What is grit and why is it important?

What-is-gritWhat is grit? I’ve heard this word a lot 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 a 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 a 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

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How we are damaged by our schooldays

How-we-are-damaged-by-our-schooldaysCould we have been damaged by our schooldays? Is that even possible?

Were they the best days of our lives, as we’re encouraged to believe, or could our schooldays have been detrimental to our mental well-being and our self-esteem?

This is an interesting question. So let’s just think about it for a minute.

Certainly, many people will have had mostly good experiences during their school days, I’m sure.

However, there will also be some for whom their schooldays will have left them mentally scarred and with a sense of failure. That much is philosophically self-evident, surely?

For instance, perhaps at school, people such as those to which I refer never quite achieved the grades their parents or teachers thought they should have done?

Perhaps they were last to be picked for a sports team, on a regular basis?

In either case, how would such experiences have made them feel?

What impact would they have had on their mental well-being?

Perhaps they felt, not quite good enough?

Possibly a little bit bruised and embarrassed by their inability to achieve what they believed was expected of them?

Adults may have thought that putting pressure on them it would motivate them to do well, yet it probably just left them feeling a little bit inadequate I suspect.

Your birth date matters:

Do you recognise such feelings, dear reader?

The problem with the school experience is that the age range of our classmates is spread over a whole year. And that’s a lot more significant than it first appears to be I think.

Someone whose birthday is at the beginning of September will be a year older than someone whose birthday is towards the end of August, despite both being in the same year academically.

Now it might not seem much but one year at that time in our lives makes a huge difference in terms of our development, both mentally and physically.

So what does this mean?

It means that if your birthday is at the end of the school year then you’re at a significant disadvantage relative to some of your much older classmates.

That disadvantage carries with you right through your school years, if you’re affected by it.

And it’s a disadvantage that extends not just to your academic studies but also to sport and physical activity too.

Success breeds positive reinforcement:

Most importantly, it’s not just the fact that you’re behind in terms of your physical and mental development. It’s also a fact that success breeds positive reinforcement.

Older students benefit from the constant reinforcement and encouragement of being told ‘Well done!‘, whilst younger students struggle to keep up unless they’re exceptionally gifted.

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 those older classmates are also of above-average ability.

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

If younger students appear to perform less well, frequently that’s interpreted that as them being not quite as good as their older peers.

Advantage goes to age:

And few people, least of all our parents, recognise that the system essentially does not favour 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 that tends to work 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, which can affect our self-esteem.

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.

Our need for encouragement:

People will 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 to yourself, constantly.

Schooldays represent a very small portion of life and they’re significant only in so far as they are one on many experiences we’ll have 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 hard work and determination.

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

There’s no such thing as a failure:

Remember; there’s no such thing as a failure. That label does not belong to 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.

Attitude matters:

Your attitude is much more important than your aptitude when it comes to achieving your goals in life. Believe you can and you will.

However you feel about your past, it’s not too late to become something more than you are now.

You should embrace failure as nothing more than an opportunity for learning. It does not define you, and 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.

No correlation:  

Remember; there’s no correlation between success at school and success in life.

Plenty of ‘Straight A’ students fail to achieve anything significant after they’ve left education behind. Whereas plenty of the less academically successful go on to achieve great things in life.

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

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.

We all start as beginners:

Before anyone achieved success, they started out as a complete beginner. And along the road to success, they will have made plenty of mistakes. Anyone who suggests otherwise is either lying or deluded.

If you really want to succeed, just work hard, make mistakes and learn the lessons as you go.

If you’re determined you’ll find a way to achieve your goals and realise your dreams.

Daily-MantraFailure’s not fatal:

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 be. 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.

Daily Mantra:

Reinforce self-belief by repeating constantly this daily mantra

I’m as good as anyone; I’m better than most; I will achieve success; nothing will stop me!

Go on, get started now. Success is waiting for you.

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How to turn your yearly income into your monthly income

How-to-turn-your-yearly-income-into-your-monthly-incomeAre you one of those people who feel you should be earning more than you do?

Would you like to know how to turn your yearly income into your monthly income?

