Make Each Week Matter

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You cannot change without first recognizing the need to change. Awareness, therefore, is the precursor to change. It sets the table for change to occur. And only through constructive change, will your life improve.

By understanding ourselves, we come to grips with our strengths and our weaknesses. Only by looking in the rear view mirror is that possible. We need to reflect on our actions, behaviors and decisions in order to truly grasp which actions, behaviors and decisions are moving us forward towards growth and success and which ones are dragging us down in life. But how?

Through weekly analysis. At the end of every week, spend some time asking yourself questions that will help open your eyes:

  • What went right last week?
  • What went wrong last week?
  • What did I do very well last week?
  • What did I do very badly last week?
  • What did I learn last week?
  • What book(s) did I read last week?
  • What good did I do last week?
  • What bad did I do last week?
  • Who did I help last week?
  • Who did I hurt last week?
  • How much money did I spend last week?
  • How much money did I save last week?
  • What would I have done differently last week?
  • What should I have done last week that I didn’t do?
  • Was I happy last week? Why? Why not?
  • Did I exercise enough last week?
  • Did I eat healthy last week?
  • Did I drink too much last week?

There are obviously many more questions that could be asked. The point is to start asking yourselves questions. Every week. Your answers to your questions will help make you aware of your actions, behaviors and decisions. They will help open your eyes and raise your level of awareness about exactly what you are doing that is helping you or hurting you. Everything you do matters. It either helps move you forward or it drags you down in life. Make each week matter.

Believe in Luck

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If you’re going to have any beliefs at all believe in luck. One of the fascinating things I discovered in my research was the fact that every self-made millionaires, at some point, got lucky.

  • 84% attributed their good luck to their daily habits
  • 87% said they were lucky
  • 92% said they created their own luck

The rich do not believe random good luck plays a role in wealth creation. They believe, however, that you create your own luck. There are many ways the wealthy create their own luck:

  • Pursuing a dream. Luck visits dreamers who act on their dreams.
  • Forging habits around your dreams. Good habits are like snowflakes on a mountainside. You don’t notice the accumulation until there is an avalanche. Good habits create an avalanche of good luck.
  • Building relationships with the right people – success-minded people who can open doors for you through their relationships. Good luck likes to associate with positive-minded people.
  • Learning new things opens your eyes to opportunities. Opportunity is the home good luck lives in.
  • Taking calculated risks. Calculated risk is a type of risk that requires you to do your homework. Good luck finds the prepared.
  • Finding a mentor. Mentors open up doors for you and steer you down the right paths in life. Good luck will find you if you are on the right path.
  • Being a mentor. Mentees eventually become experts themselves. Like mentors, your mentees can open up doors for you. Good luck is often found behind closed doors.
  • Staying upbeat and positive. Negativity shuts down part of your prefrontal cortex and effectively blinds you to opportunities. Good luck always finds the optimist.
  • Staying focused allows you to accomplish and learn things quitters never accomplish or learn. Good luck always finds the most focused individuals.
  • Persistence. Devoting yourself to one thing for many years forces you to become expert in that one thing. Good luck always finds the persistent.

Dream Habits

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Pursuing your own dream is, according to my research, the most common route towards accumulating riches. But you need to develop Dream Habits in order for your dream to become reality.

Dream Habits are specific habits you create around your dream. They make success possible because they put you on autopilot for success. Dream Habits process success.

Dream Habits are specific repetitive actions you take every day that are directly related to your dream. Their purpose is to help you increase your knowledge, develop or improve your skills and help move you forward every day towards the achievement of the goals behind your dream.

Overview of Dream Habits:

  • Dream Reading – This is reading you do every day that gives you the critical knowledge you need in order to make you more expert in whatever industry or field your dream falls into. The typical self-made millionaire dreamer in my study devoted at least 30 minutes every day towards Dream Reading.
  • Dream Practice – Every dream requires that you become an expert technician. When you pursue a dream it forces you to develop specific skills that are related to the dream you are pursuing. Those skills need to be practiced every day in order for you to develop and perfect them. Every dreamer is an expert technical in whatever industry or field their dream falls into.
  • Building Dream Relationships – No one succeeds on their own. We all need apostles, individuals who buy into and participate in the realization of our dream. Finding those Dream Relationships is hard work. It requires that you become expert in building relationships with like-minded, success-oriented people. Finding the right individuals and building relationships with them needs to become a daily habit.
  • Dream Promotion – You must promote your dream every day. The objective is to create enough buzz around your dream so that others will know about it. Eventually, your habitual promotional efforts will pull others into your orbit. These individuals will be the ones who not only buy whatever it is you are selling, they will also be the ones who promote it to others.

Good Habits Make Success Easy

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On the face of it, running three miles is nothing special. What makes it special, however, is when you run three miles every day for, say twenty years.

