The importance of change and the opportunities it brings

The Importance of ChangeToday dear reader, I’d like to explore the importance of change to a business and the opportunities it brings. For the fleet-footed entrepreneur, opportunity is synonymous with change. If that isn’t obvious, trust me, it’s true. And that’s why it’s important to embrace change.

1. Change is inevitable:

As the old saying goes, change is inevitable except from a vending machine.

We cannot avoid change, quite simply 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. Change is simply a force of nature.

However, if you hate change, don’t worry because you’re not alone. Most people hate change.

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, doesn’t it?

2. 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. Change is 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.

3. Businesses can be fragile:

Change can affect a business in many ways, given that plenty of things can change for a business over time.

For instance, consumers’ needs, wants and expectations will change over time. As will technology; markets; competition; and regulations as well. And of course, let’s not forget taxation. Governments are constantly tinkering with taxation, as their need for money increases.

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 just an employee, if you’re involved with a business then you cannot afford to become too complacent.

Ignore change and it’ll kill your business quicker than you might imagine. It can kill your career too. Businesses can be fragile if they’re exposed suddenly to the harsh reality of change.

4. Change on an industrial scale:

It’s easy to think that major corporations which dominate whole industries are immune from the impact which change can bring. Unfortunately, this isn’t so.

Consider for instance the computer industry.

IBM was once the behemoth of that industry. The very name was synonymous with everything that was best in the information technology (IT) sector, globally. So glowing was their reputation that there was an old saying universally accepted in business, “No one ever got fired for buying IBM.

They were Big Blue, second to no one.

However, their size and reputation didn’t stop them almost paying a very heavy price for failing to anticipate changing IT 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 them.

Neither did they believe that many people would actually need computers. 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 the demand for computers and the way computers were going to be used had almost catastrophic consequences for IBM.

To be fair, they did manage to adapt eventually, but not before their business came dangerously close to collapse. And to this day they do not dominate their industry in the way they once did.

5. Heavyweights no more:

Another good example of a dominant industry player failing to recognise the winds of change was Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC).

If you’re not familiar with that name dear reader, 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? Certainly, nothing like the company they once were, that’s for sure.

6. Change brings 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’s a positive dimension to change as well.

If it’s embraced then opportunities are always there for the taking.

Just think about it for a second. If change didn’t happen, we’d all still be living in caves and riding around on donkeys.

Most companies, particularly large corporations, are usually far too slow in responding to change. However, that offers plenty of scope for smaller, faster, more flexible businesses to move in and relieve the big boys of their lunch.

So change is actually a positive dynamic.

7. See change positively:

Let’s face it, if everything always remained the same then most of the things we enjoy and take for granted today wouldn’t exist.

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, particularly in business.

So it’s better to embrace change positively than to ignore it.

Yes, of course, it feels uncomfortable but we all get used to changes in the fullness of time.

If change is going to happen anyway then we might as well see what’s in it for us, surely?

If we’re in business, or indeed as people, we should always be constantly thinking about how we can exploit change to our advantage. How can we seize the opportunities that will come along as a natural consequence of change?

8. 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 and 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 always be ready for them.

9. 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.

Change can be a force for good but equally, it can be a dangerous force for the unwary.

When you think of change; think positively but think defensively too.

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© Mann Island Media Limited 2020. All Rights Reserved.

The importance of teaching children about money

Teaching ChildrenThe importance of teaching children about money is not something that’s taken as seriously as it should be, in my opinion.

Certainly not in the education system. As far as I can see, financial education for children and young adults is rarely covered within the education system at all. It wasn’t when I was young and it isn’t now.

Some might say that money’s not the most important thing in life and philosophically that may be true.

However, money’s up there with oxygen and water when it comes to sustaining human life. In the modern age, life revolves around money, whether we like it or not.

Money’s a measure of the value we add to the lives of others and it’s also the oil that lubricates human existence.

Without money, living would be virtually impossible for almost everyone today.

1. The point of teaching children:

The point of teaching children is to prepare them for adult life, surely?

Our aim should be to equip them with everything they need to know, so they can function effectively as adults once they leave the education system.

Now reading, writing and arithmetic are all essential subjects, of course, because you can’t get too far in the world of work without these basic skills. And it’s through work that we really add value and maximise our income.

Nevertheless, where I believe the education system generally fails children and young people is the omission of the teaching of essential life skills, like earning an income and managing money. Important subjects like money and personal finance are never covered at all, certainly not in any significant way.

2. Money and personal finance:

To me, it’s truly amazing that we don’t teach our children about money or personal finance in their formative years.

Surely whilst at school, children should learn about:-

          • The way money is earned;
          • The way to manage money;
          • How to budget, so they can pay their bills; and
          • How to spend their money wisely.

Children should also learn about how they should prioritize expenditure to avoid getting themselves into a financial mess, in my opinion.

