Category Archives: Success

Seven Simple Steps to Realizing Your Dreams

This formula is time tested and proven by some of the most successful people who ever lived. It isn’t original, in fact, it is ancient. It’s been published in various forms hundreds, maybe thousands of times over the last 4000 years. If you already know it, read it again – repetition is key to personal growth. You can read volumes of productivity and self-help books if you wish, but these seven simple steps are the foundation of all personal change and all personal achievement.

1. Decide exactly what you want. Make it a goal.

Did you know most people never do this? If you ask the average person what they want from life, they can’t tell you anything specific. You can’t have everything, so you need to make a decision. If you don’t, others will make the decision for you. Don’t hunker down and wait for life to come to you.

Engage life and decide what you want to do with it!

Be specific. Don’t say…

  • I want to be “happy and rich”

It’s too vague. “Happy and rich” isn’t a destination or a goal. It’s too abstract and subjective. Instead say…

  • I want to lose 40 lbs and save $100,000 in cash

But it doesn’t have to be about health or money. Your goal could be anything specific. It could be…

Now that’s specific!

Be realistic. What does realistic mean? It means something different to each one of us. For me, becoming an NHL All-Star isn’t realistic. I don’t have the natural talent and I’m too old. But for you it could be realistic. Only you know for sure. The best way to know if your goal is realistic is to ask yourself “Do I really believe this is possible for me?” If you can honestly say yes, then it is realistic. I’m not talking about delusional thinking here. I’m talking about BELIEVING NOT WISHING you can accomplish your goal. Don’t lie to yourself.

2. Decide what you are willing to give to reach your goal.

Deciding on a specific goal is only the first step. Next, you need to give value in return. You can’t get something for nothing, even stealing requires some effort.

Examples:

  • If you want to lose 40lbs, you might need to spend more time in the gym and spend more money on healthy foods.
  • If you want to save $100,000, you may need to give more attention to the people you serve in business, your customers or your employer. You may need to spend time acquiring specialized knowledge so you can give more value to your customers.
  • If you want to build a 300 HP, 225 MPH, V-8, P-51 replica kit plane, you may need to volunteer your time and services to help someone else build a kit plane first, that way you can learn the specialized skills required.

Often it isn’t only what you need to give, it is also what you need to give up.

Examples:

  • If you want to lose 40lbs, you may need to give up soda pop, sweets, and lazy evenings on the couch.
  • If you want to save $100,000, you may need to give up expensive vacations, a big house, or a new car.
  • If you want to build a 300 HP, 225 MPH, V-8, P-51 replica kit plane, you
    may need to give up watching football and NASCAR on the weekend.

Once you know what you need to give (and give up), be willing to make the sacrifice. Everything has an opportunity cost.

3. Develop a plan.

Planning is essential to reaching your goal. Goal setting without planning is like trying to reach a destination without directions – you’ll end up someplace you didn’t intend to be. Your plan doesn’t need to be perfect, it doesn’t need to be the most efficient (although it helps), but it does need to layout specific actions and steps toward your destination. Your plan also needs to be flexible. You will meet unexpected obstacles along your journey, you will find flaws in your plan, so you will need to alter your plan.

4. Set a date you plan to reach your goal.

Someone once said goals are dreams with a deadline. That’s partially true. But I don’t like the word ‘deadline’, I like ‘target date’ instead. It’s flexible. A target date makes your goal and plan real. Leaving your goals open ended leaves no sense of urgency for action. Open ended goals are rarely achieved.

You need a target date, but things do change. I’ve worked in software for over 10 years and I’ve rarely hit a target perfectly. Sometimes they move in but more often they move out. Expecting to hit your date every time is like expecting to put every golf shot in the hole. You need to aim for the hole, but you’ll rarely hit it, so when you miss, you asses the distance to the hole – the obstacles and hazards, shoot again, and repeat until you sink the shot. Do not quit simply because you didn’t meet your first date, reorganize, set a new date, and keep going.

5. Put steps 1 – 4 in writing.

It is essential to write everything down. Writing them down shows commitment. Don’t use a computer. I prefer to write my goals by hand with a pen and paper and carry them everywhere I go. It has more psychological power when you see your goals in your own handwriting. Hand written goals have an almost magical property. When I reflect back I realize the 90% of the goals I have written down I have achieved.

