Words of Wisdom

These are tough times for many Americans.  I am not living a day where I don’t hear about the status of our “failing economy.”  1,000 people were just laid off at my husband’s job on the day after Election Day.  A situation like this immediately reminds my family about the 3 lay offs Andrew has had since 2003.  It is not fun.  It can be scary and we buckle tightly to make sure we survive another wave of burden.
(At the time I had written this) I woke up this morning just after 4 a.m. because this is the time my husband came home from work.  He is fortunate enough to be working as a systems engineer on his company’s highest profile project, despite the 75-hour work weeks.  He and his partner have all of the executives’ eyes on them.  Either they complete the tasks or the company hires in contractors.  My husband’s working around the clock to ensure his job, whether it’s at the office or here at home.
Right now, I am positive that most Americans feel it is better to be overworked rather than to not be working.  In my house, this definitely is the case.  During my husband’s last lay off, I worked almost around the clock supporting our family.  My business raked in more profits than I had anticipated and we felt secure.  Currently, the situation is reversed.  I still am working many hours (as most self-employed people do) and my mind is incessantly creating ways to improve as a person, as well as a sole-proprietor.  Yet as many small business owners are currently living, it takes constant focus, determination and perseverance to THRIVE during these hard times.  It takes great diligence to not tire out, to get adequate rest and to constantly remember to give and take love in order to remain sane.
During several recent conversations in my clinic, I have been feeling inspired to share some thoughts to shed light on the gloom and doom that our media constantly reminds us of.  Please take of it what you will.  If you so feel inspired, please share this email.  I have wanted to share this about two years ago.  Perhaps our country’s depression is finally making me put aside the time to share these words of Tony Robbins because this is the time that we must all be reminded that life is not what people tell us it is; rather, life is what we make it.  There’s more of this where it came from.  I read numerous books and now, it is my job to start sharing them with you.  Don’t talk to me about the plight that many of us are in. I already know and I already have experienced such struggles since I was a baby.  Instead of putting focus on poverty and starvation, let’s talk about resilience, paving a new path for ourselves, being inspired and instilling hope in those of us who NEED IT MOST.  Instead of talking about limited cash flow, let’s talk about expanding our wealth by creating ways that we have always thought about, but have never been daring enough to actually implement.  Remember the people who came out millionaires during The Great Depression.  Are you to be the next millionaire?  Who is to say that you are not?  Let me tell you that you can and if you allow yourself to be inspired, take action and refuse to listen to the have-nots, YOU CAN AND YOU WILL flourish.
Check out my logo on my website (, brochure, flyer, stationery or on my business card.  It’s a cleaning tool.  By that I mean the logo cleanses all negative memories and it inspires one to live to one’s potential.  If you want to know more about this, listen to ZERO LIMITS by Drs. Joe Vitale and Ihaleakala Hew Len.  My logo is not some random picture.  I thought well and hard over it.  My designer, Tammi Spruill ( labored several weeks to finally give me what I envisioned.  My logo is a lotus with the colors of the Chinese medical elements: FIRE, EARTH, METAL, WATER and WOOD.  I wanted it simple, yet powerful.  I live by the lotus. My tattoo is a phoenix.  These two emblems represent something beautiful growing from mud/ashes, respectively.  A lotus is a beautiful flower that blooms out of muddy waters.  A phoenix is born from the ashes of faith.  Depending on who you talk to will you receive one of different stories of how the phoenix is born.  Why has humankind created mystical creatures?  I believe that all of the darkness in all of our civilizations gave birth to some of the greatest minds whose souls did not falter in faith.  It was in many of these minds that their faiths unleashed from their hearts, stood among the followers who freely accepted oppression and not just hoped, but EXPECTED better from life and acted upon their faiths.  The phoenix stood for faith among those who would have her.  In the story brought to me, a tyrant did his best to burn the faith of those in his land.  He oppressed the people (which we understand now in our day as a clear sign of insecurity) by attempting to burn their faith.  From those ashes, a phoenix soared and gave strength to the people.  The people revolted and took back their land. I like to add my own twist by saying that the people unified and ruled their new country as a democracy and lived with religious and political freedom.
