How many Thursdays do you have left in your life?

I don’t know about you, but no matter what I do, it seems like I always use more time to do something than I should use.  This is not a new phenomenon.  Actually if you look it up there is actual supposed law for this belief.  Called Parkinson’s Law.

Cyril Northcote Parkinson, actually wrote about this law in a humorist essay he published in the British publication, “The Economist” in 1955.  Parkinson was actually referencing the fact, and the math to support his belief on how bureaucracies expand over time.  Long story short, he was talking primarily about how officials in government seeks to grow subordinates over time, and as they grow the staff, the work increases, but the results do not increase.  Because the bureaucracy creates more work for itself.  But I digress. Go here and read about it yourself.

In my world, Parkinson’s Law manifests in certain projects that I want to complete.  The best example of this I can give is the one I am working on this week. I have to give a keynote presentation next Friday.  I have delivered several presentations that are similar to the one I am giving, but I have to change this one up for the audience more than normal. This week has been a light week for me, which has provided me a lot of time to work on this presentation.

I started on Monday, and I am 75% complete.  But I should be 100% complete and not have to look at it again until next week.  But I know I have until next week to do it.  Well, really Monday or so.  And because I know this, I haven’t completed it yet.

I have always tried to do whatever I can to get the most out of my time, but I still find myself, like in the above example, using more time than I should.

I recently was listening to a book where the author asked me “How many Wednesdays do you have left in your life?”  Well, I had never thought about the question like that before. I never thought about how many Wednesdays an average person lives, or any other day for that matter.

After hearing this question I thought about it, and like most of us would do, and maybe you are doing it now.  I started doing some math.  The math I will do today is on how many Thursdays I have left, obviously I hope I have more, but lets just play the averages.

I am 39 years old. My dad died when he was 60 (ugh), not sure how that plays in.  One of my grandfathers lived until 86 and the other lived until 83.  However, this plays in, I don’t know, but it gives me some benchmarks.

So how many Thursdays do I have left?

  • If I make it to 60 = Currently week 15 of my 39th year, 1,077 Thursdays left.
  • If I make it to the average for males in the United States: 78: 2,013 Thursdays left.
  • Average of my two grandfathers 83+86=169/2=84.5, 2,325 Thursdays left.

If you think about life experiences how many times do you really do certain things.  For example:  How many Super Bowl parties do you really attend.  Lets just say you started going to Super Bowl Parties when you were 18.  Then you if you just use an average life span, (78), you could have only attended 60 Super Bowl parties throughout your life.  It seems like a lot, but when you look at it like this it makes it seem really small in my mind. Not sure how you think about it.

Now that I got you thinking.  Well me too.  I am trying to create a stronger sense of urgency in everything I do.  Look, I consider myself, to be very disciplined, very focused, and very consistent in just about everything I do.  But even I have a room for improvement.

This little exercise challenged me to think about how many days I really have to do what I want to do, and need to do.  When you are a kid, you think you will live forever.  And then as an adult you are too busy to think about living forever. Then you wake up one day and realize you have been out of high school for 20 years.

I have accomplished a lot.  I don’t know if it is more or less than I thought I would accomplish, because I never really thought that much about it.  However, as I am sitting here today in Naples, Florida where I have lived for the last two years, typing this blog, and now that I think about what it is I am achieving and accomplishing, I can honestly say I have accomplished a lot.

However, I know I am capable of so much more, and you are as well. We just have to quit falling victim to Parkinson’s Law and create the urgency to do whatever it takes to start and  finish things quicker.

To your success and your future.

 

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Why I will always rent the home I live in, unless I do this…

If you haven’t heard of Robert Shiller before, then my guess is you haven’t been watching the news or anything related to money or economics.

Shiller is the economist that predicted the housing bubble in 2006 that sent the world as we knew it into a tail spin for the next five years and I am not sure if everyone has yet to recover from it.

Shiller and his team did something ridiculously simple, yet effective. Shiller simply looked at U.S. housing prices dating back to 1890, stripping away inflation. He “benchmarked” the 1890 prices at a value of 100 and tracked relative housing costs through the lens of inflation-adjusted dollars.

Here is what they found:

  • A house in 1897 cost the same as a house in 1997, adjusted for inflation.
  • If you benchmark 1890 prices at a value of 100, you’ll notice that U.S. housing prices have stayed within the 100-120 range over the past century.
  • In 1950, for example, the index stood at 105; in 1996 the index stood at 106. Real estate didn’t make any gains (other than inflation) during that 46-year timespan.
  • Starting in 1997, an unprecedented bubble began forming.
  • Every housing ‘peak,’ or bubble, is followed by a tragic, painful, ugly fall.

Shiller and his team have created the Case Shiller Home Price Index.  Below is the image of the current one.  This index is created quarterly.  If you look at the most recent spike.  Right before the recession hit.  You can now see why he was able to predict the housing bubble.  What is even scarier.  Is that you can see a current one is being formed as I type this.

 

So you are saying right now Brian, you are silly.  A home is an investment.  Over time, this appreciable asset can be sold for more money.  Everybody makes money on real estate.

Well, let me tell you a few other reasons why I will never buy a home again as my primary residence.  First of all, I own five homes.  They are all rented out and make money each money.  Matter of fact they are very profitable.  But I rent where I live. And here are some other reasons why I will always rent, other than the fact as you can see by the chart above it isn’t a very good investment.

The only time I will not rent is the day I can write a check for the place I want to live in.  Meaning I don’t take out a loan.

My other reasons.