6. Read your written statement aloud at least twice a day.

People have a hard time with this one. I did too. As a kid, I watched Al Franken as Stuart Smalley stand in front of the mirror and say, “I’m Good Enough, I’m Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like Me!” To me reading goals aloud always felt a little… well… weird.

When you make a mistake, have you ever blurted out, “I’m so stupid” or when frustrated, “this is never going to work?” That’s called negative self-talk, and most of us do it habitually. And unlike positive self-talk, negative self-talk is socially acceptable. For some of us, negative self-talk is all we say about ourselves out loud.

If you have the same hang ups I had, you need to get over it. You need to learn to talk about your goals and your dreams aloud, both when other people are present and when you are alone. If you still can’t talk about your goals with yourself, get a personal coach, have regular meetings, and go over your goals aloud.

Why is this important?

Reading your goals aloud several times daily will program your subconscious mind to act on your goals and plans. When you make a habit of reading your goals aloud daily it becomes nearly impossible to procrastinate. Your subconscious mind will begin handing you new ideas and fine details and it will nag you when you’re lazy, if you you follow this step habitually.

7. Take action toward your goals every day.

Persistent action is critical. Every day make a habit of taking action. Dreams are not realized sitting around imagining the future, dreams are realized by taking planned calculated action. Massive action yields massive results, tiny action yields tiny results, no action yields no results.

Remember you don’t have to get it right, you just need to get going!

Everything is Amazing, But Nobody is Happy

Life comes at you in waves, some up, some down. Yesterday Christine and I had a few surprises that are going to be challenging. Sometimes, when you’re skipping along the sidewalk a bully comes along and pushes you into the mud. While life deals you unexpected challenges, it is your choice how you frame them.

Sometimes people rob us. Sometimes bad stuff happens to us, sometimes to people we love.  But wallowing in resentment and self-pity is self-destructive, and vengeance and violence create more injustice. The only good answer is… deal with it (however you must) and move on.

We’ve become a society of whiners who panic at the slightest setbacks. Things are happening right now that may change that mindset for many generations. One of the best things that came out of the Great Depression were ethical business leaders who were grateful for the opportunity to add value to the world.

Today, too many people are focused on what they can get, not what they can give.

I was talking to my father last night. He grew up on a farm in northern Minnesota during the Great Depression. He said many times during the 1930s his family went months on less than 25 cents. Roosevelt sent agents out to slaughter their cattle without compensation (the government wanted to reduce the supply of cattle to increase prices – it didn’t work). Eventually the government took their farm because they couldn’t pay their taxes.

Many years before the government killed my Grandfather’s livestock and stole his farm, he was drafted into the First World War and gassed on the battlefield. He survived, but it almost killed him. His lungs were reduced to 50% capacity and all his teeth fell out. He had recurring bouts of illness over decades where he spent months in the hospital while my Grandmother ran the farm and raised four boys.

You know what? They lived to be over 90 and I never once heard them complain about how hard they had it. In fact, they thought that life was amazing.

I recall my Grandmother’s first airline flight and how she couldn’t stop talking about how amazing it was.

You can’t see how wonderful the world is while you’re complaining.

When we open our eyes, we see that life is truly amazing, how blessed we are, and that happiness is a choice.

This video brings that message home:

I found this video via Mark J. Perry who publishes the economics blog CARPE DIEM. I love economics. But what I love most about Mark J. Perry’s blog is how he consistently finds economic news that is POSITIVE. Thanks for the good news Mark!

6 Truths to Wake Up to Right Now

This is a guest post by Glen Allsopp from PluginID.

There are times in life where we get ‘wake up calls’ to the harsh reality of what is out there and realise we need to make changes to our current situation. Whether it is the death of someone close to you or seeing other people make something of their lives, until these happen we don’t notice we’ve probably been doing nothing productive with our time.

I’m a big believer in the concept of making the most of what we have, so today I wanted to share six truths about life that should hopefully help inspire and motivate you to make a difference. Some of these may help you a lot, some…not so much .Either way, I hope you get something out of this that inspires you to make a difference and apply change to your life where necessary.

1. This is Life

Quite possibly the most obvious but most eye-opening advice I can ever offer people is the statement: this is life. We may have more than one shot, but nobody knows that for certain so we have to make the most of what we have. This is it. Right now. This is life. More likely than not you will never get this opportunity again.

