No this is not another of those BS 'Look at me' posts of 2014. Nor is it a kick up the ass for 2015.
Below is simply a set of principles that you can apply to your business to achieve more in 2015 than you thought possible.
All of the below is achievable in a year. (I know this, because I have done it), or if you're smarter than me, a lot less.
The article will start with 2 principles to die by, regarding time and overall productivity, followed by some key book resources which have made my life A LOT easier over the past 12 months. Take as much or as little as you need. If you feel so inclined, feel free to implement the below and follow along a similar path.
I am not special, I am not overly smart. I use the resources available to me to their maximum and leverage at every opportunity.
Life is for the taking. Get out there and take it.
This is accelerated learning.
Note: Before reading this here are my words of advice:
1. It will suck at times, it will be hard, you will want to give up and you will think you're not made for it.
This post is for those who want to be different, aren't afraid of short term sacrifice (honestly, what's a few months) in order to achieve a business they can be proud of, and those who are willing to invest time and money into their development.
This year alone I've re-invested nearly 50% of profit back into learning and self development. I do not expect this to always be so high, but I don't ever see that number heading much below 20-25%.
Without further hesitation, let's get this party started.
Principle to die by 1: Listen and Learn Each Day
I've never been much of a reader, and I honestly didn't know what I was missing out on. With conversations with people I perceive as smarter and more successful would tell me: "You must read, it will make you smarter". I'd brush it off and think, who has the time?
I honestly thought reading was something you slipped in if you had 30 minutes before bed, or had a long commute on the train and wanted to learn about Goblets of Fire or Bilbo Baggins' journey to middle earth.
I continued thinking this, until something clicked inside of me. Like a switch, or a match that finally lit, I burst into learning mode and found time to start consuming information...which increased at a rapid rate.
As such I have read or listened to over 50 books in 4 months and it's not slowing down anytime soon.
I attribute this to 4 steps:
1. You need to MAKE time to learn.
Time does not simply appear. We all have 24 hours in the day. Rich, Old, Young and Poor. Time does not discriminate.
The funniest thing is, the people who claim to be busy, and never have time, always seem to find the time to catch the latest Game of Thrones episode or watch the new Breaking Bad season in a weekend....or even funnier, explain how little time they have on Facebook. (how's that for irony).
Since making the conscious effort to learn more, I use what I call 'created time'.
I've created time in two ways: 1: Sacrificing activities. The activities I generally have sacrificed are those that were either sapping the life from me (such as sitting on Facebook or YouTube) or no longer aligned with my goals.
At other times, I've had to sacrifice things I also used to enjoy, but have since put them on hold until a time where I feel comfortable using my time for them again.
2: Buying it. I have bought myself new time by allocating tasks to those around me with a capable skill set that outweighs mine. It is no longer admirable to be and do everything yourself. The real money and time wealth comes from building your A team, and placing responsibility within that team to get the job done (the way you like it).
2. Use Dead time as learning time
I maximise my time to learn by doubling up on brain dead activities that require little to no conscious thought, and listen to audio material while doing so.
I get up an hour early (5am), walk my dog and listen to brain fueling audio books. The brain receptors are at an all time high in the AM plus my dog gets a nice big walk along the creek. Win win.
I also ride my pushbike to work. Another opportunity for 40+ minutes per day of audio books. Again, exercising both my mind and body...and saving on gas money.
Now think how you can apply this. You might have to get a train to work? You might drive 30 mins each way in traffic? The truth is, everyone can find dead time to start listening to audio material or reading written material.
Want to know where to start? Don't worry, I'll get to that soon.
3. You must review all material
It wasn't until recently that I have figured out the power of reviewing material. They say you remember less and less each time you neglect the crucial role that is reviewing material. To combat this, I have created a series of book review work sheets that help me list the key principles learned throughout a book I have just read or listened to.
Here is a quick pic:
Create your own template and put it in a plastic sheet folder. Your goal is to fill that folder by the end of 2015 with notes and insights into your newly learned material.
It must be a physical folder and you must hand write the notes. (this is crucial and part of the memory process).
