Finding True Things Of Value (Or, The Best $50 I Ever Wasted)…

Napoleon Dynamite Suit

To illustrate the point I’m about to make, come back in time with me now- to the early years of this century…

On the political front, Australia is debating whether the Howard government was right to commit troops to Iraq in support of the U.S war effort. On the sporting front, there’s great anticipation about our hosting of the upcoming Rugby World Cup, with optimism that the Wallabies can win their third Championship on home turf. Entertainment-wise, Coldplay, Christina Aguilera, Justin Timberlake, P!nk and 50 Cent dominate the airwaves, and people tune into this new show called ‘Australian Idol‘ in the hope that we discover our next homegrown talent to top the charts here and overseas…

And me?

My high school days are months from drawing to a close when one evening, at a friends’ 18th, I meet this girl. We dance late into the night and despite me being just a little drunk (and a relative novice when it comes to the game of romance) I can tell that she likes me.

A week later she invites me out with her and her friends. In the cinema we sit next to each other. Before the movie starts, I glance at the screen of her Nokia to see that she’s saved my name with love heart emoji’s either side of it (did we even have emoji’s back then? I forget…)

Now, nothing actually happens between us that night. For starters, while I’m flattered by the attention, I’m not really into her. Secondly, there’s somebody else I’m interested in. But none of this seems to matter. A few days later via Messenger (remember that?) she asks me to her formal. I figure sure, why not, and accept her invitation. So a few days afterwards, I hit up a formal hire place and try on a few different suits, before picking out one I like and putting down a $50 deposit.

Even though her formal is still a couple of weeks away, I like to get this kind of stuff sorted early. But then something happens…

She meets another guy. They start dating and like that, I’m sidelined. My role as her formal date is relieved. Now I’m not that fussed by it (remember, I was interested in somebody else at the time), but what does annoy me is when I discover that the $50 deposit I laid down is non-refundable. I mean, $50 was a night out with mates. $50 was still enough for a carton of domestic beer, with change left over for beef jerky. That’s what I’d blown!

Yet from this experience came an important lesson. Had I been wiser or if somebody was around to impart the wisdom upon me at the time, it’s a lesson I could’ve learned right then. Instead, it would take nearly another decade for it to sink in:

Nothing of real value comes easily.

In this case, the person who falls for you quickly will probably fall for somebody else just as quickly- and depart from your life at the same speed they entered it.

A new scheme that vows to make people wealthy quickly, often sends them financially into the red with the smaller details.

How many times have we heard about the lottery winners who pissed away their winnings and ended up even worse off than they were before their numbers lined up?

Last year, in an article I wrote, I spoke more on this concept of delayed gratification, on the sweetness of success that comes after a struggle or a dry season in life: What Paul Kelly Teaches Us About Success

There are likely going to be times where it feels as if you’re hitting a metaphorical wall- in some particular area you can’t move onward and upward. It’s not that you lack the ability, it’s just that you don’t have any idea what you need to do from here? During these periods in time, it can be difficult to maintain your motivation, I know. Especially if you see friends, family, colleagues succeeding at what they do, while you’re stuck in the same place with no notable improvement.

In times like these, the temptation looms to drop it. To give up. It’s too hard or you’re too dumb or the game is rigged or whatever it is- you think this is it and you can’t go on.

But what if you just keep doing?

If you enjoy what you do, if you finish your days with a sense of achievement, of contribution- then why stop that?

There are plenty of ‘easier’ paths you could choose. Easier workloads, less hours, less to organise, better pay. But these are a slow death of the spirit. Do you want to walk the straight path- or climb the mountain?

Because one is far easier, and you know what you’re going to get.

But the other one is going to demand far more of you. The other one can be unpredictable and wear you down and make you feel as if you’re an idiot for not choosing the easier path.

But what about that view, should you reach your goal?

Every man dies, not every man really lives

William Wallace

A successful business, a great body, an amazing story worth sharing- nothing of real value comes easily. There are plenty of counterfeits, plenty of things that seem great and easy on the surface- but it’s only later you see how fickle and unrewarding it is.

You see eventually, I realised that all along I was better off pursuing the girls I actually liked (risking rejection that meant something) than just going with whoever went for me.

I choose the mountain over the footpath. I choose the rollercoaster over the merry-go-round. I choose to earn wealth rather than get rich quick.

I choose these things because I am obsessed with getting value and giving value. And nothing of value comes easily.

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How To Write Unique, Memorable Blog Articles That Stand Out

I can still remember one of the first things that made me begin to question what the media told me…

It wasn’t something I read on a mainstream media website, saw on the news or read in a newspaper that sowed these seeds of doubt…

I was back in my first year of uni, not yet 20 years old. And in the brand new edition of our university’s quarterly magazine, I read an article about the recent University Games, held up in Cairns…

I’d gone to the games, playing in my campus Rugby League 7’s team. We’d stayed in a nice holiday apartment complex, just across the road from Cairns Central Shopping Centre and walking distance from the footy grounds, the centre of town and (most importantly) a well-known establishment by the name of Gilligan’s. And even though it was the middle of winter, we were in tropical North Queensland. So every day we’d get around in summer gear. In the early hours one morning, traipsing back from another big night at Gilligan’s (the designated party venue for students throughout games week), it was raining. But even at 3am and walking home in a singlet, shorts and thongs, the humidity had made the short trek perfectly bearable…

Yet here in the student magazine was an editorial from some girl, complaining about the accomodation her team had been put up in. She was going on about how sub-standard it was, adding that “most of the time it was cold and raining”.

You liar! I thought.

It’d rained (on and off) for one and a half days out of the 7 we were there. And even if it was the middle of winter, it was never cold. Yet here this girl was, making shit up to try and make the living conditions of her and her team-mates sound even worse.

It was kind of surreal, imagining all the people on my campus (Griffith, Gold Coast if you must know) reading this article, people who didn’t go to the uni games, and thinking that we’d all suffered through a cold and rainy week in Cairns when it just wasn’t so.

This led me to wonder: how much of what was presented as ‘fact’ each day in the media, actually so? How much of it was made up of half-truths or (to precede Donald Trump by a decade) “Fake News”

Maybe it wasn’t just the Murdoch Media empire or “those bloody lefties at the ABC and Fairfax” who put their own spin on the truth- maybe they all did it, to some degree? But one thing for sure- my trust in the media would never be the same again…

Now where was I? Oh yes- explaining how this ties in with the art of writing posts that make YOU memorable as a writer!

You remember ‘Mary Poppins’? A delightful kids’ movie, and even though I normally hated musicals growing up, I actually found this 1966 Walt Disney classic to be quite charming. You wouldn’t call it scary, would you? But what if people did some editing tricks and made you believe it was a horror masterpiece? Could people even do that? You be the judge:

The same footage. The same dialogue. The same music all found in the original. But what a different impression you get of the entire movie, just from how this material is presented in a 1 minute clip!

