Thought is the original source of all wealth, all success, all material gain, all great discoveries and inventions, and of all achievement.
– Claude M. Bristol
We have passed from a world based on material limitations into a world that is determined by mental concepts.We have moved from the age of things into the ”Psychozoic Age,” the age of the mind. Wealth and opportunities are contained more in the person you are and the way you think than in the assets you have acquired in life so far.Your future lies more in your ability to apply your mind and intelligence to your work and your life than it does in your current job or situation.
Because health, wealth, and happiness are essentially mental, there are very few limits on how much of them you can acquire for yourself. In this chapter, and in subsequent chapters, you will learn many of the simple, practical, proven methods, techniques, and strategies used by high-achieving men and women in every field to accomplish far more than they, or the people around them, ever dreamed possible.You will learn how to break the bonds of limited, conventional thinking, expanding your desires and ambitions so dramatically that you will be able accomplish any goal that you could ever set for yourself.
- THREE MAJOR FORCESThere are three major forces reverberating through our world today, transforming everything they touch and creating unlimited opportunities for the creative minority. These three forces are the incredible growth in information, technology, and competition.
- THREE MAJOR FORCES
- Information and Knowledge Explosion The information revolution, combined with the speed of computerized information processing, the Internet, and wireless communications, is enabling knowledge in every field to double every two or three years. Fully 90 percent of all the thinkers, inventors, engineers, scientists, writers, entrepreneurs, and creators of all kinds who ever existed are living and working today. The results of their efforts are becoming almost instantaneously available to each other, thereby doubling and tripling their outputs.
- Technological Advances The explosion in technology and high-speed computers is literally breathtaking.Today, you can e-mail a message around the world to dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of people simultaneously, in a matter of seconds, at a cost of pennies. The World Wide Web gives you access to tens of millions of other Internet users, as well as to the accumulated knowledge stored in more than 50,000 libraries and research institutes. Instantaneous transmission of data enables the money markets to move a trillion dollars per day, sometimes in seconds, making it impossible for countries to control their currencies, much less their economies.
In the twenty-first century, you will own a laptop computer with a microchip that can process one billion commands per second. It will have a long-life battery and a built-in cellular telephone, connected to cells and satellites that will enable you to communicate instantaneously with almost anyone, almost anywhere in the world. You will have your own personal telephone number that will enable anyone in the world, anywhere, to telephone you, wherever you are, whether or not they even know what country you are in. And this telephone technology will probably fit on your wrist like a large digital watch does today.
- Thriving Competition The third major factor driving our lives is competition. Every business organization wants to generate sales and make profits, locally, nationally, and internationally, if possible. To survive and thrive, each person and business must be continually seeking faster, better, newer, cheaper, easier ways to deliver value to their customers.
Every advance in knowledge and technology creates opportunities that fleet-footed competitors can grab and run with to create new products and services to leapfrog each other in their markets. All three forces- information, technology, and competition- are multiplying times each other to create the greatest rate of change in human history. And if anything, the rate of change is going to increase in the years ahead.
- CHANGE CREATES OPPORTUNITIESFully 80 percent of the products and services that you will be using five years from now will be brand-new or completely transformed from today. Probably 80 percent of the jobs being done in five years will be new jobs or jobs that have been completely transformed by the onrush of information, technology, and competition. And the good news is that every single change that takes place opens up more opportunities and possibilities for you to achieve your goals and make greater progress, faster than ever before.
The forces of change impact everything you do. The rate of change is accelerating week by week and month by month. The speed and variety of change is something over which you have no control, and about which you have no choice. The only decision you have to make is whether you are going to be a ”master of change” or a ”victim of change.” Are you going to be a creator of circumstances or a creature of circumstances? Are you going to ride the wave and stay ahead of the curve of change, or are you going to be bowled over by it and left in its wake? It will be one or the other, but the impact of change will be forced upon you, whatever you do.
- LEARN FROM THE EXPERTSIf you want to learn how to cook, you study cooking. If you want to be a lawyer, you study law. If you want to be an engineer or an architect, you study engineering or architecture. And if you want to be financially successful, you study others who have become financially successful before you.You find out what they did, and you do the same things, over and over, until you get the same results.
