The A – Z Guide to Success


Looking for a guide to success? Then here is a concise A- Z guide of things you will need to bear in mind. Perhaps it’s a little over-simplified but it does cover all the bases.

If you need a guide to success then print this list and pin it above your desk and refer to it constantly:-

  • (A) Achieve your dreams. Avoid negative people, things and places.
  • (B) Believe in yourself and in what you can do.
  • (C) Consider things from every angle. Look at things from both sides.
  • (D) Don’t give up and never give in.
  • (E) Enjoy. Motivation happens when you’re happy with life.
  • (F) Family and Friends. Never, ever lose sight of them.
  • (G) Give more than what you believe is enough.
  • (H) Hold on to your dreams. These should drive you onward and upward.
  • (I) Ignore those who belittle your ambition. If you believe you can, what they think is irrelevant.
  • (J) Just be you. The key to failure is trying to please everyone.
  • (K) Keep trying no matter how hard life may seem.
  • (L) Learn to love yourself. You’re as good as anyone.
  • (M) Make things happen. The harder you work the luckier you’ll get.
  • (N) Never lie, cheat or steal. Always play a fair game.
  • (O) Open your eyes. Be aware of what’s going on around you.
  • (P) Practice makes perfect. Be a student of your craft and work towards mastery.
  • (Q) Quitters never win and winners never quit. Be a winner not a quitter.
  • (R) Ready yourself. Be prepared and be ready when opportunity strikes.
  • (S) Stop procrastinating. Get on with it. It’s later than you hink.
  • (T) Take control of your life. Discipline and self-control are key to success.
  • (U) Understand others. Seek first to understand and then to be understood.
  • (V) Visualize it. What will success look like to you? How will you recognize it?
  • (W) Want it more than anything. It must matter to you if you’re to keep going when it gets hard.
  • (X) X Factor is that little bit of magic that makes you different from all the other wannabes. When you’re truly motivated, you’ll deliver that extra something that will help you shine like a star. Shine like a star and you’ll get noticed. Get noticed and you’re on the way to achieving success.
  • (Y) You are unique. You have special qualities no one else has. So work to your strengths and do the things that only you can do.  That way you will begin to shine like a star.
  • (Z) Zero in on your dreams and just go for it. Don’t stop until you get to where you want to be.

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© Roy J Sutton and Mann Island Media Limited 2017. All Rights Reserved.

13 Ways to Increase Your Personal Happiness

You’ll be as happy as you choose to be. Yes, life can be challenging. Yes, life can be full of frustrations and disappointments. Yes, people can drive you nuts. No one’s life is perfect and everyone has problems. However your level of personal happiness will be dictated by how you choose to look at life.

You can let life’s challenges make you feel miserable or you can refuse to let anything get you down. You can just say to yourself, I’m going to be happy and nothing is going to stop me.

You will find that being happy isn’t as hard as it appears to be at times.

Here are 13 ways that will help you increase your sense of personal happiness and make your life much more fulfilling:-

1. Talk to yourself positively:

One of the greatest contributors to unhappiness is what’s going on in your heads. Everyone is prone to self-doubt and feelings of not being quite good enough. Everyone worries about being ‘found out’ in their job. It’s easy to assume that in some way you’re not really very good at what you do and you think eventually someone will notice.

We all struggle to appreciate that we’re better than we think we are and that if we really couldn’t do the work for which we are paid, someone would have noticed already and they would have said something.

Negative self-talk can really grind you down. So stop it now.

Replace negative self-talk with positive self-talk. Tell yourself constantly that you’re better than you think you are that you have every reason to like yourself.

And adopt this as your personal mantra; “I’m as good as anyone and I will show them all that I’m better than most!

Repeat it to yourself frequently and every time even the slightest hint of doubt pops into your mind.

2. Value the people in your life:

Your social network, i.e. the people with whom you interact, and your relationships are essential to your personal happiness. Human beings are social animals. We’re not solitary creatures like cats. We need other people, frustrating as some of them can be at times.

Remember we’re all different. We’re all individuals. So accept people for who they are and what they are. Everyone has many sides to their individual personalities.

So look for the good in people and don’t judge their less flattering side too harshly. Never forget, we all have a less flattering side.

However keep away from personality clashes and arguments. Let go of any resentment you may feel towards individuals. Just remember they’re not perfect, just like you.

If an argument seems inevitable, seek first to understand and then to be understood. By understanding the other person’s point of view and why they feel the way they feel, you just might find you get along with them so much better.

And even if after you’ve listened carefully you decide they’re wrong, so what? You can always agree to disagree. You don’t have to prove you’re right and they’re wrong. It doesn’t have to be about you proving you’re right all the time. Peace and harmony are of much greater value to your personal happiness than being proved right. So just let it go. 

3. Be grateful:

Being grateful for what you have regardless of how small, is an important part of your personal happiness.