Mobility:  I don’t plan on staying put.  I stayed put in my hometown from birth until age 38.  I am not doing that anymore.  I want to move.  I want to see the world. I want to see the United States.  My plan is to move at least every three or four years or so, or maybe sooner.  Look, I get bored easily.  I like new things.  I want to move around and see new things and be in new areas.

Assets vs. Liability: The lie you have been sold is that a home is an asset.  Its not. It is a liability.  It doesn’t make you money every month.  It costs you money every month.  I know, so does rent.  And unless you plan on staying in a house for more than five years, and depending on price, it doesn’t make sense to buy a home unless you plan on staying in it over five years.  Which is not the case for a lot of people.

An asset is something that can provide you cash flow.  If it doesn’t provide you cash flow, then it is not an asset. Simple definitions, an asset makes you money every month.  A liability costs you money every month.

But I am getting the gains from appreciation?  What is the point of appreciation if you can’t do anything with the money?

Costs:  The average down payment of a $150,000 home should be, $30,000, 20%.  If you invest that $30,000 into a home, you have to think about opportunity costs associated with that 30K.  Which means, since you invested your 30K into this home, it means you can’t invest it into something else.  Like a mutual fund, a business, or some other kind of asset that can provide you a return.  So this money is tied up.

I, like you have been sold the “American Dream”, whatever that is.  I think most would say, home ownership is the “American Dream”.  I subscribed to that thinking growing up as well.

But to me the “American Dream” is “Ultimate Freedom.”  Freedom from doing anything I don’t want to do.  Freedom from any debts or obligations to others.  Freedom to come and go as I please.  Freedom to live off of my own assets that I have accumulated.  Freedom to travel and live where I want to live.  Freedom to get up on a Sunday and not have to worry about cutting the grass.

If you like to cut the grass, good for you. I don’t. Life is too short to spend one hour a week  cutting grass.  I have better things I want to do.

In 2006, I bought my first rental property.  It was a $175,000 dollar duplex.  At the time, I was renting a great apartment/duplex in the best area (in my opinion) in my city at the time. That duplex gave me cash flow every single month that helped me establish a love for real estate and a love for seeking pure freedom in my life.  I am closer today to this goal than I was then.  And I get closer every single day.

If you are not sold, I would encourage you to do your own research instead of just taking my word for it.

At age 21, I bought my first house.  To live in.  At that time, that was considered to be the biggest achievement one could make, at least in my circles at that time.  Hey, I am not discounting it if that is what you want to do.  If this is one of your goals, and you do it, then good for you.  I am glad you set a goal and accomplished it.

But for me, ultimate freedom is the goal.  And conventional and traditional ways of thinking have never got anyone I know to this goal.

Also, if you looked at the above chart, this should be a concern if you plan on selling your home over the next few years.  We could be at the top of the bubble.

To your success and your future.

Chart:  http://www.multpl.com/case-shiller-home-price-index-inflation-adjusted/

 

 

 

 

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Can people really change?

This is a question that I have been asked many times by people.  You most likely have a strong opinion on this question as well.  Can people really change?  Especially if they are more experienced (older) and more stuck in their ways.

As a leader for well over twenty years now, a full-time corporate trainer and speaker the last five years. I have come across lots of people in a variety of different environments. I have also studied human behaviors for the last ten years or so.  When I say study, I mean not only through observation, I have been doing that for my entire life.  I mean studying the research that has been conducted and collected by some of the experts in the field of human behavior since the beginning of time.

One of the best books I have read on the study of human behavior, and specifically on the question of whether or not humans can Change, is a book titled Change or Die, The Three Keys to Change at work and in Life.  

In the book, the authors look at research conducted by doctors on people who were diagnosed with severe heart issues.  Some of the participants in the study even have had open heart surgery to other heart related surgeries.  The question was simple.  When faced with death, would the patients change their behaviors to prevent future heart related issues.

What do you think they found?  Did people change their behaviors?

The study concluded that after one year after the diagnosis, or the surgery, that well over 50% of the patients had stopped taking the medication they were supposed to be taking.  At after two years, well over 90% were back to the same behaviors and lifestyles they had before the surgery or diagnosis.

This example says a lot about change doesn’t it?  It says that even when faced with death, change is very hard. Luckily most of us are not in position at this moment that we have to make a life or death decision, and our willingness to change determines what the outcome will be.

However, many people are in situations where making some changes could greatly impact their career and success. The question is, are they willing to make the changes necessary. As the book would tell you, most people aren’t.  But the book, also shares many stories on where people did make changes and how they did it. And in my business, I see the same thing.

From my observations through meeting thousands of people in my training seminars and courses, I have watched people significantly change to get better outcomes in their life and their business.  But there are some conditions and questions that must be answered for those changes to occur in those people.

First, the person must have a need to make a change.  As my mentor said, we make changes for two reasons.  We are either inspired or desperate.  Obviously, both situations lead to change.  I just prefer to make the changes before I am desperate to have to make the change.

For example: Lets says I am an employee at a company.  I have been there for five years.  I know my business pretty well.  So well, that I don’t listen to feedback very well.  Matter of fact, I dismiss most suggestions people make.  In addition to being dismissive I am kind of known as a jerk that nobody likes to work around.

This person could become inspired to make changes, because they realize the impact they are having on the coworkers around them.  Or they could be sat down by their manager and told how they are perceived, and if they don’t change it they will no longer work there anymore.

In either case, a need has been identified, but the better path is to become aware of the change yourself and start to make shift.

My experience tells me that people who do make changes see the need.

The second piece to change is the want.  Do they want to make the change.  Again, it comes down to motivation.  How motivated are you to want to make the change.  If you are about to lose your job, you may be highly motivated, however, are you sold on the concept?   You could fake it for a while, but eventually it will come out on whether or not you really want to change.

