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12 Vital Life Lessons I Wish They Taught Me In School

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Vital Life Lessons From School - Successful Education

Being a millennial, I have very few regrets as I was fortunate to grow up in an education system that was entrenched in technology. My one frustration with the education system though is that it didn’t prepare me well for being an adult. School still skips the fundamentals of what we all need in life to be successful.

It didn’t give me the toolbox that I discovered later on which could have made me more successful earlier on in life. The one positive thing it did though was push me off the traditional path and towards entrepreneurship in the hope that something better must have existed compared to what I was being taught at the time.

Don’t get me wrong; I am not anti-education or anything like that, I just feel that the high school and university phases of our lives still have a lot of gaps. In this blog post, I hope to address what I think should be covered and the reasons why.

Below are the twelve vital lessons I wish they taught me at school:

 

1. Passive learning doesn’t work

I’m sure we can all remember days at school where we sit and listen to the teacher speak for two hours while we listen and copy notes from the whiteboard. The reason the vast majority of this information never get’s retained in our minds is that we are consuming the information passively.

Passive learning of information without emotion means that we will not get the results from what we are learning. Every thirty minutes of learning should have a change in state to allow our bodies to wake up and stay on the ball.

The second component to this idea is the need to link more emotion to our learning. When we learn a concept through a story that is emotional, we are much more likely to retain the knowledge and understand what the message is that we should be getting.

When I was studying, I found it hard to remember the stories I was taught because the stories were often outdated and not relatable to my classmates or me. Fast forward to the present, and I am learning new ideas every day because I link emotion to the learning process.

Even if the content I am learning doesn’t have any emotion, I will throw in some emotive YouTube videos every thirty minutes to anchor my state and create emotion.

 

2. You must develop yourself every day

In school, I never heard the phrase personal development. It was only when I was in my twenties that I discovered what it meant. The concept of developing yourself every day can really affect your success in life.

By taking small steps every day to be better than you were the previous day, you very quickly compound your results, your value, and your skills. The concepts of personal development have been around for a long time, and I would love to see these become part of the school system.

Even if you learnt no facts, no mathematics, and did no sport at school, I still believe you can be highly successful if you understand the vital content of personal development. It’s a big call I know, but it’s something I have seen first hand.

 

3. Money is not power

Society, the media, and school taught me that money is power, and it’s something I should strive for. I can vividly remember back to year ten when my high school careers councillor started talking about possible careers I might want.

She tried to lure me into different careers based on the promise of money. For those of you who are in Australia, you can probably guess what she recommended – become a tradie (tradesperson).

Money Is Not Power EntrepreneurIt’s true that in Australia tradespeople make a very good income, but a lot of them are also very depressed and unhappy in their occupation. Rather than trying to help me find my purpose, school just wanted to help me find a job or an income I would settle for.

With any negative comes a positive. For me, I discovered entrepreneurship because I didn’t want someone giving me orders or telling me how much I should earn. I liked having ideas and then testing them. I liked that my annual income was determined by how much valued I added and how good I was at pleasing customers.

Money will never make you happy: finding out your dream and then pursuing it until your last day on Earth will.

 

4. Giving is the lifeblood of your success

We’ve all had an experience where we watch an awesome movie and then the first thing we want to do is call our friends and tell them how great it was. The best thing often about an experience is not the experience itself; it’s the opportunity to share it with our friends, which is why social media has exploded.

This simple idea is very similar to giving. The look on people’s faces when you give something to someone that they weren’t expecting is priceless. You will feel better than you have ever felt when you do things for other people and put a smile on their face.

This philosophy of giving was not what I was taught at school. School taught me that giving was all about charity and only giving to large, not for profit organisations. The donations made to these companies are often invisible, and the person receiving the assistance never see’s you.

Worse still, a large proportion of your donation often never get’s to the person who needs it because it’s eaten up in administrative costs. Giving is so much more than just throwing money at something and hoping it will fix itself.

“The concept of giving is to create value for other people without expecting anything in return. It’s about doing things for the greater good and not operating from a mindset of scarcity” – Tim Denning

Giving is actually not about donations at all. Giving is what makes the world go round, and if everybody did it religiously every day then, the world’s challenges would be far fewer than they are right now.

Giving involves using the gifts you have been given to make people’s lives better. Whether that’s through a blog like Addicted2Success or some other means, there are limited ways for you to give back without necessarily going down the path of charity. I wish school taught me this.

 

5. The strategies you need are found in non-fiction and autobiographies

At school, there was always a strong focus on fictional stories. These stories can be great for the imagination; the challenge is the story is made up, making it hard to relate too. The books I discovered later in life were non-fiction and autobiographies.Richard Branson - Losing My Virginity Book

There is no better way to be successful in life than read about people who have already done remarkable things and learn exactly what they did to achieve their goals. These stories highlight the barriers to greatness and show how failure is critical for any pursuit of success.

School should have books like Think And Grow Rich, The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, and The Alchemist as part of the syllabus.

These books are named by so many successful entrepreneurs as being a significant contributor to their success. Imagine if all school children got the same benefit as a mandatory part of their education.
I wish I were made to read these books when I was at school.

 

6. How to make an income

School is a lot about the theory of how the world should work. The part that was missing for me at school was the practical steps to make an income whether that was through entrepreneurship or working for someone else.

In school, I was led to believe that if I wanted to work for someone else, I would be asked detailed questions about my education. The reality, after having interviewed for lots of high ranking corporate jobs, is that most organisations will never ask you about your education.

There are some specialised fields like medicine and law that will ask, outside of that; it’s becoming less and less relevant. It’s quite easy for any of us to rack up a huge university debt and get a piece of paper in a field such as business or marketing, but most other people can do that as well.

Don’t get me wrong, university degrees are great to have, it’s just that they will not be the saving grace that the school system makes out they are. Experience in business, passion, rapport, strong emotional intelligence, a good imagination, and the guts to have a go will get you much further. I wish I learnt this in school and not later in life. Better late than never.

