Aligning the Conscious and Subconscious

Posted by Vince Poscente on Tue, Nov 27, 2018 @ 01:22 PM

Transcript Reprint from an Interview with Dr. Diane Hamilton:

Aligning The Conscious And Subconscious with Vince Poscente

(Audio Link Here)

Screen Shot 2018-11-27 at 2.15.33 PM

I am with Vince Poscente who is rated by Meeting Professionals as the Top Ten Motivational Speaker. He is a New York Times bestselling author who wrote the international phenomenon The Ant and the Elephant: Leadership For the Self. He’s an Olympian, could be a comedian and he has a lot of energy and personality. It’s nice to have you here, Vince.

Thank you. I appreciate it. It’s good to be with you.

You’re obviously an entertaining speaker. I want to know how you got to this level of success. Can you give a little background?

You mentioned that I was an Olympian. A bit of that story is I didn’t start ski racing until I was 26 years old and ended up being in the gold medal round at the Olympic Games a few years later. A few years after my 26th birthday to be in the Olympic Games involved a specific strategy. While I was racing, I thought, “I was ranked tenth in the world after a couple of years. I’ve put together a specific mental training program to work well. I could win this thing,” and then I didn’t. Here I was placed fifteenth in the Olympic Games. I lost. There was no demand for my speaking business but many months after the Olympics, their speaker canceled. On the last minute, they said, “Would you come and speak to our group of 90 networking people?” Four people independently came up after and said, “You’ve got to do this for a living.”

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If somebody said, “You got to see this movie,” you’d go, “Yes,” but if four people independently say, “You’ve got to see this movie,” you would go, “What is it about? What do I have to see?” I paid attention and then grew my business. It was very much a standing start. There was no momentum at the beginning because I was in the Olympics. There are a lot of gold medalists getting their phone ringing off the hook saying, “Would you speak to us?” but to be in demand to have that referral network where people say, “Would you speak to our group?” that came from improving as a speaker. Much the same way I did it as an athlete.

You did it because you’re only one of four people on the planet to be inducted into the USA and Canadian Speaker Hall of Fame. That’s saying something. You’re a New York Times bestselling author of seven books too. You’re a busy guy. What was the most difficult book for you to write off all of those?

Always the most recent one, they’re horrible. I’ve never given birth obviously. The gestation period in a book gets more and more difficult each time. I’m working on one right now. I won’t tell you the title but it’s a sequel to The Ant and the Elephantwhich is a parable about the conscious and subconscious mind. I’m working on that right now. They’re all like your kids. You get out there and you can’t pick a favorite.

I found what you were talking about the ant walking one direction and then the elephant walking the other. Can you share that a little bit because I liked the subconscious versus conscious discussion you had with that?

I went to a presentation by a guy named Dr. Lee Pulos. You know when you’re sitting there and then light bulbs go off? This guy said, “In a second of time, your conscious mind is processing with 2,000 neurons.” Right now, you’re listening to what I have to say. You lead by saying, “I’m very funny and I haven’t been funny,” and all sorts of things you’re thinking of consciously with 2,000 neurons every second. In the same second, the subconscious mind is processing with four billion neurons. The ratio between the conscious and subconscious mind when Pulo said is if you took a golf ball and put it on top of the Houston Astrodome. That would be the ratio of the conscious and subconscious mind. Mathematically, I took that down to what if you put an ant on the back of an elephant? There’s a more alliteration with that, it’s a stickier concept. I put that in my first book, that concept, about how we can have a conscious intention. You can consciously say, “I want to go on a diet,” but the subconscious mind might say, “No way, pal. Not without beer or pizza, I’m not.” It might have all these reasons why not that are unconscious.

Consciously, in the parable in the book, the ant says, “I want to go west,” but it’s on the back of the elephant. It doesn’t see the elephant. If you’re an ant on the back of the elephant, you’re not seeing an elephant. You see just a gray landscape. It’s the same deal with our subconscious mind. We can’t possibly comprehend the power, the immense direction and agenda of the subconscious mind. In the same breath, what if we had alignment between your conscious intention and your subconscious agenda? The book, The Ant and the Elephant, is about creating the alignment of where you want to go with your life first. Where is it that you want to go? Identify that with what I call the elephant buzz, that thought that creates a physical reaction and then being able to get your subconscious mind to step in line. There is a technique and that’s how I got to the Olympics in speed skiing. I end up skiing 135 miles an hour not because I wanted to, but I wanted to go to the Olympic Games. That emotional buzz, the elephant buzz of marching in the opening ceremonies. First you identify it, which I did and then I went, “How are we going to get there?” Aligning your ant and elephant is critical and then it gets easier. What if life got easier?

You said, “Where you want to go?” but a lot of where we want to go is impacted by our environment of what people have told us we should do or what we thought was boring, maybe we wouldn’t find boring. It’s impacted by our teachers when we’re in school or friends. How do you get over that to open up your mind to be more curious and successful?

Without experience, we don’t have the confidence.CLICK TO TWEET

I split it into five C’s and let me go through this real quick because that will answer your question in the broadest sense. When you clarify where you want to go with that emotional buzz, you’re then going towards the second C which is commitment. Stepping towards something, you can be held back by all sorts of things that you are scared of, childhood wounds, limiting beliefs or all those subconscious things that exist. The commitment is less about a moment. Every Saturday, couples walk down the aisle and commit. That’s a moment in time. Commitment is a process. You have to step in and consistently step forward. Another way to put it, I call it the Mathematics of Opportunity. You go into a hallway where you are in your life and you see a door. Open the door and then look for another door. Open that door. Stay curious and that feeds into the process of commitment. The third C is consistency and then you’re in this process of consistency where you’re consistently executing. While I was racing, the philosophy was to do what the competition is not willing to do.

