Jul 292013
 
Habits do make (or break) you ...

… in this case, financially.

I recently came upon a post in social media-land that made me stop, read, bookmark it, print it off, and begin to share w/ others.  That’s saying something, in a virtual oasis of information that never ends! There is so much information out there in our modern world, much of which eludes our eyeballs. In many cases, this is for the better, since the information is of 90% (below par) quality per Sturgeon’s Law (Five Levels of Decline/FLD), however, I’d say what I’m going to reference and point the readers to below fits into the 10%.

What do the rich do daily that leads them to financial success that the unsuccessful don’t? Mr. Corley+ lists 20 separate things (see below URL/link for the citation). For the purposes of this post, am going to pick several of them that stood out to me based on my ongoing personal/professional/leadership journeys.

First, let’s use a disclaimer. If you listen to too many politicians, or those who lack results, you may think that the rich are to be disdained. Certainly, some of them lack people skills and don’t properly manage their wealth/good fortune; others earned it through less than admirable means; and a small handful inherited their money, and likely have zero per cent appreciation for where it came from. Put these 3 categories aside. This post has nothing at all to do w/ them.

Onto the list >>>>>>>>>

First:  63% of the wealthy listen to audio books during their commute v. 5% of the poor.

* Personal testimonial. I used to be part of the latter. Now, I always use my vehicle and commute time, regardless of time spent (3 min. drive, or many hours) as a rolling university. Over the past 3 years, I’ve listened to somewhere b/w 500 and 1,000 audios, inc. numerous books. What it’s done for my thinking, habits, and results is very clear.

Second: 88% of the wealthy read 30 mins. or more each day for education / career reasons v. 2% of the poor.

* Personal testimonial. Again, I was part of the latter. I would read a book here & there, usually a political ‘screed’ that just made me angry at one politician, party, or law, or sometimes a fiction book. Now, I read from many different genres: I presently have 4 books in progress:  1 economics; 1 finances; 1 leadership/history; and 1 human relations/people skills. And, over the past 3+ years, I’ve read over 100 different books, several of them multiple times. Again, the difference that it’s made is beyond obvious.

Third: 67% of wealthy watch one/1 hour or less of TV/daily v. 23% for poor.

* Personal testimonial. Up until 2 1/2 years ago, I watched (or had in the background for sound) roughly 4 hours of TV most days, and sometimes, 8-12 hours if I was home and didn’t have anything else to do. (!?!?!) – and in that time, my financial success was very limited. Programming, advertising/PR, and marketing only encourage consumption and you’d have to search far and long to find anything on the tube that teaches wealth principles. Now, I watch zero hours of TV/day, and with very limited exceptions due to the mobile web & the internet, I do not miss it. And, I’ve learned a ton of principles, lessons, and nuggets that will lead to far better financial results.

Fourth: 79% of the wealthy network 5/five or more hours/month v. 16% of the poor.

* Personal testimonial. The value add for focused networking is unquestioned. Meeting new people leads to bigger networks, and in the connected age in which we live ( read Godin and Gladwell to better understand. ), this is a crucial component of growing wealth. I used to watch all that TV — see above — and my circles of influence were stagnant. Now, I have stacks of business cards, numerous new friends, and I am out there at various events on a recurring basis.

Fifth [ and last, for this post. ] : 86% of wealthy folks believe in life-long educational self improvement vs. 5% for poor folks.

* Personal testimonial. This is tough to hear for those who have minds that are finite – perhaps they made excuses for their situation; or, they believe that their credentials (degrees, certifications) mean they have “arrived” and there’s nothing else to know/learn; or, they have a fixed mindset (instead of one of growth). Any of these can easily be overcome, however, it will take changing the information at the front end x increasing humility x adding honeability. Toss in a bonus of understanding the crucial difference between investment and expense, and you will easily grasp that learning and deep seated education, which is often self-directed, never ends. ‘What we know is but a drop, and what we don’t know is an ocean.’

 

I hope you, the reader, found this post to be very insightful!  Learn from it, and make the changes right away – don’t “try” them, just “do” them!   All the best at all times!

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+ http://www.richhabitsinstitute.com/ = Mr. Corley’s site ( the article URL was cited by Dave Ramsey )

Jul 082013
 
On a peak (of life)? in a valley (also of life)?

I recently put a cap on a terrific book called ‘Peaks and Valleys‘ by Spencer Johnson, M.D. What a truly inspired read! I compare it to the ‘Great Connnection‘ , ‘Leadershift‘ , and ‘The Ant and the Elephant‘ in terms of how much it impacted me through the lens of a business parable writing style. This post will not serve as a recommendation / review of the book ( please visit my other blog for that in near future ), but rather, I will sum up some immediate thoughts that I had about the book; it’s core themes can easily be applied to anyone’s life.

Five Major Themes

1 + ‘To Manage Your Good and Bad Times:’ > ‘Make Reality Your Friend’

What an on point, to the heart question Mr. Johnson poses! “What is the truth in this situation?”

