Seeing What Others Can’t See

tip-o-the-morning

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I want you to imagine you are standing alone. All around you, you see only trees. There are a hundred trees to you left, right, in front of you and behind you. To the right, you notice a hill. You begin to climb that hill. As you get higher on your hill, you notice that there are more and more trees. When you get to the top of the hill, you realize the whole time, you’ve been standing in a forest, covered with tens of thousands of trees.

The hill and the forest are metaphors. The hill represents daily self-improvement. The forest, opportunities.

Through formal education, self-education and/or deliberate practice, you become more expert in your career, profession, industry or craft.

As you become more expert through self-improvement, as you climb your hill, you gain insight. The more insight you gain, the higher you ascend on your hill, the more opportunities you see.

Once you reach the level of expert, you realize all along that there were a forest of opportunities standing right in front of you.

Those opportunities, however, were invisible to you until you gained knowledge and expertise.

One of the hallmarks of successful entrepreneurs and top leaders is the ability to see what others cannot see.

They look out into the great ether and they see Uber, the paperclip, future Tom Brady’s, colonies on mars, vertical integration, Chinese manufacturing, revolutionary processes, etc.

Opportunities reveal themselves to those who are prepared to see them. Gaining knowledge and becoming expert in your craft through daily practice, give you insight and enable you to see what is invisible to everyone else.

Silence the Critics

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Everyone has critics. Especially when you are starting out in life.

There are Good Critics – Critics who lift you up and inspire you. Good Critics offer constructive advice and mentoring.

There are Bad Critics – Critics who tear you down and demotivate you. Bad Critics just criticize. They don’t help steer you in the right direction or mentor you.

If you are unfortunate and happen to work for (boss), live with (family members) or spend time with (friends) Bad Critics, here are some strategies that will help silence them.

Gain Expertise

Become expert at what you do. Study every day to gain more knowledge. Practice every day to become more skilled in what you do. This helps build confidence in your knowledge base or skills. The more you become an expert in what you do, the fewer mistakes you make and the quieter those Bad Critics become.

Distance Yourself

Separate yourself from the Bad Critics. This may mean getting a new job or it may mean spending less time with family members or friends.

Ignore Them

“Water off a duck’s back.” That was a phrase an old boss of mine used to say whenever one of our Bad Critic clients decided to criticize our hard work. Ignoring Bad Critics isn’t easy. It takes practice. You must gain complete control over the negative, emotional part of your brain (amygdala). With practice and over time, this becomes a habit and gets much easier to do.

You can’t avoid Bad Critics. They are everywhere. But you can quiet them, through daily self-improvement, eliminate them, by avoiding them, or you can develop a teflon outer barrier, by forging the habit of ignoring them.

The Path to True Happiness

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“My life has no purpose, no direction, no aim, no meaning, and yet I’m happy. I can’t figure it out. What am I doing right?” – Charles Schultz

Charles Schultz, an American cartoonist, was best known for the comic strip Peanuts.

In that quote, Schultz was not really asking a question. He was, in tongue and cheek fashion, revealing the true secret to happiness.

And what is the secret?

It is really two things:

  1. Making a living doing something you are passionate about and
  2. Making a living doing something in which you have an innate talent.

Passion and Innate Talent = Fulfillment.

Fulfillment = Long-Term Happiness

When you spend your life earning a living doing something you are passionate about and posses a talent for, you will live a fulfilled, happy life.

That is the true secret to happiness.

Top Five

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What are the Top Five most important things in your life?

Most people never give this much thought and, as a result, they devote too much of their time and money to things that don’t really matter to them, wasting their lives.

It is critical to know what’s most important to you. This is where you should devote an abundance of your time and money.

My Top Five:

#1 My Wife and Kids

#2 Growth of My Rich Habits Business

#3 Good Health

#4 The Relationships I Value Most

#5 Daily Self-Improvement – Self-Education and Deliberate Practice

Once you know what your Top Five are, apply the 80/20 Rule and devote 80% of your time and money to these things. Spend the remaining 20% of your time and money on everything that falls below your Top Five.