To have enough money to enjoy the lifestyle you’d love?

You’d like a greater income but you don’t know how?

Perhaps you feel that big money never flows to people like you?

A natural assumption perhaps, but it’s wrong.

With the right approach, you too can have a lot more money than you have right now. Yes, you can become truly wealthy.

The question is where do you begin?

Well, you can start by understanding the Law of Compensation. In the video included here the self-help guru, Bob Proctor explains that income is earned according to the Law of Compensation.

The Law of Compensation:

Bob explains that the Law of Compensation states that the amount of money you earn will always be in exact ratio to the following three points, namely:-

  1. The NEED for what you do.
  2. Your ABILITY to do it.
  3. The DIFFICULTY there would be in REPLACING YOU.

Now you have no control over points 1 and 3, so you must concentrate on point number 2. You must be constantly honing your skills and become a master of whatever you do.

That said, becoming a master of what you do is only part of the solution.

To earn more you must decide on your strategy for earning money. In the video Bob Proctor explains that there are in fact only three strategies for earning money.

The Strategies for Earning Money:

So what are the three income earning strategies? Bob Proctor describes these are M1; M2; and M3. In more detail that means:-

M1: Trading your time for money:

Essentially this is paid employment and it is the way that 96% of people earn an income.

The problem is that, unless you’re a Wall Street banker, you’re unlikely to get rich this way. In fact it probably explains why you’re not rich right now.

M2: Invest Money to Earn Money:

Assuming you’re working for the man as a salaried employee, you can start saving, and gradually as your savings grow you can invest your money in stocks, bonds and property and over time your investments will start generating an income of their own.

That’s great but you need to know what you’re doing and, if you have nothing now, it will take some time before you can start generating anything approaching a useful extra income.

Of course, should you have a large sum of money right now then this might be a solution but for most people it’s not really, which is why only around 3% of people make an income this way.

How-to-turn-your-yearly-income-into-your-monthly-income-2M3: Multiply your time with multiple sources of income:

Establishing multiple income streams is where you can start making serious money.

Even fewer people make an income this way, around 1%, but that has more to do with the fact that most people fail to recognize its potential.

Now let me make one thing clear, having multiple income streams does not mean working multiple jobs.

It means having income streams that will earn money for you even whilst you’re sleeping.

M3 is the income strategy that will help you earn far more than you earn now. Certainly, it will if you do it right.

Bob Proctor offers the example of Network Marketing (also known as Multi-Level Marketing) whereby not only do you sell products but you also create your own network of sellers which means when they sell you get a part of the commission generated on those sales.

The best network marketers have made a lot of money this way but it’s not the only answer to generate multiple streams of income.

The internet offers multiple ways of getting rich online nowadays.

For instance, you can use Amazon as a marketplace and sell products with fulfilment (delivery to the customer) handled by Amazon.

You can also generate commissions through affiliate marketing with Amazon, as well as others like Clickbank and Commission Junction (CJ). These can be great ways to make money whilst you sleep.

Blogging and Vlogging are other ways of producing income streams too.

There are numerous ways for the ambitious and determined. In fact, it’s never been easier for people prepared to put in the effort.

So listen to what Bob Proctor has to say and be inspired to take action now.

The Game of Money-Making:

Further Reading:

In the video, Bob Proctor makes reference to Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.

Think and Grow Rich is a classic of the financial education genre.

Originally written in the 1930s but it’s still around today and still popular and very relevant.

It’s still around for a reason. It’s exceptional and definitely worth adding to your personal reference library. It’s a ‘must read’ if you want to master the game of money-making.I have my own copy and you can take a look at the book if you CLICK HERE.

Bob Proctor himself has also produced some excellent self-help books too and you can take a look at them 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, at NO additional cost to you. 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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Why your personal philosophy for life really matters

philosophy-for-lifeAn article relating to philosophy sounds like it might prove to be a little heavy, doesn’t it dear reader? You might think I’ll be debating the merits of Plato, Socrates and other thought-leading philosophers. Not today, that’s for sure. My aim today is to consider the idea of your personal philosophy for life and why it matters.