In my observations, the people who really see the need and then really want to change are the ones who can make the changes.  And I know it isn’t that simple.  The environment has to be right, and then the right support has to be there as well, but when the need and the want are strong by the individual, change will occur.

The third piece to making a change is a question the person will ask themselves. Can I change?  The simple answer is, Yes, they can change.  But it is the follow-up question that is more important.  Will I change?  We can all change, it is just whether or not will we change.  These two questions, have to be asked and answered with a yes.

To answer the question I posed at the beginning.  Can people change?  Yes, I whole heartedly believe people can change.  They must answer the four questions above though.

Do they see a need to change, however the need is presented to them.  Either they see the need or someone shows the need to them.  Do they want to change?  And then lastly, do they think they can, and will they do whatever it takes to make the changes. When these four questions are answered, and how they are answered, you will know whether or not someone will make a change.

Once these four questions are answered, and answered correctly, the person is willing to do whatever it takes to make whatever the change is.  Then they must get in to the right system or program to make the changes.  This is where it can get complicated.  What is the best system.  I’ll keep it generic on my suggestions as far as what the right system is.  I will just tell you what I believe the system must include.

First the system, must have a singular focus.  It must be focused on whatever the change the person is trying to make is.

Secondly, it must have daily accountability of some kind, that requires the person who is making the change to have to be accountable to.

Thirdly, they must receive some kind of coaching along the way.

Lastly, it must be at least a year-long process with accountability and follow-up.  This is by far one of the most critical things.  The bottom line is change is hard, we know this.  People would rather die than change, as the book validates.  And this kind of change doesn’t happen over night, it takes at least a year to make sustainable changes to a behavior that we have had for a long time.

I have watched people in my training courses make significant changes in their behaviors over the years.  Whether it is a leader that changes the way they interact with their employees and peers.  Or the sales person that has to change their work behaviors to make more sales.

These people were able to make these changes, because they not only answered the four questions.  They had a need, they wanted to make the change, and the sad they Can and they said that they will.  But they also found the right system, with a singular focus, with daily accountability and coaching, and they were committed to at least a certain period of time to work in the system to make the changes.  They haven’t always been year-long processes, but they were lengthy periods of time.

Here is the question for you.  Can you change?  Are you willing to make a change?

I know the answer to the question.  People can change. Will you?

To your success and your future.

 

 

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This one change could increase your teams productivity by 32 percent!

I speak to many leaders and owners of companies that tell me projects are not getting completed as quickly as they should.  It could be a variety of different things that are slowing them down.  Things such as lack of communication, ego, no sense of urgency, to just having the wrong people on the team.

However, recently I started sharing another thing that could be preventing their teams from accomplishing the goal. And it doesn’t have to do anything with the personalities of the team.  It is instead the distance of the team from each other while working on the project.

At the height the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union both, had teams of engineers working on multiple projects trying to develop and create more more weapon systems and satellite systems.  Between the government projects and private enterprise projects, teams of engineers spent countless hours working trying to develop something that had never been done before.

And like in most organizations, there were teams that consistently outperformed other teams in developing and implementing new things and completing projects. The government commissioned a study to determine why some teams were just better at doing this than other teams.  So they called on Thomas Allen who was a MIT Professor.

Allen started off his research by locating what he called “twin projects”, which was when two or more organizations, either private firms and the government were both working on the same problem.  Or it could have been two groups with the government or two groups of private firms.  Allen then measured the quality of their solutions and came up with a list of success factors that two teams had in common for completed projects.

What Allen determine pretty quickly was that the most successful projects were driven by individuals in groups that were very good communicators. After determining this, he wanted to see where these good communicators learned the skill.  Did they all go to the same school?  Did they have more experience?  Were they better at basic leadership skills? Were they just smarter IQ? Did they know each other better?  Allen looked at all of these factors and none of them gave any significance to being the reason for their superior communication skills.

Then he discovered something unique about where and how the teams of engineers were placed in their working environment. At first Allen didn’t think proximity of these teams had anything to do with their ability to get the jobs completed. But after looking at it further he determined that the most successful teams worked closer together physically.

“The ability to see each other everyday” Allen said, “is more important than you think.”

After determining this Allen researched it further by looking at the frequency of the communication between the teams.  They started looking at this across all teams and determined something very interesting. The further away people worked from each other, the frequency of their communication rapidly decreased. Allen said “It is really a serious thing, if you’re on a different floor in some organizations, you may as well be in a different country.”

Allen plotted the frequency of interactions against distance, and he ended up with a line that resembled a steep hill.  It was almost vertical at the top and flat at the bottom.  This became known as the Allen Curve.

As you can see by the curve that the steepness starts right at the eight meter mark. At eight meters or less that communication rises off the charts.

In today’s world with digital communications research has also found that teams still obey the Allen Curve. One study found that workers who shared a location emailed one another four times as often as workers who did not, and as result they completed their projects 32 percent faster (Daniel Coyle; The Culture Code, Bantam Books 2018).

As a trainer I work with organizations daily on the importance of communication in the workplace and how do it more effectively. One of the biggest things I will now share with them is the importance of proximity amongst the team.

The fact is that if we see each other and we know we have to face each other, we will communicate more effectively and more often, these two things determine success on projects and in the workplace.

To your success and your future.

Notes:  I originally read about the Allen Curve in Daniel Coyles book The Culture Code.  I highly recommend this book to anybody who wants to create a better working team. Proximity matters.  Google has also understood the importance of this and have designed all of their facilities accordingly to create the most opportunities for teams to collaborate and work together. 

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Spaghetti and Marshmallows and why kindergartners beat CEO’s in this task.