 

7. The truth about failure

Failure is your real education. Failure gives you the mental toughness. Nothing is easy, and nothing can prepare you for the challenges you will face. School taught me to try and be perfect and get straight A’s. Perfection was my downfall because it’s an impossible requirement to meet.

It was only later when I studied electronic music outside of school that I learned that imperfection is where all the beauty is. Imperfection is what makes rock music so addictive and it’s the foundation of all popular music.

Failing on a maths test was the greatest lesson I learned in my school career. Why? Because I realised I had no interest in maths, and I was able not to waste too much time on it. Had I not have failed, I could have put hours of work into something I hated which is the recipe for disaster.

It wasn’t until after I finished school that I learned this lesson. I wish I had learnt it earlier.

 

8. You whole life is about salesmanship

Everything you do every single day revolves around selling something. You are either selling your business idea, selling a concept to internal stakeholders, selling the benefits of cleaning up to your children, or selling the idea of a holiday to your partner.

I never learned any sales skills at school and I wish I had. Learning how to sell and attending yearly sales training events has allowed me to communicate an idea, and get people to join me on my mission both in business and in my personal life.

 

9. Public speaking will put you ahead of the pack

Dale-Partridge-Ted copySchool always made me think that public speaking was for politicians. To be an entrepreneur, thought leader, sales person, or just anyone that matters, you need to be able to speak in front of other people. The better you get at it, the easier it will be to get buy-in from other people to follow your vision.

I wish I had known about Toastmasters at school. I wish I were forced to do it. Since joining Toastmasters, I have learned why public speaking is so difficult and how to overcome the fear of audiences. With a little practice, it’s perfectly achievable to get good at it.

Forget about yourself, concentrate on delivering value to your audience, and not about everyone’s opinion. That pretty much sums up public speaking. Now go practice it!

 

10. Alkaline food will give you the energy you need

Thinking back to my school days, I didn’t have a lot of success with studying because I regularly suffered from low levels of energy and frequent colds. This was not uncommon, and many of my school friends had similar challenges.

If I analyse my school diet it consisted of zero water, lots of soft drink, pizza, pasta, sausage rolls, hot dogs, and ice creams. Unfortunately, not a lot has changed at schools although there is some awareness about soft drink nowadays.

In terms of nutritional education, there wasn’t a whole lot except for the lie that is the food pyramid which still appears in my doctor’s office when I see him once a year. Had I have known just how large the proportion of fruits and vegetables needed to be, and more importantly, just how good the benefits were to eating more from this food group, my health would have turned out a lot different.

There’s no point dwelling too much on the past (this subject has been a frustration for me), but it’s my hope that nutrition will play a bigger part in school life going forward. Thankfully, we have ambassadors like Jamie Oliver, who are carrying the message.

 

11. Advanced computer skills will give you a voice

In adult life, you enter a very noisy world where it’s even harder to be heard. The ability to be able to put together websites, create content, and share your message on social media is critical. If you can learn basic coding, then you will be even more ahead than the average person.

I was lucky that I first got onto the Internet as a kid in 1996. Before then, I had worked on MS-Dos and Windows 95 computers. This gave me an edge because a lot of my friends didn’t have this luxury. A computer allowed me to solve modern problems far quicker and hone in on my computer skills.

I was fortunate enough to be an earlier adopter of Google, eBay, and Amazon. These websites showed me where the world was heading at its part of what has allowed me to work in tech day-to-day. It was the gentle inspiration I needed at a time in teenage life when we have no idea what our future looks like.

While traditional education has an element of IT subjects, I still wish that there was an even greater focus on the more advanced computer skills that are needed in an ever-changing global economy. These skills during my own schooling would have been very valuable to me, and many of you reading.

 

12. Everyone should try entrepreneurship

A lot of my school life centred on the fact that I should work for someone else. The idea of starting a business was almost like a taboo subject that only suicidal base jumpers would dare try. I wish school had taught me that everyone should try entrepreneurship at least once.

Even if you choose to work for someone else, you are still an entrepreneur in a way because you have a small (or large) slice of someone else’s business you have to manage. You can’t escape entrepreneurship, and I believe it’s good to try it.

You can learn anything you put your mind to even if you don’t meet the wah wah entrepreneur personality type that is portrayed on TV. Hopefully, though, you like working with other people because you can’t do everything yourself.

What do you wish you learned at school? Are any of these above skills missing for you? Let me know in the comments section below or on my website timdenning.net or my Facebook. 

Tim is best known as a long-time contributor on Addicted2Success. Tim's content has been shared millions of times and he has written multiple viral posts all around personal development and entrepreneurship. You can connect with Tim through his website www.timdenning.net

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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Robert

    Jun 28, 2017 at 12:34 pm

    I think schools should also pay more attention to personal finance. Your points are also very good and well founded.

    Robert

  2. Sascha Rutledge

    Feb 8, 2017 at 4:38 am

    Awesome post. about Batching is a huge one for me. I always give myself way more tasks than I can complete in a reasonable amount of time so the annoying small tasks pile up until I can batch them.

  3. Thea Dunlap

    Jul 12, 2016 at 3:16 am

    Wonderful article. Love the advice here and they are very beneficial. Made me want to rethink of my plans. 🙂

  4. Pam Bowers

    Jul 6, 2016 at 4:19 pm

    Love this article! I am a home based social worker nearly 60 and while I love my job, the best thing Ive done for balance is become a small business owner selling antiques on eBay. I think we all need to stretch out of our comfort zone, continue to grow and expand in what we are passionate about to maximize what we get from life and give to the world. And a bit of mad money in upcoming retirement never hurts either : ) All the best, Pam

    • Tim Denning

      Jul 11, 2016 at 7:37 am

      Thanks Pam for reading. I love that you are 60 and still have the drive to run a small business. You’re never to old to start I don’t think! Best of luck with your business.

  5. Bright

    Jul 2, 2016 at 7:42 pm

    great post Tim, since i’m still a student, i’ll try some of those tricks.
    Many thanks

    • Tim Denning

      Jul 3, 2016 at 7:34 pm

      Bright we are all students – students of life. Let me know how you go with implementing this knowledge in your life and thanks for reading.