Being thankful is a great attitude to develop. If you think about it, I’m sure there will be at least as few things for which you can be truly thankful. Simple things like having a laugh with a friend whilst having a coffee or a meal.

They don’t have to be big things. Little things that put a smile on your face are far more important to your personal happiness than any amount of material possessions.

In fact material possessions don’t make you happy at all. Mostly they’re just a source of stress.

Take the time to thank those people who provide you with even the smallest things. Making a point of saying thank you will help you realize just how abundant your life is in reality. 

4. Avoid doom and gloom:

The media tends to focus on bad news. Unfortunately bad news attracts more attention than good news and media channels are focused on ratings. They make money from eyeballs watching and ears listening. And they’re in the business of making money not cheering you up.

It is a fact that most news is depressing and stressful. With 24 hour rolling news channels our lives are filled with a lot of stuff that can fill us with doom and gloom if we’re not careful.

Watching, listening to, or reading the news will detract from your personal happiness. So, if the news is just a source of doom and gloom then it’s a good idea to get less of it, don’t you think? 

5. Manage your time wisely:

Your time is precious and it should be used and managed wisely.

Just because someone expects a piece of your time doesn’t mean they’re entitled to it. Only you can judge whether they’re worthy of your time. It’s perfectly reasonable to say No if you think that’s appropriate.

No one has an unlimited amount of time. We all have just 168 hours per week. We all must make the most of our time because time is far too important to waste.

If someone requests a piece of your time then make sure they have a very good reason to justify it. Otherwise just say No politely but very firmly.

It’s your life, so live it your way. 

6. Find something to make you laugh each day:

Life is far too short to be serious all the time. Occasionally we need to laugh to alleviate our stress levels.

Laughter is the best medicine, or so they say. And it’s true. A good laugh can really cheer you up. So make sure you enjoy a good laugh at least once a day. It may be your favourite sitcom or a funny animal video on YouTube. Whatever puts a smile on your face then that’s fine. You need to smile because it will help you relax.

It may be a funny joke that makes you laugh. If that happens, remember to share the joke with family and friends. That way you get another laugh twice. Once when you hear it and once when you share it.

Laugh and laugh vigorously every single day. 

7. Let people know what they mean to you:

If people matter to you then be sure to let them know occasionally.

Don’t be afraid to communicate your feelings, affections, friendship and passion to people around you.

Being open about your feelings is not a sign of weakness it’s a sign of strength. It’s a sign that you’re confident enough in yourself to let people know what they mean to you.

It’s a sign that you recognise how important it is for people to know that they matter to you. They’ll appreciate it and that will enhance the bond between you. 

8. Don’t bottle up your negative emotions:

Pent-up feelings of anger and frustration are bad for your health. Yes, we all feel angry occasionally but suppressing it is counter-productive.

If you’re not happy about something it’s better to say so. Occasionally you may need to say so forcefully too. However never say it in a way that is mean and hurtful.

And if you do say something which you later recognise as mean and hurtful then apologise. You won’t be the first person to say something you later regret but don’t compound the offence but failing to offer a sincere apology. At the very least that will show you’re big enough to recognise when you’re in the wrong.

If you can learn to express your anger and frustration in a way that will not cause injury or hurt to anyone then you’ll be on the road to being a very decent human being. 

9. Have a sense of purpose:

It’s important to have a sense of purpose. To work each day at something in which you excel and which gets you out of bed in the morning.

Working hard at something you love can bring you great personal contentment. Your work is your contribution to society and potentially the legacy you leave behind. For instance, John Lennon left a wonderful collection of songs that we still listen today almost 40 years after his death. That’s a fantastic legacy.

Work gives you a sense that you have the capability to finish tasks. Work is a source of satisfaction when you take on a challenge and use your skills and knowhow to complete it. In this way you grow in character.

Through your work you use your time profitably and when the working day is done you feel you’ve earned your rest and recreation.

Work well done and a sense of purpose will make you feel good about yourself. 

10. Never stop learning:

Learning does not finish when you leave school or college. Learning is a lifelong process. And it does not necessarily involve formal tuition.

You can be self-taught and learn by doing. You can read books and watch instructional DVDs or videos on YouTube. You can listen to audiobooks in your car or whilst travelling on public transport.

Be a committed student of your chosen craft. Work constantly towards achieving mastery. Learning is a joyful exercise, particularly if it’s a subject you love.

You add value through your skills. The more skills you have the more value you add. So learn something new each and every day.

And remember; learning will also broaden your horizons. Learning is a positive experience, so never stop learning. 

11. The power of faith:

Faith can be a great comfort in times of trial. Believing there is some higher power helps us to appreciate our place within the universe. We are nothing more than specs of dust in a great cosmic cloud.

Faith can add discipline to your life. Whichever faith you choose is not important. However being part of a spiritual group with its singing, sacraments, chanting, prayers and meditations encourages inner peace and personal wellbeing. It also encourages the idea of service and putting others first.

