Category Archives: Success
Have you ever failed at anything?
I have, many, many times with all sorts of things. From marriage to business to striving for certain goals.
Have you ever succeeded at anything?
I have, many, many times with all sorts of things. From marriage to business to striving for certain goals. Hmm, sounds like the first answer. That’s because it is. No I’m not spinning failure into success. I’m being literal, I have failed and I have succeeded – at the same things.
Let me explain…
My first marriage ended after a year – on anyone’s terms that’s a pretty miserable fail, right? Yeah, at the time it was painful and I felt like a miserable failure. But, after a short time me and my ex-wife actually became friends again, initially for the sake of our daughter, but eventually because it made sense to put the past behind us, learn from it, move on – but most importantly for me – to keep what was good about it. Me and my ex were friends first, so it made sense for me to retain that part.
25 years later we’re still friends and I like to think that our daughter benefitted from the ‘good’ relationship we made. And she has grown into a beautiful, kind, loving mother herself now. HUGE Success
Now I’m married again and it’s great. So now I like to think I’m a success at marriage (ask my wife for a true opinion). 🙂
So other failures…
I started my own business and for a few years it was great and I earned some good money. But slowly, slowly the competition got cheaper and my revenue diminished to a point where it now just ticks over. I tried getting in new business but selling wasn’t my strong point so now I concentrate on property investing. It’s been 12 years or more since I started the core business so I’m already in the top 4% of business owners just by continuing to trade for 10 years+, so in some ways I’m a success, but considering how it’s fortunes have gone steadily down you could say it’s more like a failure.
But I keep going, keep trying new things, keep striving and do my best to keep positive.
At the time I started my business I also started doing abstract paintings and have since sold in excess of 650 originals, albeit at very affordable prices. Success
A few years ago I tried setting up an online business, I got nowhere. Fail
Then I decided to write a self help book, I gave myself one year to write it. I did just that. Success
I self published it and learned a lot about marketing so I could sell it, I even created a 90 day home study course to go along with it. Success
I didn’t get anywhere with it. Fail
After dabbling a bit in business networking I set up my own network group and met lots of interesting people. Success
It didn’t bring me any new business or income streams. Fail
I overcame technical hurdles (and if you know me you know that’s a big deal) to set up blogs like this one and YouTube videos. Success
I reached 2nd Dan Black belt in my chosen martial art and when the club owner retired earlier this year he handed the running of the club over to me. Success
I taught myself how to play the piano and now write my own instrumental pieces. Success
I have written a 12 part children’s book series. Success
I could go on with a long list of successes and failures but my point is, to me, success is an attitude. We don’t know which failures we’ve had in the past might turn into successes, or what lessons they have taught us that might help us with success in the future. So in order to give myself the best chance of success I have to follow the following equation: R+R+HW +D,P&C. Resourcefulness + Resilience + Hard Work + Determination, Persistence & Consistency.
Make sure this resonates with you before adopting it though as there are many sayings and formulas out there that can misleading. One is attributed to Einstein: “Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the definition of insanity.” However, if you were a door to door salesman and you quit after the first ‘No thanks’ because of Einstein’s quote you’d never get to door 7 where the first buyer of your product is. Or door 18 where your second buyer is, or door 32 where your biggest buyer is.
The lesson is only learned after sufficient energy has been put into something and you’ve learned all you can from the process and only you’ll know when that is. We also have to learn from the ‘No thanks’ in order to maximise a different result further up the metaphorical street.
Will I continue to have failures? Of course. But hopefully my ratio of successes will get larger.
So to answer the headline of this blog: The only way to properly fail is either not to try in the first place or quit trying because of failure. That’s not me and I hope it’s not you either.
So let me ask you this…
What would you regret most at the end of your life:
A) Failing to reach your dream goal
B) Never having tried to reach your dream goal
BOOK REVIEW of ‘The Tipping Point’ by Malcolm Gladwell
This book addresses the phenomena of epidemics in behaviour. It’s premise is that there are certain types of people that start, broaden and continue certain trends in a particular way that is almost formulaic.
These are Connectors, Mavens and Salespeople – all of which play their part in translating and transmitting the mesage from the Innovators of the world.
Connectors: “These people who link us up with the world, who bridge Omaha and Sharon, who introduce us to our social circles – these people on whom we rely on more heavily than we realize – are Connectors, people with a very special gift of bringing people together.”
Mavens: “A Maven is a person who has information on a lot of different products or prices or places. This person likes to initiate discussions with consumers and respond to requests … they like to be helpers in the marketplace. They distribute coupons. They take you shopping. They go shopping for you … This is the person who connects people to the marketplace and has the inside scoop on the marketplace.”
