Full Motivational Speech Text Transcript
The full transcript of Patrick Schwerdtfeger’s motivational keynote speech entitled “Go BIG! Creating an Unfair Advantage” is included below. But first, here is a 19-minute video describing the proprietary structure Patrick developed to write an effective keynote speech and ensure a powerful close. We recommending watching the video before reviewing the word-for-word transcript below.
Patrick Schwerdtfeger has a detailed blog post (over 4,000 words) describing the process of becoming a keynote speaker, including embedded videos and complete disclosures about the business of professional speaking and his own experiences along the way. It’s the highest-traffic post on this website. Read the post here:
Patrick customizes his keynote programs for every event, but the transcript below provides the complete ‘stock’ version for you to evaluate as you wish. There are headings throughout the text below. They are only included for organizational purposes and correspond to the structure described in the video above. There is a science to effective speech writing and Patrick Schwerdtfeger structures his speeches similar to a song, with verses and a chorus. The headings below will allow you to follow along with that structure.
Copyright, 2012, Patrick Schwerdtfeger. All rights reserved.
Go BIG! Creating an Unfair Advantage
Introduction – The Wealth Dichotomy
So, we’re here today to talk about leadership and doing BIG things, about taking it to the next level. But as you unfortunately already know, we’re facing some pretty cold hard facts.
The economy isn’t exactly BOOMING out there, is it? It’s more like BUSTING and there’s no way around it, short of printing more money at the Fed or racking up the biggest national debt in human history … and even that isn’t working very well! If the economy was a Hollywood movie, it would’ve gone straight to DVD and then to the bargain bin at Blockbuster … if of course, there were still a Blockbuster. The unemployment rate is still close to 8% nationwide and above 10% in California where I live.
And then there’s the whole Greece situation. What a disaster that is. That’s like a bug just LOOKING for a windshield! So the Euro’s on the ropes, Japan’s in trouble and the federal deficits are so far off the charts that they have to make new charts. Things aren’t exactly rosy out there, right? It’s a difficult time and the future looks about as secure as Lindsay Lohan driving along the San Andreas fault … while texting on her cell phone … with a cocktail in her hand.
Meanwhile, you may find this interesting: the number of millionaires has actually doubled since 1997. Doubled. Can you believe it? The same is true for people worth over 10 million or 100 million. It’s even true for billionaires. Doubled! Think about that for a moment. So if the number of millionaires has doubled in the last 15 years and it has; that means only 15 years ago, HALF of today’s millionaires hadn’t YET acquired their wealth.
And it’s also a fact that the overall number of millionaires in 1997 had doubled since 1982 – 15 years earlier – which means that only half of the HALF had their wealth back in 1982. That means that ¾ of ALL of today’s millionaires made their wealth in the last 30 years! Now think about THAT. They didn’t INHERIT their wealth. They made it themselves, during their own lifetimes.
In America, 93% of millionaires are first generation millionaires, and only 3% of them are professional athletes or the luckiest of celebrities. So a full 90% of today’s millionaires made their wealth themselves in some sort of business venture, high-paid career or successful investment strategy.
And it’s not just happening in America either. It’s happening in the UK and all across Europe as well. It’s happening in places like India and China. It’s happening in Russia. Lord knows, it’s happening in Russia, where they don’t even remember that crazy concept called “communism” anymore, unless you’re part of the millions who are still living on subsistence wages. It’s true Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s a worldwide trend: new wealth is here. And if you’re like me, that’s one bandwagon you’d happily jump into!
So what we have is this strange dichotomy where most of the population is really struggling to make ends meet white at the same time there’s also this OTHER group that’s doing really well and planning their prosperous futures. We’re not talking about a small division here. We’re talking about a Grand Canyon-scale continental divide, only there aren’t any tourists taking pictures. On one side, all you have is long lines, abandoned factories and foreclosed homes. But on the other, you have gated communities, luxury yachts and exotic sports cars.
What’s the deal? How did we get here? Well, that’s what we’re going to talk about today. Because the truth is that there’s never been a better time to be ambitious. There’s never been a better time to be an entrepreneur. There’s never been a better time to think BIG!
There’s actually a very interesting misunderstanding of “the division between rich and poor”. Most people believe that the division is between people who earn $150K or less each year and those who earn $250K or more, but that’s not the division that’s widening. In fact, that division is getting narrower. The actual division between rich and poor is between those making $500K or less each year and those making $10MM or more.
That’s the true division! That’s the division that’s widening. That’s the division they’re talking about. It’s just that nobody wants to talk about those kinds of numbers. Earning $10MM each year is so far outside most people’s reality that it no longer seems believable … but it’s the reality in our society.
Introduction – Sir Richard Branson
I’m sure everyone here is familiar with the name, Sir Richard Branson. He’s the CEO and founder of Virgin America and Virgin Atlantic and all the other Virgin companies. He’s famous for saying that the fastest way to become a millionaire is to start out as a BILLIONAIRE … and then start an airline.
Now, obviously, that’s intended as a joke … perhaps a joke you only need a billion or two dollars to get, but a joke nonetheless. Nobody takes a comment like that seriously. But in a way, it’s also a classic example of what I like to call “top-down” thinking.
Most people, when they think about becoming a millionaire, think about slowly struggling from $1,000 to 10,000, and then fighting their way to $100,000 before finally arriving at $1,000,000. But in Branson’s tossed off quip, he starts out ABOVE the target and then comes down on top of it from above. And I guarantee it’s a soft, safe and happy landing. I love that.
Introduction – Chorus – Skyscrapers
For me, I’ve always looked at life a little bit in the same way. I always imagine life’s goals as skyscrapers. The vast majority of people compete against each other trying to climb the stairs or cram into the elevators. And that DOES work. You can climb your way to the top. It’s a lot of work but if you keep at it, you’ll get there eventually. Maybe a little worse for wear but … eventually.
