A Life Worth Living

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Most people have a job. And that job is a means to an end. It provides us with a place to live, food and the ability to pay our bills.

Yet, we yearn for more. That more is a life, not simply of survival, but one worth living.

But how to we create a life worth living?

In order to answer that question, you must ask yourself three questions:

  1. What should I keep doing?
  2. What should I stop doing?
  3. What should I start doing?

Since most need their job, these questions relate to the available time almost everyone has before or after work.

What Should I Keep Doing?

What things do you do with your available time that are helping you to grow and improve? These growth-related activities help move you forward in life. Growth-related activities are any activities that maintain or grow your knowledge, your skills and your non-toxic relationships.

What Should I Stop Doing?

What things do you do with your available time that do not help you grow? These activities are holding you back in life, making you feel like a mouse on a wheel. TV, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube videos, SnapChat, Instagram, Internet surfing, bar time, gambling, talking on the phone for hours, associating with toxic individuals – all of these things are time wasters. They don’t move you forward. They keep you stuck.

What Should I Start Doing? 

Depending on the study, between 75% – 80% of the wealthy are self-made. Meaning they came from poverty or the middle-class. Like most in poverty or the middle-class, they relied on a job in order to survive. But unlike most, they were able to rise above their circumstances and become wealthy. How?

The answers to this question are what sets self-made millionaires apart from everyone else.

Reading to learn, networking with success-minded people, volunteering, studying to get a degree or some license, building a side business, pursuing lofty goals or some dream, developing valuable skills, writing a book, etc. Engaging in activities which help move you forward in life by expanding your knowledge or perfecting unique skills will eventually pay dividends many years down the road.

As children, we are born and raised into financial circumstances we have no control over. As adults, our financial circumstances are completely within our control. How we spend our free time determines if we will remain stuck in life or create a life worth living.

Goal-Setting Deadlines Are a Recipe For Failure

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When it comes to goals, setting a deadline is meaningless.

Missing deadlines is why so many get frustrated with the goal-setting process and give up on their goals.

There is no magic when it comes to goals. Setting a deadline does not marshal unseen forces in the universe to mount their horses and come to your aid to help you achieve your goal.

Deadlines on their own, do not make a goal more achievable. Rather, they set you up to fail. When the deadline comes and goes, without realizing the goal, you become disappointed and quit. Worse, you might lose faith in setting any future goals at all.

“Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal or ideal.” —Earl Nightingale

Nightingale hit the nail on the head with respect to goals.

The progressive realization of a goal means you must create a process for achieving your goals.

What’s a process?

A process is something that establishes daily activities, which make it possible to achieve your goal.

Example

Let’s say it’s January 1 and you set the goal of losing 20 pounds by April 1. If all you do is set a deadline, you’ll never achieve your goal. Instead, create a process as follows:

  1. Eat 400 fewer calories every day and
  2. Exercise aerobically 20 minutes every day

With this process, you have a good chance of achieving your goal of losing 20 pounds in three months.

  • Four hundred fewer calories a day = 12,000 fewer calories. Since one pound = 3,000 calories, that’s 4 fewer pounds a month.
  • Jogging 20 minutes a day consumes about 300 calories a day. That = 9,000 fewer calories. Since one pound = 3,000 calories, that’s 3 fewer pounds a month.
  • 7 fewer pounds per month X 3 months = 21 fewer pounds.

You can apply this process to any goal. The key is to break your goal down into daily goals, or daily activities.

Here’s the Goal Achievement Process:

  1. Set a Goal
  2. Set a Realistic Timetable for Achieving That Goal
  3. Reverse Engineer: Establish Daily Goals That Allow You to Meet That Realistic Timetable
  4. Monitor and Measure Your Daily Goals
  5. Revise Timeline Based on Results or Revise Process Based on Results

If the daily activities are achievable, the overall goal becomes achievable. If not, then you need to change your deadline and the process.

For example, if you believe it will take you a month to build up your endurance levels in order to get to 20 minutes a day, then you change your deadline from April 1st to May 1st. You then change your process. That first month would include less jogging, which = fewer calories lost.

The deadline, you see, doesn’t matter. Only the process matters.

Decency is a Habit

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Bad habits follow you throughout your life, no matter how successful or unsuccessful you are.

