Friday, January 26, 2007

Procrastination is becoming a killer problem.

Procrastination in society is getting worse and scientists are finally figuring out how and why.

After 10 years of research on a project that was supposed to take only 5 years (is there pun intended?), a Canadian industrial psychologist found in a study that not only is procrastination on the rise in the U.S., it also makes people poorer, fatter and unhappier.

Something has to be done about it, and sooner than later, University of Calgary professor Piers Steel concluded in his study, published in this month's Psychological Bulletin.

In 1978, only about 5% of the American public thought of themselves as chronic procrastinators. Now the figure is 26%, said Professor Steel.

And why not? There are so many fun ways to kill time—TVs in every room, online video, web surfing, cellphones, video games, iPods and Blackberries.

At work, e-mail messaging, the Internet and games are just a click away.

Professor Steel said the US gross national product would probably rise by US$50 million if the icon and sound that notify people of new e-mail messages suddenly disappear.

There is good reason to worry about the problem of procrastination.

"People who procrastinate tend to be less healthy, less wealthy and less happy," he said. Of procrastination, he added, "You can reduce it, but I don't think you can eliminate it."

There is personal financial fallout from procrastination too.

Delay in filing taxes on average costs a person US$400 a year, he found.

Men are worse than women (about 54 out of 100 chronic procrastinators are men) and the young are more likely to procrastinate than the old, he said. – Associated Press

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Which sound of money do you prefer?

1) clingclingclingclingclingclingcling.....

2) shkshkshkshkshkshkshkshk....

3) THUD!

Friday, January 12, 2007

The Power To Stand Alone by Gerry Robert

"If everyone is going left, I'm going right."

The Inversarian Principle very simply states that you should observe the masses, and do the opposite. In business terms, that means when the masses are buying gold, you should be selling it. When they are buying real estate, you should be selling.

And of course, when the masses are selling, you should be buying. But The Inversarian Principle goes far beyond business. When the masses are going in one direction, you should always go the opposite way. The masses are wrong about wealth. Most of the population is unhealthy, unhappy, and broke. What could you possibly gain by following them?

Most people are like a flock of ducks that are flying across the sky. Very seldom does a duck stop to wonder if the flock is going in the right direction. They just fall into line and follow the flock. Doesn’t it make sense that a duck who follows the flock will end up exactly where the flock is headed? Of course! And when was the last time that you saw one duck change his direction, and take off the opposite way? Not too often.

We must understand, that the reality of the masses quite simply states that the masses will end up broke and dependant on others for their survival. And if we follow the flock, that's where we will end up as well. To break this pattern, we must be like the lone duck who turns in the opposite direction, and heads away from the pack. Sounds difficult doesn’t it? It is! But the rewards will pay off for the rest of your life.

Soon, you will be flying much higher in the sky, and enjoying the life you create and not the one the masses dictate.

This principle is so obvious when you look at the literature or marketing materials of most salespeople. I do a lot of work with estate agents. One thing I constantly harp on is differentiation. Still, this industry, like almost every other, is plagued with sameness. Sameness is one of the fastest ways to loose in selling. Differentiation one of the fastest ways to win.

In real estate, for example, so many agents use the exact same approach. They almost all use the stupid, silly slogan, “Thinking of Buying or Selling? Call me!” Give me a break.You must do things that no one in your industry does. Don’t go to the same conferences as everyone else. For example, if you are selling tractors, go to the Airline Industry trade show. If you are smart, you can pick up all kinds of ideas from that show and win big in selling tractors.

The Winner’s Challenge

You must be an Inversarian. Observe the masses, and do the inverse. We recommend not even consulting others for important matters. By others, we mean other ducks, who don’t have the results you want in life. Sure, you should get advice, but make sure you get advice from the right type of person. The criteria is results.

Why do broke people ask other broke people for opinions or advice on how not to be broke? Heck, if they had any inclination about money, do you think they’d be broke?

Why do people go to sick, overweight doctors who smoke, for medical advice? The last person who can help you to health is an unhealthy doctor. Could you learn anything from a financial planner who is not rich? Ironically, most financial planners are far from wealthy.