But the FASTEST way to get to the top floor of a skyscraper isn’t to climb the stairs or squeeze into the elevators. No. The fastest way to get onto the top floor of a skyscraper is to parachute down onto it from above! That way, you can bypass all those crowded staircases and elevators – and all those people whose deordorant wore off hours ago – and land directly on the top floor.
The people who are succeeding these days are approaching their goals differently than the rest of us. So what are they doing? They’re ending up on the top floor of their skyscrapers. How are they doing that? And what can we learn from them?
Sometimes it seems like the distance between you and those success stories is SO huge, but that gap can close quickly. In 1996, after 12 publishers turned her down, Joanne Rowling was living on social security when she finally sold her first Harry Potter story for £1500. Less than 2 years later, the rights were auctioned off in the US for $105,000 and within 5 years, she was a multi, multi, multi-millionaire. It’s as if she knew a wizard or something! Things can change quickly.
I’m going through this journey myself. I’m building my life and my career, just like each of you, and I practice what I preach. I DO all the things we’re going to be talking about today, and I can tell you, it’s changed my life. And it all begins with a different mindset.
Introduction – Chorus – Less Competition
It’s about thinking BIG! Because here’s the funny thing … when you shoot higher, you actually encounter LESS competition along the way, not more. In many ways, it’s actually EASIER to shoot for the stars than it is to shoot for “realistic” goals.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a proponent of blind optimism. I’m actually a bit of a pessimist myself. But statistically, very few people shoot for MASSIVE goals. Most people shoot for “realistic” goals. Everyone wants to be REALISTIC. Well, there’s some fascinating research around this topic, and it turns out that shooting for the MASSIVE goals isn’t such a bad idea after all.
Just think about it for a second. Pick one of your work or business goals, say, for the next 12 months. It doesn’t really matter what it is. Just pick anything. Now, what’s the 10x version of that goal? Seriously. Take it and multiply it by 10 or even 100. Don’t double it or triple it. No. Make it WAY bigger, by ORDERS of MAGNITUDE! What’s the STEROID version of that goal? The Donald Trump version … without the hairdo of course.
Now between those two, the BIG one and the original one, which do you think has more competition? Chances are, the original one is far more common, and consequently you have a million other people who have the same goal. That means more competition. Meanwhile, the big massive audacious goal is so crazy, so outlandish, so insane, that few people would even think about it, much less embrace it as their own. Most people just don’t have the guts to go after such massive goals, or the wherewithal to keep going.
And it’s too bad, because it’s a lot more fun! It’s more exciting. And as we’ll see, those big massive goals aren’t as crazy as you might think.
Verse #1 – Yoga Instructor
Let me give you an example. When I was just getting started, I was in the real estate business and I used to teach these classes at local adult education centers. They were community centers that had catalogs full of programs that people could take. Most of them were in dancing or yoga or grief counseling or dating or Tibetan basket weaving or whatever. But there I was; I had a course about understanding complicated home mortgages … not exactly the best fit for that picture. I was more like the “one of these things is not like the other” program option. Anyway, these places send out thousands of catalogs and people sign up to attend whatever classes they want.
Looking back now, it was such a disaster. You’d get a handful of people at each class but it was never more than 10 people. One day, I had one of my classes and – get this – a grand total of ONE person showed up. So brutal, but it ended up being a fascinating evening. In fact, it actually ended up changing my whole perspective on life.
You have to understand, this was a difficult time for me. I wasn’t making ANY money and was giving these courses to try and find new clients. The people who showed up were possible clients for me. So coming in and finding ONE person in the room … well, at the time, it just seemed like all the failures in my life were sitting RIGHT THERE in all those empty chairs. It was awful.
So there he was: this one guy. My audience of one; his name was Howard and he was a yoga instructor. Now, I’ve met a lot of yoga instructors. I’ve even dated one or two! And from my experience, I can tell you that most of them are struggling to make ends meet. I mean, some do better than others but they’re generally not rolling in cash. You know what I mean? Well, this guy was a different story.
Keep in mind that there are only 2 people in the room – Howard and me – so I did my session but we ended up talking about all sorts of stuff. This guy was a bit of a local celebrity, at least in the yoga world. And he was attending my course because he had a number of INVESTMENT properties and wanted to learn more about real estate financing.
A yoga instructor with multiple investment properties? Given my dating experience, “investment property management” didn’t come up in conversation very often so suffice it to say, I was baffled.
Turns out, this guy did a LOT more than just teach yoga. He held these 4 and 5-day yoga RETREATS in Sedona and Santa Fe and a few other exotic desert locations. And these retreats weren’t cheap either. They cost thousands of dollars and they were featured right there on his website homepage.
He had written a few books too, all about the “yoga lifestyle” and they were featured on his website as well.
So … who knew? When he first said he was a yoga instructor, I didn’t say it out loud but in my head, I dismissed him as just another hokey left-wing meditation type with worn out Birkenstocks and too much hair in all the wrong places. I pictured someone teaching yoga at the studio down the street, nothing more. But when he told me about these retreats and the books, my whole perspective changed. This guy was a GURU. And taking my course, as it turned out, wasn’t his first brilliant idea!
Bottom line; this guy was an expert; an authority. He had a following, an audience, and he was helping people change their lives! In social dynamics theory, they talk about “frames”. A frame is your point of reference when you interact with someone. Well, my frame completely changed. When he first said “yoga instructor”, I had one frame; a small frame … a short-sighted one. But when he told me about the retreats and books, I immediately shifted into a new frame, a much bigger frame.
Verse #1 – Wine Jelly
So about a year later, I had started giving another course about online marketing. I had published a podcast series about the mortgage business and it became really popular. It was the exact same content as the course I was giving. But at the time, there weren’t a lot of people podcasting about the real estate business so my series really took off and I got a good deal of attention because of it. So I started giving this course about online marketing.