Making money is a skill, like riding a bicycle or operating a computer. Because it is a skill, it is therefore learnable by anyone who wants to acquire wealth. If in the past you have accepted the false idea that you cannot make or keep all the money you want, it is now time for you to get rid of that idea. It is a false belief. It is time for you to decide to become financially independent.
- THE GREAT LAWThe Greek philosopher Aristotle first articulated the foundation principle of Western philosophy in about 350 B.C. It became known as the Aristotelian Principle of Causality.Today, we call it the Law of Cause and Effect. This law says that for every effect in your life, there are specific causes. It says that everything happens for a reason. Success is not an accident. Failure is not an accident, either. What happens to you is not determined by luck or by coincidence. It is the result of unchanging law.
My journey from unemployment and poverty to success and financial independence started when I began to study the most successful people in our society. My idea was simple: I would find out what they had done to accomplish so much, and then I would do the same things. Why reinvent the wheel? What I discovered changed my life. It will change yours as well.
- MILLIONS OF MILLIONAIRESWhen I began my reading and research in the 1960s, there were seven hundred thousand millionaires in the United States, mostly self-made, having started with nothing. By 1980, according to the IRS, there were 1,800,000 families or individuals with a net worth of more than one million dollars. Today, there are more than five million millionaires, an increase of 277 percent in 22 years. And most of them are self-made as well.These are men and women who started with little or nothing, often broke or deeply in debt, and who gradually accumulated enough money to become financially independent.
Self-made millionaires come from every walk of life, with every level of education and skill, and with every difficulty, obstacle, handicap, and challenge to overcome that you could ever dream of.
Some are young and some are old. Some are new immigrants who arrived in America unable to speak English, and some are from families that have been in America for generations. Some have excellent educations from the finest universities, and some are high school dropouts. Some have superb physical health and others are in wheelchairs, hard of hearing, blind, or have other physical limitations.
The most important thing to remember is that no matter what difficulties you have, no matter what problems you feel are holding you back, someone else, and probably thousands of other people, have had far greater obstacles to overcome than you could possibly dream of, and they have gone on to become successful nonetheless. And what others have done, you can do as well.
- EXHAUSTIVE RESEARCHDr. Thomas Stanley of the University of Georgia spent more than 30 years studying self-made millionaires. He interviewed thousands of them and compiled his findings into a variety of books, research studies, and reports, including two best-selling books, The Millionaire Next Door and The Millionaire Mind. His research shows that every single kind of person, from every walk of life, has been able to start from nothing and pass the magic million-dollar mark by doing certain things in certain ways, over and over again.
- START WHERE YOU AREWhen I began studying self-made millionaires, I was living in a rented apartment with rented furniture. I had a used car that was not paid for and I was deeply in debt. I was between jobs and living off credit cards.
The first thing I found was that self-made millionaires did things differently from average people, and I was tired of being average. I therefore decided to stop doing what I was doing, which wasn’t working, and to start doing what they were doing. My life has never been the same since this decision.
It wasn’t easy to change my thinking about money and my financial future, but eventually these efforts began to pay off. Like a large ocean liner changing direction, one degree at a time,my habits began to change. Within five years, I was out of debt and making good money. In another five years, I passed the million-dollar mark. When I look back, I see that it was no miracle. All I really did was to learn what other successful people had done before me and then do the same things until I got the same results.
- GET RID OF THE MYTHSThere are a great many myths about self-made millionaires. If you want to become a self-made millionaire yourself, you must dispel these myths from your own mind. Remember, as the humorist Josh Billings once said, ”It’s not what a man knows that hurts him; it’s what he knows that isn’t true.”
Many people have fixed ideas or beliefs about themselves and money that are holding them back. These ideas may be completely untrue, but they will cut off your chances of success nonetheless. You must get over them. To achieve something you’ve never achieved before, you will have to think in ways that you have never thought before.
One myth is that you have to have a great education to become rich. Another myth is that you have to start off with a lot of money. Some people are convinced that financial success depends on getting a lucky break of some kind, like picking a hot stock in the stock market.