If you had to make a bet on which team could perform a certain task better between a group of kindergartners, or a group of business students amongst some of the top elite schools in the United States and abroad.  Who would you bet on?

Peter Skillman, an engineer, put together a competition to answer this question.  The task was simple.  He assembled groups of four people at several colleges and universities.  Their task was to see who which group could build the tallest possible structure using the following items:

  • twenty pieces of uncooked spaghetti
  • one yard of transparent tape
  • on yard of string
  • one standard size marshmallow

The contest had one rule.  The marshmallow had to be the final thing on top of the tower.

Who did you bet on?

The students took the approach of first tossing ideas back and forth.  They asked questions to each other.  They looked at several different options.  It was very strategic and professional.  They then decided on an approach.  Divided up the tasks and started building.

The kindergartners did something different.  They didnt strategize. They did not analyze anything or generate any ideas, or banter back and forth. Nope they stood amongst each other.  Grabbed the materials and started building.  No plan.  No strategy.  They started putting things together, and as they got in to it.  They would say to each other.  “Lets try this”.  “No, here”.  “Lets put that here.”

So who did you bet that would build the taller structure?

If you bet on the business school students, you are wrong. In dozens of trials, kindergartners built structures that average twenty-six inches tall, while the students from these universities average structure was about ten inches tall.

Teams of kindergartners not only consistently outperformed business school students, but they also conducted these same trials with lawyers and CEO’s.  The lawyers averaged fifteen inch structures and the CEO’s averaged twenty-two inches structures.

So how is it? and Why is it?  That kindergartners could outperform all of these highly educated and skilled groups of people?

The simple answer is that kindergartners:

  • Don’t have any egos.
  • They are not trying to prove their intelligence
  • They are not trying to be in charge.
  • They aren’t scared to speak up because they may be wrong.
  • They are not afraid to say no to each other.
  • They are not trying to adapt to any social norms.

Nope.  The kindergarteners are just looking at a task that they have been asked to do and just doing it.  Although the research doesn’t mention this, but maybe the kindgartners also have a better imagination.  They are not trying to put limits on themselves and say what can’t be done. Instead, they just try to do things.  This by itself leads to better outcomes, because if you aren’t willing to fail, which it doesn’t even cross the minds of these kindergartners, than you will never know what truly could be done.

In today’s world, probably as you are reading this.  You are on your way to work where either you, or someone you will work with today, will be trying to solve a problem.  Instead of trying to decide who is boss.  Or who should be doing this or that.  I would encourage you to instead take the same approach as the kindergartners did in this research and determine what is the best way to do this and forget everything else.

I know this is a hard ask.  But if we would all approach issues at work, or in our own personal lives this way, we would accomplish a lot more.  There would be less tension and conflict amongst our peers and in our own personal relationships.  And we would just be happier altogether.

See if you can approach life-like a kindergartner today and see how it works out for you.

To your success and your future.

You can watch the TED talk on this research here as well.

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This one thing is preventing you from success, and it is not what you think.

I was on the phone the other day with my good friend.  Who also is a coach and trainer.  We both have coached and trained hundred of individuals over the years.  We were talking about some of the challenges that hold people back from pursuing their dreams or realizing their full potential.  We asked each other this question?

What do you think the one thing that holds people back from being as successful as they could be?

We both thought for a minute.  I think we both said the word fear, and deep down, fear is part of it.  However, we both agreed that the one thing is Money. Yep money is holding people back from pursuing their dreams.  Or realizing their potential.  Or just getting them out of job or situation they hate.

I am not going to pretend that I am a money expert.  However, at the age of thirty-two, I started to figure some things out.

I had an income of six figures or so and I was single.  But I didn’t have any money. By the way.  I loved my job.  I wasn’t necessarily looking to leave my job.  Thankfully, I came to me senses then, while I loved my job.  Because the decisions I made then, eventually helped me to make the decisions I would make in my later thirties when I didn’t love my job.

So I didn’t have any money saved.  I had a nice car, two houses, some money in a Roth IRA.  One of my houses I lived in and the other I rented.  I bought anything I wanted.   I pretty much would eat out every single day. I was living the dream.

Keep in mind, everybody I grew up around and my family and my friends all considered me to be rich.  My parents combined had never made the kind of money that I was making by myself with no children.  And because of my lifestyle, it looked as if I was pretty well off. However, I had a car payment, a house payment, student loan payments, and lifestyle payments.

At thirty-two I started thinking about the future and how I wanted options, and I never wanted to be stuck or trapped.  Being stuck is something that has always scared me.  Whether being trapped in a closet as a kid because of my friends older brother. Or feeling like I was trapped in a situation that I didn’t like, because I had already committed to it.

I just don’t like the feeling of being trapped. So as I am having this awakening about my life. I knew I had to change.

I am not an expert on getting people out of debt or helping people save money.  However, I  have listened to hundreds of hours of people who are.  I read close to one hundred books on finances.  Here is the best advice I can give on money and finances.

  • Stay out of consumer debt (things that don’t appreciate)
  • Keep your income high
  • Keep your expenses low on the things you need
  • Invest into things that make you money.
  • Look at things and ask yourself “How long do I have to work to pay for this?” Then decide if it is worth it.
  • Pay cash for most things.

By age thirty-five I was out of all debt, and actually owned an additional two pieces of property that generated income.

I tell you my story to tell you this.  I made the decision at age thirty-two that I no longer wanted to be trapped in a job because I needed the money. And I loved my job.  That is the hard part, most people don’t make the hard decisions at the times when things are good, to prepare themselves for the future or for when times are bad.  This is why people never get where they want to go and achieve what they want to achieve.

