Investing like Warren Buffett: Tips and Techniques

Investing Tips and TechniquesWould you like to know more about investing and money dear reader? Maybe you’re looking for some investing tips and techniques?

Perhaps you’re always short of money and possibly in debt?

Well it doesn’t really have to be that way. You do know that don’t you?

You could improve your financial situation but you’ll need to start learning about money and how it works and how you can make it work for you.

In today’s post you’ll find some observations about money and investing and you’ll find an interesting video from the world’s greatest investor Warren Buffett.

Warren Buffett has become a very wealthy man through investing and he has consistently been one of the most successful investors of all time.

It’s always worth listening to successful people, so I can recommend you watch the embedded video below because I’m confident you’ll find it useful.

1. The Importance of Money

When it comes to sustaining life, money is not the most important thing but after oxygen and water few things matters more.

Certainly you need enough to get by but you also need to put something aside for a rainy day because one day it will rain, of that you can be sure.

Putting something aside for your old age too would be a wise thing to do.

Wealth creation matters and if you are to build wealth successfully you must learn how to manage and invest your money wisely.

2. The Importance of Investing

Creating wealth is easier said than done of course.

It starts with making sure you put at least some money aside each month.

Pay yourself first by putting away say 10% of your income each time you get paid.

Make that a habit and you won’t miss it.

As cash starts to build into a decent sum then you need to ensure that you get a decent return in order for the compounding effect to work its magic.

Over time you will be amazed at how your wealth will grow if you invest wisely.

3. How to Invest

Maybe you’re still unsure as to how you go about it?

Well that’s natural, so don’t worry.

If you don’t know how to do something, look around for someone who is already doing it successfully and copy what they do.

Certainly there are some excellent examples of investors who you could adopt as a role model.

One of the world’s most successful investors is the great Warren Buffett, otherwise known as the Sage of Omaha. Have you heard of him?

If you haven’t, I can tell you that he has created so much wealth through his investing skills that he is one of the richest men in the world.

The video included here offers some investing tips and techniques,

It illustrates how Buffett invests and how you might emulate his success. This is a useful video and it is worth your time, if your aim is to develop your investing skills.

4. Investing Tips and Techniques

5. Buy some reference books on investing

One video cannot tell you all there is to know about investing of course.

Developing your investing skills will take time and patience, building your knowledge as you go.

Nevertheless there are plenty of good books on the subject and you would be wise to establish your own personal reference library on the subject.

One book I can recommend is from the Financial Times series.

Like everything associated with the Financial Times, the FT Guide to Saving and Investing for Retirement: The Definitive Handbook to Securing Your Financial Future will provide you with sound advice on all aspects of saving and investing, particularly with respect to your long term goal of making sure you can enjoy a comfortable retirement.

I can recommend this book and it’s available from Amazon. Buy it here.

DISCLOSURE: 

This website is an Amazon affiliate. Should you click on any of the links included in the text above and you then make a purchase, you should be aware that this website will receive a small commission. However there will be no additional charge to you in making that purchase. Nevertheless these commissions do serve to cover the cost of maintaining this site, so you’ll be helping to ensure that this resource can remain available free of charge to readers. Your understanding is truly appreciated dear reader. Thank you.

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What is grit and why is it important?

What is gritWhat is grit? I’ve heard this word alot recently. And of course the obvious supplementary question is, why is it important?

I’m referring to a term used in psychology to represent a positive, non-cognitive personality trait based on an individual’s perseverance of effort combined with the passion for a particular goal and a powerful motivation to achieve it. Allow me to explain.

Have you ever noticed that the smartest people are not always the most successful? Obviously success can be defined in different ways but for most people their measure would usually revolve around money and prestige.

If we take money as the measure for success, then you’d think the smartest people would easily come out on top on that score, surely? Yet you’d be wrong.

We hear stories frequently about college professors who struggle financially whilst at the same time tradesmen like bricklayers and plumbers become millionaires. How can that be?

Surely the smartest people have a natural advantage? Well, actually they don’t.

The people with the real, innate advantage are those with this quality known as grit.

So exactly what is grit? It is an inner steeliness. It is courage and resolve. It is strength of character. It is drive and desire. It is passion and motivation. It is a willingness to persevere until the desired result is achieved. It is determination to achieve a goal and a willingness to take calculated risks.

It is a fact that doing well in life depends on much more than academic ability and your capacity to learn quickly and easily.

Having those qualities is useful of course but in the absence of grit you’d still be at a disadvantage.

Someone of average academic ability but with a shed-load of grit will be better placed to achieve real success in life.

What is gritPeople with grit intuitively recognize that life is a marathon not a sprint.

They’re willing to experience failure because they know that failure is a temporary outcome not a permanent position. And they’re willing to fail and then start over using the lessons they’ve learned from the experience.

