Sunday, 28 October 2007

Where do You Go For Your Intellectual Feast?

Pity the man who has a favorite restaurant, but not a favorite author. He's picked out a favorite place to feed his body, but he doesn't have a favorite place to feed his mind!

Why would this be? Have you heard about the accelerated learning curve? From birth, up until the time we are about eighteen, our learning curve is dramatic, and our capacity to learn during this period is just staggering. We learn a tremendous amount very fast. We learn language, culture, history, science, mathematics... everything!

For some people, the accelerated learning process will continue on. But for most, it levels off when they get their first job. If there are no more exams to take, if there's no demand to get out paper and pencil, why read any more books? Of course, you will learn some things through experience. Just getting out there – sometimes doing it wrong and sometimes doing it right - you will learn.

Can you imagine what would happen if you kept up an accelerated learning curve all the rest of your life? Can you imagine what you could learn to do, the skills you could develop, the capacities you could have? Here's what I'm asking you to do: be that unusual person who keeps up his learning curve and develops an appetite for always trying to find good ideas.

One way to feed your mind and educate your philosophy is through the writings of influential people. Maybe you can't meet the person, but you can read his or her books. Churchill is gone, but we still have his books. Aristotle is gone, but we still have his ideas. Search libraries for books and programs. Search magazines. Search documentaries. They are full of opportunities for intellectual feasting.

In addition to reading and listening, you also need a chance to do some talking and sharing. I have some people in my life who help me with important life questions, who assist me in refining my own philosophy, weighing my values and pondering questions about success and lifestyle.

We all need association with people of substance to provide influence concerning major issues such as society, money, enterprise, family, government, love, friendship, culture, taste, opportunity, and community. Philosophy is mostly influenced by ideas, ideas are mostly influenced by education, and education is mostly influenced by the people with whom we associate.

One of the great fortunes of my life was to be around Mr. Shoaff those five years. During that time he shared with me at dinner, during airline flights, at business conferences, in private conversations and in groups. He gave me many ideas that enabled me to make small daily adjustments in my philosophy and activities. Those daily changes, some very slight, but very important, soon added up to weighty sums.

A big part of the lesson was having Mr. Shoaff repeat the ideas over and over. You just can't hear the fundamentals of life philosophy too often. They are the greatest form of nutrition, the building blocks for a well-developed mind.

I'm asking that you feed your mind just as you do your body. Feed it with good ideas, wherever they can be found. Always be on the lookout for a good idea - a business idea, a product idea, a service idea, an idea for personal improvement. Every new idea will help to refine your philosophy. Your philosophy will guide your life, and your life will unfold with distinction and pleasure.

To Your Success,
Jim Rohn (excerpted from "Leading an Inspired Life")

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The Richest Man in Babylon

One of the most useful books I was ever referred to read was "The Richest Man in Babylon" by George S Clason. Jim Rohn made the recommendation and he was right to do so. In fact, I find its advice on finances management so important that I would place it on a list for all high school children to read before they start making financial mistakes.

"The Richest Man in Babylon : The Original Version, Restored and Revised" is now available on Amazon with 25% discount - £4.49 reduced from £5.99.

I recommend this enlightening, insightful book on financial investment and fiscal success. The series of delightful short stories teaches economic tips and tools for financial success that have withstood the test of time and are applicable still today. Enjoy reading, and start saving today!

Monday, 22 October 2007

Oprah's Pay It Forward

True joy comes with giving.

Oprah Winfrey liaised with Bank of America to give $1,000 to each person in her audience BUT...they had to give it away to someone they did not know within seven days and report back, preferably with a short film.

The results were amazing. Perfect strangers reached out to others as some gave away the money in a random way whilst others gave themselves a challenging project which stretched far into the community.

Some of the ways people translated $1,000 into giving:
Coffee gift cards in Seattle
$500 gift card to a single mum to shop for her kids' Christmas presents at Toys r Us.
Huge tips given to pizza delivery men.
Four strangers chosen in the street to receive $250.
Money given to children who had just lost their father to cancer.
A picnic treating an entire community to a day of fun.
Basketball shoes for a boys team.