I was giving it one evening and one of the attendees had a small business selling “wine jelly”. Yes, it’s jelly made from wine and trust me, I didn’t understand it any more than you do. I live in northern California so the Napa Valley is right up the road. So this guy was producing and selling wine jelly. I don’t know if you’ve tried this stuff or not. I’ve never tried it myself as I generally try to stick with the old-fashioned liquid variety, but apparently it’s tasty.
But we started talking about websites and how to present your business online and I asked him what his MENU of products was. He told me he had a variety of different options ranging from a $4 jar to a package of jars for $26. So this guy was selling products ranging in price from $4 to $26. Now, I don’t know about you, but there isn’t really anything that inspiring to me about this product line-up. To me, I think of a retail shelf vendor and not much more than that.
It made me think about Howard and his little yoga empire, so I told this guy that he should introduce an annual 3-day luxury retreat up in Napa. On one of the days, he could have maybe a workshop teaching people how to make wine jelly in their own homes. And on another day, he could include a private tour of a fancy winery. He could serve 3 meals each day and have wine jelly paired with each one. I told him he should charge $3,000 and feature it right on his homepage.
Poor guy; I totally caught him off guard. He said, “but what if nobody buys it?” “Who cares?” It doesn’t matter if anyone buys it or not, at least not in the beginning. So who cares? The point is that if he featured this annual 3-day retreat on his website, it would completely change the frame for people who found him online. In the first case, he’d be selling little jars of jelly; nothing special. In the second case, he’d be selling a hobby, a passion, a lifestyle! He’d hold the keys to a parallel universe; a world full of culture, romance and good food.
The point is that we can project ourselves or our businesses in any way we choose. It’s up to us! Think back to the 10x version of your own goal, the steroid version, the Trump version. If you present THAT version, people will react totally differently than if you present the smaller version.
And don’t second guess whether people will want to engage on a deeper level or not. You have no idea what people would do. I’ll tell you something: never underestimate the passion of your audience! There are people in your audience who are more passionate about what you do then YOU are!
Verse #1 – Michael, Stephanie and Laurel
My agent is Michael Larsen. He’s a literary agent. He helps me get my books published. Anyway, there are hundreds, probably thousands, of literary agents out there. But 10 years ago, he and his wife decided to start the San Francisco Writer’s Conference. They never asked anyone’s permission. They just did it. And guess what? They didn’t have any competition. Nobody else had done that before. And this past year, it was labeled as the best writers conference in the country!
I have a friend named Stephanie. Actually, the reason I know her is because she’s published a number of books as well, and actually worked with Michael Larsen herself a number of years ago. Anyway, in the meantime, she started a small publishing company called Authority Publishing. She specializes in non-fiction books and works mostly with business professionals who want to build their reputation. Anyway, last year she decided to start her own conference – and it was a virtual conference – called the Non-Fiction Writers Conference. And guess what? She didn’t have any competition! Because nobody else was doing it. Nobody else thought that big, but she did. She had 100 people at her first conference but that increased to over 300 just one year later and now she’s at the center of a thriving community.
Another friend has an online business selling premium foods like caviar, foie gras and truffle mushrooms. I don’t know if you guys are aware of this or not – I wasn’t – but there’s a new trend out there called “culinary tourism” where rich people pay a bunch of money to travel to different parts of the world and eat the best of all the local specialties. So she calls me one day and tells me about this trend and that she’s now promoting a 14-day trip to Italy for – get this – $16,000 … and you have to GET to Rome. The flight’s not included. She has a good profit worked into the price the trip is going to include the best of everything. And guess what? She has very little competition! She already has a good customer base and many of those people are rich foodies who love to travel, and travel WELL. And people are signing up!
The point is that she thought bigger. They all did. Michael thought bigger. Stephanie thought bigger. Laurel thought bigger. And because they set their sights on much larger targets, they had almost no competition along the way. They just had to take action and get it going. If they did a good job, and they all did, the rest took care of itself.
Verse #1 – Barack Obama
In 2008, by the time the American election finally came around, Barack Obama had over 60,000 people BLOGGING on HIS website. It’s true. He did something no politician had ever done before. Instead of focusing only on his OWN message and trying to get it out there as much as possible, he invited OTHERS to develop and share the message themselves.
Obama’s website was amazing. You could sign up and create an account. You could be “friends” with people. You automatically became part of a ‘neighborhood’. You could attend events. You could host your OWN events. And yes, you could start your own blog right on HIS website. By Election Day, he had over 60,000 people blogging on his website.
Obama expanded the frame. Instead of just PARTICIPATING in the conversation, he actually FACILITATED the conversation. He invited the electorate to participate themselves and that added transparency and credibility to his campaign.
And besides that, his website literally had hundreds of thousands of pages of content on it. John McCain’s had maybe a thousand at the most. So when people searched for ANYTHING political on Google, what do you think popped up? McCain or Obama? That’s right. Obama came up FIRST at the top of the list every time.
Whether you like him or not, Obama changed American politics forever. He leveraged social media, he engaged the citizens and he won a decisive victory. But more than anything else, he thought BIG. And as a result, he built the largest grassroots organization in American political history, he held some of the biggest rallies in American political history and he raised more money than anyone in American political history.
Verse #1 – Sir James Dyson
Amazing things happen when you start to think BIG. Look at Sir James Dyson, the man who invented the Dyson Vacuum Cleaner. Nobody wanted to manufacture his revolutionary product so he set up his own facility. Today, he employs over 3,000 people and sells products in over 50 countries around the world. He thinks BIG and he’s a billionaire as a result. I bet some of those manufacturers are feeling pretty stupid about their decision.
Verse #1 – Chorus – 10x Your Highest Price
It’s up to YOU how you present yourself, your business and your ambitions. It’s up to YOU to decide what to shoot for. It’s up to YOU to determine what game you want to play.