Every year, revisit your Top Five. Your Top Five changes as the circumstances of your life change. You should, therefore, revisit your Top Five periodically. This allows you to stay focused on what’s important to you every year.

Find Your Stage

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Finding your calling enables you to marshall your thoughts and actions, bringing into sharp focus what you must do.

When you find your calling in life, clarity replaces uncertainty.

For those fortunate few, finding their calling in life is a pivotal, defining moment.

Very few ever find their calling in life.

Almost always, finding your calling in life involves the discovery of one of two things:

  1. Some innate, God-given talent or
  2. A passion that makes your heart sing.

But how do you find your calling in life when you are undecided about the course of your life or your future?

Experimentation.

You must experiment with diverse activities, one after the other, until you find one that reveals some innate talent or stirs some intense passion that permeates deep into your bones.

Only through experimentation will your calling in life be revealed.

When you find your calling, enthusiasm visits you with the morning sun.

Work becomes play.

Days become hours, hours become minutes and minutes become seconds.

When the day ends, you become excited for tomorrow.

Find your calling and you will find the stage upon which you will spend the rest of your life, happy and fulfilled.

Millionaire Employees

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In my study, I discovered three types of self-made millionaires:

  1. Savers
  2. Entrepreneurs and
  3. Executives

This topic will focus on the Executives.

Executives are ordinary individuals who decide to spend their lives working for big, publicly-held companies. These companies offer additional compensation in the form of stock: qualified stock options, non-qulified stock options, discounted stock purchase arrangements, stock grants and restricted stock.

Employed, self-made millionaires use specific strategies that make them un-fireable:

  • They become in-house experts within their company.
  • They become industry experts within their industry.
  • They develop a niche within their company or their industry.
  • They forge power relationships with other influencers within their company.
  • They forge power relationships with other influencers within their industry.
  • They use four core relationship-building strategies: Hello Calls, Happy Birthday Calls, Life Event Calls and Networking/Volunteering.

There are many ways to become rich. Climbing the corporate ladder in a large publicly-held company is one of the less risky paths to accumulating wealth.

Your Future Begins Today

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“Many who arrive at their future, end up blaming their past.” – Robert Half

The day to begin creating your future is today.

The future is a hazy, incomprehensible reality. As a result, most neglect their future. Those who fail to plan for and invest in their future wind up regretting it.

In my research I uncovered certain strategies that enable you to create a happy, financially free future:

Rich Habits That Secure a Bright, Happy, Healthy and Financially Free Future:

  • Read to learn 30 minutes or more every day – This ensures you grow your knowledge base in your career, industry or your side-hustle (your dream).
  • Deliberately practice 30 minutes or more every day – This ensures you perfect and improve your skills within your career, industry or your side-hustle (your dream).
  • Exercise aerobically every day – This ensures you maintain your weight, improve your cardiovascular system, maintain a healthy, vibrant brain and reduce stress.
  • Eat healthy – This ensures you maintain a healthy microbiota, lower your blood-sugar levels, maintain your weight and minimize plaque build-up in your pulmonary and circulatory system
  • Save – This ensures you set aside money for your future so you can then invest those savings.
  • Invest your savings prudently – Invest your savings in what you know. Investing your savings prudently puts your money to work for you. Over time, your invested savings will grow and enable you to become financially free in the future.
  • Forge Rich Relationships – Seek out other success-minded people and build relationships with them. Eventually, those relationships will pay significant dividends. They will help open doors for you and your family, down the road.
  • Avoid want spending – Focus on spending your money on your needs and minimize want spending.
  • Avoid lifestyle creep – No matter what good financial fortune visits you in life, do not change your standard of living. Don’t supersize your life by buying things you really do not need. Live a modest life. This means buying a modest home, inexpensive cars, and avoid spending money on expensive toys, like boats and jewelry.

What you do today, determines how you live your life in the future.