Personal philosophy explained:

What do I mean by ‘your personal philosophy‘?

In this case, I’m not referring to the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality and existence, and philosophical thinkers, past and present.

By philosophy, I’m referring to your mindset, 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.

A simple philosophy:

My own personal 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 people 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.

Work on improving what you have to offer:

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 to 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 skill set 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.

Learning is an investment in yourself.

I believe that the better-informed you are then the better prepared you’ll be to excel in your chosen field of work. You’ll also be better prepared to seize any opportunities that come your way too.

Income comes from serving other people:

Let’s face it, dear reader, work is just doing stuff for other people in exchange for money. Through our work, we serve other people.

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.

philosophy-for-life-2Become financially independent:

We must work hard when we’re at work of course but we must enjoy life with the 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. Not having all your eggs in one basket makes a lot of sense to me.

Master the game of life:

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. However, 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.

Never lose sight of your own interests:

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.

Don’t let life steal your joy:

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. There will always be winters. 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.

And always make time for friends and loved ones. Without them, you have nothing at all.

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Thank you.

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How to develop effective time management skills

time management skillsTime 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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How to be happy and why you should be

How to be happyHow to be happy? Now that’s a question I hear frequently.

Well, it’s my belief that, if you’re going to be happy, then you need a sense of purpose.

Now just think about that for a minute. Your work takes up one-third of your life so surely it’s essential that you’re happy doing whatever you do?

So dear reader, if the question on your mind today is how to be happy in life then to find the answer it’s worth reflecting on your work for a moment and thinking about whether it’s actually right for you.

Does your work make you happy?

Do you believe your contribution to your job is something which only you can supply?

Would you say that your work is closely aligned with your natural talents?

If your job is a mismatch with their natural talents then you’re unlikely to do it as well as you might do otherwise. If you don’t do it well then it’s hard to feel a sense of pride in your work, surely? And, if you’re not doing it well, your boss is likely to be giving you a hard time too.

So in this scenario, you’re not going to be very happy, are you?

Let’s face it, spending your life doing something you don’t enjoy is such a waste, wouldn’t you agree?

You have so much natural talent that could be put to better use.

Yes, it’s true that every job has its chores. Things you have to do which you hate but accept as part of the job. No job is perfect.

However tedium should only be a small part of your whole work experience.

To feel happy and fulfilled doing the work you do means that you should enjoy at least 80% of your daily activity.

What happens if the job you do and your talents are mismatched?

Human beings are flexible and adaptable of course. So even in the worst job situations people survive but at what cost to themselves?

The further you are from applying your natural talents and abilities, the less likely it is that you’ll enjoy your work in my experience. And being unhappy at work means you’re less likely to be happy in life. That’s a fact.

And if you’re not happy then it’s difficult to make a genuine contribution to life and the lives of other people. And this matters, particularly for those people who are your loved ones.

If your loved ones have to deal with someone who’s doing a job they don’t enjoy then it can make their lives miserable too. In fact it can be no pleasure for anyone around you.

If you derive no pleasure from your work then life just becomes a grind. Also it becomes stressful which is not very good for your health either.

The best and least stressful way to earn a living is by pursuing your interests and something which you both enjoy and which is compatible with your natural talents. This is how to be happy in life.

If society encouraged people to pursue their interests and work to their strengths then we would not only be happier but we would become more productive.

And of course productive lives are happy lives too. We would all benefit and society would reap benefits too.

So think about your natural talents and think how you can best apply them.

Be happy in what you do but if you’ve yet to find work that makes you happy, then keep looking and don’t give up until you find it.

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3 things you need to know about money

3 things you need to know about moneyToday I’d like you to think about some things you need to know about money dear reader. In other words, think about what it all really means.

It’s natural to dream about being rich, of course.

Most people dream about being able to buy whatever they want and go anywhere and everywhere they’d like to go, possibly even in a private jet.

The attraction of having that pot of gold is why a lot of people will chase every rainbow.

However, whilst money is necessary for sustaining life, there are some things you should really understand about money.