Writing articles gives you the same power.

You have the power to take what could otherwise be static information, easily found on Google, and give it your own slant. Include your unique stories and experiences and your own ‘voice’ and bingo! People remember you.

Living in Australia, like many I grew up listening to the music of Paul Kelly. It wasn’t until I grew older that I realised he wasn’t just someone my parents listened to, but he was in fact a household name across Australia- to audiences blue and white collar, urban and country dwelling, European and Indigenous. Why was this?

Because even though so many of his songs cover the same material as other artists from around the world, he has this way of writing lyrics- there’s a candidness, a vulnerability that comes forth in his music and the ability to narrate a scene or tell a whole story in song- and it draws you in.

In similar fashion, even if you’d never heard of the book before and didn’t know who’d written it, you could pick up a written piece and soon recognise Tim Winton’s fingerprints all over it.

The lack of quotation marks.

The setting of a fictional coastal town in Western Australia.

The use of language and the terminologies (Hey sport/ orright/ Christ!)

The vivid, descriptive prose to portray scenes or seasons or sensations, that make you feel like you’re right there as it’s happening.

It’s a voice that is uniquely Tim’s. And while (like everybody) he has his critics, likewise there are people everywhere who love to read his works.

cloudstreet-reading-notes_hero

Having to read ‘Cloudstreet’ in Year 12= my introduction to the unique prose of Tim Winton…

If you want to make your pieces memorable, let them feel the weight of who you are, let them hear your voice. And make them feel something. In a world where so much business is carried out online, we’re still looking for anything that helps us to feel like we’ve made a connection with another human being.

Let me give you a further two examples of what I’m talking about here, because nailing this is so important to making your articles worth the time they take to write:

Firstly, I was listening to the following YouTube video, (Frank Ocean Sings ‘Nikes’ Without Autotune) when I came across this comment in the comments section:

Summer 16….i was one year out of high school. I had just broken up with my girl and went to chicago to stay with my dad side of the family. There i met this girl who was so beautiful she made me nervous. The way she looked at me gave me warm chills like icey hot. I could never notice my surroundings when i was with her. This song played in the back ground when we first kissed. Butterflies filled my chest as if she was my first. She made my summer one to remember that year…nikes and ivey were our theme songs. Once i went back home we kept in touch but we faded away because only so much can keep a woman warm…it’s 2019 and she’s now pregnant and engaged….yet here i am listening to this song…single and wishing the summer of 2016 never ended.

Judging from the 4k + likes this comment received at last check, I’m not the only one who loved it. But why?

Because as you read it, can’t you picture the scene he sets out? Even if you’ve never had this exact experience, don’t you feel as if you can relate?

This is what makes your writing memorable- when you make people feel something. What you write or what you actually say has less of an impact than how they feel. For my second example-

Last year I went along to an event hosted by a colleague of mine, Tara Mollel. During one exercise, she talked about the value of compliments and wanted a volunteer. I figured what was the worst that could happen, so I raised my hand. I should note that by this stage, we’d been there a couple of hours, done a few exercises and I’d played a reasonably active part in the group discussions- so it wasn’t as if Tara knew nothing about me before she spoke.

What she then said to me, after volunteering…I remember the first part, where she thanked me for giving my time to come along to the event. But what she said next, I don’t remember. I just remember that I got that same feeling you get in a movie, when the protagonist delivers an inspirational, profound speech and stirring music soars and leaves you with this fresh, uplifted sensation. Needless to say, by the time Tara finished addressing me in front of the room, I was glowing.

To this day, I remember it clearly. But even though I can’t remember what she said, I remember it so vividly because of how I felt.

So think about this when you write- because yes the technical details matter. But if you can go beyond just sharing helpful information with your readers- if you can find your unique voice, take people into what it’s like to be you and see things as you do- and make them feel something?

You will truly be memorable. I wish you all the best as you go ahead and write…

And if you want to find out how we can achieve this with your content? Contact me

The 7 Toxic People Who Are Fatal To Your Success (Part 2):

If you missed the first half of this article, I strongly recommend you go back and take a look at the types of toxic individuals we’ve already covered: The 7 Toxic People Who Are Fatal To Your Success (Part 1):

Otherwise, let’s move right on to number 5 in this list:

 

#5. Drama Kings/ Queens

tv_curb_your_enthusiasm01

“It’s complicated”

This may very well be their relationship status and it probably applies to the rest of their life, too. With these people, there’s rarely not something going on, is there? Sure they might be fun to be around- but the nightmare lies in just how much of your time they demand. There’s always a fire they need to be put out for them, always a problem they need you to fix.

Now there’s nothing wrong with calling on a friend, family member or mentor when trouble comes or you want advice. That’s what friends are for, after all. But the thing with the drama kings and the drama queens is that their life is just this black hole of ongoing relationship dramas, family dramas, money dramas, career dramas, health dramas, life dramas etc.

Being the best you can be means respecting your time and your energy and realising that no matter who you are, you only possess limited amounts of both. So it follows that you can only devote so much time to making your own life better OR to helping that person deal with their latest drama- but not both.

So what’s it going to be?

Fact is, unless these people are paying you, you’re not obligated in any way, shape or form to help them. In fact, by helping them you could be unwittingly stopping them from sorting their life out. Without a comfortable crutch, without that person (you) who’s always there to lend an ear or give up your time for them the moment they throw shit at the fan- they might actually realise they need to take some responsibility?

Like I said, sometimes we all legitimately need somebody to listen to us, somebody who can give us advice. So how do you figure out the difference between people with problems and people who ARE problems?

Weigh up how much of the time spent interacting with these people is actually productive or enjoyable (coming up with great ideas, talking about life in general, having good times) and how much is just you playing the part of amateur psychologist or fixing their problems yet again?

If both are 50/50, then it’s a relationship you want to reconsider. Do the pro’s outweigh the cons? If it’s anything more than 40/60 in favour of drama- then it’s a relationship you can do without.

Casting these people off it easier said than done, as they can often be quite needy. They probably won’t just fade into the background. So you’ll have to tell it to them straight: point out that you have enough problems to deal with of your own without worrying about theirs. Tell them that unless it’s a serious issue, they should fix it themselves or get somebody else to help them.

Remember: It’s not written anywhere that you need to be on hand to deal with these peoples’ dramas. You have no obligation to do so. It’s ok to walk away and you shouldn’t feel the least bit guilty for it.

 

#6. Blabbermouths/ Trash Talkers

Sybil-Fawlty-Towers

These people love to talk- and usually about other people. You might enjoy listening to their stories about what this person said or what that person did. A lot of what they say about another person may be accurate and funny as well.

But here’s the thing-

What makes you think you’re different from all the other people they bad-mouth?