They changed the quality of life for individuals:
Four women combined their $1,000 to buy a car for a single mother, turning her four hours a day commuting by bus into 30 minutes by car.

For a single mother with five children, living with cockroaches and very little furniture, one woman arranged for exterminators, new beds, sheets, clothes, furniture, books so that their place felt more like home. She also started a college fund for the woman's kids to which she will contribute each year and is helping the mother gain her college diploma, also paying for her childcare. She said, "Whatever we’re doing for this family, we hope it will change their lives" to which the recipient replied, "It has made me feel like a brand new person."

One woman asked the community via the local paper for people to nominate individuals to receive the gift. She chose a 68 year old man who had never learned to read as he had to work to support his family. Recently he had started learning to read with a class of small schoolchildren who were learning. Their teacher nominated the man. His gift was his own books. With tears in his eyes, he said that God answered his mother’s prayer.

One woman had been attacked years ago in Denver and helped to recover with the Denver centre for attack victims. She asked them to nominate a worthy recipient and chose a woman who had been shot in the face by her boyfriend. He was sentenced to 48 years. The giver wanted to pay for reconstructive surgery but first she had to go back and face the ghosts of the attack. She raised $1,600. The woman felt blessed she had been chosen to receive the gift She said it made her feel whole again, gave her a little hope and encouraged her that strangers helped her to heal.

Some of the most challenging projects:
2 women decided to buy shoes for a whole school. The shoe shop matched their $2,000 and gave 425 pairs for free.

There was a Walkathon for a school to buy books for the local hospital - $63,000 total.

A family with 9 children whose father has a deadly brain tumour - friends and neighbours were enlisted to raise $7,500. It went further. The whole town joined in the appeal to raise a total of $71,400 in groceries, a college scholarship for son and to pay the man's hospital bils. His wife said it had saved their house from being sold to pay back taxes. This was all achieved in a town of just 14,000 people. They just started calling.

For a Hawaii home for sick children, one woman wanted to buy four round airfares for parents to visit their children. When she went to collect the tickets from the airport, the airline gave a further 40 round trips. One kid who had been fighting her lumps since March 2006, said it meant so much to have family visit.

Two sisters adopted a refuge for women, “my sister’s house”. To their $ 2,000 they added gifts of diapers, blankets, bibs, school supplies using the radio airwaves to raise the stake. Stores including Home Depot, Ikea and the Grocery Store also gave. Total value raised = $200,000.

“When you give, it comes back to you in ways you cannot imagine”. Oprah

In total 314 people passed on the gift.

"This is what being a star human being is about". – Oprah

Visit for more stories of how strangers helped to Pay It Forward.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

What Can we Learn from Lewis Hamilton?

How did the boy from the other side of the track become the fastest man on it?

I saw an interesting programme about the Lewis Hamilton, the 22 year old, black, English racing driver who looks set to take the World Championship in his very first season.

His story started at age 7 when he played with remote control racing cars. Even at that age, his focus was intense following a release of emotion by punching the air in a victory gesture.

He moved on to karting. His dedicated father and he were “sick with ambition”. As a family they had nothing but his father took on extra jobs to pay for the karting. Motor racing is traditionally a sport for white boys with financial backing. His younger brother was born with cerebral palsy so also required financial help and attention. He is now Lewis’ biggest fan.

At age 10, Lewis was featured in a “Black Britain” documentary. He went on to become a black belt in karate to deal with bullying at school. He was disciplined, always did his homework and concentrated on karting. His father said he always knew success for Lewis was going to happen. He wants his story to inspire other kids.

At age 12 Lewis was featured on Blue Peter and again at 15.

At the 1995 Annual Autosport Awards, Lewis met the McLaren boss, Ron Dennis. He asked him for his autograph, address and telephone number. Dennis wrote, Contact me in 9 years, we’ll sort something out then”. Three years later he signed a driver’s contract with McLaren. He was not even old enough to drive a car on the road!

From winning every karting contest Lewis moved into car racing with Formula Renault in 2002, followed by Formula 3 in the F3 Euro Series 2005, then G2 and finally Formula One. This rookie now looks set to take the World Championship on Sunday in Brazil. He was on the podium every race for the first nine. He would have won the championship in China on Sunday were it not for a technical failure.