After coaching hundreds of people myself, and my friend doing the same.  We both have come to the same conclusion, that money is the thing that holds people back.

However, you have a choice today.  You can decide to make better decisions and start to change your present and your future, by deciding today that you will no longer be trapped by money.  You just have to decide. It doesn’t matter how good things are today, one day, you will want something different. One day an opportunity will present itself, and you want to be ready to take advantage of the opportunity.  But you have to decide today.

If you are looking for coaching on your career, money, finances, success, etc. I am sure I can help you.  Someone like me who has done all of the research and lived it myself.  I have all of the best resources available to help you achieve your goals.  You just have to decide today.

Are you ready to make a decision today that your future will not only appreciate, but will need?  If so, reach out to me at bwillett555@gmail.com

To your success and your future.

 

 

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My top 10 books out of the last 100 I’ve read!

I recently hit another milestone in my learning journey.  I just finished book number four hundred in seven years.  For some of you, that may seem like a small number.  But to me, from where I started, to where I am today, this is a an amazing accomplishment for me.

I have written countless times about the power, the confidence, and the joy that I get from reading.  But if you have not read any of that up until now.  I will say it again.  There is not one other thing that I have decided to do in my life and in my career, that has been more beneficial to my success financially, mentally, and relational, than making the decision to become an avid reader of books.  This one discipline has provided me with so much more in my life.

Become a reader and your life will change.  You can start with the list I have for you here.

Its funny, as I look back over books 300 to 400.  It was really easy to compile this list. Well, the fact that I have a grading and scoring system that I manage and track for all of the books I read makes it pretty easy.  But that alone, isn’t the only reason.

This list came together so easily, because the books on this list were by far and away, just really that good.  I am not sure how many of them were actually best sellers, but all of them had a profound impact on me which is why they made the list.

These books, aren’t necessarily the best written, most sold, most known (which I guess would also mean most sold), the longest, etc. No.  These books, had a profound impact on the way I thought, or provided me some new insight that I could apply that could make me more successful.  That is how they make the list.  They had an impact on me.

Maybe they will have an impact on you. Remember, click the title of the book and the link will take you right to Amazon so you can purchase the audio version or the hardcopy of the book. These books are in no particular order.

  1.  9 Things You simply Must do to Succeed in Love and Life; author Dr. Henry Cloud.
    Dr. Cloud is a phenomenal writer and speaker.  He has several best-selling books.  This book I picked up at a discount rack somewhere.  The reason I put it on the list is because he has two chapters in the book that really were amazing.  One chapter on playing fair and the other chapter on hate.In the hate chapter he discusses the practice of hating in a way that solves problems instead of creating them. Cloud suggests that hating well preserves life and hating poorly destroys life. An integral component of hating well is objectivity, which hates the issue without hating the person.

    In the chapter on Don’t Play Fair he discusses the practice of loving unconditionally. Loving without conditions is unfair and incredibly powerful. Further, the author suggests that loving without conditions is possible only when healthy detachment exists. In summary, undeserved love transforms lives.

  2. The Business of the 21st Century; author Robert Kiyosaki
    If you have lived under a rock the last twenty years or so, you may not be familiar with Robert Kiyosaki.  He is the author of Rich Dad Poor Dad, and created a massive training company around that title as well.  I received this book from someone who was trying to sell me on joining their MLM (Multi Level Marketing) company.  If you don’t know what MLM is, I again, want to tell you to get out from under the rock.Some people call it Direct Marketing.  But it is selling products through a specific brand like a Herbalife, Amway, Beachbody, etc. to name a few of the bigger ones.  The process for MLM is where a person sells the products to people they know in their circles, and then from there they build a team of people doing it.  As you build a team within their organization you earn money from all of the sales the people on your team make, in addition to your own. I digress.

    This book is somewhat of a promotion of this type of business. A business that I personally have no desire to be in.  I don’t have a problem with the business model, I just don’t want to be in it. However, I am thankful for the book.Robert Kiyosaki is really successful and in the book he is promoting the MLM business, but this book has a whole lot of practical advice on why it is important for everybody to start some kind of business.  Whether it is real estate, selling products, or something else. Everyone should be involved in their full time job and a part-time job doing something that could eventually grow into something bigger.