None of these myths are true. In fact, a survey of members of the Forbes 400, the 400 richest men and women in the United States, found that high school dropouts in the group who made it to the list were worth, on average, $300 million more than university graduates on the list.
- THE LAND OF OPPORTUNITYThe most successful immigrant group per capita in the United States, in terms of starting and building successful businesses, are Russians.Why is this so? It is because the Russians have come from a system where it has been so extraordinarily difficult to succeed that when they arrive in America, believing that America is the land of opportunity, they find that it is much easier to succeed than they have ever experienced.
As a result, Russians start business after business and achieve successes that the average American continually claims are no longer possible. Because they absolutely believe that it is possible for them, they make their dreams come true. Their beliefs become their realities.
- THE REALITY PRINCIPLEThe past president of General Electric Company, Jack Welch, was considered to be one of the best business executives in the world. He said that the most important single quality of leadership is what he calls the ”reality principle.” The reality principle says that you must deal with the world as it is, not as you wish it would be.You must strive to be completely honest with yourself and your situation.You must refuse to engage in self-delusion and the hope that things will work out whether or not you do anything about them.
Especially when it comes to building wealth, you must be totally honest with yourself. You cannot afford to play games with your own mind if you truly want to be wealthy.You cannot wish and hope and pray that somehow you are going to win the lottery or strike it rich as a result of luck or some remarkable external circumstance.
- YOU CREATE YOUR OWN LUCKOften people ask me about the role of luck in success.They are convinced that luck is a critical factor in achieving anything worthwhile. They feel that some people are just lucky and some are not. They talk about luck as if it were a matter of fate or destiny, largely inexplicable. They insist that a person gets to the top of his field largely as the result of getting lucky breaks, which they, of course, did not get.
I have studied the concept of luck for many years. My conclusion is that luck is a word that people use to explain away things that turn out much better than could have been expected. If a person achieves great financial success at a young age, people say he was ”just lucky.”
Some people use luck to describe something remarkably good that happens that is out of the ordinary. But it is not luck at all.The fact is that all so-called lucky outcomes are really the result of probabilities. There is no such thing as luck.
The Law of Probabilities says that there is a probability for everything that happens. These probabilities can often be determined with considerable accuracy. The entire insurance and underwriting industry is based on probabilities, which are expressed in actuarial tables.
- BECOMING A MILLIONAIREThere is a probability that you will become a millionaire in the course of your working lifetime. Today in America, one family in 20 has a net worth of more than one million dollars. This means that your likelihood of acquiring a million dollars is one in 20, or 5 percent.
However, this also means that your likelihood of not acquiring one million dollars, should that be your goal, is 95 percent. These are not good odds.Your job must be to improve the odds in your favor. Your aim should be to dramatically increase the probabilities of achieving financial independence by doing more and more of those things that will help you to achieve your goal. This principle applies to anything you want to accomplish.
The more different things you do that are likely to help you to achieve your goal, the more likely it is you will do the right thing at the right time. If you set clear, written goals, make detailed plans, and continually upgrade your skills to increase your income, you increase the probabilities that you will earn a good living.
If you study money and investments, save and put aside 10 percent to 20 percent of your income every month, keep tight control over your expenses, and think long-term about your financial life, you will eventually become a millionaire. It is not a matter of luck. It is just a matter of probabilities.
- PROBABILITIES ARE EVERYTHINGImagine you are an inexperienced dart thrower, slightly inebriated, in a darkened room, standing some distance from the dartboard. Even under these conditions, if you throw enough darts in the direction of the dartboard, you would eventually hit it. And if you continued to throw darts, almost in spite of yourself you would become more accurate. As a result, by the law of probabilities, you would eventually hit a bull’s-eye.
This metaphor explains why people who start off with high levels of desire and determination ultimately succeed. They just keep trying. And by the law of probabilities, they finally win. It is not luck. They create their own luck by what they do, or what they fail to do.