Never underestimate the power of faith. 

12. Don’t let pollution take its toll on you:

Pollution comes in many forms but it all takes its toll of your personal happiness and wellbeing.

Life is full of toxins, hazardous places, loud noises, light pollution and much more.

Minimise your exposure to these negative elements because they are an assault on your senses and they’re not good for you if you’re over-exposed to them. 

13. Regular exercise improves your health and wellbeing:

A sedentary lifestyle is not healthy for anyone.

Our bodies were built for movement. So exercise daily. That doesn’t mean you must go to the gym It doesn’t mean you must participate is formal sports teams or clubs.

You can exercise in simple ways like running, jogging, or a brisk walk. Even if you’re just taking your dog for a walk then that is exercise too. Alternatively perhaps you could walk to and from work rather than using your care or public transport.

Just do what your body was made for and you will feel a bit more alive.

Conclusion:

You can choose to be happy or not. There’s nothing to be gained by being miserable and a sense of personal happiness is better for your health and wellbeing. So choose to be happy and develop habits that will lead you to a state of personal happiness. It’s not easy of course and it takes work but it’s well worth the effort.

Other Articles:

What is the key to success?

Visibility: Does it matter?

Life is short and it’s later than you think

Powerful words change lives

11 tips for improving quality of life

© Roy J Sutton and Mann Island Media Limited 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Humanity and the power of vulnerability

Are you fascinated by the human condition? Are you interested in understanding more about how we connect with our fellow human beings? The more we understand about humanity the better equipped we’ll be to deal with all the people we must interact with each and every day.

If humanity is a topic of interest to you then the video included with this post may be useful to you. It’s from TEDxHouston, and it features Ms Brené Brown. In it Ms Brown shares a deep insight from her research and her personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity.

The video is witty and poignant. If you’ve got a few minutes then it is worth watching. I can recommend it to you.

If the video has whetted your appetite to hear more about what Brené Brown has to say then her work is available as an Audiobook. To check it out just CLICK HERE

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What is the key to success?

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© Roy J Sutton and Mann Island Media Limited 2017. All Rights Reserved.

How to translate enterprise into money

Being poor is shit. ~Bob Geldof

Bob Geldof’s style tends to be blunt and to the point. He’s not a man to sugar coat any message it seems. Nevertheless in the quote above he makes an important point. People may tell you that money isn’t important but next to oxygen it’s essential for a life worth living. Exactly how much money we need depends on our preferred lifestyle of course. However even for a very basic lifestyle a reasonable income is necessary. None of us want to be poor or destitute. And fortunately we don’t have to be. It is possible to translate our own enterprise into money.

Work is just doing stuff for other people in exchange for money. And you don’t need to have a formal role with a corporation to earn money. It’s perfectly feasible to establish your own enterprise and earn a living that way. Find a way to solve problems for people and you can translate your own enterprise into money a lot easier than you might imagine.

There will always be plenty of customers for products and services not yet invented. If you continually educate yourself for skills and know-how, then you can create wealth by seeking out customers for whom you deliver solutions to problems they have or provide services that they need now.

If you can satisfy those customers then you will make money. Manage that money wisely and you can build your personal wealth too. Determination and hard work are the main ingredients for success in business. Your enterprise can lead you to great wealth.

You don’t have to be poor unless you give up and just accept being poor as your lot in life. It’s not nor should it be. You’re perfectly capable of generating your own income. It depends only on your willingness to find a way to serve others. There are opportunities there for the taking every single day if you’re enterprising and ready to solve problems for other people.

It can be done and people do. Why not you? Go on, just go for it!

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© Roy J Sutton and Mann Island Media Limited 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Why you should be excited by change

Change is inevitable:

As the old saying goes, change is inevitable except from a vending machine. We cannot avoid it because it’s going to happen whether we like it or not. Trying to stop it is like trying to hold back the tide. It cannot be done. It’s simply a force of nature.

If you hate change, don’t worry you’re not alone. Most people hate it. Just when we think we have everything under control a significant change happens and suddenly we’re scrambling to get ourselves back to equilibrium. It makes life seem like a giant game of Snakes and Ladders.

Fear of change is natural:

Actually feeling uncomfortable when faced with change is both rational and natural because one of the most basic human needs is the need to feel secure. It’s an uncomfortable experience because it makes us feel insecure. However we must control any fear we have about it and we must have the courage to do whatever is necessary to ensure that we respond appropriately as the winds of change start blowing around us.

Businesses can be fragile:

Change can affect a business in many ways, as plenty of things can change for a business over time. That could include consumer needs and wants; technology; markets; competition; and regulations too, particularly taxation. Therefore business owners and executives must be on their guard constantly, anticipating change and how it might affect their business.

Whether you’re an owner, an executive or an employee, if you’re involved with business you cannot afford to become too complacent. Ignore change and it will kill the business quicker than you might imagine. Businesses can be fragile if they’re exposed suddenly to the harsh reality of change.