And they affect your life negatively.

Russell Crowe reportedly treats everyone – fans, directors and fellow actors – very badly. Despite his amazing acting ability, there are many in Hollywood who simply refuse to work with him.

Lawrence Taylor, one of the most celebrated NFL players still alive, was a jerk to everyone. He treated everyone badly and this bad habit put him in the bleachers, so to speak.

Tobey McQuire, famed Spiderman actor, has been known to lash out at paparazzi, refuse to sign autographs and allegedly made ludicrous on-set coffee demands. No wonder he was not invited back to the fourth installment of Spiderman.

That’s the nature of habits. Habits stick.

Eventually your bad habits catch up with you. Once people figure out you are not a decent person, they avoid associating with you and that will undermine your career and affect your ability to make money and build wealth.

As the Bible says, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.

Money is a Magnifier

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Seventy percent of the individuals who win a lottery or get a big windfall end up broke in a few years, according to the National Endowment for Financial Education.

In 2012, the financial advisors of the former NBA champion Dennis Rodman reported that he was broke. Years of extravagances, wild spending was the reason given.

Courtney Love, wife of Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain, squandered over $27 million of Nirvana earnings on years of hard partying and wild spending.

Famed actor, Nicolas Cage, who made $150 million in his acting career, at one time owned a haunted mansion, a private island, a collection of shrunken heads and spent $276,000 on a skull of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. His reckless, excessive spending forced him into bankruptcy in 2009.

Money acts as a magnifier. It exacerbates your Poor Habits.

If you have the Poor Habit of partying too much, you will find novel, expensive ways to party if you suddenly come into money. Consider Conor McGregor. One week after receiving $30 million in winnings from his very lucrative loss to Floyd Mayweather, McGregor bought a super yacht reportedly worth $12 million.

If you have the Poor Habit of gambling, the more money you make, the more you will gamble. Consider Allen Iverson’s fall from grace. He earned over $200 million dollars in his NBA career and due to his gambling and drinking issues, Iverson is now both broke and in debt.

If you have the Poor Habit of saying yes to everything, you will give away all of your newfound money to friends and family. Consider Gerald Muswagon, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, who won $10 million in 1998. He bought cars for friends and family, and gave away much of his money. Eventually, he’d spent all his money and had to find a minimum-wage job to survive.

So many people who suddenly come into money find their lives worse then before primarily because money is a magnifier with respect to your habits.

Rich Habits Poor Habits Episode 46 | 4 habits that will keep you from getting rich

Your money habits can make you rich or put you in the poor house.

According to a recent study by Brown University, in which nearly 50,000 families were surveyed, most of the habits we pick up in life come from our parents.

This includes money habits.

If your parents had bad money habits, it is likely those habits rubbed off on you.

But in order to change bad money habits you need to first become aware of them.

Below are some destructive money habits that Tom Corley uncovered in his five-year study on the daily habits of the rich and poor that will put you in the poor house unless you eliminate them.

Gambling habits

Gambling is not a sound plan to lift you out of poverty. lottery ticket win luck gamble odds

Gambling relies on random luck.

The odds of winning Powerball are 1 in 175 million.

That’s basically zero.

Seventy-seven percent of the poor — defined as having an annual income of $35,000 or less and a liquid net worth of $5,000 or less — admitted to playing the lottery regularly, versus 6% of the rich, defined as having an annual income of $160,000 or more and a liquid net worth of $3.2 million or more.

But it’s not just the lottery they gamble their money on: 52% of the poor admit that they gamble on sports at least once a week versus 16% of the wealthy.

Time-wasting habits

Time is money.

The rich understand this.

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Sixty-five percent of the rich created at least three streams of income during their lives.

Conversely, the poor all relied on one stream of income.

They didn’t invest their time wisely in building their careers or building a side business.

In my study, I uncovered many time-wasters the poor engaged in that ultimately cost them money: Seventy-seven percent of the poor admitted to watching more than one hour of TV each day.

Their preference?

Reality TV wins hands-down. Seventy-eight percent of the poor watch reality TV shows.

The rich, on the other hand, are not big on TV.

Sixty-seven percent watch less than an hour each day, and it’s not reality TV that they tune into.

