It Is Time To Get Started

I want to start by wishing everyone a Happy New Year. It is hard to believe that 2009 is already here. That being said, it is important to note that 2010 will arrive before we know it. As we age, each year seems to pass quicker than the previous. If we are not careful, the NFL training camps will arrive without us taking much action (those who read yesterday's post know what this means). The time to get started is now.

Each year brings a new beginning. The slate is wiped completely clean. In the sales game, managers like to open their year by telling the team that everyone is at "0". The superstars and those who lagged behind are at the exact same level. It is where each goes from this point forward that makes the difference.

This is the mindset that I want you to approach 2009 with. Your past performance makes absolutely no difference whatsoever. The only thing that makes any difference is the action that you take starting now. Implementing the plan that we discussed over the last few weeks ensures that this will be the best year of your life.

Athletics often sees a player vault from average to superstar in one season. Your life has the same potential. With the proper plan, we are able to consistently take the steps that will allow us to fulfill all our dreams. Hard work and effort are required. There are no free rides. However, the payoff at the end of the journey is incredible. It fosters a sense of control over one's life that few know is possible.

With that, I will congratulate you on the start of a new life. Together, we are going to raise the level of everyone's performance. This is going to be a wonderful ride.
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Thoreau's Happiness

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Off Season Moves

This past Sunday marked the end of the NFL regular season. Monday was the beginning of the moves that teams which failed to make the playoffs were undertaking in an effort to improve. Three teams decided to make coaching changes believing that it was time for new leadership. Over the next 6 months, we will see teams alter their coaching staffs, front office, and player rosters. Every sport has similar events occur during the off season.

Another factor is what the individual players do during this "downtime". In football, many participate in off season conditioning programs. Also, those who were injured rehabilitate those injuries so as to return to full strength when camp opens. Finally, many use this time to improve their skills by working on specific activities if they feel an area is lacking. They establish a benchmark (for example: weight added) to monitor the progress. All this occurs in solitude away from the bright lights of a professional game.

Professional athletes and teams have 5 or 6 months to revamp the direction they are traveling. However, you do not have this luxury. Unless you are in a profession where you are laid off each year, there is no off season for you. At the same time, there is no taking off from family and financial responsibilities. Life simply keeps occurring at it's regular pace. It is no wonder that people have such difficulty to make a life transition.

How can we use this knowledge to change our lives for the better? Since it is impossible to "stop life", we must figure out a way to make progress with all that occurs on a regular basis. Utilizing the concept of the off season helps us to set benchmarks of change. We can implement this into our planning and scheduling to have a profound impact.

Let us use the football calendar as an example. The regular season just ended so teams that did not make the playoffs are already looking towards next year. Training camp opens in July, thus the invitees to camp are set by then. With a preseason of 4 games, the regular season opens around the 2nd week in September. It is at that time that the fruits of the off season are enjoyed.

We can follow a similar time line. A few weeks ago we wrote down three goals which we wanted to achieve in 2009. Choose one of those goals and write next to it "2nd Week In September". This is the deadline for it's accomplishment.

Next we begin to plan our "off season". Realizing that you most likely cannot dedicate 9 months exclusively to this pursuit means that we need to schedule activities which move us towards this end. Therefore, we extend our work day in our mind by a couple of extra hours. This is an important concept so follow me here. Most fail at something because they decide to do it in their spare time. The fact is nobody has any spare time. We need to plan on the activity to be effective. Adding a couple of hours to the work day achieves this end.

Do you see what just happened here? Most people spend their 8 hours at work because they have no choice; they need to be there or risk being fired. By adding two more hours, we just removed the choice from ourselves. Now, we have 2 hours to dedicate to accomplishing the goal desired. I hope you can see how much more likely you are to attain your destination by using this concept.

Let us use the goal of learning a foreign language as an example. Supposing that we work from 8-5, that means we get home at 5:30 or 6:00. If we have a family, there are obligations there which might take us up until 8:00. At that time, we can put in 2 hours to learning the new language. If we do this for the next 9 months, how proficient might we be in this endeavor by "kickoff"? I surmise that you will have a good grasp of that language.

Of course, we can break the time up working on a couple of goals. Instead of dedicating two hours to one pursuit, perhaps we do an hour apiece. We spend the first hour studying and the second reading about a culture we are interested in learning about. Or, we can put an hour on the front end in the morning and one in the evening. Many people choose to workout for an hour in the morning while attending to the "study" in the evening. This is equally as effective.

The main idea is to be rigorous and dedicated to the pursuit. Do you think that professional athletes slack of their off season conditioning program? The answer is that some do and they pay a heavy price for that the following year. Those who are committed to working in the off season usually perform better.

Our off season just started. I chose to use the football season since it just ended. However, you could follow the schedule of baseball, golf, or hockey. Live your life like you were a professional athlete preparing for the next year. Act as if you have millions of dollars riding on your performance and accomplishments. Even if you do not make this type of money, are your goals any less important than any other? Obviously not. Your life is worth an incalculable amount. Begin to live according to that belief.
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What Actions Do You Need To Take?

What are you going to accomplish this week? This is a question which most people have no idea how to answer. The reason is they fail to sit down and write out the actions which need to be taken. Simply put, they fail to plan.