Change on an industrial scale:

It’s easy to think that major corporations which dominate whole industries would be robust when faced with change.

Consider for instance the computer industry. IBM was once the behemoth of that industry. There was an old saying in industry which suggested, no one ever got fired for buying IBM. They were Big Blue, second to no one. And yet they almost paid the price for failing to anticipate changing trends.

For years IBM favoured large centralised computer installations which filled whole buildings. And IBM didn’t see any reason to do anything differently as they were in the business of supplying these and making very good money from it.

Neither did they think initially that many people would actually need one. As recently as 1943 Thomas Watson, then Chairman of IBM said, “I think there’s a world market for maybe five computers.”

However IBM’s lack of foresight didn’t end there. Having introduced what we now call the PC to the market in 1982, they didn’t actually believe it had any real future. Apparently their original forecast for global sales for the PC was just 25,000 units worldwide.

IBM didn’t really want PCs to sell because they saw centralised corporate computer systems as where the real money was. Their failure to see the potential of the PC allowed Microsoft to move in and become a dominant player at IBM’s expense.

Failure to recognize changing trends and how they would affect demand for computers and the way computers were going be used had an almost catastrophic consequences for IBM. Though they did manage to adapt eventually, it was not before their business came dangerously close to collapse. And to this day they do not dominate the industry as they once did.

Heavyweights no more:

Another good example of a dominant industry player failing to recognise the winds of change was Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC). They were the leading supplier of what were then known as mini-computers back in the late 1970s.

However it seems DEC allowed their dominant industry position to cloud their judgment because back in 1977 Ken Olson then President, Chairman and founder of DEC observed that, “There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home.”

Where is DEC now? They’re nothing more than a footnote in the history of digital technology. Few people, other than old computer industry hands, will even remember the name.

And yet the demand for computer technology products is greater than it has ever been. Every household has several of them in the form of desktops, laptops and, in particular, tablets and smartphones.

Today the computer industry is dominated by companies like Microsoft, Apple, and Google. None of these companies even existed when Mr Olson made his unfortunate comment back in 1977.

Another good example is Kodak, once the dominant player in the photographic products industry. As recently as 1976, Kodak commanded 90% of film sales and 85% of camera sales in the United States. Where are they now? Nothing like the company they once were that’s for sure.

Change is an opportunity

Set aside the fear of change and you’ll see that it’s not necessarily a bad thing because it actually generates opportunities for the fleet footed. So there is a positive dimension too.

If it’s embraced then opportunities are always there for the taking. Most companies, particularly large corporations, are usually too slow to respond to change but that offers plenty of scope for smaller, faster, more flexible businesses to move in and relieve the big boys of their lunch.

See change positively

Let’s face it if everything always remained the same then we’d all still be living in caves.

In developed countries we enjoy a standard of living that would have been beyond the imagination of people even a century ago. Think about that statement for a second; everything we now take for granted today once didn’t exist.

The point here is that we ignore change at our peril.

It’s better to embrace change positively. Yes it will feel uncomfortable but we’ll get used to it in time. If change is going to happen anyway then we might as well see what’s in it for us, surely?

We should be constantly considering how we can exploit change to our advantage. How we can grab the opportunities it presents as they come along.

Make trends your friend:

In order to exploit change we need to become trend-watchers. And not just single trends. We need to be watching each and every trend that might have an impact on ourselves or our businesses.

And we need to consider how those trends might come together to create a perfect storm, the winds of which might do us harm or become the wind beneath our wings. Whether the consequences are good or bad, we must be ready for them.

Conclusion:

Successful people are adept at exploiting opportunities brought about by change. Change is synonymous with opportunity it’s that simple. Never fear change, you must embrace it.

If success is your aim, then change can be your friend. However never underestimate the harm change can do should you become too complacent. It can be a force for good but equally a dangerous force for the unwary.

How do you regard change? I’d be interested in your views too.

Other Articles:

What is the key to success?

Visibility: Does it matter?

Life is short and it’s later than you think

Powerful words change lives

11 tips for improving quality of life

© Roy J Sutton and Mann Island Media Limited 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Success secrets and how your life can be better

How is life for you? Perhaps you’re lucky and you have a great job, a nice house, a fancy car, a loving family and a lifestyle which is the envy of your neighbours? If that is you then well done but there’s nothing for you here. If you’ve achieved all that then you don’t need any success secrets from me.

If it is you then I must tell you, you’re in a minority. However I’m guessing you’re not part of that minority? Am I right? Statistically you’re much more likely to be a member of life’s majority. Those people with a desire for their lives to be better but who for whatever reason cannot translate that desire into something that is better.

Statistically you’re more likely to be part of that group of people constantly on the lookout for success secrets. People in search of enlightenment if you like. You’re not alone of course but I hope this post will help you.

Why is it that some people are successful and others are not? What secrets do the successful know that the unsuccessful do not know? Can anyone be successful? The simple answer is yes.