Chances are that once your back is turned, you’re no longer that person they’re confiding in but just another name they talk about in their gossip. If people act like everything is ok to your face but then have no problem talking about you in scathing tones when you’re out of earshot, what does that say about them?

People like this are dead-weight because either:

a) They don’t have the courage or honesty to give you constructive critiscism, or

b) They don’t give you the respect you deserve. To them, you’re just more fuel to their conversational fire, another person to talk about in place of anything of real substance

You can do without such people.

The same goes for blabbermouths. These are the people who say the wrong thing out loud, time and time again. They’re the people you can’t trust to keep things on the down-low. They speak without thinking. As the saying goes “Loose lips sink ships”.

The problem with these people is the clean-up after they shoot their mouth off again- the bruised egos, the things people can’t un-hear. On a more serious note, the careless words spat out by these people could sabotage your success on a professional or personal level. Or worse still, they could get you directly into trouble because of their careless talk.

What makes these people especially toxic is if their habit for blabbing or trash talking is mixed with Insecurity or the Victimhood Complex (which we both covered in Part 1). Mixed with either of these, a blab or trash talker displays the following traits:

 

  • Verbally abusive
  • Openly critical of everything
  • Throws you under the bus the moment you challenge or even disagree with them
  • Demonises you to other people in an attempt to gain sympathy
  • Turns people against you thanks to Chinese Whispers they started

 

It’s one thing to call these people foolish, but it’s another thing to stay around them and let their words continue undermining you and making your life more difficult. If (when) you draw a line and distance yourself from these people, you can bet they’re going to bad mouth you. If these people also have that Victimhood Complex going on (see Part 1) then they’ll ad you to the long index of people who’ve done them wrong and made their life the tragedy it is.

So what?

Let them talk. Soon enough they’ll find somebody else to talk about, and new bridges to burn with their words. That’s their problem.

 

#7. Critical People

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For people like this, hardly anything or anybody is ever good enough. They might actually be quite productive people- competent, efficient- but it’s their negative and critical attitude that sucks the fun out of everything and makes the world seem like a much smaller, bleaker place than it really is.

These people are damaging to you on a psychological level, and if you’re a person big on the abundance mentality then these people are fatal to your creative thinking. These are the classic “glass half full” types. But rather than going and putting 50% water capacity into a glass and asking them to evaluate it, you can identify them by the following traits:

 

  • Frequent use of negative words like “never” “can’t” “horrible” “wrong” “rubbish”
  • Frequently put down other people- regardless of whether they actually know them or not
  • Believes at least 80% of the world’s population is beneath them somehow
  • If they’re female: “You can’t trust men, they’re only good for one thing, aside from that they’re all the same”.
  • If they’re male: “Women aren’t loyal, they’re only good for one thing, aside from that they’re nothing but trouble”.
  • Regularly complains about society, the government, big business etc.
  • Exhibits Tall Poppy Syndrome

 

These people may (emphasis on the word may) be useful professional contacts to some degree. But anything more than that? Forget it. Life’s too short to be dragged down by their negative, black-pill thinking. If you want to live a life open to amazing new opportunity and be standing in line for abundance, these are people who can definitely take a back-seat.

 

Conclusion:

Skydiving quote

I’ve had periods in my life where I didn’t have many true friends, with a quiet social calendar. But there’s also been periods where near every weekend (and weeknight) I had places to go, things to do and people to hang out with. So over the years I’ve met tonnes of people- and got to know plenty of different types, each with their differing worldviews and attitudes.

But then like most of us, I reached a point in life where I began to fully appreciate and recognise people for what/ who they really were. This coincided with developing a greater respect for my limited time and energy- and realising that if I really wanted certain aspects of my life to improve, then I’d have to be more accountable for how I invested both of these precious, valuable resources!

Like I said at the very beginning, it’s one thing to focus on ourselves and how we can do better as individuals, how we can reach goals and find true fulfilment. But we can’t do this on our own. We weren’t meant to. We were made for community and in a time of increasing individualism, it’s never been more important for us to recognise that.

So if you’re committed to fulfilment, to success (no matter your endeavour) and to enjoying abundance- if you believe the sky is, in fact, the limit- then you’ve got to have the right crew surrounding you. But you have to identify the excess baggage before you can chuck it.

In planting new orchards and sowing the seeds of success, first of all you’ve got to know what the rotten fruit looks like so you can throw it out before you become infected.

I know that taking action from here might involve some conflict. It might mean you’re left with no option but to have some uncomfortable conversations, or even break off existing relationships. Without some people, your life may become quieter for a period, and you may feel a profound sense of being ‘alone’, of being separated from the world, that you haven’t experienced before.  But if you’re committed, and you believe in abundance?

What you lose now in the short-term will well and truly be repaid to you, with interest.

The less time and energy you invest in the toxic people we’ve looked at here, the more time and energy you have for new people. Abundant people. Prolific people. Positively influential people. Great people. I wish you all the best!

 

The 7 Toxic People Who Are Fatal To Your Success (Part 1):

“You can’t soar like an eagle when you surround yourself with turkeys”Anonymous

Success is never a one-person game. More than just our individual accomplishments and forays, we also need the assistance of other people along the way in order to succeed. Socially or professionally, being connected with the right people brings us far more than we can achieve on our own. Think about it- how many truly memorable nights out have you enjoyed solo?

But at the same time, being connected with the wrong people can be a massive drain. A drain on your time, a drain on your emotions, a drain on your success, a drain on your life. If you leave a rotting piece of fruit in a bowl with fresh fruit, the toxins from the rotting piece of fruit will cause the other, fresh pieces to rot by association. Think about that…

So, if you’re committed to a brighter and better future- and being more content with yourself- then these are the 7 people you need to get rid of:

 

#1. Insecure People

Kobe Bryant

“If you don’t believe in yourself, no-one else is going to do it for you”- Kobe Bryant

It doesn’t matter how talented you are, how popular you are, how much potential you have- if you’re insecure, it’s going to rob your life. It’s going to eat away at you, and your life is going to sink far below what it could’ve been. So if you don’t want this to happen to you, why surround yourself with people who let it to happen to them?

Of the 7 toxic people you can encounter, this type of person is the hardest to spot. You can’t really identify an insecure person until you get to know them, because on the surface they might have all the appearance of someone who’s successful and well-adjusted. They could be friendly and funny. It’s only later that the rot sets in…

All is good with an insecure person until they feel threatened by you in some way or another- it might be new acquaintances who risk highlighting their shortcomings, a new relationship, some form of personal success. The last thing they want is somebody they felt comfortable with doing better than them. This is when their insecurity reveals itself, manifesting in the following ways:

 

  • Being critical of new people you’ve met
  • Talking negatively about you under the guise of it being “constructive critiscism”
  • Suggesting that your success is undeserved or came easily to you somehow
  • Often telling you that people talk negatively about you out of earshot
  • Trying to cut you down whenever there’s other people around, hoping they can influence these people to share their view of you
  • Trying to convince you that people only show interest in you because they have an ulterior motive
  • Trying to convince you not to take other people’s compliments seriously because the other person has lousy judgement or an ulterior motive

What makes insecure people so toxic is that rather than deal with their own dysfunctional self-image, they instead project it onto the people around them. They’d rather tear other people down than face the uncomfortable truths that come with trying to build themeslves up. That’s what makes them so cancerous.

