I would like to take a little detour with this piece, so it has nothing to do with marketing or communications, but perhaps, it’s more relevant in its own way.
Every time I lecture a group of graduate students (or any students for that matter), I make a point of starting or ending with a conversation about career paths and life, as they, for the most part, are about to embark upon their journey.
The beginning of the end
It all starts with graduating from high school. All the pressures of studying, the joys of a busy social life and the month-long holidays are over. Now you’re off to study further, get a diploma or degree – or if you choose not to study, get your first job.
No-one realises how critical their first job is, there is no proper investigation or planning done; unless someone knows exactly what they want to do (be a pilot etc.), they tend to ‘fall into’ what comes along.
When I lecture grad students at advertising schools, I find exceptionally few who know anything about the industry after three years or more of study. Sure, they know the theory and their craft, but virtually none can name the top five agencies in the country. How does one choose the right job on that basis?
The fact is, a lot of us choose our jobs by what we can get, and who offers a position, not on what we want to be doing, not what we always dreamed of doing.
It’s like anything in life, to build a fulfilling, rewarding career and work life, the beginning, the foundation, is the most important part.
Debt is modern day slavery
A soon as you graduate, or start doing well in your first job, you suddenly have cash to spend. Credit cards, overdrafts and insurance policies follow. You feel important; you can afford nice clothes, cool stuff, even a car a little down the line.
You have ‘swagger’. Welcome to slavery. You have just been plugged into the matrix. Now you’re in a cycle of ‘having’ to earn money, to pay for your stuff, three or four times over.
Society is plugged in. It’s all about the big title, the fancy car, the house in a good suburb; everyone works more and more, harder and harder to go home to more stuff. Real living becomes a weekend thing, and maybe a holiday twice a year.
So it goes; the more you earn, the more credit you’re offered, the more stuff you buy, the more you ‘need’ your job in order to maintain your lifestyle. Have you noticed that every time you get an increase, you are soon spending it all, just like you were doing when you were earning less?
Looking forward to Friday
This is what really gets to me: Go onto any social media site and from Sunday all you hear is complaints about the fact that it’s almost Monday and that the weekend is over. All week long you hear about how people hate their jobs, their bosses, their colleagues and how they are looking forward to Friday.
So we are all wishing away five out of every seven days of our lives. When we reach our end, how many of us will look back and wish we had worked more?
A book was written by a nurse who worked in a hospice for many years, she compiled a list of the eight most common wishes people had before they passed away. Number two on that list was: “I wish I had worked less and lived more.” If we can help it, I don’t think it should be on any of ours, do you?
So, what then?
I’m not saying don’t work. Money should become just a tool in our lives, instead of a fanatical focus. What I am saying is, try your best to get paid (in a job or your own initiative) for doing what you love. I’m saying, if you’re stuck in a job now that you don’t like, get out. It’s the scariest thing in the world, but trust me, I’ve done it, and it is also the most liberating thing.
The best advice when it comes to money and life is: Get out of debt. Or if you are just starting out, avoid it like the plague. Wait a little longer for the things you want and you’ll be able to afford more. Don’t spend your life paying your blood, sweat and tears to credit cards, overdrafts and loans. Get rid of your cards, get a money-clip, it’s cool.
Some of the happiest people I know just walked out of impressive positions in top companies, put a few things in a backpack and went traveling. They came back to start their own companies and get involved in their passions and they are happy – and they make a good living, in spite of not concentrating on the money.
It’s that simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Living creatively and joyfully requires dismissing gloom, defeatism and negativism. We have to acknowledge the problems, but must not allow them to dominate our thinking and our direction.
The future, your future
Joel Osteen says: “You’re never too old, it’s never too late and the mistake is never too big. Your destiny is bigger than your mistakes.”
I must say I share this optimism – the world around us is changing so fast, if ever there was a time to break the cycle, unplug from the matrix and find a different way, the opportunity to do it is now.
I always tell my grad students: Take a minute and forget about what you are studying and the money spent and the expectations of your parents and people around you. Find what you really love, your passion, what gets you out of the bed in the morning. Choose to do that instead – and then figure out a way to get paid to do it.