I am a big fan of having a written list of actions that I am going to take. My belief is that people who operate off a list are much more effective. It is a trait that is followed by the most successful people. This allows them to accomplish things while others are wasting time. If there is one single action that separates the achievers from those who do not, it is this.

To create a list of this nature requires thought. This is one of the primary benefits of this habit. Regularly thinking about how you are going to spend you time will increase your productivity substantially. It allows one to focus his/her attention on those activities which are most important. If one has a series of long term goals written down, this behavior helps in the establishment of steps to achieve the desired results.

Failure to plan will lead to failure. This is one of the most basic components for success. To do this successfully, we must take our planning to the smallest time period possible. The reason is that, while we can plan for a year, we live only one day at a time. It is impossible to operate any other way. One who has a set of 1 year goals but fails to break them down further finds that time "slips by". Suddenly, the New Year is upon us without anything substantial accomplished.

Now, I get back to my initial question: what are you going to accomplish this week? I want you to get into the habit of asking yourself this question every Sunday night. This requires effort on your part. However, you will quickly realize that having a "to do" list for the week makes life a lot easier. You are able to see all that requires your attention. After that, you simply write in the specific day you will perform that action. String enough of these plans together and you will achieve any goal that you desire.
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Avoid Being The Victim

One of the important keys to success is to avoid playing the victim. Most people who fail to achieve success excel at that art. I believe the reason they are unsuccessful is because they fall into the trap of blaming others for their plight. This is in direct opposition to personal responsibility.

It is easy to point the finger at other individuals or circumstance for the situations we find ourselves in. This is also a way to ensure your lack of progress in any area of your life. This habit causes people to shift their power away from themselves to something that is outside of them. This creates the scenario where the other person needs to be changed before one can succeed.

The simple fact of the matter is that nobody (or nothing) controls you unless you allow it. I often hear individuals say "she makes me so angry". This is absolutely incorrect. This person allows that other person to make him or her angry. Allowing someone else the power to affect how you feel is a sign of emotional weakness. If you find that you suffer from this, it is time to really invest the effort to changing that habit. Emotional control is a crucial factor in achieving great success.

Take control of your life. Whatever is occurring at this moment is a result of choices you made somewhere in the past. In others words, you chose the life that you are presently leading. While you might want to blame the boss all you want yet it is you who shows up for work each day. There are no slavery clauses written into employment contracts, thus it is your choice. No matter how your spouse acts, you chose to marry that person. If you lost money in the stock market, it was you who elected to put it there. This is the foundation of personal responsibility thinking.

There are times when life deals you a bad hand. However, the same is true for everyone. While some are busy sulking over the conditions of life, others are prevailing and moving forward. It is a basic fact that obstacles exist in life. Like the old saying goes, "when life hands you lemons, make lemonade".

Playing the victim is a guaranteed way to slice your success vein. Personal responsibility is the solution to this dilemma. Begin your quest today by taking responsibility for everything in your life. This will revert the power back to where it belongs, with you.
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It is the feelings we want

Have you ever thought about why you have a desire for something? Why do you want a particular item? What is it that causes you to show up to work each day? Answering these questions will show what drives you as a person. Controlling this is fundamental to taking control of your life.

Everything that we do, achieve, or acquire is because of the feelings we get. Feelings are the motivators which drive us to do certain things. There are some feelings that we crave experiencing while there are others which we will do anything to avoid. Nevertheless, it is the feelings that we receive which influences our decisions.

Let us use the example of a new blouse. Why would someone buy something like that? We know that there is rarely a basic need for the items we purchase. Thus, there must be something else at work. Of course, it is the feelings associated with the blouse that cause one to buy it. Perhaps she likes how she will look in it. Or maybe she thinks about how others will envy her. Whatever the reasoning, it ultimately comes down to the feelings.

To further illustrate this same point, suppose the woman buys the blouse because she knows she will look good in it. This is a very positive feeling. However, what do you think her emotional state is when someone else shows up with the same blouse on? Obviously, she moves to a negative state. Now, she wishes she never bought the blouse.

This concept applies to all the goals and desires that we discussed the last few weeks. Anything that you hold as a goal is because of the feelings you associate with that particular accomplishment. For example, if you have a goal of getting a new car, the only reason you crave it is for the feelings you believe it will give you. Perhaps you like the security that comes from its reliability. Or, if it is something fancy, you might like the idea of turning a few heads. The feeling of approval of our friends and peers is a powerful motivator. Again, whatever your reasoning is will reveal the feelings that you are seeking.

To take this one step further, when we are engaged in a goal achieving system, it is important to know the feelings that we truly want to experience. Doing this will allow us to feel fulfilled when achieving our goals. Many get what they want only to realize it leaves them empty. The reason is a goal (or item) might not provide the feeling that person craves.

Another helpful part of knowing what feelings we want to experience is that we can "rig" our life to feel that way without the item or goal we are seeking. For example, many want money because it represents security. However, we know that money can be lost no matter how many dollars one has. Therefore, one with a goal like this can work on feeling secure without the need for a lot of money. This is not to squelch the idea of seeking financial gain. Instead, operating in this manner ensures that the person will experience security when he or she achieves the goal. The feeling is present regardless of what else happens.