Be especially wary if you’re seeing somebody who exhibits these traits:

 

  • Frequently talks about all the other people who want them and suggests their admirers are more attractive/ popular/ interesting/ succesful than you. Just remember: a real success doesn’t need to brag about their success.
  • Keeps trying to make you jealous of them
  • Tells stories about all the people who apparently hit on them whenever you’re not around
  • Suggests that their friends and family all say they could do better than you
  • Accuses you of thinking the sun shines out of your arse and that you’re the best deal they can get (this, my friends, is Projection 101)

 

In its’ darkest form, these people begin monitoring your phone/ internet activity, snooping through your stuff, spying on you, picking fights with anybody they perceive as a threat or straight-up accuse you of being unfaithful. They don’t believe they’re good enough for you- so there MUST be somebody else in the picture!

I feel sorry for insecure people but the truth is- nobody can fix their negative thinking but themselves. It’s not up to you. These people will only be happy with you as long as you’re falling short or insecure too, helping them feel comfortable with their insecurity.

Cut them adrift and let them sort their own life out. Don’t let their rot infect the harvest that lays before you.

Speaking of the harvest…

 

#2. People With The Poverty Spirit

Poverty-Spirit

“You don’t make money with a closed fist”- Anonymous

To best understand what the poverty spirit looks like, first I should describe people who are the very opposite: You know those people who (generally) have a wider circle of friends, who’ve had their share of admirers and are fun to be around? Like you spend time with these people and it feels like the day/ night could go anywhere from here- and often does? They may seem a little crazy or irrational at times- but it’s a hell of a ride all the same! I had an old friend like this- after leaving highschool he’d worked a bunch of different jobs, moved up and down the east coast and we came back into contact 5 or 6 years later. We were out one night with another mutual friend at this bar, and my friend  is a lover of fine wine. Scanning the venue’s wine list, he asked the sommelier to bring out this 5 year old bottle to taste. Sampling some, he looked at the price- it was $90. My friend goes “Oh man- I won’t be able to pay rent next week but stuff it. Bring us three glasses!” My mate was determined to enjoy a good red with his friends out on the town that night- and so it happened. And if I recall, he didn’t get kicked out onto the street the following week either…

The poverty spirit is the opposite of this. It’s people who complain about never having enough, people who give you this feeling when you’re around them- like a constricted or ‘stuffy’ feeling. This is because they are takers and not givers. Their world doesn’t grow. How do you identify somebody like this?

 

  • Rarely (if ever) shout their friends or offer anything that might cost them money
  • Usually turn up to parties empty-handed
  • Stay hung-up on a romantic interest like they’re the only girl/ guy in the world, even though it’s clear the other person doesn’t return their affections
  • Stays in a dysfunctional relationship, unable to comprehend they could do better
  • Frequently complain about people who’ve done the wrong thing by them or the misfortunes they’ve suffered, as if this only happens to them.
  • Rarely (if ever) keen to venture beyond their little world and try new things

What makes these people toxic is that their world doesn’t expand- and if you’re spending time with these people, it’s time wasted because nothing interesting or exciting is going to happen with these people in your company. Abundance is fresh, creative and leads to meeting new people and great memories. The poverty spirit is stale, a vibe killer and a drain on your valuable time and energy.

People with the poverty spirit are leeches. You give a lot and get very little in return. It’s time to move on and spend your valuable time with people who are making things happen- because, by proxy, those things are going to happen to you, too.

 

#3. Professional Victims

Malcolm Fraser

“Life wasn’t meant to be easy”- Malcolm Fraser

Unfortunately, we live in an age where victimhood is the new black. This headlong pursuit of “equality” (code for equality of outcome and not equality of opportunity) has created a race to the bottom in its’ wake. People with little to show in terms of personal achievement or self-awareness instead scramble to find ways (exaggerated or entirely imagined) that the world is unfair to them and apparently owes them something. It’s an easy way to get attention and to feel that they’re somebody important- but the problem with these people is that nothing is ever enough to change their mindset. If your entire identity is invested upon seeing yourself as the victim, that doesn’t suddenly change with your circumstances. You can’t outgrow your self-image. Seeing such people complain about the “privilege” of others on the internet (via their smartphones or laptops) is the definition of irony.

What makes these people fatal to success (theirs and yours) is that they don’t understand personal responsibility or accountability. Anything bad that happens is the fault of somebody else- and they’ll throw anybody under the bus to keep this narrative alive. Both of these are non-negotiable in the pursuit of success and personal fulfilment.

The victimhood mentality is a cousin of the poverty spirit- both are rooted in a mindset that the world has done these people wrong and they have played no part in their circumstances. It’s reactive instead of proactive.

Here’s how you identify professional victims:

 

  • Rarely (if ever) admit poor judgement or mistakes- even past ones
  • Frequently complain about other people “making” them feel bad
  • Blame their life’s shortcomings on society or how certain ideologies are holding them back
  • Blame everybody else but themselves for the difference between how their life is and how they want life to be
  • Often post motivational quotes on social media blaming other people who “don’t understand” or “can’t handle” them
  • Abnormally consumed with identity politics and habitually categorises themselves (and others) through the frame of victim/ oppressor

 

Like those with the poverty spirit, these people are leeches- sucking time and energy out of the universe, expecting everything and giving little in return. All over the world, people have started out with a deficit- financial poverty, abusive relationships, broken homes etc- yet through agency, self-determination and a refusal to see themselves as victims, they have overcome and succeeded. Those are the people to take inspiration from. Those are the people who prove that with persistence, responsiblity and agency- anything is possible.

If you value your time, your well-being and respect, make time for those people and cut the professional victims adrift. They’ll probably ad you to the list of people who’ve done them wrong and reasons they fail but you shouldn’t lose a wink of sleep over that. Call up your abundant, responsible friends and go share a good bottle of wine instead!