Only 6% watch reality TV.

Another time waster is the internet.

Seventy-four percent of the poor in my study spent more than an hour each day on the internet.

These days that means Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, or YouTube. facebook checking

Conversely, 63% of the rich spent less than an hour each day on the internet.

This freed up more time to read for self-education. While many of the poor in my study said they read regularly, 79% admitted that they read strictly for entertainment.

Only 11% of the rich said that they read for entertainment.

Instead, they focused their reading on self-education: biographies of successful individuals, career-related reading, self-help, history, and money matters.

When you’re wasting your time watching TV, on social media, or reading for entertainment, it leaves little time to do productive things like reading to learn, building relationships with other success-minded individuals, via networking or volunteering, or building a side business.

Time does not discriminate.

Everyone gets 24 hours, rich or poor.

The rich simply choose to spend their time differently, doing things that are productive.

Bad spending habits

The rich in my study made a habit of tracking their spending in the early days of building their wealth.

It’s easy to lose sight of where your money is going. money savings

If you don’t have a lot of money you need to get into the habit of tracking every penny.

The poor in my study didn’t.

I uncovered certain poor spending habits that held the poor back in life: Ninety-three percent admitted that they did not budget their spending.

Sixty-six percent admitted that they were not frugal with their money.

They had a bad habit of making spontaneous purchases with their money.

Oftentimes, this required them to use credit cards.

Eighty-eight percent of the poor in my study had over $5,000 in revolving credit-card debt. household debt

Sixty-nine percent used those credit cards to purchase big-ticket items.

And 77% had multiple credit cards.

Conversely, 92% of the rich relied on only one credit card.

Sixty-eight percent of the poor said they don’t use coupons.

Sixty-one percent of the poor did not own their homes — they rented them — while 100% of the rich owned their homes.

When you don’t own you home, you are unable to build home equity, which comes in handy when you retire or to help your kids with college costs.

Poor savings habits

Only 5% of the poor in my study saved 10% of their income.

None saved 20% of their income.

Conversely, 94% of the rich in my study saved 20% or more of their income.

Many of the millionaires in my study started out poor and did not have large incomes during their lives, so this was a habit they adopted while they were still poor.

Fifty-one percent were small-business owners who watched what they spent in order to enable them to save money. money bill finance debt

They then invested their savings, as well as the investment income generated by their savings.

After many years, their savings and investments compounded, eventually turning them into self-made millionaires.

Building wealth takes time.

It doesn’t happen overnight.

It took the average millionaire in my study 32 years to become rich.

The younger you are, the more time you have to build wealth.

But that’s only possible if you eliminate destructive money habits and adopt sound ones instead.

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The Pursuit of Success is Like Riding the Rapids

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Have you ever been on a boat in a lake on a calm, sunny day?

In your mind’s eye, what do you see?

If you’re like most, you probably see someone in a stationary boat, just sitting there.

That’s a metaphor for the life most lead.

Now, I want you to imagine that you’re in another boat. But this boat is on the rapids of a ferocious river. What do you see in your mind’s eye?

If you’re like most, you probably see someone hanging on for dear life as that boat tumultuously flies along the river at a very rapid pace, bouncing left, right, dipping frontwards and backwards. In no time, the boat and its occupant are so far from where they started, the starting line is no longer visible.

That’s a metaphor for the life of a dreamer.

When you pursue a dream, you are in for the ride of your life.

Most of the time, that dream will give you nothing but tumultuous waters. You are pushed to the limit; your very survival, tested on a daily basis.

For most dreamers, this battle to overcome the treacherous journey is one that lasts for many years.

But, for those who survive the journey, they find themselves very far from where they started. Their very survival transforming them into a different person – a vastly improved, resilient, gritty version of their former selves. And what an exciting story they have to tell.

Most people avoid the rapids. They are too afraid. They prefer the calm waters where they can sit in their boat on the lake, safe and protected. And that boat and its occupant stay just where it is, unmoving, unchallenged, with no story to tell.

 

The Thinking Actions of the Rich

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One of the big separators between the rich and the non-rich is the rich have developed the Rich Habit of taking action.

Action is really two things:

  1. Thinking Action
  2. Physical Action

Thinking Action

We all think. According to Psychology Today, the average person has 50,000 thoughts a day.