So what’s the key to success? It’s the need to get grittier!

Angela Lee Duckworth makes this point admirably in this excellent TEDxTalk video and it’s well worth a few minutes of your time. It’s an interesting video and I think she nails the point perfectly.

That’s what I think but what is your opinion?

Could there be such an easy answer or is it all much more complicated? I’d be interested to hear your views.

Grit: The power of passion and perseverance:

Further Reading:

If you’d like to know more about grit and Angela Lee Duckworth’s ideas about the secret of success then read her excellent and Number 1 best selling book Grit: Why passion and resilience are the secrets to success.

It’s well worth the cover price and you can check it out if you CLICK HERE

DISCLOSURE: This website is an Amazon affiliate. Should you click on any of the links included in the text above and you then make a purchase, you should be aware that this website will receive a small commission. There will be no additional charge to you in making that purchase. However these commissions do serve to cover the cost of maintaining this site, so you’ll be helping to ensure that this resource can remain available free of charge to readers everywhere. Your understanding is truly appreciated dear reader. Thank you.

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Daily Habits of Successful People

Habits of successful peopleIf success is your aim, can you learn from the daily habits of successful people?

Certainly I believe that we are what we do on a daily basis.

Anything you achieve, or don’t achieve, is brought about by the habits you develop over time.

Everything you do is as a result of our habits, good or bad. So surely it makes sense to develop and maintain good habits and make them your master?

Habits, good or bad, are formed through repetition.

Good habits can be hard to form but they are easy to live with. Whereas bad habits whilst easy to form they tend to be very hard to live with. Our lives can become a battle of good habits versus bad habits. Don’t let the bad habits win.

Good habits can be learned and bad habits can be replaced by good habits. Yes, it requires self-discipline on your part dear reader but it can be done and people do.

Decide on the habits you want to develop and focus on achieving them one at a time.

Start with one good habit you’d like to form and then force yourself to repeat the necessary actions daily.

After around three weeks that habit will be formed and it will just become part of your routine. You’ll start to repeat it with little or no thought. Essentially you’ll do it on autopilot.

If you have a bad habit you wish to replace with a good habit then each time you find yourself about to perform the actions of the bad habit, stop yourself and perform the actions of the good habit instead. Again after around three weeks the good habit will be programmed into your brain.

Successful people are driven to develop good habits. Self-discipline is the key ingredient for good habits to form and for the replacing of bad habits.

Successful people also establish the habit of goal setting on a daily basis.

You cannot hit a target unless you can see that target. Setting a goal is the first step in achieving that goal. Successful people are results oriented.

Successful people are also people oriented.

You get what you want in life by helping other people get what they want.

Every product is a solution to a problem. Even if your goal is to sing or dance, to succeed you must always recognise that you perform to and for people.

They have a need to be entertained and your aim is to fulfil that need. To solve this particular problem for them if you like.

In dealing with people you must be honest and show integrity if you are to win the respect of others.

So honesty is a good habit to develop. Dishonesty and cheating will catch up with you and will be a permanent stain on your reputation. You don’t need that now, do you?

And above all, you must look after your health. You have one body and one mind and they must last you a lifetime.

So develop the habit of taking good care of both.

To reinforce the message of the importance of repetition and routine I‘ve included this excellent video from Brian Tracy.

Brian is always a source of great advice for anyone seeking success and aiming to create a successful life for themselves and certainly he’s one of my main sources of constant inspiration.

The video is short but well worth your time and I recommend you watch it now.

Habits of successful people:

Further Reading:

Regular readers will know that I am keen on building a personal reference library of books and audiobooks which I use to inspire and motivate me and to help me achieve my goals. And I would encourage you to do the same dear reader.

In the video Brian Tracy refers to his book Million Dollar Habits: Proven Power Practices to Double and Triple Your Income. This is an excellent book and would be a good addition to your library. You can take a look at the print and Kindle editions if you click on the link in this paragraph.

However I must be honest and tell you that actually I decided to purchase Million Dollar Habits: Proven Power Practices to Double and Triple Your Income (AudioBook). Personally I find the audiobooks really useful because I can listen to them whilst I’m driving which means I’m making better use of what would otherwise be dead time. If you’d like to take a look at the audio version of the book then, once again, just click on the link in this paragraph.

DISCLOSURE: This website is an Amazon affiliate. Should you click on any of the links included in the text above and you then make a purchase, you should be aware that this website will receive a small commission. There will be no additional charge to you in making that purchase. However these commissions do serve to cover the cost of maintaining this site, so you’ll be helping to ensure that this resource can remain available free of charge to readers everywhere. Your understanding is truly appreciated dear reader. Thank you.

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How to become rich through your work

How to become richHow to become rich through your work? A question many people ask. Some people get rich but somehow you don’t dear reader. Why? You work hard but you’ve got very little to show for it, right?

