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14 Lessons We Can All Learn From “The Wolf of Wall Street”

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Both the book and the movie “The Wolf of Wall Street” contain many crazy, entertaining, and decadent stories. But beneath all the debauchery there are a number of key lessons for you to learn from the success of Jordan Belfort and Stratton Oakmont.

Read on for some great insight into this motivated business man that will show you how Jordan Belfort was able to build a super pumped organization before it all came tumbling down.

 

 

 

 

 

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Wolf of Wallstreet

 

 

1. Execute on Ideas

Stratton Oakmont’s initial success was based on two premises:

• That Belfort had come up with a way of teaching young, uneducated people how to sound like professional stock brokers over the phone.

• That rich people love to gamble – especially when the gamble seems like a legitimate business opportunity.
While there had been other people on Wall Street who’d had the same idea, Jordan Belfort was the first person to execute on this idea.

 

2. Simplify

The reason Belfort was able to transform young, uneducated people into charismatic stock brokers was because he was able to impart his knowledge by giving simple instructions in a way that even the most stupid employees could easily understand.

“And as word of this little secret began to spread throughout Long Island—that there was this wild office, in Lake Success, where all you had to do was show up, follow orders, swear your undying loyalty to the owner, and he would make you rich—young kids started showing up at the boardroom unannounced.” – Jordan Belfort

 

3. Put Together a Loyal Team

Guys like Kenny Greene and Danny Porush weren’t the smartest guys around. But, they were long-term friends who were fiercely loyal to Jordan Belfort.

What does this mean?

That it might be a good idea to work with old friends who knew, and liked you, before you got rich and successful. By doing this you will reduce the risk of:

• Becoming betrayed or backstabbed by two-faced people.

• Making stupid decisions because you’re surrounded by yes-men who don’t give you accurate feedback.

 

4. Diversify Competence

Why were Jordan Belfort and Danny Porush a good team?

Because they were very different:

• Belfort had sleeping problems. Porush could fall asleep everywhere – even during bumpy plane rides.

• Belfort was a highly strategic leader who specialized in delegation. Porush was a good enforcer –brutal enough to eat a gold fish to put employees in their place.

• Belfort was analytical and had a long-term orientation. Porush was emotional and short-sighted.

They were both good at different things – but together they were a great combination.

 

 

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5. Dress for Success

From day one, employees were instilled with the mantra that they had to act as if – starting by dressing well and looking the part. The purpose of this was to improve their self-esteem and charisma.

Jordan Belfort even hired a guy to create tailor-made suits for the up-and-coming employees of Stratton Oakmont.

 

6. Gather Intelligence on Rivals and Enemies

Belfort gathered intelligence by:

• Bugging the SEC people who were investigating Stratton Oakmont.

• Befriending FBI agent Jim Barsini and getting information about the ongoing investigation on Stratton Oakmont.

 

7. Guard Your Secrets

Jordan Belfort carefully guarded his secrets by:

• Drafting legal documents to create plausible deniability for shady deals.

• Having the office of Stratton Oakmont and the houses of the top employees swept for bugs regularly.

• Never speaking over the phone about past business deals.

• Using pay phones and other covert forms of communication to ensure that no one listened in on what was being said.

Note: While your business probably differs from Belfort’s by being legal, it’s still a good idea to gather intelligence. For example, you might meet an employee of a rival firm for drinks to learn about the internal gossip going on over there.

 

8. Study History and Learn From Past Mistakes

Said by Belfort to a Swiss “master forger” while discussing banking laws:

“I’m a student of history, Roland, and I’m a firm believer that he who doesn’t study the mistakes of the past is doomed to repeat them”. – Jordan Belfort

You should follow Belfort’s example by:

• Studying past events in your profession to see what it was that made other people succeed or fail.

• Studying the great men who came before you.

 

 

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9. Establish a Concrete Reputation

There was never any doubt to the employees, nor the public, that anyone could make a ton of money by working for Stratton Oakmont. To confirm this, the only thing you had to do was take a look at the young, racially diverse, sometimes acne-ridden, well-dressed young men that spread havoc on Long-Island.

“The very idea of Stratton is that it doesn’t matter what family you were born into, or what schools you went to, or whether or not you were voted most likely to succeed in your high-school yearbook. The idea of Stratton is that when you come here and step into the boardroom for the first time, you start your life anew. The very moment you walk through the door and pledge your loyalty to the firm, you become part of the family, and you become a Strattonite.” – Jordan Belfort

 

10. Create a Set of Core Values that is Easy to Grasp

The core value of Stratton Oakmont was to seize the day. What this really meant to the employees was to:

• Make as much money as possible.