As you can see, feelings are very important. These are the sensations that we are truly seeking. Remember this when you are on your quest to achieve your goals. It is the feelings behind that goal which you are truly seeking.
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A Time Of Optimism

We are approaching the new year. This is the time of year where optimism is the greatest. Whatever occurred in 2008 is in the past. It is done. Whether it was positive or negative, you cannot go back and change it. Life moves froward regardless of the results you achieved.

If you are one who achieved all the goals that you set out for the year, I congratulate you. However, for those of us who fell short in a few areas, there is the tendency to dwell upon those unrealized dreams. Now is not the time to engage in that activity. We are programming ourselves to look forward.

Everyone achieves something. There are lots of wonderful things that you did over the past year. Make a list of some of them no matter how insignificant they might seem. Each time you gave someone a smile, you lifted their spirit in that moment. Write that on the list. List everything you can think of that helped yourself or someone else. You will soon realize that you did a great deal.

We are all going to make the next year the best we ever experienced. The media wants to put us in a negative mindset with all the activities which are occurring globally. We are not going to listen to their garbage. Their fodder is food for all those who are going to be trampled in the new year. We are not part of that crowd. Instead, we are the ones who know that in each crisis there are lots of opportunities. Now is the time that we are going to forge our way to success. The only thing that stands in our way is the mindset we have. Success is first achieved in the mind then manifests itself in the physical world.

In closing, I hope you enjoy your Christmas holiday. Spread good cheer wherever you go over the next few days. Perhaps this might create a habit that you do throughout the year. That is a wonderful goal to have for 2009.
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What Qualities Do You Need?

Success is the result of certain actions taken in a specific direction. However, to get to that destination, there are certain qualities one needs to have. Implementing the proper attitudes and mindset are crucial if you are going to achieve anything substantial. For this to occur, you might need to alter how you view yourself.

Contrary to popular belief, your personality is something that is developed. It is not something that we are born with. People like to say "he is naturally..." or "this is how I was made". These are untrue statements. We all select the behaviors which we impact our lives. Most of these actions are determined by how we view ourselves.

"I played Cary Grant so long I actually became him"-Cary Grant

How would you describe Cary Grant? What words come to mind when you think about him. Mature. Sophisticated. Suave. Regal. Contrast that with Pee Wee Herman. What words come to mind to describe him? The reason I bring these two individuals up is neither of them are really that person. They both were born someone else. However, over time, they developed the qualities of their on screen persona (at least in our eyes).

Now that you see this concept, what qualities do you need to create the success in your life? How do you need to view yourself to achieve all you want to achieve? This is the first step to developing the personality which will carry you through.

Let us look at it another way. What is confidence? How do you know a person has it? Are you sure that they truly are confident or do they just hide their fear while taking action anyway? The point is, what you see on the outside is not what is necessarily on the inside. Yet, many times, it matters none. What comes through to others is what is important.

Therefore, we need to develop a list of all the qualities we need to succeed. Take out a piece of paper and write them down. Make a list of 5 characteristics which will get you to the next level. This is how you are going to view yourself. Start with words such as intelligent, confident, experienced, driven, etc... Take a look at some of the people you admire and ask yourself, "what qualities do I like in that person". If you want more success in business, choose someone who is successful in that arena. Perhaps it is best to start to see yourself as a business owner instead of an employee.

The idea is to create the image in our minds of how we want others to see us when we are successful. However, we know that before anything can happen, the vision needs to be clear in our mind. If you want to be something, see yourself as that first. Before long, that will become a part of you. This worked very well for Cary Grant.
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How Committed Are You?

This is an extremely important question. Your level of commitment will determine how much success you enjoy. It dictates the actions that you are willing to take. Commitment creates the motivation and incentive to forge ahead. We wrote down some goals for the New Year a couple of weeks back. How committed are you to achieving them?

When people are fully committed to something, they can achieve incredible results. Superhuman feats are accomplished if the desire is great enough. Have you ever seen the videos of a woman who miraculously saves a child who is trapped underneath a car? A woman who weight 110 pounds has no business picking up something that heavy. Nevertheless, her level of commitment is really high at that moment. This provides her with the adrenaline rush necessary to pull off this feat.

Do you have the same outlook when viewing your goals? Are you will to go to any length to achieve them? What are you going to allow to stop you? These are questions which show the likelihood of getting what you desire. People who are not fully committed will turn back at the fist sign of trouble. I would surmise this is what you did most times in your life. It is time to change that.

We all heard the story of the leader who burned his ships once his troops got ashore. The reason he did this was to increase the commitment they had to winning the battle. Retreat was no longer an option once the ships sunk. Basically, the choices were win or die. That will commit you to the outcome.

Fortunately, we do not have to go to such extremes. However, it is worthy to think in these terms. Become fully committed to achieving what you desire. This will cause you to take whatever action necessary for success. This single shift in mindset increases the possibility of achievement by at least 50%. Success becomes easier when you have this belief.
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Be The Best In All You Do

Being the best is something that is downplayed in recent years. We are taught that the effort put in is more important than winning or losing. While there is some merit to this idea, it creates a situation where people are unprepared for real life. The reason is that, in life, we are judged by the results we get. This is true whether we are referring to work, relationships, or athletics. Ultimately, it is the results of our actions which determine how far we will go.

