a recent adventure I had and ends with a video that David Wright and I made with Exit Row Productions.

The Magic Number is 140

It was a sunny Saturday morning when David and I made an impromptu visit to a book store clearance sale.  Table after table of leadership, personal development and business books were reduced to $2 or less.  It would be a gross understatement to say that I bought several.

While digging through the stacks, I found a book that reminded me of Zig Ziglar by way of a Tom Ziglar quip.  Tom said that Dad must have been a prophet.  Somehow he knew that Twitter was coming because most of his quotes are 140 characters or less.

“Twitter Power”  by Joel Comm

Quotable People

Another deposit to my shopping cart was a collection of quotations.  I expected it to become a valuable resource for my writing.  It was an unexpected reminder of the highly-tweetable Zig Ziglar.

“The Most Brilliant Thoughts of All Time (In Two Lines or Less.)”
by John M. Shanahan

Wasting no time, I flipped through the pages and enjoyed some powerful and tweetable quotes.  Almost every one was a brand new experience.  Here are two that I like:

“Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you’re scared to death.”
–Harold Wilson

“Deliberation is the work of many men. Action, of one alone.
— Charles de Gaulle

I happened to notice that many of Shanahan’s selections were attributed to people known by just one name, such as Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, Heraclitus, Homer, Euripides and Anonymous.  I wonder if dropping my last name will help me make it into his next collection.

"Because Your Potential Matters!"

Aphorisms

It seems that my antenna is always up.  My mind is always seeking new gems of wisdom and inspiration, hoping to  connect with the thoughts floating around in my head.  As I unpacked the rest of my treasures, I made another Zig connection.

“Tuesdays With Morrie”  by Mitch Albom

“Tuesdays…” is the true story of a relationship between Morrie, a college professor who is dying from ALS, and the author who is a journalist and former student. Like Zig, Morrie was a charismatic personality who had a special way with words.  Although Morrie’s emotions and thoughts were complex, he had a way of making them real and accessible to Mr. Albom and others who were on the other side of his disease and dying experience.  Morrie often expressed his insight in short sentences called aphorisms.  Consider the following example from the perspective of a man who knows he is dying.

“Don’t let go too soon, but don’t hang on too long.”

Reading this book a year ago was an experience I’ll never forget.  Seeing it again on Saturday reminded me that stories like Morrie’s take us beyond words and are strangely uplifting, rich with inspiring lessons about life.  Saturday was also a day when I was reminded that the best things in life are meant to be experienced, not explained.  Could these perspectives be the influence Zig has had on my attitudes and beliefs?  I think so.  Let’s just say that they are part of “The Zig Effect!”

To experience “The Zig Effect”,
click here and enjoy a tribute to Zig, using Zig’s own words.

The Importance of “Important”

The late Stephen Covey was well-know for his classic book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”  Habit #3 is entitled, “Put First Things First.”  It’s all about knowing what is important and honoring it by our actions.  Looking at the culture, it would seem that defining importance is more difficult than one would think.  People seem to be confused by this.  What happens?  Confusion becomes a barricade to any action, much less the right action.

Newton’s first law of motion says that a body at rest will remain at rest unless an outside force acts on it.  This is a great metaphor for human behavior.  A person will move from inaction to action only when motivated by something sufficiently important.  Most barricade-busting motivation fits into the following categories: Wants, Needs, and Responsibilities.

  • Emptiness Chooses Wants. — People fill voids with something they want.
  • Pain Chooses Needs. — People relieve pain with something they believe they need.
  • Conscience Chooses Responsibilities. — People choose right actions in obedience to their consciences.

Importance is established when one or more of these motivators takes center stage in the person’s mind and heart.  Sometimes people coincidentally choose Right Actions when Responsibility does not play a significant role.  That is, we sometimes do the right thing for the wrong reason.

Admittedly, the formula is not quite so straightforward.  The strength of the motivators is constantly rising and falling because of emotional fluctuations, changes in personal perspectives and changes in external circumstances.  It’s a dynamic environment.

Here’s what I am certain about.  When an opportunity intersects with importance, we give it the red carpet treatment.  Which means, we mark the calendar.  We rearrange appointments.  We set aside funds.  We post reminders. We tell people.  We tweet.  We follow through.

It doesn’t matter whether the opportunity is one you created or a gift from someone else.  Importance is still the motivation necessary to cause action.  Until then, the opportunity is just another competing option in our busy lives.  Only what we perceive to be truly important finds its way onto our calendars, into our budgets and into our conversations.

What’s on your calendar?  What’s in your budget?  What are you talking about?