I also set reminders inside of my Google Calendar, which syncs to my iPhone thanks to the 'Sunrise' App (available here), of when it is 1 week, 1 month and 3 months since I last finished that book. It goes off and I block a 10 minute window to review the material.
Think it's a lot of work? Spending less than 10 minutes reviewing, is a lot smarter than leaving it for months, forgetting the material and then have to go back and invest another 6-12 hours reading the material.
You must review!
And the last piece of the puzzle to all of this?
4. You must do it every day.
Monday's, Saturday's, Easter, Christmas....every single day is 24 more hours and a chance for you to level up. This isn't for those who 'need their weekends' or are a little tired.
I am not an advocate for 'no rest' and of course there are times where rest is required, but with so much time in the day, there is little excuse for people who decide that they need a break from feeding their brains.
Invest at least 30 minutes of your day to bettering yourself. That is your new B.A.M (Bare Ass Minimum!)
Principle to die by 2: You Must Implement
Learning takes on many forms. But when you really boil it down, there are two ways people learn. Through love, and through pain. Unfortunately, I believe the best teacher is through pain, and the only way to truly learn, is to implement the idea's.
You can read as many books as you like, listen to thousands of audio programs, attend several seminars and mastermind groups throughout the year, but unless you're out there, knocking on doors, calling up prospects, recording new videos, connecting with like minded people, offering your services and generally 'getting a hustle on', you will struggle.
This is not going to need to be a long principle and there is little to explain.
It comes down to 3 simple words....don't tell Nike I told you this, but, they are: JUST DO IT.
Plain and simple. You need to take risks in order to get anywhere in life.
I don't mean life threatening, bankrupt assuring risks. But there is a direct correlation between your ability to make decisions and commit to a new path in life.
If you think you are destined to be greater than what you are currently doing, ask yourself this: "Should I Just Do it?"
Books I've Read And Highly Recommend for Success:
OK now this is just a short list of books I've personally read over the past 12 months. There are may be others that are suitable to your situation but this is simply a review of the material I've consumed and gotten the most value from. Most of which have come from recommendations from other high end industry professionals and those who I look up to, which I have noted below.
Note: The kindle references below are not affiliate links. I share them because they are truly great books. The audible.com links are. Simply because you can choose a free title using my link. If this post goes viral, I may take this statement out and retire on millions, but at this point i'm confident that the statement will stay haha.
1. The One Thing - Gary Kellar
Recommended to my via, Strength Sensei, and good friend, Charles Poliquin, I grabbed this book on my Kindle.
If you struggle with focus, where to put your energy, an infinitely growing 'to do list' and a general over allocation of yourself than this is a MUST read.
I learned just how important it is to keep your mind on track and really focus on completing the one thing that needs to be done for the day, the week, the month, the year. It teaches you how to stay on track and pinpoint area's of importance and go after them with extreme laser focus.
For the following 4 weeks, each time I tried to recommend it to others, they told me they were already halfway through. This book was literally changing the world....at least for those who understand the power of learning and growth.
2. Accelerated Learning Techniques - Brian Tracy
If anything could have come at a more perfect time for me,it was this resource. Wow.
Not only does Brian Tracy speak in a way that seems to flow well inside of my head, this book is a constant barrage of useful information and resources. The book goes in depth into the various ways people learn (such as visual, auditory etc), as well as the sections of the brain that hold that information (front, middle and back), before it explains exact methods you can use to increase your brain power....immediately.
Speed reading, Memory Retention, Language Learning and more. If you want to learn (at an accelerated rate) then this is the book for you.
I listened on audio, but it is available through kindle online.
3. The Will Power Instinct - Kelly McGonigal
So good I had to go through it twice in 72 hours. Literally, I found myself creating more and more activities just to find an excuse to listen to this masterpiece.
Initially it explains concepts such as 'will power', 'won't power' and 'want power'. All of which are useful, before it goes into a ton of interesting case studies and thought provoking research. Kelly also goes deep into the psychology behind the decisions we make and how our brain will often trick us into thinking we 'need' certain things, when in reality, we don't.
