SIMPLICITY CAN BE DIFFICULT

#simplicity #multitask #organize
We all strive to have simple lives.
Yet, we do more each to complicate our lives than we probably need to.
Sure, your employer wants you to do as many things as possible. Your children make many demands on you. You feel the need to keep as many people in your lives happy as possible.
Joe Calloway discusses how to de-clutter your life in his book, “Keep It Simple: Unclutter Your Mind to Uncomplicate Your Life.”
The main point of the book is that those who focus their lives on what’s most important, spend the most time on the activities that will bring the most success, will have great lives.
We all know this intellectually, but still, we bring in clutter. We seem to find the hard way to do something, or we spend our time doing things we should delegate to others.
Calloway quotes the great folk singer and songwriter Pete Seeger as saying, “Any darn fool can make something complex; it takes a genius to make something simple.”
What can you do to simplify your life? First, examine what you spend your time on. Then, determine how important those tasks are. Once you’ve determined the important tasks, figure out ways to make those tasks take less time. Or, figure out that, though those tasks might be important, are YOU the one that needs to do them?
Darren Hardy, entrepreneur and former editor and publisher of Success magazine, once told of a conversation he had with Joel Osteen, the globally recognized minister. Hardy said Osteen figured out that the most important thing he should spend his time on is the 20-minute sermon he will give on Sunday.
Those 20 minutes will determine how successful he is. Therefore, according to Hardy, he spends most of his time on crafting what he is going to say, how he’s going to say it etc., and delegates most everything else to others.
For Osteen, it’s simple. Success is in the sermon.
So, what is success for you? Over the years, we’ve heard stories about how we must multitask. We must juggle many things at once to be successful. Now, we read that most successful people devote the lion’s share of their time to the one or two things that will make them successful.
Rather than organize, prioritize.
If you have activities and tasks that take time and energy away from the one or two activities you need to focus on for success, then eliminate and delegate.
An example might be cooking. We all know that, for most of us, if we want to eat, we must cook, or go broke eating out. Eating is certainly important, but rather than cooking once and eating once, how about cooking once and eating multiple meals over a week. Some meals are even better when the ingredients and flavors have melded for a few days after preparation.
Some of us would love to simplify our lives, but don’t know what we need to do to be successful. There are a number of ways out there to find success that you may not know about or might be afraid to check out. To hear about one of the best, message me. You’ll learn a very simple way to improve your financial life.
But to improve life in general, focus on the few things that are very important to you, i.e. family, faith and future. If your boss gives you many tasks, find ways to do them in minimal amounts of time. Spend some time doing things that will benefit your family, ensure your future and bolster whatever faith you have.
Simplicity may be difficult, but, if you think about it, it’s not complicated.
Peter

RUNNING, RETIREMENT, SAVING

#running #retirement, #RaceForRetirement

Road races have become a popular fund raiser for charities.

The Susan G. Komen Foundation’s Race for the Cure has raised millions for breast cancer research, for example.

In its advertising, Prudential Wealth Management has taken a different tack on running to raise funds. It shows a Race For Retirement, in which the runners pledge to put a certain percentage of their income toward their retirement.

If you are one of those in which running a race motivates you to do something, this idea might appeal.

If you are disciplined enough to train for road races to win them, this also might appeal.

But saving for retirement requires a different sort of discipline. One must pledge to save a certain amount from his paycheck every time, without fail, a check is paid. Also, one must be disciplined enough not to touch the money until he reaches the proper age. It also requires the discipline to manage the money, often with trusted professional help.

Many people at or near retirement age today do not have enough money to retire comfortably. Obviously, some circumstances have inhibited their progress. One cannot control what an employer will do to an employee. One cannot control what markets will do to diligently-saved money. But many are not where they want to be financially because they did not have the proper discipline.

Many of us don’t have the interest, and, therefore, the discipline to train for road races. But we all should have the discipline to look after our own financial futures.

As teenagers, we often get jobs to save money for specific purposes, i.e. a college education. We expect those savings to be tapped out by graduation.

As young adults, we should make a pact to take a certain amount of our paychecks to put away into investments for retirement. We may only be able to afford, say, $5 a week at first. A technique to augment that is to add any pay raises to that amount, and learn to live on our original salaries. Some may say that’s easier said than done, and it certainly is. That does not make it undoable.