  6. Asad Meah

    Jul 2, 2016 at 5:01 pm

    Excellent article Tim as always, very beneficial advice.

    • Tim Denning

      Jul 3, 2016 at 7:33 pm

      Asad thanks for the compliment and for taking the time to read it. Take care.

  7. Stephanie Figuerado

    Jun 30, 2016 at 2:07 pm

    Another great article Tim! I think some sort of spirituality should be taught in school also. My journey would have started a lot sooner if so, but i’m on it now and that’s all that matters!

    • Tim Denning

      Jun 30, 2016 at 8:19 pm

      Totally agree Stephanie. Thanks for reading.

  8. Charlene Rhinehart

    Jun 29, 2016 at 11:53 pm

    Great post!! It’s so important to never stop learning, growing, and becoming a better you everyday. I love your point about Public Speaking. This is a skill that is often overlooked but essential to advance in EVERY aspect of your life. I am a Toastaholic and fully support toastmasters. It is a game-changer for anyone who is trying to advance in their career or entrepreneurial pursuits. I just went to my club toastmaster meeting yesterday (after traveling the world for 6 months) and spoke about the importance of traveling. It reignited my fire and speaking goals. I can’t wait to see you deliver a Ted or Tedx Talk! That’s on my bucket list: )

    • Tim Denning

      Jun 30, 2016 at 1:36 am

      Thanks so much Charlene for your continued inspiring words! A Ted / Tedx talk would be awesome but I have a little way to go yet. Hope your travels were enjoyable!

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Success Advice

Are You Really a Leader? 3 Questions That Will Help You Find the Answer

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Being a leader is a lot of responsibility. People look to you to make decisions, direct them, provide support, and get results. A true leader is an amazing presence: a humble yet confident person who inspires those around them.

Unfortunately, a lot of people think they’re leaders, but really aren’t. In fact, according to talent scientist Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, 80% of people believe they are better-than-average leaders, which is objectively impossible. I see people claiming to be leaders all the time, but they’re all talk and no substance.

What is Leadership?

A lot of the people I talk to seem to think that you become a leader just by having a job managing people. That’s simply not true. Leadership is a balancing act that would make a master juggler impressed.

True leadership involves making sure that there is a happy balance between employees’ needs and the company’s needs. If only the employees’ needs are prioritized, the company won’t be profitable. Likewise, if only the company’s needs are considered, employees will leave.

True leaders have the self-awareness and strategic skills to understand this delicate balance and understand their role in creating those key compromises.

“The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.” – Ken Blanchard

Can You Be a True Leader?

Although there are a number of different leadership styles and theories out there, leadership boils down to a few essentials. Leaders need the emotional intelligence to navigate difficult and uncomfortable situations while being able to inspire others to take action. There’s a big difference between saying you’re a leader and acting like one.

If you want to increase your self-awareness and find out if you’re a leader others can rely on, start by asking yourself these three questions:

1. Do you want to be a leader?

It may seem unfair, but in my experience, the people who make the best leaders don’t necessarily want to be. You only want what you don’t have, and same rings true here. If you want to be a leader then you probably aren’t focusing on the right aspects of leadership.

True leaders are natural trail-blazers, but they don’t set out to lead anyone. People just happen to take note of their talents and confidence and look to the person for advice and guidance.

2. Do you have an original vision, or are you just power-hungry?

Why do you want to be a leader? Is it so you have the final say, or do you have actual goals you want to accomplish with a team? True leaders don’t feel threatened by others—they’re too busy getting stuff done. Leaders typically don’t need to test or confirm their power.

If you think good leaders give directions and just want others to listen, you’ve got it wrong. The best leaders often don’t need to speak a whole lot—they listen and observe, they think deeply, and when they do speak, it’s meaningful.

A true leader acts and others follow those actions because they trust and respect the leader. It isn’t about a power battle or an ego trip. Leaders have a true vision.  

3. Are you willing to do the dirty work?

You don’t get to be a leader if all you do is sit around, give orders, and let other people do the dirty work. Real leaders are humble, and no work is “beneath” them.

They want to know what’s going on at the ground level, and they want to help their people when they’re struggling. If you’re not willing to talk to a customer or back your employee up in a bad situation, you don’t get to call yourself a leader.

“Leadership is a choice, not a position.” – Stephen Covey

Becoming a Self-Aware Leader

How did you do? Maybe you’re not cut out to be a leader. Maybe you are. Maybe you need to work on a few things first.

Real talk: being a good leader isn’t easy. However, becoming a true leader benefits everyone around you and can be extremely fulfilling. If you’re more determined than ever to become the best, most self-aware leader you can be, that’s great news: we need more leaders out there.

What are the characteristics of a great leader in your opinion? Share with us below!

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Success Advice

Capitalize on the 80% of Business That You Are Missing Out on Right Now With This Method

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referral marketing
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Most of us are aware of Pareto’s Principle, the 80/20 rule. This principle states that 20% of the input gives us 80% of the output. The top 20% of your salespeople account for 80% of your business. The top 20% skills you have, account for 80% of your success. The top 20% of our customers will give us 80% of business. When we use this principle it allows us to narrow in and focus on the most important clients who are in our target market.

You’ll find that most people tell you to focus on your top 20%. Here’s the big question: What do you do with the other 80% of people who you do not work with?

Most of us let this 80% of potential business fall to the wayside because they are not our target market and we have no system set up to still do some form of business with them. However, this is not the case for Tim Johnson.

Just last year, he generated $11 million dollars from REFERRALS! He is the master of building a referral based business. By sending clients that he cannot work with to his friends and referral partners, he is able to receive commission for the introduction and new business.

Imagine having the potential to make money from EVERY business conversation! Tim speaks to about 3,000 people per year, and if he cannot help them personally, he knows someone in his Global Renegade network who can.

The thing is, we can all do this if we are intentional about it. As Tim puts it, “We need to date our referral partners. We put so much time and effort into people that do nothing for our business, yet we do not build strong relationships and invest time into our referral partners.”