Let go of all the grudges you hold against others, make sure all the people that are important in your life know how you feel, and don’t waste another minute complaining about something petty. Could you honestly say that if you knew you were dying tomorrow you’ve made the most of the opportunity you have?

If not (which I’m sure applies to most people), then look at areas that instantly popped into your mind when asking yourself that question. What is holding you back?

2. Happiness isn’t Found in Possessions

Some of you may agree with me on this, some may disagree. For those that disagree, would you still be happy through your possessions if nobody else in the world ever knew about them? We can be fooled into thinking that possessions bring happiness due to the Ego boost or feelings of self-esteem we get from new purchases.

It was when I first heard this concept that I started to look to see if it was true. It was a few days before Christmas and I thought “No way! Possessions (games consoles in this case) can make us happy”. Yes, they can…for a limited amount of time if anything at all. True happiness is found in freeing yourself in life, going for the things you want and not letting others hold you back.

3. Caring What People Think will Hurt You More Than any Benefit

Even writing out that title I’m thinking “What are the benefits of caring about what people think of us?” Of course, when I say this I’m not suggesting you should go out, beat people up and break into shops. No, I’m referring to the judgements of others and the way we worry about how people will react to our decisions, our goals or even the way we dress.

If you spend your life worrying about what people think of you, you’re never going to find your true self. Your actions will be largely dictated on your assumptions of the opinions of others. Recently, when I showed my ~20 year old malefriends about my blog, I really thought they were going to judge me, and think “Why are you writing all this self help rubbish?”. Well, guess what? They actually loved what I have to write and fully support what I do.

Of course, not everyone will think like that, but if I had of worried from the start I would have never started my website in the first place, and I wouldn’t be writing this article today. What other people say about you is none of your business. Internalise that.

4. To Get Over Fears, Face Them

Fears come in many forms, but it’s rarely the fears of our current situation that bother us. When we fear things the most we fear the future, instead of focusing on the present moment. I’m sure some of you can relate to being nervous about driving when you first started to learn, but do any feelings of anxiety even cross your mind now that you drove so often? Probably not.

One of my biggest fears has always been public speaking, I can be very social but it was only until I knew a person that I started to show my real self. Despite having this fear, I decided to join a local speakers club and actually had my first speech yesterday.

My finishing line went something like this: “I’ve always been afraid of public speaking. However, I want to be the kind of person that fears public speaking, then signs up to a club and goes and speaks“. What about you?

5. Tomorrow May Not Come

With each day, my aim is to have been as productive as the one before. There are my off days where I take time out, relax, go out with friends, but on a usual Monday to Friday I always want to be as effective and efficient as possible. With each day I want to be proud of my accomplishments, I want the people around me to know how much they mean to me and I want to accept my mistakes and let go of any negative feelings.

People make mistakes, all of us do. Don’t waste your time worrying about what has happened. If you can take action then do so, otherwise just let go. Accept all that is, having things on your mind is going to stress you out more than the actual problem itself. As I demonstrated in point 3, worrying isn’t even worth it most of the time, things don’t turn out how we expect.

6. Only You Can Make These Happen

Hopefully some of the points here have motivated you somewhat to look at your life and see if you are on the ‘right’ path. If so then excellent. There’s just one more thing you need to know: only you can take action and make things happen. Friends can encourage you, your family can push you out there to do things, but at the end of the day, it’s up to you to make changes into habits, then habits into your lifestyle.

The support of others, the words in this post, your own beliefs…they are all great, they’ll help you get to a certain position. But ultimately it is you that has to look at your own situation, work out whether this is the life you want to live or whether you need to make some changes. If you do see that changes are necessary, go make them, show others what is possible rather than needing them to show you.

Thanks to Steve for the opportunity to post here.

Glen Allsopp moved to South Africa at the age of 18 where he didn’t know one single person. In that time he started a blog on Personal Development, and now aims to help people live the life they want to live.

You Are What You Choose To Do Next

Social sorting keeps us from becoming the people we were meant to be.

What you really are, can’t be classified by anyone but you. Your social status is a mental abstraction. It may be collective, but it is still an abstraction.

