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Live Free

Don’t be a slave to money in the bank. Live free. Follow your passions. Be happy.

Mick Blore

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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.

Live free.

Mick Blore is a founding partner of Original Forever, a creative agency that specializes in big ideas born of extraordinary creative strategy. For more information visit www.originalforever.co.za

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Personal Finance

If You Think These 5 Things, You’ll Never Get Rich By The Time You’re 30

Five common mistakes entrepreneurs make when starting a business and how to correct them.

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Last week, I had lunch with a millennial who wanted some advice about a business he’s starting. After the usual small talk, we got down to discussing his business plan. Within a short time, it was clear that his business idea was great, his plan for executing was fairly solid and he had gathered together a strong team to help him make it happen.

So far, so good. But, to be frank, this guy has no chance of being successful with his current mentality. What it takes to be rich (or successful in any measure) has a lot more to do with your mindset than your ideas and plans.

From the time we started in business at the ripe ages of six and seven, our Grandpa Joe taught my brother Matthew and me many lessons about the details of running a profitable business. Over the years, we learned about how to create a business plan; how to market our products and services; and how to take care of customers, vendors and employees. All this knowledge has been invaluable to us in creating and running successful businesses. But, what our grandfather taught us about attitude and mindset trumps all other lessons.

Without calling out the specific individual I spoke with recently, below are five “hypothetical” attitudes that will get you nowhere in your journey to success – and the attitudes that should replace them.

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Personal Finance

5 Habits That Lead To Millionaire Business Success

You need the right habits if you’re going to succeed.

Timothy Sykes

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What do all millionaire businesspeople have in common? Well, a lot of things.

I found from a recent study that 80 percent of all millionaires still go to work every single day. They’re working people just like me. But, they have to keep themselves in work or it all grinds to a halt. So what are the habits you need to make your business a success?

1. Patience

Nothing is ever going to come easy. You can look at the likes of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, as well as the other usual suspects, to realize that success didn’t come with their first venture. Many of them failed time and time again. It took patience for them to become successful.

I read an article recently about 36-year-old teacher Andrew Hallam who became a self-made millionaire on a teaching salary. But, in his spare time he invested smart and lived frugally.

It proves you don’t have to inherit lots of money or become an instant success to make a millionaire business.

Related: 4 Ways To Become A Millionaire Even When You Start With Little

2. Dedication

You have to be dedicated to your craft if you’re going to become successful. Going back to Bill Gates again, he started his business in the back of his garage. Now that’s dedication.

It’s what I tell all my students. If they’re not dedicated to this, then they should leave. You need to be able to push through the barren periods if you’re going to reach the oasis of success.

3. Ambition and big dreams

Have you ever heard the quote, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss you’ll land among the stars”?

I take that to heart because even if you aim to become a billionaire and miss you still might be a millionaire many times over. Take the Wright Brothers as an example. Not content with creating a successful glider in 1902 they went on to create the world’s first airplane in 1903, making four brief flights in Kitty Hawk. It demonstrates the importance of dreaming big because you never know what you might achieve.

Related: 12 Millionaire Habits To Start Making Serious Money Soon And Build Wealth In A Hurry

4. Learn from mistakes

Every good businessperson will mess something up. It’s inevitable. What’s important is how you learn from your mistakes over time. Do you adapt after making your mistakes?

Millionaire businesspeople always set some time aside to reflect. Then they create a plan of action for ensuring that it doesn’t happen again. Most failed businesspeople put it down to “bad luck.”

5. Focus on niches

This important! Try to take over a whole industry at once and you’ll inevitably get swallowed up by the competition. Start small and control your own niche before moving into another niche. When you master your small area, you can push on and expand.

Related: 21 Choices Millionaires Make That You Aren’t Making But Should Be

You’ll be amazed at how much easier it is to expand after you master your own niche/audience first.

Do you have what it takes? That’s the question I always ask novice businesspeople. You need a plan and you need the right habits if you’re going to succeed.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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Personal Finance

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.

Tony Robbins

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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.

Related: 10 YouTube Channels Every Entrepreneur Should Follow

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:

Related: 13 Habits Of Self-Made Millionaires You Could Adopt Today

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.

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