Fitting in Leads to Mediocrity

tip-o-the-morning

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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

tip-o-the-morning

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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.

 

Six Months Better

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No matter what you do, time marches on. It is the one constant in life. In six months you will be six months older. During those six months, what will you have done to improve the circumstances of your life?

  • What projects did you complete?
  • What initiatives did you pursue?
  • What knowledge did you gain?
  • What did you do to improve your health?
  • Did you learn any new skills?
  • Did you develop any new relationships that will add value to your life?
  • Did you do anything that added value to the lives of others?
  • How much money did you save?
  • What new business did you bring in?
  • Did you pursue any goals during those six months?
  • In what way is you life different than before due to action you took?

Most people will not have any good answers to these questions. But those who are pursuing some dream will have many answers. They will have moved the needle in their lives, closer towards the realization of their dreams. They will have improved their knowledge, picked up new skills, developed new relationships with individuals who can help them in life. Those on the path towards greatness will have done certain things during the past six months that solidify the foundation upon which they will build the life of their dreams.

The next six months is going to come and go. What will you do with them? If you do nothing, you will continue to be stuck in life. But if you do something meaningful with the next six months, you will be six months better than you were before.

 

The Slight Edge

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Those with a slight edge own the world.

As I discovered from my Rich Habits research, those who possess some slight edge, some unique niche they’ve cultivated over many years, receive a premium for whatever product or service they sell. And that premium makes them rich.

To me, this is a major revelation. It contradicts what we’ve been indoctrinated by society to believe – that success requires some huge, revolutionary idea or invention. Not true.

None of the wealthy entrepreneurs I studied created anything remarkable which propelled them to success and riches. What they did do, however, was incrementally improve upon something already in existence. By developing and honing their skills and knowledge in their particular field or industry, they were able to come up with a better way of doing what everyone else was doing.

That slight edge allowed them to capture huge swaths of their local market, displacing their competition and setting themselves up for increased revenues and increased profits.

If you were to study entrepreneurs, as I have, you would learn that about 5% of them, the successful ones, develop some slight edge over their competition that allows them to control 80% of their local market, with the other 95% fighting over the scraps, eking out a living in the process.

The fact is, the vast majority of successful entrepreneurs do not capture lightning in a bottle. Instead, they seek to become the best of the best in what they do, through daily study, daily practice and daily hard work. And then they tweak what they do in some way. This tweak gives them a slight edge over their competition, allowing them to charge their customers, patients or clients more for their services or products. Those premiums add up over time, making them rich in the process.

 

Clearing the Brain Fog

tip-o-the-morning

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When your brain is foggy, you cannot think clearly, you make poor decisions, your memory suffers and things slip through the cracks that can damage your career and ability to make money.

Common Causes of Brain Fog:

  • Multi-Tasking: Constantly shifting from one task to another taxes the brain. Multi-tasking demands an enormous amount of glucose (brain fuel). When that fuel is depleted the brain slows down – you feel tired and foggy.
  • Stress: When you are under stress, this too depletes the stores of glucose found throughout the body.
  • Eating Junk: Eating too much junk food, processed food, trans fats, dairy products and foods containing vegetable oils damages your mitochondria, which must convert that food into glucose and then into ATP (fuel for the body).
  • Sleep Depravation: You need at least four cycles of sleep a night. That is the minimum. Each sleep cycle lasts about 90 minutes. So, at a minimum, you need about six hours of sleep every day. Five sleep cycles is optimum.

The self-made millionaires in my study developed habits that not only helped clear away the brain fog, but improved their cognitive abilities:

  • Focus: Self-made millionaires focus on one task at a time. They did not multi-task.
  • Eat Healthy: Self-made millionaires eat right. Two out of three meals are vegetables, fruits (not too sweet) and healthy fats, high in HDL (good cholesterol).
  • De-Stress: Self-made millionaires de-stress by meditating, running, taking a nap, closing their eyes for a few minutes or any number of things that put them into a relaxed state.
  • Adequate Sleep: Self-made millionaires get 6-8 hours of sleep every night.

Brain Fog creeps up on you over time. Symptoms are forgetfulness, indecision, poor decisions, anger, anxiety and weight gain. If you want to succeed you need to take care of your brain. Brain Fog will derail you from success.

Being Responsive

tip-o-the-morning

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As you march towards success, you will meet many new people. Some, unfortunately, will be drawn to you for their own reasons; reasons that have nothing to do with helping you realize your dreams and achieving your goals. These individuals will exploit you, appropriating your time and money for their own ends. They need to be avoided, weeded out or ignored. Otherwise you will find yourself wasting your time and energy.

One of the hallmarks of successful people is being responsive. Responsiveness is a habit successful people cultivate. Being responsive means not ignoring those who matter to you. The key phrase here is those who matter to you.

It’s impossible to be responsive to everyone. So, how do you know who deserves responsiveness?

The individuals who deserve responsiveness are those who believe in what you’re doing, encourage you and offer assistance, when needed. The individuals who do not deserve your responsiveness are those who show zero interest in what you’re doing and offer no assistance, when needed.

Be responsive to those who matter and ignore those who don’t. When you are pursuing a dream, time is your greatest commodity. Use it wisely.