What’s the most expensive product you sell? Just think about it. Now, take that price and multiply it by 10. What could you sell at THAT price? A new product? A package of products? An annual retreat somewhere? Think BIGGER. Think bigger about your business. Think bigger about your life.
How can you INVOLVE your customers? How can you help them achieve their OWN aspirations within YOUR business model? Obama gave his followers a way to become leaders WITHIN his campaign, and they signed up in droves! And like Sir James Dyson, how can you see past the obstacles and push towards your dreams?
Verse #2 – Natural Human Effects
There’s actually some amazing research concerning this. It’s rarely a coincidence that these success stories unfold the way they do. Turns out, when you set an intention and take action towards it, a powerful domino effect begins. In particular, 3 fascinating effects – natural human effects – start to play a role.
Verse #2 – Radiate Emotions
First, people radiate their emotions and thoughts. It’s involuntary. We do it whether we want to or not. The research into this stuff is a combination of neuroscience and behavioral psychology. Imagine two people entering a crowded room: very similar people physically. But one practically glows in the dark while the other fades into the shadows. How are those two people ACTUALLY different from each other … other than the fact that one of them might be radioactive?
We all know people like this – people that stand out, not people who are radioactive. But they do radiate! They’re like human magnets. Everybody loves them. It has to do with internal congruence. It has to do with their subconscious alignment. People like that have very strong and consistent beliefs.
Most people have CONFLICTING beliefs. On the one hand, they’re like “yes, yes, I can do it” but on the other, they’re saying “yeah, I’m not so sure.” They simultaneously have beliefs that point in opposite directions. But some people have all their beliefs pointing in the same direction. You know what I call that? It’s CONVICTION. People with congruent beliefs have conviction!
So who is that in YOUR life? Is it you? Is it someone you know? I’m not suggesting that you can have the same impact on others that they do. It’s impossible to replicate someone else’s personality. You have to be yourself. But you can definitely GROW in that direction. By thinking more positive thoughts and aligning your internal beliefs, you will automatically radiate more positive energy, and people around you will notice. Either consciously or subconsciously, at some level, they’ll notice. They might not know exactly what you’re up to but they’ll know that SOMETHING has changed.
I’m also not suggesting, by the way, that you adopt some naively positive perspective on life. The world isn’t perfect, and people who think it is drive me as crazy as I’m sure they do you! I know this woman back home and every time I see her and ask how she’s doing, she always says she’s EXCELLENT! Perfect! Incredible. Never better. If she’s always doing “excellent”, how will I know when she’s ACTUALLY having a good day?! Will a rainbow shoot from her mouth??
I have good days and bad days. We all do. And I promise you: when I’m having a good day, you’ll know! Because I get excited! Like today; I love what I do and I’m super excited to be here, so I’m having a GOOD day. Other days aren’t as good and I try to keep it real but let me tell you, when I’m having a good day, people notice and they swarm around with curiosity. Don’t they? When you’re in a great mood, people notice!
Verse #2 – Thoughts Become Things
Second, thoughts have a habit of becoming THINGS in your life. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying: you become what you think about. It’s true. You generally become what you think about most. It’s just like: you almost always find what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for good news, you’ll find it. If you’re looking for bad news – well, first off, it’s much easier to find these days – but yes, you’ll find it. If you’re looking for reasons why you can’t lose weight, you’ll find them. If you’re looking for reasons why you’re unhappy, you’ll find them. But if you’re looking for reasons why you ARE happy, you’ll find those too.
There are real quantifiable reasons for this. Your focus determines your life experience. When I moved from Vancouver Canada – where I grew up – down to LA back in 1998, I bought a dark green Volkswagen Jetta. And when I started driving it, I noticed other Jettas everywhere I looked. Hasn’t that happened to you? They were everywhere! Was there actually more than before? No, of course not. It’s just that I was more AWARE of them so I saw them everywhere around me.
I had to drive a lot for work back then. I was always on those massive California freeways, so I probably saw at least 10,000 cars every day. Which ones did I notice? I noticed the Jettas. They may have accounted for only 1 in every 100 cars, but my mind was tuned to Jettas and that’s what I noticed.
The same thing happens for anything you think about. Do you believe there’s no opportunity anymore? Do you believe your future is destined to be filled with struggle and strife? If so, that’s exactly what you’ll find. You’ll find reasons everywhere around you that PROVE that you’re right. There’s no opportunity! The world sucks. You’re right. But if you believe the world is FULL of opportunity, you’ll start noticing different things. I promise. You’ll notice the things that support your beliefs.
There’s nothing hokey about this. It’s not psychobabble and it’s not pie-in-the-sky hype either. It’s all perfectly natural. Your thoughts determine what you notice in the world. It happens every day of our lives.
This is extraordinarily powerful stuff, and yet it’s incredibly simple. We all have the ability to CHOOSE our own thoughts. We can intentionally focus on anything we want. That’s what affirmations are all about. And by focusing on something, we’ll automatically start noticing things that are in line with our focus.
So what do you focus on? What do you think about thousands of times each day? The research finds that most of us have about 50,000 thoughts every day; some a bit more and some quite a bit less! The problem is that about 95% of those thoughts are exactly the same thoughts we had yesterday and they day before that and the day before that. So what do YOU focus on every day? Besides the hot new receptionist or the UPS guy, that is. Okay, fine, but just for a minute. Okay, are you back? Can we move on?
Now, what COULD you focus on? Don’t get dirty now! Come on, let’s stay on track. Seriously, what COULD you focus on? You can focus on anything you like. You control that. What’s your 10x goal? Think about it. What is it? How could you get there? See? You can focus on anything you want. And believe me; if you make that one tiny change and do it consistently, you’ll be amazed at the difference it makes in your life.