Many people live their lives always worrying about what their family and friends think of them. Chances are, they don’t think at all. That’s the problem. They live their lives according to the way they think that their friends and family think that they should live. As soon as someone says, “I’m tired of being average, I want to soar with the eagles,” the masses, the flock of ducks that they are with, will try to drag them down with their meaningless quacking.

Understand this…what anyone thinks of you is none of your business.

At the end of the day, you must answer to yourself. At retirement, you will either have the life that you want for your family, or you will not. Others will have no solution for you at that point.

As you journey higher into the sky to join the eagles, you will find that there are two basic fears that are motivating your friends and family to try to stop you. Your family, in most cases, is motivated with good intent. They are living by the mindset of the masses, and they are not aware of their own inner strength, let alone yours. Their fear of your failure is greater than their excitement about your success.

You must step out of the mould, despite their advice. Often times your friends, on the other hand, have a much more selfish motivation for trying to keep you in the flock. They live by the mindset of the masses as well. They believe that in order to get ahead in life, one is either lucky or a con artist.

The masses also spend their lives blaming others for their failure. It’s the prospect’s fault, it’s the government's fault, it’s the recession, it’s his fault, or it’s her fault. Many failures believe that the reason they are where they are is because of their lack of education, or opportunity. In truth, none of the above could be further from reality.We are responsible for our own lives. We choose our own pathway to walk by the decisions we make every day.

When you tell your friends that you are going to soar with the eagles, and make great things happen in your life, you may find that they are not as excited as you are about your new plans. You see, when you become successful, you will shatter the myth that they live their lives by. You instantly force them to accept responsibility for where they are in their lives, and also for where they are going.

The masses would rather live in their comfort zone. You could be a threat to their whole belief system. So, don’t be surprised if when you shoot for the moon, they shoot at your heart.

Be strong! Overcome the need you might have to gain the opinions and approval of others. When you attempt to change your life, as you are doing now by reading this book, you will force opposition. You have decided to move beyond "just getting by". You want to better yourself.

Gerry Robert is a bestselling author of "The Millionaire Mindset" and a seminar speaker.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Learn habits that will turn you into a millionaire.

The principles of making money are surprisingly simple. You do not have to be intelligent or well-educated to be rich. We need no verification of that.

Most of us know at least one wealthy person who is neither education nor smart.

In fact, judging by the number of poor people with Ph.Ds, higher education must actually be a hindrance to financial success.

Truly rich people—not those who do it with loan, leveraging and manipulating other people's money—simply have different habits.

Describing the principles is beyond the scope of this book but I highly recommend the book, The Richest Man In Babylon. It is a wonderful place to begin.

The habits you need to learn to become a millionaire are no more complex than the rules for playing Monopoly.

Up till now, education about money has been left to the individual.

The only people I see taking the time to educate the public about credits, credit cards and savings are banks and other financial institutions.

But when we look at the track records of these institutions, it becomes quite obvious that these "teachers" have a lot to learn themselves before they start advising other people.

To let bankers educate the masses about credit is a little like having the fox protect the hen house.

Most of us are so enamoured of the idea of security that, even when we are unhappy with our jobs, will stay with them, day after day and year.

The truth is, that staying in situations which are unsatisfying only increases our sense of insecurity.

We begin to feel there is no other choice but to sell our souls in the name of security.

Excerpted from Robert Kiyosaki's book "If You Want To Be Rich & Happy".

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Optimists live longer, says study.

There are steps that pessimists can take to change their outlook and boost their chances of living a longer, more positive life.

Optimists may enjoy longer lives than people with a dimmer outlook on the future, a long-term study suggests.

Researchers found that of nearly 7,000 adults followed since their college days in the 1960s, those who were optimistic in their youth had a lower risk of dying over the next 40 years than their more pessimistic peers.

On average, the most pessimistic study participants were 42% more likely to die of any cause than the most positive participants, according to findings published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings medical journal.

The results echo those of a number of past studies on personality factors and health, including research that has linked optimism to longer life. One study of elderly adults found that those with a positive view of the future were less likely than pessimists to die over the next decade, regardless of their health at the start of the study.

The current findings could be explained by any number of factors, according to the study's authors who were led by Dr. Beverly Brummett of Duke University Medical Centre in Durham, North Carolina, United States.