Even if Lewis does not win which is unlikely, he has still achieved so much by such a young age. His rise to success has been compared to that of the young black golfer, Tiger Woods. He is actually of mixed race with a modern image, a sense of calm, determination and self-belief which are all good qualities for him to portray as a young male role model.

Murray Walker, the former motor racing commentator, said that Lewis is likely to become the highest paid UK sports person ever. Kimi Reikkonen’s manager believes Lewis will be the first racing driver to earn £100 million pa.

Polite, clean cut, pretty hip, girls love him and guys want to be him. He is a marketeer’s dream just like David Beckham although as someone said, “Beckham did not win the World Cup. Hamilton will win the World Championship.”

When suggested that Lewis will be the next David Beckham or Michael Schumacher, he replied, “He’s going to be the next Hamilton”

One of a kind. He deserves all the success.

Thursday, 4 October 2007

Ten Commandments of Goal-Setting

"A goal without a plan is just a dream".

NOTHING in life happens without goals. Nothing ! When you get up in the morning you have a goal of making it to work safely and having a productive day. When you go on vacation you have a goal of having fun. When you get married you have a goal of making each other happy. Everything you strive for is goal driven. And, as a result, the manner in which you go about achieving these goals is is CRITICAL !!!

That having been said, I would like to share with you what has become known to me as THE TEN COMMANDMENTS OF GOAL SETTING...

1. THOU SHALL BE DECISIVE: Success is a choice. You must decide WHAT you want, WHY you want it and HOW you plan to achieve it. No one else can, will, or SHOULD do that for you. It's your goal and your responsibility.

2. THOU SHALL STAY FOCUSED: A close relative to being decisive, but your ability to sustain your focus from beginning to end determines the timing and condition of your outcomes. Don't let outside distractions make your goals out of focus.

3. THOU SHALL WELCOME FAILURE: The fundamental question is not whether you should accept failure. You have no choice but to expect it as a temporary condition on the pathway of progress. Rather, the question is how to anticipate failure and redirect resources to grow from the experience. Remember what Les Brown said, "If you fall down, fall on your back because as long as you can LOOK UP you can GET UP".

4. THOU SHALL WRITE DOWN THY GOALS: Your mind, while blessed with permanent memory, is cursed with lousy recall. People forget things. WRITE DOWN YOUR GOALS !!! Put them where you can see them every day. Send a copy to a friend, family member or a member of your upline. Establish accountability.

5. THOU SHALL PLAN THOROUGHLY: It is a proven fact that planning saves time at a 10:1 ratio in execution. PROPER PLANNING PREVENTS POOR PERFORMANCE !!!

6. THOU SHALL INVOLVE OTHERS: Nobody goes through life alone. Establish your own "Persoanl Board of Directors", people whose wisdom, knowledge and character you respect, to help achieve your goals. Once again, USE YOUR UPLINE!!! That's what we are here for.

7. THOU SHALL TAKE PURPOSEFUL ACTION: Success is not a spectator sport. Achievement demands action. You cannot expect to arrive at success without having made the trip.

8. THOU SHALL REWARD THYSELF: Rewards work !!! Think of what you will give yourself as a result of hard work, focus and persistance. Create your own ACTION = REWARD program and implement it. You DESERVE IT !

9. THOU SHALL INSPECT WHAT THOU EXPECTs: The shelf life of all plans are limited. No plan holds up against opposition. Everything changes. Therefore, inspect frequently and closely what is going on with your plan. It's an insurance policy on your success.

10. THOU SHALL MAINTAIN PERSONAL INTEGRITY: Maintain your COMMITMENT to your COMMITMENT! Set your goals, promise yourself that you will achieve them and eliminate wiggle room and excuses. That's personal integrity. EXCUSES and LAME JUSTIFICATION are the poisons that kill all goals!!!

Remember, these "Ten Commandments of Goal Setting" nor anything else ever placed in front of you will help you achieve your goals if you do not IMPLEMENT THEM ! Like I told someone very close to me the other day, "Those motivational cd's aren't going to do you a bit of good until you take the plastic wrap off the sleeve".

