Sunday, 21 July 2013

The Reason Why “The World Ain’t All Sunshine And Rainbows”

Somewhere down the line we, as a species, began to think that happiness, success, and the life we dream about, is our right, not an earned privilege. 
Simply by being born into this world, we should receive what we want; not due to merit, as the result of work, sacrifice, and persistence, but because we, are we. We’re a gift to this world and we should be compensated as such.
The Occupy Movement began with good intentions, but morphed into a beast that held this world view. What began as a call for justice, turned into a war cry for hand-outs, to receive the riches that others worked to earn!
Here’s a fact that only Rocky Balboa could so eloquently convey…

“The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place. And I don’t care how tough you are; it will beat you to your knees and keep you there if you let it. You, me or nobody is going to hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you can hit, it’s about how hard you can get it and keep moving forward; how much you can take and keep moving forward.”

The world is a mean and nasty place. It’s heartless. It doesn’t care if you or I succeed or fail. Sure, there are a lot of good, honest people on this planet who do care, but the world, the majority of the people in it, the system, and our society aren’t as concerned or vested in your life as so many seem to believe they are. Anything you get in life has to be earned through hard work, sacrifice, and persistence. There’s no such thing as a free ride. It doesn’t exist.
If Success Was Easy, Everyone Would Do It
There’s also a common misconception that being an entrepreneur is an easy road. The age of information has shown us the fruits of labor of the successful, but it rarely shows the tough road taken to that eventual success – a road that few would take if they knew all that it would entail, including the missing guarantee of success that many feel is at the end of every journey.

The road to success is always shared with uncertainty. No one knows that success is at the end of the tunnel, they may have faith – actually, all who are successful have faith – that what they’re doing will turn out alright, but they don’t know.

It’s uncertainty that leads to so many quitting before success is realized. It’s grit that keeps those who are willing to work and persist and evolve, in the game long enough to see their baby, their dream, their creation, fulfilled.

When the majority of “wannabe” entrepreneurs start out on their road to success, they think they’re unique. They believe that them being them is enough to warrant wealth. In this naiveté they become soft. In this dream of an easy American Dream, they fail to develop the toughness that has to come along on an entrepreneur’s lonely adventure.

If more would realize that success isn’t easily attained, nor should it be, but earned through long, uncertain, and lonely nights, aided only by an internal toughness and grit that propels a select few to work while others party, drink, and play, many more would be successful in life, not just in business.

The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place. When they say that only the strong survive in business, and in life, they mean it. This article isn’t meant to deter you from pursuing your dream, it was written to have a completely different effect: to inspire.

Those who read this article see a challenge; a challenge directed at them, and them alone, to fight for the vision, to pursue their dream, and to show themselves, and the world, that they are one of the few who are tough enough, gritty enough, and strong enough to create the life they want, to live the life they want, and to build the vision they have.

Accept the challenge; fight daily, work nightly, and persist. When I said people don’t care whether you succeed or not, I added, at least to their knowledge for a reason…

The world needs you to succeed. It needs your vision to become a reality so you can benefit the rest of humanity. Whether it’s your business that will help others directly, or your story that will inspire others to think big and truly experience all that this beautiful life should offer; your success is needed. So, please, take the challenge, rise up, fight, and persist. The nights will be long, the road will be unforgiving, but you have the grit to push through, to break through, and to succeed.
And while we are at it, here are some Rocky Balboa Picture Quotes to help you weather the storm:

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Still Unsuccessful? Maybe You Should Try This

A number of people tell me their story; about all of the things they wish to do and some of the things that they have tried and then ask me “why am I still not successful?” Well I have the answer right here for you:
You Must Raise Your Standards!
A higher standard is a higher expectation of your own self. It is the only way to permanently create an everlasting change in your self-development. You have to be 100% certain, there MUST NOT be “I should” or “I would, If I could” you MUST have certainty and you need to start using stronger words, even when you are thinking to yourself about where you want to be. 

The power of the voice in your head that you create is stronger and more influential than you think. You need to re-enforce the confidence that you need to reach that next level of success.