• Compete with colleges who could spend more money and live a crazier and more luxurious lifestyle.

–And what are some common core values of contemporary companies?

• Sustainability.

• Environmental friendliness.

• Integrity.

Which core values do you think are easier to communicate to the employees and make them live by?

 

11. Lead by Example and Set the Standard

No one over at Stratton Oakmont spent more money on buying luxury items, drugs, prostitutes, or partying than Jordan Belfort. He represented the epitome of the lifestyle that the employees sought to achieve.

“It’s important to keep these guys chasing the dream. And it’s even more important to keep them broke.” I gestured over to the plate glass. “Look at them; as much money as they make, every last one of them is broke! They spend every dime they have, trying to keep up with my lifestyle. But they can’t, because they don’t make enough”. – Jordan Belfort

 

12. Create Expectations

At Stratton Oakmont employees were expected to work their asses off and make a lot of money. Anything else was frowned upon.

“A rookie stockbroker was expected to make $250,000 his first year. Anything less and he was suspect. By year two you were making $500,000 or you were considered weak and worthless. And by year three you’d better be making a million or more or you were a complete f#%$ing laughingstock.” – Jordan Belfort

 

13. Provide Incentives for Hard Work

Not only were the employees of Stratton Oakmont paid far above the going rate for stock brokers – but a select few of the hardest working employees were also eligible to branch out on their own and start brokerage firms under Belfort’s guidance.

“It was what every Strattonite dreamed of and something I touched upon in all my meetings—that if you continued to work hard and stay loyal, one day I’d tap you on the shoulder and set you up in business. And then you would get truly rich.” – Jordan Belfort

 

14. Keep People Dependent on You

To ensure that employees were not only motivated to work, but literally had to stay at the firm and continue making lots money, Belfort encouraged employees to live beyond their means.

“I want you to deal with all your problems by becoming rich! I want you to attack your problems head-on! I want you to go out and start spending money right now. I want you to leverage yourself. I want you to back yourself into a corner. Give yourself no choice but to succeed. Let the consequences of failure become so dire and so unthinkable that you’ll have no choice but to do whatever it takes to succeed.” – Jordan Belfort

Jordan Belfort Picture Quote

 

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Question:

Are there more lessons to be learned from the Wolf of Wall Street? If you have any of your own, please leave them in the comments section below.

Ludvig Sunström runs Start Gaining Momentum where he writes about practical self-development and gives no-nonsense tips for becoming more efficient and stepping up in life. He is also the author of Breaking out of Homeostasis , a book about claiming more control over your life by overcoming the brain's innate mechanism for staying the same. Feel free to connect with him on Twitter and Google+.

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75 Comments

75 Comments

  1. youssou

    Mar 9, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    You forgot:

    15. Do not abide the law

    Nothing pays as well as running a criminal scheme.

    16. Do not care about anybody but yourself

    Least the people whose lives are ruined by your scheme. Rat on your friends even if they were loyal. Cheat on your wife. Endanger people’s lives by drink driving.

    17. Be as outrageous as you are able to

    This is your life insurance. Should anything go wrong, should your reputation be in tatters, write a book. Hollywood will see to it.

    18. Become an inspirational teacher afterwards

    Because you already got the skills. See point 1 – 14.

  2. Emily Filloramo

    Mar 7, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    Leaders like Jordan who built successful companies are operating from a “protective” part that drives them to accomplish more and more.

    This protective part is like a soldier guarding the door to the basement of your psyche that hold young parts of you that carry memories of shame, humiliation, rejection, etc. from toxic childhood experiences.

    Because the original pain was so painful and humiliating, the “soldier” parts drive some of us to overachieve all in the name of seeking validation the we are “lovable, worthy and enough”.

    These soldier “parts” have created some of the most successful businesses in the world.

    The sad thing is, many of these very successful and rich people are still miserable despite the trappings of success because the original toxic emotional wounds that created negative core beliefs such as “I’m not lovable, I’m not worthy, I’m not enough” have not been addressed.

    To finally get to a state of happiness and be a leader that shows up with compassion and integrity, you have to overturn negative core beliefs into positive ones through having the highest version of you go back into the original scenes of the bad memories and “re-parent” your younger wounded parts.

    When you give the young parts the love and reassurances they needed that they never got, this is when the REAL loving compassionate highest you will emerge and you won’t need to treat other people horribly in order to TRY to make yourself feel good.

    We can look at leaders like Jordan through the filter of “I feel so sorry for you. You are a 5- year-old seeking attention, love and approval. That’s why you act the way you do. What you went through growing up must have been painful.” They have emotional pains they may not even realize they have and that’s what is driving their pompous behaviors.