So, in conclusion, you can work for someone, buy stuff and die as you lived: A slave. Or you can wake up.
It’s time to wake up. If you’re going to be alive, you may as well be incredible.
The 3 Decisions That Will Change Your Financial Life
There’s nothing worse than a rich person who’s chronically angry or unhappy. There’s really no excuse for it, yet I see it every day. It results from an extremely unbalanced life, one with too much expectation and not enough appreciation for what’s there.
Without gratitude and appreciation for what you already have, you’ll never know true fulfilment. But how do you cultivate balance in life? What’s the point of achievement if your life has no balance?
For nearly four decades, I’ve had the privilege of coaching people from every walk of life, including some of the most powerful men and women on the planet. I’ve worked with presidents of the United States as well as owners of small businesses.
Across the board, I’ve found that virtually every moment people make three key decisions that dictate the quality of their lives. If you make these decisions unconsciously, you’ll end up like the majority of people who tend to be out of shape physically, exhausted emotionally and often financially stressed. But if you make these decisions consciously, you can literally change the course of your life today.
Decision 1: Carefully choose what to focus on
At every moment, millions of things compete for your attention. You can focus on things that are happening right here and now or on what you want to create in the future. Or you can focus on the past.
Where focus goes, energy flows. What you focus on and your pattern for doing so shapes your entire life.
Which area do you tend to focus on more: What you have or what’s missing from your life?
I’m sure you think about both sides of this coin. But if you examine your habitual thoughts, what do you tend to spend most of your time dwelling on?
Rather than focusing on what you don’t have and begrudging those who are better off than you financially, perhaps you should acknowledge that you have much to be grateful for and some of it has nothing to do with money. You can be grateful for your health, family, friends, opportunities and mind.
Developing a habit of appreciating what you have can create a new level of emotional wellbeing and wealth. But the real question is, do you take time to feel deeply grateful for your mind, body, heart and soul? That’s where the joy, happiness and fulfilment can be found.
Consider a second pattern of focus that affects the quality of your life: Do you tend to focus more on what you can control or what you can’t?
If you focus on what you can’t control, you’ll have more stress in life. You can influence many aspects of your life but you usually can’t control them.
When you adopt this pattern of focus, your brain has to make another decision:
Decision 2: Figure out, What does this all mean?
Ultimately, how you feel about your life has nothing to do with the events in it or with your financial condition or what has (or hasn’t) happened to you. The quality of your life is controlled by the meaning you give these things.
Most of the time you may be unaware of the effect of your unconscious mind in assigning meaning to life’s events.
When something happens that disrupts your life (a car accident, a health issue, a job loss), do you tend to think that this is the end or the beginning?
If someone confronts you, is that person insulting you, coaching you or truly caring for you?
Does a devastating problem mean that God is punishing you or challenging you? Or is it possible that this problem is a gift from God?
Your life takes on whatever meaning you give it. With each meaning comes a unique feeling or emotion and the quality of your life involves where you live emotionally.
I always ask during my seminars, “How many of you know someone who is on antidepressants and still depressed?” Typically 85% to 90% of those assembled raise their hands.
How is this possible? The drugs should make people feel better. It’s true that antidepressants do come with labels warning that suicidal thoughts are a possible side-effect.
But no matter how much a person drugs himself, if he constantly focuses on what he can’t control in life and what’s missing, he won’t find it hard to despair. If he adds to that a meaning like ‘life is not worth living,’ that’s an emotional cocktail that no antidepressant can consistently overcome.
Yet if that same person can arrive at a new meaning, a reason to live or a belief that all this was meant to be, then he will be stronger than anything that ever happened to him.
When people shift their habitual focus and meanings, there’s no limit to what life can become. A change of focus and a shift in meaning can literally alter someone’s biochemistry in minutes.
So take control and always remember: Meaning equals emotion and emotion equals life. Choose consciously and wisely. Find an empowering meaning in any event, and wealth in its deepest sense will be yours today.