Now, imagine the conditions are different. Imagine that you are a skilled dart thrower, and that you practice every day to get better. In addition, you are fully rested, clear-headed, and completely prepared. The lights in the room are bright and you stand at a reasonable distance from the dartboard. Under these conditions, all of which are under your control, the time it would take you to hit a bull’s-eye would be greatly reduced. And of course, when you do hit a bull’s-eye, everyone would tell you how ”lucky” you were. But you made your own luck.
Throughout your life, you must be constantly thinking about all the things you can do, in every area, to increase the probabilities that you will be successful in achieving your goals. You should leave nothing to chance. You should refuse to wish or hope, or trust to luck.You must take control of your situation.You are responsible.
- YOU ARE RESPONSIBLEYou will achieve financial success only after you accept that everything that you ever become is completely up to you.You are responsible. No one is going to do it for you. Keep repeating, ”If it’s to be, it’s up to me!”
Fortunately, in America there are more opportunities for wealth creation and personal success than have ever existed previously in all of human history.The United States is the only country on earth that is commonly referred to overseas as ”the land of dreams.” In 2003, it was rated as the most entrepreneurial country in the world. This means that it is easier to start and build a successful business in the United States than it is anywhere else on earth.
As information and technology continue to expand and multiply times each other, and competition continues to intensify, more and more opportunities are opening up every day for the creative minority who are willing to take advantage of them.Your job is to find these opportunities, and if you don’t find them, create them for yourself.
- THE COMMON DENOMINATOROne of the discoveries in the research on self-made millionaires is the finding that most of them start off with little or no money. Most of them start off by saving their money carefully for a long time until they have enough to start a small enterprise or business. Some of the biggest companies in America were started on a kitchen table or in a garage, like the Hewlett-Packard Company or Apple Computer. Some of the newest millionaires in America come from the field of multilevel marketing.Working from home, they paid $50 for a sample kit and went out to work. They sold something, made a profit, reinvested their profits, grew larger, and eventually achieved financial independence.
In Dr. Thomas Stanley’s interviews with self-made millionaires, he discovered their common denominator of success. The most important quality that self-made millionaires used to explain their success was the habit of hard, hard work.
Self-made millionaires work much harder than the average person. They start earlier, work harder, and stay later. According to many studies and interviews, self-made millionaires work an average of 59 hours per week. Some work considerably more, especially at the beginning.
- WASTING TIME AT WORKThe average employed person puts in about 40 hours per week on the job, but only about 32 hours of that is officially working time. Fully 50 percent of time spent at work is wasted in idle socializing with co-workers, personal telephone calls, and personal business. Average employees start a little later, take long coffee breaks and lunch hours, and leave a little earlier. Even managers privately report that they spend fully half of the time they are at work doing things that have absolutely nothing whatever to do with the job.
Only about 5 percent of people working today work full-time on their jobs from the time they begin each day until the time they finish. These people are the ones on the fast track in their careers.They are moving upward and onward, getting paid more and being promoted faster. They are the movers and shakers in every business, and everyone knows who they are.
- LOW-VALUE ACTIVITIESThe saddest part of the research into employee work habits is not just that people waste a lot of time at work. It is that in the other 50 percent of the time, when people are actually working on company tasks and responsibilities, they tend to work on low-value, low-priority tasks. As a result, they contribute little of value to their companies. Low productivity leads to lower wages and fewer opportunities.
Every year, hundreds of thousands of people are laid off from large and small corporations, often from white-collar, midmanagement jobs.Why is this? The answer is simple. The companies have finally learned that they are paying high salaries to people who are producing very little of value. No company can survive very long under these conditions, and these companies are determined to survive. So the redundant staff has to go.
- YOU CAN DO ITIf you are serious about becoming financially independent, or even better, becoming a self-made millionaire over the course of your career, here are two facts: First, it is definitely possible. Hundreds of thousands of men and women become financially independent each year after having started from nothing.Whatever others have done, within reason, you can do as well. The very fact that someone else has achieved a particular financial goal is proof it is possible for you. The only question is, how badly do you want it?
Second, the reality principle says that if you want to be successful in any area, you have to find out what other successful people have done to succeed in that area, and then do the same things over and over until you get the same results. As long as you don’t try to fool yourself and look for shortcuts, you are virtually assured of eventually achieving, and even exceeding, your goals.