However unsuccessful people tend to think it’s not possible, so they don’t try. They just accept what they’re given as if that’s all they can expect from life. It’s almost as if they say to themselves, this is all life has for me. It’s like they believe that there are no success secrets.

Well I must tell you now, if it’s not obvious to you, life can be better. Life if what you make it. Within reason, you can be whatever you want to be. You can have more. Other people do, so why not you?

Where you are is where you are. It doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you don’t have to remain where you are. You’re not a tree, you can move. You can change. You can decide that your life will be different. And you can work towards something that is better.

Your life really can be better than it is and you can be better than you are. However for it to be better you have to believe it can be better and you have to believe that you can turn it around. In fact you have to believe in success secrets.

One thing all successful people have in common is a belief that something different can happen and they can make it happen. They don’t allow anyone to tell them it can’t be done. They know what they want and they’re determined to get it.

Some might consider them delusional but successful people see it as self-belief. They won’t accept that they cannot do something because intuitively they know, if they try hard enough, then anything is possible. If they decide what they want and strive for what they want they know they can get it. The price is determination and hard work but they’re willing to pay that price.

Successful people know that when faced with an elephant you cannot swallow it whole. However you can eat it one bite at a time. If you’re building a wall then you don’t start with the entire wall. You start with a single brick and you get that right. Then once that’s securely in place you move on to the next brick and then the next and the next and so on. Pretty soon if you stick at it long enough you’ll have the whole wall.

Successful people know that they can’t get to where they want to go in one single leap. They know you get there gradually one step at a time. And if you want to be successful, it starts with taking the first step.

Readers familiar with Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) will know that if you want to be successful you look for successful people, identify what they do and then copy that model. The idea being that if it worked for them then there’s a good chance it will work for you too. Most successful people will have had role models they’ve copied at various times.

So if you want to be successful look around for successful people and listen to what they have to say. Most people would accept that Will Smith is successful. In the video included here he shares his thoughts on the secrets of success.

His observations are interesting and well worth a few minutes of your time. I can recommend them to you.

Further Reading:

An article of this type can only ever be a taster on the subject but there are plenty of good books which will enlighten you further on the subject of success secrets. For instance one I suggest you explore is:-

The 21 Success Secrets of Self-Made Millionaires: How to Achieve Financial Independence Faster and Easier Than You Ever Thought Possible (The Laws of Success Series) by Brian Tracy

It all depends on how you define success of course. However if for you success is all about achieving financial independence as fast and easy as possible then this book could be for you.

Remember it’s never easy. It requires hard work and determination. However whilst it’s not easy, it can be easier and this book will tell you how. You can explore it by clicking in the link.

So go on, CLICK NOW whilst it’s fresh in your mind.

Other Articles:

What is the key to success?

Visibility: Does it matter?

Life is short and it’s later than you think

Powerful words change lives

11 tips for improving quality of life

© Roy J Sutton and Mann Island Media Limited 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Public Speaking: The Power of the Pause

If your aim is to be successful then mastering the art of public speaking will be an essential skill you must develop.  If you’re a successful, high profile individual you can’t avoid speaking in public at least occaionally. However much you might try to resist it I afraid it’s like trying to hold back the tide. It can’t be done.

Public speaking can be a bit daunting even for people who are otherwise quite confident. So if you lack confidence in this area then don’t worry. You’re not alone I promise you. Most people feel just like you do when they find themselves standing in front of a crowd faced with the expectation that they will say something meaningful and present it in an interesting way too.

Key to being interesting is developing your public speaking technique. The more you practice and develop your technique the more confident you will feel when you step up to the lectern.

One way to improve your public speaking technique is to learn from some of the best speakers around and then copy what they do. One excellent speaker to study is Brian Tracy. Personally I find him both interesting and inspiring. So if he has something to say then listening to him is worthy of your time.

In the short but excellent video included with this post, Brian Tracy offers some useful advice on the subject of public speaking. In particular using the power of a pause to emphasize or reinforce a point being made.

An important element of public speaking is making sure that the underlying messages resonate with your audience. If they take away three or four powerful messages then you will have done your job and done it well.

If you want to improve your public speaking skills then I recommend you watch this video. You will learn some helpful tips, as well as one of the little known secrets used by top public speakers. Once again, Brian’s short video is well worth a few minutes of your time.

Further Reading:

There are some excellent books that will help you with developing your public speaking technique. Four books you should explore are as follows:-

  1. Talk Like TED: The 9 Public Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds by Carmine Gallo
  2. TED Talks: The official TED guide to Public Speaking by Chris Anderson
  3. Speak So Your Audience Will Listen: 7 Steps to Confident and Authentic Public Speaking by Robin Kermode
  4. Public Speaking: How to Lose the Stage Fright and Win the Audience by Collin C Young

These are all excellent books on the subject, particularly the two associated with TED Talks.  TED have some of the finest speakers you will hear anywhere, so you’ll definitely learn something from them.