If you want to know what your competition is not willing to do, it’s typically those are the things you’re not willing to do either. To look in the self-honesty mirror and say, “What are the things that the top, the highest performers are not willing to do?” I say the highest performers because this is back to the Olympic story. In order to qualify for the Olympic team, you have to be ranked top sixteen in the world or higher, at least where I’m from in Canada or the United States for that matter. What are those top sixteen guys in the world not willing to do? It changes the dynamic of what you do consistently from the heroes in business, the heroes in sport. The heroes in leadership are the ones that are working harder and the first one in the office and the last one at night. These are the people that we look up to that are working hard. Work smarter. The Olympic motto is, “Citius, Altius, Fortius,” which is, “Swifter, Higher, Stronger.” How about adding a fourth one which is Smartius? Why not be smarter in how you approach this? That’s under the banner of consistency. Consistently executing, consistently innovating, consistently doing things the competition is not willing to do.

The fourth C is confidence. You can draw a direct line from confidence to outcomes. If somebody has high confidence, they’ll have peak performance or their performance will be higher and then you’re going to have better outcomes. What we consistently do is we always focus on, “I don’t have the results that I need. I need to change my performance. I need to do things differently.” That’s the case, but go further back and go, “What is my level of confidence?” If confidence is high and fear is low, you’re going to naturally have a better performance. Better on a sale or negotiation or speech you’re giving. For the leaders reading and the people you’re talking to and trying to get them going the same direction. If you have high confidence, you have better outcomes. That’s the fourth C.

The fifth C is control. Control is an odd word. Give me the long list of things you can control in your life. It doesn’t exist. You can control what you bring to the environment, meaning you can control what you bring to a meeting. You can control what you bring to a conversation with a teenager. You can control routines. The routines that I had when I was an athlete, I do the same thing prior to every keynote speech, that motivational talk I give, the exact same things. You get there early. I visualize the outcomes. I use something called the Vortex Technique where I get the highest and best energy and then I make the decision to have fun. I was preparing for our interview and I was going, “I want to talk about this,” and I was focusing on this. I went through these notes and then I went, “Wait, have fun.” Have you ever had a speaker you get the impression they’re saying, “Take my advice, I’m not using it.”

You brought up a couple of things that are important to my research. I was talking about how we have environment or assumptions. You also brought up fear. I came up with four factors that affect curiosity and fear, assumptions, technology and environment are the four that I found. Fear is such a huge thing. You talk about fear of opening the door or whatever. How do we get that high level of confidence? How do you overcome that fear?

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That’s huge and it’s only getting bigger. The reason we have so much dysfunction in our world now is a confluence of speed, the volume of things coming at us and at the same thing with that volume is being able to say, “What could happen? The fear attached to that.” Confidence is very much attached to experience, but we don’t have the experience with the new marketplace or a new landscape that we find ourselves in. Political, interpersonal, everything’s changed. Without that experience, how do you have confidence? If you don’t have confidence, you don’t have peak performance and you have the outcomes that you’re unhappy with. Here we are in an insidious direct line to outcomes that aren’t optimal. Go back to the clarity and find out where is it you want to hit? What is true north for you? We don’t know how we’re going to get there. If you’re clear on that emotional buzz of that outcome you’d like to have, is it the family together in a family reunion? Is it a situation in the marching of the opening ceremonies? Maybe I set a goal of having a New York Times bestselling book, I said, “How cool would that be? I don’t know how to get there.” To be able to create confidence, one tool that I wrote in the book, The Ant and the Elephant, is the ant has a conversation with the elephant.

Your conscious mind has a conversation with your subconscious mind only when it triggers with a negative thought. A negative thought is anything that takes you off course from the clarity, that outcome you’re headed towards. Let’s say a leader wants to be able to have a launch of a new product that is going to be in the media and everybody’s going to be talking about it. Everybody’s going to be excited and it’s going to be the new new thing. Let’s say a thought comes up and says, “We don’t have the budget for that.” The conscious mind says to the subconscious mind, “Thank you, but that’s not part of my vision. My vision is,” and then you go back to the exact scenario that you painted in the first place. How cool would it be? The launch, the media attention, the new new thing. You’ve interrupted the negative thought, the fear and then pivoted onto the emotional buzz. Every time you pivot onto an emotional buzz means that you have aligned 2,000 neurons and four billion neurons at the exact same time. The physical reaction from a thought is a litmus test for your ant and elephant headed in the same direction. The more you keep those four billion neurons aligned with your conscious intention, the easier things will be and the more things will manifest and appear. They show up. Somebody gives you a phone call and makes it happen. It works out that way.

How do you use that to become a New York Times bestselling author? How do you get there?

It’s very much a process. When I set out to be a New York Times bestselling author, it would have been my fourth book I was working on. I laid it out on the table and said, “This is the goal. This is the objective,” and I’ve brought people in who are way smarter than me which isn’t that tough. I have skied at 135 miles an hour. Let’s put that in perspective. I got the marketing team and they said, “You raced in the Olympics at 135 so speed is your thing.” We started with the speed concept and said, “If the speed’s the thing, what’s society dealing with right now? Society is in overwhelm. Why don’t I write a book called The Age of Speed?”