For example, they say, optimists are less likely to suffer from depression than are pessimists, which could, in turn, affect their physical health. They may also maintain a healthier lifestyle, paying more attention to their diet and exercise habits.

These latest findings are based on a 40-year follow-up of 6,958 men and women who entered the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, in the mid-1960s. At the time, they took a standard personality test that gauges a person's tendency to be optimistic or pessimistic.

In general, optimists believe negative events are only temporary and don't let them affect their overall attitude about themselves and the world. Pessimists, in contrast, take such events to heart, often blaming themselves and believing that the bad times will last forever.

In this study, 1,630 were deemed pessimists and 923 optimists, while most were judged to be somewhere between a pure optimist or pessimist.

If pessimism is a risk factor for premature death, that begs the question of whether anything can be done about it.

It is difficult to change the basic constructs of your personality, Dr. Brummett said. However, she added, "There are many aspects of personality that can be modified to a certain degree if an individual is motivated to do so."

For example, Dr. Brummett said, people with a hostile temperament—a trait linked to heart disease and premature death—may be able to change their ways with the help of anger management therapy.

On the other side of the spectrum, people might try injecting some positivity into their lives. As an example, Dr. Brummett pointed to meditation, which, according to some research, may boost positive emotions. – Reuters

Friday, January 5, 2007

Study by Bob Proctor

A clear 90% of the population in North America read at a grade 7 level. That's because we learn to read by the time we have reached grade 7 and never improve our reading ability from that point on. Shocking, isn't it?

It is not only shocking, it's a shame. What is even worse is this lack of personal development goes well beyond reading. Most people do whatever they do in much the same manner. There are very few people who master anything. Ask any sales executive and they will quickly agree there are mighty few people who ever master selling. The same is true of managers, lawyers, accountants...I could go on.

There is really no competition in the marketplace. You'll have great masses in any profession out there making a noise. Those few souls who are actually studying their craft and attempting to perfect it, stand out in a crowd like a giraffe in a herd of field mice.

The masters in any profession can name their own price and write their own ticket. Yes, their stock is always high; their rewards are great. If you don't belong to this small select group of high achievers, I have good news. There is plenty of room in their club and it is not difficult to qualify.

Begin to study what you do for a short time everyday, knowing you can always perform better. Work toward a specific result well beyond your present level of performance. Just one hour of concentrated study each day adds up to 9 40-hour weeks in one short year.

Think of how much more you would know in 5, 10 or 20 years. I began doing this myself 25 years ago. When I started to study, I learned this great secret of achievement. If you want more, you must know more. To know more, you must study.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Always pay yourself first before settling other monthly bills.

How do you budget each month? Most folks pay bills in the following order: the mortgage or rent first, then utility bills, car payments, food; then, they scramble to cover the monthly minimums on credit cards and miscellaneous expenses.

Let us try a different approach to monthly budgeting: Pay yourself first. Even if you cannot save 10% of your net income—the amount I recommend as a target—saving something now is vital.

Paying yourself first is the most underrated way to accumulate wealth over time.

The second bill is now the mortgage or rent. Then, as you prioritise them, come all other necessary expenses. What we have done here, simply by "paying ourselves first", is recover some of the from the bottom and move it to the top.

Paying yourself first will force you to become more frugal with your spending habits because the other bills must be paid.

With that extra money, you can immediately begin to stash money in your new emergency fund.

An emergency fund is a special account that can be used for unexpected bills which may arise. It should be built up to at least 10% of your annual net income. If you are a seasonal employee (such as in the construction industry or other uneven employment forms), you should have a backup fund of at least 3 months of your annual net income.

Keep putting money into this fund on a regular basis. Eventually, you will reach a level that is comfortable for you. Then you can begin to attack your long-term goals by reallocating that monthly payment to anotherinvestment goal.

Make up your mind to stick to the plan. Re-evaluate it from time to time to see if it can be improved. If temporary emergencies occur which make the plan impossible to continue, start it again as soon as possible.

The most important point is to use your money wisely. When you have mastered control over your everyday financial life, you will feel a real sense of accomplishment and self-satisfaction.

Once you are on your way, the rest of your attitudes about money will change, and you will begin to view money in a new light.