When you were in high school, you weren’t a jock, a burnout, a punker, a wannabe, a jell, a freak, a geek, a nerd, a preppie, a brain, or any other classification.

Social sorting happens early and often in our government schools. They were designed as a factory sorting system using scientific management. While the people have changed and the cosmetics have changed the base system is no different. It starts with the first pre-K screening and never ends. My file was paper and is probably long gone (I’ve asked for it and they can’t find it), but today the labels assigned to you will stick in a computer forever. The problem with this system is breaking free from the labels that bind you. The place you break free is in your own mind.

I find forms that ask for race particularly offensive. I usually check “other” and write in “human.” That really pisses off bureaucrats. They think I’m being a smart ass when I am being honest.

You aren’t what someone names you. You aren’t what you’ve done. You aren’t a diagnosis or a disease or a disorder. You aren’t how much money you have. You aren’t your test scores or your wins and losses. You are what you choose to do next.

When Did Your Life "Jump the Shark?"

This is a guest post by Daniel Brenton author of The Meaning of Existence (and all that).

I am a late bloomer.

I don’t feel particularly old, but I must acknowledge that I was born in the second half of the Twentieth Century — with a little room to spare. And I must confess it has taken me more years than I’d care to admit for me embrace the idea I had abilities that could free me from a life of the mundane, and give me a life of excellence.

We all do, of course. Some of us are born knowing who they are or what they have, but most of us have to put in the work to find these things.

Continue reading When Did Your Life "Jump the Shark?"

How to Find Happiness in a Sea of Bad News

Do you want to know why Americans eat anti-depessants like Cheetos at a Super Bowl party?

Have you heard of the game “Ain’t it Awful?”

It isn’t a board game or a video game or a TV game show, it’s a conversational game we play with ourselves, our friends, our families, and our society as a whole. We play to get an emotional payoff. It relieves us of responsibility for changing the parts of our lives we can change.

You probably played “Ain’t it Awful” with friends when you were in college. Maybe you were sitting around the dorm room and the conversation went like this…

“Did you hear about Anne? She’s failing out. The dean told her she wasn’t college material.”

“Yeah? That’s nothing. Did you hear about Jenny? She’s pregnant and she won’t have an abortion. It’s going to ruin her life. She’ll have to dropout and raise a baby.”

“You know what? It could be worse. My cousin Shelia’s only 21 and already has three kids. She lives with her alcoholic boyfriend who beats her all the time. We’ve been trying to get her to leave. She used to be so smart and pretty. What a waste.”

If it’s a light game of “Ain’t it awful” it ends there, everyone shakes their heads and mutters some version of “Ain’t it Awful” and then the subject changes.

You can be sure you’re playing the game when someone mentions something awful just to be interesting and then someone else feels they have to “one up” them with an even more awful thing.

Another sure sign of the game, is how it promotes powerlessness. To be an “Ain’t it Awful” game, no solution can be sought. Seeking solutions ruins the game. The tragedies must be out of your control. And if a solution is proposed it’s usually impractical and extreme.

It also works as a way of spreading guilt. “Who are we to have it so good, when so many are suffering? It just isn’t fair, and there is nothing I can do. Ain’t it awful?”

The game can be played soft or hard. In the hard version, someone is singled out for failing to understand how awful something is. You know you’ve got a hard player, when they get offended if you try to change the subject or you don’t agree that their story is really horribly, terribly, awful. When a family plays the game hard, children are shamed and ridiculed when they don’t seem to understand how awful something is. Some families play the game hard for generations. How do I know? I’ve been a hard player for most of my life. (And, yes, I realize that this post could be the first round in a game of “Ain’t it Awful.”)

Many political and religious movements use games of “Ain’t it Awful” as a recruiting tool, using shame, guilt, and fear as a means of control.

The TV news, much of our schooling, and our society as a whole feeds us this game constantly. They dredge up the worst possible news, stick it in your face, and if you don’t say “Ain’t it awful” with enough sincere heartfelt disgust, then you must be some cold-hearted sociopath. It is no wonder half the United States is running around on anti-depressants.

But it isn’t true. The game of “Ain’t it Awful” paints a false picture of our world. For the most part, our world is a wonderful place, and we are powerful beyond our own comprehension. The “Ain’t it Awful” stories are the exceptions, not the rule. But even if the world is awful, how are guilt, shame, and depression going to help?