Are you willing to get a little uncomfortable? Ask yourself that honest question. Do you really deserve success? Because I believe that anything worth having is worth fighting for, and if you don’t absolutely want it enough then you won’t get it, it’s as simple as that. The resources, the people, the opportunity to learn through experience is all there, you just have to find a way to get it, and that ultimately comes down to the question of “How bad do you really want it?” YOU HAVE TO BE WILLING TO EXECUTE, no matter what the cost is.

Our Physique is a reflection of the standards that we set in our life. If your standard is to sport a healthy figure and live a long and prosperous life then you will hit the gym or go for a run, eat healthier food or even give up smoking etc. Even when you know the amount of work you have to put in will be highly demanding and over bearing at times, you will stop at nothing because you know the eventually the final outcome will fulfill your ideal desires.
Take an honest look at yourself. What standard have you set for yourself, was it years ago you set the standard and you are not happy with how things have turned out today? Then it’s never too late. Find the area of your life that needs improvement and change your SHOULDS into MUSTS! Make it a “For Sure” in your mind that there is no other option; it is a definite with you.
Find out what you need to do to really 
"Raise Your Standards":

What is your environment like for you? If the environment is limiting you from raising your standards, then moves and changes the playing field, whether it is that you decide to move away from negative people in your life, you make more of a conscious decision to avoid negative temptation or you find an arena where you are challenged to achieve your outcome. That means that you surround yourself with people who have a higher standard and are positive, not negative in the way they look at life and challenges that come their way. As corny as the quotes “Who you spend time with is who you become” and “The power of your network determines your net worth” may sound, they are true and it has been proven by anyone who lives by them. Surround yourself with people who you can grow and learn with, not people who will only drag you down.

"We only get what we believe that we deserve. Raise the bar, raise your standards and you will receive a better outcome." - Joel Brown.

Just know that through making the decision of “Raising Your Standards“, you may experience a few side effects: A requirement of a high level of discipline, a little disappointment here and there, the demand for massive sacrifice and a continued amount of persistence. The benefits may out way the side effects, but you will only truly know this once you have the courage to face this highly rewarding change that is needed to achieve outstanding results.


Friday, 12 July 2013

Why You Keep Hitting a Plateau

The following is an excerpt from The Plateau Effect: Getting from Stuck to Success by Bob Sullivan and Herbert Thompson.

We all hit plateaus from time to time.
Plateaus rob you of success. They make hard work worthless. They turn beginner’s luck into sophomore slumps. They can even make you look lazy, dumb, careless, or unloving. You aren’t any of these things. You’ve just been fighting an invisible enemy.

We believe the Plateau Effect is a law of nature, as real and as impactful as gravity or friction. It’s built directly into the genetic code of our bodies, and into the planet we inhabit. The Plateau Effect explains why the world is full of one-hit-wonders, why all good things come to an end, why all trends eventually fall, why most people get less for more, and how you can break through, again and again.
If you’re stuck, one of these devils is probably to blame. Remember, what helps you break out of your plateau today will one day stop working – and you’ll have to try another method. Breaking through plateaus requires constant recalibration – it takes a little of this and a bit of that. In the list below, we show you what “this” and “that” really are for you, today, and into the future.

Element 1: Immunity
People, relationships, businesses and even physical processes become immune to the same techniques, the same approaches, the same solutions. Immunity is perhaps the most basic force of the Plateau Effect. Everybody has experienced what it’s like to become immune to something: maybe it’s the complements of your spouse, the smell of garlic at an Italian restaurant, or the effects of your second beer. Immunity can be frustrating – what worked so well yesterday just won’t work today.
Solution: Diversity
Immunity’s Kryptonite is diversity. You’ve got to shake things up and be radical. Trying different approaches, techniques or procedures can shake you out of an immunity plateau.