How is it that other people succeed and get rich but you never seem to make any progress at all?

Perhaps the question you’ve been asking yourself is, what’s the real link between working hard and getting rich?

Well give me a couple of minutes of your time dear reader and I’ll tell you what I’ve learned about work over the years and how it’s linked to the generation of real wealth.

First off, as I’ve said many times before; work is simply doing stuff for other people in return for money.

If you enjoy your work and it comes naturally to you then you’ll do it well. If you do it well then people will notice. And once people start to notice then increasingly you’ll be in demand.

The greater the demand for your services the more you’ll get paid. In short, your value will increase.

If you truly enjoy your work and it becomes your passion then it won’t seem like work at all.

However if you work for a single employer then essentially you’re trading your time for money, regardless of whether you enjoy your work or otherwise.

Even if you work for multiple employers one at a time, the effect is the same. You’re simply trading your time for money. It cannot be scalable because, as an individual, there’s only so much you can do in a given period of time.

There’s nothing wrong with trading your time for money of course and it’s the way that most people earn a living. However you’re unlikely to get seriously rich that way.

Working for an employer will certainly make you a living of course but, unless you work on Wall Street or in the City of London, that’s about all.

To earn serious money you need to be doing stuff for many people simultaneously. The more people you can serve simultaneously the more money you can make.

The obvious question in your mind now will be, how’s that be done?

Well creative people serve many people simultaneously don’t they?

For instance if you write a bestselling book, record a bestselling song or produce a bestselling DVD these would all add value to the lives of many people simultaneously.

When people buy the book, the song or the DVD in their millions then you can make millions of dollars in the process. Just ask JK Rowling, Paul McCartney or Ricky Gervais. They’ve all become rich through their creative work.

Then again not everyone can write, sing or perform. Perhaps you’re a designer?

Suppose you design furniture, say a chair perhaps?

You produce a fabulous design and offer it to a furniture manufacturer. They really like it and they want to use it but you hold the intellectual property rights (IPR) because it’s your design. So the manufacturer must pay you a royalty when the design is used for every unit sold.

If that chair becomes very popular and sells in the millions, you’re on-going royalty payments can add up to something quite substantial. Replicate that with many designs and you could get very rich indeed.

In this case the example is furniture but the same would apply if you design anything. For instance the man who designed the retroreflective safety device known as cat’s eyes in Britain got very rich through his design. Fashion design is another area where serious money can be made from your designs if they become popular.

The trick with creative work is to understand the law around copyright and IPR and make sure you’re rewarded for your work through royalties.

The advantage of creative work is that the series of royalty payments can have a very long tail. Your work can be the gift that keeps on giving for years and years.

Take a song like Imagine by John Lennon.

John Lennon wrote that song around 1971 but we still hear it regularly on radio and television to this day. So despite the fact that it’s almost 40 years since Lennon’s tragic death, the song still earns money for his estate, i.e. his family. Now that’s a real legacy for them.

Starting a business and selling products by the thousand is another way to serve many people simultaneously.

If your business can produce products that provide your customers with genuine solutions to their problems then there really is serious money to be made. Problems are an opportunity to make money if you can offer suitable solutions.

How to become richYour business will employ people who are trading their time for money but through your business you’ll be serving the many simultaneously and you can enrich yourself in the process.

The takeaway message for you today is that if you work one-to-one you’ll make a living but if you can work one-to-many you’ll make a fortune.

Whether it’s becoming a creative person, a performing artist, or starting a business, serving the many is the real route to riches.

It’s not easy of course but it can be done and people do. With a little self-belief and a lot of hard work you can too.

So when are you going to get started?

Go on, have a go! Serve the many not the few.

Remember; it’s better to try and fail than to spend your life wondering what might have been.

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© Roy Joseph Sutton and Mann Island Media Limited 2019. All Rights Reserved.

3 of the less obvious investment principles and concepts

Investment Principles and ConceptsIf you’re working on your financial education dear reader then you’re probably seeking to better understand all of the investment principles and concepts that successful investors use to create wealth.

If so, today I offer you three of the less obvious investment principles and concepts that you should always bear in mind:-

1. Fear is your friend:

As anyone with an interest in investing will recognise, financial markets by can be volatile and the extremes can be a challenge for even the most experienced investors. Volatility goes with the territory.

There are times when it will all feel like a bit of a roller coaster ride.

So if you’re going to profit from being an investor then you do need to have your wits about you. Feeling fearful occasionally goes with the territory too.

Fear is a natural emotion which keeps us sharp and it keeps us focused when our personal security could be at risk. So fear is a good thing. It serves to protect us against threats to our safety. Fear is our friend.

Even when it comes to your financial safety, fear is your friend too.

In troubled times we must be careful not to react in haste but remember that our instincts can be a powerful guide to when action is necessary.