 

#4 Defeatists

Arnold Schwarzenegger

“You can’t climb the ladder of success with your hands in the pockets”- Arnold Schwarzenegger

For defeatists, nothing good is possible. “Can’t” is a word they use a lot. These people take what they can get, with the belief that anything beyond that requires stuff they (you) will never have. Stuff like:

 

  • “There’s no point starting a business- you need to have millionaire backers or kiss (insert group’s) arse for it to be a success”.
  • “Why would you diet/ go to the gym- it’s a waste of time and money, only roid-heads or people with perfect genes can have a great body.”
  • “You’re too picky when it comes to girls/ guys- just go for that one who’s interested, take what you can get. The kind of people you’re attracted to only go for” (glamour models/ millionaires/ sporty types/ rock stars/ insert type of person that you aren’t)

 

The problem with defeatists is that (as the name suggests) anything that seems too hard or challenging, they give up on. Bold ideas are impossible, so don’t bother. The danger is they wrap their defeatist attitude in logical sounding arguments, claiming they are just being “realistic”. They generally don’t beat you over the head with their “can’t do” attutide. They instill just a little bit of doubt. “Are you sure?” or “You really reckon you can do it?” they ask with a look and tone of doubt. You want to ride the rollercoaster but they insist it’s too dangerous and are happy on the merry-go-round.

They sound like the voice of reason, but the cold fact is their voice is the one of defeat. Their “logical” criticism is weed killer on the seeds of future success. They are the voice of death.

Defeatists are the first to tell you to quit. They dampen your desire. They exterminate enthusiasm. They pull you down, drain your energy and quite frankly? They are people you can do without. So get rid of them, leave their “can’t do” attitude in the rear-vision mirror. Because like insecure people, their worst fear is that you’ll succeed and prove them wrong. Their key motivator is self-preservation, cowardice. You don’t want cowards in your midst.

I’ll leave you with these 4 for now- there’s a lot to take in and maybe some real soul-searching to do and some uncomfortable conversations that need to be had. But the short-term discomfort and pain from cutting certain people adrift (or letting them fade into the distance) is far outweighed by what you gain as a result- believe me!

I’ll be back soon with the last 3 on this list. Good luck…

 

 

 

 

 

3 Ways To Sharpen Your Writing Game

If you want to get better at writing your own content, how do you do it better?

I can tell you, in just one sentence: a good writer, writes.

So if you want to get better at writing content that engages with people and converts them into subscribers, followers and paying customers- you need to write often. It doesn’t matter if you think you’re writing crap- because like most things, practise makes perfect. (But then again, I’m yet to meet anybody who thinks their writing is perfect!)

So how do you constantly improve your writing skills? Try these out:

#1. Journal

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I’ve been keeping a journal for 7 years now. Seriously, I was leafing through a mates’ copy of ‘The Heroin Diaries‘ by Nicky Sixx and thought to myself “You know what- I should start keeping a record of what goes on in my daily life- the good, the bad and the ugly”. So I bought a black hardcover diary from the newsagent, and the first couple of hours into the New Year, having come back from a party, I began jotting down my thoughts and my feelings about stuff. I soon realised the space limitations of paper, so the following year I upgraded to an electronic journal, via Microsoft Word- and here I am  to this day.

I don’t write every day, I’ll admit. Sometimes I’ll go more than a week without updating it with a new entry. But the words, pages and months ad up. By the end of the year, I’ll have 30,000+ words that provide an ongoing commentary of what’s been happening in life. Obviously this is handy to go back and read years later- stuff crops up that you’d forgotten, or you had memories you couldn’t quite place and then you go “Ah- so THAT’S when that happened”. But on top of that, what I’ve noticed is that over time, my ability to accurately express how I feel and why that is- it’s improved notably. This translates into my writing as well. The simple act of writing, even those entries that are fairly mundane or lacking in clarity- they’ve all helped over the years to get me to where I am now.

So start keeping a journal, dare to be candid- and read some of your older entries back. See where it takes you from there…

#2. Online Discussion Boards/ Forums

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Be careful with this one- as it can become a time-suck! Online discussion boards and forums are like YouTube- if you don’t keep careful account of how much time you spend, you can get sucked down the rabbit hole and waste hours of your time on pointless arguments or going way too in-depth on stuff that doesn’t matter in the bigger scheme of things. But provided you regulate the amount of time you spend, this is an opportunity to get better at making arguments and explaining the why behind what you think. Look for discussion boards or forums that relate to particular hobbies or interests of yours- I almost guarantee there’s one out there that fits your interests. Be it sports, art, film, exercise, diet, politics etc- there’s a place for you. The better you get at explaining why you hold a particular view, the better you get at selling your argument while writing engaging copy. As a result, it translates in your ability to write great content that sells your ideas to readers- and sells to customers as well!

#3. Blogging

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Just like this, in fact. If you’re not already keeping a regular blog, you need to start doing it (as I’ve outlined here: Some Real Numbers To Make You Re-Think Blogging). Again, the more articles you write, the better you become at writing engaging copy and selling people on your way of thinking and getting your point across. The great thing about blogging is that, like keeping a journal, it gets you into the habit of writing regularly. Yet also (like posting on databases or forum threads) it makes you consider your audience more- what needs to be explained clearly, what’s relevant, what can you leave out- and you become a better writer as a result.

Conclusion: A good writer, writes

So if you’re keen on writing more compelling copy and becoming an expert at writing words that sell, then venture into the outlets listed above. This is how you sharpen your writing ability. Don’t be afraid to write dud entries along the way, because you’ll see results in terms of the feedback you get to your writing ability as time goes on.

Good luck!

 

This Is What Gratitude Really Gives You:

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“You never know just what you’ve lost- until it’s yours and then its’ dust”– Paul Kelly, ‘Standing On The Street Of Early Sorrows’

I have a memory of being around 4 years old, sitting in the living room of my old place one morning and watching this ‘Thomas The Tank Engine’ video we had. It was the final episode on the video and as I watched, I got this sinking feeling…

Because I knew that after this episode finished (with The Fat Controller deliberating over whether to keep Donald and Douglas after they’d destroyed a spiteful break van), it was off to preschool for the day. I had friends there and I loved playtime- but I couldn’t stand having to come in for nap time in the middle of the day. I wanted to keep playing outside! No matter how many times my friend Garth and I ran and hid in the wooden pirate ship each day when we’d all get called inside, the teachers still always found us! So it was inside, to lie on one of the cots, bored out of my mind while they played some new-agey music to try and lull us to sleep. To this day, the smell of bed linen takes me back 30 years to those nap-times. I couldn’t wait to be grown-up, not have to go inside and lie down on a cot and do what the adults told me. I couldn’t wait to be able to drive a car, go to work as an engine driver every day instead of going to preschool, and get to choose what I ate for dinner. It felt like a lifetime away…

Skip forward 9 years- and I’m sitting in Year 7 maths class. Bored. Gazing out the window. For some reason, this Paul Kelly song comes into my mind:

It was from his album ‘So Much Water So Close To Home’ and Mum used to listen to it in the car back when I was in preschool. I thought about those days nearly a decade ago, when nobody expected anything of me. When I didn’t care what my peers thought of me or (more to the point) whether girls found me attractive or not? Starting high school had been an unexpected awakening because suddenly I’d become self-aware, full of doubts and insecurities I didn’t know I had. Continuing to gaze out the window, how I yearned to go back to more innocent days- when everything was so easy. I ached for it like a past lover I still carried a flame for…

Let’s go forward again now- I’m 30 years old. Out for a walk one Sunday afternoon- my one day off for the week. On my iPod, I’m listening to a playlist I’ve just created, that is (song for song) a copy of a mixtape I had back in Year 7. It brings these flashbacks to early adolescence…the new feelings I had, the fresh discoveries I was making, how hopeful and optimistic I was about my future…and as much as I enjoy my life in its’ current state- I want to go back, to feel things as I did back then. I want to go back to that time when so much of the world still felt new and fresh and exciting (and intimidating) in equal measure. In some ways, it seems cute when I remember some of the things that were such a big deal to me back then, that just didn’t matter in the bigger scheme of things. So I play the tunes, grab a beer on my walk, sink a cold one in the spring sunshine- and drift back…

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You see what’s happening here?