There was a famous author who was asked about his daily routine. He said he woke at 5 am every day and wrote 500 words, which took him an average of about three hours. Barring his famous vacations and fishing excursions, he did this every day, every weekend, on holidays and even on his birthday. That author was Ernest Hemingway, considered one of the most prolific writers of all time. His books are legendary: Old Man and the Sea, Farewell to Arms, A Moveable Feast, The Sun Also Rises and For Whom the Bell Tolls are perennial classics that fill libraries and bookcases around the world.

His three hour a day writing habit doesn’t seem that extraordinary. In fact, many reading this probably work far more than three hours a day. Yet, that one small daily habit, performed relentlessly over the course of Hemingway’s lifetime transformed him from ordinary to extraordinary.

That is the power of habits. Just one good habit can transform your life. It can take you from ordinary to extraordinary. And the beauty of habits is that they are not work. They do not require some exceptional discipline or unimaginable willpower to force their engagement. Because they’re habits, you just do them, without thought, every day.

Success is a process. And by developing a few good habits, it’s a process that doesn’t have to be excruciatingly hard. Habits put success on autopilot. They make success easy.

 

Fitting in Leads to Mediocrity

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“You can change the world or you can worry about fitting in, but you can’t do both.” – Robin Sharma

There is nothing special to be gained by fitting in. Those who seek to fit in, rise and fall along with their particular herd.

If you study millionaires and billionaires as I do, you’d find that the one common characteristic they all seem to share is a desire to do something that separates themselves from everyone else. They seek to differentiate themselves from others in some way.

It might be doing something unique in their field – developing a niche. It might be pushing the envelope in their careers by taking on higher-risk responsibilities or projects. Or it might be learning a new skill that can help them become more valuable down the road.

Successful people fight the urge to fit in. Fitting in will only make you as successful as the person standing next to you, doing the same thing. Those who excel in life take paths that others won’t take. They take risks others avoid. They do things others are not doing that enable them to grow their knowledge and improve their skills.

Those who refuse to fit in, change the world. Be different. Don’t be like everyone else. Being like everyone else will only lead to mediocrity.

Always Make Important Decisions From a Position of Strength

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When you are not in a position of strength, you make bad decisions. Your decisions are need-based, driven by fear and doubt. As a result, you give ground instead of asking for more. These types of decisions fulfill some immediate need but have a negative affect on your long-term interest.

When you are in a position of strength, however, your decisions are want-based. All fear and doubt are removed from the decision-making process. As a result, you ask for what you want and usually get it. Position of strength decisions are always in your best long-term interest.

Most decisions are made from a position of weakness. They are driven by some immediate need that must be fulfilled in order for you to survive. Position of weakness decisions always come at some cost:

  • More Money: You are forced to pay a higher premium or higher price.
  • Less Money: You are forced to settle for less than you want.
  • More Responsibility: You are forced to take on greater responsibility.
  • More Risk – You put yourself at greater risk, usually financially.
  • More Time – You are forced to commit yourself for a longer period of time – this results in a type of enslavement.

When you make decisions because you have no choice, you lose in the long run. Your immediate needs may be met by the decision, but in the long run, your decision enslaves you to others, in exchange for satisfying your immediate needs.

Individuals who make decisions from a position of strength, have adequate resources to meet their immediate and future needs. Any decision they make is one that shores up or improves their long-term interests or guarantees a brighter future.

Always be wary of making decisions from a position of weakness. They will undoubtedly cost you something down the road or create some undesirable future obligation on your part.

Talk TO People Not AT People

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Good communication is just another tool in the tool belt of self-made millionaires. At some point, they figured out how to best communicate with others. The best communication is effective communication – communication which keeps the door wide open for feedback.

Sounds simple. But it isn’t.

When you are running a business or overseeing people, it’s easy to fall into the trap of talking AT people. Talking AT people is what most business owners and managers do. When you talk AT someone you are essentially barking out instructions, demands or some course of action you’d like someone to take. There is no feedback, no back and forth, no discussion, no brainstorming. It’s a one way conversation that puts up a Stop Sign for discussion. Talking AT people is efficient, but not effective communication.

Talking TO people, on the other hand, is what successful people do. When you talk TO someone you are engaging them. You are having a conversation with them. You are seeking their feedback, input, ideas. Talking TO people is effective communication but not efficient communication. It takes more time to talk TO someone than to talk AT someone.

The most successful people are able to combine effective communication with efficient communication. They use small, unambiguous words that do not insult, offend or agitate (the efficient part). At the same time, they leave the door open for feedback by ending with a simple question or statement: “what do you think?” or “if there’s a better way let me know.” (the effective part).

It’a a science bordering on art form, to say the least, that requires practice in order for it to become a habit. When you are a good communicator, things get done the right way. When you are a bad communicator, things often go awry due to misunderstandings.

While being a good communicator takes more time, ultimately it saves time by avoiding mistakes that result from misunderstanding or by blindly following bad orders.