That said, with investment, those times when others are truly fearful can be an excellent buy opportunity for the savvy investor. When people are in a state of panic they react with emotion rather than intelligent thought. And often they overreact.

Experience tells us that calm will always return to the market eventually and the savvy investor will have picked up some bargains amongst all the drama.

As Baron Rothschild once said, the time to buy is when there’s blood on the streets.

2. It’s never different this time:

Whenever there’s a speculative financial bubble, how many times do you hear people say, it’s different this time? Somehow they think that the laws of financial gravity can suddenly be defied.

From property bubbles to the dotcom bubble people were keen to tell us all that those old laws of finance no longer applied.

For some reason people start believing that prices can keep going up and up and up without any reference to the point at which prices were no longer consistent with anything close to a sensible valuation.

If we could go back to the days of the tulip bubble and the South Sea bubble, I’m sure we’d hear people saying it’s different this time.

The nature of a speculative bubble is always the same.

Something becomes fashionable and the price of that perceived asset starts to skyrocket, everyone goes crazy and people suddenly feel they must get in on the opportunity before they miss out.

The really savvy investors get in early on the opportunity, then they recognize what’s happening, they see the asset becoming over-priced and they recognise that if they are to turn a profit then they need to get out quickly. Once that happens, sentiment starts to turn; early movers make a decent profit and others lose their shirts.

The harsh reality of financial investing is that when you spot a bandwagon on which to climb you’ve already missed the boat. I apologise for the mixed metaphor but remember this; it’s never different this time with a financial bubble.

Irrational exuberance drives prices beyond the point at which they are supported by any real financial logic. When that becomes obvious to everyone, the bubble bursts and prices coming crashing down.

As the great Warren Buffett once said, a pin lies in wait for every bubble and when the two eventually meet, a new wave of investors learns some very old lessons.

If you’re an experienced old hand at the investment game you might just have mastered the art of timing with these things. If not, you’ll steer well clear if you’ve got any sense.

3. Little and often:

Over time water can form great caverns in rock. It doesn’t happen overnight. It happens by the constant drip, drip, drip, effect of water over years and years and years.

When it comes to saving much the same applies. It’s those regular small amounts that over time can build into substantial wealth.

Regular saving is a good habit to develop and savings accounts provide a reliable place for your emergency fund and also as a means for building capital sums for the purchase of other forms of investment like stocks and bonds, and property too

However remember this; no one has ever become seriously rich by investing in savings account alone.

The gains from savings accounts will always be relatively small and over the medium to long term are unlikely even to keep pace with inflation.

Nevertheless regular saving this way is a good starting point in wealth creation.

Once you start to build a decent sum you can then look at other forms of investment such as stocks, bonds and property.

However you must remember that savings accounts are not risk free if that’s your only form of investment.

Focusing only on a savings account would mean you miss out on better potential returns elsewhere.

Savings accounts are a very good starting point though and by putting a slice of your income away each month, as soon as you get paid,  you’ll be taking the first step to building capital.

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How to turn enterprise into money

Turn enterprise into moneyBeing poor is shit. ~Bob Geldof

The media personality and former rock star Bob Geldof’s style tends to be blunt and to the point. He’s not a man to sugar coat his words. However he does make an important point.

People may tell you that money isn’t important but next to oxygen it’s essential for a life worth living. In fact you couldn’t live long without it.

Exactly how much money you need depends on your preferred lifestyle of course. However even for a fairly basic lifestyle a reasonable income is required.

None of us want to be poor or destitute of course. And fortunately we don’t have to be. It’s possible to turn enterprise into money.

And what do I mean by enterprise? I mean your energy, your knowhow and skills, your ambition, and your determination to make life better for you and your loved ones by making life better for other people.

What is work?

In essence, work is just doing stuff for other people in exchange for money. It’s that simple.

And remember, you don’t need to have a formal role within a corporation to earn money either. It’s perfectly feasible to establish your own business and earn a living that way.

In fact, for most people, the only way you’ll get rich is through your own business. Unless you’re a Wall Street investment banker or a lawyer, you’re unlikely to get rich being someone’s employee trading your time for money.

The key to success in business:

The key to success in your own business is to find a way to solve problems for people for profit. That’s the way to turn your own enterprise into money. And it’s a lot easier than you might imagine.

Let’s face it, there’ll always be plenty of customers for products and services not yet invented.

People will always have problems and they’ll always have a need for solutions to those problems.

And every product sold by a company is a solution to a problem, or at least it should be.

Turn enterprise into money:

If you continually educate yourself for skills and know-how, then you can create wealth by seeking out customers for whom you can deliver solutions to their problems and/or provide them with services for which they have a need.

If you can satisfy those customers then you’ll make money, and quite possibly a lot of money.