I have an unusually sharp recollection for times that many people my age have forgotten by now. The benefit is that I remember enough not to fall into the trap of imagining “things were so much better then”. If I’m headed down the path of viewing the “good old days” through rose-tinted glasses, I then remember the not so great things-

I remember the frustration of being preschool age and having to go where the grown-ups told me to, eat what was put in front of me and do what I was told…

I remember the awkwardness and lack of self-belief that clipped my wings and (unfortunately) stopped me from enjoying my adolescence in the carefree manner I could have- and I can’t get those days back…

I remember even a few years ago, the things I still didn’t see clearly and the realisations I hadn’t discovered yet that would’ve given my life more substance…

I bet this all sounds familiar to you. You hear one song, catch a re-run of one show, smell just one scent, run into just one familiar face from your past- and remember a time that you just want to go back to:

No bills!

No jobs outside of house work and school work!

So many problems you didn’t have to deal with!

So many life problems you didn’t even know existed!

Can I get an amen?

In the moment, we take so many things for granted- and we don’t actually appreciate them until they’re gone. Dead. Lost. Left behind in a life we can’t return to. To quote Bill Bryson: You can’t go home a second time.

How did we not recognise these good times when we lived them? Well…

We were too busy.

We were too absorbed in chasing “the next big thing” that was meant to make us finally stop, relax and go “I’ve made it”. Or we were engrossed in nostalgia for other times past!

Contentment isn’t a destination we reach, like a town on a map. The plane doesn’t land into Gratitude International Terminal where even though the aircraft eases down out of the sky, our spirits soar to levels we’ve never felt before. The train doesn’t pull into Gratitude Central with a rainbow breaking out across the bright blue sky.

The journey is within. It’s a state of mind. It’s a conscious decision. I mean, in terms for the world’s population, the fact you’re reading this article right now via the internet from your phone, tablet, PC or laptop means you’re pretty fortunate as is.

But instead, I complain about people I don’t even know personally. Or you envy somebody who appears to have “more” than you. Or we find ourselves wistfully reflecting on a nicely edited version of “the good old days”.

I try not to take anything for granted. I don’t take today for granted. I don’t take tomorrow for granted. Without meaning to go down a morbid path, tragedy is often so because it strikes out of nowhere, without any time to prepare. Just driving on the wrong section of road at the wrong time, boarding the wrong flight, walking along the wrong pedestrian mall or even climbing aboard the wrong ride at a fun park at the wrong time can change the trajectory of our life and rob from us in a way we didn’t foresee.

So there are just two options we have: we can live in a constant state of worry. Or, we can live in a state of gratitude

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I miss my 10 week Fight Like A Pro journey back in the winter and spring of 2016. Not just the fight night itself- but everything that led up to that moment. The sparring sessions at the gym, the 5:30am starts running laps at Currumbin Alley as the sun came up, the sessions on the beach afterwards, the guys I met- everything. BUT-

During the whole time, I made sure to appreciate the moment. I made every effort to be present, and take in everything as it happened. Because I knew that soon enough, it’d be over- so I made the conscious effort to enjoy it while it lasted. To be grateful for the whole experience. And whenever I reflect on those 3 months now, while I miss them?

I’m grateful that I was grateful.

Just recently, I made a new playlist- ‘2010- 2019’. It’s all the tunes I’ve liked from this decade nearly over. Listening to it brought back a lot of great memories- vivid flashbacks to going out on the town in my mid 20’s; fond memories of the Uber days on the Gold Coast when I lived there- and that night I saw ‘The Bennies’ for free at The Shark Bar with the people I picked up; that winter when an old flatmate and I would stay up late, clocking ‘Lego Pirates Of The Caribbean’. All good times, most of which won’t come back. But that’s ok. Because I’m grateful for the journey, and I know that if I’ve still got some time in front of me (Lord willing), then there’s plenty of other memories yet to be made that I’ll recall just as fondly.

But in the meantime?

We might as well be grateful for what’s here and now. I can think of plenty of things, and I’m sure you can, too:

Who are the people we have in our lives that we appreciate?

If you’ve turned your small business into a larger company- aren’t you grateful for what you’ve managed to build so far?

Big family or small family, young or old, single or taken, start-up or established business owner- you can definitely take some time out to go “I am grateful for…”

What does your life situation look like and what are the good things about it?

Your feeling of well-being, frame of mind and appreciation for the small things you might have otherwise missed- they all change noticeably the moment you begin regularly exercising this attitude of gratitude. And when these “good old days” have passed, at least when you look back you’ll know you enjoyed the ride while it lasted.

 

 

EVERY Sale Starts With THIS (How To Be The Necessity And Not The Option):

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“Nice guys finish last”-

No doubt you’ve heard this saying a number of times over the years. Does this mean that in order to finish first, first we must be nasty? No!

It’s not saying that being agreeable means you’re destined to be a loser in life. To understand what it really means, think of that “nice guy” who’s “just friends” with the girls he’s interested in…

Sure, he’s happy to listen to their problems, offer his advice, hang out with them at the drop of a hat and be as understanding as he can. And in the meantime, he keeps hoping one day soon she’ll realise that if she gets next to him, she won’t get her heart broken like with all those arseholes she dates who treat her badly or aren’t afraid to tell her she’s wrong about stuff.

…Yet that day never comes. He’s known her for months- years maybe- yet she goes out one weekend, meets some new guy and suddenly he’s enjoying the kind of relationship wih her that this “nice guy” has only dreamt of.

“Why is life so unfair?” he wonders…

On the surface level, it does seem unfair. And it’s been the subject of countless movies, books, long conversations between friends late into the night- or maybe you’re familiar with this scenario because it’s happened to you?

When it comes to romance, so many of its’ principles match the principles of selling. So today, we’re going to look at why this “nice guy” never gets past the platonic friendzone- why instead it’s the arrogant jerk who gets the girl- and how understanding this principle helps us become better at selling. Best of all? You can replicate this without needing to be pushy, rude, compromisng your values or throwing out your integrity.