I brought in my publisher then I brought in a publicist who’d worked with John Maxwell and Marcus Buckingham and big authors like that. I worked over with a publisher who probably in the last few years had about fifteen New York Times bestselling books. I assembled this dream team and not because I knew that I should upfront. I said, “If we got the concept, we got The Age of Speed, we got the publicist, what’s next?” I know a guy and it’s like, “Boom.” Things in motion tend to stay in motion. Why don’t you be the architect for the direction of that motion? Most people aren’t.

Clearly define what the big puzzle piece looks like, smells like and tastes like. When I talk about a direction you’re headed, when I say clarity of vision, I wish I never said that in the book. It’s more than a vision. You’ve got to smell it and taste it. You got to bring in the five senses and then the emotion attached to that. That’s something I’ve come up within the last few years. I call experiencialization. Experience it. Experience the entire physiological. The smell, the taste, the touch and then the emotion attached to that. That makes it clear to the subconscious mind, the elephant, where it is you want to go. If you’ve got four billion neurons working in the same direction as your 2,000 neurons every second, who are you to say, “How do I do that New York Times bestselling book?” Get out of the way. Be in that state and that direction. Thank you, that’s not part of my vision. Pivot and then you go back onto what that outcome is. It’s less about what you do and more about the state you’re in and then people follow you. People follow people who have a passion for where they’re headed. Look at the political races. Look at the debates that are happening. The people who are most passionate about where they’re headed are the ones who are most appealing.

That’s an interesting aspect of what you were talking about. You have a lot of passion for what you do. Your prior background was a VP of Marketing International Investment Properties. You had this award-winning sales career. I’ve been in sales for many years and different aspects. How much is that foundational to your success to have a sales background do you think?

The more you keep those four billion neurons aligned with your conscious intention, the easier things will be.CLICK TO TWEET

I’ve got three kids. They’re now 21, twenty and eighteen. From day one, my wife’s an entrepreneur. I’m an entrepreneur. We knew that they will succeed based on how well they communicate. There’s a saying, “If your lips are moving, chances are you’re selling something.” Connect the dots and say, “How well can you communicate? How confident can you be?” All three are extraordinary. The oldest is at Berklee College of Music. He’s dropping an album. We don’t finance any of what they do, by the way. It would be easy for us to write a check and say, “We got your back,” but my son, example, wanted to release an album. He has to hustle. He went to these top studios. One in Seattle, one in Dallas and one in Boston. Each of these places he was going to school at and he said to the studio owners, “I got this job at this hotel where I’ve got the midnight shift. At the end of this week, I’m going to make $400. If I give you $390 and I keep $10 for food, would you?” These studio owners knowing in the back of their mind they charge about $10,000 a day. They’ve got a 21-year-old so passionate and so specific on what he wants to create and then he’s making it happen. You do have to lead by example. We each knew. Do what you want. I know in my life that I have to lead by example. If I lead in a way that has people go, “That’s the way we’re going to make it happen.” Our middle child, she’s at Wharton School of Business. She went to an arts magnet school. She wasn’t your prototypical Wharton-type kid, but she gets after it. The reason she beat out 39,000 other kids is that she was deliberate on where she wanted to end up and had an emotional buzz attached to that. The youngest is a dancer.

That’s amazing that your kids do such interesting things. You do a lot of interesting things. I was in a rock-climbing competition and I found that you’re the Founder of the Heroes Climb Initiative, climbing and naming mountains after everyday heroes. You’ve participated in six Himalayan expeditions. You’re super athletic in all aspects.

Yes and no, but I’m more curious. If you looked at me, “You look like a chunky version of Anderson Cooper. You don’t exactly look like an athlete,” but I play beer league hockey. You’ve brought up all these things and I sound like an overachiever. I’m more curious. Everybody thinks about what I do. I don’t do it for the accolades. I put it on the bio so people can feel good about hiring me as a speaker. Make it about your audience. What are you going to do to create that emotional buzz? What are you going to do to commit and step up? What are you going to do consistently? How can we break it down and make it happen? Your podcast, your radio show, you have such an opportunity to reach out to people and truly transform people by the people you interview. That’s extraordinary, the privilege you and I have to get out there.

That’s probably a lot of my goal with this. You talk about emotional buzz. My dissertation was in emotional intelligence. I’m fascinated by how much emotions and all the things that we learned just being in sales like you were. We have a lot of similar background things. I’ve never been to the Olympics to that extent, but the sales background and some of the stuff that we have in common. We learned a lot about the lack of some of the emotional intelligence that was out there, at least I did. I was a pharmaceutical rep and saw a lot of doctors. It’s interesting to see all this training. Are you seeing people improving? What has been your experience? You’ve had some of the hugest clients. Your list is a who’s who of who you’d want to have to consult and speak to in the world. Are you seeing that we’re getting better at our emotional intelligence, our interpersonal skills and all the things that fall into the soft skills area? What are you seeing?

I see us getting worse on one level and it’s affecting everything. It’s this absolute determination to be right. The people are jumping up and down and sticking their feet in the ground and saying, “This is the way it has to be.” That is a lack of emotional intelligence. That is a lack of empathy. It’s creating a conversation. In one breadth I see things getting better. I don’t know if it’s just the kids I’m seeing around me. I speak to some youth groups at times. I am so optimistic about the future. I see so many aware people out there that the default to say, “What’s wrong with Millennials or what’s wrong with Generation Z?” This optimum comes from the awareness that people are going, “What if I’m not right? What if you have a point of view?” We had this little aside. When we’re doing this interview, the midterm elections in the US are coming up here in the next few weeks. We decided to watch one of the big debates between Ted Cruz and Beto O’Rourke.