Manage that money wisely and you can build your own personal wealth too.

Determination, hard work and an eye for problems to be solved are the main ingredients for success in business. Your enterprise really can lead you to great wealth.

Your don’t have to be poor:

You don’t have to be poor unless you’ve given up and you’re just accepting that being poor is your lot in life. It’s not, and nor should it be.

You’re perfectly capable of generating your own income dear reader.

You just need to do stuff for other people and find a way to add value to their lives. In this case adding value means solving problems or making their lives easier and/or better in some way.

Help yourself by helping others get what they need:

It all comes down to your willingness to find a way to serve others. Simple!

There are opportunities there for the taking every single day of the week, if you’re enterprising and ready to solve problems for other people. However you do need to be fleet-footed.

The best time to start a business might have been last year but the next best time is right now.

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

Good luck!

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The advantages of work: Why you should take it seriously

Advantages of workThe advantages of work are many but often people fail to appreciate the importance of their work. So my question to you today dear reader is, how do you regard your work?

Perhaps for you work is just a source of income but by no means your passion?

Maybe it’s something you must do simply because you desperately need an income but it doesn’t leave you feeling energized and motivated to do the best job you possibly could do?

Perhaps mostly you’re just going through the motions, doing the minimum you can get away with each day and longing for the weekend and time off?

Maybe you’re the sort of person who prefers to spend your time in the office chatting and drinking coffee with your workmates?

Does any of this sound like you dear reader or possibly a slightly exaggerated version of you?

If that’s not you and your work is your passion, or at least you take it seriously, then this article is not really for you.

This article is for readers who feel less than energised by the work they’re currently doing and those who need a timely reminder that there are good reasons for taking your work seriously.

Work is your livelihood:

If you’re not pulling your weight in your current job then you should know that it won’t have gone unnoticed. Just because your boss has yet to say anything doesn’t mean he or she hasn’t noticed.

And if you’re building a reputation for being a slacker then it’s only a matter of time before the company will find a reason to get rid of you, if you’re not careful.

You must appreciate that a business cannot carry costs which add little or no value to that business. That is, it can’t if its aim is to survive anyway.

Commercial reality will very quickly kick any business in the butt should its management fail to keep a tight control on costs.

Companies are not registered charities. Any costs must be covered by prices charged. If a business bears unnecessary costs for long then the result will be pricing that is simply uncompetitive. And if the business isn’t competitive then it will lose out to the competition.

Think about that for a second. As a consumer, if Company A is selling a product at a lower price than Company B, where will you buy it? You’ll go for the best price every time. No customer loyalty will survive even a small saving in price. To believe otherwise would be naïve.

So if you’re not adding value then potentially you’re at risk of losing your job.

Your work is your livelihood, so losing your job could actually hurt you. In fact the best way to appreciate your job is to imagine your life without it.

Advantages of workWork provides you with a sense of purpose:

The very essence of what work is all about is simple. Work is just doing stuff for other people in return for money. It gives us an income but it also gives us a sense of purpose.

Through work we apply our skills and knowhow to deliver an output or an outcome for someone else. That may be an individual or an organisation but either way we are paid for what we actually deliver.

Essentially that’s the psychological contract we enter into when we agree to do work for someone else.

If we’re not delivering what we’re paid to deliver then we’re not doing our job properly. We are not fulfilling the psychological contract that is work.

Taking pride in our work is important too. Our sense of purpose should drive us to do the best we can with the skills we have and we should be constantly seeking to improve.

If we don’t love what we do at any given time then we should be looking for ways to change our mind-set to take a more positive view.

If we view our work positively then we’re more likely to be energised by it and if we’re energised by it then we’re more likely to do it well.

Work is how we make a difference:

You must also recognise that there’s a big difference between being busy and delivering real results. Never confuse industry with effectiveness. The two are very different things.

If I’m paying you to paint houses then the only measure I will use to judge you on is how well and how efficiently you paint houses. I don’t really care how helpful you might have been to the electrician or the refuse collector.

Being busy doesn’t count for anything unless you’re busy doing the right things. Doing the right things is how we make a real difference. And surely we’d all like to make a difference?

Other benefits:

Having a job actually provides us with many benefits.

For a start with the income it generates, it allows use to put a roof over our head and food on our table.

Managed carefully, the money we earn will put clothes on our backs and allow us to heat our homes.

And of course it provides so much more too.

Having a job gives us status and our own income gives us a degree of independence and freedom.

All these things together improve our self-esteem.

And of course work gives us a reason to get you out of bed each day.

Work is how we make a contribution to the society around us. Not just in what we actually do but also in the taxes we pay. That’s how we pull our weight and justify our membership of the society in which we live.

However let us not forget the camaraderie we enjoy with the people with whom we work too. People are social animals and we need the company of others.

