I have many books that I love to pull out from time to time and read a special passage that i’ve marked for just such a future time. They are phrases, words of wisdom or even an amazing chapter that made me think: “Wow! I wish I had the talent/fortitude to write in verbiage like that!” Some of those books are unusual and historical like “George Washington’s Rules Of Civility” which contains various script from the Latin origins and other languages. Weird, I know. But Enlightening!

Today I read from one of my favorites: Dr. Mike Murdock’s “The Wisdom Commentary – Volume 1” Today’s segment is from Chapter 23 on Happiness:

“Happiness is feeling good about the happenings in your life. Do not confuse it with popularity, which simply means others feel good about you. But what you think about yourself, your character, and your own accomplishments determines your real sense of worth and value. ”

Galations 6:4 ” But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another”

As I move further and further from allowing myself to be hindered by others dictates, I see in myself the wisdom built up over several decades of pursuing the knowledge and advice of so many that have laid groundwork before me. I am humbled to know that I was a miserable mess for much of that journey, and that without every person who have contributed to my life, I may never have reached these moments of happiness. I take time to celebrate the choices that were mine to make – that were indeed made. Now, its time to make some better choices in areas I have not been so civil or wise. Indeed I have no happiness there. Time to work.

Quotes that matter

Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterward. ~ Vernon Law

Embrace hardship, change and failures… for through all these, great successes emerge. – Shaun A. Hays

I used to say I hate motivational quotes. It was never actually true. I hated cliche’ posters with oversimplified half truths on the walls of men and women who were treating their huge debt as some sort of status symbol and lording over others in a soulless greed. Yep. I definitely hated that. The very appearance of a motivational picture in a frame demotivated me instantly because of the association it had in my mind with the persons I decided I would never be like.

Really good quotes (I call them “meaty quotes”) are ones that actually teach you a series of lessons and keep speaking to you throughout your entire life. They make you stop and think as well as inspire you to take a huge leap of faith when the time is right. I keep them around and visit them often through the year. I found putting it really big on the wall of my office is as functional as the bumper stickers other think have any effect on my true beliefs… No effect at all. Perhaps for the first few days it will grab me, but after a while I am avoiding looking at it or just don’t see it anymore. That is why my favorite quotes are hidden where they can grow. In my heart.

What is your favorite quote? How do you keep quotes you love?

Discussing Problems

– A teaser from my unpublished book to help you find solutions and overcome all the stuff holding you back.

“Refuse to discuss your challenges with someone who is incapable of solving them. Often the people we enjoy talking to aren’t helping us grow and fix things…many people think they are helping by telling you “everything will be ok” or “you are fine” when they actually mean “average”, “passable” or “you probably won’t die”. If these words don’t describe your dreams and vision… Run! Average in America means “in-debt with no real future”, “broken families” and “generally unhealthy”.
Don’t share your problems with people who only feed on the negative energy of dysfunction. They waste your time and their own. Move on. People will always do one of the following: lift you up, or pull you down. Give it time and watch the people around you…they will eventually reveal who they are to you.” – Shaun A Hays

Would you like to see more from this book? How have friends helped or pulled you down? Let me know your thoughts!

Be a “RO”!!!

I have shared this story in many of my presentations and it always seems to inspire someone. I hope this written version will accurately convey the energy in which it should be delivered.


It pretty much goes like this:


Years ago I took a job selling Kirby vacuum cleaners door to door. (Yes, I was desperate.) I didn’t have much confidence in my abilities.

No one thought I would make it more than a week. In fact I heard from someone, years later,  that they had taken bets on how long I’d last. Obviously I wasn’t very impressive to them. The job was worse than difficult for me…sometimes, it was downright humiliating. I had no idea how I ended up in this place with Vaccuum people or what they were so amped up about.  Who gets excited over a vacuum? Did I mention it was a ridiculously overpriced vacuum that looked like something my grandmother might have owned when my mother was young? I wasn’t impressed on first take and it was difficult to get over that first impression no matter how much they showed me it could do. All I could think was: “No one’s gonna buy this if you just show up with it and tell them it’s well over a thousand dollars!” Guess how many I sold in my first month? I believe I sold three. Maybe four and all to family members who were “helping me”. It was weird.