Tim is a speaker, author, real estate developer, and business coach who is well known around the world. He starts each business conversation by saying, “Is it okay with you that if at anytime during this conversation I realize that I am not the right fit for you, I introduce you to someone in my network who is?”

Each time he is met with a resounding YES! Who would say no to this offer? This strong referral network has built Tim a net worth of over $4 million dollars. Tim uses a framework called SOLD and if you use this framework you can build a strong referral network as well.

Below, is the exact SOLD framework Tim uses:

Strategy

According to Tim, everything is mathematical. He approaches each conversation looking to learn and serve. When you approach conversations in this way, you focus on relationship building instead of feeling like you have an agenda to do business.

Ask great questions here and give the person you’re speaking with an opportunity to share their situation and what they are going through. Tim always asks, “What do you need and how can I serve you?” This is a powerful question that most people neglect and it’s the reason they are not experiencing as much sales success as Tim.

“Here is a powerful yet simple rule. Always give people more than they expect to get.” – Nelson Boswell

Objections = Opportunities

As the old wise quote states, “We were given two ears and one mouth for a reason.” This means we need to speak less and listen more.

Too often, people pitch and become salesy instead of being human and having a conversation where they are listening to the person they are sitting with. When you are listening, you give yourself the opportunity to learn their problems, obstacles, and needs in order to identify new opportunities.

Leverage referral partners

As you are gathering information you will identify if you are able to provide the solution that your prospect needs. If you cannot, it is time to leverage your referral partners and make the introduction.

By starting out the conversation saying, “Is it okay with you that if at anytime during our conversation I realize that I am not the right fit that I introduce you to someone who is?” you have already pre-framed yourself appropriately to leverage your referral network if you cannot provide a solution that is needed.

Your prospect will be very appreciative for your honesty and will trust your judgement. You get a lot of brownie points when you have the integrity to say that you are not the right fit, but let me introduce you to someone who is.

“People influence people. Nothing influences people more than a recommendation from a trusted friend. A trusted referral influences people more than the best broadcast message. A trusted referral is the Holy Grail of advertising.” – Mark Zuckerberg

Duplicate

Rinse and repeat this process. Having conversations in this way will enable you to work with the top 20% of people you speak with, and still provide value to the other 80%. In this way, every conversation opens up the opportunity for new business.

SOLD is business growth through asking great questions, active listening, and leveraging referral partners. Start to capitalize on the 80% of business that you are missing out on by referring these people to other service providers in your network.

If you think about providing value in service of others first, then you can leverage the SOLD framework for increased revenue in your business by simply being a connector and receiving commissions of 10%-25%.

Do you have referral partners in your business? Would love to hear your experience in the comment section below!

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Success Advice

A 5 Step Morning Routine That Leads to Explosive Growth and Success

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Have you ever noticed that how your day starts can dictate how the rest of your day goes? If you start your day on a positive and productive note, you feel a sense of excitement, pride, and accomplishment. And then those feelings power you through the rest of your day. You knock things off your to do list and find yourself in a great mood. Yet, when you wake up later than you were planning on, it can throw your entire day off. So make a decision to take control of your mornings and come up with a routine that will set you up for success.

When trying to construct a morning routine that fits your life, one thing to take into consideration is how important the night before is. Most people with winning morning routines, also take nighttime rituals into consideration. Before going to bed each night, plan your next day out in a journal, so you know exactly what you’re getting into. Nothing is worse than going into a day without a plan, and that’s a great way to lose control of the day.

Here’s a list of some of the most important things you can start each morning with to get off to a good start:

Step 1: Hydration: The elixir of life

One of the most important things you can do each morning is start your day off by drinking at least one glass of water. After 6-8 hours without any water, it’s essential to hydrate your body when you wake up and get it ready for the day. Your body is composed of mostly water and a lot of times, the importance of water is overlooked. Dehydration can lead to fatigue and headaches, so starting the day with water can help prevent dehydration. Because of that, staying hydrated means more energy and a lot of times, clearer thinking. There are a lot of health benefits to staying hydrated.

“Your day is pretty much formed by how you spend your first hour. Check your thoughts, attitude and heart.”

Step 2: Priming: The key to self transformation

Anthony (Tony) Robbins, one of the biggest motivational speakers, always talks about the importance of starting your day with priming. His priming exercise combines two important elements; gratitude and visualization. The priming exercise is about 15 minutes and the purpose is to get you into a good mental and physical state before you start your day. First, Tony asks you to think about 3 things that you are grateful for, and to step into those memories like you are there.

Next, he asks you to think of three things that you want to accomplish (short or long term). The purpose of these exercises is simple; start your day with gratitude and visualizing yourself accomplishing what you want to accomplish, whether it’s a short term goal or a long term goal.

If you don’t want to do that exact exercise, you can also do a combination of meditation and visualization. There are a lot of guided audios that you can use to help you get the most out of meditation and visualization.

Step 3: Exercise/Movement – Jumpstart your brain and your body

Exercise has massive benefits, both physical and mental. Starting your day with even 30 minutes of movement can give you increased energy and endorphins. It’s also a great way to start your day on a positive note. Think of how amazing you feel after you finish a good workout.

Step 4: Journaling – Create your future and write your goals into existence

Everyone has their own way of journaling; you need to find what works best for you. Some things you can do while journaling are making a list of 3-5 things you are grateful for, writing your goals down (daily or long term goals), or setting your intention for the day. Journaling can make you more productive as well as remind you what your goals/ targets are so that you stay focused on what you need to get done.

“Your morning routine generates a 10x return for good or for bad. Make it good.” – Todd Stocker

Step 5: Attack the day- conquer your biggest task that you have to do first thing

A lot of people tend to procrastinate on their most important task of the day. They’ll find any excuse to push it off. “Later” becomes “tomorrow.” And then somehow, the end of the week rolls around and the task still isn’t complete. However, if you prioritize your most important task and get it accomplished first thing in the morning, it gives you a sense of discipline and accomplishment.