All Self-Made Millionaires Share a Common Trait

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In my research of 177 self-made millionaires, I discovered they all shared one common trait – a positive mental outlook. They were all optimistic and enthusiastic about their dreams, their calling or their life purpose.

This positive mental outlook was not an inherent trait – something they were born with.

Rather, it was a trait they developed over time by deciding to pursue something they had an innate talent for or something they were passionate about.

Once they discovered their innate talent or passion, this toggled on certain success traits they previously never knew they possessed:

  • Obsession With Daily Self-Improvement – They became fanatical about growth through learning and deliberate practice. They desired to learn everything about their passion. They desired to practice every day in order to perfect their innate talent or skill.
  • Resilience – It was not the desire for money that made them resilient. Rather, it was the desire to pursue their innate talent or passion that gave them resilience. They were doing what they were good at or what they loved and nothing could stand in their way. Obstacles, pitfalls, mistakes and adversity were all able to be overcome.
  • Persistence –  Nothing would stop them from perfecting their skills or growing in knowledge.
  • Focus – They were able to focus on their innate talent or passion every day, every month , every year and oftentimes for the rest of their lives.
  • Patience – Because they loved what they were doing, they patiently pursued it. They were not chasing money as an end unto itself. They were chasing perfection. Money was just a byproduct.

Find your innate talent or your passion and the success traits that transform ordinary people into extraordinary people will manifest themselves out of thin air.

Habits That Preserve and Grow Wealth

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Being wealthy requires two things:

  1. Accumulating Wealth and
  2. Keeping It.

It’s one thing to become wealthy. It’s another thing to keep and grow the wealth you’ve accumulated. Here are some of the most important Rich Habits that help you keep and grow your wealth:

  • Automate Saving – Making a habit of automating how much you save every month.
  • Invest Your Savings – Putting your savings to work requires that you invest your savings. This requires doing your homework for every investment and only investing in what you know.
  • Monitor Your Investments – This also requires doing your homework. You must monitor your investments regularly and make changes if your investments are not producing adequate returns.
  • Frugal Spending – Being frugal is about seeking high quality products or services first and then finding the lowest cost in acquiring those high quality products or services.
  • Avoid Want Spending – Want spending is spending your wealth on wants rather than needs. It is the habit of giving in to immediate gratification to satisfy some immediate impulse. Want Spenders create their own poverty. They are undisciplined with their money. They have been brainwashed by advertisers and a consumerist society into buying things they do not need.
  • Avoid Lifestyle Creep – Lifestyle Creep is increasing your spending to meet your increased income. No matter what financial good fortune visits you in life, do not change your standard of living. Don’t supersize your life by buying things you really do not need. Live a modest life, always.
  • Use Professionals – Use professionals to reduce your taxes. Use professionals to protect your wealth. Use professionals to help guide your investment and financial decisions.

The Most Important Success Habits

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I am often asked by the media what are the most important Rich Habits. In my opinion, these are the top ones:

#1 Experimentation – Experimenting with diverse activities that can be monetized, until you find one or more activities that reveal an innate talent or which make your heart sing with passion and enthusiasm.

#2 Dream-Setting – Creating a script of your ideal life. This helps you to define your dreams and the goals behind your dreams.

#3 Daily Self-Education – 30 minutes or more a day of reading to learn. You can substitute podcasts, videos or audio books for reading. The key is to summarize what you learn. I use a Fact Binder to capture new knowledge/facts.

#4 Living Below Your Means – Living off of 80% of your net pay and saving the difference.

#5 Daily Aerobic Exercise – 20 minutes or more of cardio, every day.

#6 Healthy Eating – Two out of three meals that do not include carbs or processed food or intermittent fasting with one healthy meal a day.

#7 Automate Savings – Automatically directing 20% or more of your net pay into a savings account.

#8 Prudent Investing – Investing your savings prudently. This requires that you do your homework. By homework I mean studying every potential investment until you feel you are confident you understand it very well. Homework also includes regularly monitoring every investment you do make.