    • Ludvig Sunström

      Mar 9, 2014 at 10:49 pm

      That’s an interesting comment, to say the least.

      I’d pay top dollars to see you say that to JB’s face on TV. 🙂

  3. eleni aus

    Feb 28, 2014 at 8:17 pm

    How ‘dreams’ of security (or these days a home) can be manipulated and lives made subservient to a monster that will consume you … Wall Street? No … the local housing market where people ‘have’ to build macmansions rather than modest homes which can be paid off far more easily ….

  4. Stephen

    Feb 17, 2014 at 10:47 am

    I think the closing scene with the Federal Officer on the subway was quite telling. Whilst it was left to interpretation I got the impression he was thinking that the people of the subway lead hard-working and honest lives all of their career and rarely even get a glimpse of their dreams whereas it “cost” Jordan just 22-months to live all of his. The lesson for me is that simply working hard isn’t enough but society doesn’t teach people that. Society teaches you to go to School, get good grades and get a good job. Whilst Jordan’s moral compass was arguably a little skewed, he demonstrated that getting what you want in a capitalist society requires the ability to make money, and the more you can amass the better your life will ultimately be.

    • Ben Flynn

      Feb 20, 2014 at 3:52 am

      I definitely agree that our lives can be improved as we acquire more financial resources. And I know that lessons can be learned by understanding the bad choices that we sometimes make. But I just see a lot of comments that soften the truth of what he did. You’re saying his moral compass was “arguably a little skewed.” Seriously, we need to tell the truth about him without softening it for the sake of someone’s feelings. The fact is, his moral compass was utterly despicable. In NO way should any accurate-thinking individual perceive any of Belfort’s brokering activities as hinting toward “praise-worthiness.” And now he’s won himself a huge audience by sensationalizing his predatory activities.

  5. Ben Flynn

    Feb 7, 2014 at 3:21 am

    I have to admit, I’m a bit surprised to see this article posted here. To clarify, I believe it is a privilege to see others succeed in their chosen endeavor. A privilege to witness a truly inspiring transformation. And I don’t know if Mr. Belfort has genuinely changed his ways. But we know that this man was clearly a coward. A coward because he chose a cowardly path. He chose to be a thief. One of such magnitude and charisma that he convinced many to become thieves themselves; separating individuals from their hard earned savings and transmuting those funds into an excess of ruined lives.

    In #11 and #14, he illustrates how exactly he manipulated the minds of his employees to keep them enslaved in a cycle of dependency. Shrouded under the guise of “imparted wisdom.” Mr. Belfort has proven, over the course of time, that he cares nothing for the pains and struggles of others. And I sincerely suspect that any reflective, thoughtful remorse he may reveal to the public is merely an act. Conjured to appeal to those who love a good “redemption” story. In order to sell books, speaking engagements and a Hollywood movie.

    Does the evidence really point to an honorable man who might inspire the wholesome virtues of a good and gracious character? Or to the expression and manifestation of something deeply corrupt within himself. To admire him in life or in business would be a tragic evolution of your will to succeed. Remember, he chose to walk this path. Will you too choose the path of the coward? Or will you progress with courage in the face of your struggles and make of yourself a true success?

    • Marsha Hale Brown

      Mar 5, 2014 at 6:46 pm

      Thank you Ben Flynn. That wretched feeling that comes with doing jail time and never enjoying the peace of mind that comes with integrity of mind and fulfilling relationships cannot truly be described as rewarding, but this point seems to have been lost in the glamour of temporary and shallow wins. So sad when we confuse true wealth with the spiritual poverty of rank materialism and greed.

  6. Daniel

    Feb 5, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    I think #7 should be #1. I really do.

  7. joe

    Jan 31, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    great article this!!

  8. LudvigSunström

    Jan 31, 2014 at 6:05 am

    Indeed.
    Thanks for reading Jakob!

  9. A.J.NEGASH

    Jan 30, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    Jordan Belfort is the man but C.R.A.Z.Y.. The thing that we shall take from him is his drive. He wants to succeed with any means possible(you don’t have to do illegal stuff). Even after getting out of jail he came with a bestseller book . Also, he became a respected speaker and trainer in the industry. ONCE YOU A HUSTLER YOU ALWAYS A HUSTLER.

    • LudvigSunström

      Jan 31, 2014 at 5:57 am

      Great point. He wanted to get rich, and he did. Mission accomplished.

  10. Naomi@quitmyjob

    Jan 30, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    Hi again Ludvig,

    As I’m in the UK Wolf of Wall Street has just been released. After reading your post I want to see it even more now.