Here are three of them:-

Things you need to know about money:

1. Having money brings its own pressures:

A great fortune is a great slavery. ~Seneca

It’s reasonable to want to create wealth and build a fortune. As suggested above, you want to feel financially secure, don’t you? Why wouldn’t you?

However, being financially secure doesn’t mean you’ll have a life without problems and worry.

You’ll just have different problems and different things to worry about.

No one goes through life without problems. Dealing with problems and challenges is an inevitable part of human existence.

Put simply, having money brings its own pressures.

Once you’ve got money your biggest concern will be to ensure that you hang on to it.

Inevitably that means you can become a slave to managing your money, preserving its capital value and protecting your fortune.

Being wealthy may be a nice problem to have, but it’s no less of a problem for that.

So keep it all in perspective.

Things you need to know about money2. Money can never be more important than people:

We love to earn money, who doesn’t? It gets you things. ~Katie Price

Earning money is great and it does allow you to buy things you want and things you need. However money won’t take care of you when you’re ill.

Yes, it might enable you to buy in some hired help.

However, that’s not the same as having someone around who genuinely cares about your well-being. That someone for whom you matter much more than money ever will.

In my experience, whilst money is important, nothing in our lives matters more than friends and loved ones. Human beings are social animals. So only people matter to us really.

Never focus on money to the point where you neglect the people who should matter most to you. Forget about them and eventually, they will forget about you.

You can have all the money in the world, but you’ll have nothing at all without friends and loved ones.

Go out and earn lots of money by all means, and enjoy it too.

However, always maintain a sense of balance in your life and make sure that you allocate some time for the people who matter most to you.

An investment of your time in the people you love is an investment that will pay dividends.

3. Money is a precious resource so use it wisely:

A penny saved is a penny earned. ~Benjamin Franklin

I make no apology for repeating Benjamin Franklin’s money mantra, repeated frequently by generations of well-meaning parents to their profligate children. It’s as valid today as it was in his day.

Whether Franklin was referring to money saved when making purchases or money saved from income is not obvious in his statement but that doesn’t matter.

The underlying point is that you have to be careful with your money because saving money is the key to building wealth and becoming financially independent. No one ever got rich by wasting their money.

Money like time is a precious resource, so use it wisely.

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What makes a great idea and why you should keep a journal

What makes a great idea.What makes a great idea? Now that’s an interesting question, in my opinion.

How is it that one idea can be successful and another idea less so?

Why has the iPhone been so successful and yet a smartphone such as the Blackberry has all but disappeared?

How do you know when one of your ideas might just make big a difference?

The key ingredient for a great idea is timing. Ideas are a dime a dozen. The trick is to know when one of your inspired thoughts is right for its time and therefore how hard to push it.

If you’re too far ahead of other peoples’ thinking, that inspired thought you believed was a great idea will only be ignored because it won’t resonate with people.

If you’re too far behind, then it will be ignored because they’ve seen it all before or something else is already doing it better.

However, if you can hit that sweet spot between the two extremes then you can generate value from your idea because it will solve a problem or capture the imagination of the people who are ready for it.

An idea whose time has come is a truly great idea. Though coming up with one is not so easy, of course.

It’s because great ideas are so rare that they can become so valuable. And that value is why it’s worthwhile to seek out great ideas constantly.

Should you decide the world is not quite ready for your inspired thinking then don’t worry. Not ready now doesn’t mean the world will never be ready.

Keep a journal and make a note of all those flashes of inspiration. And add your journals to your own personal library. Never throw your journals away. Go through them occasionally and see what ideas you’ve had for which the time might now be right.

Your personal journals could be a source of pure gold in the future so make sure you buy quality notebooks that you can add to your personal library as you fill them with your thoughts and inspiration.

In keeping journals you’re creating value. And value starts with a good quality notebook, so it’s worth investing in quality.

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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 that add little or no value to that business. That is, it can’t if its aim is to survive, at least.

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

Companies are not registered charities.

Any costs must be covered by the 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.

Work 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 know-how 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 mindset 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 us 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 membership in the society in which we live.

However, let us not forget the camaraderie we enjoy with work colleagues. 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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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, your ongoing 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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