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We had a drinking game attached to it. What we did was every time Cruz said, “Hillary Clinton,” we’d have to drink a beer. Every time Beto does say, “I’ve been to 254 counties in Texas,” you’d have to slug a beer. The reason I bring that up is we created an environment to have a conversation. We paused the TV and then we talked about something. We had Republicans and Democrats in the room and people and kids. Not from Canada, but what am I. I’m not either. I just moved here. I don’t have a predisposed political party that I have to be a part of. To create that dialogue, to put yourself in an environment where people are talking and being aware. Three of the people in the room were under 25. Part of their discussion was enlightening. To shift from being right to shift to having a conversation, just communicate is critical.

Creating a dialogue is important and that’s what I’m trying to do with my work. A lot of what you do is important. Your books have been unbelievable. I’m looking forward to the next one. I’m wondering if it’s going to entail that word that you created.


It was wonderful having you on the show. A lot of people are going to want to know how they can get your books or find out more to have you speak and all that. Vince, could you share that?

My website will get you there. You can go to and you’ll be able to find me that way too.

One way or another, hopefully, they’ll find your work. It was nice having you on, Vince. Thank you so much for doing the show.

If your lips are moving, chances are you're selling something.CLICK TO TWEET

You’re a true pro. Keep it up.

Tags: Goals, Self Development, Team Building, Motivational, Business Leadership

How to Make Your Brain Work for You

Posted by Vince Poscente on Wed, Sep 12, 2018 @ 06:29 PM

Your brain is a complex and powerful tool. To best explore the potential of your brain, let’s first study its evolution, properties and characteristics.

As far as evolutionary scientists know, the human brain evolved in three main stages. First, the Reptilian brain, at the innermost core, is the most ancient and primitive. It is located at the brainstem, near the top of your neck. It controls many of your body’s instinctive functions, such as breath- ing. Next evolved the Mammalian brain with new functions and ways to control the body. It also controls your emotions, your sexuality and is a key component to memory. Then evolved the neocortex, the gray matter, as the third part of the brain. You use this portion for talking, seeing, hearing, thinking and creating. This “human” brain is the bulk of the whole and has two symmetrical hemispheres which communicate. These three brains interconnect and determine human behavior.

The left and right hemispheres are often talked about, though not always understood. The detail-oriented, verbal and sorting side of the brain is on the left. The intuitive, spatial, non-verbal side of the brain is the right. To best remember this, learn that left is logical and right is creative. Both sides are connected by the corpus callosum and this is the actual pathway or switching system for information exchange between the two hemispheres. When these different aspects of the brain integrate, learning is much more profound.

Within the brain there are six intelligence centers, each having different functions and interrelating in thousands of ways on a constant basis.
1. The Prefrontal Cortex: thinking
2. The Motor Cortex: activity
3. The Temporal Cortex: speech center
4. The Parietal Lobe: spatial ability
5. The Occipital Lobe: visual center
6. The Cerebellum: “little brain,” balance and posture (handy when learning a skill like riding a bicycle or playing a musical instrument)

Finally, there are three key relay points that are often referred to as the three gatekeepers.

  1. The Amygdala: relays the instinctual fight-or-flight reaction to various parts and organs in the body.
  2. The Hippocampus: relays information to other parts of the brain
  3. The Caudate Nucleus: also a relay of information to parts of the brain


At birth we are born with between 100 and 120 billion glial (the Greek word for glue) cells or active neurons in the brain. In fact, you could put thirty thousand neurons on the head of a pin, and they would not touch. Around the turn of the twentieth century, William James discovered that we lose the use of roughly 90 percent of our active neurons. This natural process, called pruning, actually strengthens the neuronal connections by reducing the interference and leaves us with 10 billion neurons, a number more than sufficient. This fact is responsible for the general consensus that humans only use 10 percent of the brain.

Nature’s way of improving the efficiency of the brain is to refine thought processes. This is the reason for the profound importance of childhood experiences. A majority of the pathways and connections are sculpted in the early years. It is understood that by the age of six much of the way we think and will learn is firmly established.
Each active neuron in the brain has up to twenty thousand different connections (dendrites) with other cells. In his book, The Amazing Brain, Stanford University professor Robert Ornstein says that the number of connections is probably more than the number of atoms in the universe. I repeat, more than the number of atoms in the universe. Sound incredible?

Think of it this way (as described in the book The Learning Revolution, by Gordon Dryden and Dr. Jeannette Vos):

Consider what happens if you took only ten everyday items—like the first ten things you did this morning—and combined them in every pos- sible sequence. The result would be 3,628,800 different combinations. Take eleven items, connect them, and the number combinations is (ten- fold) 39,916,800! So now try combining 10 billion cells in every possible way—when each one can make up to 20,000 different connections—and you get some idea of the creative capacity of your own brain.


Elephant Power Image.jpgYou have one mind, but it is separated into two distinct functions—the objective and the subjective mind. In other words, the conscious and the subconscious act as the waking and the sleeping mind, the voluntary and the involuntary mind, respectively.

The primary use of the conscious mind is what you currently, logically embrace as your thinking mind. The subconscious is actually the engine, drive train and central computer system running the whole thing. Moreover, the conscious mind knows what is real and what is not. The sub- conscious mind, on the other hand, takes in information as fact. It does not know the difference between real and surreal.

Research by Dr. Lee Pulos from Vancouver, Canada, has uncovered that in one second the subconscious mind uses 4 billion neurons all at once. In that same second the conscious mind uses a paltry two thousand neurons. That is a massive difference.