Verse #2 – Passion Inspires Action
Third, ACTION is attractive. In fact, action is addictive, not just for you but for everyone around you. I used to think that the opposite of happiness is sadness but that’s not true. The opposite of happiness is NOT sadness. The opposite of happiness is BOREDOM! And most people in the world today live in a boredom TRANCE. Right? I’m sure you already know a few. Maybe you have one or two living in your home!
They get up each morning, go to work, come home again, complain about their day, eat some food, watch TV, go to bed, rinse and repeat, starting all over again. And SOME of them make a habit of skipping a few of those steps too, don’t they? They’re in a boredom trance, yes? And when people are in a boredom trance, they always do the minimum. In work, life, whatever, they instinctively choose the easiest path; the path of least resistance.
But when you’re EXCITED and taking ACTION, the opposite is true. When you’re excited, people get inspired by YOUR excitement, and it’s amazing how people pop up out of the woodwork and want to help. Everyone wants to be where the action is! People crave excitement. They’re desperate for inspiration.
Look around. You can see this everywhere. Who’s the doer in your life? Who’s the cheerleader in your circle? Who’s the one with a rainbow shooting out of their mouth? Who’s the one who’s always on the move, doing something exciting?
Yeah, I know. Those people can also be pretty annoying, can’t they? Who would want to be like THOSE people? Don’t worry. I’m not asking you to be annoying. I’m telling you that PASSION is infectious!
Seriously, look anywhere. It’s the artists who sing with PASSION that climb the charts. It’s the politicians who speak with PASSION that get more votes. It’s the businesses who operate with PASSION that dominate their industries.
Obviously, we’re talking about POSITIVE intentions here. We’re not talking about malicious intentions. We’re talking about doing something GOOD, something ADMIRABLE, something ATTRACTIVE, something AWESOME! And when you combine an awesome intention with passionate action, let me tell you, people get inspired!
Verse #2 – Intrinsic Motivators
Daniel Pink wrote a book called “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us” and it turns out that, yes, and you may or may not believe this shocker, money is a good motivator – obviously – but only for simple routine tasks. When zero creativity is required, money works great. But for more complex tasks, most people aren’t actually motivated by money at all. In fact, money can often make things worse!
I know, I know, some of you are thinking “that’s a problem I’d gladly deal with!” But the research finds that people are primarily motivated by 3 things: autonomy, mastery and purpose. People like being able to make their own decisions: autonomy. They like improving their own skills: mastery. And they like contributing to a greater cause: purpose. I do, you do, we all do.
So here it is: if you take passionate action towards a positive intention, and you don’t start bossing people around, and you let people use and develop their own natural skills, your whole community will naturally gravitate towards you and enthusiastically support your goal.
Think back to the last time YOU were doing something awesome. Now, think about the people around you. It happens. If you want to build momentum around a great cause, just start DOING something worthwhile.
Verse #2 – Law of Attraction
A lot of this sounds like the Law of Attraction, doesn’t it? I’m sure many of you have heard about “The Secret.” It’s a best-selling book and there’s also a movie by the same name. Is that what we’re talking about here? Or is this a much broader topic?
The truth is that the Law of Attraction and most religions overlap in a lot of areas. What is meditation REALLY? It’s prayer. What is visualization? It’s faith. What’s the “universal life force” they keep talking about? The “universal life force” is God.
The Law of Attraction might seem new, but it’s actually been around for centuries. It’s all the same thing. And now it turns out that there are actual logical reasons why this stuff really works. Again, first, you radiate your thoughts and emotions. We all do. Second, your thoughts become things in your life. You become what you think about. And third, action inspires more action!
Do you see how this all fits together? When you embrace a positive intention in your mind, you immediately start RADIATING that thought and excitement. And just by HAVING that thought, you start noticing things around you that will help you achieve it. And by taking ACTION towards your intention, people are inspired to help. And it all starts with one thought!
Verse #2 – Chorus – Am I crazy?
The reality is that “going BIG” starts with the smallest step imaginable. It starts with a step you can take right now, sitting here today. It starts with having the AUDACITY to identify a super-awesome intention and the COURAGE to embrace it as your own. And if you DO, the entire universe seems to CONSPIRE to help you achieve it.
Am I crazy? Is this all just a bunch of ‘hocus pocus’? No, it’s not. We just went through it. It’s just a series of logical human reactions. It’s perfectly natural … but it’s also an UNFAIR advantage for those who understand it.
Look at the most successful people, in any area of life: business, personal, religious, whatever. What do they do? They embrace massive POSITIVE intentions and then take passionate action towards them. And they always seem lucky, don’t they? Everything just seems to go their way. That’s NOT luck. It’s the unfair advantage they tapped into.
I’ll tell you what: luck and hard work are correlated! If you work hard, if you take passionate action on something, YOU will appear lucky too. These are natural forces and we just need to think BIG and take ACTION, and the rest will take care of itself.
Verse #3 – Soldiers in Iraq
So let’s talk about getting started. And this is one of my favorite subjects right now. Check this out: there are US soldiers who have been in Iraq or Afghanistan on multiple deployments, who can now look down a street in one of those cities over there and be able to predict with incredible accuracy whether or not there’s a bomb on that street.
When researchers ask these soldiers how they do it, they generally can’t answer. They just FEEL it. This is incredible to me. The fact is that your subconscious mind can process about 10 million observations in any given setting, but your conscious mind can only keep track of about 40! So that means 99.999996% of your observations, you’re not even consciously aware of.
These brave young soldiers have been in those situations so many times that they’ve developed an INTUITION. There are thousands of tiny little indicators they might see. Maybe people are walking differently. Maybe it’s quieter than usual, or louder. I wouldn’t know. I’ve never been in those situations. But they HAVE and their subconscious minds pick up all these tiny cues, and they get a FEELING about it without even consciously knowing what isn’t right.