3. The pros and cons of debt:

Personally I think that children and young adults should learn about the pros and cons of debt.

They should learn about the difference between secured and unsecured debt, given the impact these factors will have on the interest rates that will be applied to such debt.

Young people should learn about the power of compound interest too. Not so much as a mathematical exercise but in terms of how it can quickly turn a relatively small debt into a very large debt, if we’re not careful.

And they should also learn to appreciate that credit cards are not just a convenient means for cashless payment.

Used thoughtlessly, credit cards can result in personal wealth destruction and excessive levels of expensive debt.

Children and young people should know that credit cards are a form of unsecured debt, which means they come with very high rates of interest, which accelerate a personal debt mountain rapidly, if not paid off immediately.

4. Interest rates matter:

Everyone should know that interest rates really do matter. They’re very significant and shouldn’t be treated lightly.

Children and young adults should learn that they should never go into debt for the purchase of discretionary items. It’s always better that they save up for that discretionary purchase before they buy, of course.

5. The nature of work:

Every young person should learn about how work is just doing stuff for other people in exchange for money and that the more value they can add through their skills and know-how, the more they’ll earn throughout their life. So skills matter too.

Everyone should be taught about the economics of supply and demand and its impact on pricing.

Kids should understand the difference between trading their time with one employer for a wage and the opportunity to serve multiple customers through their own business and their own creativity.

If they have the ability to create products which solve problems for customers, then they have the potential to make a lot of money.

Essentially kids should learn to appreciate the difference between employment and self-employment.

6. The road to financial freedom:

Young people should learn about wealth, pensions and how to achieve financial freedom through putting money aside on a regular basis and investing it wisely.

They should be positively encouraged to work towards achieving financial freedom.

Once they’re financially free they can focus on doing things they enjoy doing rather than things they have to do, because they’ve no other choice.

If nothing else, this makes the goal of achieving financial freedom a worthy aim, in my opinion.

7. The impact 0f inflation, taxation and government borrowing:

Kids should learn about the impact that inflation will have on the value of their money and how this can affect their savings, particularly for old age. They should also be taught about risk and its relationship with reward.

They should learn about taxes and how the money they pay in taxes will be spent, and frequently squandered by government.

Everyone should know that there’s no such thing as government money, only the taxpayer’s money. Our money!

Children and young people should know that it’ll be their hard-earned money that’s being spent by the government.

They should also know that when governments borrow money this is simply a means for spending today and then passing the bill on to future generations. In other words, our children and grandchildren will pay the bill for today’s government borrowing.

Government borrowing is not a free lunch. Someone eventually must bear the interest payments in future years, as well as the repayment of the original capital sum that was borrowed. And don’t forget, governments are borrowing money continually.

8. Holding government to account:

Children should be taught to question how their money is being spent by the government and how to register their disapproval if they’re not happy with what’s being done with that money, in their name.

9. Money matters:

Sadly most people have little real understanding of money, which means that they’re easily conned by sharp business practices, particularly in Financial Services, and by politicians driven only by their own self-interest.

Perhaps that’s why schools are not encouraged to teach personal finance as a subject.

Parents should demand that their children are taught about money, in my opinion.

If the education system fails children by not teaching them important life skills then, as parents, we must shoulder at least some of the blame, surely?

And as always, we’ll get what we tolerate.

For me, teaching children and young people about money is an issue for the education system, as much as it is for parents themselves.

Money really does matter and, in my opinion, we fail children and young people if we don’t provide them with the know-how and skills to make the most of it throughout their lives.

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10 very useful tips to be successful in life

Looking for some useful tips to be successful in life, dear reader? What habits should you develop? Today I offer you my top 10 list.

What’s the key to success?

Well, I can tell you right now that there’s no one, single thing that on its own will ensure that you enjoy some personal success, dear reader. There’s no silver bullet, I’m afraid.

However, there are things you can do and habits you can develop that will help you to become the successful person you really could be.

Dear reader, you can be a success and it’s never too late.

Know what you want and know why:

Essentially success comes from knowing what you want and knowing why.

If you establish some goals and take a disciplined approach towards achieving those goals then you’re on your way.

However, you’ll also need to adopt some good habits that will help you achieve those goals and help you to keep going until you get to where you want to be.

Adopting good habits will also mark you out as a role model for others too, which means you’ll be a leader.

Tips to be successful in life:

Here is my list of the top 10 tips to be successful in life.

These are good habits you really ought to consider developing from now on:-

1. Believe in yourself

You must believe in yourself, dear reader. That’s a given, if success is your aim. If you don’t believe in yourself then why would anyone else believe in you?

If you lack self-belief then you must start reinforcing a belief in yourself straightaway with a daily mantra. Every morning and every evening go to your bathroom mirror and repeat the following to yourself 10 times each time:-

“I’m as good as anyone and better than most. I will be a success.”