Life circumstances also change. Some of us get married, have children etc. A disciplined person does not let circumstances ruin goals. Circumstances change, so the disciplined person adjusts tactics to mesh with those circumstances. The disciplined person also doesn’t create circumstances that would ruin his or her goals.

Disciplined people also look for ways to save money on things they need to buy. They may also look for ways to earn extra income to augment their savings.

There are many ways out there to do one or the other. For a way to do both, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau.

Often, to get something good, one must sacrifice. One must forgo present pleasantries for future enjoyment. Disciplined people NEVER expect the future to be given to them. They ALWAYS expect that a good future requires planning, and doing little things consistently over time, without fail.

Darren Hardy’s book, “The Compound Effect,” illustrates that success comes not from one or two “big things,” but from a lot of little things, plus time.

The lesson: be disciplined. Do lots of good, little things that may be painless, or may even deprive you of some present pleasure. You may need some good advice to select those good little things, so make sure you trust who is advising you.

If running a race will help motivate you, lace up your sneakers and go for it.

Peter

PURSUE HAPPINESS AND BE HAPPY IN THE PURSUIT

financial independence #takechargeofyourfinances
We’d all love financial independence.
But, what is it? Our parents taught us that financial SECURITY was the most important thing.
Security means a good job, with good benefits that will last you for as long as you want, or are able, to work.
Security is a fleeting proposition. Good jobs, those that might allow you to attain financial independence eventually, are hard to find and hard to keep. In other words, if you have a well-paying job, you will probably make so much money well before you retire that your company will want you gone, because it can hire someone younger and cheaper.
If you want financial independence, keep that good job for as long as it will have you.
There’s something else about today that is different from when your parents or grandparents were young. More people are losing track of their spending, and how much they have saved. So says Tom Coulter, president of Meridian Trust. Coulter wrote a column headlined, “The pursuit of happiness via finances,” that appeared in the News Sentinel newspaper in Knoxville, Tenn., July 5, 2015.
“While few people believe that money alone can make us happy, we do know that people who are confident about their abilities to realize their financial goals report higher levels of life satisfaction than those who aren’t,” Coulter writes.
In other words, to quote colleague Ronnie Paul Waldrep, “Money can’t buy happiness, but it can sure help you work out your problems in style.”
Coulter suggests taking inventory of your finances and making a plan. Determine how to align your actions with your priorities. Buy books, surf the Web or hire a financial planner, if necessary, he says. Most of all, take charge of your life.
As you go through life working toward financial independence, which, for argument’s sake, we’ll define as being able to do what you want, when you want, enjoy the pursuit. For example, Chris Guillebeau reached his goal, or, as he calls it, his quest of visiting every country in the world before his 35th birthday. He discussed his travels and his book, “The Happiness of Pursuit,” in a 2015 interview with Success magazine publisher Darren Hardy. The interview was recorded on a CD included in Success magazine.
As you work toward your goal, or quest, for financial independence, find joy in the journey. Many successful people will tell you that achieving success was not as much of a delight as working toward it. Sure, everyone has ups and downs in whatever journey he pursues, but by keeping the finish line always in sight, the downs become less of a burden and the ups become more of a reward.
If you don’t believe your job alone will give you financial independence, or your best money management efforts won’t get you everything you want to be financially independent, there are many other ways to augment work and discipline. For one of the best, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau. You’ll find ways to bolster your money management efforts as well as ways to provide an income that has nothing to do with a “job.”
With Independence Day 2015 now passed, create your own independence day. Make today the day you get hold of your finances, start pursuit of your financial quest and find ways to enjoy the pursuit every step of the way.
“Baseball is ninety percent mental. The other half is physical,” says Yogi Berra. Financial independence is largely created by how you think, not what happens to you. Think good thoughts. Take charge of your life. Take enjoyment from your journey. Independence awaits.
Peter

HAPPY NEW YEAR! WHERE ARE YOU?

#newyear #happynewyear #jointheride

The new year is coming this week. Do you know where you are?

Not your precise location, but where you are in life?

Better yet, do you know where you want to be? Is where you are en route to where you want to be, or are you currently off course, or lost?

