Find the Love

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Love, by definition, is a strong emotional attachment or deep affection for someone or something.

When you love someone or something, you will risk life and limb to protect the person or thing you love. You will devote your life to the person or thing you love. Where there is love, there are no obstacles, hurdles or mountains you will not climb for the person or thing that you love. Love gives you superpowers.

Love also happens to be one of the most important cornerstones upon which you build the foundation for a successful life, happy life. Finding your love will transform you from ordinary to extraordinary:

  • Love What You Do – When you find something you love to do, that also happens to provide you with an income, your love will drive you to work harder and sharpen your focus.
  • Love of Family – Love of family will drive you to become a better person: more compassionate, more empathetic, more patient, more authentic and more understanding.
  • Love of Community – When you love the community in which you live you will devote more time to improving that community. You will volunteer your time and money to community organizations who are helping to improve your community. This will help you forge strong, long-lasting relationships with others in the community. Those relationships will open up doors for you that will help you, your family and your business to thrive.
  • Love of Friends – Having a core group of friends you love means you have each others back. They will pick you up when you fall. They will encourage you when you pursue a dream. They will trumpet your success to the world around them. Having friends you love gives your life meaning. It makes life worth living.
  • Love of Activities – When you find activities you love to do, those activities help relieve the stress of daily living. They help to clear your head so you can think properly. This could be a sport, painting, writing, singing, running, weight lifting, spin class, piano, guitar, hiking, photography, cooking, speaking, teaching, reading or any number of things that make your heart sing.

Finding the love makes life worth living. It creates a life of fulfillment. It gives your life meaning and purpose.

Playing it Safe

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A friend of mine from my college days just retired from the IRS. He began working for the IRS right out of college. If he reduces his spending and watches his pennies, he told me his retirement income should allow him to get by. He said he’d be able to take one decent vacation a year, so long as it’s inexpensive. I asked him if he was happy and he said he’s happy he no longer has to work but he said he feels like he accomplished nothing with his life.

There’s nothing wrong with playing it safe. There’s safety in numbers. The very reason human beings survived the cave man days was because we organized into herds. We banded together and avoided taking unnecesary risks. And we survived.

Thankfully, there was always at least one or two outliers in every human herd. These outliers took risks that the others dared not take. These risks jeopardized the safety of every outlier.

The very reason humans can fly to the moon, talk to someone thousands of miles away on a phone, flick a switch to turn on the lights or turn a knob and get instant water is because not everyone in the human herd played it safe.

While humans have evolved to play it safe, we are not genetically hard-wired that way. Deep down in each one of us is an adventurer gene. This gene is always fighting to break free from the herd. We are genetically hard-wired to take risks, to explore, to be pioneers. We are not hard-wired to work for the IRS, retire and die. 

If you follow me, read my books or articles or watch or listen to any of my media interviews, it is because of that adventurer inside of you. Deep down you want your life to have significance and meaning. You want to make your mark on this world. Deep down you know that playing it safe will not produce the life you desire. 

In order to create the life of your dreams, you must step outside the herd and take risks in life. You must pursue your dreams, goals and embrace opportunities that frighten everyone else. That is what the self-made millionaires in my study, at some point in their lives, decided to do. They did not play it safe. They stepped outside the herd. They did not play it safe.

Gut Decisions Are Often Bad Decisions

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I’ve got a lot of hard proprietary data on why the rich are rich and why the poor are poor. Some of the research I’ve gathered centers around the decision-making process of self-made millionaires.

What I found is that self-made millionaires don’t make gut decisions. They don’t “trust their gut”. They mull their decisions over, sometimes for weeks or months, before making them. During this “mulling over” process, they seek out experts, other successful people, business partners or associates, trusted employees and close family members or friends. They are obsessed with gathering as much feedback information as possible before they make a decision. Each person’s feedback is like a puzzle piece. Those puzzle pieces are then carefully assembled to help self-made millionaires see a clear picture of the right course of action.

Once the self-made’s have their clear picture, they make a decision and then take immediate action. So, it might seem to the untrained observer, that quick actions imply quick decision-making, or gut decisions. My research says, not so.

Often, gut decisions turn out to be the right decisions. Particularly for successful people who have been around the block. But just as often, gut decisions can take you off a cliff.