Verse #3 – Chess Players
Doesn’t this happen to you? You meet someone and just get a FEELING about them? That’s your intuition. A recent study involved some chess masters and chess novices. They took these players individually and showed them a chess board with a game already in progress. They could look at the board for 5 seconds and then the curtain went down and they had to recreate what they saw on a fresh board.
Well, not surprisingly, the chess masters were easily able to recreate the entire board; every piece. They saw the whole story. They saw the strategy. They saw exactly what was going on. So they could easily recreate the pieces on the board.
But the chess novices only got 4 or 5 pieces right and that was it. To them, it meant nothing. They didn’t know the game so the position of all the pieces was completely arbitrary. They didn’t have the necessary experience or invaluable expertise that the masters did.
Verse #3 – Defining Intuition
It’s the same thing. It’s intuition and you can actually BUILD it with experience and expertise. We ALL have it already. Who here has kids? I’m sure you can look at your kids for ONE second and know if they’re in a good mood or a bad mood. You just know. You can tell. Well, if they’re teenagers, the bad mood option is probably the default but you get my point.
Here’s another example: have you ever driven a car and seen another car in front of you – say, Volkswagen Jetta – and you just KNEW they were going to change lanes? They were in their lane. They hadn’t put on their blinker. Nothing had happened yet, but you just KNEW. You saw something, you don’t know what, but it was something, and now you just KNOW they’re about to change lanes. And then, sure enough, they do.
This is intuition, and you have it because in both cases, you have experience and expertise in those situations. You see your kids all the time. You drive your car every day. And there are countless other situations where the same thing happens. You develop an intuition and it seems almost like a superpower to people who are less familiar with those situations.
Verse #3 – Developing Intuition
So if intuition is developed as a result of experience and expertise, what’s the fastest way to INTENTIONALLY develop it in other areas of your life? That brings us back to your personal goal on steroids, remember? The 10x goal? The fact is that intuition is basically a superpower when it comes to achieving that super-sized goal. People who have intuition are at least twice as effective as those who don’t.
When I was first learning to rollerblade, it was harder than running. When I got better at it, it was easier than walking. Why is that? It’s the same thing. When I was first getting started, I didn’t know what to focus on so every single muscle was tense. I wasn’t familiar with the motion and was scared about falling down. But when I got good at it, I knew what to expect. I had familiarity so I only used the muscles that were necessary to continue the motion. And if you rollerblade yourself, you know how easy it can be.
Here’s another example: if you want to learn how to snowboard, you’re much better off going 5 days in a row than going once each week for 5 weeks. In both cases, you’re on the mountain for 5 days but in the first case, you’re immersing yourself in the experience, and that immersion allows your subconscious mind to notice the patterns and see the connections. Immersion allows you to learn something much faster. It allows you to develop an instinct for it. It allows you to develop intuition.
When you have intuition in your career goals, you know right away if the project you’re working on is going to be effective or not. You know if you’re on the right track. And if something doesn’t add up, you know it immediately, allowing you to change course quickly. Developing intuition in your career will allow you to go twice as far in half the time.
So specifically, what’s required to develop intuition? Experience and expertise. And what’s the fastest way to gain experience and expertise? Intentional immersion. Intentional immersion is the fastest way to gain experience and expertise, and that’s what will leave you with intuition.
Verse #3 – The 10,000 Hour Rule
In his book “Outliers”, Malcolm Gladwell talks about the 10,000 hour rule. His whole premise is that the people who reach the top of their field weren’t genetically superior then everybody else. They just worked harder, that’s all. They immersed themselves into it. He argues that anyone who works on a skill for 10,000 hours will end up becoming world class.
He looks at professional hockey players and Bill Gates and Steve Jobs and The Beatles and many more and in every case, these people had been developing their skills for at least 10,000 hours. And if you break that down, that could be 3 hours a day for 9 years, or 9 hours a day for 3 years.
It doesn’t matter how you slice it, it’s a simple formula. And if you think about your own area of expertise, you probably already have hundreds of hours invested, if not thousands. The point is we can all adopt that rule ourselves. We can all recommit to our true passions and continue logging those hours. We can all become world class in the area we’re most passionate about. We have control. This is something we can choose to do.
Verse #3 – Read 5 Books
Intuition accelerates everything we’ve been talking about. Not only can you start a powerful domino effect by embracing an intention and taking action towards it, but you can also develop this additional superpower to accelerate your progress towards it. Let me tell you one simple thing that you can do immediately – like TODAY – to put this whole thing in motion.
Once you’ve selected that massive goal-on-steroids we talked about at the beginning, get online and search for the 5 best books you can find on the topic. It’s easy to find these lists about virtually ANY topic. So do some research and select the 5 best books in YOUR field, then buy them.
Now for me, I’m a very slow reader and always feel unproductive when I’m sitting on the couch reading, kind of like I feel when I’m on the couch eating donuts and watching Seinfeld reruns, so I get audio books instead. That way, I can listen to them while I’m at the gym or driving my car or on a flight somewhere. You can obviously do either but make sure it’s a format you’ll actually get to and enjoy. And then start reading them, one by one.
When you’re done, read them again. Seriously, when it comes to non-fiction books – especially the good ones – it’s amazing how much you get the second time around. In fact, I recommend going over them 3 times each. Read through all 5 books and then start at the beginning again. And if they recommend any other books that catch your attention, get those too. By the time you read through all of them 3 times, you’ll be blown away at your own expertise.
Also, it’ll change the things you think about – and we’ve already talked about that – and it’ll change the way you talk about your goals. You’ll start developing the intuition that comes from expertise. It’s not like you have to spend 10,000 hours before you see any progress. That’s not what Malcolm Gladwell was saying, and it’s not what I’m saying either. By the time you get to 10,000 hours, you’re already world class. But there are tons of incredibly valuable milestones along the way.