Once you create a meaning in your mind, it creates an emotion, and that emotion leads to a state for making your third decision:
Decision 3: What will you do?
The actions you take are powerfully shaped by the emotional state you’re in. If you’re angry, you’re going to behave quite differently than if you’re feeling playful or outrageous.
If you want to shape your actions, the fastest way is to change what you focus on and shift the meaning to be something more empowering.
Two people who are angry will behave differently. Some pull back. Others push through.
Some individuals express anger quietly. Others do so loudly or violently. Yet others suppress it only to look for a passive-aggressive opportunity to regain the upper hand or even exact revenge.
Where do these patterns come from? People tend to model their behaviour on those they respect, enjoy and love.
The people who frustrated or angered you? You often reject their approaches.
Yet far too often you may find yourself falling back into patterns you witnessed over and over again in your youth and were displeased by. It’s very useful for you to become aware of your patterns when you are frustrated, angry or sad, or feel lonely. You can’t change your patterns if you’re not aware of them.
Now that you’re aware of the power of these three decisions, start looking for role models who are experiencing what you want out of life. I promise you that those who have passionate relationships have a totally different focus and arrive at totally different meanings for the challenges in relationships than people who are constantly bickering or fighting.
It’s not rocket science. If you become aware of the differences in how people approach these three decisions, you’ll have a pathway to help you create a permanent positive change in any area of life.
7 Steps To Achieve Financial Freedom
Achieving financial freedom doesn’t necessarily mean becoming filthy rich – not that that hurts.
In this video, Entrepreneur Network partner Brian Tracy explains the seven steps you need to take to achieve financial freedom. Now, financial freedom doesn’t mean becoming filthy rich – lottery winners go bankrupt all the time. Instead, financial freedom is about becoming disciplined and using your money in a way that ensures you can live the sort of life you want both now and in the future.
That’s why the first step isn’t about getting a lot of money. Instead, it’s about teaching yourself to think positively about money. That way, you’ll be in the right mindset to move forward.
Click play to learn more.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
4 Ways To Become A Millionaire Even When You Start With Little
It costs nothing to take advantage of the limitless opportunities online.
The hardest part of becoming successful is getting started to begin with. But despite the challenges ahead of you, there’s a way to become a millionaire when starting with little. I’m going to show you four reasons why you can become a millionaire with just a small investment.
1First focus on learning, not big gain
Education is your greatest weapon. Focus on learning in the beginning. Don’t make the mistake of focusing on making huge gains in the beginning. Learn everything you can because this is how you build the foundations for long-term gains.
They say that if a millionaire goes bankrupt they’ll nearly always be able to get it back. And that’s because they might have lost their money, but they have the knowledge of how to get back to where they need to be.
2You can learn loads about any topic online
I’m grateful for the internet. It’s the single biggest library in the world. You’re reading this article right now and you’re acquiring knowledge you wouldn’t have been able to acquire 40 years ago. Use the internet to its fullest extent, whether that’s through reading books, browsing articles or watching video tutorials.
Set some time aside every day to learn something online. It could be a video series or a favorite blog. When you get into the habit of learning regularly you’ll find that you advance much faster.
3Focus on the niche you love
These days you can learn about anything and target the niche you’re passionate about. This is what I was able to do with penny stocks. I found a gap in the market and provided knowledge to people who wouldn’t have otherwise being able to access this sort of information.
You can do that with absolutely any niche. When you find a niche you’re passionate about and you use the reach of the Internet you start to make huge gains.
4Prove your expertise by creating free content
Your reputation as an authority is the new business card. There’s a reason I created a penny stock guide and made it free for all. You may have already seen ads for it on social media. The way to succeed with little is to create a reputation through your content.
It’s the gateway to success because through free content you start to build relationships with others who value your work. And from there everyone gets richer.
You can do lots with a little
The days when you needed a huge investment to become successful are long gone. These days you can do so much with just a little. Find what you love, advance your knowledge in that area, and create a product that fulfills a need. Finally, work on building up relationships through portraying yourself as an authority on your subject.
Combine everything together and you can accomplish anything.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
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