    I watched a really good documentary about the close link between psychopaths and highly driven successful people. Jordan Belfort sounds like a prime example – They are generally people who careers involve a lot of cut throat risk taking for example bankers, sales, media.

    Another great post

    Naomi

    • LudvigSunström

      Jan 30, 2014 at 8:26 pm

      Hey Naomi,

      It’s a good movie — though I think it caters slightly too much to the mainstream.

      I can definitely buy what you’re saying about psychopaths and ambitious people. Personally I think very few “normal” people have the obsession, work ethic, or risk appetite needed to succeed REALLY big.

      Thanks for reading Naomi.

      PS:
      I see you have improved your site. Good job!

    • AJ

      Feb 3, 2014 at 1:53 am

      Interesting point, the parallel between a psychopath and a successful business. Reminds me of the stories and tales about Steve Jobs

  11. andantesashCharlie

    Jan 30, 2014 at 11:12 am

    WOW!! Great article, going to use these points in my own business

  12. AJ

    Jan 30, 2014 at 10:53 am

    Great post and I agree on most of it, however, on point 3. Working with friends might be good for some people but one of my main rules is to never mix friends and family with business. I’d rather become backstabbed by a loser that i hired a month earlier than by own brother.

    One of the most important points: Always dress for sucess. Look good and play good.

    • LudvigSunström

      Jan 31, 2014 at 6:01 am

      Yes. Perhaps. But to reduce the risk of that even happening it might be a good idea to select long-term loyal friends.

      On dressing well:
      –Haha, definitely true. I know you live by this principle.

  13. Jakob Stenfelt

    Jan 30, 2014 at 8:13 am

    Great article! I guess Jordan was smarter than depicted in the movie. Keep up the good work Ludvig

  14. Dan Black

    Jan 30, 2014 at 2:20 am

    “Wow, I now see Jordan Belfort in a new light — as a more serious business person.”

  15. Gustavo Monterrosa

    Jan 29, 2014 at 11:50 pm

    AND….DO LOTS OF COCAINE & HAVE ALOT OF SEX…..LOL

  16. Brian Mawdsley (@brianmawdsley)

    Jan 29, 2014 at 11:20 pm

    Great article and thanks for the follow on Twitter (@Brianmawdsley) What I liked about the Wolf, was how he picked himself up after each defeat and made the next situation work from him. a True Entrepreneur.

  17. LudvigSunström

    Jan 29, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    My opinion exactly, Sebastian.

  18. Kevin Cole

    Jan 28, 2014 at 9:32 pm

    Wow, I never knew Jordan Belfort was such a brilliant entrepreneur.

    HIs ambition and understanding of what creates a successful business really shows that anything is possible. I learned so much here that I’m going to apply to my business.

    This is a really great post Ludvig.

  19. Dejan Antic

    Jan 28, 2014 at 9:32 pm

    I just saw The Wolf of Wall Street the other day and the first thought that came to my mind was “Damn, Jordan Belfort is such a piece of turd! How the hell can someone get so rich by scamming other people?”

    I left the theather pissed, but after a couple of hours passed by, my mind calmed down.

    All of the sudden, I realized that there’s so much more to Jordan Belfort than what the movie and the media would like us to see. There’s a deeper layer that’s made out of enterpreneurship, motivation and living the life to the max. Unfortunately Jordan used his attributes for bad deeds, but I believe that if anyone tried to put to good use such determination to succeed, the passion for making a profitable business (in a more ethical way) … you’d have a profitable business in a matter of months!

    And this post perfectly sums up, how I see Jordan Belfort now, nice job Ludvig! The dude is a freaking motivational/business machine and I think that everyone would learn a ton, if only they could get past the media sharade.

    Cheers,

    Dejan

    • LudvigSunström

      Jan 29, 2014 at 7:06 am

      ““Damn, Jordan Belfort is such a piece of turd! How the hell can someone get so rich by scamming other people?””

      –Dejan,
      You and everyone else. 🙂

      Thank you for the kind words and for reading.

    • Naomi@quitmyjob

      Jan 30, 2014 at 2:46 pm

      Hi Dejan,

      It sounds like you really took away from the film! What you said here… “How the hell can someone get so rich by scamming other people?”. Really made me laugh.

      Unfortunately billions of hard earned money has been lost to scammers, who on the surface their businesses seem lit-git. How do they sleep at night? Properly on a very expensive bed, covered in silk sheets!

      Naomi

  20. Oskar @ SkinnyFatTransformation.com

    Jan 28, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    I watched The Wolf of Wall Street a few weeks ago. The movie focused a lot on Jordan Belfort’s drug abuse, and it was entertaining, but I like that you made it clear how business savy he actually is. Great job on the article Ludvig!