After a month of discouragement and one very real meltdown, the manager decided that since I kept coming back, they would throw me a bone. He sent me out with a guy who called himself “Ken Ro”. In fact, he announced his arrival everyday by yelling to the top of his lungs in true Samuel L. Jackson-esque style: “Ken-RO is here! Whoo!” At first he scared me a little, but it seemed to always get people smiling and laughing, so I accepted his total insanity as just part of the ambiance. I hadn’t spent any real time with him however, and this day with Ken Ro was sure to be unforgettable.


Kenny looked just like Montel Williams but WAY less mature!. He talked of himself in third person. That’s not easy to get away with. Somehow it seemed to fit him. He was a riot and I learned alot about people from him. I asked him what the heck RO meant and he gave me a long winded and very enthusiastic (southern Baptist preacher style) explanation that really made no sense at all but made everyone very electrified! We were all ready to be RO’s when he was done but he concluded on a hushed and dramatic note: “You don’t just get to be RO for no reason, son.” He said. “You gots to go out there and earrrrrn that title! You… you aint earned it yet.” I laughed a bit and then asked him: “Ok, I’ll bite. Haha! What do I have to do to earrrrn it?” (He was so serious about all this too.) He looked at me totally intense (maybe it was a look of insanity?) and he said: ” You gotta outsell the BEST! You gotta outsell KEN-ROOO!!! WHOOOO!!!!!!!”


I wish you could hear the voice he did all this in too it was priceless!


For some reason, I took that challenge and even though I’m usually not much of a competitor, I went out and did just that. It took me about two months but I finally outsold him one week by nearly double his numbers and in one day (same week), I matched his daily sales record.


I couldn’t wait to see his face when he saw the numbers posted. I waited quietly off to the side to see it. Sure enough, cocky and up to that point – undefeated – Ken-RO approached the wall. He was checking his chart against the usual suspects of top sellers and his face remained quite normal… until he saw it. By this time everyone in the office had gathered to see what was going to happen. Ken-Ro’s jaw dropped so fast I thought his brain was going to melt. He stood dumbfounded for only a second and then realized he was the center of attention and quickly composed himself. Turning over his shoulder to look at me he forced a big frown that looked more like a grin and said: “OK… OK…” nodding as he sauntered my way. “SO!” nodding again but this time more menacing like he was going to hurt me now. “SHAUN…” (His fist raised over his shoulder and eyes now popping out all scary like) “ROOOOOOOOO!!!!!!” and his hand came down into my hand catching me in a bro-style hand shake that seemed to never end as the whole office began to cheer and applaud. It was awesome.


And from that moment on when I walked into work, I was greeted with a round of “Shaun-RO!” by everyone.


Why am I telling you this? Because I think you can be a RO. Just remember: YOU GOTS TO EARN IT! You aren’t as limited in life as you think. Go be a RO!

061205-N-8148A-074 - Montel Williams, a talk s...

061205-N-8148A-074 – Montel Williams, a talk show host and former U.S. Navy lieutenant commander, spends time aboard guided-missile destroyer USS Howard (DDG-83) while traveling through the 5th Fleet area of operations to collect footage for a holiday special dedicated to U.S. service members. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Owning Your Destiny

I do what I do for a living to be happy and live my dreams. I value my free time and my freedom in general. Too many people are trying to get things and accomplish things so that they will be happy instead of going straight to happiness. I know its oversimplified, but seriously people forget that. (We often forget the most simple and important things and become consumed with busy – ness, justifying our stress and lack of control over our lives because it is typically accepted.) I want NOTHING to do with typical living. typical in America seems to be: In debt and still spending on frivolous things we do not need… Divorced… Medicated due to unhealthy lifestyles… too busy to stop and really experience the life and love around us…. and altogether, well, pointless existing.