Salespeople: “Mavens are data banks. They provide the message. Connectors are social glue: they spread it. But there is also a select group of people – Salespeople – with the skills to persuade us when we are unconvinced of what we are hearing, and they are as critical to the tipping of word-of-mouth epidemics as the other two groups.”
Things I learned from this book include…
Stickyness – a product or service must be of such quality and usefulness that it lives up to the hype of the reporting of it by the Mavens and Connectors. It must create involvement (engagement) of the target audience.
The Sesame Street Lesson – Kids tune out when things get confusing, even things designed to be exciting (to adults) proved to be confusing to kids and they switched attention. Lesson: know your audience, understand how they want to consume your content and in what situations are they most open to receiving your message.
Which peronality trait are you aiming at? – Studies have shown that children will lie and cheat depending on the circumstances of a situation. Therefore personality traits are not set in stone. Don’t expect adults to be any different, if you’re trying to create an epidemic around your product or service understand the personality traits of your audience as they’re in the situation they come in to contact with your communication, or, news of it via the Mavens, Connectors and Salespeople.
Fundamental Attribution Error – We are more intelligent about human situations than abstract ones, which is maybe why human based stories capture our attention. Gladwell writes: “(FAE) …is a fancy way of saying that when it comes to interpreting other people’s behaviour, human beings invariably make the mistake of overestimating the importance of fundamental character traits and underestimating the importance of the situation or context.” He concludes that there seems to be a mental sleight of hand that helps us reduce the complexity of decision making.
Unfortunately, this usually means our decisions only appear to be rational.
The Power of 150 – The human neocortex ratio of the brain = 150. This means the maximum number of genuine social relationships we can handle is approx. 150. Gore Co. (makers of Goretex) limit the number of employees working in it’s buildings to around 150 for this reason, they find that people function more efficiently, happily and innovatively in groups no larger than this. Mormons split their communities once they reach 150 into two groups of approx. 75. The military have found that units of soldiers operate optimally at 200 or below.
Lastly, Gladwell hypothesises that understanding tipping points when it comes to things like cigarette addiction could have significant impact. Trying to curb the initial usage of cigarettes by youngsters is pointless. No amount of persuasion over the decades has made much difference because of the rebellious nature of teenagers.
He suggests that curbing the stickyness (or addiction) is needed – IE: reduce the nicotine levels to make addiction less likely.
The concepts in this book require some deep thought and can be applied to all walks of life not just marketing. For instance his story of crime reduction on the New York subways simply by cleaning up graffiti is inspirational.
On a thought provoking basis I give this book 8 out of 10.
Full Speech: Jim Carrey’s Commencement Address at the 2014 MUM Graduation
When you have half hour to spare, while you’re washing the dishes or doing the ironing, give this a listen. Jim talks a lot of sense to this graduation year and wraps it up in his own inimitable humour.
So another year begins. Will it be your year? Do you still believe you can achieve your goals?
Like everyone else I sometimes doubt whether I can achieve my goals. So this New Year I am going to make the word ‘possible‘ my default word. Whenever I doubt myself I will remind myself that I decide what’s possible in my life.
I set myself a 5 year plan half way through 2015, which gives me 4.5 years to achieve it.
How am I doing so far? Well, I’ve been sharpening my saw and now it’s time to start cutting the tree.
I am determined, and I am resourceful, so I believe I can make it possible.
What about you?
Today I sent out the first of my new Ponders to my Ponders Group and asked them what their own default word will be this year. If you want to share – tell me your default word in the comments below.
For those of you that aren’t familiar with Mark Homer, he is a very successful property investor based in the UK. Over the past decade or so him and his partner, Rob Moore, have made their fortune buying, selling, refurbishing and renting property of all kinds.
Mark’s book “Low Cost High Life” details his childhood experiences that gave him the mindset for success, the lessons learned along the way and the advice for anyone else to replicate.
These are the lessons I gleaned from it, some I already learned from other authors but they bare repeating as that is how we learn best – repetition.
1. Always make sure you get more value than you pay for. IE: Don’t pay market price for investments if possible – reduce the risk
2. Learn to balance creating money and time equally in order to enjoy the independence true wealth brings.
3. Do not spend earned income on luxuries – it should only go in to either; living, saving or investing. Buy luxuries from passive income.
4. Understand the business you’re in as much as possible, it helps you remain passionate and spot opportunities. Temper your emotional urges with this knowledge to make rational decisions.
5. Get good at local property before considering overseas property. The laws and best practice may well be very different.
6. Networking events grow your network and that can be your best route to JVs, finance, expertise and latest investor trends.
7. Model those you admire that have been successful and made the mistakes. When walking through a mine field it’s best to follow someone else’s footsteps.