If you’re off course, or lost, do you know what you need to do to get back on course? Do you see yourself never knowing where you are going, or even where you want to go?

Let’s start where you are, because it’s really the only place to start from.

If you are young, say 20-something, or 30-something, you are probably en route to somewhere. Do you have an idea of your ultimate destination? Your destination is all that’s important, because you’ll undoubtedly hit some bumps in the road, or turns that will get you off course. If you know that, you’ll know what you have to do to get back on course.

If you are fortunate enough to have a smooth ride to your ultimate destination, great. Chances are, though you won’t, so plan on unexpected diversions.

One way to combat diversions is to form good habits. If you like gooey desserts or snacks, forgo one a week. If you buy a cup or two of coffee a day, consider cutting out one or two a week. Better yet, make your own coffee at home and bring it with you. Same with any meals you might eat at work.

However you do it, figure out the money you are saving and PUT IT AWAY into a safe investment. Do the same with any raises you get at work, though these days, raises are scarce. Don’t touch what you’ve saved.Let it grow.

You’ll be surprised at how much money you’ll have at, say, age 50.

If you’ve reached 50 or higher, time is not on your side. But those same llitle things can still help you. Keep in mind, though that there are many vehicles out there that might help you make up lost ground. For one of the best, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau. Younger folks, too, may find a way to get to their destinations faster by exploring this option.

So take the time to figure out where you are, where you want to go and how you are going to get there.

Consider being an entrepreneur. For a good manual on how to do that, check out Darren Hardy’s book, “The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster.”

Regardless of what you do, plan for obstacles, but know your destination. And, know what you need to do to get there.

Happy New Year!

Peter

SPEAK WELL OF YOURSELF — TO YOURSELF

#tennismotivator
Tennis great Novak Djokovic was tied at Wimbledon with Roger Federer, in the gentlemen’s championship match in2014. Federer had won the fourth set to even the match.
Djokovic had to win the last set to win the match. He took a bathroom break after the fourth set, but it was not just a physical moment. It was a mental moment as well.
He looked at himself in the mirror and began to fill himself with positive affirmations. He told himself how good he was, and that he could win the title. He did. That day, he was his own best friend.
Gregg Stienberg, professor of human performance at Austin Peay State University in Tennessee, discussed the Wimbledon story in a July 20, 2014, column in The Tennessean newspaper in Nashville.
People make fun of folks who talk to themselves, but, as Steinberg says, self-talk is actually a type of self-hypnosis. Djokovic actually hypnotized himself into a pure level of confidence after that fourth set, Steinberg writes.
At this writing, both Federer and Djokovic are now competing for the men’s U.S. Open title.
Here are Steinberg’s suggestions of how you can create a positive mental tape that plays in all pressure-packed situations: create a best-friend journal of positive self-statements, or, snap out of negativity with a rubber band around your wrist.
Just as you can talk yourself into doing certain things, you can talk yourself out of doing certain things. The obvious rule here is to talk yourself into doing things that you know are going to create a positive outcome for you, and talk yourself out of doing things that will hurt you.
We don’t always know which is which. Djokovic obviously knew that winning Wimbledon would be a great thing for him, so he talked himself into it. He gave himself the motivation to overcome whatever Federer threw at him.
Was it easy? No. Was it worth it? You bet.
We often find ourselves taking the easiest way out of any circumstance. We find ourselves following the path of least resistance. Djokovic could have thought to himself, “I’ll do the best I can, but finishing second at Wimbledon is not too bad, right?”
Are you aiming for “not too bad?” Probably not. Are you aiming to be the best you can be? Sure. You have to believe you can be great, and you have to do what you need to do to be great.
You may not be great at tennis, or any other sport. But anyone can be great at something. As Darren Hardy, publisher of Success magazine, has said, a lot of great people are mediocre, or even terrible, at some things. That’s because they gave singular focus to the one or two things they are great at, and didn’t worry about being good at anything else.
So, what do you believe you are, or can be, great at? You may not be able to answer that question easily. If you want to be great at something, but are not sure what, there are many things out there that ANYONE can be great at. For one of the best, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau. You’ll learn how people became great at something that’s simple, but not necessarily easy, and were handsomely rewarded for their achievement.
For some people, talking positively about themselves to themselves may be a great motivator. For some, talking to themselves may not be their thing. For everyone, whether you are into talking to yourself or not, thinking positively about oneself is essential.
Focus on what you CAN do, not what you CAN’T do. Play tennis, or any other sport, for recreation and don’t worry about the score, or winning. You want to WIN at what you are good at.
Find what you are good at and stay with it. You’ll see setbacks and circumstances that may try to derail you. Remember, and believe, that the great ones ALWAYS rise above those things, and carry on. Don’t quit what you want to be great at.
Peter