You can explore these books by clicking on the links. Go ahead and do it now whilst it’s all fresh in you mind.

Other Articles:

What is the key to success?

Visibility: Does it matter?

Life is short and it’s later than you think

Powerful words change lives

11 tips for improving quality of life

© Roy J Sutton and Mann Island Media Limited 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Your philosophy for life matters. Here’s why

Do you believe your own philosophy is important? I’m not referring to the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality and existence and people like Aristotle. By philosophy here I’m referring to your mind-set, whether it’s positive or negative, and the way you see the world around you.

I believe our personal philosophy for life influences our life experiences to a significant degree. And my own philosophy for life is simple.

I accept the world around me is the world around me. It is what it is. Stuff happens and I have little or no control over most of what happens. Politicians come and politicians go. They promise much then deliver little. Philosophically I accept that which I cannot influence directly. I see little point in worrying about any of it.

In my experience people look after their own interests first. That’s fair enough, why would they do otherwise? If they don’t then no one else will.

The underlying point here is that most of what’s happening around us is just noise really. All we can do is work around it. And that’s what I do.

I focus on my own interests and those of my family and I do my best to protect what is mine. My family will always come first.

To do the best for my family I recognise that I have to be the best that I can be. So I’m a keen learner and I’m constantly working to add to my skillset and knowledge. Learning for me is a lifelong process, and I’m a keen reader. I believe that the better informed we are then the better prepared we will be to excel in our chosen field of work.

Work is just doing stuff for other people in exchange for money. We work in order to generate income. And we generate income to put bread on the table and a roof over the heads of our loved ones. Whilst work gives us a sense of purpose and adds value to our lives, we should not live to work. The idea is to work to live. Work hard when we’re at work of course but enjoy life with family as much as possible.

My aim ultimately is to be financially independent with multiple income streams. Having multiple income streams reduces risk and it means we don’t have all our eggs in one basket. And to be financially independent it means using money wisely; saving; investing; and building capital.

Essentially I see life as a game. And my aim is to become a master of the game of life.

We must look after our own interests because no one else will. Be prepared to be ruthless when necessary. By that I don’t mean being nasty or mean to others. My point is that we cannot afford to be overly sentimental and on occasions in making the right decisions for us it may prove to be less favourable for someone else. If that happens, that’s life. We must still make the right decisions for us.

Sometimes you’ve got to be prepared to use your elbows if you’re going to grab your fair share of life’s pie. Don’t be too willing to let other people go first. You might find there’s nothing left for you. As always there’s a balance to be struck but never lose sight of your own interests and never do anything which works against your own interests.

There is no utopian place where all is well and the sun shines every day. Life is life. Some of it is good and some of it is not quite so good. However in the end it’s what we make it. We get out what we put in. There’s no free ride.

All you can do with life is deal with it as best you can. Enjoy the good times and when life gets difficult all you can do is take it on the chin and move on.

Worrying about anything you cannot control just steals your joy and spoils your day. Life’s too short. Do what you can, with what you have, where you are and most of all enjoy every minute because the years all go by in the blink of an eye.

Other Articles:

What is the key to success?

Visibility: Does it matter?

Life is short and it’s later than you think

Powerful words change lives

11 tips for improving quality of life

© Roy J Sutton and Mann Island Media Limited 2017. All Rights Reserved.

What is the most effective time management tool?

How good is your time management? Do you have a reputation for being efficient and productive or are you someone who’s always struggling to keep up? If you’re asked to do something, do you simply accept the request and add it to your ‘to do’ list?

How often do you question whether a particular task should be requested of you? In the world of work it’s easy to confuse being busy with being productive but these two concepts are not the same thing at all. And reputations are built by being productive not merely by being busy. It’s the result delivered not energy expended that matters most.

Frequently we’ll hear people say, if only I had the time. And yet we all have the same amount of time, i.e. 168 hours per week. Time is simply a resource like money, albeit it’s more important than money. You can get more money but you can’t get more time. So you must use time wisely. It is your most precious resource.

Modern pressures mean it’s easy for us to try to do too many things. Our lives are cluttered with too many activities, too many objectives, too many distractions and far too many demands on our time. The result is that we tend to lose focus on what really matters and in the end we don’t do anything as well as we might have done.

In most jobs you’ll find that 90% of productivity is down to completing the top three or four major activities within that job. If you take the top three activities associated with your job and focus on those to the exclusion of just about everything else you’ll almost certainly maximise your productivity and efficiency.

However when working we seem to find it easier to focus on minor tasks and random actions requested by other people. We feel obliged to accept requests from others. Whilst tidying up those minor tasks make us feel like we’re achieving some quick wins. However by the end of the day we’re left with a sense that we haven’t done all we should have done and that leaves us feeling stressed. And that’s when we start to think about how we might improve our time management.

