On July 12, 2005, Kyle MacDonald initiated a trading game. He had a dream and he had bills to cover, he badly needed a job, but rather … He placed an ad on Craigslist trying to trade in his paperclip for something better. He traded it for a ballpoint pen the same shape as a fish which initiated a sequence of bartering which caught the attention of many people who followed his cross-continental trading journey. He continued trading and went from the pen, to a camping stove, to a power generator, to a neon sign, to a snowmobile, to a trip, to a snow globe.
On July 7, 2006, he carried out his last trade for the house he always dreamed to have. Then he threw a housewarming party, where he proposed to his girlfriend with a wedding ring made from the actual red paperclip that was generously returned from his first trader.
Had I told you that it's possible to get a house with a single red paperclip - you'd probably have assumed I had already lost my mind and come from another planet. You would have asserted that I was in la la land and absolutely unrealistic. But, the reality is this… those people who live with their eyes firmly planted on what is realistic keep themselves in a world of limited possibilities. Those people who keep their eyes firmly planted on the vision of their dreams create possibilities that are close to magical in nature.
It looks like a giant leap, however, to go from paperclip to homeowner. How do you bridge such a wide gap? By trading up. That is what MacDonald did.
What if we could trade up our thoughts in the same exact way? What would happen? What if we could go from a sense of hopelessness to a world of abundance in a few basic trades?
If we take a look at people who live stratospheric lives we would find that the single greatest distinction between them and everybody else is just the way they think. They are aware of the thoughts that they have that limit their possibilities and trade them up for thoughts of slightly higher value.
Our thoughts are the single most significant factor in achieving our dreams. Our thoughts become our beliefs, our beliefs result to the expectations we have and our expectations drive the results we obtain. Just as MacDonald started with a simple paperclip and continued trading up, we can also trade up our thoughts to better thoughts and even better, greater ones until we achieve our ultimate dreams.
Three key ways to trade up to success:
1. MacDonald had a dream and a vision. He knew just what he wanted at the end of the trade, and he contemplated, maneuvered and orchestrated each trade to achieve maximum benefit. His trades stimulated his interest in some way, they're instinctive and he could see a better picture within them. They made sense to him. You cannot know how to go about achieving your dreams until you have defined your dream. When you see your dream clearly, your thoughts and actions are aligned, working in harmony to attain your vision.
2. Our unique experience. We are given with a unique set of gifts and abilities that are given only to us to assist us navigate through journeys with our own brand of ingenuity. In MacDonald’s case, he was a jack of all trades with a restless nature. He really didn’t need a conventional job; he is a geography enthusiast, a writer who drew upon circumstance, chance meetings and the quirky insignificant stuff of life as fuel for the stories on his blog, and wanderlust with a keen savvy for celebrity. He collected each one of his gifts in his mission to trade up to a house, using in fact, the red paperclip that held together his resume. The red paperclip symbolically and factually saved him from conventional wisdom. Follow your heart; do what you’re good at.
3. Live with passion. What did he actually trade? From door knob to cube van, these items had pretty little value. They had sentiment perhaps, or the cute factor, or made a good comment on society, or were kitsch so they were cool, arbitrary and extraordinary, fun and spontaneous, but mainly financially mediocre (except of course the house, and the snow globe which Corbin Benson desperately wanted to add to his collection).But they have something very specific and altruistic about them. They are definitely more than objects, they are stories. They have a culture, they represent the journey, the dream, and they inspire, set fire to the imagination and build excitement. The paperclip started a vibe, it was contagious, it became an obsession and a passion, and it became the stuff films are made of - actually. One Paperclip is a book and a film produced by Dreamworks. Seems only fitting.
Kim Ades, MBA, President of Frame of Mind Coaching, is one of North America’s foremost experts on performance through thought management. By using her unique process of coaching through journaling, she works with clients to unveil and switch their thought patterns to ignite significant change and life transformation. She is now teaching this process to coaches all over the world for use with their clients. Visit www.frameofmindcoaching.com to sign up for your own free, secure, online journal.