BEST TIME TO START A BUSINESS

Decades ago, starting a business was hard.
You needed money – either your own, or investors’.
You needed sophisticated and expensive marketing – a big cost.
All of the above was hard to come by. If you failed, chances are you were devastated. If you failed, you probably would have decided to take your skills and ideas to an employer and help make HIM rich.
Today, as Darren Hardy, publisher of Success magazine puts it, starting a business has never been easier.
In a 2013 audio from his series, Hardy points out that the Internet and social media and the related technology makes starting a business easy. It’s relatively cheap, because you don’t need a lot of that sophisticated and expensive marketing. If you have a good idea, and a computer, you can tell the world about your idea relatively easily.
Because starting a business is relatively easy, and relatively inexpensive, failure is not as costly. If one idea fails, try another one. Chances are, you won’t be financially devastated by your first failure.
If you are entrepreneurial, you can keep trying things until one works. Entrepreneurs know that eventually, if they keep trying, they will succeed.
Couple the ease of starting a business today, with the difficulties in the workplace. Job security is almost impossible to find. Companies are looking for, as New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman has put it, “cheap genius.” If they don’t find it nearby, they’ll find it somewhere in the world.
Your good ideas, taken to an employer, may be able to be replicated, even improved upon, by someone who will work for less money than you make.
If you are young and starting your career path, take a look at what you are good at, what you are passionate about, and think about how you could parlay that into your own business. There’s nothing wrong with working for someone else for a time, even a long time, especially if that person is helping you succeed. But chances are, if you are good at something, and are passionate about it, you’ll have the drive to strike out on your own if you choose.
Sometimes, it’s a matter of taking your passion and figuring out how you can use it to help others. Then, figure out how much others will pay you for helping them. If you are passionate about art, and have a talent for it, you don’t necessarily have to sell your drawings or paintings. But you might sell yourself as someone who could help, say, architects, stagers etc. Ideas, plus passion, plus drive might be a good formula for success in whatever endeavor you choose.
What if you have drive, but no ideas and no passion yet. Where do you go to find the idea and passion to which you could apply your great drive? There are many good business ideas already out there waiting for the people with drive to pursue them. To check out one of the best, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau. All you need to be successful is the sense to see how good an idea it is, and the drive to share it.
Even though Hardy says it’s relatively easy to start a business today, whatever you pursue will require hard work. But if you are passionate, the work won’t seem so hard. As the saying goes, if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.
In these conditions, passion, plus idea, plus drive is the perfect formula. The passions and ideas can be found elsewhere. The drive has to be within you.
Peter