Imagine a tiny fire ant on the back of an African elephant. The ant would be the conscious mind. The elephant would be the subconscious mind. As you read this book, you are reading these words with your conscious mind. You are processing the meaning and storing it with your conscious mind directing this informational traffic. Yet your unconscious mind in the very same second is guiding all bodily functions, keeping your balance, monitoring your body temperature, processing things that happened in your life, repairing a bruise, fighting a virus, thinking about tomorrow and the list goes on. If at any given time you think that you are in control, think again.

Let’s say you look in the bathroom mirror and decide (with your conscious mind) to go on a diet. Meanwhile the subconscious mind might be programmed very differently. In fact, you may have a myriad of subconscious reasons why going on a diet is a bad idea.

Think of the ant walking on the back of the elephant. The ant is walking north saying “I am going this way, in the direction of a diet.”

Meanwhile, the subconscious mind (the elephant) is walking south saying, “I don’t think so. I like that food. I’ll start another time. I don’t deserve to feel good about myself. I need to eat to feel better. I can’t control my urges, etc., etc.”

Which way is the ant really going? South!

Here is another example. A sales person decides to make more money. A year later, she looks at her commissions and sees the same production as the last two years. She wonders why. 

Ant = conscious mind

Elephant = subconscious mind

It is likely that she made a conscious decision to make more money. The ant, still on the back of the elephant, walks in the direction of “more money.” Meanwhile the elephant thinks, “Hey, I got into sales because I wanted more free time. By making more money I would have less time with my family. Plus, more money would certainly bring more taxes, problems and decisions. Then there are the negative perceptions around money to contend with. Moreover, I grew up knowing that money is the ‘root of all evil’ and people that have money are ‘filthy rich.’ Oh, and by the way, I’m not worthy of success. So I’ll just stay right where I am and not go the direction the ant is going.”

When you can get the ant and the elephant to go in the same direction, the result is success—success that is often beyond your expectations. In some cases, the subconscious mind knows exactly how to set things right.

There, now you know about that noodle between your ears. What you do with it has everything to do with the choices you make and how you align your subconscious agenda. 

Look to ELEPHantPOWER micro-learning in the column on the right for the way to align your ant and your elephant. 

TEXT 469.557.2727 AND TYPE IN #FREE


Tags: Self Development, Sales, Business Leadership

10 Tips to Procrastinate Later

Posted by Vince Poscente on Wed, Aug 29, 2018 @ 11:46 AM

Challenge your own self-motivation. Take yourself to task on what you could do to raise your own drive to succeed.

With one toe on the side of sarcasm and the other foot planted firmly in You-Best-Pay-Attention; noodle on this saying: "Go Now. Procrastinate Later."

Let's take a deeper look.

Take the iconic Nike slogan “Just Do It” and combine it with the Masaaki Imai's famous corporate rally cry for continuous improvement, 'Kaizen.'

Mr. Imai offers ten basic tips for kaizen activities. Let's combine these with a way to procrastinate later, and you have a way to amp-up your self motivation starting immediately. Think of a project that is weighing on you right now.

Follow these 10 Tips for Self-Motivation

Tip #1: Discard conventional fixed ideas. Move forward to definable goals. Do not focus as much on the path to get there. New opportunities and new directions may occur to you along the way. Raise your gaze.

Tip #2: Think of how to do it, not why it cannot be done. “Realistic” is a dangerous word. Instead, by knowing that the outcome would be desirable, hypothesize methods to accomplish this goal.

Tip #3: Do not make excuses. Start by questioning current practices. Again, focus on the outcome. Excuses will not take you there, but acting on the means to the end will. Do not be afraid to make mistakes. You will learn more by failing.

Tip #4: Do not seek perfection. Do it right away even if for only 50 percent of the target. For example, four months after having the idea to write my first book, it was done. I did not wait to start. I did not wait at each stage. Of course, I wanted the book to be perfect, but that would never be. Along the way, implement tip #5.

Tip #5: If you make a mistake, correct it right away. I saw a bib that says “Spit Happens.” Mistakes happen. High-performing people correct their mistakes immediately, especially when those mistakes involve other people. “Hey, I made a mistake. I have an idea of what we can do about it.”

Tip #6: Do not spend money for kaizen; use your wisdom. How much do you know about the way your car is repaired when you take it to a mechanic? Chances are, nothing! When you seek to personify proactivity for your own pursuits, then you must be proactive. Remember, however, some of the best solutions happen when you pause, stand back and think. “Just Do It” is not about blindly charging ahead. Plan. Take ownership and move yourself through the process.

Tip #7: Wisdom is often born out of people faced with hardship. Welcome problems as opportunities to learn. Think of a hardship that you have experienced in the past. Now ask yourself, would you change anything about that experience? Most often, the answer is “No, otherwise, I wouldn’t have learned what I know now.”

Tip #8: Ask “Why?” five times and seek root causes. Each time you ask why, come up with a new answer. Go deeper with each answer. You will surprise yourself.

Tip #9: Seek the wisdom of ten people rather than the knowledge of one. Remember a person’s perspective is their truth. You will learn ten truths versus just one.

Tip #10: Kaizen ideas are infinite. You never “arrive.” You are in a process of learning and growing. Always seek higher ground.

If you scanned this article and didn't truly reflect on a project you are struggling with... STOP. Take a breath and ruminate on each of the ten tips. Pay special attention to Tip #8.

Stop procrastination at its fear-based source. Go now!