So what can you do about this game?

Stop playing it. Don’t spread bad news just to spread it. If you are going to talk about a problem, then seek a reasonable solution. Find out if it is actionable for you. If it isn’t, move on, and focus somewhere where you can make an impact.

You’re probably not going to end world hunger, poverty, or war.

But you can:

  • Be good to the people you touch everyday
  • Create a positive idea
  • Spread it
  • Start a business
  • Create a job
  • Create 10 jobs
  • Make some money, save some, spend some, and give some away
  • Teach others to do the same

If everyone did that, the biggest problem we’d have is… what to do with all the kindness, jobs, and money.

Now wouldn’t that be awful?

Do What You Love – Become a Career Renegade

Do you want to build the life of your dreams? Do you want to learn how do it from experienced teachers? Men and women who have proven themselves?

You can find the answers in Jonathan Fields new book, Career Renegade: How To Make A Living Doing What You Love.

I read an advance copy of the book over the weekend and I couldn’t put it down.

In his book, Jonathan tells his story. It begins with Jonathan as an overworked securities lawyer. After working 72 straight hours, he turned pale white, dropped, and ended up in the OR. His immune system had collapsed and a serious infection almost killed him. Fortunately, he made a full recovery and he listened to the message his body sent him. From that point he re-designed his life.

Knowing that he needed to take better care of himself, he developed a plan, quit his job, lived off his savings, became a personal trainer, eventually owning a yoga studio, blogging, speaking, and writing, a journey he shares in detail.

Not only does he share his story, but the stories of other Career Renegades who had different paths than his. Not all are entrepreneurs, some found better jobs. Not all did it online, some did it the old fashioned way. Not everyone has made millions, but all have found a way to live comfortable lives doing what they love.

People Like:

Ann Rea
Bert Ingley
Gina Trapani
David Riklan
Bette Fetter
John Jantsch
Brian Clark
Liz Strauss
Victoria Colligan
Anita Campbell
Leo Babauta
Joe Alban

But this book is so much more than a compilation of stories. It is filled with detailed instructions on how it was done, and how you can do it too.

When you read Career Renegade you will learn:

– How to find your passion

– How to develop a new career path

– How to organize and sell knowledge

– How to build community

– How to protect your intellectual property

– How to build authority

– How to be social online

– How to build a blog and other social media exploits

– How to market yourself on the cheap

– How to cultivate the right mindset

What I like best about this book, is how Jonathan presents this information in plain direct language that is easy to understand and apply. He also presents his ideas with a dose of cautious common sense. This isn’t one of those ‘burn your bridges’ books. Jonathan is far too wise to take that track.

If you want to change your lifestyle by harnessing the passion inside yourself, Career Renegade is a great place to start. It isn’t expensive. It’s one of those books, if you put the ideas into practice they will pay for themselves a thousand fold, maybe more.

This book is a must read for anyone looking to make a career change.

You can find Career Renegade at Amazon.com and most other retail bookstores.

The Hidden Secret in Think and Grow Rich – Exclusive Offer

Do you want to know the formula I used to go from destitution, without a dollar in my pocket to having a beautiful wife, two children, a rewarding career, and a home based business, a change so dramatic that my descriptions of it on this blog will never do it justice?

Do you want to know the techniques (dare I say) a mentor of mine used to build a $150 million dollar manufacturing company from his garage, a company that now employs thousands worldwide? A man who believed in these techniques so strongly he gave company-wide seminars on the formula.

The formula is contained in Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, a book which has permanently changed my life. This book contains timeless ideas (written in 1937) you can use to enrich yourself monetarily, socially, and spiritually.

When someone asks me, what should I do to increase my income? What can I do to create better relationships? How can I achieve a new level of success in my life?

I tell them to read two books.

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Study them, highlight them, and commit them to memory. I felt that everything you needed to know about self-improvement was contained in these two volumes… Until Now.

There is a section in the introduction of Think and Grow Rich that reads…

“In every chapter of this book, mention has been made of the money-making secret which has made fortunes for more than five hundred exceedingly wealthy men whom I carefully analyzed over a long period of years.”