Having the proper mindset is vitally important. Approaching everything with the outlook that we are going to be the best establishes a high level of performance in our mind. This helps to manifest the results that we desire instead of settling for less than we truly want.

How does this work? Many people want to change their life yet do not know where to begin. Surprisingly, this is an easy idea. Start exactly where you are at in this moment. Regardless of what you are doing, seek to be the best at it. This will develop the habit and the mindset to radically alter your life.

Let's take a career as an example. This is one of the areas where people seem dissatisfied. Simply, they do not like their job. How do we go about changing this? The starting point is to be the best at that particular job while you occupy it. It matters not what "level" you are at. Applying this to any position means that you will not occupy that position for too long. The world loves to reward the people who are the best at something. This mindset ensures that it will be you.

Another way of looking at it is to focus upon the task at hand. Strive to be the best at whatever you are doing in this present moment. If you are washing the dishes, be the world's best dishwasher for the next few minutes. The same is said for any activity regardless of how major or minor it is. We are seeking to develop a mindset which helps us to excel under all circumstances. Continually seeking to be the best in the minor activities will transcend into our more important tasks. Apply this in your home and watch how it filters into your work life.

Those who are successful are driven. Many feel that playing the game is more important than winning. While I do not advocate illegal or unethical behavior, success is something that people need to go after. Simply showing up is a path to mediocrity. Having the desire to set the world on it's ear is what will enable you to fulfill your ultimate potential. Be the best in everything that you do.
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20 Top Success Tips From Donald Trump

To help with your progress entering the New Year, I thought it good if you got some success tips from The Don himself. These are found on his website.

  1. Think big

  2. Be positive

  3. Follow your passion

  4. Learn something new every day

  5. Listen to your gut

  6. Be patient

  7. Put a great team behind you

  8. Put beauty in everything you do

  9. Learn to negotiate, because everything you want demands it

  10. Always go for the biggest win possible

  11. Invest in real estate because it is the best investment there is

  12. Take risks

  13. Be audacious and get into the public eye

  14. Be your own brand

  15. Enjoy doing some work seven days a week and on vacations

  16. Say no

  17. Get out of your comfort zone

  18. Be stubborn when necessary

  19. Always have a Plan B

  20. Never settle for second best

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Take Charge Of Your Own Life

This is the mindset that you need to acquire if you are going excel in these trying times. It is obvious that the world is in a turmoil like we never saw before. Economically, we might be confronted with the worst situation in the last 3 generations. There is little that is encouraging about what is coming down the road. The prevailing belief is that times will get worse before they get better.

That being said, I hope that most realize what the cost of depending upon someone else is. Everyday we are seeing lessons of people who put their trust in another only to be let down. Take all the people who worked in the financial sector. Hundreds of thousands of them lost their jobs because of the financial crisis. Even if they were superior employees, they are out looking for work. Another example is the automobile industry. People operated under the belief the union would take care of them. Sadly, if the companies go out of business, the employees are out of luck.

Now, we are being told by our political leaders that we should trust them. The government is in the process of bailing everyone under the sun out. How long can this keep up? Sadly, I believe a recession can outlast even the money printing power of the United States of America. There will come a time when we are told "there is no more".

Where does this leave you? For those who regularly read this blog, you know that "personal responsibility" is a quality that I value. In this era, it is the only trait that I believe will lead to success. The model we operated under for the past 30 years is dead. We cannot trust others to take care of us. Businesses lay people off. The government blows through the Social Security money. Economies go through cycles. There are a series of events all of which can alter our life. It is time to take back the control we passed along to others.

You recently established a few goals that you want to achieve in the next year. Part of your process is going to assume the responsibility for achieving them. This is your life we are talking about. It is yours to do with as you wish. However, if you want something better, get with the program of personal responsibility. It is the only thing which will lead to your success.

I am in charge of my life. That is a belief I have which is at the core of my existence. Whatever results I get are due to my actions and capabilities. If I experience a setback, then I have the opportunity to learn something. Every situation is built upon the previous ones. Utilize the knowledge gained from those circumstances.

Stop blaming everyone for your problems. This is one resolution that I insist you make for the New Year. It is not your wife/husband's fault. The government did not do it to you. Forget about blaming your race, religion, or ethnic makeup. The one who is responsible for your life is you.

Personal responsibility is a hallmark of all successful people. They are the ones who create their own success. Implement this model into your life for the upcoming year.
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How Bad Is It?

The last few posts focused on mindset. This is going to be paramount entering the next 12 months (actually the rest of your life). Our perspective is going to determine which actions we take and how successful we are. For the foreseeable future, the common outlook is going to be filled with negativity. If you buy into this, then that is what you will create.

Life is full of ups and downs. There are good times and there are bad ones. The present situation is one of those challenges which serve to make us appreciate the good ones even more. You might want to reread that again. Bad circumstances provide wonderful opportunties for us. The benefits received from these times are enormous. Your outlook determines the benefits you will receive.

What occurs during negative times? Growth. We are going to see what you are made of. A person's character is not exemplified when the going is good, it is when things are tough that is shows through. How much resolve do you really have? Are you committed to doing what is necessary to succeed? Will your outlook and mindset defeat you even before you get started? Or will you prevail because you believe that you will? These are questions which you will be able to answer in the future. We all will. Circumstances will reveal the people that we are inside.