To change my path I realized I would need Mentorship. A mentor challenges you while encouraging you in what you do. Like a personal trainer who only wants the best for you so they push you hard. A good mentor will not undermine your efforts and discourage you. Tehy may yell and get in your face if you aren’t giving it your all in the gym, but they are always encouraging you to go get some rest, live your dreams and not injure yourself.

I’ve had many great mentors along the way… many by “chance”. What I have learned to do (and I learned this from one mentor) is to go find my mentors and take hold of my destiny. I dictate who will be my adviser and who will not. I listen to the words of many people everyday who offer their unique experience and expertise. I do not, however, listen to “Arm-Chair Quarterbacks” who tell you how to do things they themselves have no experience in or are too afraid/unskilled to get on the field and actually play.

Every Sunday during football season there is an endless barrage of advice being hurled at the TV from out of shape (usually drunk) has-beens who are acting more important than they are and often never played on the field in any serious role worth talking about. They know it all though don’t they? the game would have been very different in the coach or the players would have done what these guys (who can’t live their own lives) knew all-too-easy what to do.

I cannot handle being around it. Get on the field and prove yourself. As Larry Winget once said: “Shut-up, Stop Whining… and get a life!” Are you great at sales? I’ll listen to you talk about that, but don’t give me advice on how to “deal with my wife”. I have been married for 15 years and with her for 22 years already and we talk things out regularly instead of fight for our own way. I think I have a good hold on the situation. Are you an artist? Let’s collaborate or exchange ideas. I love that. It makes me better. If you know absolutely nothing about art, you probably should have less alcohol in your system before telling me what to draw. Stick to your proven expertise or get out there and try something you’ve never done and let the hits come as you learn how to be a better you. If I do not know you, your lifestyle, your reputation… you have very little weight in my world.

Be an encourager and a mentor to someone you seriously have influence with. Get involved. This is a sign of greatness. People who take credit for other people’s work are a dime a dozen. Criticizers and complainers are everywhere. People who actually take responsibility for their own destiny… precious and few.

Find mentors to help you be a better you. Look for people who will not try to own you or your work to make them look good and then discourage your dreams. Really, if they hear your vision for your future it should spark some excitement in them. If they ONLY correct and make you feel like you never do anything right… run. They’ll never change. YOU CHANGE.

Get out there and stop waiting for someone else to make things happen for you. You can do this. You are better than you know.

Untouched By The Flame


Image via Wikipedia

This article is an extension of Chapter 9 in my book The Burning Heart Of A Difference Maker.

If you have not read the chapter already click here.

Untouched By The Flame

It has always astounded me how one person can go through a tragedy and be forever traumatized and another person can go through the same thing and come out seemingly unaffected at all.  I have always wondered what it is that makes them different and if that difference is something we can learn or obtain. One person I know was absolutely traumatized by the footage of people they did not know jumping to their death on 9/11 while another person I know cleans up suicide scenes as part of their job and is well balanced and sleeps fine at night.  How are these two people different? Is one weak minded? Is it that they are too sensitive? If that were so than by default the other is not sensitive enough and has something wrong with them. I think that is not the answer at all.

While I’m sure there are hundreds of variables in every situation I have searched for the best underlying and simplistic solution for many years and discovered that all evidence points to a very easy answer: “Input Creates Output”. I know it is simple on the surface and that’s the beauty of it, really. It is simple enough for anyone to apply right where they are… and complex enough to handle anything we need. Let’s look at example:

If I had a set of scales and dropped half a deck of cards onto one side, it would quickly tip the scale in almost violent fashion. However if I do the same to the other side, we have balance. Easy right? So let’s look at this like our thoughts:

Let’s say one side of the scale is Stress and the other is Success. Everyone’s situation can be interpreted by which is emotionally winning. Sure there are other factors but lets focus only on how it makes you feel, for a moment. We all have stress in our lives. We have different amounts of stressors in our lives, some big and some small. If I have a major life event that suddenly throws me into chaos, it is like having a large amount of cards tossed onto the stress side of the scale. If you don’t have enough on the success side of the scale, it will quickly take you down and life will feel heavy and unmanageable. If you have a major life event that goes on the Success side, (like a dream fulfilled) it launches your stress side skyward and make any problem easier to bear.