Starting your morning with a routine can help transform your day. It can help you build new habits but even if you start with 2 or 3 of these, you will begin to see a big difference in how your days go. If you already have a morning routine but you are missing some of these steps, test them out and see what kind of an impact they have on your days.

What is your morning routine like? Comment below!

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Success Advice

Here’s Why Goals Are for Losers

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If you enter the word “goals” into your browser, more than 1.6 BILLION search results pop up. Safe to say, there’s no shortage of goal setting advice as a stepping-stone on your path to success. Yet, there’s a contrarian willing to risk criticism, challenge the status quo, and debunk goals at face value.

In his book “How To Fail At Almost Everything And Still Win Big,” Scott Adams is an author, cartoonist and Periscope streamer, who sees goals differently than most everyone else. Adams observes that if you study people who succeed, you’ll see most of them follow systems, not goals.

Goals vs. Systems

Adams defines goals as “reach it and be done objectives.” Whereas systems, is what you do on a regular basis with an expectation that you’ll build on and improve your chances of success.

In Adams book, he says he didn’t have a goal to write it by a specific date. He had a “process” that included blogging daily (for practice) believing this consistency would lead him down a path to where he wanted to be.

Other examples:

  • dieting to lose 10 lbs. is a goal. Learning to eat right, and doing so on a regular basis, is a system.
  • making a million dollars is a goal. Being a serial entrepreneur, is system.
  • running a marathon in under 3 hours is a goal. Exercising daily, is a system (forming a habit).

Could goals create tunnel vision? The problem with goals, says Adams, is that they’re laser-focused and could block awareness of other opportunities around you. If you have your head down pursuing a goal, you may miss better opportunities that could potentially advance you, perhaps even faster.

In contrast, says Adams, systems are flexible, leaving you wide open for new and better ways of doing things. “A system, performed daily, is moving you from a place with low odds to a place with better odds.”

Adams concedes, goals aren’t completely off the table. Goals are useful in “simple” situations that are “narrow, simplistic and have predictable pursuits.” They’re ok for short tasks with a clear purpose.

Two examples of different goals would be an “ok goal,” which would be entering a contest, while a “great goal” is to win. “It’s simple, it’s near term, it’s manageable.” Nonetheless, for success, goals are terrible for long-term endeavors like personal health and career success goals.

So are goals for losers? Adams says goals are psychological. If you haven’t reached your goal, you could be in a perpetual state of frustration and disappointment, possibly feeling like a failure.

Goals proceed with blinders on, expecting certain results at the end of weeks, months or years. Then once you’ve achieved that goal, what are you prepared for? Whereas systems are skill-based that add up, and can serve you on future projects.

“Never settle for average.” – Steve Jobs

Talent Stacking for Success

Talent stacking is the process of increasing your personal value by “layering together several mediocre skills” until you have something unique.

Although Adams says most of his undertakings can be considered failures from the standpoint of goals, they’re actually successes from the standpoint of systems. Gaining transferable skills has allowed him to achieve success in the long run.

In a Wall Street Journal interview, Adams shares how he stacked his talents of “mediocre artist, an ok writer, somewhat humorous, and some business knowledge” to create the wildly successful comic strip Dilbert (seen online in 2,000 newspapers, 65 countries in 25 languages) and substantial economic value.

Previously we outlined the four principles of success. Here, we add talent stacking, allowing you to capitalize on the array of opportunities that come your way. Adams recommends choosing to acquire ‘talents’ that build assets you can apply to future projects.

The assets you build will lead you down the path of eventual success over time. In today’s fast-paced world, Adams feels we’d all benefit from adding t­he following skills to your main talent:

  • public speaking
  • persuasion (to understand psychology)
  • some business sense
  • some technology sense

Adams recommends to not worry about the end result. Focus on daily execution and over time, there will be a payday.

Passion will follow

Ask a billionaire what’s the most important element to success and he’ll likely say “passion.” Adams disagrees. He says someone’s passion may not be realistic. In addition, he feels you can develop passion with success.

Adams’ observation is that people who have a good business plan probably do well. As things start working, and you start making money, suddenly passion appears!

The crossroads of luck

Adams believes the flexibility of systems increases your odds of luck finding you. By adding to your talent stack, more opportunities cross your path, with success following close behind.

There are many kids today with better programming skills than Bill Gates had. Yet, Gates was born in a time in history where he had access to computers when other people didn’t, and that luck has made him billions and billions of dollars. Adams says go where the luck is, tune yourself into the vibration of luck and increase the chances you’ll get it.

“Success is luck multiplied by the skills you obtain” – Scott Adams

So there you have it, systems are better if you have a complicated situation and a long time frame. Goals are fine if you have a simple situation and a short time frame.

The thread that ties this highly recommended book together is that if you develop good systems and follow them daily, then your efforts eventually overlap with luck.

What do you think about goals now? Looking forward to hearing from you in the comments area below.

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Life

How You Can Effectively Achieve Your Goals by Using the Puzzle Analogy

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how to achieve your goals
Image Credit: Twenty20.com

I was building a 500 piece puzzle the other day with many tiny little pieces. When I opened the box, I was completely overwhelmed. There were so many pieces and many of them were very similar in color. I took a breath and thought “just do one piece at a time”. I knew that I had to come up with a plan and organize the pieces into groups before I got started. This helped me to focus and take away some of the overwhelming feelings that were coming up. I came up with a plan and executed that plan. (more…)

Meghan Olsgard is the creator and writer of www.infinitesoulblueprint.com where she writes articles about self-empowerment and creating a fulfilling life. She shares her personal experiences and the obstacles she has overcame to help and inspire others to do the same. You can get more information at her website or follow her on Facebook.

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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Robert

    Jun 28, 2017 at 12:34 pm

    I think schools should also pay more attention to personal finance. Your points are also very good and well founded.

    Robert

  2. Sascha Rutledge

    Feb 8, 2017 at 4:38 am

    Awesome post. about Batching is a huge one for me. I always give myself way more tasks than I can complete in a reasonable amount of time so the annoying small tasks pile up until I can batch them.