Yes, some of them will drive us nuts at times but mostly they’re good people just like us, with lives just like ours and with whom we can relate.

We share their laughs and we share their tears too at times; the good times and the bad times; it all makes life worth living.

Work allows us to engage with other people and that’s very important.

Your work can be your legacy too:

Work is what we do for other people and what we’ve done for other people is how we’ll be remembered long after we’re gone. So potentially your work is your legacy.

On that basis, whatever you do strive to do it well.

It might not seem much to you but it will matter to other people.

Have a sense of pride in your work whatever it is. It doesn’t matter whether you sweep roads or you’re a skilled heart surgeon we all have our place in society and we all have our contribution to make.

And whatever role you play, no one is better than anyone else.

Enjoy your work or keep looking:

It’s important you find a way to enjoy your work because you spend a third of each day doing it.

Sometimes it’s just a case of looking at your work in a different way in order to appreciate what you have. However sometimes even then for whatever reason you’ll feel unhappy.

If you can’t find a way to enjoy your work then find another job. One more suited to your natural talent perhaps. However until you find the right thing, you must grit your teeth and do your current work to the best of your ability.

And never, ever just walk away from a job without having another one to go to.

It is ironic perhaps but it’s always much easier to find another job when you already have one.

Without a job a potential employer might wonder whether you’re unlucky or just a loser. And usually employers will be reluctant to take a chance on you if they’re unsure.

Conclusion:

The importance of work to our lives and our self-esteem should not be underestimated. So do the work you’re paid to do and do it well. Do that and success can be yours.

Don’t do your job properly and you’ll struggle to hold on to it for very long. Lose it and almost certainly you’ll regret it.

That’s the nature of work, it always has been and it always will be.

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Your philosophy for life matters. Here’s why

Philosophy for LifeDo you believe your own philosophy for life is important dear reader?

What do I mean by ‘your own philosophy‘?

In this case I’m not referring to the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality and existence and people like Aristotle.

By philosophy I’m referring to your mind-set, whether it’s positive or negative, and how you choose to see the world around you.

I believe personal philosophy really does matter.

I think how you choose to look at life and the world around you will influence your life experiences to a greater degree than you might expect. It’ll also influence how happy you’ll be.

My own philosophy for life is simple.

Firstly 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. That’s just life.

Politicians will come and politicians will go. They’ll promise much but deliver very little usually.

Philosophically I accept that which I cannot influence directly. I see little point in worrying about any of it. Why worry about stuff you can’t change?

In my experience people will always look after their own interests first.

That’s fair enough if you think about it because why would they do otherwise? If they don’t look after their own interests then no one else will that’s for sure.

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

I focus on my own interests and those of my family and I always do my best to protect what’s mine. My family will always come first and I will do anything for them. Well, anything that’s legal at least.

To do the best for my family I recognise that I have to be the best that I can be. To have skills and knowledge that will allow me to add as much value in my work as I possibly can. So I take personal development seriously. That way the more value I can add the greater will be my income.

I’m a reader and a keen learner and I’m constantly working to add to my skillset and knowledge. Learning for me is a lifelong process, it never stops, and I will keep learning until I no longer have the energy to pick up a book.

I believe that the better informed we are then the better prepared we’ll be to excel in our chosen field of work. We’ll also be better prepared to seize any opportunities that come our way too.

Let’s face it dear reader, 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 ourselves and the heads of our loved ones.

Whilst work gives us a sense of purpose and adds value to our lives, we should not live just to work. The idea should be to work to live. Well I think so anyway.

We must work hard when we’re at work of course but we must enjoy life with family as much as possible too. As they say where I come from, we’ll be a long time dead.

My aim in life is to be financially independent with multiple income streams.

With multiple income streams there’s a reduced risk of not having any income at all. I think it makes sense not having all your eggs in one basket.

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.

We must be prepared to be ruthless when necessary. By that I don’t mean being nasty or mean to people but if you don’t push hard sometimes, chances are you’ll lose out to those who are willing to make good use of their elbows.

My point is that we can’t 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 I’m afraid. We must make decisions that are right for us.

Sometimes you really have 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 of course 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’s well and the sun shines every day. Life’s life. Some of it’s good and some of it’s not quite so good.

However in the end it’s what we make of it that counts. We get out what we put in. There’s no free ride for anyone. On Spaceship Earth we’re all crew.

All you can do with life is deal with it as best you can.

Enjoy the summers but make sure you’re prepared for the winters too. Winters always follow summers, so be prepared.

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. So don’t die before you’ve lived.

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How to develop effective time management skills

Time Management Skills1. Time Management Skills:

Developing effective time management skills is an essential ingredient for success, I’m sure you’ll agree. You can’t add real value without making the best use of your time.

However making the best use is not always easy in practice, is it?

So, how good are you dear reader at managing your time?