Problem: the major life events that add sudden heavy weight to either side is usually out of our control. However we see from studies on brain function and cognitive behavior that thinking about a negative event (or a stressor) causes the nerve endings that hold that thought in long-term memory to grow and become physically bigger. You feed your memories and make them stronger by remembering them, talking about them or even obsessing over them. If this is true we can balance our scale ON PURPOSE no matter what our history has been. Dwell on times you HAVE succeeded and done the right thing. Feed those memories. Dwell on good things that have been done to you or said to you. Refuse to keep feeding all the toxic thoughts that come to your head or give too much validity to negative things said or done to you.

Every time you think about a bad memory and dwell on it with emotion you are throwing another card onto that side of the scale. Sure one card won’t do much, but this is why it is said that we are the “sum of our decisions”. It doesn’t mean you are worthless because you fail often. It means you need to adjust your scale to gain balance and eventually great success.

Smart people save money for emergencies and add “cards” daily to their success side of the scale for the same reason. How well will you handle the next big stressor?

LEVEL UP! Read my blog entry: “Remember The Future

Remember The Future!


Memories (Photo credit: Mark Morgan Trinidad A)

Remember your favorite lost or stolen toy for a moment. If i asked you, you could probably discuss it at length with me. Color, size, the way it smelled and the way it made you feel. However if I asked you to prove to me it exists, you cannot.

You remember.

Sure, you may have pictures or movies of it, but it is gone. Memory is stored information that, when accessed by thought, creates a feeling and releases chemicals in our brain that feed that memory and keep it strong. Like watering and fertilizing a garden.

Negative memories are like weeds that can overtake your garden. (I’ll blog on that sometime soon!)

Here’s a crazy fact: Imagination is very similar to memory.

Let me show you: Imagine a car you’d like to drive. Go ahead. Imagine it vividly. The color, size, shapes… the smell of new leather etc. Imagine yourself opening the door and getting in slowly as if you have been waiting for this day your whole life. Imagine that it is YOUR new car! Imagine it is paid for in full with money you saved and earned. You sacrificed many other things that were less important to you to get it and it is very special to you. A smile overcomes you face as you grip the steering wheel and a man hands you the keys. “Here you are…it’s all yours! Go have fun!” You wave to your friends and turn the key. You have all day to just cruise in your dream wherever you wish. Go show it off if you want or just go be alone on a country road. Just you and your smile.

You just accessed your imagination and stimulated nerve growth in your brain. You mind created a “memory” or a document of that thought. It may not seem the same as remembering something in the past, because you used more senses to create your memories so they are usually stronger, but the growth happens either way. You can remember your future.

So why do it?

We live our lives according to the input our brains have received. If you dream of going to Paris one day, there is a much greater chance you will find a way there and even learn how to speak some french. A person who constantly thinks of themselves as a future pig farmer will more than likely do neither. It doesn’t mean it will just happen, but think of it like this: if I asked you to find a 5 purple flowers in the next 5 days and you really wanted to do it…YOU WOULD. You might find them in a field, the mall or in someone’s yard, but you’d find them because you were tuned in to “Purple Flowers”. If you couldn’t find them any other way and you really wanted to see them… you’d create them. Maybe you’d paint them or maybe you’d order them or sculpt them out of a purple onion… but you’d find a way to produce them if you were obsessed with it.