Another result of trying times is the gratitude we can implement. There is always something to be grateful for. I was speaking with someone earlier this evening who was mentioning how much more work each person is having to take on because of recent firings. This person, to her credit, was not bitching about it, but was grateful to have a job. Times like these give us the stark reminder of how bad things can get. It is beneficial to have a shift in perspective. Your life is terrific no matter what your present circumstances are.

"I was complaining about my shoes until I met a man with no feet".

Remember what is important in your life. You can achieve anything that you desire. Even if things are not exactly how you want them today, that does not mean it is permanent. All life is an ebb and flow. Money comes and money goes. So do people, jobs, and things. We came into the world with nothing and will leave that same way. It is what we do in between that makes the difference. Understand that your 2009 can be the best year of your life regardless of all the other events that are around. Keep this mindset to guarantee your success.

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Learners Are Earners

Have you ever heard this statement?  It is not one that is usually promoted within the mainstream circles.  Perhaps this is the reason why so many fail to get ahead in life.  Instead, they drift from day-to-day without really achieving anything substantial in their life.  This is not something that we are interested in doing on this site.

Success in 2009 is going to depend in part on our ability to learn.  Learners are earners.  Write this motto down and post it on your mirror.  It is imperative this become a central part of our being.  Increasing our knowledge is the basis for all success we will achieve.

We set down some goals and made plans for their achievement.  Unfortunately, in most instances, we do not have all the knowledge we need to achieve those ends.  That is where our learning comes in.  Daily reading and study will provide us with the answers we need.

It is best to develop the habit of reading each day.  The world is full of books which will provide us insight into all that we are wishing to achieve.  In reality, most everything was done before.  Your path to success was already paved by another.  He or she did all the hard work for you.  Picking up a book will offer the details about how that person did it.  It will also spell out some of the pitfalls to avoid.  Learning from the mistakes of others is one of the greatest traits of the successful.

Are you willing to be a continual learner?  If you are, then I am certain you will achieve all that you desire.  However, if you are one who believe that you must "figure it all out on your own", I would guess that your path will be more difficult.  After all, I don't need to reinvent the wheel to have tires on my car that work.  Someone already did that for me.

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There are still wonderful opportunities

Chicken Little is having a field day.  Everytime I turn on the news, there is something bad promoted.  One day it is the auto industry.  The next, it is the financial companies.  Stock markets around the world are being battered.  Jobs are being lost.  In short, the world is coming to an end.

Is it really that bad?  I prefer to take a bit of a different view of the entire situation.  Like everyone else, I have retirement money that is half of what it was earlier this year.  My income decreased this year as compared to last.  The prospects for some opportunities next year are going to be delayed.  Realistically, it is a different business environment than it was 6 months ago.

That being said, how can I possibly believe that 2009 is going to be the best year of my life?  The answer is because it will be.  I know it.  My certainty is going to make that manifest as a reality.  I will not accept anything less.  Overall, when I look at my daily life, things did not change all that much.  In fact, in some respects, things inproved.

To begin with, my retirement account is still safe.  My heart goes out to all those who were swindled by Madoff.  However, I was not one of them and my money, even if half, still can grow.  I invest regularly so my money buys more shares than it did 3 months ago.  Over time, this account can recover.  I have another 20+ years before I am even eligible to touch that money without penalty.  Thus, what have I really lost?

And that is the gist of what is occurring.  A recession is nothing more than a collective mindset.  Are things bad for some people?  Definitely.  However, the majority are doing just fine.  Those who are 10+ years away from retirement will see their accounts return.  Also, gas prices plummeted over the last 6 months.  This has a bigger effect on the average budget than any of the other economic news.  Finally, we are seeing a deflationary period where the price of everything is coming down.  This will only help those tightening budgets.

So what perspective are you looking at?  That is what will determine your success next year.  Everyone is worried about what will happen.  Well, stop worrying and start doing.  Success is guaranteed to follow with that approach.

One final example of how the media can skew your perspective: unemployment is usually around 5%.  Now, it is in the neighborhood of 6.5% with estimates putting it as high as 9%.  This leaves an increase of 4%.  How come the media always focuses on this aspect?  If there is a 4% chance of losing your job, that means there is a 96% chance of keeping it.  The odds certainly are in your favor.  Also, always remember that 5% of the population does not want to work anyway.  Therefore, it is a small minority who is going to be out of work.  The majority will still be employed.

Having the right outlook is crucial to your success.  Approaching the new year with this mindset will allow you to see opportunities others miss.  There are still many ways to succeed regardless of what the present circumstances are.  The United States will still have an economy somewhere near $2 trillion.  That is a lot of products and services sold.  A total collapse will not occur regardless of what the Chicken Littles of the media world say.

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The Easiest Way To Be A Star

There is one characteristic which will separate you from all of your peers. It is also the one trait that will help all your goals materialize. Those who focus their attention on this attain some of the greatest degrees of success. It is the one quality which will always keep you employed and that is CONSISTENCY.

People overlook the value of this simple concept. Yet, it is the one thing that all in positions of power seek in their people. You can choose any walk of life and you will see how the consistent are handsomely rewarded.