Elon Musk was one of those who was forced to go right when he wanted to go left. PayPal was developed and launched as a money transfer service at Confinity in 1999, funded by John Malloy from BlueRun Ventures. In March 2000, Confinity agreed to merge with X.com, an online banking company founded by Elon Musk. Musk and Malloy reached an impasse on the direction of PayPal. Musk’s gut told him PayPal’s business model was too limited. He wanted PayPal to become an online bank. The PayPal CEO and PayPal VC investor believed that was way beyond the scope of PayPal. Musk would not relent and was forced out. Musk held on to his PayPal stock. PayPal’s “limited” business model eventually went on to enormous success and was purchased by eBay. Musk received a windfall of $200 million from eBay for the stock he owned.

Like Musk, many of the self-made millionaires in my study acknowledged that some of their most critical decisions, the kind that can make or break a business, were forced upon them by others. Their gut told them to go left but their banks, business partners or spouses made them go right. Sometimes our gut decisions are often bad decisions.

Finding Your Passion, Not Wealth, Should be Your Main Goal

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All individuals, by virtue of their genes, are born with certain talents that set them apart from others. Finding your inborn, innate talents requires experimentation. Only through experimentation will you discover what those talents are. 

The brain communicates to us the existence of an inborn talent by infusing us with passion when we engage in the activity. Passion acts like a catalyst in driving us to continuously engage in an activity we were born to do. Passion allows us to focus like a laser in perfecting our skill. Passion gives us the emotional energy that enables us to engage in our inborn talents for many hours every day.

Becoming proficient in an activity can take many years, decades or even a lifetime. Innate talents must be fully developed and developing any innate talent can take many years of dedicated practice. Eventually, those who find and perfect their innate talents become experts. And experts are always paid more than others. 

If you are passionate about an activity, if your passion for doing something is WHY you engage in that activity, then you will eventually become expert in that activity because your passion for the activity will motivate you to engage in that activity even when it does not produce immediate wealth.

But when your engagement in any activity is wealth-driven, you’re on the wrong track. When wealth is the primary driver, you will eventually abandon any activity that does not immediately reward you financially.

If your passion is not in the activity but, rather, in the potential wealth that activity can create, then you will cease engaging in that activity when it fails to produce the wealth you expected. You simply will not devote the time that is necessary in developing skills in any activity that is wealth-driven and not passion-driven. This means you will never become expert in any activity that does not produce immediate wealth or the wealth you expected. 

You can simultaneously have a passion for engaging in an activity and a desire to monetize that passion-driven activity. But, the passion for engaging in an activity must be the dominant reason for engaging in the activity. Passion for the activity must be the #1 reason why you engage in the activity so that you will persist in the activity even when there is no money to be made from it. Finding your passion, not wealth, should be your main goal.

What’s Your Kryptonite?

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Know thyself and thou wilt know the universe – Pythagoras

Each individual has certain innate talents that they are born with. These innate talents are your superpowers. But unleashing your superpowers will only get you half way down the field. If you want to score in life, you need to get all the way down the field.

What prevents you from getting down the field and scoring are your weaknesses. Weaknesses are your kryptonite. They will drag you down in life.

Successful individuals devote their lives to improving and perfecting their superpowers. But they also devote their lives to avoiding their weaknesses. They stay far away from kryptonite. How?

Those who excel in life know their strengths and their weaknesses. They know their superpowers and they know their kryptonite. Then they outsource those things they are not good at by finding others whose superpowers are their weaknesses. Like an orchestra, when you find individuals who can play certain instruments you can’t play, together, you can make beautiful music. 

Self-assess and then partner with individuals who have certain strengths you lack. When you do, success comes much easier. When you don’t, your weaknesses will offset your strengths and hold you back from success.

Exploit your superpowers and avoid your kryptonite.

 

 

Transformational Habits

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Habits are amazing. Habits save the brain from work, help conserve brain fuel and allow you to perform tasks without thinking.

There are many shades of habits. Each of your habits affects different parts of your life. They can put you on autopilot for success, failure, good health, poor health, wealth, poverty and happiness or unhappiness. That’s how important habits are. If you want to change your life, you must change your daily habits.

In my research, I uncovered five Rich Habits that are transformational. These habits enable you to reinvent yourself, altering your life circumstances in the process:

  1. Pursue a Dream – The self-made millionaires in my study forged the habit of taking action on their dreams. Everybody has dreams, but few actually take action on their dreams. You need to develop the habit of taking action on your dreams.
  2. Build Goals Around Your Dream – Goals are the construction team for each one of your dreams. Successful people in my research build individual goals around each one of their dreams.
  3. Forge Habits Around Each Goal – You process the achievement of your goals by building daily habits around each goal. These daily habits allow you to effortlessly achieve your goals.
  4. Daily Growth – In order to change, you have to grow. Growth involves adding or improving skills and knowledge. You should devote about an hour every day to growth.
  5. Find Apostles – Apostles are individuals who share your dreams, goals and desires. They are like-minded individuals who think like you think. In order to change you must find apostles who are seeking the same change you seeking and then associate with them regularly. These like-minded apostles will infect you like a virus, spurring you on to change into the person you need to become in order to change the circumstances of your life.