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Success Advice

3 Steps to Overcome Your Brain Biases and Become a Better Leader

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If I asked you what time it was, you would likely look at your watch or a clock and read the time out to me. And if I were to ask you where you were, you would likely tell me the exact place, city, or state. If I were to then ask you who you were, you would likely identify yourself by your name, demographics, and perhaps a work description. On the surface, answering these questions correctly would indicate that you were not delirious. But are these answers technically correct?

Biological research indicates that superficial orientation to time, place, or person is actually far from accurate. Rather, leaders might benefit from tending toward a non-dual awareness of the world, or at least offer themselves the opportunity to see the world this way. For time, place, and person, the biological realities differ from what we might initially think.

1. Don’t let the past dictate the future

We are not ever-present in the moment, nor should we be. In the human brain, the past, present, and future are all represented at the same time. Although we consciously organize our experiences using this segmentation of time, each of these networks can intrude upon the other. In fact, what you remember can influence what you can imagine for yourself in the future as well.

As a leader, ensure that you frequently examine your memory for positive reminders and biases, take advantage of your presence circuits by incorporating mindfulness practices into your day, and use your “possibility” circuits to imagine or simulate future scenarios. In fact, in the brain, imagination is a lot like reality.

Using all three components at all times will help you to become aware of biases and could also help you escape traps or an impasse. For instance, when a possible solution for product development is vague, thinking in terms of what you want and then reverse-engineering this process to make what you imagine could be helpful.

Walt Disney saw great success after building Disneyland in Anaheim, California, but outside interests began crowding his theme park. When he decided to build another park in Florida, Disney didn’t let the experience of California dissuade him. He expanded his vision to something greater — a city of tomorrow. He created fake companies to secretly purchase acres upon acres of land near where Interstate 4 intersected with the Florida turnpike so his company could develop the area around the theme park.

“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” – Walt Disney

2. Think beyond your reach

We are not where we think we are. The notion of “place” has become increasingly irrelevant in a globalized world. With the increasing interconnectedness of societies, cultures, and economies, leaders need to be careful not to think of themselves too locally. When leaders are global in their thinking, they are likely to elicit more widespread cooperation from international markets.

Ask yourself, “What communities beyond my local community do I want to impact?” and “What communities am I impacting?” When you take this approach, it can help your advertising strategies, for example, become more congruous with specific or global markets. Also, leaders who think globally will be more aware of competition from afar and opportunities for collaboration, too.

Jack Ma can be credited with being a global thinker for founding Alibaba, allowing Chinese consumers to access domestic and international markets that they could not previously access. By moving into e-commerce, online banking, and cloud computing, Alibaba has expanded into India and Southeast Asia. Alibaba’s Electronic World Trade Platform has even enabled farmers in Rwanda to sell coffee in China. This is a perfect example of thinking beyond your reach.

3. Connect the body and mind

We are not what we think we are. We are made up of 50% human and 50% bacterial cells. And water comprises 60% of our body weight. So we are basically bags of water and bacteria — with a dash of human cells thrown in for good measure.

Also, though we might think of ourselves as being separate from other people and things, many people or things you encounter in your life are stored in your brain’s memory centers. Our brain tissue contains images, voices, and other attributes of people and things, too. We are not actually as separate as we think.

Take care of your bacteria, and they will take care of you. Having the right balance of bacteria is of paramount importance to effective functioning because the wrong balance can make you depressed or anxious. Taking a probiotic can help restore this balance. Understanding that you are part human, part bacteria can change the way you take care of your moods by essentially reminding you to take care of your gut.

Mindy Grossman, the CEO of WW International — formerly Weight Watchers — is a good example of someone who understands the mind-body connection. Grossman has led the company’s focus from strictly weight loss to wellness through healthy habits. Part of the transformation includes a partnership with meditation app Headspace to help members maintain a positive mindset.

“It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.” – Mahatma Gandhi

When you engage in non-dual awareness by recognizing that your brain fuses and connects time, places, and people, your leadership capacities might also be enhanced. As Warren Bennis, founding chairman of the Leadership Institute at the University of Southern California, suggests, “Becoming a leader is synonymous with becoming yourself.” And your “self” is more intriguing and mysterious than you might first imagine.

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Success Advice

3 Ways to Optimize Your Life for Success

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Welcome to the 21st Century! The era of the Internet and computers, lack of focus and superficiality. I know it sounds scary, maybe a little more exaggerated, but it’s true. We live in a world of short posts and 3-minute videos. We barely engage in deep learning, deep thinking, and deep focus to produce iPhone-level products or services. So, the majority of us are actually a failure, thousands of miles away from achieving our life goals and business visions. How do we turn things around? We need to optimize our lives.