Element 2: Greedy Algorithm
The greedy algorithm is a concept borrowed from the field of mathematics. Here’s how it works: you always pick the best short-term solution and ignore the long-term outcome. As it is in mathematics – and in life – the best short-term solution hardly ever leads to the best long-term outcome.
Solution: Extend your gratification horizon
Short-term greed is bad but long-term greed is actually good. To get beyond the greedy algorithm, you need to think about solutions on a bigger timescale. Someone following the greedy algorithm (driven by short-term greed) would never go to medical school – the student is building debt with no income year after year. Someone who’s thinking about a 10-year horizon instead of a 1-2 year horizon sees the six-figure checks that will eventually start coming in.

Element 3: Bad Timing
If you’re working hard but you’re stuck in a plateau, maybe it’s as simple as taking a break. When you do something – and more precisely, when you don’t do something – is critical. The key is to take control of when you apply effort, not just how much effort you apply.
Solution: Wait
If bad timing has you stuck in a plateau, remember, the periods of rest and inactivity are just as important as the periods of great effort, just as silence between the notes is part of the music. If you use time as a tool, you can literally wait your way out of a plateau.

Element 4: Flow Issues
Whenever things seem to be sailing along, sometimes the engine just breaks down. Specifically, you can run into one of four dysfunctions:
Erosion: Sometimes we deplete the resources that we need to be successful. Maybe we run out of capital, or time, or skilled workers. When you hit an erosion plateau, progress tends to degrade slowly as some critical resource is gobbled up over time.
Solution: Find a counterbalance, something that replaces the resource you consume. If you can’t find a counterbalance, you might not be in a plateau at all. You may have reached a terminal point.

Step Function: Sometimes you want to add just a little more of something, but that thing is only available in bundles. The result is a jump in cost, effort, or benefit. We call these things “step functions.” If you aren’t aware that something you need follows a step function, you can hit a plateau because incremental investment won’t lead to incremental improvement.
Solution: Try to smooth out your step function. Sometimes this can be done by identifying some other person or business that has complementary peaks to your own. If you can pool your resources, you can share the cost of the step and make it look more like a comfortable ramp.

Choke points: A choke point is the part of the system that breaks first and slows everything else down. Failing to identify a chokepoint can bring a gushing flow to an unexpected trickle.
Solution: The trick is to find out where the choke point is and creatively route your way around it.

Element 5: Distorted Data
We often react based on distorted data. It’s like walking through a hall of mirrors, and basing a major decision on the crazy fat (or skinny) image you see. Sometimes we measure the wrong things or inappropriately assess risk. In other cases, we fall victim to common psychological errors with data, such as overreacting to the most recent piece of information we’ve received, we get hung up on sunk costs, or we conform to what we think the data is telling us.
Solution: Recognize the signal, ignore the noise
The Enlightenment brought us the scientific method because smart people realized that they couldn’t trust their own eyes. The key is to boil out the impurities of data and recognize that you are looking through a lens that might be deceptive. Each type of distortion has its own remedy, but the tie that binds them is to look for a ground truth of data amidst the chaos.

Element 6: Distraction
It’s easy to fall victim to the illusion of multitasking and become distracted. Distraction is the enemy of adaptation and can lead you straight towards a plateau. How do we know when and what we need to change to live in a world of unrelenting distraction?
Solution: Radical Listening
It’s a mode of active engagement, where you are attuned to your surroundings, listening, and adapting.

Element 7: Failing slow
Failing slow is natural because it’s difficult to tell that a situation is incrementally getting worse. Often the incremental worsening of a situation happens slower than what psychophysicists call thejust noticeable difference. The just noticeable difference helps explain why we continue forging ahead when we’re in the throes of a plateau – we just don’t realize how much less we’re getting for our efforts.

Solution: Fail fast
Once you understand the just noticeable difference you can counteract its effects.  By setting clear markers, you can objectively see how you’re progressing, figure out what’s working and what’s failing, correct it and move on. It’s important to realize if your efforts will eventually fail by accelerating failure. This ability to fail fast is key, especially when the problems are changing quickly.