How often do we allow ourselves to think independently, or use our self-talk as a positive, rather than a huge lead weight?  Let alone bringing the word ‘truth’ into the solution to a problem, however small or vexing, or seemingly unsolveable?

2 + ‘To Get Out of a Valley Sooner:’ > ‘Find and Use the Good Hidden in a Bad Time’

Fantastic perspective! How often have we heard that there’s a silver lining in every dark cloud?  This is a corollary of that metaphor. Yes, but it sounds so corny?! You may say..

Sure, you may respond that way, and it may even be the case, however, being able to laugh at yourself and have fun, even in bad times, brings levity and is like dropping some of the bricks from the bag which you filled yourself.

3 + ‘To Stay on a Peak Longer:’ > ‘Appreciate and Manage Your Good Times’

Absolutely. Comparing this to what I’ve heard on an audio multiple, multiple times — you should not eat your seed corn or wheat. These crops are akin to good times; one may also be familiar with the metaphor, ‘every good time must come to an end’

Don’t use these in any way but to be a good steward of your resources — financially, do not spend every penny that you make; ignore the incessant calls to borrow more money which will keep you in debt in perpetuity — relationally, always be humble, do what you have done to get to your peak. Turn the spotlight off of yourself, and onto others.

4 + ‘To Get to Your Next Peak:’ > ‘Follow Your Sensible Vision’

Mr. Johnson describes it well – “Imagine yourself enjoying a better future in such specific, believable detail, that you soon enjoy doing what takes you there

You cannot merely fantasize, wish, or pretend; you have to use the immense power of vision ( Resolution 4 ) combined with planning, doing, checking, and adjusting ( Resolutions 5 & 6 ) to make what you have dreamed about real!

Bastiat’s Law, one of the FLD, will tug you away from doing any of these last four action steps, making you want to play the lottery, or wait for someone to leave you inheritance monies, however, to scale a peak require real work and effort.

Lastly, 5 + ‘To Help People:’ > ‘Share It with Others!’

Simple, yes? However, don’t fall into a trap of human-ness, and want to hold these lessons close to you like a blanket in the winter; be grateful you heard them, and turn around and pay them forward. Resolution 13 is a clarion call to thinking well beyond you, and planting the seeds that will become great trees, or stalks of corn, or fruit in others’ lives; those whom you may barely know, or will never meet.

Whether you give this book out as a gift, loan your personal copy to someone, practice these lessons and be the example in front of everyone, or something else not listed, just be sure to get “outside of yourself”, and put service before self.

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Have a wonderful week~!

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Jun 292013
 
Earl Nightingale's timeless wisdom ... on criticism

Earl Nightingale was a terrific inspiration to many before my time, however, his wisdom lives on ad infinitum due to the power of the internet, through those who are still alive from his generation, and via various sources of ‘off’line media ( books, audios ).

It is from the middle of these that I heard this information, and it was so valuable, it is forming the fundamental core of this post.

To preface:  Critics are everywhere, most especially when you are doing something that makes him/her/them uncomfortable, something they do not understand (or wish to), or due to some base negative emotion – jealousy, envy, fear, greed, or revenge.  Now, why would you, as someone who is striking out on a journey to do something un-average, something that blesses lives, something that is significant in its impact on your family, friends, culture, or the nation in which you live, ever listen to a critic?   Quite likely, its due to the concept of ‘peer pressure’ — there’s something inside of each of us that wants to drive us to conform, to gain or curry favor from those whom we know, to “fit in” with the crowd. Herein lies the problem at its root; those who do the greatest acts often are criticized, sometimes completely without provocation, with very little merit. Many historical examples spring to mind: Rosa Parks, Gandhi, Lincoln, Washington, Mother Teresa, Jesus Christ, Pythagoras, Mandela, … the list goes on and on.

So, you’re not nearly as well known as those men & women?  Neither were they at one point or many points in their lives. They stepped out. They became public figures. They strived to effect change and be part of the solution(s) to problems. How many critics do you know who have done great and lasting things?  Exactly. I bet you said ‘none’.  🙂

Let’s now dive into Mr. Nightingale’s list of nine/9 traits of a critic.  See which one(s) strike the most as you are on your journey; if you are on one, or are considering stepping out from the herd, you’ll quite likely experience one or more of these. Here’s hoping they help you reframe, and re-set your mindset. Never let a critic infilitrate your subsconscious mind- those four billion neurons per second are far too valuable real estate to sell to someone(s) who do not have your best interests at heart, in mind, and in spirit.

— . — . —

No. 1 – A critic only thinks of him/herself.

No. 2 – Critics only talk of themselves.

No. 3 – Critics sulk if people aren’t grateful for what they’ve done.

No. 4 – Critics never forget a service that’s been rendered by them.

No. 5 – A critic expects to be appreciated.