- THE 40 PLUS FORMULABegin today to apply the ”40 Plus Formula” to your work and your career. This formula says that you work 40 hours per week in the United States for survival. If you work only 40 hours per week – if you work only the number of hours that are required of you – then all you will ever do is survive.You will tread water financially.You will make enough to pay your bills and perhaps a little more besides, but you will never get ahead and you will never be successful.
According to the 40 Plus Formula, every hour that you put in over 40 hours on your job, or on yourself, is an investment in your future success.You can tell where you are going to be five years from now by simply looking at how many hours per week you put in on your job. Every hour over 40 that you invest in getting more results for your employer and your customers adds up and contributes to your long-term success.
- GIVE YOURSELF AN EDGEIf you work 45 to 50 hours per week, you give yourself an edge over your co-workers. If you work 55 to 60 hours per week, your longterm success is virtually guaranteed.You put yourself on the side of the angels. Many self-made millionaires work 70 to 80 hours per week to get established in their careers. There are no shortcuts to lasting success.
I have studied successful men and women in America for more than 25 years. I have never found a single successful person who got there working only 40 hours, or five days per week. The idea of the five-day week, which was promoted by the labor unions as a great advance in the life of the working person, has been the cause of more financial underachievement and failure than perhaps any other single myth.
The fact is that, especially at the beginning of their careers, all really successful people work much harder than the average person. They work 10 to 12 hours per day, six days per week. They work at this rate for many months and years, before they reach the point where they can slow down. The average self-made millionaire has taken 22 years to get from being broke to having a net worth of more than one million dollars. It is not easy and it is not quick. But it is definitely possible if you want it badly enough.
- WORK ALL THE TIME YOU WORKA key part of success at work is to use your time well, to focus on results, and avoid the time-wasting social activities of the poor performers. In correlation with this is the need for you to ”work all the time you work.”
This is a remarkable idea for many people. Often employees think about work as if it was an extension of school.When they were growing up, they came to think of school as a place where you go to socialize. You take the required courses, but the most important part is spending time with your friends between classes. School becomes a form of play.
Many people think, when they take their first job, that work is also a place where you go to spend time with your friends. This is why fully half of the working day is spent socializing, and in idle conversation on the telephone with friends and family.Work is seen as a giant sandbox where you continue to play as you did in school. You do a little work when the boss is watching, get a paycheck, and then go home.
But this is not for you. If you are determined to succeed greatly and be paid the very most, you must work all the time you work. When you go to work, you must put your head down and work wholeheartedly.
- SOCIALIZING WITH CO-WORKERSMany people believe the myth that you have to spend a lot of time getting along with your co-workers. They say, ”Work is supposed to be fun!” And this is true up to a point.
Of course, it is important for you to be positive and agreeable person to work with. But you can accomplish this in a few minutes of pleasant interaction each day. You don’t have to spend endless hours chatting about sports, television shows, and family activities. Your job is to work all the time you work.
When you work, you work.You do not pick up your dry cleaning or drop off your laundry during working hours.You do not socialize with your friends or chat on the phone with your family.You do not take long coffee breaks and extended lunch hours.You work all the time you work.You commit yourself to getting the very most done that you possibly can in the time that you have available to you.
- GET BACK TO WORKYour goal is to earn the reputation around your company as being the hardest-working person in the organization. If someone wants to shoot the breeze with you, explain to him or her that you would be pleased to chat after work, but right now you have to get back to work. Keep repeating to yourself, ”Back to work, back to work, back to work!”
People who achieve great financial success, either in their own businesses or working for other organizations, are people who very early develop a reputation for hard, hard work. There is a saying in business: ”Everyone knows everything.” There are no secrets. Everyone knows who works the hardest in every organization, and who doesn’t.
There is no quality that will bring you to the attention of people who can help you faster than your developing a reputation for being one of the hardest-working people in your company.
- START EARLIER, STAY LATERNapoleon Hill, the author of Think and Grow Rich, once told the story of a young man who started at the bottom of a large organization and eventually moved up into the top ranks of executives, passing all the people who had started with him at the same level. His strategy was simple. He noticed that his boss came in a little earlier than the rest of the staff, stayed to finish up his work, and left a little later than the others. This young man therefore resolved to arrive 15 minutes before his boss and to leave 15 minutes after his boss left.