Here are 3 tried and tested tips that will help optimize your life for success:

1. Upgrade your sleep

When I started my freelance writing career—about seven years ago—I was passionate and excited at the beginning. I’d fill my To-Do list with 6-10 items, worked until 12 am, set my alarm to go off at 3 am, and had my running shoes close to my bed before I went to sleep. However, I barely accomplished anything. I usually became weak and bored before noon.

I noticed that I was putting a huge strain on myself. I was sleep deprived, which is the primary reason why I didn’t have the energy and the drive to accomplish my tasks. Many studies have shown that sleep-deprivation affects productivity.

As soon as I began increasing my sleeping time from 4 hours to 7 hours, my whole life changed. I started producing a lot and earning a lot more than before while also improving my health. With more sleep, I get the emotional energy and willpower I need to read, learn, and optimize my career.

“By helping us keep the world in perspective, sleep gives us a chance to refocus on the essence of who we are. And in that place of connection, it is easier for the fears and concerns of the world to drop away.” – Arianna Huffington

2. Read every day

I get it. You’re in the middle-class struggling to survive. You simply have enough to deal with. Reading? That’s not included on your to-do list. Well, if that’s you, then you’re not alone. The global literacy rates are at an all-time high at 84 percent, which means people don’t read as much anymore.

We already have enough on our plates. In fact, a study by the National Endowment for the Arts has found that the reading culture among American adults has drastically declined. That’s a big issue in our world.

Nothing can prevent you from reading, not even your plate that’s chock-full of other life’s priorities. If you want to produce more and impact the world around you, you’ve got to read more and learn more.

Take a look at the visionaries and business titans in our world. All of them are avid readers and avid learners. Bill Gates is a bibliophile and Phil Knight, the founder of Nike, reveres books. In fact, Knight customized his library to the extent that, before you enter into his library, you have to take off your shoes and bow.

So, what would you do next? Take Roald Dahl’s advice, captured in this beautiful line of the poem: “So please, oh please, we beg, we pray / go throw your TV set away / and in its place, you can install / a lovely bookshelf on the wall.”

3. Use Pomodoro to time yourself

You can’t go far in life if you can’t stay totally focused on a task. If you want to achieve your goals, you have got to stay laser-focused on a single task before jumping on to another. Why? Because goals are not achieved in one session, they’re achieved in a series of tasks, one after the other.

To install the focus habit in your system; therefore, you need to use a time-management kind of “system” that will keep you firm and attentive on a specific project. Pomodoro is that time-management tool that will help you stay focused.

It’s an excellent app that lets you set a timer for a particular task. You can set it for 30, 60, or 90 minutes and stop working when it goes off. I use it all the time, and I can’t imagine my work life without it.

“I know when I stay focused, good things will undoubtedly happen.” – Marc Trestman

Optimizing your life for more power, passion, and productivity is not about working hard late at night or running multiple projects at a time. It’s about maintaining your health and recharging your energy (having a deep, quality sleep), updating your knowledge (by reading every day), and staying focused on a project—until you accomplished it (by using Pomodoro technique to boost your concentration).

Of course, developing these sets of habits is not easy. You’ll fail and get frustrated, but as the productivity guru Robin Sharma beautifully puts it, “all changes are hard at first, messy at the middle, and beautiful at the end.”

Which one of these three ways to optimize your life resonated most with you and why? Share your thoughts below!

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Success Advice

If You Want Your Business to Grow, You Need to Increase Your Capacity in the Following 4 Areas

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Every entrepreneur must come face to face with the reality that there is only a limited amount of time, money, and people that you can use within your current position. The question is how do we increase or maximize the things that we find limiting?

As we walk through our hectic and often over packed ten, twelve, or fourteen hour work days, one of the questions that we should be asking is “What can I do to get more, to do more?” Instead, we just put our heads down and plow through the ever growing mountain of work. We are limited by capacity.

Webster’s dictionary defines capacity as “the maximum amount that something can contain.” As an entrepreneur, we have to be a little more creative than the average person and find ways to increase our capacity.

Below, we’ll identify the four areas where we need more capacity and ways to get more with less:

1. Time

Every human on this planet is granted twenty-four hours a day. That is it. Your capacity is a total of twenty-four hours. Within that amount of time you must manage several different demands. Our goal is to buy back our time, when we can, and operate at peak performance when we are accomplishing our daily task list.