PS Even motivational keynote speakers need self-motivation. I wrote this blog for me as much as you. I wrote it now, because later is too late. :-)

Tags: Goals, Self Development, Motivational, Business Leadership

From Entropy to Kaizen - Motivational Tips to Improve Your Results

Posted by Vince Poscente on Fri, Jan 05, 2018 @ 10:38 AM

How is it we humans manage to thrive when the forces of nature seem to drive towards the opposite? Let's look deeper...

Entropy is a component of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which states there is a general tendency of all observed systems to go from order to disorder. This law was developed in the context of 19th century studies of steam engines. It was learned that energy spent is energy lost. Any and all energy that is used must come from somewhere. The net result is energy gets used up until there is none.

Taken to the extreme, in billions of years, the universe will simply disintegrate into a mass of nothingness (hmmm… not something to look forward to).

Growth, on the other hand, is the force of life. In many ways it seems to contradict the force of entropy. However, life stands out as a profound pesky nuisance to the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

Flow of Entropy vs Flow of Humanity

Humanity is made up of individuals. We evolve as individuals and thereby evolve as a society. Through our recorded history and evolutionary past, uncovered from the Earth, humanity has arguably improved and grown. We know more than generations past. We live longer and “better” lives along the way. Where, then, does entropy fit into the picture? A body of philosophers, scientists and theologians have yet to agree on an answer to this question. I, for one, will not join the debate. Suffice to say—we tend toward higher ground.

Individually, we aspire to ascend Maslow’s hierarchy of needs from food and shelter to self-actualization. Ultimately, this ascension will only happen through the choices we make. Proactivity over passivity will deliver us to that higher ground we seek.

There are times when we follow the flow of entropy. One classic example of this is by becoming a victim of a situation or circumstance. As “victims” we are stuck. In victim lies chaos. Victim follows the entropic flow.

But if we take responsibility, or as Stephen Covey called it, “the ability to respond,” we will then act from a place of accountability, a place of choice, power and self-determination. We then personify proactivity.

Defeating Entropy

PierredeCoubertinPLUSVince.pngThe modern Olympic games were revived in 1896, by the French aristocrat Baron Pierre de Coubertin. As a philosopher and academician, de Coubertin led a group of colleagues to found guiding principles for the Olympic Games. They set the standard with three Latin words: citius, altius, fortius—swifter, higher, stronger.

They purposefully did not use the words swiftest, highest, strongest. The pursuit of excellence involved personal bests, peak performance within the individual and on the sports field. De Coubertin and his colleagues ensured that the foundation of the Olympic movement reflected the ever- present potential for humanity’s quest for excellence—not perfection. With sport as the backdrop, citius, altius and fortius celebrated humankind’s potential.

In my own journey to become an Olympic athlete, I carried this philosophy through every day of training and each ski race I entered. In fact, I added another tongue-in-cheek term to citius, altius, fortius: It was “smartius.” I knew that in a competitive environment, personifying proactivity included ways to find the most intelligent path from Point “A” to Point “B.”

Growth includes the option of finding ways to live smarter and wiser. By doing this, you redefine winning. Winning then becomes a process of being more than just “Number One.”

Over one hundred years ago, no one understood this better than Pierre de Coubertin. In fact, he authored the Olympic Creed, which states, “The most important thing in the Olympic games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered, but to have fought well.”

Olympians do not have the exclusivity on excellence. Citius, altius, fortius (and even smartius) are principles that everyone can follow. We can physically learn to quicken our reflexes, reach new heights and strengthen our bodies. We can learn and grow in many ways.

Then what must we do?


Choose to do one hundred things one percent better, rather than one thing 100 percent better. Personify proactivity in all things that you do. Do not look for leaps of excellence. Instead, apply excellence to everything. You will then discover that your path to excellence is the way you will embody the philosophy of kaizen (continuous improvement). Kaizen works both personally and professionally. The growth of individual employees leads to corporate growth.

Over the past couple of decades in Japan, despite the implosion of Japanese banks, the challenging roller coaster of the Nikkei stock market and the uphill battle their businesses have faced, the Japanese remain steadfast to kaizen.

Matsushita-Panasonic has 6 million staff suggestions a year. Ninety percent are put into action by a company-wide day-by-day approach toward continuously improving results.

Toyota Motor has a system whereby 1.5 million suggestions are processed each year and 95 percent of them are put into practical use.

Nissan management seriously considers even the smallest detail. “Any suggestion that saves at least 0.6 seconds—the time it takes a worker to stretch out his hand or walk half a step” is reviewed and integrated into operations.

Bottom line, look for ways you and your organization can continuously improve. In life, beating entropy with kaizen is the way to go.

Tags: Self Development

Personify Proactivity - Motivational Tips to Overcome Obstacles

Posted by Vince Poscente on Wed, Nov 29, 2017 @ 10:27 AM

Be a seeker. Leading a life of total dedication to the truth—this makes you a seeker, a person of curiosity and wonder, a person of hope and ever-increasing levels of wisdom. Yet “truth” is an interesting word.

blog_vince.pngAs a business speaker my job is to get inside the head of each of my audience members. From this perspective, it is clear, that “truth” is simply the audience member’s truth. A motivational keynote speaker’s mission is to help others learn about the way others perceive truth. Let’s face it, your perspective is your reality, and reality is the truth of the individual. Seeking to truly appreciate life unfolds the answers—and reveals even more questions. In turn, the more you learn, the more you shift from being a purveyor of truth to a quiet (but still quite active) seeker. Remember ... still waters run deep. Take time to be still and seek a deeper truth. (For keynote speakers, this may be the most difficult challenge for my colleagues <and me> as we each need to know when to keep the ears open and them lips from a flappin’ J )

Seeking includes both self-examination and studying the ever-changing environment. By proactively learning, you discover that which was not clear before. Socrates said, “An unexamined life is not worth living.” Harsh; but if so, let’s start living...