Verse #3 – Chorus – Getting Old
A friend of mine told me recently that ‘getting old’ is when you wish you still had the body that you never liked in the first place. I’ve seen old high school pictures of him too, by the way, and he’s not kidding! Look, everybody has big dreams and it’s not that they try to get there and fail. It’s that they never even try in the first place! For one reason or another, most people think they’re not ready to go after their dreams. They’re always waiting for some future milestone before they really put themselves out there; before they finally take that risk.
Let me tell you something: we’re not getting any younger. For the rest of your life, you will NEVER be more ready than you are right now! I actually think it’s easier to start BEFORE you’re “ready”, because getting started is a lot more difficult than changing direction. Changing direction is easy. Getting started is hard! So jump in today and change course later if you need to.
You know, all of us here today, we all have one thing in common. No matter how old we all are respectively, TODAY is the oldest we’ve ever been! None of us have ever been any older than we are right now. We’re all breaking new ground in our lives; day by day, minute by minute, second by second. So believe me; the time to take action towards that 10x goals is right now. Well, wait until we’re done here, but right after that!
Verse #4 – My Own Story
I feel like I’m living proof of all this myself. I’ve written 3 books and spoken at conferences all around the world, but the truth is that I never had one of those incredible undeniable home-run success stories that most speakers have had.
The way most speakers become speakers is by accomplishing something incredible. Maybe they started some super successful business, or they climbed Mount Everest, or they saved a baby from a burning building … or they married a Kardashian. I don’t know and it doesn’t really matter, but they did something! Well, that wasn’t true for me.
My biggest claim to fame is that I have no claim to fame! And as unrealistic as my intentions seemed at the time, I never felt like I was competing with anyone. I never asked for anyone’s permission. I just started doing it – doing what I wanted to do – and playing my game as big as I could … and the incredible thing is that it just rolled right out in front of me without anyone ever trying to slow me down.
I mean, again, I’ve written 3 books about my topic. And I research my topic like a madman. I read every book I can find. I want to be the best at what I do. But I always thought that I’d need some massive VICTORY to do this – to be a speaker – and it’s not true. All I needed was my intention and a little good old-fashioned elbow grease, and the rest took care of itself.
Verse #4 – Overnight Success Stories
Everybody wants to hear an overnight success story. Even when the “overnight success” took 15 years, they still want to hear the “overnight” part. It’s ingrained in our culture. That’s what people want. They want to know the ONE thing that changed everything. They want to know the ONE moment when the whole thing took off like a rocket to fortune and fame. That’s not how it works! That almost never happens!
I’ll tell you what success is. Success is the accumulation of 10,000 tiny victories and 100,000 tiny failures! That’s what success is!
You know, I’m going to call my 4th book “Fail Your Way to Success” because that’s the story of my life. I’m like a professional failure! Some of you may suddenly be feeling much closer to me personally now, and that’s good. Because I think I’ve failed at everything I’ve ever done … the FIRST time. But then you learn and you try again. And then again and again, and you get a bit better every time.
You just keep going. You keep working towards your goals. And step by step, things take shape. And of course, there are countless frustrations along the way. But there are also countless tiny miracles that keep you going. And people take notice and people try to help, and you keep working and working. And before you know it, things start to shift. Your trajectory changes and the victories start piling up.
Verse #4 – Sweden – Chicken Thighs
Let me tell you about one of my tiny miracles. I could tell you hundreds of these, but I’ll go with just this one. It was a Thursday evening in September, 2007, and that was definitely a difficult time for me. I wasn’t making any money. I was really struggling.
I won’t tell you some extravagant sob story, I’ll stick with the usual sob story instead … but let me give you an idea of how things were for me back then. In fact, I need to go back a bit further so stay with me. On December 30th, 2005, the end of the year, I made a New Year’s resolution for 2006 and that resolution was to work out in the morning instead of the evening. That’s a pretty minor goal, yes? But it represented a big shift for me because I had to figure out what my routine would be for dinner.
You see, when I worked out in the evening, I had a protein shake after my workout and that was it. But if I worked out in the morning, I’d have to eat a real dinner. Believe it or not, I hadn’t done that in years. And meanwhile, I didn’t have a lot of money so it had to be something healthy AND inexpensive.
But I dutifully put together a perfectly balanced meal that cost less than $3 per day: 2 chicken thighs, a sweet potato and half a head of broccoli. I went to Costco that very same day and stocked up on supplies. I bought the chicken thighs in these huge bulk packages and then stored them, 2 at a time, in Ziploc bags. So I also bought a big multi-pack of Ziploc bags. You know, that’s how everything is at Costco. It had 4 boxes with 100 bags in each box.
Anyway, in December of that next year, 2006, almost a full year after I started my new routine, I finished my second box of Ziploc bags. And that’s when it hit me … like a sack of potatoes, chicken thighs and broccoli … I had eaten that meal – 2 chicken thighs, a sweet potato and half a head of broccoli – 200 times in less than one year!
It’s times like that when you realize how pathetic your life truly is. It’s times like that when you realize how LITTLE you’ve accomplished. It’s a sobering thought, for example, that when Mozart was MY age, he had already been dead for 6 years! I don’t know about you but that would absolutely RUIN birthday for me.
Pathetic. But seriously, we’ve probably all had moments like that. No, I wasn’t homeless. I never declared bankruptcy. I’ve never been on a reality TV show. I was never stranded in the snow without shoes lost in the wilderness without food or water or anything like that, but things were really tight. Things were difficult. And it’s moments like that, honestly, when you rely on your faith to get you through.
Verse #4 – Sweden – Submit Proposal
Anyway, I was sitting at my desk in September 2007, almost another year later, furiously brainstorming different ways I could get my career off the ground. But I was definitely stuck on the runway, emotionally exhausted and absolutely frustrated. I remember; I was half way through a Corona that evening. I was sitting at my desk, wondering what else I could do, besides sit at my desk drinking beer. And while I was enjoying the hell out of that beer, what I really needed was money. No way around that.