Element 8: Perfectionism
Perfect is the enemy of good. The desire for perfection kills beginnings – it’s never the right time to start, and even if you do, a task is never complete because it is held up to an impossible standard. A plateau of perfection is similar to a plateau of inaction.
Solution: First Steps, etc.
Accept that perfection isn’t achievable. Focus on taking first step, and then the next step. There are some tricks that can help, such as structured procrastination & setting hard (but liberating) deadlines. Understanding why we reach a plateau can help us stop wasting time on things that we’ve stopped getting value from and focus on other things that leverage our time and energy better.

Instead of being stuck on a series of plateaus, you’ll find yourself scaling mountains that always seemed far out of reach. And when you reach the peak, as all mountaineers know, you’ll see there are always new mountains to climb. This time, however, you won’t feel like you’re going in circles. You’ll be going up, and up, and up.

Those who master The Effect, who can identify a plateau and break through, will leave one-hit wonders in the dust.

Bob Sullivan and Herbert Thompson are the authors of The Plateau Effect: Getting from Stuck to Success. With more than 40 years of experience between them researching, writing, and analyzing systems and human nature, their new book helps you bust through the plateaus in your own life.

Your Network Is Your Net Worth

13 Steps to Transformational Networking
The following is an excerpt from  Your Network Is Your Net Worth: Unlock the Hidden Power of Connections for Wealth, Success, and Happiness in the Digital Age by Porter Gale, former VP of Marketing for Virgin America.

 1 – Assess the barriers that are holding you back

Your first step in transforming your network is to assess and define the barriers that are holding you back. Do you need to break a habit or routine? What is keeping you from connecting or reaching your goals?
Develop a list of your potential barriers. If you have a long list, don’t worry. Just focus on one at a time.  Addressing them will help you experience positive change and make connecting with others an easier and more enjoyable process. Take action, start a conversation when you’re feeling uncomfortable, or ask someone to join an activity: the results may happily surprise you.

2 – Define your core passions and purpose with the Funnel Test
With the Funnel Test you can review your passions and define a purpose to anchor your networking and ultimately help you increase your happiness and prosperity. Start by identifying three of your passions that clearly defines your core interests. The area where your three passions overlap is your sweet spot.
Next, write down how you are cultivating your passions and make a commitment to improve in these areas. Now come up with a selected word for your tone. Like a funnel, where the contents flow from top to bottom, envision all of your actions being influenced by your tone. Last, streamline your passions and create a purpose statement of less than twenty words that describes your purpose and use it to guide you down your chosen path.

3 – Create a mind-set of positive productivity
Positive productivity involves developing a mind-set of conscious effort to make the most of your time, connections, and relationships to increase your happiness, success, and true wealth. Try to expand your circle of friends and professional allies; focus on networking opportunities, and positive productivity will help turn obstacles into growth situations.

Remember: In our global, networked economy, you can’t allow your social capital to lie dormant. Each day, to get more energy, be productive and active, and you’ll be unconsciously taking steps to build your future happiness. You’ll be surprised at how much you can accomplish if you take one step a day toward a personal or networking goal that you are trying to achieve.

4 – Develop a Give – Give - Get attitude
A key to value-based networking is helping others when you don’t expect anything in return. It’s not as easy as it sounds.
If you put giving back and helping others at the center of your networking and relationship building, you are likely to have more impactful and stronger relationships. By seeing networking as an opportunity to help people, you’ll discover that your actions change you for the better and help to transition out of negative states of emotion. Remember that the idea is “Give Give Get”; that is, put greater energy into giving than receiving. What you will find is that the giving will come back to you tenfold.

5 – Commit to shaking it up
Shaking up your routine and exploring new opportunities can change your life. Sometimes change is by choice and sometimes it is due to external circumstances. Regardless of where it comes from, it always has the potential to bring positive growth and learning.
Sometimes change is self-motivated, and sometimes it is a result of outside influences. It’s not always easy to predict, but when you anchor your core values and practice positive productivity, you will more successfully navigate the highs and lows of your journey. Look at ways you can proactively shake it up by changing your routine, trying events designed to meet new people, embracing unemployment (if it happens), and getting outside of your comfort zone.