People tend to think of time management as a skill which allows them to work faster. It’s not. Good time management is a skill which allows us to work smarter. Instead of getting lost of the minutiae of everyday life, with good time management, we focus on and prioritise those things that will add most to our productivity.

If time management is an issue for you, start by taking a good hard look at your list of daily activities and ask yourself this question. “What single task can only I do and when completed by me will add the most value to the business?

When you’ve identified that task, ask the next question. “What’s the second task on my list only I can do and when I’ve completed it would allow me to add the most value to the business?

And then once you have your second task identified, consider the third question. “What is the third task on my list only I can do and when completed by me will add the most value to the business?

Once you’ve identified your list of three major tasks then that is where your focus should be each day before you touch any other minor tasks or accept random requests from other people. The point of work is to deliver results. You’ll deliver the most if you concentrate on your top three major tasks first.

Just because someone asks for a piece of your time doesn’t mean you’re obliged to give it to them at the expense of your own productivity. Never be afraid to deploy the most effective time management tool.

And what is the most effective time management tool? It’s the word NO.

Think of the word NO as a baseball bat. Whenever someone makes a request of you then NO is the means by which you can whack that request right out of the ballpark. You’re not obliged to agree to a request even if someone asks nicely. It’s reasonable to be working to your own priorities.

All too often we feel obliged to do things for other people when actually we should have just said, “No, I’m sorry but I can’t do that right now because I have to deliver this by 5pm.”

If our personal productivity matters to us, and it should, our focus should always be on our own major deliverables.

Unfortunately we allow ourselves to be driven by the agendas of other people. However that’s not good for our productivity, nor is it good for our well-being.

Other people will take everything we give and more besides. However if we fail to deliver what we’re actually being paid to deliver, no list of incidental work completed for other people will be accepted as an adequate plea in our defence.

If you’re painting my house I’ll measure you on the quality and timeliness of your work, not the amount of help you gave to my neighbour by, say, looking after her dog. What you do for other people is irrelevant, should you fail to deliver what I’m paying you to deliver.

In reality if people can’t get something done by us they’ll simply get it done by someone else. So why worry? Just be polite when faced with a random request but say NO. It’s a habit well worth developing. You have to be disciplined.

We expend far too much energy helping other people achieve their aims, at the expense of our own interests. To achieve anything of significance in life we must be focused on our own major activities. We must concentrate on completing our big three major deliverables daily and on our own goals generally.

If we’re asked to do something then it’s perfectly reasonable to say NO as far as I’m concerned. Yes occasionally there will be tasks we are obliged to accept. However mostly being firm in declining a request is a sign that we’re assertive and in control of delivering as much value as possible.

Another polite but firm response to a request might be something like, “Sorry I would love to help you with that but I cannot right now because I have my hands full with the deadline for this project.

As with everything there is a balance to be struck of course. Sometimes it’s in our interests to do someone a favour because one day we might need them to return that favour. That’s reasonable, providing we always retain a primary focus on keeping our main things, the main things.

We should always ensure that we’re making progress towards achieving our big three deliverables and our own goals generally. It’s perfectly reasonable to have your own agenda and a desire to achieve your own goals and add the value only you can add.

If you want to make a difference, focus on your big three major activities. Activities only you can do. And to ensure that you’re doing that, don’t be afraid to use the most effective time management tool whenever necessary. The word NO expressed politely but firmly.

Further Reading:

In writing this article the aim was to convince you of the importance of your need for a transformation, should one be necessary for you to achieve better time management. However you might feel you could use a little extra help. That’s fine and it’s always useful to add a good book to your personal reference library. And one book you might consider on this subject is:-

How to set your Personal Boundaries: Learn to say No and Protect Yourself from Overwhelming Stress by author Josie Baxter

In this book the author Josie Baxter explains in digestible chunks how we can learn to set boundaries and be able to say no when necessary. She recognises that what should be a simple thing is in fact often quite difficult. She acknowledges that it’s natural that people care about other people but potentially that can put us at risk if our tendency always is to say yes. The risk being that we take on too much which can add to our stress levels and stop us from achieving our own goals. In turn this can lead to exhaustion and burn out.

Josie Baxter explains that it’s not selfish to care for ourselves first. In fact she notes that it’s actually quite sensible. The advice in this book is useful for all areas of your life and you’ll find it invaluable if you’re someone who struggles to set firm boundaries. It’s an excellent book and well worth considering. You can take a look at it if you CLICK HERE.

Other Articles:

What is the key to success?

Visibility: Does it matter?

Life is short and it’s later than you think

Powerful words change lives

11 tips for improving quality of life

© Roy J Sutton and Mann Island Media Limited 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Can we be damaged by our schooldays?

Can we be damaged by our schooldays? Were those days spent in school generally a positive experience or could they have been detrimental to our self-esteem? Well let’s just think about that for a minute.

Certainly some people will have had mostly good experiences during their schooldays I’m sure. However there will be some for whom their schooldays will have left them with a sense of failure. That much is philosophically self-evident, surely?