Quite suddenly, I thought to myself, “I should speak at a conference.” Right out of the blue! So I went to Google and searched for the phrase “internet marketing conference.” Well, as it turned out, there’s actually a conference CALLED the Internet Marketing Conference so it obviously came up first.
The conference was based in Stockholm, Sweden, and there was a tab on their website that read “Speakers” so I thoughtlessly clicked on it. There was another tab that read “Submit a Proposal” so I clicked on that one too, and it brought me to this online form that I could fill out.
So there I was, my beer half empty, staring at this online form on my computer screen. Should I fill it out? I had never spoken at a conference in my life! What could I propose?? Maybe I should have another beer first, no?
But I came up with a great title that day. Seriously, it was one of the best titles I’ve ever come up with. My friends tell me it’s the ONLY great title I ever came up with. I proposed a session called “Monetizing Trust: Leading Your Audience from Rapport to Revenue.” It was a great title. It was juicy. It was spicy. It was spicy. I’m certain the beer helped so I took a quick chug and pressed on. Suddenly inspired, I wrote a brief description and clicked SUBMIT.
Now, please realize that I never expected to hear back. The whole thing was such a stretch. So completely unlikely and improbable that I almost forgot about it. Well, the beer may have helped with that as well. Anyway, that was Thursday evening. I got nothing on Friday, nothing on Saturday and nothing on Sunday. But I woke up on Monday morning and an email had come in about 2:00 AM – the middle of the day in Sweden – and it said “we’re interested in your topic.” “Can you give us more details?”
And I was like “oh my God!” I didn’t know what to do. Should I grab some more beer?
But we managed to email back and forth, and they ended up selecting me to speak at their conference in November, just 2 months later. I was stunned! Shocked. Overwhelmed. And I was scared to death. I mean, literally, I was SCARED – TO – DEATH.
But here’s the interesting thing: I found out much later that one of the primary reasons they picked me was because I was an American from Silicon Valley. Wow. That’s pretty interesting. Being an American from Silicon Valley is nothing special when you live in San Francisco. But in SWEDEN, it’s a big deal. Being an American gave me credibility over there. Imagine that!
And THEN, when I got back from the conference, I got more credibility at HOME … because I spoke in Sweden! Do you see how that worked? I got credibility in both directions! It was as if I had cold called Angelina Jolie and she somehow said yes, I had taken her out on a date and now every beautiful woman back home was fighting over my number!
That’s when I learned – and this is very true in the speaking business – that the hardest place to get paid to speak is in your own backyard. You’re much better off trying to speak in exotic destinations in far off lands. And since that time, my speaking business has taken me to India and Dubai and Aruba and Cancun and Portugal and a long list of other exotic destinations … which is awesome!
But the point is that it was a crazy insane goal – speaking in Sweden – not the Angelina Jolie thing, that makes perfect sense – but that’s exactly why it worked. It never would’ve happened if the conference had been in America. It simply would’ve happened. And that’s been the short story of my whole career. I just kept shooting for massive goals, and nobody ever stood in my way. Well, except for Brad Pitt, that is, but I’m working on that.
Verse #4 – Chorus – Bridge – Small is Better
Is this making sense? When you “go BIG”, all the rules change! And you know what else? It has never been easier for ordinary people to achieve extraordinary success. All the trends in business, all the trends on the internet, and all the trends in social media … they all favor small businesses and individuals.
Even the BIG companies are literally tripping over themselves trying to act like LITTLE companies. It didn’t used to be that way. It used to be good to be big. Not anymore. These days, it’s better to be small. Sorry ladies but it’s true.
The statistics are actually pretty breathe-taking. More than half of the books sold on Amazon aren’t available in a single bookstore. More than half the songs sold on iTunes aren’t available on CD. Today’s world favors micro-niches. It favors people who specialize in some super-specific thing. And the internet gives them all the tools they need to find customers all around the world.
A 19-year-old Marine took Mila Kunis to his prom because he asked her for the date on YouTube while he was stationed in Iraq. She said yes. That never would’ve been possible 10 years ago!
Verse #4 – Chorus – Bridge – Occupy Wall Street
Look, there’s a lot of ANGER out there these days; anger at the system, anger at the rich. With the Occupy Wall Street movement, believe me, I’ve seen it firsthand. And you know what? They’re right. The system DOES favor the rich. It’s true and we all know it. So you’re faced with a choice. You can try to change the system, and good luck with that! OR, you can change yourself, and THAT you can do today. You can switch sides and BECOME what you have the potential to BE!
There are simple things you can do right NOW that will put the wind at your back. There are decisions you can make today that will put the odds in your favor. And there are actions you can take that will give you that UNFAIR advantage.
I know it’s difficult. I know it’s hard. I know what it’s like to eat chicken thighs and broccoli for dinner 200 times in a single year!
But I also know what it’s like to fly to Sweden because I filled out a simple online form with a beer in my hand and hardly a dime in my pocket. I know what it’s like to speak in Dubai to a ballroom full of Arabs and Sheiks. And I know what it’s like to look back and wonder how I managed to get so lucky.
I’ve seen both sides of this coin, and THIS side is BETTER. You only live once. You were born on one date and you will die on a different date. Right now, we’re in between those two dates. Your life is NOT over. So what are you going to do from now until then end?
If you have ambition, if you have dreams for your life, if you have a message to share, THIS is the time to get it out there. There has NEVER been a better time to make your dreams a reality. There has never been a better time to craft your very own World Domination Strategy. There’s never been a better time to go BIG! It’s exciting. It’s fun. And it’s what life is all about.
END – thanks for reading!
Patrick Schwerdtfeger is a keynote speaker who has spoken at conferences and business events in cities across the United States and Canada as well as destinations in Mexico, the Caribbean, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Please contact us if you have an upcoming event that you’re working on.