6 – Accelerate your connections with technology
Technology has increased virtual intimacy and reduced the degree of separation between connections. New and old networking relationships may be just a tweet, a post, or an email away. Toss out the old ideas: networking is no longer about climbing a ladder to success with a Rolodex stuffed in a leather briefcase. A different networking strategy is paying dividends in our global, mobile economy: one that includes understanding your values, having a positive attitude, and connecting with collaborators for mutual inspiration, innovation, and support.
Embrace rather than shun the new online tools and social sites. If used properly, you can make new connections, improve your happiness, and impact your future prosperity.

7 – Cultivate relationships that support your purpose
As your network builds, the way you interact and treat your professional and personal colleagues, especially in your core circle, will have a dramatic impact on your ability to achieve your purpose and find happiness and success.
Your core circle affects how you spend your time and where you socialize, your networking success, and ultimately your happiness. Outside your core circle is your secondary circles, which have a highly important impact on your networking. Your goals are to build authentic, honest, emotionally based connections and to identify if you need any additional support or resources to help you realize your passions and purpose.

8 – Visit power pockets to accelerate networking
Look at environments, clubs, and events to see how they can accelerate or diminish your efforts and ability to live your passions and purpose. If you think of your network as a web of interconnected relationships, it is important to look at where you could get stuck and where you can accelerate your efforts.
Review the importance of your work space and the benefits of what I call “power pockets”: places and events that accelerate networking and support your passions or purpose. Think about your community or places that you visit for travel, identify two to three power pockets, and make an effort to visit or work out of a location that’s not your office. Remember that under the surface, there is learning to be had from every connection.

9 – Hone your connecting skills and learn from hub players
Create value and opportunity by embracing highly networked individuals who thrive at bringing people together. Hub players are the people at the center of the social or business sphere, and they excel at connecting themselves and others. If you are not a hub player or the idea of making small talk at a party makes your skin crawl, don’t worry; those skills can be learned and practiced over time.
When you reach out to a hub player, you’ll find the same dynamic that occurs when you meet a new friend, but with exponential levels of energy and feedback. If the two of you share professional interests and embark on collaboration, get ready to discover new areas of learning and change.

10 – Create content, products, or services to share your purpose
Having a mindset of being a producer will help you focus when generating content or developing products or services to increase your visibility, build your network, or increase your reach. The goal of being a producer is to add value to the collective good based on your passions and purpose.
As a producer, you should actively seek to create content, products, or services that support your passions. When you do so, those activities will often result in creative enjoyment, sharable assets, and possibly financial gain. The more you enjoy your producing process, the easier it will be for you to share your output and excitement with others.

11 – Develop partnerships to extend your reach
Reaching critical mass can be accelerated by connecting with core influencers, exploring partnerships, and unleashing the power of groups. Use your passions and purpose as a filter to focus your connecting efforts and achieve your goals.
Building your audience and the reach of your personal brand or message online takes effort, but the returns can be multifold. Classic brand-building techniques such as creating partnerships, identifying key influencers, combining press and social media, among others, can be used to target your message and build a following.

12 – Learn to make successful asks.
Get your foot in the door, secure a meeting, or simply get advice; the Ask is a skill people hone over time. With the support of your network, learn to ask for help, move your projects forward and live your purpose.
Succeeding at asking requires a blend of courage, passion for your work, preparation, innovation, and resilience. Also, remember that often magic doesn’t happen overnight. “Don’t leave before the miracle” is a phrase to remember as you focus on turning your passions and purpose into reality.

13 – Decide what brings you happiness and success: head, heart, or wallet?
Decide what brings you happiness and success: head, heart, or wallet? If your network is your net worth, what role do the people in your core and secondary circles play in your happiness and success? Do the contents in your wallet make you happy? Is happiness and success driven by what you know? Or who you know? Or both?
Remember to look inside first, outside second. Surround yourself with a values-based team, and creatively focus on living your passions and achieving your purpose. If you’re facing pivot points, get productive and don’t let your social capital lay dormant. Help others, be of service, and, remember, Your Network Is Your Net Worth.