  3. Be Obsessed or Be Average; author Grant Cardone
    Grant Cardone is a best-selling author and one of the top influencers on all social media platforms.  He is everywhere.  He has two primary goals.  First he is a sales trainer and his company sells sales training.  Secondly, he has built a huge company where he owns over 5,000 apartments around the country. The reason this book was so impactful is Grant is probably the best motivator I have ever listened to or read.  He will make you think bigger and differently than you have ever thought before.This book, is somewhat of  continuation of his 10X book. However, you don’t need to have read the 10X book before you read this one. Although I read the hard copy version, I would encourage you to buy the audible or audio version of this book.  Grant has a way of reading his books like no other person can.  He will get you motivated.
  4. Rejection Proof: How to Beat Fear and Become Invincible, author: Jia Jiang
    After I read this book, I immediately was more motivated to go out and do some of the things I was most fearful of.  I picked up the phone and called a CEO that had been putting me off.  I wasn’t scared of the CEO, or at least, I would have told you I wasn’t.  However, what is the worst that can happen.  There is no growth without a little fear, hesitation, and some discomfort, but that is also where the growth and success exists as well.  Read this book and you will learn how to overcome your fear.  This was one of the best books I have read in a long time about sales and it isn’t even a sales book, but it is.
  5. Win Bigly: Persuasion in a World Where Facts Don’t Matter, author: Scott Adams (Dilbert creator).  Scott Adams is the creator of the world-famous comic strip Dilbert. But Adams is not only a cartoonist, but he is a great writer.  Most of his books are around this topic of persuasion and how we can have more influence.  In this book, he talks about why he was one of the first to predict that Donald Trump would win the Presidential election in 2016.  He made this prediction because of Donald Trump’s ability to persuade and convince people.  This book is well written and is truly a lesson on how you can be more persuasive and convincing and grab attention in todays complex and noisy world.
  6. Nudge: Improving Decision about Health, Wealth, and Happiness; Author: Richard Thaler.  This book is about how every day we make choices—about what to buy or eat, about financial investments or our children’s health and education, even about the causes we champion or the planet itself. Unfortunately, we often choose poorly. Nudge is about how we make these choices and how we can make better ones. The authors show that no choice is ever presented to us in a neutral way, and that we are all susceptible to biases that can lead us to make bad decisions. The author’s research show us that when things are presented in a certain way, we can change the buying patterns for people.  These little nuances can help everyone become healthier and even wealthier.  Richard Thaler also won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2017 for his work around behavioral economics.
  7. Anti Cancer; A new Way of Life; author: David Servan-Schreiber, M.D., Ph. This book chronicles the story about how the author was diagnosed with brain cancer and the steps he took to fight and ultimately beat cancer.  He tells us his story, but also provides the readers his playbook, based on his success and his research, on what we can all do to not only fight cancer, but prevent it.  The biggest thing I learned was that a few changes in my diet could prevent me from ever having to deal with this.
  8. Made to Stick; Why Some Ideas Survive and others Die; authors: Chip and Dan Heath. In typical Heath brothers fashion, this book is peppered with lots of great research and support to back up their claims and the processes they suggest.  Through this process they outline several steps we can all take to come up with and deliver messages that stick with our audience. Whether you are a parent trying to get a message to stick with your child, to a manager trying to get adoption of a new process. This book tells you how to communicate in a way that gets things to stick.
  9. The Thomas Sowell Reader; Author Thomas Sowell.  Sowell is an American economist, turned social theorist, political philosopher, and author. He is currently Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. This book is a collection of the authors columns that have been syndicated in Newspapers for the last forty years, and our still being distributed.  Sowell’s opinions on everything from race, religion, politics, to every other hot button topic you hear about everyday is refreshing.  The way he breaks down and communicates in his writings his arguments on all of these topics will challenge you to think about the topic differently, regardless of what side of the argument you are on.  He believes in personal responsibility and that government should not be in our lives as much as they are.  Yes, he would be labeled as a conservative on many of his views.  However, I consider most of his arguments to be just very practical and straightforward.
  10. Steal Like an Artist; 10 Things Nobody Told you about Being Creative; author: Austin Kleon.  This book is the shortest read on the list.  The book is actually really tiny, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t impactful.  The information in the book, the quotes, the ideas the author throws out will really get you thinking about how you can get your creative juices flowing.  In addition, the author reminds you that everything we create is some form of a copy of something else.  Nothing is original.  We all have to start from something.  And he makes you feel good about how you go about creating and developing your material in whatever it is that you do.  This book isn’t only for people who currently do work that must be created, this is for someone who would like to be more creative.  This book will show you how to do it.

I hope you pick up a few of the books that I have recommended here.  When it comes to reading, I have learned that I must seek out other people’s opinions on books and get recommendations.  Most people won’t recommend a bad book.  I won’t, unless I think it will help someone based on whatever it is they are dealing with and working through.

But that is the point, many of the books I recommend and say are my best.  May only have been the best, because of what I was doing at the time I read them.  Of the four hundred books I have read, some of them, if I read them again today, I might be looking at them through a whole different set of eyes based on my perspective now.  And this list could be a totally different list.

My only advice to you is this. Become a reader.  Start finding books or even listening to books.  It will change your life. It has mine.

To your success and your future.

 

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Bring the pain and the results will follow.

At the first signs of pain, most people usually quit.  It could be the pain associated with exercising.  The pain of having to cook dinner instead of going out to eat to save money. Or, it could be the pain of finally tackling that project that you have been putting off.

Our ability to endure pain, physical or mental, could be the secret that leads to success or failure in accomplishing our goals.

Karel Gijsbers, a psychologist at the University of Stirling, in Scotland, published an influential paper in the British Journal of Medicine in 1981. Gijsbers along side one of his graduate students, put 30 elite swimmers from the Scotland National team through a series of pain tests and then compared those results to 30 Club Level swimmers and 26 non-athletes.

The protocol for this study involved cutting off the circulation to the subjects arms with a blood-pressure cuff, and then having them clench and unclench their fist once per second. The “Pain Threshold” was defined as the number of contractions needed to produce a sensation that registered as pain rather than merely discomfort. “Pain Tolerance” was quantified as the total number of contractions before the subject gave up.

The first finding was that the pain threshold was essentially the same in all three groups, starting around 50 contractions.  The second time the test was conducted the results were different. The pain tolerance of the National Team swimmers endured an average of 132 contractions before calling it quits.  Compared to the 89 in the club swimmers and 70 in the non-athletes.

Gijsbers remarked that because of the more systematic approach in which the National Team Swimmers exposed themselves to pain during training, that they had created or harnessed brain chemicals like endorphins, or perhaps simply thanks to psychological coping that allowed them to endure more pain.   He also said that “pain” can be strangely motivating or even required to the highly motivated athlete.

Gijsbers conducted these studies three more times throughout the year and found that the National Team Swimmers scored highest in June, which is their peak racing season; lowest in October, which is their off-season, and somewhere in the middle during their regular training period in March.