  3. Thea Dunlap

    Jul 12, 2016 at 3:16 am

    Wonderful article. Love the advice here and they are very beneficial. Made me want to rethink of my plans. 🙂

  4. Pam Bowers

    Jul 6, 2016 at 4:19 pm

    Love this article! I am a home based social worker nearly 60 and while I love my job, the best thing Ive done for balance is become a small business owner selling antiques on eBay. I think we all need to stretch out of our comfort zone, continue to grow and expand in what we are passionate about to maximize what we get from life and give to the world. And a bit of mad money in upcoming retirement never hurts either : ) All the best, Pam

    • Tim Denning

      Jul 11, 2016 at 7:37 am

      Thanks Pam for reading. I love that you are 60 and still have the drive to run a small business. You’re never to old to start I don’t think! Best of luck with your business.

  5. Bright

    Jul 2, 2016 at 7:42 pm

    great post Tim, since i’m still a student, i’ll try some of those tricks.
    Many thanks

    • Tim Denning

      Jul 3, 2016 at 7:34 pm

      Bright we are all students – students of life. Let me know how you go with implementing this knowledge in your life and thanks for reading.

  6. Asad Meah

    Jul 2, 2016 at 5:01 pm

    Excellent article Tim as always, very beneficial advice.

    • Tim Denning

      Jul 3, 2016 at 7:33 pm

      Asad thanks for the compliment and for taking the time to read it. Take care.

  7. Stephanie Figuerado

    Jun 30, 2016 at 2:07 pm

    Another great article Tim! I think some sort of spirituality should be taught in school also. My journey would have started a lot sooner if so, but i’m on it now and that’s all that matters!

    • Tim Denning

      Jun 30, 2016 at 8:19 pm

      Totally agree Stephanie. Thanks for reading.

  8. Charlene Rhinehart

    Jun 29, 2016 at 11:53 pm

    Great post!! It’s so important to never stop learning, growing, and becoming a better you everyday. I love your point about Public Speaking. This is a skill that is often overlooked but essential to advance in EVERY aspect of your life. I am a Toastaholic and fully support toastmasters. It is a game-changer for anyone who is trying to advance in their career or entrepreneurial pursuits. I just went to my club toastmaster meeting yesterday (after traveling the world for 6 months) and spoke about the importance of traveling. It reignited my fire and speaking goals. I can’t wait to see you deliver a Ted or Tedx Talk! That’s on my bucket list: )

    • Tim Denning

      Jun 30, 2016 at 1:36 am

      Thanks so much Charlene for your continued inspiring words! A Ted / Tedx talk would be awesome but I have a little way to go yet. Hope your travels were enjoyable!

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Success Advice

Are You Really a Leader? 3 Questions That Will Help You Find the Answer

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Being a leader is a lot of responsibility. People look to you to make decisions, direct them, provide support, and get results. A true leader is an amazing presence: a humble yet confident person who inspires those around them.

Unfortunately, a lot of people think they’re leaders, but really aren’t. In fact, according to talent scientist Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, 80% of people believe they are better-than-average leaders, which is objectively impossible. I see people claiming to be leaders all the time, but they’re all talk and no substance.

What is Leadership?

A lot of the people I talk to seem to think that you become a leader just by having a job managing people. That’s simply not true. Leadership is a balancing act that would make a master juggler impressed.

True leadership involves making sure that there is a happy balance between employees’ needs and the company’s needs. If only the employees’ needs are prioritized, the company won’t be profitable. Likewise, if only the company’s needs are considered, employees will leave.

True leaders have the self-awareness and strategic skills to understand this delicate balance and understand their role in creating those key compromises.

“The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.” – Ken Blanchard

Can You Be a True Leader?

Although there are a number of different leadership styles and theories out there, leadership boils down to a few essentials. Leaders need the emotional intelligence to navigate difficult and uncomfortable situations while being able to inspire others to take action. There’s a big difference between saying you’re a leader and acting like one.

If you want to increase your self-awareness and find out if you’re a leader others can rely on, start by asking yourself these three questions:

1. Do you want to be a leader?

It may seem unfair, but in my experience, the people who make the best leaders don’t necessarily want to be. You only want what you don’t have, and same rings true here. If you want to be a leader then you probably aren’t focusing on the right aspects of leadership.

True leaders are natural trail-blazers, but they don’t set out to lead anyone. People just happen to take note of their talents and confidence and look to the person for advice and guidance.

2. Do you have an original vision, or are you just power-hungry?

Why do you want to be a leader? Is it so you have the final say, or do you have actual goals you want to accomplish with a team? True leaders don’t feel threatened by others—they’re too busy getting stuff done. Leaders typically don’t need to test or confirm their power.

If you think good leaders give directions and just want others to listen, you’ve got it wrong. The best leaders often don’t need to speak a whole lot—they listen and observe, they think deeply, and when they do speak, it’s meaningful.

A true leader acts and others follow those actions because they trust and respect the leader. It isn’t about a power battle or an ego trip. Leaders have a true vision.  

3. Are you willing to do the dirty work?

You don’t get to be a leader if all you do is sit around, give orders, and let other people do the dirty work. Real leaders are humble, and no work is “beneath” them.

They want to know what’s going on at the ground level, and they want to help their people when they’re struggling. If you’re not willing to talk to a customer or back your employee up in a bad situation, you don’t get to call yourself a leader.

“Leadership is a choice, not a position.” – Stephen Covey

Becoming a Self-Aware Leader

How did you do? Maybe you’re not cut out to be a leader. Maybe you are. Maybe you need to work on a few things first.

Real talk: being a good leader isn’t easy. However, becoming a true leader benefits everyone around you and can be extremely fulfilling. If you’re more determined than ever to become the best, most self-aware leader you can be, that’s great news: we need more leaders out there.

What are the characteristics of a great leader in your opinion? Share with us below!