It is essential that you remind yourself of this constantly.

Self-belief is an essential ingredient if you’re going to succeed. By reminding yourself that you’re as good as anyone this will help reinforce self-belief in both your conscious and subconscious minds.

Believing in yourself and your ability to succeed is more important than anything else. It is if success is your aim, I can tell you that from experience.

2. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else

You are who you are and you can only be the person you are. Anything else would be a fake.

You have your own special qualities and no one else on earth is quite like you. You have your own strengths and of course you have a few weaknesses too. Everyone does.

Other people have their own unique qualities too, of course. However, that doesn’t mean they’re better than you.

They’re just different. You can’t be them, so don’t try. And they can’t be you either. So concentrate on being yourself. Everyone else is taken.

If you want to be a star, then you must shine for being you and for the special magic which only you can bring to this world. You’re unique, so take pride in that and put your best foot forward.

Never compare yourself to anyone else and never fret if you feel that you can’t match someone else in some particular way. Remember, there will be ways in which they cannot match you either. 

3. Always keep the main thing the main thing

Whether you like it or not you’ll be judged by what you deliver and the value you add.

If your job is to paint my house, then I will judge you on how well you’ve painted my house.

I don’t care how much help you’ve given to my neighbour. If you’ve painted my house badly or the job hasn’t been done properly then you’ve failed as far as I’m concerned. Do the job badly and I will not be happy.

Often in the workplace, our inability to say “No” leads us to being completely distracted by a request to help someone else.

And that distraction can result in us failing to do something that would have moved us closer to the successful conclusion of one of the goals we’ve set for ourselves.

Losing sight of our own high-value tasks can make us less productive and less valuable in the eyes of our employer. Workplace distractions can lead to us helping other people achieve their objectives at the expense of our own, if we’re not careful.

Being a team-player is important of course and there will be occasions when providing assistance to a colleague is the right thing to do for the greater good of the team. However, it should never, ever be at the expense of you delivering what you will be expected to deliver regardless.

You’re judged by what you deliver, so never lose focus on what you’re expected to do.

Never be afraid to be assertive. You don’t have to be nasty, unpleasant or impolite. You just have to say something like, “Look I’m really sorry, I would love to help you but I have this to complete by 5 pm” or whatever.

Always, always keep the main thing the main thing.

Being too helpful may help others but it probably won’t help you.

It will however increase your stress levels though, if you’re not careful.

Focus on your own goals, ruthlessly. 

4. Accept that you will make mistakes occasionally

No professional likes to make mistakes.

Nevertheless, they are inevitable occasionally. That’s a fact of life.

No one is so perfect they can avoid mistakes completely. And no one ever achieved anything without making a few mistakes along the way.

So it’s fine to make mistakes occasionally providing you don’t make too many and providing you don’t make the same mistakes repeatedly.

When you’ve made a mistake, it’s important, to be honest, accept it, and above all learn from it.

Making mistakes is all part of us gaining that valuable commodity known as experience.

So just do your best and accept that, like everyone else, you’re not perfect nor will you ever be.

However remember this; just because you’re not perfect, it doesn’t mean you cannot be exceptional at what you do. As professionals, we always strive to get better at what we do.

Mastery of your craft is a worthy aim and one which requires constant study and practice, and occasionally making mistakes. 

5. Don’t be afraid to take a few risks

Risk and reward go hand in hand. You can’t have one without the other.

You’ll never achieve anything exceptional if you always play it safe; not unless you’re very, very lucky anyway.

Sometimes you just have to follow your instincts and go for it.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t weigh up the pros and cons before you take action. It’s fine to consider the potential consequences before you take a risk. And it’s fine to consider the odds of achieving a positive outcome and whether the potential reward merits the degree of risk involved.

Consider risk carefully but don’t dwell on it too long. Analysis shouldn’t replace action. You cannot get to second base unless you take your foot off first base and go for it.

And anytime you take a risk don’t panic if initially, things don’t go quite as you’d imagined.

If you’ve used your judgement with care then there’s every possibility that you’ll get the outcome you want.

So hold your nerve and just believe in yourself.

You may not get it right every time but you’ll get it right more than you get it wrong. And even when you’re wrong you’ll learn a lesson.

Get it right and you’ll be that much closer to achieving a goal.

So be willing to take a calculated risk when necessary. 

6. Learn from experience

As suggested earlier, experience is a valuable commodity.

It’s the by-product of making mistakes and taking risks. It’s the invaluable benefit we derive when things don’t quite work out as we’d intended.

The most important thing about experience is that we learn from it.

And of course, we can learn from seeing others make mistakes too, as well as from anything we’ve done ourselves.

The lessons we get from real experience are far more valuable to us than anything anyone can tell us, or anything we can read in a book for that matter.