There are challenges and problems in both positive and negative situations. As a seeker, you treat these as opportunities. By learning, you will open yourself to challenges in a way that welcomes change. But we naturally avoid challenges. Thus, we must find ways to make the unnatural natural. Our instincts will tend to direct us to safety. We naturally choose to limit our growth and give in to security. It is there we stay, and it is there we begin to disintegrate.

In the words of T. Alan Armstrong, “If you are not getting better, you are getting left behind.” By growing through a dedication to truth and openness to challenge, you will consistently find ways to improve yourself. This is likely one of the reasons you are reading this blog.

The future is yours to do special things.

Be the creator of the journey toward life mastery. You will discover that Personify Proactivity is a philosophy of how you approach life. In turn, the results and rewards you get will be in direct proportion to the degree that you actually personify proactivity.

The Japanese have a single word to define this approach. It is kaizen and stands at the very core of their culture.

Mr. Masaaki Imai was the first person to introduce the word kaizen to the world beyond Japan. He is the author of KAIZEN, The Key to Japan’s Competitive Success. In bringing this single word to the forefront of personal and corporate development, he managed to hit a nerve. Individuals and organizations realized that the advantages the Japanese brought to international marketplaces were founded in kaizen.

Mr. Imai writes that “the essence of kaizen is simple and straightforward: Kaizen means improvement... The kaizen philosophy assumes that our way of life deserves to be constantly improved.”

According to the NASA Langley Research Center, “Kaizen means continuous improvement in personal life, home life, social life, and working life as a whole.”

Since people naturally seek higher ground, kaizen, when framed properly, is natural to the individual. Pushing through fears and self-doubt, backed by a kaizen approach, we discover that all circumstances are opportunities for constant improvement.

In these ways of seeking a deeper truth and constant improvement will we each personify proactivity.

Tags: Self Development

The Best 5 Years of Your Life Were...

Posted by Vince Poscente on Tue, Nov 21, 2017 @ 08:07 AM

What were the best five years of your life? The ideal answer is—the last five. Starting today, what will the next five (best) years of your life hold? These blog entries, internalized and used on a daily basis, will help you create the pathway to life mastery.

Screen Shot 2017-11-20 at 2.27.31 PM.png

Writing a collection of principles promising lofty goals is a daunting task. Yet, my life has been a series of events taking me assuredly and confidently to this point as a NY Times bestselling author and motivational keynote speaker. Writing is easy, quality writing takes considerable effort. For example...

The book, The Alchemist, is an inspiring collection of experiences by a young seeker who looks for his fortune and finds himself along the way. Prevalent in the book is the importance of signs and omens that should be paid attention to. With that in mind, I look back to the time when I just graduated from high school. I finished a summer job working on a ranch and was preparing for my first year of college.

It was an unseasonably cool fall evening and the sky was filled with millions of crystal clear stars. I was inside and, as was my habit, I had gravitated to the fridge to see what there was to eat. My mom was tapping on the window. "Quick, come outside. The Northern Lights," she said, referring to the Aurora Borealis.

The Aurora Borealis is a phenomenon of ions in the atmosphere that react to sun flares. The undulating river of light appears to be thousands of slivers of light clashing and shimmying and putting on a different show each time they appear. The displays are never the same time, never the same place, and never expected. They are nature’s nocturnal gift to anyone who happens to look up for the brief moment they appear. Growing up in Canada, I would often see the Northern Lights as a youth and imagine it was a reflection of the sun bouncing off the polar ice cap—the dancing lights a result of the floating ice where the polar bears lived.

Sherwood Park, in northern Canada, was an ideal community. At the time, it was a private hamlet of just over thirty thousand people, yet it was close enough to enjoy all the conveniences of a larger city, Edmonton. On this particular night, there was zero humidity and any city lights that shone went directly into the heavens.

I dashed outside, not hesitating to grab a jacket since I had no idea when “the show” had begun nor when it would end. Cranking my head back, I saw lights were more vibrant than I had ever seen before. Despite the street light fifty yards to the north, I could easily make out the bright band of lights rippling like a snake. It was as if an impressionistic painter had found paints of light-colored white, yellow and glow-in-the-dark green. It moved and shifted, shooting off strands from one horizon to the next.

Its magnitude grew and it seemed as though it was gearing up for something big. Then in an instant everything changed. The colors of red, purple and magenta added to the existing lights and flashed into a spiral directly over- head. It was as if I were looking at a satellite picture of an instantly forming hurricane created by the dancing strands of the northern lights.

The strands themselves changed from a two-dimensional up-and-down to a three-dimensional in-and-out. Imagine millions of fine, ubiquitous, undefined strands of angel hair bobbing in and out of the atmosphere. Like a sea of light beams floating on a swirling ocean. It was awe-inspiring!

The vortex of light began to wind up tight directly overhead. Then, just as quickly as it appeared, it changed again. Now the swirl appeared to spin downward directly down on me. A spiraling tunnel of light started to descend over head. My Star Trek infested imagination entertained the thought of being beamed up. I was frozen in place. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing—what I was experiencing.

Then the tornado-like funnel stopped descending. It paused, and time seemed to grind to a halt. I held my breath. There was no sound.

A moment later the light danced all around, in all directions. The vortex of light dissipated into a cacophony of light across the whole sky. Like the 1812 Overture, the heavens danced and the show was over with a dramatic flash. The experience left me vibrating. I just stood there trying to make sense of what had happened.