 

Want Spending Will Put You in the Poor House

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There are two groups of poor people. The first group are individuals who simply do not make enough money to meet their needs. The second group are individuals whose income exceeds their needs but who, nonetheless, spend more than they make.

According to Census Bureau data, there are approximately 46 million poor people who cannot meet their needs. They are forced to rely on assistance in one form or another from federal and state governments.

According to this same data, there are approximately 30 million other people who make more than they need but who are, nonetheless, one paycheck away from poverty. These individuals engage in something called Want Spending.

Want Spenders spend more money than they make on their wants. They surrender to instant gratification, eschewing saving in order to buy things they want now: 60 inch TVs, nice vacations, expensive cars, bigger homes and jewelry. Want Spenders routinely gamble away part of their income. They also spend too much money at bars and restaurants. Worse, they incur debt in order to finance their standard of living.

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.

When Want Spenders are no longer able to work due to old age, they live out the remainder of their lives in abject poverty. They become dependent on family, friends, the government or the charity of others. Their poverty is the byproduct of a Poor Habit known as Instant Gratification.

Want Spenders rationalize their Want Spending in a number of ways:

  • I’ll make more money in the future
  • I’ll get a better paying job
  • I’ll get a second job
  • I’ll get a raise
  • I’ll get a bonus
  • The economy will improve and I’ll make more money
  • I’ll get more clients or customers
  • My children will take care of me in retirement
  • I’ll move to Florida, or some inexpensive place, and live off Social Security

Most people in society do not make a lot of money. A fortunate few have the Rich Habit known as Delayed Gratification. These individuals live within their means and do not engage in Want Spending.

These individuals are disciplined savers. They diligently save at least 10% of their income, paycheck by paycheck, month by month, year by year. Their savings grow either by the power of compounding or by prudent investing. When they retire, they live out the remainder of their lives financially independent, not reliant on financial support from others.

If you’re like most people, you don’t make a lot of money, but the money you do make exceeds your needs. You have a choice on what you do with this Excess Money. You can engage in Want Spending, live for today, and rationalize away why you do what you do with your Excess Money. Or, you can take control of your financial life, by saying yes to saving your Excess Money and saying no to Want Spending.

 

Is it Friday Yet?

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Ever find yourself thinking Is it Friday yet?

One of the hallmarks of the wealthy is that they like or love what they do for a living. They look forward to each day. They look forward to work. They are passionate about what they do for a living.

Eighty-six percent in my study said they liked their job. Seven percent said they loved their job. Those who like or love their jobs make more money, accumulate more wealth and are happier than those who don’t like or love what they do for a living.

According to a 2012 survey conducted by “Big 4” accounting firm Deloitte, 80% of those surveyed did not like their jobs. In another survey conducted by Gallup in 2013, 63% of the 230,000 employees in the survey said they were unhappy with their jobs.

The reasons you hate your job:

  • Zombie Work – Your work is not challenging. You feel like you are doing the same thing day in and day out. Your work is boring. The people you work with are boring.
  • Hitler is Your Boss – You have a tyrant for a boss. These types of bosses are demanding, selfish, arrogant and have little interest in your opinions or feedback.
  • Poor Management – Those you report to are not good mentors. They are not interested in helping you grow and improve as an individual. You feel like a ship out in the ocean at work.
  • Destructive Feedback – The feedback from others you work with is destructive feedback and not constructive feedback. Destructive feedback is focused on your flaws, errors and mistakes. You learn nothing from destructive feedback and do not improve or grow as an individual.
  • Negative Environment – Those you work with gossip about each other. They see only problems. They complain, criticize or condemn other employees including their supervisors.
  • Low Wages – You make barely enough to survive and this negatively affects your personal life. You can’t pay your bills. You can’t take vacations. You can’t afford decent housing or a decent car to get you back and forth from work. Every day is a financial struggle. Oftentimes this may be the result of being in an industry that is in decline.

So, if you catch yourself asking Is it Friday yet? it’s because you don’t like your job. If you don’t like your job, you’ll never be happy and you’ll eke out a living, living paycheck to paycheck.

