By: Jason Holowecki

Over the last year and a half or so I have taken an interest in personal development and have noticed the impact it has had on my life and also affected the people around me in a positive way. On November 18th we were given the opportunity to attend the latest seminar put on by The Yes Network. The keynote speaker was Dr. Alan Zimmerman and the session was titled, “The Payoff Principle.” During this seminar a lot of the focus was placed on how improving your attitude and taking action can motivate you and give you the strength to overcome any obstacles you may find yourself facing. These obstacles can easily be found in both your personal life and also your career life. However, the way we respond to these obstacles can determine the outcome, now whether we want the outcome to be positive or negative is entirely up to us.

Something unique that I noticed about Dr. Zimmerman’s teaching methods is that he is very interactive and encourages participation. There was an exercise where he had us stand face to face with the person seated next to us. Once we were facing each other one of us would stretch our arms out to the side and then the other person would place their hands on our wrists and try to push our arms down to no avail. My partner in this exercise was probably about half my size, there was no way he was ever going to be able to get my arms to collapse. At least, that’s what I initially thought; the second part of the exercise was to again face your partner, however this time your partner was instructed to make derogatory comments towards you prior to pushing your arms down. Some examples of the comments were, “you’re a bad person, you’re a loser, you’ll never be successful”, immediately after making those comments your partner was told to attempt to push your arms down again.

To my surprise after hearing these comments directed towards me, my arms felt like they were made of cement and couldn’t have fallen to my side any faster. The most powerful example of this exercise was when he asked one of the attendees to step outside of the room. While she was out of the room we were instructed that when he brings her back into the room anytime he asks her a question about where she is from we are to think to ourselves, “she’s a jerk” and then when he asks about her job we are to think, “She’s great.” He brought her back into the room and anytime he would ask about her job her arms would not move but the minute he asked about where she was from her arms would flop to the side. She was baffled by this as I think were many of us; the point was to prove that the way that people think about us can have a negative effect on us if we allow it.

On a side note we all have the power to be stronger than the obstacles that try to bring us down, all we have to do to not let it affect us is think positive thoughts. The exercise was done one more time with all of us thinking positive thoughts to ourselves while our partners once again made derogatory comments, the result this time was that our arms stayed outstretched no matter how hard our partners tried to push them down.

To wrap this up I’ll give you Dr. Zimmerman’s Payoff Principle Formula:

Purpose + Passion + Process = Payoff

Some highlights of this formula are:

  • Understand the critical importance of a purpose-driven life and career
  • Clarify and write out your purpose statement
  • Make sure you’re living your life and working your job “on purpose”
  • Choose to “act” rather than “react”
  • Build inner drive and spirit
  • Deflect negative influences that could drag down your passion
  • Understand how an inadequate self-image blocks success and a strong self-image guarantees success
  • Defeat self-doubt and maintain self-confidence in challenging situations and around difficult people
  • Neutralize self-defeating thoughts that block goal achievement
  • Determine, set, and write out worthy goals that define your success
  • Begin to live and work outside your comfort zone … where all greater success is to be found

In closing I’ll provide you with two powerful takeaways that Dr. Zimmerman delivered:

You’ll have more success in the next two months when you take the time and show a genuine interest in helping people, than you would in the next two years trying to get people to like you.

If you only had six months to live, what would you do, where would you go, who would you talk to? The answers to those questions are your purpose, and who says you have six months? Tomorrow is not guaranteed don’t take it for granted!