Excerpted from "Get Rich Slow" by Tama McAlesse.

Monday, January 1, 2007

How to attain a healthy work-life balance?

A recent survey in Singapore reveals that one of the greatest wish for 2007 is to attain a more pronounced work-life balance in life. This is not surprising when you take into consideration other findings like people are generally working harder, becoming more mobile, sleeping less, making less love, having less children and even getting divorced. The problem is that productivity at work does not translate into impactful results. More of us are getting more busy and worried over 'chores' like missing out on e-mails and phone calls. We interact more often through using technology and tools, but we definitely fail to communicate better, heart to heart, on the relationship front.

To tell the truth, according to Dr. Robert Anthony, money has always been the no. 1 factor that affects the way people live their lives. They mold their lifestyles after it, not before it, therefore they become servants of it by handing the power of control to it.

On the other hand, there are a few folks who charge much, much more for their work or consultation in an hour than what 95% of the world's population currently earn in a month. A joke goes around that Bill Gates' wealth equates to the GDP of Peru. A statistic I cam across once puts him at earning $300 per second...

For that rate of earnings, is Bill the most stress-out worker in the world? :)

But this question is not for you to answer. The question is: What do you really LOVE to do, and will do it so well that you can get paid for it?

How times have changed. Only 4 years ago, most Singaporeans looked down and rated poorly any kind of vocation related to the arts as one with no financial (read: lucrative) future. Today, we have the Esplanade By The Bay, a premise right in the city for the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts and a burgeoning arts scene. Even computer gaming is becoming serious business in Singapore as we send our best teams of young people to compete in regional tournaments for cash prizes.

People who love to sing and dance, play computer games or blog all day are now given a chance at earning wages, but they have a secret most people don't know. How are you going to marry the love for your work with the love for your life? When does work become play and become $$$ too?

Perhaps you may deduce that when all the things you care most come integrated together, you would have achieved a complete fullness of life. This is an ideal of course, a holy grail that is impossible to achieve. There is never a sense of closure throughout life as challenges persist.

Let's start with an idea. Dora Yip has one. Good for her.

When she was a principal consultant and partner in a public relations company last year, she couldn't stop thinking about work. Even as she sat watching a movie, her mind would dwell on work matters.

Coming to the end of 2006, she could finally look back and say she is satisfied with her everyday life. Apart from welcoming a nephew into the world, the highlight of the year was moving to the non-profit sector in November 2006. It was a huge decision to leave her own company, yet it was the best one yet, for being a corporate communications manager at the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Center (NVPC) has brought about meaningful work to her.

While living in New Zealand with her husband David, Dora spent 3 years volunteering as a refugee support worker. She counted this as among her most satisfying experiences because it directly helped society. It was what she wanted to do full-time.

If not for life coaching, she reckoned she would have taken more time floundering towards her decision to switch lines.

Said Dora: "A lot of people think life coaching is a scary thing, but really, it's just having someone professional act as a personal sounding board to help you clarify your goals and aims in life and work out how to achieve them.

"The work at NVPC is just as much. Typical working hours I would say, but the difference is I feel more comfortable with the work and myself.

"It may sound contrived," she added, "but when you are passionate about what you do, you cope better with challenges and a lot of the stress you'd ordinarily feel is gone."

Dora has learnt to pause, reflect and listen to her inner voice. She also realized that there are no bad decisions in life, just bad reactions.

The most important she has learnt from life coaching is that even the seemingly scariest things in life can be made less scary if you talk them over with someone and make a list. She said, "Once things are itemized, they really don't seem insurmountable anymore."

Dora has brought some sense of order and maybe fullness to her life. How about you? Do you need a life coach to act as your personal sounding board? Here at Locate A Coach, you can easily search for one that suits your personality and needs in major areas like career, health, relationships, spirituality etc.

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A Locate A Coach membership will economically put your message in front of a targeted audience. After all, the site visitors come to Locate A Coach to find the right coach for them. They are very interested in what you have to offer. Through promotion of your articles, newsletters, coaching services, books, teleclasses and other events you earn the credibility and exposure that turns prospects into paying clients.

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Dora Yip's story is extracted from a Straits Times interview printed in the "Mind Your Body" supplement dated February 21st, 2007.