The field of sales is one where many managers seek out the "superstar" salesperson. However, these are not the successful managers. "Superstars" tend to be flaky in their production. They have the capability to deliver stellar months only to be followed up with nothing. A successful sales manager knows the key is getting people to deliver consistent numbers, even if they are not the top producers. Consistency allows for better planing, more consistent cash flow, and a steady flow of inventory.

Sports is another area where consistency is rewarded. Baseball teams love pitchers who can throw a shutout with 15 strikeouts. However, if that person consistently follows up that performance with two lackluster outings, a team is harmed. Again, managers prefer to know what they will get out of their pitcher.

A Dr. Jekyll, Mr Hyde approach to life creates a lack of confidence when dealing with others. By the same token, when your efforts are inconsistent, the internal self doubt creeps in. The remedy to this is for you to focus upon consistent action everyday.

The other day I wrote about doing something daily until it becomes a habit. Habitual actions create consistent outcomes. This allows for a smooth pursuit of all your goals. We started with three items that you want to achieve in the next year. Then, through the process of breaking the goal down, we arrived at daily activities we can take that move us closer to the goals. Consistently doing something day-after-day will create the habits necessary for success.

Follow this simple plan and you will see many of your goals arrived at by March 1st.
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The Man Who Knows He Can

If you think you are better, you are.
If you think you dare not, you don’t.
If you like to win, but you think you can’t,
It is almost certain you won’t.

If you think you’ll lose, you’ve lost.
For out in the world you’ll find,
Success begins with a fellow’s will;
It’s all a state of mind.

If you think you are outclassed, you are.
You’ve got to think high to rise,
You’ve got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win the prize.

Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger, faster man.
But sooner or later, the man who wins
Is The Man Who Knows He Can!


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The Determination of Andrew Jackson

Andrew Jackson is one of the more controversial figures in American history. The leader of the Battle of New Orleans, he is not without his detractors. Controversy aside, one thing that is universally agreed upon is how determination played a large part in Jackson's success. It is hard to find someone who was more determined than this man.

It is said that once Jackson set his mind to something, he was destined to accomplish it. How is that for the power of manifesting? His determination took an idea and made it a reality. Jackson simply would take action until he achieved his ends. There was nothing that would stand in his way.

How does this correspond with your outlook? Do you have similar determination in all that you do? Or, are you easily swayed when things get difficult? Those who drift through life tend to have the later as their predominant mindset. Rationalizaton and justification are favorite practices, usually to uphold the idea of settling for less than is desired.

We have discussed a great deal about making 2009 the best year ever. However, this will not be possible unless we develop the determinination to succeed. Having a plan is a wonderful part of the process and this act alone will occasionally lead us to our desired outcome. Nevertheless, to truly enjoy the fruits of being a high achiever, it is paramount that you are determined to get there.

I want you to consider this idea as you go throughout the day. Perhaps write down each time that you are dissuaded by another person or situation. You will be amazed how little control you really have over your life. Sadly, it usually is control that we cede ourselves, with fear being the motivator.

Develop the determination of Andrew Jackson. His resolve (along with creativity and ingenuity) helped to fend off the British at New Orleans in the War of 1812. While your situations are most likely much smaller in scale, you can utitilize his outlook to achieve similar results.
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Be the "Go To Guy"

This is a phrase that we hear thrown about quite often but how many times have you really considered its implication? Most of us scarcely give it a second thought. It is as if we hear it in passing. However, contained in this simple phrase is the mindset which will make you successful beyond comprehension. Anything that you desire in life can be yours.

The world rewards people who step up. We all like to have that person who will fill the void whenever a crisis arises. In any walk of life, there are only a certain amount of people who can fill this role. To do so effectively takes guts, self-confidence, and inner strength. Yet, those who do recieve the greatest rewards.

Sports is a fascinating genre to watch since they provide impactful examples which are truly a microcosm of life. Let us take the NBA as an example. Here is a group of people who are the best basketball players in the world. Everyone in the league is one of only 500 (give or take) who can perform at this level. Nevertheless, as good as these men are, only a couple ever get the reputation as the "go to man". Michael Jordan is one who comes to mind. He was arguably the best player ever to lace up the sneakers. However, what makes his greatness even more magical is that he was the one who wanted the ball at the end of the game. His excellence came out when the pressure was the greatest.

The same is true for baseball players. There are some pitchers who want the ball with everything on the live. At the same time, there are those who cower from that opportunity. Their fear of failure is the driving force of their decision. Does this happen in your life? Is fear the one who makes the decision for you?

Being the "Go To Guy" is all about mindset. Having the desire to excel in pressure situations begins with the belief that you will succees. Those who shy away at these times are those who focus on the possibility of failing. If this is how you approached your life, it is time to change that. Instread, focus on how you will succeed under these conditions. Do you think Michael Jordan thought about missing the shot. I am certain that thought never crossed his mind. His entire focus was on putting the ball in the hoop.

Mental toughness is one of the leading characterisitics of the successful. Develop this trait within yourself. Start the process by considering yourself a "Go to person". Whatever your present walk of life, picture yourself as the one who is capable of performing when others are overrun with fear. This requires a bit of grandiosity in your thinking but that is alright. You are now the "knight in shining armor" ready to conquer the circumstances of your life. Anyone who is around you can count on you to pull through. This is the mindset of a winner.