For instance, perhaps at school they never quite achieved the grades parents or teachers thought they should? Perhaps they were last to be picked for a sports team? In either case, how did the experience make then feel? Not quite good enough? A little bit bruised and embarrassed by their inability to achieve what they believed was expected of them?

Adults may have thought that by putting pressure on them it would motivate them to do well, yet it probably just left then feeling a little bit inadequate perhaps? Do you recognise such feelings?

The problem with the school experience is that the age range of our classmates is spread over a year. Someone whose birthday is at the beginning of September therefore will be a year older than someone whose birthday is towards the end of August, despite both being in the same class academically. One year at that time of our lives is a huge difference in terms of our development, both mentally and physically.

So what does this mean?

It means that if our birthday is at the end of the school year then we were at a significant disadvantage relative to some of our older classmates. And that disadvantage extended not just to our academic studies but also to sport and physical activity too.

And it’s not just the fact that we’re behind in terms of our development. Success breeds positive reinforcement. So our older peers will have benefitted from the constant reinforcement of ‘Well Done!’ whilst we were struggling to keep up.

Even if people are of above average ability for their age they can still be at a disadvantage relative to older classmates during their schooldays, particularly if they were of above average ability too.

Inevitably at school people are compared to their classmates and statistics show that the older ones tended to do better during that period because of an inherent age advantage. That’s true with sport as well as academic subjects.

If younger students appeared to perform less well then many will have interpreted that as them being not quite as good as their older contemporaries.

And few people, least of all our parents, will have recognised that the system essentially does not favour the younger members of the class. It puts them at a disadvantage.

The obvious question then is how many people have gone through life feeling like a bit of a loser due to their experiences of a school system which works against them simply because of the month in which they were born?

And how many people never fully recover from the inevitable damage done to their confidence and self-esteem during those all too important developmental years?

More importantly our school days not only affect how we feel about ourselves. They also impact on how others perceive us to be as well.

A reputation for being a ‘Straight A’ student beats being a bit of an academic ‘also ran’. No one questions whether the former had an inherent advantage over the latter.

And how we’re perceived by others does matter because their perception of us often results in all the negative talk we often hear whenever we express ambition. This in turn wears down our self-esteem a little further.

I’m sure you know what I mean, as no doubt many readers will be familiar with the experience. Something like:-

You:Oh, I’d like to be a doctor.

Parent:Oh, don’t be ridiculous, with your grades?

And so on. People always give you reasons why you’re not good enough. When what you actually need is encouragement. With encouragement you could make it in whatever pursuit that makes you feel truly energised.

If you’re someone who experienced disadvantage for whatever reason then let me tell you something. You’re as good as anyone and you should acknowledge that. Your schooldays represent a very small part of life and they were significant only in so far as they are one on many experience in life. Certainly they don’t define you.

If your schooldays were a good experience then fine. If not, so what? You can still achieve your ambitions with sufficient determination.

It doesn’t matter whether others believe you can do it, just as long as you believe you can do it.

And remember; there’s no such thing as a failure. That label does not belong on people.

Failure is just an unwanted outcome and a learning opportunity. It’s not a person.

You have enormous potential. We all do. Everyone is capable of achieving much more than they could ever think possible. With determination and hard work we can all achieve great things.

Your attitude is much more important than your aptitude when it comes to achieving your goals in life.

However you feel about your past, it’s not too late to become something more than you are currently. You should embrace failure as nothing more than an opportunity for learning. It does not define you, nor should it.

Recognise that just because you didn’t set the world on fire during your schooldays it doesn’t mean you can’t achieve great things now.

It’s not about how many times you get knocked down that counts but how many times you can get back up and keep going until you get to where you want to go.

Victory is sweeter when it has been achieved following the experience of defeat.

You cannot achieve anything without the experience of at least the occasional failure along the way. Before anyone was a success, they all started out as beginners and they all made mistakes. Anyone who suggests otherwise is either lying or deluded.

If you really want to succeed, then work hard, make mistakes and learn the lessons as you go. If you’re determined you will find a way to achieve your goals or realise your dreams.

Don’t be overwhelmed by any perceived failure. It doesn’t have to be fatal, nor does it imply that you’re not capable of achieving great things.

Never, ever give up until you get to where you want to go. Success can be yours if you want it badly enough. And remember this; it is better to try and fail than never to have tried at all.

Never be afraid to try because there are only outcomes we didn’t want and lessons to be learned.

And repeat this mantra daily: I’m as good as anyone; I’m better than most; I will achieve great things; And nothing with stop me!

Get started now. What are you waiting for?

Other Articles

Encourage kids to fail if you want them to succeed

Visibility: Does it matter?

Life is short and it’s later than you think

Powerful words change lives

11 tips for improving quality of life

© Roy J Sutton and Mann Island Media Limited 2017. All Rights Reserved.

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