Do you have a reputation for being ruthlessly efficient and productive or are you someone who’s always struggling to keep up?

When someone asks you to do something in the office, do you accept their request without question and simply add the task to your ‘To Do’ list? If you do, you’re not alone. Many people will do that in my experience.

Alternatively, perhaps you’re the type who thinks carefully relative to your priorities before you accept such a request? Now be honest. We’d all like to think we’re the latter, when in fact far too many people are the former I think.

2. Productivity is what really matters:

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, are they?

For instance, you can be busy doing things that don’t really need doing at all. Whereas being genuinely productive means delivering real results from high value tasks which can only be done by someone with your skills.

And let’s face it, reputations are built by being productive not merely by being busy. It’s the results you deliver not energy you expend that matter most.

3. Time is your most precious resource:

How often do you hear someone say, “Oh, I would love to do that, if only I had the time.

And yet we all have exactly 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. I say that because you can get more money but you can’t get more time. None of can do that, can we?

So you must learn to use your time wisely. Time is your most precious resource, so you must develop effective time management skills.

4. High value tasks must take precedence:

Modern pressures mean it’s easy for us to try to do too many things. We can all be a bit like that, including me dear reader.

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 most and in the end we don’t do anything as well as we should have done.

In my experience, in most jobs you’ll find that 90% of productivity is down to completing the top three or four major activities within that job. What I’d call high value tasks.

If you take the top three major activities, the high value tasks, 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.

5. The most common time management mistake:

The problem is, when we’re 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. It’s a common mistake of which we can all be guilty.

Now, whilst tidying up all those minor tasks might make us feel like we’re achieving some quick wins we’re usually fooling ourselves.

By the end of the day we’re usually 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.

6. We can’t do everything, nor should we try:

We must recognise that we can’t do everything but we can be selective about what we choose to do.

And if we’re going to get those major tasks of higher value completed then they must take precedence over those low value, minor tasks, which can always wait if necessary.

High value tasks should always take precedence over low value tasks.

7. Work smarter:

People often think of time management as a skill which would allow them to work faster. Well let me tell you this, that’s not the idea at all.

Effective time management skills allow us to work smarter, rather than harder.

Instead of getting lost in the minutiae of everyday life, with effective time management skills, we focus on and prioritise those things that will add most value to our productivity. In other words, we focus on high value activity.

8. The law of three:

So. if time management is an issue for you dear reader, start by taking a good hard look at your list of daily activities and ask yourself these three questions:-

  1. What single task can only I do and when completed by me will add the most value to the business?
  2. 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?
  3. 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, high value tasks then that’s where your focus should be each day before you touch any other minor tasks or accept random requests from other people.

9. The most powerful time management tool:

The point of work is to deliver results. You’ll deliver the best results if you concentrate on your top three major tasks first.

And never forget that you’ll be be judged by the results you actually deliver. No one cares what you had to do for someone else, they only care about the results they expected from you.

Your time is your time and you must decided how it is to be used most effectively.

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 of them all.

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.

10. Be in control of your time at all times:

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 politely, “No, I’m really sorry but I can’t do that right now for you because I have to deliver this by 5pm and it’s a priority.”

If our personal productivity matters to us, and it should, then our focus should always be on our own major, high value 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 and stress levels.

11. People will take everything you’re prepared to give:

I can tell you from experience that other people will take everything you’re prepared to give and a bit more besides. That’s the nature of people.

However if you fail to deliver what you’re actually being paid to deliver, then no list of incidental work completed for other people will be accepted as an adequate plea in your defence when your boss wants to know why you’ve failed to deliver your own high value results.

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 to me, should you fail to deliver what I’m actually paying you to deliver.

12. Focus on your priorities:

In reality if your colleagues can’t get something done by you they’ll simply ask someone else. So let them.

Why worry? Just be very polite when faced with a random request but say NO firmly. I can tell you this, you’ll have to be disciplined but it’s a habit well worth developing.

We can all be guilty of expending far too much of our energy helping other people achieve their aims, to the detriment of our own interests and our ability to deliver our own high value results.

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 high value deliverables daily and focus relentlessly on working towards achieving our own goals generally.

13. The need for balance:

If you’re asked to do something then it’s perfectly reasonable to say NO, if to do otherwise would prevent you from delivering the results you’re being paid to deliver in a timely manner.

Yes of course, occasionally there will be tasks you’re obliged to accept for whatever reason.

However mostly being firm in declining such a request is a sign that you’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 your interests to do someone a favour because one day you might need them to return that favour. That’s reasonable, providing you always retain a primary focus on keeping your main things, the main things.

14. Conclusion:

You should always ensure that you’re making progress towards achieving your big three deliverables and your own goals generally.

It’s perfectly reasonable to have your own agenda and a desire to achieve your own goals and add the greatest value only you can add.