As you approach 2009, develop this outlook to reach level you never dreamed possible. When you have the inner belief that you will be the one succeeding, you have taken the first step in making that a reality. All success is first created in the mind.
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The Written Plan

Having a list of goals combined with a list of corresponding actions to take each day is a powerful combination. With these two items, you are almost guaranteed success. The only remaining component is to ingrain these actions into your daily routine. Repetition creates a habit which puts our success on autopilot.

We created the list that requires our daily attention. Now it is time to start utilizing this concept. We start by putting a couple of the actions into our daily plan. Do you not have a daily plan? Then it is time to start writing one down each day.

Before going any further, you have the freedom to get as sophisticated or simple as you like with this. Personally, I prefer simple. The idea is to have a list of activities along with the times that you are going to do them. It is your daily schedule. Writing each task down enables you to control the direction of your day. Time is used effectively when you do this.

Therefore, start with a piece of paper (or a notebook). Draw lines across in breaking the day into hourly segments. Do this for the hours that you are typically awake. For example, if you arise at 6 AM and retire at 10 PM, mark those times off. Now, list the activities which occur each day. Start by putting "Create plan for day" 15-30 minutes before you go to sleep. This will start to create this as a habit.

For most, work consumes a fair portion of the day. Therefore, block off the work hours. If there are things you regularly do like attending luncheons, put that down. After filling the work time, take the activities which move us towards our goal and assign them to a specific time. Try to do the hardest activities when you have the most energy. Some prefer to workout in the morning while others like the evening. Decide what is best for you.

The actions we want to make into habits are written in everyday. Once you complete your plan, your next task is simply to follow what you wrote down. Of course, situations will arise which requires some flexibility. However, having a written plan will increase the likelihood that you achieve the results your desire.
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Our Habits Determine Our Success

The successful have better habits than those who fail to achieve what they truly desire. Much of life is spent on autopilot with each day being a repeat of the one that preceded it. A great deal of time is spent doing the repetitive acts that requires little thought. Thus, anything that we achieve is because we are conditioned to act in a particular manner.

Have you ever considered how you brush your teeth? Few ever think about how they go about completing this task. However, we all have a routine that we go through to complete this action. Some of us put the brush under water, then put toothpaste on, and finally start brushing. Others will put the brush under water a second time. And, some will just put the toothpaste on the brush without water and begin the process. Regardless of how it is done, we do not think about how we accomplish this activity. It is at the subconscious level.

This is a simplistic example used to show how the concept operates in our life. The bottom line is a true life change will only occur when you change your habits. There are certain actions you undertake which are preventing your success. At the same time, there are other habits which will lead to our desired results. It is important to identify both.

Let us look at the weight loss example we used a few days ago. Going to the extreme, it is safe to say that an Olympic athlete has a different set of habits than a couch potato. These people are conditioned to work out. A day ceases to pass without them engaging in their training. Contrast this with the couch potato. His or her habits are drastically different. Instead of exercising, the habit here is to turn on the television when getting home from work and eating food high in fat content. People who do this often do so without much conscious thought.

Each person's habits brings about results. For the Olympic athlete, the outcome is incredible physical conditioning. At the same time, the couch potato achieves the state of obesity and poor health. A changing of the habits would alter each one's outcome.

How does all this apply to you? We mentioned in another article the importance of creating an action list to achieve our goals. When we go through this process, we are first operating at the conscious level. It takes mental thought to drive ourselves to act. The conditioning is not present at this initial stage. We need to develop the habit which will make our success a guarantee.

For something to become a habit, we need to engage in that activity each day. Repetition is what drives an activity to a subconscious level. Years ago, you had to think about a lot of tasks when learning to drive. Now, you can get from your home to your place of employment without even thinking about the trip at all. It is something that is completely at the subconscious level.

Success habits operate the same way. The action becomes a habit if we do it each day. It is estimated that the time is roughly three weeks. After that time period, you will be conditioned to take the action. Doing something different will require another conscious thought at the time. Here, we are in the habit of succeeding while having to actually think in order to fail. This is a magical state to achieve.

Success is not a mystery. Those who achieved the greatest of heights did so because of certain habits. Look at your life to uncover those actions you subconsciously take which hinder your success. Reverse the trend by identifying and implementing activities that move you forward. You will quickly realize the power that is contained within this simple concept.
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Turning Goals Into Actions

A week ago I asked you to consider and write down the three biggest goals that you wanted to achieve in 2009.  This gives us a good basis of the general direction that we are seeking for the New Year.  Once we identified the areas of concentration, then we can begin to break our task into manageable components.

As we know, action is the key to all accomplishment.  However, we cannot simply go out and lose 50 pounds.  There are certain things which must be done to achieve this result.  It is crucial to realize that any success is the result of many smaller actions.  Rome was not built in a day. Rather, it was erected one stone at a time.  The same is true for your life.

Once we got the three areas of focus, we want to select one to concentrate on now.  Write that goal on a piece of paper.  Underneath, we are going to identify the important actions that we need to undertake on a daily basis.  Every goal that has any merit is achieved by doing something everyday towards reaching that outcome.  This is what we want to identify now.