Source: Success University

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Donny Osmond on Having to be Perfect

In 1972, I was in love with Donny Osmond. I was a teenybopper but that is not why I want to talk about Donny here.

I watched him on Biography Channel when he revealed his social anxiety disorder and the panic attacks he suffered.

After a lost decade in the 80s, he won the part of Joseph in the London show of "Joseph and His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat". The show became very successful with Donny in the lead role for six years. He had known how hard it was to restart his career after losing it and so developed the idea that he had to give a perfect performance every night because he was performing for standing room only audiences. He would beat himself up mentally if he made any mistakes as he told himself he had to be perfect. He did not want to lose his career again. He went in to therapy with medication. He was scared to go on stage, even though he was delighted that he had his career back.

He pinpoints the attitude of perfectionism to the early days when the Osmonds appeared on the Andy Williams Show and were known as the "one-take Osmonds". They had to live up to that reputation and Donny had to keep up with his brothers, even though he was only seven.

He recalled a negative press review after a concert in Nashville when he was 13. He thought it was a great show but the press slated him - a child. It really hurt.

One night before appearing as Joseph, he was literally shaking and said they should call for the understudy because he could not perform. His wife gave him some excellent advice,
"Why don't you do yourself a favour? Go out there and be average. Do an average job tonight for yourself and for the audience." Donny felt the weight had been taken off his shoulders. He gave the best performance ever because the pressure was gone and he had licence to be "average". He did not have to be perfect any more.

Finally, Donny said that adversity builds strength if you allow it. You let it be the foundation of your personality.

When the Why is Big Enough

To succeed in anything, especially something that requires change from the current situation, we must have a WHY that is big enough.

• What is it that gets you so excited you can't sleep at night?
• What is the real reason for you becoming what you want to be?
• Why do you want to break out of the rat race and achieve your freedom?

When the WHY is big enough, the HOW doesn't matter!

Any obstacle can be overcome if you know WHY you want to overcome it.

When you decide to make changes, people around you will feel uncomfortable as you are challenging their comfort zones. You are going against the norm and they will try to keep you as one of them. They may laugh at you. They may tell you are crazy to even imagine you could achieve what you want. They may tell you that you are just dreaming and will never be able to do that something different.

It will take guts to stick to your plans, your wishes, your hopes and dreams. You will need to be laser-focused. Others will try to stop you, try to keep you back.

But nothing will happen until someone becomes excited. If that someone is you, you need to know WHY you are planning this future. WHY do you want it? WHY are you prepared to leave your comfort zone to seek a better life?

When the WHY is big enough, the HOW does not matter. The WHY will remove the obstacles if you become a RHINO head set on success. You will become so tough that nothing will stop you.

To remind yourself constantly of the WHY, W-R-I-T-E I-T D-O-W-N.

You have heard that before, right? But have you done it? Have you written down your goals with the WHY clearly stated?

A dream only becomes reality when it is stated as a goal with a WHY translated into WHY you MUST have it. Think about that. You might say that you would like an idyllic holiday on a tropical island. That is a vague dream. Now turn it into a WHY: "I want to take my family on an idyllic holiday on a tropical island because the children want to see tropical fish when snorkelling and I want to improve my windsurfing in the heat." That sounds better than taking the kids to see fish in an aquarium and swimming in a crowded seaside holiday resort whilst your windsurfing is done in a wet suit on a reservoir in the cold.

Now make it a MUST: "I must take my family on an idyllic holiday on a tropical island because I want my children to experience the thrill of seeing tropical fish close up on a coral reef and I must windsurf with the sun on my back."

Now transform that dream into a vision statement from the MUST sentence and paste it in large letters where you can see it everyday, along with photos of those tropical fish and someone windsurfing in the sun.

Your subconscious mind believes that what you tell it is your reality. Turn the dream into a statement IN THE PRESENT TENSE. Now you have the WHY you MUST have it, your subconscious will find the HOW and remove the obstacles.

Click here for a Hypnosis MP3 download to help you stick to your goals

Antonia Stuart-James is an English Hypnotherapist in Belgium helping people to make positive change.