First, without staying in performance shape, you will lose the ability to stay at optimal performance levels. Our bodies are truly a machine with an amazing capacity, but when it is abused by lack of sleep, improper nutrition, and lack of exercise, you are reducing the capacity at which you are able to work and function. The closer you are to peak performance, the more you are able to accomplish in a shorter amount of time.

Second is our mental condition. Here is what my experience has taught me. If I am mentally rested, I can think and make decisions faster because I can reason more quickly in addition to understanding the circumstances and information at an extremely fast pace. 

When your brain is healthy, it becomes easier to absorb and process information at a lightning fast rate. Taking the time to allow your brain to rest will give it the ability to function at peak performance.

Third is our ability to train and delegate. So often, entrepreneurs are control freaks. No one can do it as good, as fast, or with the same passion as they can. While that may be true in most cases, you are only one person with twenty-four hours in a day. 

You’ve got to delegate and accept people’s help. If you add one person that’s willing to give you eight hours of work a day, you have now bought back hours in your day to focus on activities that will generate more income and grow your business. Why wouldn’t you want to add more hours to your day by delegating out the appropriate task to qualified individuals?

“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.” – Zig Ziglar

2. Money

Money tends to be a sensitive topic. We all have beliefs that were formed through our childhood on the concept of money. With many different views and beliefs on this topic, let’s just focus on the fact that money is a tool that will either help grow the company or a tool that limits a company’s growth.

It is always amazing that the faster a company grows, the greater the challenge of money becomes, and this could potentially cause the company to implode on its own success. How do we then increase the capacity and have more money available to keep the company healthy?

Here are a couple of things to watch out for: 

  • Keep an eye on your budget and get accurate figures. 
  • Look at your Accounts Receivables. If they get too long, they could cause significant cash flow issues. 
  • Find investment opportunities. There are many private investors that are often willing to invest in companies that have true growth with solid foundations. 
  • Look at additional profit generators, products, or services that fit within your current business model. 

Each of these are ways to increase the capacity that money contributes to the growth of your business.

3. Space and Supply

I will never forget exactly where I was standing when I had a manufacture call and tell me they were unable to supply anymore products. They had sold us everything they had, and they weren’t going to have anything available to sell for at least another six months. At that time, we were selling customer printed t-shirts and had tens of thousands of orders that we needed to fulfill within the next thirty days.

Space and Supply are tied closely together. Space is often associated with the production. Do you have a space large enough to meet the demands of the supply? If production can only create 1,000 products a day and buyers need 5,000 a day, there is a conflict. 

A business needs to understand that challenge, and there are only 3 solutions to this problem: The business figures out how to increase production within the current workable hours, adds more workable hours with the equipment and space, or adds more equipment and space to increase production.

Space and supplies are assets that can be used towards the business advantage. Here are a few questions to ask when making decisions based on space and supply. 

  • Evaluate your supply channel. Are they able to maintain a solid supply of your raw product materials to match your growth as a company? 
  • Are there back up supply manufactures that can create a safety net for your raw products? 
  • Evaluate the amount of space you have available along with the time the space is usable. Can you run a second or third shift with the current space and equipment?

“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

4. People

Your employees are likely going to be the most important way to create more capacity. We talked briefly about delegating to qualified individuals to increase capacity around your own personal time. The next phase is to create more capacity by adding additional, trained people. 

You need to create leaders of leaders instead of you being the leader of followers. Don’t miss this because the greatest of all companies focuses on increasing their capacity by training leaders of leaders and not just a loyal following.

Entrepreneurs tend to be a lonely bunch of souls. Too often, we are misunderstood and looked at with slight amount of annoyance. Others just don’t always know how to take someone that is passionately thinking outside the box. 

People skills are a must in order to have more than just yourself work to achieve that dream. As an entrepreneur, develop the social skills to work with individuals that are different than yourself.  

Here is a 3 step plan to have great capacity with people as your allies:

  1. Start by learning how to delegate your own tasks to buy back your time. Identify the tasks that are easiest to delegate and document how you do them. This will give you a specific job description, set achievable goals, and create a daily action plan that is now something that is teachable. 
  2. Use this system and apply it to the other things you are currently doing. I would suggest building out an organization chart and dividing the different tasks you do within the company. Then create a plan that will allow you to hire the right person and move you onto the next area in the organization that you will systematize. 
  3. Finally, create the culture. Culture is like a child, it will grow whether or not you pay attention to it. So be intentional. Learn what it takes to build a culture that attracts the employees that want to be there and grow with the company. 

Each of these four areas has an incredible amount of potential to increase your capacity, and allow your business to grow. Don’t attempt to tackle everything at once. Identify just one area that you will commit to grow within the next three to six months. Take action and implement. 