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Success Advice

Capitalize on the 80% of Business That You Are Missing Out on Right Now With This Method

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Most of us are aware of Pareto’s Principle, the 80/20 rule. This principle states that 20% of the input gives us 80% of the output. The top 20% of your salespeople account for 80% of your business. The top 20% skills you have, account for 80% of your success. The top 20% of our customers will give us 80% of business. When we use this principle it allows us to narrow in and focus on the most important clients who are in our target market.

You’ll find that most people tell you to focus on your top 20%. Here’s the big question: What do you do with the other 80% of people who you do not work with?

Most of us let this 80% of potential business fall to the wayside because they are not our target market and we have no system set up to still do some form of business with them. However, this is not the case for Tim Johnson.

Just last year, he generated $11 million dollars from REFERRALS! He is the master of building a referral based business. By sending clients that he cannot work with to his friends and referral partners, he is able to receive commission for the introduction and new business.

Imagine having the potential to make money from EVERY business conversation! Tim speaks to about 3,000 people per year, and if he cannot help them personally, he knows someone in his Global Renegade network who can.

The thing is, we can all do this if we are intentional about it. As Tim puts it, “We need to date our referral partners. We put so much time and effort into people that do nothing for our business, yet we do not build strong relationships and invest time into our referral partners.”

Tim is a speaker, author, real estate developer, and business coach who is well known around the world. He starts each business conversation by saying, “Is it okay with you that if at anytime during this conversation I realize that I am not the right fit for you, I introduce you to someone in my network who is?”

Each time he is met with a resounding YES! Who would say no to this offer? This strong referral network has built Tim a net worth of over $4 million dollars. Tim uses a framework called SOLD and if you use this framework you can build a strong referral network as well.

Below, is the exact SOLD framework Tim uses:

Strategy

According to Tim, everything is mathematical. He approaches each conversation looking to learn and serve. When you approach conversations in this way, you focus on relationship building instead of feeling like you have an agenda to do business.

Ask great questions here and give the person you’re speaking with an opportunity to share their situation and what they are going through. Tim always asks, “What do you need and how can I serve you?” This is a powerful question that most people neglect and it’s the reason they are not experiencing as much sales success as Tim.

“Here is a powerful yet simple rule. Always give people more than they expect to get.” – Nelson Boswell

Objections = Opportunities

As the old wise quote states, “We were given two ears and one mouth for a reason.” This means we need to speak less and listen more.

Too often, people pitch and become salesy instead of being human and having a conversation where they are listening to the person they are sitting with. When you are listening, you give yourself the opportunity to learn their problems, obstacles, and needs in order to identify new opportunities.

Leverage referral partners

As you are gathering information you will identify if you are able to provide the solution that your prospect needs. If you cannot, it is time to leverage your referral partners and make the introduction.

By starting out the conversation saying, “Is it okay with you that if at anytime during our conversation I realize that I am not the right fit that I introduce you to someone who is?” you have already pre-framed yourself appropriately to leverage your referral network if you cannot provide a solution that is needed.

Your prospect will be very appreciative for your honesty and will trust your judgement. You get a lot of brownie points when you have the integrity to say that you are not the right fit, but let me introduce you to someone who is.

“People influence people. Nothing influences people more than a recommendation from a trusted friend. A trusted referral influences people more than the best broadcast message. A trusted referral is the Holy Grail of advertising.” – Mark Zuckerberg

Duplicate

Rinse and repeat this process. Having conversations in this way will enable you to work with the top 20% of people you speak with, and still provide value to the other 80%. In this way, every conversation opens up the opportunity for new business.

SOLD is business growth through asking great questions, active listening, and leveraging referral partners. Start to capitalize on the 80% of business that you are missing out on by referring these people to other service providers in your network.

If you think about providing value in service of others first, then you can leverage the SOLD framework for increased revenue in your business by simply being a connector and receiving commissions of 10%-25%.

Do you have referral partners in your business? Would love to hear your experience in the comment section below!

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A 5 Step Morning Routine That Leads to Explosive Growth and Success

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Have you ever noticed that how your day starts can dictate how the rest of your day goes? If you start your day on a positive and productive note, you feel a sense of excitement, pride, and accomplishment. And then those feelings power you through the rest of your day. You knock things off your to do list and find yourself in a great mood. Yet, when you wake up later than you were planning on, it can throw your entire day off. So make a decision to take control of your mornings and come up with a routine that will set you up for success.

When trying to construct a morning routine that fits your life, one thing to take into consideration is how important the night before is. Most people with winning morning routines, also take nighttime rituals into consideration. Before going to bed each night, plan your next day out in a journal, so you know exactly what you’re getting into. Nothing is worse than going into a day without a plan, and that’s a great way to lose control of the day.

Here’s a list of some of the most important things you can start each morning with to get off to a good start:

Step 1: Hydration: The elixir of life

One of the most important things you can do each morning is start your day off by drinking at least one glass of water. After 6-8 hours without any water, it’s essential to hydrate your body when you wake up and get it ready for the day. Your body is composed of mostly water and a lot of times, the importance of water is overlooked. Dehydration can lead to fatigue and headaches, so starting the day with water can help prevent dehydration. Because of that, staying hydrated means more energy and a lot of times, clearer thinking. There are a lot of health benefits to staying hydrated.

“Your day is pretty much formed by how you spend your first hour. Check your thoughts, attitude and heart.”

Step 2: Priming: The key to self transformation

Anthony (Tony) Robbins, one of the biggest motivational speakers, always talks about the importance of starting your day with priming. His priming exercise combines two important elements; gratitude and visualization. The priming exercise is about 15 minutes and the purpose is to get you into a good mental and physical state before you start your day. First, Tony asks you to think about 3 things that you are grateful for, and to step into those memories like you are there.

Next, he asks you to think of three things that you want to accomplish (short or long term). The purpose of these exercises is simple; start your day with gratitude and visualizing yourself accomplishing what you want to accomplish, whether it’s a short term goal or a long term goal.

If you don’t want to do that exact exercise, you can also do a combination of meditation and visualization. There are a lot of guided audios that you can use to help you get the most out of meditation and visualization.