For years, I wondered if I knew the secret Napoleon Hill was describing. I had an idea what it was, but I wasn’t sure. I was intensely curious what the secret was, so when Brian Kim contacted me asking me to review his new e-book, The Hidden Secret in Think and Grow Rich, I jumped.

I have to admit, at first, I was skeptical. I’ve read so much personal development tripe on the internet that I am becoming a bit jaded. I thought he might just give us some hocus-pocus feel good nonsense about the law of attraction, or some other current pop-culture gimmick. I’m not big on the latest self-improvement fads, because most of them are just rewrites of older books which are available free.

But I was nicely surprised. The Hidden Secret in Think and Grow Rich provides valuable insight and actionable plans that will help you achieve whatever you want from life.

What is the book about?

Brian Kim writes of his interest in The Hidden Secret, which started at a very young age. He goes on to tell us about his near addiction to self-help materials and the problems he found with modern self-help tomes. He realized that he needed to grow beyond his narrow perspectives and begin to see the big picture. He believed if he discovered The Hidden Secret that the big picture would be revealed. So he developed a burning desire to find the hidden secret and document it.

In this work, Brian reveals his discovery of the The Hidden Secret and expands upon it in detailed step by step analysis compiled over 8 chapters and 122 pages. Brian followed the clues Napoleon Hill sprinkled throughout his book, and reveals exactly where the Hidden Secret is in every chapter of Think and Grow Rich. He shows how successful men and women have put The Hidden Secret to work in their lives and how you can put it to work in your life.

Without even knowing it, I’ve used The Hidden Secret in Think and Grow Rich to achieve virtually every goal on my life journey. The first time I applied the Hidden Secret in my life, I didn’t have a home, a car, or a job. Within weeks I met my wife, I had a home, I found a job, and bought a car. Later in life, I was working a horrible dead end job, 12 hours a day. I was at the depths of despondency. Just ask Christine about how dark those days were. Almost like a miracle, I made a decision to change the way I thought, and without even knowing it, I applied The Hidden Secret in Think and Grow Rich, and within four months I had my dream job in technology.

Why buy the book?

So why part with your hard earned cash? Simple, when you apply the knowledge Brian provides in his book, the return on investment will far outweigh the small amount he is charging.

I don’t recommend many products on my blog. I must believe the product is truly valuable before I’ll recommend it. This e-book isn’t for everyone who reads this blog. To find out if it is for you, answer these questions:

  • Are you looking for a clearly defined repeatable formula to achieve your goals?
  • Are you open to self-improvement/self-help concepts?
  • Do you find a lot of self-improvement information disconnected and narrow?
  • Do you want something more direct? Something less fluffy? Something actionable?
  • Do you want self-improvement information that doesn’t just “pump you up” temporarily and then leave you to deflate?
  • Do you want to put the self-improvement puzzle together once and for all?

If you answered yes to one or more of those questions, then The Hidden Secret in Think and Grow Rich is for you. Also If you haven’t read Think and Grow Rich I highly recommend you do so before reading Brian’s book. Fortunately, Brian includes a free PDF copy of Think and Grow Rich with the purchase of his book.

Brian is also including two free bonuses: a special report called The Three Biggest Mistakes People Make When Using the Hidden Secret in Think and Grow Rich and a workbook that accompanies the book bundled up as a special offer for steve-olson readers.

Click here to access the special offer for steve-olson.com readers and get The Hidden Secret in Think and Grow Rich by Brian Kim and the bonuses today.

Delay Gratification – Now!

Thanks to Copyblogger, I found a great blog, the CEO Blog – Time Leadership written by Jim Estill CEO of Synnex Canada. Jim’s post on Copyblogger – Shorter is Better was tearing it up on Twitter a few days ago. Graywolf (Michael Gray) wrote, “ if you read only one post this day, this month or this year this is the post it should be Shorter is Better.”

Jim also has a lot to offer us on his own blog. The most credible blogs are written by those with proven success. If you are looking to improve and grow, listen to guys like Jim. His record stands on its own.

In a recent post Jim writes about how a failure to delay gratification has led to our economic situation. I couldn’t agree more.

Success will come to those who consistently give more than they take, who do more than expected, and who wait patiently for rewards.

The cries “I want mine and I want it now” are the cries of adult children who have yet to mature.

There are no get rich quick schemes. They are all lies.

But I’ve never seen someone fail who consistenly gives more than is expected.