If you want to make a difference, focus on your big three major activities.

Those activities which only you can do.

And to ensure that you’re doing that, don’t be afraid to use the most effective time management tool  of them all whenever necessary. The word NO expressed politely but firmly.

15. 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.

DISCLOSURE: This website is an Amazon affiliate. Should you click on any of the links included in the text above and you then make a purchase, you should be aware that this website will receive a small commission. These commissions serve only to cover the cost of maintaining this site. Your understanding is truly appreciated dear reader. Thank you.

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Did you find this article interesting and useful?

If so, then please share it on social media with your friends. When you share, everyone wins.

So please share it now. If you do I will be ever so grateful and you’ll be helping a keen blogger reach a wider audience.

Thank you.

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© Roy Joseph Sutton and Mann Island Media Limited 2019. All Rights Reserved.

The 4 steps to financial freedom

Steps to Financial FreedomFinancial peace isn’t the acquisition of stuff. It’s learning to live on less than you make, so you can give money back and have money to invest. You can’t win until you do this. ~Dave Ramsey

Many people are searching for the steps to financial freedom. Search the internet and there will be references to seven, eight, nine and even ten steps but I think only four steps really matter.

However before I discuss those steps, let us first think about the biggest cause of people remaining poor, namely the burden of debt.

Statistics suggest that most people these days are heavily in debt. And debt is a burden that enslaves us. Knowing we have debts can be stressful.

What is the underlying cause of such debt? That’s simple. Mostly it’s the overuse of credit cards with little or no thought to how this will affect our financial well-being.

Unsecured debt built up through the excessive use of credit cards is very expensive.

That means even a small sum outstanding on a credit card can quickly become a large debt due to the effect of compound interest if you only make minimum payment each month.

Are you affected by debt dear reader? Are your finances out of control? Would you like to achieve financial freedom?

Steps to Financial Freedom:

Often I hear people say things like, if only I could increase my income I could pay off my debts.

In fact those same people, if they did increase their income, would probably just spend more. And financial freedom would still remain a distant dream.

If financial freedom is your aim then it’s essential that you take control of your finances. And the steps to financial freedom are as follows:-

1. Spend less than you earn:

It all starts with spending less than you earn. If you spend less than you earn you can work on becoming debt free and then start to build capital.

2. Pay yourself first:

You must always pay yourself first. What does that mean? It means that as soon as you get paid each month you take a minimum of 10% of what you earn and put it away somewhere safe immediately.

Never, ever wait until the end of the month to see what you’ve got left.

If you do that you’ll never save anything.

If you take 10% upfront it will just be another debit on your income like taxes and pension contributions. You’ll quickly get used to having only the remaining 90% to live on.

And what do you do with the 10% or whatever you’ve put away?

3. Eliminate credit card debt:

Initially if you have a credit card debt burden then it makes sense to use that money to deal with paying off your debt first because the interest you’ll pay on the debt is always greater than any interest you’ll get on savings.

To pay off your credit card debt it’s essential that you find a way to eliminate the interest element each month so that any payments you then make go against the outstanding balance.

And how is that done?

Well, when you take out a new credit card account it often comes with a period of zero interest, usually six months. These accounts also usually allow you to transfer in an outstanding debt from another credit card account.

So by moving from one card provider to another and transferring the debt across to the new account, you then have a period of six months to make payments against the outstanding balance without accumulating interest on the old debt.

Never, ever use this card to increase your debt. Use it only for reducing your debt.

At the end of the period of zero interest on your new card repeat the process if necessary. Once again, you move to another card account offering you a zero interest period. By focusing only on the outstanding balance it will be paid off quicker.

Eliminating the burden of debt is the first step on the road to financial freedom.

Freedom from debt will give you peace of mind. And peace of mind is a good reason for spending less than you earn.

Once the debt is cleared, what next with the money you’ve paid yourself first.

4. Build capital:

Initially put your money into a savings account. Then, as that builds into a larger sum, you can start thinking about other forms of investment like stocks, bonds and property.

Once you develop the habit of putting some of your money away each month it’s amazing how quickly it accumulates into a decent capital sum and you’ll be on the road to achieving financial freedom.

Conclusion:

Learn to live within your means.

If you live modestly and spend your money wisely, you can ensure that you have enough money when you really need it.

You can also build that nest egg for your retirement and give a little back to those less fortunate than yourself. And you’ll feel so much better about yourself too.

Conversely, gathering too much clutter through excessive spending on things you don’t really need can become stressful, as well as wasteful. The choice is yours.

Financial freedom is achievable and it will give you peace of mind.

You will sleep better knowing you’re debt free.

The steps to financial freedom are really quite simple. Spend less than you earn; pay yourself first; eliminate expensive credit card debt; and start building capital.

Do this and one day your older self will be grateful you made the effort I can assure you.

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