No. 6 – Critics are suspicious of everyone.

No. 7 – Critics are sensitive to slight(s).

No. 8 – Critics are jealous and envious.

No. 9 – Critics don’t trust anyone but themselves.

— . — . —

He also added that these all make a critic’s life miserable, so they tend towards being loveless, and can often be non-providers.

After letting the above sink in, think long, hard, and in depth:  Do you really want someone with even one of these traits helping you make a decision of any size?  Offering you an opinion?

Always positively associate with those who have vision, defined/detected purpose, anchored to their priorities, and whom have your back in all situations.

Hope this helps you. As always, feedback is welcomed & encouraged. Many blessings & well wishes!

Jun 092013
 
Three Keys - will you learn from & apply them?

Just today, I had the privilege to be able to attend a book signing event at which numerous inspirational and encouraging messages were shared which served to add doses of wisdom,  education, and humility to the proceedings.

Encouragement can often take the form of truths that one may not want to hear, yet it is often the truth that one doesn’t hear that can make the difference between everlasting personal change & growth and mediocrity. Mentorship, being the highest level of service to another, puts the student (mentee) in a position of required understanding of a quote that’s been attributed to Sir Issac Newton:

What we know is a drop, what we don’t know is an ocean.

So, what are some keys that are life changing truths, if understood, learned from, and applied?

There are many. No question this topic could comprise a book all by itself, let alone a thesis, or a dissertation in the credentialist world. In the creator/builder world, these keys equally apply, and in fact, hold more water as someone who owns something has more stake in growing personally in order to satisfy the demands of the free enterprise economy that he/she lives.

For the purposes of this post, thought, the subject is on point; there are 3:  The one message I heard tonight rang like a tuning fork as it applies so very well to life, to the success / significance that many would like to achieve, let alone to a leadership/coaching/education business designed around the purpose of serving others, and serving them to the utmost levels. A visiting pastor from Detroit * delivered this message and these cores are:

<1> Take 100% Responsibility for yourself

The opposite?  Making excuses, whining, complaining, pushing issues into the hands of others.

Rather, if you change your belief, your belief system can itself be completely changed. Additionally, you can achieve your dreams by putting the responsibility in your hands, and not looking outward, but rather inward, for owning your own life.

<2> Live your life on Purpose

Discover, and be doing it!  You have the responsibility to do the job right, as you have more control over your life than anyone else possibly could. The great achievers have vision and purpose, and the extraordinary have strategies to use both. Never allow your dreams to die — wrap them around your purpose.

<3> Go the EXTRA mile

Render more services than for which you are paid. Until you begin to give, you won’t get; God profits the doer, and believing in expending effort and hard work while being completely responsible and focused on one’s purpose all work in concert as keys to a growth journey.

We cannot ‘pretend’ a lot, or at all, since it effects our future directly. Be cognizant of Newton’s quote, be anchored to your vision, and be faithful. The results will astound you!

———

* With much appreciation to Pastor A.F. Adeniji for inspiring this post —

http://www.rccgwcd.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=36&Itemid=70

Nov 292012
 
Strength, Trailblazing, Raising expectations, Serving 1st, & Purpose

I just had the honour and pleasure to review & strongly recommend this book ( please see:  http://t.co/wSWP5P4c ) — this post is a companion to the review.

Just a few brief comments on each of the Five/5 action steps –  I simply cannot say often enough how radical ( in the best possible way) this “upside down pyramid” really is!  The sooner it is adopted in the West, whether in communities, small businesses, government, educational institutions, or non-profits, the better off we’ll all be.

 

BUILD on Strength

Very valuable!  Dale Carnegie taught 75+ years ago how important it was to talk of your own mistakes (e.g, areas of improvement, weaknesses) first. Additionally, his landmark book cited the story of Charles Schwab & how important it is to praise and show appreciation often. Same concept/action here: focus on your followers’ strengths, as well as your own. Surround yourself with those who have strengths that you yourself don’t = interdependency.

BLAZE the Trail

Kevin Hall spoke of a pathfinder in his amazing book, ‘Aspire‘ –  a serving leader is much the exact same!

RAISE the Bar

The book does an excellent job delving into this topic. In a culture/society that all too often defines standards ever lower, and mediocrity reigns, a serving leader does the exact opposite from the herd/crowd & “conventional” wisdom. He/She asks aspiring serving leaders & their followers to dream bigger, serve more, and never settle.

UPEND the Pyramid

Awesome and eye opening perspective! The true leader, one who serves first, moves his/her way to the BOTTOM of the well known pyramidal/hierarchial diagram.

RUN to GREAT Purpose

Purpose, after all, is Resolution #1. It is also the ‘sweet spot’ from Jim Collins’ “hedgehog concept”.  Undoubtedly, a steel x enamel x rock foundation point on the pyramid.

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Please check out the recommendation/review, order this book, and you’ll not regret your decision, even for a second.

All best!