It’s the education we get in the University of Life, and the School of Hard Knocks.

However, remember this; you don’t owe anyone an explanation for your mistakes.

When you make a mistake, it makes sense, to be honest with yourself and others of course. Beyond that, you should not feel the need to explain yourself in detail.

Mistakes happen and no one starts out with the intention of getting something wrong. If you get an outcome you didn’t want then just to take it on the chin, learn the lesson and move on.

Everyone makes mistakes occasionally and you’re no different. To err is human. That’s life. 

7. Never take anything personally

Apparently the French philosopher Jean Paul Sartre once observed that, “Hell is other people.

I’m sure there are times when we all feel that he may have had a point.

We’re all struggling to get through life as best we can and life’s never easy for anyone. Everyone wants what they believe to be their fair share of life’s ‘pie’. Some people want your share too.

Sometimes that can leave us feeling like everyone is giving us grief and deliberately making life more difficult than it needs to be.

However, mostly in our dealings with people, there’s nothing personal.

Life is just ‘dog eat dog’. People may be a little insensitive at times, as they pursue their own agenda, but generally they’re not out to hurt us specifically.

So if it’s not personal, then never take it personally.

And on those rare occasions when it does prove to be personal, don’t give them the satisfaction of a reaction or showing that they’ve got to you.

Look them in the eye and show them that it doesn’t bother you. Your message has to be, “I’m made of steel. You’ll have to try harder than that if you’re going to penetrate my shield. 

8. If you’re digging a hole for yourself, stop digging

When you realise you’re digging a hole for yourself, you have two choices:-

  1. You can keep digging and the hole in which you find yourself will simply get bigger and more problematic; or
  2. You can recognize the situation for what it is and stop digging immediately.

It is always best to stop digging immediately, in my experience.

When you stop digging you might have a few fences to mend, of course.

Certainly, you’ll have to accept responsibility.

And you’ll probably have to apologize to some people, depending on the circumstances.

Regardless of what it all means, it’s always better to recognize a bad situation for what it is and take it on the chin, rather than making everything even worse.

On the positive side, having the ability to recognize when you’re digging a hole for yourself and having the maturity to deal with the consequences is a sign of self-confidence. That’s something for which you’ll gain other peoples’ respect.

In my experience, people will respect you if you’re prepared to say, “Hey, you know what, I’ve made a bit of a mess of this one, so I’ll stop right here and let’s try again. Sorry but like everyone else, I’m not perfect and I make mistakes occasionally.

Just because you didn’t quite get it right doesn’t mean you cannot show confidence in how you respond.

Respond in the right way and your confidence will be well placed. 

9. Let go of any anger

We all get angry occasionally but anger never gets you any place worth going.

React in anger and almost certainly you’ll regret it.

That’s not to suggest that you should not react at all. However, before you react let the anger subside. Just let it go.

Leave it for 24 hours if necessary, until you’re better able to reflect with a calm head. There’s a lot to be said for ‘sleeping on it’ in my experience.

That way you’re better placed to use your judgement carefully and make rational decisions.

And in making decisions, revenge should not form any part of how you plan to react.

Revenge won’t get you to any place worth going either and you’ll almost certainly regret that too.

10. Learn to switch off

We all need a little ‘me time’ regularly, otherwise we’ll burn out.

We all need time to relax and recharge our batteries.

That means switching off completely.

By doing that one of the great benefits is that we gain a fresh perspective on whatever’s happening in our lives.

Surprisingly perhaps we’ll also get plenty of new ideas in the process.

In fact, you’ll find you get some of your best ideas when you’re not trying to come up with new ideas. That’s ironic I know but it’s true, in my experience. 

Bonus tip

Don’t take yourself too seriously. No one else does.

If you don’t laugh at yourself occasionally you might just be missing out on the funniest thing happening at that moment. Why miss out on a good laugh?

Concluding remarks

So there you have it. If you want to be successful, start by developing good habits.

This list of tips would be a good start but you will find that there are others too.

Above all else, make sure you’re adding value in everything you do. Our purpose in life should be to add value to the lives of others.

If you’re adding genuine value then you can’t go too far wrong.

So, dear reader, where do you add the most value and what are your goals?

You should know the answers to these questions and you should write them down.

If you don’t know, it’s time to identify some answers.

Nothing ever happens by accident. You have to make it happen.

You can be successful, everyone can, but it requires you to know where you’re going; to know why you’re going there, and to be prepared to work very hard until you get there.

You can do it, dear reader. So, good luck!

Please share this post with your friends:

If you found this article useful then please share it on social media with your friends. When you share, everyone wins.

Please share it now and I’ll be ever so grateful. You’ll be helping a keen blogger reach a wider audience.

Thank you.

Other articles you might also find interesting:

© Mann Island Media Limited 2020. All Rights Reserved.