Then that voice—the one we all have—spoke to me. (The voice that is in the background of our thoughts. The voice that if you listen carefully right now, is speaking to you as you read this blog.) It said, “The future is yours to do special things. Seize it!”

I never forgot that moment, and my life has been an effort to meet that challenge.

As you read past blog entries or future ones, you will find a collection of research and personal experiences. I have been fortunate to stand on the shoulders of giants and integrate their research with mine. These inspirational thoughts are intended to touch you logically and emotionally. They are meant to spark a long-lost thought. They are designed to fire a desire within you to evolve in bigger and better ways.

Like you, I am a work in progress. Probably the best time to write anything I have published would have been a few decades from now. That way you would have recieved a collection of thoughts and research with a broader background. But the next best time to write these insights is right now. Take what you want, learn what you can and apply what inspires you. Most of all ... act.


To help you be everything you hope to be, we have created an on-line program called ELEPHantPOWER Virtual Coaching. In 4 weeks you will gain superior Clarity, Commitment, Consistency, Confidence and Control. Create the future that might even be beyond your expectations. Click here to learn more...  To get a $100 discount, use the code BigFastGoals.

Tags: Self Development

The Meaning of It All - HeroesClimb - Day 11

Posted by Vince Poscente on Fri, Jul 08, 2016 @ 03:00 AM

We cannot help but become giddy alongside our two dozen guides and porters. The combination of lower altitudes (more oxygen) and the final day (a shower and a real bed) awaits this final, long, ten-hour day of hiking.

The bond we share makes us brothers and sisters. Erased are the astounding differences in our cultures and the separation of homes 10,000 miles apart. Everything we have known is different, yet we are the same. We are brought together by the Great Himalayan National Park and the Heroes Climb.

Before we say our final goodbyes, we will celebrate with a ceremony befitting of the bond we shared. We struggled past adversity while breathing in pristine air in a poetic setting. By day we gazed across rolling hills sliced open with jagged towers of rock piercing the blue sky. By night, the stars revealed the infinite distance between us and the meaning of it all: profoundly significant and simple at the same time.

The moment is what matters. The climb is what takes us through to the next moment. We are all brothers and sisters defining what it takes to be a hero to those we love.

We ventured into this expedition to learn about ourselves. To test our resolve through climbing past the challenges we face. The journey within becomes the most courageous mission of all. We are not heroes. We simply climb towards awareness.

We climbed for the heroes among us, for those we’ve lost and especially, for the heroes we are honored to grace us in the future.


Tags: Goals, Self Development, Inspirational

Success is Returning Safely - HeroesClimb - Day 9

Posted by Vince Poscente on Wed, Jul 06, 2016 @ 03:00 AM

When people learn you've competed in the Olympic Games the number one question is either "Did you win?" or the more gracious "How did you do?" (which is a veiled version of "Did you win?"). Mountain climbers face a similar question.

As we return back through both advance base camp and base camp toward Dwada valley, we have a question waiting for us. "Did you summit?" (or, Did you fall short?)  At the time of writing this blog post, I am only reporting what we have planned. 

The pictures were taken by our recce (recconaissance) team in May. The actual photos and account of our summit attempt will reveal the truth of a moment in time. But the human experience is far more than a moment. The HeroesClimb was designed to provide a experience for 10 people dedicated to thousands of moments strung together in a remote part of the world. 

We will most certainly reflect on what it takes to climb in life. The obvious metaphors of ups and downs will couple with insights on what it takes to approach and reconcile goals in life. 


Because we were limited in the peaks we could name, we named sections of our path to the other HeroesClimb finalists. (You may have heard of Hillary Step on Everest. This is the same idea.) We will name appropriate sections after:

  • Hanna France - a force of resilience and joy.
  • Doreen Levin - breast cancer warrior, admired by all.
  • Michael DeMaio - the strength of his character lives in the memory of loved ones.
  • Chad Hymas - a broken neck hasn't held him back from extraordinary heights.
  • Stacy Kimmel - who's words "I love you" echo from his heart.
  • Art Berg - his broken body may be gone but his legacy touches millions.
  • MJ - his premature body and amazing spirit has overcome incredible odds. 
  • Kevin Gosnell - his ALS inspired him past his own life to a find a cure by 2020. 
  • Andy Anderson - a patriarc beyond compare, he lead by example.
  • Mike Buckley - "The world's finest human." His example lives in others. 

Congratulations to all the HeroesClimb finalists and their nominees.

Tags: Self Development, Motivational

Payoff Valley - HeroesClimb - Day 4

Posted by Vince Poscente on Fri, Jul 01, 2016 @ 03:00 AM

Yesterday was a taxing climb. The pass reminded us that oxygen is not over rated.

We don't want to leave Dwada Thatch. But climb we must.

As we trek into the heart of Jiwanal, and these beautiful meadows, we are reminded of UNESCO designating the Great Himalayan National Park as a World Heritage Site.

By the way... Happy Canada Day to all our Canadian friends.


Tags: Goals, Self Development

No Way to Pass on the Pass - HeroesClimb - Day 3

Posted by Vince Poscente on Thu, Jun 30, 2016 @ 03:00 AM

The reason we are able to trek towards mountains with no names is due to the remote region we are climbing.

The Kandi Galu Pass lays between two striking peaks on either side. 

Pass Kandi Galu is 11,900 feet (3627 meters). On the back side we will enter into the pristine Jiwanala Valley camping at Subli Thatch !


Tags: Self Development, Inspirational