LEADERS WITH A CONSCIENCE

We think of leaders as people who like to give orders.
We think of leaders as people we need to look up to.
We also think of leaders as people who make things happen.
We don’t normally think of leaders who have a conscience. It seems we were all taught to have a conscience, but somehow when people get into leadership posts, they become more about themselves than others.
Mayor Julian Castro of San Antonio, Texas, brought this to light when he said that for good change to happen, “you need folks in the boardroom who have consciences, and people in the streets who can picket at the right time.”
Castro was quoted in a March 2013 column by Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne.
As long as leaders won’t change, change is not likely to happen. Yet, in today’s world, change is not only the operative word, it’s the way of life. To paraphrase Darren Hardy, publisher of Success magazine, the change that took 100 years to happen up to now will happen in a much shorter time frame.
It’s happening so fast that it’s difficult to keep up with.
It will take leaders – and others – to make it happen. The old-style leader who got where he wanted, then fought to keep the status quo, no matter how anyone else was affected, will have to change. The new breed of leader will be concerned with others first. He will want to give and serve.
You see, if he gives and serves, he will get plenty. One never knows who the next innovator is. It could be someone right under a leader’s organization. To allow that person to excel to the best of his ability is a sign of true leadership. If a leader provides the right atmosphere for innovation and success for others, those innovators will likely forever be aligned to him.
LEADERS RELISH HAVING MORE SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE UNDER THEM
The new leaders will aspire to have good, innovative and successful people with him, and will want to reward them accordingly. The new breed of leader relishes having people even more successful than he in his organization.
He will want to serve and help those people to the best of his ability. He will give them all the credit for their accomplishments. He will create an atmosphere in which the best innovators can flourish and thrive.
Are you a new breed of leader? Do you want people like you in your organization? Do you want to build such an organization? You don’t have to be in a company. You don’t have to shell out big bucks for a franchise. You just have to be willing to look at one of the many opportunities that are out there for the entrepreneur.
For one of the best such opportunities, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau . The potential for any leader is huge. All you have to do is find a few people like you that want to join with you. You help them succeed. They help you in return. And those who introduced you to the idea will help you, help them.
There’s no greater win-win than people helping people be successful, and have a great time doing it. No boss-worker hierarchy. No one person giving orders to the other. No one person succeeding, off the backs of others. People helping people succeed.
Mayor Castro has it right that we need leaders with conscience. But, more than that, we need leaders who WANT others to succeed, and will help them to do it. We want leaders who don’t just graciously allow their workers to be photographed with them. We want leaders who are honored to be photographed with those they are trying to help.
Peter

‘IT MUST BE NICE’

In the course of conversation, you may hear the words, “it must be nice.”
Often, they are spoken by someone who doesn’t have what you have, but would like to have it.
Your response should be, “Oh, it is!”
If you are living what you see as a good life, it’s probably because you made some good choices.
We are confronted with choices and circumstances. The choices, usually, we can do something about. The circumstances, often, we cannot.
When someone says, “it must be nice,” that person very likely has had bad circumstances. Perhaps he has made less desirable choices that he is now living with, but it is clear that you have good circumstances, enhanced by good choices.
The choices can be small: like what I’ll eat today. They can be a bit bigger, like what I will do today. They can be bigger still, like what will I buy – or not buy – today.
Choices can also be huge, like will I have children. In this modern age, having children is a choice. It can be a great choice for some. It can be a disastrous choice for others. It is a life-changing choice for all. But, it should be a choice, and it is OK to choose NOT to have children. It’s OK to choose how many children to have, and when to have them. But the choice should always be there, even though some want to take that choice out of your hands.
Some of the other big choices include how and where one works, for how long one works, or whether one works at all. With jobs becoming scarcer, these choices are getting fewer. If your boss treats you badly, but you need the job, you may feel you have no choice. Keep looking. There are numerous choices out there you may not see. Try the one at www.bign.com/pbilodeau. If you’d like to fire your boss, you might see something in this choice that will enable you to do that, eventually.
LITTLE CHOICES, BIG OUTCOMES
Let’s go back to the smaller choices, like what to eat, what to do and what to buy. These choices are not rendered moot after that day. If you choose all of them correctly, each day, over time, you will likely be healthier, wealthier and wiser over time. This process is what Darren Hardy, publisher of Success magazine, calls in his book, “The Compound Effect.”
Good food choices undoubtedly will make you healthier. They may not allow you to live forever, but they will allow you to be healthier for as long as you live. Bad food choices pave the way to unhealthy living. You may not die sooner, but bad food choices most likely will make your life more difficult. You’ll probably suffer more over time.
You can choose what you do each day, in most cases. Sure, there are things we feel we MUST do, like go to work etc., but we are doing them either as a means to an end, or because we actually enjoy going to work. If you are not among the latter, try to look for something in your work other than the money and benefits that give you a reason to be there. If you can’t find that perk, check out a new job or those numerous income choices. The choice to exercise, rather than sit, will likely make you healthier. Combining that choice with good food choices day in and day out, and you are empowering yourself for a healthy life.
Choosing what to buy affects your wealth. If you are racking up debt on stuff you use, then lose, you probably won’t have much wealth over time. Knowing when to treat yourself may be a key here.
That knowledge will empower you, when someone tells you “it must be nice,” to say, “Oh, it is,” with nary a hint of apology.
Peter