For example, if losing 50 pounds is our goal, what are some of the actions we need to take each day to make this a reality?  One thing would be to workout daily.  A combination of aerobic and strength training is required.  In addition to daily exercise, we also want to alter our diet.  This starts with having a regular dose of fruits and vegetables.  We might also consider eliminating those foods which are high in fat content.  There are basic components that will lead to a healthy diet. We need to put these on our list.

As you can see, we are starting to move from a goal which is an abstract idea to concrete actions we can take.  Instead of focusing on the outcome, we now can concentrate on doing what we need to do.  Actions are what allow us to reach that end.  If we follow this path, achieving our goal is a natural outcome to our efforts.  In effect, we are developing a plan for our success.

It is best to list a couple of things for each goal.  We do not want to create such a long list that it gets overwhelming.  For example, if we listed 90 things we needed to do each day to lose the 50 pounds, how likely are we to quit?  Very!  This idea is to have a few activies listed that will be done every single day regardless of other circumstances.  This is what will lead to the successful outcome you seek.

Once having completed this for the first goal, do it for the other two.  In total, you might have 6 or 9 things to do each day.  This is a manageable number which will offer major changes in your life.  You are already laying the foundation for an incredible year.

Next, we will discuss the value of habits and how we can put our life on autopilot.  How would you like to achieve your goals by default.  The next session will show you how habits can be developed to guarantee success.

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Courage Is Crucial

The easiest thing to do in life is to exist at whatever level you are presently operating at.  Change is something that is difficult for most people to embrace.  To successfully do this requires the courage to step out of one's comfort zone into the unknown.  This is a concept which is more than most can handle.

How can I make this assertion?  Simple, most lead lives they are unhappy with.  I see so many settling for less than they truly desire.  They lack the courage to risk failure when they go after what they really want.  This is something that society trains us to do.  We are taught the "safe" route is the way to go. Sadly, it is also the path that leads to unhappiness.

If you are going to alter your life, it is going to take a great deal of courage.  Changing requires a bit of risk taking.  When you undertake something like this, you expose yourself to the ridicule of other people.  Often, this comes from those who are closest to us.  Those who have our "best interest" at heart are usually the ones who crush our dreams.  They tell us to "be realistic" and get something that is safe.

The events over the past few months teach us that safety is an illusion.  When it comes to investing, the buy and hold theory is considered the safest approach.  Proponents told us to find quality companies and hold them for decades.  Over time, if we reinvest the dividends, we would realize a healthy return.  All gains realized over the past 15 years were wiped out in a matter of a couple of months.  So much for the safety route.

We see the same situation with careers.  People who chose solid companies to work for are now losing their jobs in record numbers.  Their safety was an illusion.  Let us take the automobile industry.  Unions are considered the safe route.  Unfortunately, a union contract is worthless if the company goes out of business.  The UAW is just as panicky as management within the Big Three.  Millions are facing the loss of employment.

Safety is an illusion.  It does not exist.  Life is a risk.  That is where success comes from.  There will be times when you will fall flat on your face.  Over the next 12 months, we are going to encounter many challenges in our pursuit of change.  Altering your life is not something for the faint.  It takes courage to do this.  However, the payoff is beyond comprehension.  It is where we realize freedom.

We start to develop courage by moving forward in spite of what goes on in our head.  Often we are consummed by fear.  This is okay as long as we do not allow it to stop us.  Courage is not the absence of fear, rather, it is the taking of action in spire of the fear being present.   This is what the courageous do: they take action.  The fearful procrastinate.  Become one who exemplifies courage by taking action.  

Here is an exercise you can do immediately:  Make a list of 3-5 things that you are putting off doing. Write them on a piece of paper and resolve to complete them before you go to bed tonight. This single act put you into the courage area.  It might not feel like any big deal but it is.  Taking action is the single hardest thing for the unsuccessful to do because it requires courage.  Do this and watch your courage expand.

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Life Is Never Perfect

Life is not always perfect but we can be happy in spite of our present circumstances. This is what success is all about.

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5 Things

Before we get into the larger goals that we discussed in the last entry, it is best to start with something that will show how valuable having a direction is to us. This is a simple exercise which will later be expanded in scope to cover longer time periods throughout the day. However, we are going to approach this is a simplistic manner to get the benefit of the concept.

Having a plan is an essential tool for success. It provides the direction while establishing barometers along the way. Breaking down a large task into smaller segments is what allows people to achieve great things. Remember, a journey begins with a single step. Or as Brian Tracy likes to say, "you eat an elephant one bite at a time".

We are going to quickly learn the value of seamless activity. Many waste untold amounts of time dilly-dallying around because they are unclear of what to do next. This exercise will show how having something in writing can be of tremendous benefit. You will notice your productivity shoot through the roof.

Here is how it works:

1. Write down 5 things that you are going to do in the next hour. List them on a piece of paper. The order of importance is not really critical; we are most concerned with the concept. It is also best to choose activities which can be accomplished in 15 minutes or less (writing your college thesis is not what needs to be on this list).

2. Starting with the top one, focus on doing that task until it is completed. After that, go on to the second one. Continue this until you complete all 5 activities.

What this exercise shows is how much more productive we are when we have a plan. Time is saved when we move seamlessly from one activity to the next. Also, this is laying a foundation for how a "life plan" will benefit us. The concept is the same whether we are looking at 5 minutes or 5 years. Having a plan is crucial for our success.
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