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Be Unreasonable

Dan Miller


Share This article This is the time of year to be taking vacations, making final landscape additions for the year, and planning for 2008. Get a head start on beginning the changes you want physically, spiritually, in personal development, and in your work. It's amazing how much progress you can make if you just dedicate 4-5 hours a week of focused attention on any of these areas.

It seems word is spreading that the 48 Days radio show is a place to get free advice on finding the work you love. If you have a tough interview coming up, have an offer but are not sure how to negotiate a final agreement, or are wondering about starting a new business, you can call on the live broadcast of 48 Days to the Work You Love. The number is 615.737.9986. (Toll Free 877.48DAYS2) each Sunday night from 6:00-9:00 p.m. CDT. The call letters are 99.7 FM in Tennessee or go to Super Talk 99.7 WTN for direct Internet access. You can also listen to any past shows via podcast.

Take time to accept responsibility. Your life is exactly that - It's your life. It is created by you. You are constantly making choices, constantly creating new experiences. And although we can be affected by circumstances which seem to be completely out of our control, essentially, we decide the direction in which we walk.

-- Nicolas Watkins

We all seem to remember Albert Einstein as a great man who was extremely smart. But it may also be worth remembering that what made Einstein so special was his nonconformity, his audacity, and his distaste for anything ordinary.

My own son Jared did not fare well in the classroom. He imitated Mr. T's jewelry and Michael Jackson's dance moves as a little boy, covered his bedroom walls with black paper, got tattoos that we thought were ill-advised, enjoyed ultimate fighting, and saw the inside of jail house walls frequently. Today, at 29 years old, he lives in Kigali, Rwanda and is the executive director of Sisters of Rwanda,changing the lives of women formerly trapped in prostitution. Go figure.

George Bernard Shaw once observed that all progress depends on the unreasonable person. His argument was that the reasonable person adapts himself/herself to the world, while the unreasonable person persists in trying to shape a better world.

In this age of such uncertainty and rapid change, trying to adapt to the world around us is likely to lead to frustration and helplessness as the target constantly changes. Wouldn't it make more sense to get clear on how God has uniquely gifted you and what your goals are, and then to create those circumstances around you that would add to your success? In today's world, "reasonable" people are often dismayed in their attempts to keep things the same - to do today what we were doing last year. Go ahead. Be "unreasonable!"

We get a lot of calls from people who know they do not fit into the "normal" box. What can you do if you are not a regular teacher, doctor, fireman, or mechanic? But what joy comes from being "normal"? Are sheep happier than eagles? Often fulfillment begins only when you start the adventure of determining your own unique path and leave the path of others' expectations or our culture's subtle messages about what will lead to "success." But in breaking away from the "normal" path, you may begin a hero's journey, making sacrifices and tackling problems in order to return to the world with your own special gift.

Just look around you. The genius of people who are changing the world may not be in getting A's in school, but in seeing things differently, characteristics frequently seen in those resisting the norm.

Now, what are you doing with your "unreasonable" ideas?

People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don't believe in circumstances. The people who get on in the world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can't find them, make them.

-- George Bernard Shaw

The Hidden Job Market

We are told that the newspapers, Web sites, and corporate listings represent only about 13% of the real job market. How do you find the other 87% of the positions available? This is not an area neatly organized into headings and columns. Instead, it exists as a churning, swirling sea of constantly changing possibilities.

Someone might tell you: "Did you hear that Dave's boss just got sent to the new office in Cleveland?" This kind of information opens up the opportunity of finding out what kind of staff is needed at the new location, what vacancies are available at the existing place, and if the company is expanding in other new locations.

Many weeks and even months can pass between the time the need for a new hire is recognized and when human resources is asked to run an ad or contact employment agencies. Personnel is not always the first to know; line managers often try to get their own leads before going public with a job requisition.

This is your greatest time of opportunity. This is where we find the 87% of the job market. Here are some additional tips for finding this "hidden" job market:

  • Your local newspaper -- but not in the classifieds. Check out the news articles, economic news, business section, and product news.
  • Local Business magazines and newspapers. Most cities have a business journal of some type. Here in Nashville, we have the weekly Nashville Business Journal and the monthly Business Nashville. Both are excellent sources of information about new and growing companies.
  • College alumni journals. See where your old classmates are now. Contact them.
  • Chamber of Commerce meetings; Civic club luncheons, church meetings, kids' school functions. Remember the three-foot rule: If you are looking for a new position, every time you get within three feet of someone, tell them what you're looking for.

More tips on page 103 of 48 Days to the Work You Love

Non-Compete Agreements

Non-compete agreements are becoming increasingly popular in this current climate of low employment, transition from "production work" to "knowledge work", and increased global competition.

Here are some points of information regarding non-compete agreements:

  • A non-compete is usually a paragraph in an employee agreement designed to prevent an employee from going to work for a competitor.
  • Yes, they are legal and enforceable. And a company can require you to sign the agreement as a condition of getting the job.
  • To see if your non-compete is enforceable, check with an attorney who has experience with employment law. Or check with the National Employment Lawyers Association ( or
  • A non-compete does not necessarily prevent you from working in the same profession. If you are a computer programmer working for a bank, you may be able to go to work, using your same skills, working for a real estate development company.
  • Do tell a prospective employer if you have signed a non-compete with your current company. Employers today know that many good candidates come to them with non-competes in place. Some employers will negotiate with the former employer to find a way for the candidate to work for them.

The Friendly Employee

Employees at the front desk of a convention hotel in Williamsburg, Va., prided themselves on making the guests feel special. When someone arrived for check-in, credit card in hand, the employee would sneak a peek at it and address the guest by name.

Once during a particularly busy check-in, a hotel arrival presented a corporate credit card. "Welcome to Williamsburg, Mr. Bell," the desk clerk said.

"Oh, please," the man replied, "just call me Taco."

What Are You Expecting?

In the 1960's Martin Seligman studied optimism and pessimism. In his experiments dogs would hear a tone and then be given a mild, brief shock. Each dog was then placed in a box with two compartments separated by a low wall. When the tone sounded, the dog was supposed to expect a shock and escape by jumping into the other compartment. Control dogs that had not been shocked would easily move from one compartment to the other. However, Seligman found that the dogs previously shocked, upon hearing the tone, would just lie down and whimper. He hypothesized that they had "learned to be helpless." They never learned that they could easily avoid the shock by simply moving to the other side.

The application of Seligman's research: We don't just respond to actual circumstances around us; rather, our EXPECTATIONS largely determine how we respond. Be careful of what you expect. You are likely to end up right there!

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About The Author


Dan Miller is the bestselling author of 48 Days To The Work You Love and a renowned Life Coach specializing in career fulfillment. His weekly newsletter reaches 70,000 subscribers. Dan’s articles are featured here at CBN every Tuesday, and you can find out more about Dan at