 

The Uneducated and Impoverished YouTube Generation

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When TV went Main Street USA in the mid-1960’s, millions of families changed their daily routine. Instead of reading or chatting it up with family, friends and neighbors, almost overnight, millions instead sat in front of their TV for hours at a time.

Adding fuel to the fire, in the late 1990’s our TV addiction was augmented by a new addiction – the Internet. Thanks in large part to the success of Internet giant YouTube, millions today have brand new addiction – videos.

What’s the point?

According to my Rich Habits research, 96% of those who rise up from poverty or the middle-class to become wealthy all share one thing in common – they read to learn every day for 30 minutes or more. Self-made millionaires are habitual readers and their reading habit leaves them with very little time for video watching.

While these self-made millionaires, or the “evil 1%”, continue to learn, grow and amass fortunes, the rest of society, the 99%, are falling behind, contently watching videos. This 99% has eschewed reading, the font of learning, for video watching.

If you’ve ever watched any of those man on the street interviews, where the interviewer asks young people about facts everyone should know, you understand what I’m saying. The YouTube generation does not have a grasp on everyday facts. They lack fundamental knowledge because they are not reading anymore. And they are not reading anymore because they are spending what free time they do have watching videos.

Who’s at fault and what to do?

Parents are to blame for failing to inculcate in their children the habit of reading. The solution is to first acknowledge, as a society, that we have a video addiction problem. The second part of the solution is to wean ourselves from this poverty-creating video-watching habit and replace it with the prosperity-creating reading habit.

As a society, we don’t read anymore. We watch videos, instead. And you can’t learn anything meaningful from a video. Our new video-watching habit has replaced reading and in the process, learning. This is unfortunate because reading to learn leads to knowledge and increased knowledge leads to growth. Only by growing in knowledge is success possible. And video-watching doesn’t help you grow. Video-watching is a cancer to growth.

Yes, A Crappy Education Can Make You Rich

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Do you go to the bathroom every day like I do?

That’s really a rhetorical question.

I raise the question in an effort to point out the abundance of time we all have to self-educate. You see, I do some (not all) of my self-education reading sitting on the John. By the way, the inventor of the toilet was a man by the name of Sir John Harrington, not John Crapper, a myth I only recently learned was untrue. This myth gave rise to the toilet’s less artful name.

Anyway, in 2016 I read 10 books sitting on Sir John Harrington’s invention. Here’s the math: ten minutes every day multiplied by 365 days in a year = 3,650 minutes. It normally takes me about six hours to read a book, or 360 minutes. So, ten books times 360 minutes = 3,600 minutes, or a year spent sitting on the John.

My point is that self-education is not hard. You can always find the time to self-educate. You can read in the bathroom like I do. You can also listen to audio books while driving in your car, weeding the garden, or exercising. Get into the habit of having a book to read or listen to with you at all times.

Most avoid self-education like the plague and that is why most are not rich. Rich people self-educate. That’s one of the major reasons they become rich. They are constantly educating themselves. In my five-year study of 177 self-made millionaires I learned that 88% read to learn at least thirty minutes every day and that 85% read two or more books every month.

If you’re not rich, it’s probably because you don’t use your time wisely, not because you don’t have enough time. Everyone is given the same twenty-four hours every day, rich or poor. How you spend that time defines your circumstances in life. Spend your time wisely, my friend.

Open Your Mind

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It’s one thing to know what to do, but it’s a completely different thing to know what to do and actually do it. That’s why having good success habits is so important. They put you autopilot for success. You don’t have to think about doing the things that make success possible.

When I was in college I was a powerlifter with a group of guys in my local gym. One of the things about power lifting is that it is not just about being strong. You have to become a master technician. You have to master the fundamentals of technique. As a result, I became somewhat of an expert in technique in most aspects of weight lifting.

The other day I’m in my gym working on my triceps and a younger fellow gym rat came up to me after one of my triceps sets. He told me my technique was wrong. My inner ego reared its ugly head and I was an inch away from shutting him down. But thankfully, my Rich Habits training kicked in. I reminded myself that successful people are open-minded. So, I shut my mouth and listened to what he had to say. I even let him show me the correct technique on my next set.

We chatted for a few minutes after my set. It turns out he was the head of training for five gyms; a real master technician. He told me that he often tries to help people in the gym with their technique but, unfortunately, most of the people he tries to help become defensive or even angry. He complimented me on being receptive to constructive criticism. When he was done, we exchanged names, shook hands and he went on his merry way. I had made a new friend in the gym.

Being open-minded is a habit of successful people. When you are open-minded you are receptive to new ideas. Being receptive to new ideas allows you to grow as an individual. And growth is the common denominator among all successful people.

But being open-minded is not easy. No one likes to be criticized. We become defensive when anyone points out something we are doing wrong. Our inner ego rears its ugly head.

When you allow your inner ego to control your behavior, you close your mind to new learning. When you are closed off to new learning, growth is impossible. Only by forging the open-minded Rich Habit is learning and growth possible.