Let’s suppose that you have great blog article ideas all listed down, you’ve done your research and you know what topics are gold to your leads. You’ve got it all worked out. You have your sizzling solutions to answer their most common questions or their biggest problems- maybe you’ve got the drafts written and edited and you’re ready to post them?

Hold on just one moment-

The difference between being just an option to your leads or being the necessity- and getting the sale- comes down to one small thing. You leave this until the end of your post, when you’ve already wowed them with your expertise and blown them away with your brilliance…

To seal the deal, you make them an offer they can’t refuse!

You see, it’s one thing to share information with them, provide the solution to their problems and highlight what you can do. But this is what that “nice guy” does- he’s been doing it to that girl all this time, and still no luck.

To get the enquiry, get the sale- ask what your special offer is? How can you be of service to them? What’s going to get them contacting you straight away, eager to buy what it is you’ve got to sell?

You put this right at the end of your post: A ‘How can I be of service?’ An alluring offer they can’t resist. Instead of wasting all this time creating content that they read and then discard- you write content that gets results.

Now, if you’d love a professional to analyse your copy, give you expert feedback and show you what’s working for you vs what you’re missing- this is your opportunity- no asterisk, no hidden catch.

With an offer like this- why would you wait?

All it takes is one click below and we’ll get started:

Contact Us

 

 

 

Why A Powerful Planner Is Your Roadmap To Reward:

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As a business owner, as somebody who runs my own show, what’s it like in my world?

Well…

It’s a life that carries both the weightlessness of personal freedom AND the burden of personal responsibility every single day. Like take right now for instance-

Nobody’s making me write this. If I wanted, I could take the rest of the afternoon off and go down the rabbit hole of YouTube. I could go for a walk. Or I could bring forward tonights’ planned gym session by a few hours.

I have nobody to report to, and I’m free. Yet (to paraphrase Uncle Ben from ‘Spiderman’), with great freedom comes great responsibility. That’s how it is when you’re a business owner or a professional at your craft- you’re stuck in that ongoing battle of “What needs to be done now?” vs “What can I get to, later?”

Over time, I’ve learned something:

A great week is a planned week.

I’m sure you’ve got a schedule or an organiser of some sort- and I imagine you probably fill this in, mostly with the ‘To Do’s’ and important tasks that relate to your profession and your finances. I’m not here to talk specifically about those. What I want to talk about are the other areas that so many people aren’t itemising- and if they did, they’d discover not only would they enjoy their week more- but they’d become more productive. All this would (in turn) have a positive flow-on effect to their work and their wealth.

So, you want to discover how this is done?

I’m assuming (like most people) you said yes- so here it is:

First of all, I suggest you get rid of your ‘To Do’ list and transform it into a weekly planner. There’s a difference between the two of them. Let me explain:

I first got the idea for keeping a weekly planner after listening through the Tony Robbins 10-Part series ‘Time Of Your Life’– and I highly recommend it so you get a thorough understanding of how to craft your weekly planner and how it ties in with your ultimate goals and aspirations. It follows the principles of living a life of ‘One Putt Foward’, which I discussed here:

Revealed: The Success Formula That’s Made In Japan…

I won’t get bogged down with all the details here, but for over 5 years now, each Monday I sit down with my laptop (wherever I am) and organise the week ahead of me. Sure, all the career and financially-related ‘To Do’s are itemised- but it’s much more than that. I also set goals designed to improve my physical state, my relationships, further explore my interests and those other things that make life a more complete experience. So in my weekly planner, besides the Career and Financial goals, I also have items listed under the following categories:

Physical

Emotional

Spiritual

Family

Relationships

Interests

Setting it out like this sets up a week where I’m not just getting the important stuff done- but I’m getting real fulfilment personally, as well. Now, if you go ahead and put together your own planner, you might want to ad other categories- but the most important principle that should back it up is this:

Get the work done, get your affairs taken care of- but appreciate your life for each day that comes, too- and have some fun.

There are online programs like Trello that you can use for this (although personally, I can achieve the result using just a simple Word document)- but the most important thing is to get your weekly planner up and running.

In tandem with approaching life by the principle of that little putt forward every day, you discover a new level of enjoyment from life- and this (best of all) leads to a sharper mind, better health, a better work ethic, better results- and better value for the work you put in- and what’s not to love about that?

So throw out that beige ‘To Do’ list- get your weekly planner set up- and ad some colour to your life!

‘Time Of Your Life’

 

The 3 Secrets To Sending E-mails That Pay For Themselves…

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Let me start with a confession: Not all that long ago, e-mail marketing was something I didn’t bother with. I just didn’t see the point?

Because I’d open up my inbox each day and there’d be a tonne of new e-mails and rather than bothering to unsubscribe (let alone read them)- I’d just click the ‘Delete’ box next to them and they were gone. I couldn’t be bothered to read these e-mails, so why should I expect anyone else to? It seemed like a waste of valuable time to build a database, craft an e-mail and send it out to that list on the regular. Just more ‘filler’ to be deleted…

But then over lunch with a business mentor of mine one Friday afternoon, we were going through the tools I used to connect with new leads, when she asked if I kept in contact with them regularly via e-mail? I told her no, I didn’t, and she strongly advised I change that ASAP. She even came up with the heading for my first e-mail:

“The confessions of a copywriter with no e-mail list”.

That was where it all started, and I’m pleased to say that in the years since, not only has the content and the presentation of my e-mails improved somewhat- but so has the engagement. I especially notice this in the clients I write e-mails for- the regular messages to their database get twice, in some cases nearly 3 times the standard open rate for their industry.

I also get this kind of feedback- from people on my list and cold-contacts alike:

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e-mail feedback

^ Ahh yes, that time I forgot to BCC the group e-mail. D’oh!

But still…

Having a regular e-mail database is a fantastic way to promote yourself, build a relationship your new leads and get repeat business from the 20% of your existing customer base who drive 80% of all the money that comes in.

But how do you get your foot through the door? How do you craft an e-mail that stands out and doesn’t join the other average ones getting sent to the trash bin daily by your subscribers?

We could spend an entire day going through all the smaller details, but here’s the main things you want to remember:

 

#1. Get The Right Heading

You’ve got to put together a heading that relates to the content inside, but also makes your subscribers curious to click through and see what you have to say. It has to arouse their desire to know more, to find out what your unbelievable new offer is or what that little known secret about _____ is that could save them thousands? Whether your open rate blows them away or bombs all hangs on the heading- so it’s crucial you get this one spot-on (or as close to spot-on as you can). A handy tool for this is to use Headline Analyzer and that’ll tell you how effective a proposed headline is in regards to its’ length and the buzzwords it contains.