He put his resolution into action the next day. This is another hallmark of high achievers:They don’t procrastinate when they have a good idea; they take action immediately. The young man began coming in 15 minutes before his boss and going straight to work, continuing all day. When his boss left he would still be at his desk, working away.
- BE PATIENT AND PERSISTENTThe boss said nothing for several weeks. Finally, after work one evening, his boss came over to his desk and asked him why he always seemed to be there, even though all his co-workers had left. The young man said it was because he was really determined to be successful in this company, and he knew he couldn’t be successful unless he was willing to work harder than anyone else.
The boss smiled and nodded and went on his way. Soon after that, the boss asked him to do something that was not part of his job description. He did it quickly and well, delivered it to his boss, and went back to his desk. Soon after, he was given another assignment, which he also completed quickly. Within a year, the young man had been given several additional responsibilities, each one of which he accepted and fulfilled immediately.
In his second year, he was promoted to a higher position. He studied, upgraded his skills, and continued to work hard. Within a couple of years he had surpassed all of his rivals. He had earned the respect and esteem of the other managers.They soon promoted him so that he was one of them, rather than one of the staff. His career took off. Eventually he became a vice president of the company.
This is a simple strategy that works for anyone who is willing to do more than is expected of him or her. It works for almost anyone, anywhere, over and over again, year after year.
- LOOK FOR WAYS TO ADD VALUEIf your goal is to become wealthy, you have to know how wealth is created. The answer is contained in two words: ”add value.” All wealth comes from adding value in some way. All wealth comes from serving and satisfying your customers better than they could be served and satisfied by someone else. Wealth is the result of adding value to them in a way that no one else can match.
In your job, you should be looking for ways every day and every week to add value and to become more valuable than you were before. Throughout your career, your main focus must be to constantly seek out ways that you can add value to your boss, to your co-workers, to your customers, to your suppliers, and to everyone else and anyone upon whom you rely for your success. This should become your motto: ”Add value, add value, add value!”
- THE NEW PARADIGM OF WORKOne of the major revolutions in thought that has taken place in the world of work in the past few years is the idea that you must justify your position anew every day.
It used to be that a person would work hard for a few years until he had achieved a certain level in his job. He could then coast along at that level for many years, if not for the rest of his career. His attitude was, ”Well, I’ve paid my dues. I earned my position. I did a great job. Now I am entitled to this job indefinitely.”
But this is no longer good enough. Today, everybody wants to know, ”What have you accomplished lately?” In the fast-moving, highly competitive business world of today, your boss wants to know what you have done to add value recently.You have already been paid for what you did last year, last month, and even last week. Now you must earn and justify your paycheck anew. There is a race on and you are in it, whether you know it or not.
- TWO SOURCES OF VALUEThere are two major sources of value in the world of work today. The first is time and the second is knowledge. Today, time is the currency of modern business. Everyone must be focused on reducing the amount of time that it takes to get the same results. Customers will pay dearly for anyone who can reduce the time needed to get them the products and services they want. People will pay more for someone who can satisfy their needs faster than someone else. This is why most of the major improvements in modern management are those that reduce the amount of time that it takes to get the job done.
The most important measure of time is speed. The most important quality that you can develop with regard to time is a ”sense of urgency.” This is the habit of moving fast when opportunity presents itself to you. Develop a bias for action. Fast tempo is essential to success. All successful people not only work hard, hard, hard, but they work fast, fast, fast!
- DO IT NOW!Procrastination is not only the thief of time; it is the thief of life.To outperform your competition, both inside and outside your organization, you must develop the habit of moving quickly when something needs to be done. You must develop a reputation for speed and dependability. Study after study shows that those individuals with the best reputations for speed and dependability are the most valued in any organization. They are very quickly promoted onto the fast track in their careers.