Seriously, the body will drop our blood sugar levels and try and trick us into thinking we 'need' that piece of strawberry cheesecake.....learn how to deal with these cravings in this amazing book.
Oh and this is not just for those who are dieting or struggle with stopping at 1 cookie, this is for anyone who wants to quit smoking, reduce their time spent on Facebook or even apply more time to learning.
4. Big Bucks - Ken Blanchard
A simple book that was lent to my by one of my greatest mentors, Tony Doherty. He read it some 15 years back and decided it was time for me to have a read. The writing style of Ken Blanchard really spoke to me. Simple, yet effective. It was eye opening to see that a success book did not need large, confusing language and syntax. Simplicity rocks.
It follows three basic rules of business and if you want to achieve success in your area of passion you need to:
1. Have fun doing what you do.
2. Must be aware that making money is more important than having fun.
3. Revenue - Expenses = Profit
If you get a chance to pick it up, I highly recommend it.
Best of all, after reading Tony's copy, I searched eBay for the author and picked up this and 5 other titles, which all use the great simple style of writing, for $13.50 including shipping. They are now all secure inside of my bookshelf at home and a common reference point.
Get it: You will need to search amazon or ebay for this one.
5. The 4 Hour Work Week - Tim Ferriss
This is literally the book that changed my life. Everyone has that one book that really opens your eyes to a new world. This is mine. And with over 1.35 million copies sold, although I'm sure it's a lot more now, I'd say this sparked many many many other entrepreneurs journey's.
Hell, you only have to look at every second Facebook ad to see the whole 'Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich' sentence being flogged....Just FYI, that's Tim's subtitle and concept he created it, Not some 'Life Coach' flogging their health and wellness retreat for business folk to 'find themselves'.
This is not only a game changer as far as mindset and achieve ability goes, but it is THE go to resource for everything from finding where to outsource, to discovering more about split testing. Tim is a genius with his language/words and despite having never met him (yet) I consider him one of my greatest mentors to date.
Following on from this best seller (on multiple different lists), Tim wrote The Four Hour Body, and the Four Hour Chef. Both are titled as though they are about the body or the kitchen, yet upon reading you will find they are cleverly disguised accelerated learning tools that can be applied to any area of your life.
6. The Psychology Of Selling - Brian Tracy
One of my more recent acquisitions, I listened to the entire series in a little over 2 days. (it's over 12 hours long from memory).
It is adapted from one of Brian's courses and will teach you the fundamentals of understanding clients, potential clients and the use of different techniques to get the sale.
I am going to revisit this book in 2015, as there are a ton of hidden 'gems' from within that you can pick up.
With 2/7 books in this list being Brian Tracy, you can tell he is also a big influence on my learning. I encourage you to check out all of his material and apply it to your situation as soon as you can.
Get it: Kindle
7. Think and Grow Rich - Napoleon Hill
The Grandmaster. The Godfather. The Mac Daddy of all success books.
Think and Grow Rich follows the story of how Napoleon Hill took on a 20 year project to document the successes of some of the most famous people in history, how they overcame failures and adversity and consequently, become leaders in their fields and extremely rich. It embraces the power of the mind and will teach you to literally think (ie use your brain) and grow rich (get money!).
The best thing about this book? Not only is it full of real life examples and case studies, but it was originally published back in 1937! (For those who don't know this was during the great depression which lasted from 1929-39)
Crazy to think a book which has sold more than 70 MILLION copies was written in 1937.
If I had to give you only one book to read and review, for the rest of your life, it would be this.
In fact, I own this book in Audio Format, Hard copy format and also on my iPad. I'm never without this book.
So while everyone else is out there partying tonight, watching fireworks, chugging down their 8th shot of jagermeister, remember, you were put on this earth to make a difference.
Sacrifice, Learn and Grow.
You are good enough and you can make it.
How do I know this? Because if you made it this far and read through the 2600ish words to get to this point, you MUST believe in yourself.
Here's to a happy new year and to you achieving all you can in the year(s) to come.