You have read this far, I urge you to read on as I quote directly from Anthony Robbin’s book THE GIANT WITHIN. My intention in sending this to you is to instill hope in you and to spread these thoughts.  When you are at work or hanging out with friends/family, do not permeate the negativity that people come to you with.  Instead, be the light that they need.  Do not merely think positively, ACT POSITIVELY.  I am reading PSYCHO-CYBERNETICS by Maxwell Maltz, M.D., F.I.C.S.  So far I am learning that thinking positively does not change your life.  As a renowned plastic surgeon, he had found that when people change their thoughts of their image (their self-image) that they start behaving in ways that they almost did not think were possible with their previous self-image.  Now isn’t that strange?  Many of us actually are thinking that our most radical abilities would not be possible due to our own self-limitations!
If you drive a Toyota/Lexus, Honda/Acura, Nissan/Infinit or Mitsubishi or if you believe that Japanese products are worth your money (look at your TV or some of your household appliances), you may be interested in this portion of Mr. Robbins’ book.  If you drive a Ford, you will learn something valuable.  If you are not interested in Japan for whatever reason, but you think that their quality of life is a force to be reckoned with (in regards specifically to their culture’s sense of attention to detail/quality), these words may be of inspiration still to you.  May the words of Anthony Robbins create a far greater determination within you than what you currently have.  Oh, I believe you currently have a great sense of determination.  I work with some of the most accomplished people in my clinic.  I have the honor of treating gardeners, homemakers, entrepreneurs, doctors, nurses, writers, producers, directors, actors, CEOs/high-profile executives, teachers, mechanics, dancers, singers, designers, engineers, etc…I have no doubt in your abilities.  I am merely doing my part in this country by sharing some words of wisdom during these daunting hours.  Let freedom ring and let every heart sing …in good times and in bad.  I implore you to not take part with anything negative.
…It’s not good for your health (a message from your neighborhood acupuncturist).

In business, too, we have a set of false beliefs that are leading us down a road of economic frustration, and some say potential disaster.  Our economy faces challenges in virtually every sector.  Why?  I found one clue in an article I read in the March 1991 FORBES magazine.  This article describes two cars-the Chrysler-Plymouth Laser and the Mitsubishi Eclipse-and notes that Chrysler averaged only thirteen sales per dealership of their car while Mitsubishi averaged over 100!  You may say, “What else is new?  The Japanese are beating the pants off the American companies in selling cars.”  But the unique thing about these two cars is that they’re exactly the same-they were built in partnership between these two companies.  The only difference between the Laser and the Eclipse is the name and the company who’s selling it.  How can this be?  As you may have guessed, research investigating the cause of the discrepancy in sales has shown that people want to buy Japanese cars because they believe they are of greater quality.  The problem in this case is that it’s a false belief.  The American company’s car is of the same qualty because it’s the very same car.

Why would consumers believe this?  Obviously, it’s because the Japanese have created a reputation for quality, providing us with numerous references to back it up-even to the point where we no longer question its validity.  It may surprise you that the Japanese commitment to increasing quality is actually the result of an American export in the person of Dr. W. Edwards Deming.  In 1950 this renowned quality-control expert was brought to Japan by General MacArthur, who was frustrated with a war-raved Japanese industrial base where he couldn’t even count on being able to complete a phone call.  At the request of the Japanese Union of Scientists and Engineers, Deming began to train the Japanese in his total quality-control principles.  When you hear this, do you immediately think it refers to monitoring the quality of a physical product?  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Deming  taught the Japanese fourteen principles and a basic core belief that is the foundation of virtually all decisions made in every successful, major, multinational Japanese corporation to this day.
The core belief, simply, is this: a constant, never-ending commitment to consistently increase the quality of their business every single day would give them the power to dominate the markets of the world.  Deming taught that quality was not just a matter of meeting a certain standard, but rather was a living, breathing process of never-ending improvement.  If the Japanese would live by the principles that he taught, he promised them, within five years they would flood the world with quality products and within a decade or two become one of the world’s dominant economic powers.