Finding a job that you like will make you happy. Plus you’ll devote more time to a job you like than to one you hate. As a result, you’ll do a better job and the extra effort you put into doing a good job will be reflected in the form of higher wages. The people who perform the best get paid the most and those who perform the worst get paid the least or find themselves hunting for a new job.

 

Being Selfish Gets a Bad Rap

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What if I told you that being selfish is a success trait? It might piss you off to hear a comment like that, right? But what if I reworded it and said something like this:

The path towards success requires the pursuit of dreams and goals that add value to the lives of other. 

Now that doesn’t sound so bad, does it? It almost sounds selfless, instead of selfish, doesn’t it?

My research on the habits and traits of successful people is pretty clear. You need to be selfish in the pursuit of your dreams and goals. Pursuing your dreams and goals is a selfish act. It puts you first and others second because pursuing your dreams and goals comes at a cost – time spent with family and friends takes a back seat.

But here’s the rub. Your dreams and goals must in some way benefit others, otherwise you will fail in realizing them. No one will care about your dreams and goals if they benefit only you. But if your dreams and goals add value to the lives of others, they will happily reach into their pocketbook or wallet, whip out their ATM card and reward you for improving their lives.

You see, selfishness is hard-wired into every human being. It’s a biological imperative to be selfish. Survival demands selfishness.

Everyone you come into contact with is focused on one thing – themselves. The trick is to pursue dreams and goals that appeal to the selfishness genes that drive our very existence. Pursuing your dreams and goals is a selfish act by its very nature. But when those dreams and goals help improve the lives of others, your selfishness morphs into selflessness.

When you selfishly pursue dreams and goals that benefits humanity in some way, you have found the magic blue pill that not only changes your life for the better but also improves the lives of others. Being selfish is a good thing but only when that selfishness benefits society. Something to think about.

 

The Obstacle is the Way

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Find an problem, solve it and then monetize it. If you want to become successful you need to think like a self-made millionaire and that’s how they think. They see obstacles and figure out ways around those obstacles. People will pay for solutions to every day problems.

Nicolai Tesla

The burgeoning electric revolution had problems. The DC current that Thomas Edison had been working on was costly over long distances, and produced dangerous sparking from the required converter. Nikola Tesla’s Alternating Current offered safety at a lower cost. It is Tesla’s system today that provides power generation and distribution to North America.

18 Farmers in China

Communism had problems. In 1978, the farmers in a small Chinese village called Xiaogang gathered in a mud hut to sign a secret contract. They thought it might get them executed. Instead, it wound up transforming China’s economy in ways that are still reverberating today.

The contract was so risky — and such a big deal — because it was created at the height of communism in China. Everyone worked on the village’s collective farm; there was no personal property.

In Xiaogang there was never enough food, and the farmers often had to go to other villages to beg. Their children were going hungry. They were desperate.

The farmers agreed to divide up the land among the families. Each family agreed to turn over some of what they grew to the government, and to the collective. And, crucially, the farmers agreed that families that grew enough food would get to keep some for themselves.

At the end of the season, they had an enormous harvest: more, Yen Hongchang says, than in the previous five years combined.

That huge harvest gave them away. Local officials figured out that the farmers had divided up the land, and word of what had happened in Xiaogang made its way up the Communist Party chain of command.

At one point, Yen Hongchang was hauled in to the local Communist Party office. The officials swore at him, treated him like he was on death row.

But fortunately for Mr. Yen and the other farmers, at this moment in history, there were powerful people in the Communist Party who wanted to change China’s economy. Deng Xiaoping, the Chinese leader who would go on to create China’s modern economy, was just coming to power.

So instead of executing the Xiaogang farmers, the Chinese leaders ultimately decided to hold them up as a model.

Within a few years, farms all over China adopted the principles in that secret document. People could own what they grew. The government launched other economic reforms, and China’s economy started to grow like crazy. Since 1978, something like 500 million people have risen out of poverty in China.

Elon Musk

The electric car had problems. It took a very long time to charge the inefficient batteries that powered the first electric cars. Even worse, the electric cars had a short range, about 125 miles. Lastly, those electric cars had poor acceleration. Elon Musk developed batteries that allowed electric cars, for the time, to travel 300 miles without a charge. Musk’s batteries also delivered far more power enabling his cars to travel from zero to sixty in 3.1 seconds, faster than the best gas powered cars.

Problem solvers, like Tesla, the 18 farmers and Musk transform the world in which we live and are rewarded financially for their solutions. Seek out problems, don’t run away from them. Inside every problem is a solution waiting to be found. Those who seek solutions to problems will find success waiting for them on the other side of those problems.