 

#2. Give Them Something To Look At

My first couple of e-mails didn’t have an image to go with them- big mistake! Because if you manage to convince your subscriber to open the e-mail, and all they see is a wall of text, chances are that’s as far as it’ll go. They’ll close it down. Don’t let them get overwhelmed by a lengthy essay. We’re visual creatures- so give them an image at the very top of your e-mail to break up the text. Find something that relates to the content of the article, and the more creative and intriguing you make this, the better! I’ve had a lot of fun with this over the years- everything from pictures of burning $100 notes, to Batman Welcome mats, to golden tickets (like in ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’) to stills from movies like ‘The Usual Suspects‘- and ALL of them related to the copy that followed, in some way or another.

 

#3. Make It Easy To Read

How long should your email be, in regards to word count?

Look- it’s not important. It can be as long or short as you want- the objective is for the reader to have the best chance at clicking the link/s you include, or taking the action you want them to. So this doesn’t matter too much.

What IS important is that you make it easy for them to read. Don’t let the copy be in small text, with long paragraphs. Break it up like this:

Start with your opening line, you know what I’m talking about-

Make it bold so they want to read the next paragraph. Be careful with long-winded sentences- now isn’t the time to show off how wide your vocabulary is. You know what you need to do?

KISS!

In other words-

Keep It Simple, Stupid!

And make sure the text is slightly larger than usual, really easy for them to read. Keep those paragraphs short because they could turn and leave at ANY moment…

Be generous with your line spacing, because remember-

Your objective is to get them to click where you want them to.

Or take the action you want them to-

Call you or your team.

Submit a contact form.

Send an enquiry.

Got it?

Like I said, there are plenty of other subtleties that go into pumping out eye-grabbing headlines and e-mail content that keeps them hanging on until the very end. But to start with, if you follow these guidelines then you should see a much better click and open/ action taking rate from your subscribers than a lot of the other e-mails clogging up their inbox. You’d be surprised just how many people get it wrong with this.

Don’t believe me? Just go through all the e-mails you get today from regular contributors, and see if they’re NOT guilty of at least ONE of the following:

a) No header image

b) Small text

c) Large chunks of text

d) No bold sentences

e) Call to action not clearly highlighted (like a big ‘Contact Me’ or ‘Read More’ button)

So take this on board, and I wish you luck in building your list and reaping the rewards that follow. It’s definitely worth doing in the long-term!

But it always takes time to do this- even for me- and I’m a professional at this! So if you’d rather get your time back to do what you do best, and let someone else take care of your regular database e-mails- somebody with a track record for creating content that stands above the masses flowing into your subscribers’ inboxes every day-

If you want content that actually gets opened, read AND acted upon?

Let’s Talk

 

 

Revealed: The Success Formula That’s Made In Japan…

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When you buy electronic goods or a car and you see it’s made in Japan, what does that make you think about the quality of your purchase?

What if I told you that, less than 50 years ago, the general response was quite different when people saw that ‘Made In Japan’ sticker? It signified cheaply made goods, the same way people react to the ‘Made In Taiwan’ label today…

So how did this turnaround happen?

No doubt, an insistence on restoring national pride after the decimation of World War 2 played a considerable part. Honour and pride in your work are two characteristics that form the backbone of the Japanese identity. Yet there’s another concept that transformed Japan’s standing on the world stage, and turned a World War 2 enemy into a firm ally of our modern, Western civilisation.

It’s a single word, known as kaizen.

This word features constantly in their language and can apply to any number of pursuits- kaizen in their relationships, kaizen in their martial arts training, kaizen in their business ventures or their production line. Essentially, it’s the principle of getting a little better in some way, every day. The idea is that if you don’t see a man for three days, when you see him on the 4th day you should be able to notice a subtle change in him.

Tony Robbins loved the idea of this concept so much he coined his own term for it: CANI (short for Constant And Notable Improvement). Business, like life itself, should grow following this concept.

It’s like being on a golf-course: If you aim to get a hole in 1 and settle for nothing less, how many times do you think you’ll have to swing at that tee with your wood until you pull it off? How much time will you waste trying to achieve it? Good luck getting that hole in 1 before dark!

The real goal is to move forward, 1 putt at a time. Make just one little improvement each day. It may not feel like real progress of any sort after just one day- or even a week. But after a year? You’ll definitely notice an improvement…

All through Highschool, I was a skinny streak of a guy. I remember in Year 11, some (then) friends of mine found the time to draw a picture of a guy with a body like one of those malnourished African kids- ribs sticking out- but they depicted my head on it. This at a time when I thought girls were only interested in guys with the buff surfie/ footy player physique. So needless to say, my self-esteem around that time was already pretty low. I was 6″1 with no chest and while it wasn’t hard to build definition if I exercised, in terms of actual mass I remained stagnant. Throughout my 20’s I’d weigh in around the early 70’s on the scales, and during a hectic 2016 I weighed in around 67kg at times.

I began to figure maybe this was just something I’d have to live with…

But last winter, I returned to the gym after a 5 year absence. I’d regularly go for walks, ride my bike, do floor routines at home- but I wanted to push myself further, see what was capable and if long-held fitness and weight goals could be realised with a change to my training and my supplements. So I joined the local gym, found the protein supplement that suited my needs- and off I went.

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The first week training, I was sore in a whole bunch of places. My ribs tingled, my arms ached constantly. I expected as much. Looking in the mirror, no notable difference. On through the rest of the winter, right on throughout spring and into the summertime I went, training 3 times a week, usually at night when it was cooler and less crowded. The aching vanished after that first week and slowly I could lift heavier loads, ad more weight to the equipment I used. The scales told half the story- soon my lightest weigh-ins were still heavier than I’d ever been until a couple of months earlier. People would comment on how I looked different. Pants felt tighter around my waist, and when peeling off t-shirts I had to be careful not to rip them!

But it didn’t really hit home until one night in December when I snapped a selfie while I was training, to show my progress to an old friend from interstate. I snapped the photo-  looked at it- and stopped a moment.

Have you ever seen a photo of you and not recognised yourself? Like obviously you know its’ you- but looking at that photo, it feels as if you’re looking at another person. Because that’s how I felt in that moment. It was a surreal feeling- to see this guy with a shaved head, well-kept facial hair and solidly defined arms who looked like other blokes I’d seen over the years-  guys I once would’ve thought of as “one of those gym junkie douchebags”- and to realise the guy in that photo was me

All those individual sessions, those supplements I’d take before training- and here was the result after just a few months. What could the results be after a year?

To get the big results, maybe ones you’ve dreamed of for years but never quite managed, the real goal is to move forward, one putt at a time. Just one small improvement each day. It may not feel like much improvment, but give it a year and you may have a life you barely recognise when you look in the mirror- so choose wisely!

Whether it’s in your finances…

Or your career…

Or in your relationships…

If you can improve in some small way each day, then that’s success.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one small step, and the game of life gets better with just one putt forward per day!