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Success Advice

4 Important Money Lessons I Learned From a Grueling Job



Understanding money

As I was traveling to Australia in 2016, I experienced one of the most painful ways to make money working a job. I worked as a tree planter for three months getting paid 8 cents per tree planted.

I worked six days a week under capricious Australian winds, rain, battling with mud and drooling in sweat. Three months later and 10 kilos lighter, I learned powerful life lessons about money.

1. You start putting the cost of items into perspective

When you get paid 8 cents per tree planted, you start having a different perspective on money. On my first day off, I thought I’d buy a coffee for breakfast. So how much did that coffee cost?  It was $4.50. I remembered thinking, this is 56 trees. How much energy did it take me to plant these 56 trees? I could still feel the pain through my blistered tree planter’s hands.

When you realize the value of your hard-earned dollars you start thinking that maybe your money should be put to better use. Did I like tree planting? I hated every minute of it.

My naive optimism of the beginning soon vanished to be replaced by constant mental complaining. After the first two weeks, I was already mentally exhausted because of the numbing aspect of this repetitive job.

I thought I should start listening to audiobooks to keep my mind in a better place. So I started with Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad. Robert was accompanying me at every tree I planted and for every cent I earned. He kept repeating the same things over and over again: “It doesn’t take money to make money”; “having a job means being just over broke”.

And there I was, planting trees trying to make more money one tree at a time.

“No matter where you are, your dreams are valid.” – Lupita Nyong’o

2. Working harder is not the solution

There was a British guy, Harry who was hands down the best tree planter of the crew. He planted significantly more trees than everyone every single day. But even though he planted more than everyone, he didn’t get much more money.

Why? Well, because Harry earned more, he also got taxed more. Ironic right? Especially since the effort to plant the extra 500 to 1000 trees was in my humble opinion, monstrous.

But Harry was a competitor and I don’t think he did it for the money. I think he enjoyed the insanity of the challenge. But thinking about it, you could easily get very cynical about how unfair this whole system is – and rightfully so. People work harder and the system gets harder on them. I guess Robert Kiyosaki was right after all. Working harder is not the solution.

3. Have a system working for you

Because I wanted to make more money without planting more trees, I started thinking of something else. There was actually a guy on the team who had an interesting position. He didn’t plant trees, but rather he collected the trays that each planter left at the end of every row. At the end of the day, he got 15% of the total of trees planted by the whole crew.

This guy made as much money as the top planters with a significantly lesser effort. Of course, he would still be taxed the way we were but what was interesting was the fact that he didn’t need to put in the mind-numbing-soul-destroying-blister-creating effort that the rest of the crew was putting in.

How much was my boss making? His income probably didn’t fall under earned income like ours. Which meant he got less taxes. This guy made money whether he showed up or not. He had a system working for him. Work will only get you so far but systems will get you anywhere. This is what we call leverage.

“The most important word in the world of money is cash flow. The second most important word is leverage.” – Robert Kiyosaki

4. It doesn’t take money to make money

What could I possibly do in a town in the middle of nowhere that had more cows than people? Well, I took a look at items that were selling in the area and I quickly realized that I could buy discounted items. Because it was a remote area of retired people, there wasn’t much demand.  I found amazing deals.

The problem was, I didn’t have enough cash so I called my friend Fernando who lent me $2000 for three months for 10% interest. When I got back to Sydney at the end of my tree planting adventure, I sold the items I had bought for a total of $3000. I gave $2200 back to my friend Fernando, and I kept the $800 difference.

I made that $800 in a matter of hours whereas it would take me at least 50 hours and 11000 trees to make that money working. Start thinking of things you can do outside of your job, outside of the sickening-and-addicting hourly rate. Be creative. It doesn’t take money to make money. Well, let’s say it doesn’t have to be your own.

Warren Buffett once said: “Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone else planted a tree a long time ago.” Understand that your hard earned money is the seed of what could create your freedom. Keep some of it. Learn to create and acquire assets that will be working and growing for you. So start planting your trees!

What money lessons have you learned from a not so popular job you’ve had before? Leave your thoughts below!


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Success Advice

20 Ways You Can Become a Powerful Communicator



Emile Steenveld Speaker and Coach

Some people seem to naturally know how to effectively communicate in a group setting. They can express themselves clearly and listen attentively without dominating the conversation.

Being a powerful communicator is important for several reasons, including building and maintaining relationships, achieving goals, resolving conflicts, improving productivity, leading and influencing others, advancing in your career, expressing yourself more confidently and authentically, and improving your mental and emotional well-being. Effective communication is an essential life skill that can benefit you in all aspects of your life.

But, don’t worry if you don’t naturally possess this skill, as effective communication is something that can be developed with practice, planning and preparation.

1.  Listen actively: Practice active listening by giving your full attention to the speaker and responding to what they are saying.


2. Use “I” statements: Speak from your own perspective and avoid placing blame or making accusations.


3. Avoid assumptions: Don’t make assumptions about what the other person is thinking or feeling.


4. Be clear: Express your thoughts and feelings clearly and concisely by getting to the point and avoid using jargon or overly complex language.


5. Show empathy: Show that you understand and care about the other person’s feelings.


6. Offer valuable insights: When speaking in a group, provide a valuable takeaway or actionable item that people can walk away with.


7. Be an active listener: Listen attentively and respond accordingly, incorporating your points into the conversation.


8. Choose the right time: Pick the most opportune time to speak to ensure that you have the group’s attention and can deliver your message without interruption.


9. Be the unifying voice: Step in and unify the group’s thoughts to calm down the discussion and insert your point effectively.


10. Keep responses concise: Keep responses short and to the point to show respect for others’ time.


11. Avoid unnecessary comments: Avoid commenting on everything and only speak when you have something important to say.


12. Cut the fluff: Avoid being long-winded and get straight to the point.


13. Prepare ahead of time: Sort out your points and practice them before speaking in a group.


14. Smile and be positive: Smile and nod along as others speak, to build a positive relationship and be respected when it’s your turn to speak.


15. Take responsibility: Take responsibility for your own actions and feelings.


16. Ask questions: Ask questions to clarify any confusion or misunderstandings.


17. Avoid interrupting: Allow the other person to finish speaking without interruption.


18. Practice active listening: Repeat what the other person said to ensure you have understood correctly.


19. Use your body language too: Use nonverbal cues such as eye contact, facial expressions, and body language to convey your message and build rapport.


20. Be aware of the tone of your voice: it should be calm and assertive, not aggressive or passive.


By keeping these tips in mind, you can improve your communication skills and become a more powerful communicator, which can help you build better relationships, achieve your goals, and lead a more fulfilling life.

I you want to learn how to become more confident in life then you can join my weekly mentorship calls and 40+ online workshops at so you can master your life with more success.

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You’re the manager. You’re the supervisor. You’re the leader. But maybe your people don’t see it that way



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You’re the manager. You’re the supervisor. You’re the leader. But maybe your people don’t see it that way and perhaps that has created a divisive and adversarial working environment that makes it difficult for you to influence and inspire your team in a way that meets your vision. (more…)

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Strategic thinking helps CEOs build successful businesses. It helps them establish everlasting enterprises. It is one of the key elements of decision-making. It is different from strategic leadership. It differentiates between leaders from managers.  (more…)

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In this world of distractions due to information overload, it has become a big challenge to focus our minds



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