Dreamers who obsess over their dream produce it in some form…often the real thing. We all obsess. We just don’t think we do, admit it, or want to. We do. You do.

So, do it on purpose. Change your world. Dream and obsess over something amazing and worth your time and energy. Remember your future!

Burning Heart DM Chapter 9

The following is from my book The Burning Heart: of a difference maker . Installment one of a series of three Burning Heart books.

Burning Heart_Shaun Hays_cover Front

Inspirational book for teens and young adults gives youth the power to forge their future using healthy life choices that are easy to understand and apply.

Chapter 9

The Negative Flame

When we are little, our lessons are simple. Don’t touch things in the store when mommy says. Don’t play in the street. Live good and life will be good. Don’t pour chemicals you found in the trash on daddy’s new car again! (sorry flashback!) Then, as we grow older we notice things aren’t as simple as they were taught to us. You can live your whole life trying to make perfect choices and someone can come along and be terrible to you. It hurts. I call it “gettin’ burned”. Life can burn us in a number of ways. Things happen to us. Let’s just be honest: life can be really tough sometimes. Some people go through their whole life wounded from the burns life has given them. Some people seem to march on like it never happened…untouched by the negative flame.

(Read my blog entry “Untouched by the Flame”.)

The worst is when a burn comes from someone you looked up to. Sometimes the very people we think should protect us, hurt us. Most of the time it isn’t on purpose. You see, we all effect each other. In a moment of anger or fear, words or actions are chosen that hurt and burn. Your words are chosen and they effect me. Other choices you make effect my life. It really does. If you decide to do something bad or negative, it hurts people around you. Think about someone who hurt you. They could have chosen differently. You can choose too. The Negative Flame is when something that could be used to help, is used to harm… or just simply isn’t used at all.

If you choose to do nothing with your talents and gifts to help others make a difference in the world, it effects everyone. It spreads a Negative Flame. You may think it’s a small matter, but let me explain it like this:

Story Time Kiddos!

Train Land had a problem. Trains all over the country were unemployed and hungry. A huge shipment of train food was loaded into boxcars to be carried across the country to the hungry trains who needed it. A wise train man who looks like the monopoly man suggests that 5 trains split the load up. 1 to go to the Northeast. 1 to go to the Southeast. 1 to go to the Northwest. 1 to go to the Southwest and 1 to go through the Midwest. From there the shipments would be taken to every town in the country. Every one in train land agreed.

Upon hearing the plan the trains all held a grand meeting and decided to pick from among them the mightiest of trains. Five trains were selected and they set off for their destinations. One train that was selected really didn’t care about the plan or the hungry trains so, he left his boxcars sitting on the track until the next day. He went to a local hangout for trains and danced to really bad techno music all night long. The second train came to the spot on the tracks where Train #1 left his boxcars and she said “That’s not fair! How am I going to get through?” So she gave up and left her boxcars right there too. The next train came along and said “This is not good, but I will wait for help.” He slept there all night long.

The next day when Train #3 saw train number #1 he called out “Are you coming back to get your boxcars?” Train #1 just yawned “I really need some sleep! I’m tired. I’ll get it later.” Just then, train #4 appeared. “What’s all this?” She asked. “Everyone left” said train #3, “Where have you been?” Train #4 replied: “Train #5 got sick and couldn’t come so I offered to carry the extra boxcars. It’s slowing me down, but I’m feeling good. Maybe we can work together and get this done.”

The two trains worked tirelessly all day and night and into the next morning to get the boxcars to the first stop, but there was a mountain ahead and when they got over the first hill they could not go on. In fact the weight of the food was so great that they got stuck in the valley. The food rotted and the trains rusted and there was no happy ending.

Are you kidding me? That’s a horrible story, Shaun! What’s wrong with you?

Its a parable: a story with a message. The message is that every choice you make every action you take…effects the people around you. EVEN the action of doing nothing.


To order this book and receive bulk discounts for your group, please visit http://www.shaunhays.com