These seasonal fluctuations suggest that pain tolerance is linked to the type of training that the swimmers were doing during each of these testing periods. During the season, they were pushing their limits every single day, which provided them more tolerance based on their daily training schedules.

Similar studies have been done since Gijsbers studies in 1981, and they have all concluded with similar results.

So if pain is required to have more success, how do I train myself to be able to endure more pain?

For the purposes of this writing, I will stick to the topic of just exposing yourself to more pain.  To be able to endure more pain, you have to set a goal a reason for that goal.  I have covered those topics extensively in other writings.  Email me if you are interested in reading those bwillett555@gmail.com

In a recent book I read, it discussed the fact that when it comes to exercise that most of us will quit long before we ever run into any possibility of really hurting ourselves.  Our body is hardwired to shut down well before we could possibly ever get in to serious trouble of actually dying.  But if you have ever worked out before, really really hard, you may feel like you are about to die while you are in the moment.

At this peak of exhaustion and mental anguish is when most people quit. They don’t push themselves through the pain, because most of us are don’t want to feel this kind of pain.  However, when you are feeling this pain it is when you are actually burning the most calories and optimizing the benefits from the actual exercise you are doing.

I’m not suggesting you go forever, I’m just suggesting you may want to push yourself during this pain for a certain amount of time, and then each workout after you continue to push yourself to stay in that zone longer and longer.  This is where you will start to see more results and growth.

What about the pain associated with eating dinner at home versus going out to eat.  I have been there before, I was in debt and spending close to thirty to thirty-five percent of my monthly income on going out to eat.  If you are spending that much money on eating out and you add-on top of that twenty-five percent in housing costs, and then all of your other expenses, including the debts.  You can see real quickly that you won’t make much progress on eliminating your debts.

My suggestion is to first figure out how much you are spending and on which days do you typically do this.  I am sure you will see a pattern.  Then decide which days or day you will pick to stop doing this. It could be on Mondays or Saturdays.  It depends on your pattern. It could be on the days you attend class or your kid plays sports.

Now that you have the day picked out, decide what you will do instead. Will it be cooking at home that day.  Or should you pick another day to make additional food, so you can eat leftovers on the day you pick?   Seems like a lot of work doesn’t it?  It is so much easier to just eat out instead.

Yes it sure does. But this isn’t getting you any closer to your goals of paying off debt.  Your ability to endure the pain is what will either help or hurt you in achieving this goal.

I am quite sure that if you are reading this your goal is not to be an Olympic Swimmer.  However, I do think you are like most people and want to find a way to get ahead and move you and your family closer to your ideal situation financially as well as lifestyle wise.

To do this, it is going to require you to do things that you haven’t been able to do before successfully.  As my mentor told me, “To get what you have never had, you have to do something that you have never done.”  Maybe this is you as well.

Enduring pain and making sacrifices is not a forever thing.  It is only for a season, a period of time, it isn’t going to last forever.  If you endure some pain during a workout for three months or so, each day enduring more and more.  Eventually you will hit your goal.  If you don’t eat out for a period of time, you will eventually get to a better financial position than you are currently. Believe me, I have lived this personally.

So the question is are you willing to endure some pain to accomplish your goals?

To your success and your future.

If you need some help with this contact me at bwillett555@gmail.com I am currently meeting with clients to help them achieve the things they want in their life and in their career.

Excerpts for this blog taken from the book Endure; Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance written by Alex Hutchinson. 

 

 

 

 

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Unrealized Potential, do you have some?

I recently read a quote or statement that said that the graveyard is full of unrealized goals, un-lived dreams and untapped-into potential.

I am not sure if it is just me, but this statement just resonates with me.  It does sound a little morbid, but it paints such a clear picture of what I don’ want.  Who wants to wake up one day and say to themselves:

  • “I wish I would have done more”.
  • “I wish I could have done that.”
  • “I wish I would have pursued that”
  • ” I wish I didn’t spend so much time on that”

All of these statements are things that I can change now.  I have control over all of these things.

My mentor said it this way.

He said that the pain of regret weighs tons, and the pain of discipline weighs ounces.

If it is not obvious to you. This statement means that it is much easier to do the things today and everyday, that is necessary for you to realize your potential and live your life to the fullest, by just implementing the right daily disciplines in your life.  The work is hard, but when you are consistent it gets easier.

But if you don’t do the things you are supposed to do.  And you allow neglect in certain areas of your life to creep in.  Whether it is your health, your wealth, or your education and knowledge, then one day you will wake up and have regret.  Because when you don’t focus on these important things in your life, and you neglect them consistently for a long period of time.  You will eventually wake up one day, and because of it, you will have regrets.

You will wake up one day at age 50 and know that you don’t have enough, or any money, saved for retirement.  You will go into work one day at 52 and learn that your company is not doing so well, and so they will be letting you go.  And because all you have every done at the company was one thing for many years, your skill set isn’t transferable to another job very easily.

And as I have learned from first hand experience in my personal life.  If you neglect your health for years and years it will eventually catch up to you.  As I am typing this, I can still see my fathers face as he was sitting in the emergency room that day.  I didn’t know and he didn’t know what was going on, but I know that it was the last time I saw him alive.

My dad was the best dad anybody could have.  I loved my dad.  He would do anything for anybody.  I had a great child hood.  But when it came to health and wellness, my dad was just not that interested in it.  I hate to say that he didn’t think about it, but he was old school. If he wasn’t bleeding or hurting, than nothing was wrong.

He would occasionally go on diets to lose a few pounds.  Or cut out certain foods here and there.  But it just wasn’t his top priority.  He was too busy doing work and life.