Many thought Deming’s proclamations were crazy.  But the Japanese took him at his word, and today he is revered as the father of the “Japanese miracle.”  In fact, each year since 1950, the highest honor a Japanese company can receive is the National Deming Prize.  This award is given on national television and is used to acknowledge the company that represents the highest level of increases in quality of products, service, management, and worker support throughout Japan.
In 1983 Ford Motor Company hired Dr. Deming to conduct a series of management seminars.  One of the attendees was Donald Petersen, who would later become chairman of Ford and put Deming’s principles into practice throughout the company.  Petersen decided, “We need this man to turn our company around.”  At the time, Ford was losing billions of dollars a year.  Once Deming was brought in, he changed their traditional Western belief from, “How can we increase our volume and cut our costs?” to “How can we increase the quality of what we’re doing, and do it in such a way that quality would not cost more in the long term?”  Ford reorganized its entire focus to make quality the top priority (as reflected in their advertising slogan, “Quality is Job 1″), and by implementing Deming’s systems, Ford within three years moved from a staggering deficit to the dominant industry position with a $6 billion profit!
How did they do it?  They found that Americans’ perception of Japanese quality, while frustrating, had much to teach them. For example, Ford contracted with a Japanese company to make half the transmissions for one of their cars in order to keep the volume up.  In the process, they found that American consumers were demanding the Japanese transmission.  In fact, they were willing to put their names on a waiting list, and even pay more money for them!  This upset many of the executive staff at Ford, whose first reaction was, “Well, it’s merely a false belief on the part of people in our culture; they’re conditioned to respond this way.”  But under Deming’s supervision the transmissions were tested, and they found that in fact the Ford transmission was much louder, broke down much more often, and was returned more often than the Japanese transmission, which had virtually no trouble, no vibration, and no sound. Deming taught the members of the Ford team that quality always costs less.  This was directly the opposite of what most people believed: that you could only achieve certain levels of quality before costs got out of hand.  When the experts took Ford transmissions apart and measured all the parts, they found that all of them met the standards set forth in the Ford manual, the same standards that had been sent to the Japanese.  But when they measured the Japanese transmissions, they found virtually no measurable differences among any of them!  In fact, the transmissions had to be brought into a laboratory and measured under a microscope in order to detect differences.
Why did this Japanese company hold themselves to a higher standard of quality than even their contract required?  They believed that quality costs less, that if they created a quality product that they would not just have satisfied customers but loyal customers-customers who would be willing to wait in line and pay more money for their product.  They were operating from the same core belief that propelled them to one of the top market positions in the world: a commitment to never-ending improvement and a constant increase in the quality of life for their customers.  This belief was an American export-one I believe we need to repatriate in order to change the direction of our economic future.
One toxic belief that may be destroying our economic strength as a nation is what Deming calls managing by the visible numbers, the conventional corporate belief that profits are made by cutting costs and increasing revenues.  A notable example occurred when Lynn Townsend took charge of Chrysler during an industry-wide sales slump.  Townsend immediately tried to increase revenues, but more importantly, he cut costs.  How?  He fired two-third of the engineering staff.  In the short term, it looked like he’d made the right decision.  Profitability shot up, and he was dubbed a hero.  But within a few years Chrysler was again in financial straits.  What happened?  Well, there certainly wasn’t any one factor.  But in the long term, the decisions Townsend made may have been destroying the basis of quality upon which the company’s success depended.  Often the very people who are injuring our companies are rewarded because they produce results in the short term.  Sometimes we treat the symptoms of a problem while we nurture the cause.  We’ve got to be careful how we interpret results.  By contrast, one of the most important factors in turning Ford Motor Company around was their design staff, who came up with a new car called the Taurus.  The quality of that car set a new standard for Ford, and consumers bought it in droves.
….I’ll continue the thought of that last paragraph in another email.  The moral of the story:
IN BUSINESS, NOTHING IS MORE IMPORTANT THAT PROVIDING HIGH QUALITY PRODUCTS/SERVICES.  If you cut those costs to produce the quality that people are willing to pay for, it will cost the company a great deal of money in the long run.
In our personal lives, we can apply these principles.  Integrity: cultivate it.

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