What is your next step? Share with us below!

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Success Advice

The Importance of Failure: Why We Should Fail Forward

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What Is failing forward? Will Smith said it best in a viral Instagram video that engaged the world. “You’ve gotta take a shot, you have to live at the edge of your capabilities. You gotta live where you’re almost certain you’re going to fail. Failure actually helps you to recognize the areas where you need to evolve. So fail early, fail often, fail forward.”

Failing forward is about using leverage on your mistakes and making a realistic assessment of the risks involved. It’s your ability to live with the downside, control your emotions and experiment with new approaches. When we fail forward, we need to look at the reason why we fail and understand that it’s all part of the process of achievement.

Here are 4 Reasons Why We Fail:

1. We Are Too Distracted

Distractions are everywhere. They can take us off course and could make it impossible to keep our mind on our goal or purpose. It’s important to be selective, strategic and supportive in our distractions. We all control certain aspects of our day, so be selective and prioritise tasks that are in line with your goals.

We should be strategic by understanding when we work best. Personally, I write more efficiently in the early mornings and late evenings. So that’s what I stick to. Try different things and see when you are least distracted. You’ll then be able to be supportive and generous with your time. Being supportive of others costs us little and drives our own success whilst boosting our health and happiness.

2. Lack of Self Belief

Lack of self belief runs differently from person to person. Our experiences, childhood history, genes, culture and life circumstances play a part in our self confidence. The truth is, we can’t alter the experiences that our past has given us. What we can do though, is change our thoughts to gain more belief in ourselves. Ways to increase our self-belief is to find out more about ourselves. We can do this by taking care of ourselves physically and emotionally. Giving ourselves a healthy support system and understanding our emotions are just a couple of ways to practice self-belief.

3. Fear of Failure

Failure often induces fear. When we fear failure, we allow ourselves to stop doing the things that can help us achieve our goals, help us move forward and open up possibilities we never thought were possible. We should have faith in ourselves and start to shift our inner dialogue from ‘not good enough’ to ‘more than enough’. If our inner critic takes the lead on self talk, then it’s more than likely we aren’t feeling good enough. It’s important to surround ourselves with positive people and positive thoughts.

4. Procrastination

Procrastination is a common reason for failure. It’s delaying or putting off a task or action to attend to at a later time. Procrastination is essentially giving in, to feel good. We prefer avoiding negative emotions and stressful tasks, which are the very things we procrastinate about. The first step to overcoming procrastination is recognising we do it.

We then need to understand why we do it and use appropriate strategies to prevent it from happening. We may not know that we are procrastinating and this can be damaging to reaching our full potential. With a solid understanding, we can get to the core of our reasons and make positive changes to fail forward.

Now that you know why we fail, here are the 3 ways you can fail forward:

1. Take Risks

When risks are taken, we generally overestimate the chances of something going wrong. What we focus on tends to magnify in our imagination and in return, causes us to misjudge an outcome of a situation. The reality is, the likelihood is often a far better return than we imagine it out to be. To take risks, we should not be afraid of failure.

2. Understanding Failure Should Be Your Motivation

It may sound comical but, be happy when you fail. We’ve been taught to believe that when we fail it’s because of bad attempts, bad judgment and bad luck at improving our lives. For example, we link failure with the colour red (to stop) and success with the colour green (to keep going). In reality, we are stronger and more courageous when we fail. It’s a sign of improvement, so we should recognise that failure is growth and if we’re not making mistakes, we are not really trying. Use failure as motivation and keep going.

3. Perseverance

Perseverance is the ability to recover from failure. Your chances of success is also dependent on your persistence and your willingness to persevere. You have two options when you fail: Become self-defeated or become resilient and encouraged. Perseverance requires a goal, a passion and patience. It’s important to set your own pace when persevering and not comparing your failures to others. In doing this, when we fail forward, we are more in tune with ourselves and more controlled with new approaches.

“Recognize that you will spend much of your life making mistakes. If you can take action and keep making mistakes, you gain experience.” – John C. Maxwell

Think of it this way. When we’re at the gym pushing ourselves in the weight room, the trainer would yell “One more rep!”. Our trainer wants us to succeed, but also wants us to fail. They want us to be uncomfortable to the point where our muscles fatigue. Why? Because of muscle adaptation. That’s where our muscle growth comes from. It’s the ability to learn how to get comfortable being uncomfortable. This concept doesn’t just apply physically within our muscles, it applies mentally and in our minds. In understanding this perspective, we can fail forward with more awareness and are in a better position to achieve success.

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