I am not sure about you, but I know for me that I never want to wake up one day and say any of the above statements.  I want to reach my potential in every aspect of my life.  I want to be the best husband that I can be.  I want to be the best I can be in my community and church.  I want to make the most money that I can make.  I want to be in the best shape and health I can be in.  I want to buy and own as many rental properties that I can buy.

You name it, and I want to achieve it.  But it isn’t going to happen unless: I choose to realize and fulfill my full potential.  My potential isn’t going to be realized doing things I shouldn’t be doing.  It isn’t going to be realized and fulfilled by spending hours and hours doing things that should only take one hour.  It isn’t going to realized and fulfilled by listening to people who don’t even know or care about what I am trying to accomplish.

Nope none of this will happen unless I decide and go all in.

I have to make the decision today and everyday, that I will do nothing and I will do everything that it takes to realize and fulfill my full potential.

Are you with me?

I didn’t hear you!

Are you with me?

If you are with me.  Drop me note in the comments section wherever you read this and let’s make it happen.

To your success and your future.

 

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3 reasons that is preventing you from achieving your enrollment goal

As a long time Admissions Manager, I know first hand what it means, and what it takes to meet or exceed an enrollment goal, or meet budget.  I can remember in the good old days, like the early 2000’s, and in 2007 through 2010, the excitement and fun we were having meeting our goals and kicking butt.  I was also in my late twenties, and early thirties, as well, so I am sure that was part of the fun.

But today it is different.  Everything is different.  The competition is different.  The way you enroll a student is different. The way a student decides to go to school is different.  The staff you are hiring is different.

I honestly, can’t think of one thing that is the same, other than some of the major reasons why a person decides to go back to school or not.  And the process on how and why a person chooses one college over another is still the same.

I don’t think the industry will ever go back to where it was.  It is just too different in all the ways I stated above.  However, I do know a school can increase their chances of meeting and exceeding their budgets by implementing a few of the suggestions or processes I describe here.

You don’t have a process:  I have gone into school after school, after school.  And I have spoken to leader after leader, and owner after owner of schools for years. And they all say the same thing. “Our Admissions teams know how to enroll students.” And what I inevitably find, is that if they have ten Admissions Advisors, they will have two that do know how, five that are winging it, and two that are about to be fired, and one that should be fired.

Just because a person delivers results, it doesn’t mean they know how they are doing it. If they don’t know how to do it, then they definitely can’t train others how to do it.  This is what I find in school after school.  The leaders are leaving the training up to other Admissions Advisors who may or may not, even know what they are doing.

Secondly, the process is not a process on how to appeal to motives of prospective students and help the student understand themselves better and why they want to go back to school.  Nope.  The process is an application, a financial aid appointment, maybe an assessment, and if the student does these things, then the institution will allow them to start school.  And maybe the student will start school.  If they do, they may actually attend a few semesters or quarters.  But when the going gets hard, the student usually gets going.  Right to the withdrawal process and out the colleges doors.

The solution is to work with a reputable company that has a history of creating an effective Admissions process that helps Admissions teams get results, while keeping the students best interest in mind. I know most institutions these days, always have what is best for the student in mind.  But it is important to also have a standard process that not only helps the Admissions advisors, but also helps the student.

Old school leadership:  I have found myself using the term old school leadership more often this past week than I ever have before.  I guess, because I keep seeing it so much.

What is old school leadership?
Here are a few examples: 
My people don’t need any training. 
I do the training myself. 
People will just show up and do a good job. 
We are just fine right now. 

When I hear any of the above things, I just roll my eyes and laugh.  Because this is closed-minded thinking and this is obviously not what is best for your school.

First of all, there is never a good time to conduct training.  There is always another start.  I get it.  But, everyone needs training.  Ask the greats.  Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, and you name it athlete.  They train three times more than they ever play their actual sport.  I am sure you have heard this comparison before, so if it wasnt convincing then, I am not sure it will be now.

Most people will show up and want to do a great job, but they might not know how.  Or they might mostly know how, but there could be one or two things that they could learn that could change the game.

Secondly, training is not only about the actual material that is covered, it is about the camaraderie that is created amongst the team.  And when in the right kind of training environment, where people are stretched and pulled out of their comfort zones, this could be huge confidence boosters that can significantly impact the results of your team.

You don’t even know what they are saying:  Here it is. Yes.  I am pitching my product to you.  Under the Trump Administration every one has gotten really excited and are optimistic about the future.  By the way.  I am as well.  However, let’s be honest here.

This train is way on down the tracks here. We had eight years of increased scrutiny and more and more regulations.  All of that is not going to be overturned in a year or even four years. And this is really not the reason, you would even consider buying my product anyway.  My product is for helping your team, your people, and your processes to get better.

Sure you can use it for compliance and verification as well.  But, our product is for developing people.  When you run a secret shopping campaign at your school, it is to find and eliminate things such as inefficient processes, bad language from your Admissions teams, and then lastly even validation and proof of what you do well.  Contact me at the info below if you want to schedule a free complimentary shop.

When we run a secret shopping camping with one of customers, it is first and foremost and opportunity to use it to coach and train employees to get better.

Let me ask you.  Do you have a process that helps students discover their own desires for going back to school?  Do you have “old school leadership” in place that is preventing you from reaching goals and budgets because of their mindset?  And lastly, do you even know what your staff is saying to your customers?  I mean prospective students?

As the owner of MPACT Group Inc. and a long time Higher Ed executive, I know the challenges your Admissions teams faces and I take a new approach to training and developing todays current admissions workforce to get the most out of them.

If you are interested in learning more. Reach out to me at bwillett555@gmail.com

To your success and your future.

 

 

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