8. For maximum productivity stay fit and healthy. This will provide the energy and clarity of thought you need to focus and work effectively.
9. Put systems in place for everything, then manage the systems.
10. Keep 6-12 months operating cash at hand – ALL the time!
11. Invest for cashflow FIRST, and capital growth second.
12. Tap into the market’s perception of value in order to increase your price.
13. Get a PA asap.
A friend recently suggested a brilliant book to me called “The Inner Game of Tennis” by W. Timothy Gallwey. Gallwey wrote the book back in the 70s as a summary of his own approach to the game of tennis as a player and as a coach. He went on to use these techniques to coach corporate executives, entrepreneurs and athletes from many different sports.
Whether you play tennis or any other sport or simply want to improve your ability in any area of your life, this book will certainly stand shoulder to shoulder with any other life enhancement book out there. Here is what I learned:
1. The ‘I’ and the ‘Myself’ are two separate parts of our mind.
When we say “I was talking to myself” we are really talking about two very different aspects of ourselves. The ‘I‘ represents the conscious self that ‘thinks‘ it’s in control, and the ‘myself‘ is the unconscious self which is actually in control. The ‘I‘ always wants to assert itself over the ‘myself‘ – that is the ego. If we allow our conscious mind to dictate to our unconscious through negative words our unconscious actually takes on the ‘role’ of being that way (bad, useless, inconsistent etc.).
2. Any event is only ‘good’, ‘bad’ or ‘indifferent’ depending on our perspective – and we get to choose that.
When describing our performance in any area of our life it’s helpful to use non-emotional adjectives to describe what’s happening. Avoid judgemental words like ‘bad‘. In order to allow ourselves to learn more effectively we must try to detach ourselves from the outcome, a bit like a laboratory assistant noting the results of an experiment – wishing it to be neither one way or the other. This approach helps build trust between our conscious and unconscious minds. This reduces negative associations such as “I always mess up my first serve on pressure points“. By saying it, we override our body’s ability to make the shot.
3. Trying too hard uses more muscles than required to perform in a particular way.
This trying is controlled by the conscious mind and is a signal that it doesn’t trust the unconscious to let the body perform correctly. If our body has performed well in the past it will have stored that memory and can repeat it. By trying to control it we end up using too much energy and risk becoming fatigued prematurely. Also, by trying consciously we end up using muscles that weren’t involved in the correct performance thereby not performing in the same way as we need to.
4. To communicate effectively it’s best to use the ‘others’ primary language.
When speaking to a French person it’s best to speak in fluent French in order to be optimally understood. Likewise, when speaking to the unconscious it’s best to speak in the primary language of the unconscious which was established in infancy; sight, sound and touch (mainly). Before a child understands verbal language it learns through its senses. Therefore, in order to learn effectively first watch someone else doing the activity correctly, then visualise yourself doing it. Then apply without trying to do it perfectly. Just allow your body to perform over and over without judgement.
5. Applying positive role playing
If we give the unconscious mind positive role playing commands it will act on these and reveal suppressed or even never-before-seen qualities or abilities. EG: “When I relax and visualise I find my performance improves dramatically.”
6. When coaching physical activity first give technical instruction accompanied with awareness instruction.
An athlete for instance, should be shown how to perform a move and then encouraged to feel which particular parts of their body are responsible for certain movements. Once they know the how, they can become aware of whether they are actually moving in that way. When they realise there is a fault in their movement they can notice and adjust when they visualise. If they try to adjust physically before they have performed it correctly they may end up firing the wrong muscle groups.
7. Getting out of old undesirable habits
Undesirable habits are the main cause for sub-optimal performance. Start an alternate habit and the old one will dissipate in its own time. Like a baby learning to walk after habitually crawling for months. At first walking is more difficult and clumsy than crawling, but in time, crawling becomes obsolete.
8. Extending focus
In the book, Gallwey talks about tennis players creating interludes to distract them from thinking too hard. He would get them to concentrate on the seams of the ball (so they wouldn’t think about how they are hitting it), and then the bounce and hit each time on each stroke. By putting their attention on the interlude; bounce…hit…bounce…hit, they would have to allow their body to hit the ball intuitively without thinking. This is because our conscious mind cannot hold two thoughts at the same time.
9. The true power of competing
Gallwey’s realisation that competition was a good practice in order to achieve our true potential. Without it we are only shadow boxing. The competitor in this viewpoint becomes less an advesary and more a co-creator. They offer us the challenge to be the best we can be and we offer the same to them. This perspective allows us to see our competitors not as opponents but key players in our own development.
I’m looking forward to seeing how I can apply these lessons to the physical and non-physical aspects of my life and would love to hear if you succeed in doing so too.
Strive to thrive