According to my research, the Thinking Actions of the rich are very different from the poor:

  • The Rich Are Positive Thinkers – 67% of the self-made millionaires in my study forged the habit of being positive and upbeat. A positive, mental outlook is critical to overcoming problems, obstacles, pitfalls, mistakes and failures. Staying positive is a critical component to becoming wealthy. Positivity is like a radar in search of solutions to intractable problems. Thus, positive thinkers are able to see opportunities, where others see only negative consequences.
  • The Poor Are Negative Thinkers – 70% of the thoughts of the average person are negative (Psychology Today). Negative thinkers are unable to see solutions to problems. Thus, they are unable to overcome obstacles, pitfalls, their mistakes and their failures. Opportunities pass them by because they are not looking for opportunities. They are too focused on the negative consequences.
  • The Rich Are Decision-Makers – 91% of the rich in my study were decision-makers. Forging the habit of making decisions is critical to success. Those who develop the habit of making decisions are sought after as leaders, by others. Decision-makers have forged the habit of overcoming the fear of making decisions along with the paralysis of analysis associated with those unable to make decisions. The rich do not over think, which is a form of procrastination. It is impossible to know everything you need to know before making a decision. The rich forge the habit of being comfortable being uncomfortable about making decisions. 
  • The Poor Let Others Make Decisions – 98% of the poor in my study were not decision-makers. They succumb to the fear of making a decision. They get lost in analysis and over thinking, which is a form of procrastination. The poor feel uncomfortable about making decisions, so they defer to others.

Financial Success Rich Habits

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It takes time to become a self-made millionaire. Eighty percent of the self-made millionaires in my Rich Habits study became wealthy after age fifty. Somewhere along the line these self-made millionaires learned the secrets to saving and spending. In most cases, they either stumbled upon some mentor or read some book or watched some T.V. program or listened to some radio program that gave them the critical financial success habits that allowed them to save and moderate their spending.

Most, unfortunately, never forge financial success Rich Habits. As a result, the vast majority of people live paycheck to paycheck, one job loss away from being homeless. And when they retire, they live the remainder of their years in near or abject poverty.

Let’s take a look at the Financial Success Rich Habits of self-made millionaires: [Read more…]

Your Why is Your Compass

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My research is clear. Your habits determine your standard of living for you and your family.

Your habits are the reason you live in a mansion by the ocean or a slum in the ghetto.

Your habits are the reason your children go to expensive private schools or are relegated to a public education.

Your habits are the reason you rise to success, while others wallow in poverty or the middle-class.

But how is it that some individuals forge success habits and others do not?

The answer is your WHY.

Those who have a WHY cultivate certain, specific habits that are necessary in order for them to pursue their WHY.

In most cases your WHY is a dream you are pursuing.

Your WHY is your compass.

It steers you in the right direction and provides you with everything you will need in order to realize your WHY:

  • It directs the action you must take in order to succeed.
  • It directs the habits you must forge to help you achieve your goals.
  • It directs the relationships you must grow in order to open the right doors.
  • It directs the books you must read in order to acquire the knowledge you will need to become an expert in your field.
  • It directs the skills you must acquire in order to set you apart from the herd.
  • It directs what you do with your 24 hours.
  • It gives you the motivation you need.
  • It gives you the optimism that every successful person possesses.
  • It gives you the persistence to overcome all obstacles placed in your way.
  • It gives you the correct intuition in making the right decisions.
  • It gives you the incredible work ethic that is required in order to succeed.

Your WHY opens up a Pandora’s box of success traits you never imagined you had.

Find your WHY and life will give you everything you need and want.

The Three Traits of Successful People

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“The successful person recognizes his God-given talents, works relentlessly to turn his talents into advanced skills and uses those advanced skills to achieve success.” Larry Bird

Successful people develop three traits:

  1. Expert Knowledge
  2. Advanced Skills and
  3. Success

So how do you develop the three traits of success?

DAILY STUDY – Only through Daily Study are you able to gain Expert Knowledge.

FOCUSED, DELIBERATE PRACTICE – Only through Focused, Deliberate Practice are you able to develop Advanced Skills.

ACTION – Only by taking Action are you able to achieve Success.