Step 3: Exercise/Movement – Jumpstart your brain and your body

Exercise has massive benefits, both physical and mental. Starting your day with even 30 minutes of movement can give you increased energy and endorphins. It’s also a great way to start your day on a positive note. Think of how amazing you feel after you finish a good workout.

Step 4: Journaling – Create your future and write your goals into existence

Everyone has their own way of journaling; you need to find what works best for you. Some things you can do while journaling are making a list of 3-5 things you are grateful for, writing your goals down (daily or long term goals), or setting your intention for the day. Journaling can make you more productive as well as remind you what your goals/ targets are so that you stay focused on what you need to get done.

“Your morning routine generates a 10x return for good or for bad. Make it good.” – Todd Stocker

Step 5: Attack the day- conquer your biggest task that you have to do first thing

A lot of people tend to procrastinate on their most important task of the day. They’ll find any excuse to push it off. “Later” becomes “tomorrow.” And then somehow, the end of the week rolls around and the task still isn’t complete. However, if you prioritize your most important task and get it accomplished first thing in the morning, it gives you a sense of discipline and accomplishment.

Starting your morning with a routine can help transform your day. It can help you build new habits but even if you start with 2 or 3 of these, you will begin to see a big difference in how your days go. If you already have a morning routine but you are missing some of these steps, test them out and see what kind of an impact they have on your days.

What is your morning routine like? Comment below!

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Success Advice

Here’s Why Goals Are for Losers

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If you enter the word “goals” into your browser, more than 1.6 BILLION search results pop up. Safe to say, there’s no shortage of goal setting advice as a stepping-stone on your path to success. Yet, there’s a contrarian willing to risk criticism, challenge the status quo, and debunk goals at face value.

In his book “How To Fail At Almost Everything And Still Win Big,” Scott Adams is an author, cartoonist and Periscope streamer, who sees goals differently than most everyone else. Adams observes that if you study people who succeed, you’ll see most of them follow systems, not goals.

Goals vs. Systems

Adams defines goals as “reach it and be done objectives.” Whereas systems, is what you do on a regular basis with an expectation that you’ll build on and improve your chances of success.

In Adams book, he says he didn’t have a goal to write it by a specific date. He had a “process” that included blogging daily (for practice) believing this consistency would lead him down a path to where he wanted to be.

Other examples:

  • dieting to lose 10 lbs. is a goal. Learning to eat right, and doing so on a regular basis, is a system.
  • making a million dollars is a goal. Being a serial entrepreneur, is system.
  • running a marathon in under 3 hours is a goal. Exercising daily, is a system (forming a habit).

Could goals create tunnel vision? The problem with goals, says Adams, is that they’re laser-focused and could block awareness of other opportunities around you. If you have your head down pursuing a goal, you may miss better opportunities that could potentially advance you, perhaps even faster.

In contrast, says Adams, systems are flexible, leaving you wide open for new and better ways of doing things. “A system, performed daily, is moving you from a place with low odds to a place with better odds.”

Adams concedes, goals aren’t completely off the table. Goals are useful in “simple” situations that are “narrow, simplistic and have predictable pursuits.” They’re ok for short tasks with a clear purpose.

Two examples of different goals would be an “ok goal,” which would be entering a contest, while a “great goal” is to win. “It’s simple, it’s near term, it’s manageable.” Nonetheless, for success, goals are terrible for long-term endeavors like personal health and career success goals.

So are goals for losers? Adams says goals are psychological. If you haven’t reached your goal, you could be in a perpetual state of frustration and disappointment, possibly feeling like a failure.

Goals proceed with blinders on, expecting certain results at the end of weeks, months or years. Then once you’ve achieved that goal, what are you prepared for? Whereas systems are skill-based that add up, and can serve you on future projects.

“Never settle for average.” – Steve Jobs

Talent Stacking for Success

Talent stacking is the process of increasing your personal value by “layering together several mediocre skills” until you have something unique.

Although Adams says most of his undertakings can be considered failures from the standpoint of goals, they’re actually successes from the standpoint of systems. Gaining transferable skills has allowed him to achieve success in the long run.

In a Wall Street Journal interview, Adams shares how he stacked his talents of “mediocre artist, an ok writer, somewhat humorous, and some business knowledge” to create the wildly successful comic strip Dilbert (seen online in 2,000 newspapers, 65 countries in 25 languages) and substantial economic value.

Previously we outlined the four principles of success. Here, we add talent stacking, allowing you to capitalize on the array of opportunities that come your way. Adams recommends choosing to acquire ‘talents’ that build assets you can apply to future projects.

The assets you build will lead you down the path of eventual success over time. In today’s fast-paced world, Adams feels we’d all benefit from adding t­he following skills to your main talent:

  • public speaking
  • persuasion (to understand psychology)
  • some business sense
  • some technology sense

Adams recommends to not worry about the end result. Focus on daily execution and over time, there will be a payday.

Passion will follow

Ask a billionaire what’s the most important element to success and he’ll likely say “passion.” Adams disagrees. He says someone’s passion may not be realistic. In addition, he feels you can develop passion with success.

Adams’ observation is that people who have a good business plan probably do well. As things start working, and you start making money, suddenly passion appears!

The crossroads of luck

Adams believes the flexibility of systems increases your odds of luck finding you. By adding to your talent stack, more opportunities cross your path, with success following close behind.

There are many kids today with better programming skills than Bill Gates had. Yet, Gates was born in a time in history where he had access to computers when other people didn’t, and that luck has made him billions and billions of dollars. Adams says go where the luck is, tune yourself into the vibration of luck and increase the chances you’ll get it.

“Success is luck multiplied by the skills you obtain” – Scott Adams

So there you have it, systems are better if you have a complicated situation and a long time frame. Goals are fine if you have a simple situation and a short time frame.

The thread that ties this highly recommended book together is that if you develop good systems and follow them daily, then your efforts eventually overlap with luck.

What do you think about goals now? Looking forward to hearing from you in the comments area below.

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