The wonderful advantage of developing the habit of moving fast is that the faster you move, the better you get. This is because the faster you move, the more experience you get. The faster you move, the more you learn and the more competent you become.The faster you move, the more energy and enthusiasm you have. People who move fast as a way of life soon develop a totally different temperament and personality than people who move slowly or who take a casual attitude toward their work.
- WORK IN REAL TIMEWhenever possible, do your work in ”real time,” as soon as it comes up. Do it now. It is amazing how much time you can waste by picking up a task, looking at it or starting it, and then putting it down and coming back to it again and again. As a general rule, small tasks should be done immediately, as soon as they appear.This habit of taking action quickly will enable you to get through an enormous amount of work in a day. It will earn you a reputation for being the kind of person to give jobs to when someone needs them done quickly.
- SUCCESS COMES FROM GOOD HABITSFully 95 percent of everything you do throughout your day is based on habit. Successful people are those who have developed the habits of success. Successful people form good habits and ensure that those habits govern their behaviors. Unsuccessful people allow bad habits to form, and these bad habits then lead to frustration and failure.
My friend Ed Foreman says, ”Good habits are hard to form but easy to live with. Bad habits, on the other hand, are easy to form but hard to live with.”
A habit is defined as ”a conditioned response to stimuli.” It is an automatic way of responding or reacting in a particular situation. You develop a habit by repeating a specific act or way of thinking and reacting. Once it becomes a habit, it becomes easier to do it that way than to do it some other way.What kind of habits do you have?
Successful people are simply those who developed successful habits. They have trained themselves, like athletes, to do certain things in a certain way, over and over again, until they do them automatically, without even thinking about them.You may have heard the old saying:
Sow a thought and you reap an action; Sow an action and you reap a habit; Sow a habit and you reap a character; Sow a character and you reap a destiny.
- A KEY SUCCESS HABITOne of the habits of success is that of early rising. Successful people get up a little bit earlier, read and prepare, plan and organize their day on paper in advance, and get going before the average person has even started.Thomas Jefferson said, ”The sun has never caught me in my bed.”
A woman in one of my seminars some years ago told me that she discovered the magic of early rising. She had found that by going to bed early she could get up at four o’clock in the morning. She could then do the equivalent of a full day’s work by seven or eight o’clock, before the average person even got started. In no time at all, she was producing and earning double the amount of her coworkers. She was continually promoted and paid more money because she was getting far more done than anyone else.
Successful people make a habit of getting up early, usually by 6:00 or 6:30 in the morning, sometimes earlier, and then getting going immediately. This gives them a great jump on the day.
The average person, on the other hand, takes a full hour to get up and get going in the morning. Then they drag themselves off to work, thinking about lunchtime, and what they are going to do in the evening.
When your alarm clock goes off, get up immediately and get going right away. Start moving. Develop the habit of rising early and starting right to work on your most important task. This habit can do as much to assure your success as any other habit you develop.
- PRACTICE LOMBARDI TIMEWhen Vince Lombardi took over the Green Bay Packers, the players had developed the habit of not showing up until the last moment for games or buses. Often they were late, and everyone had to wait. So Lombardi introduced ”Lombardi time.” This was defined as 15 minutes earlier than the scheduled time. Eventually everyone began arriving early, and the problem was solved.
You should go onto Lombardi time as well. Make a habit of punctuality by resolving to be on time, and then practicing it over and over until is natural and easy. Less than 2 percent of people are punctual, and everybody notices it, one way or the other. Make it a game to be on time – or better yet, early – for every appointment.
- MAKE EVERY MINUTE COUNTGet into work before anyone else gets there, and when you do arrive, begin working immediately. Don’t waste time reading the newspaper, drinking coffee, or socializing with co-workers. Develop a reputation for being the kind of person who is always working, and always working on high-priority tasks.
Work all the time you work. Discipline yourself to keep yourself focused on the most valuable use of your time. Don’t allow other people to put you ”off your game.”When you have coffee breaks or lunches, have them when they best suit you, not when they best suit the clock.
- MAKE EVERY MINUTE COUNTHere is a powerful three-step formula you can use to double your productivity and perhaps even double your income over the next 12 months. It is simple and powerful, and it works for anyone who uses it.
First, make a decision to come into work an hour earlier. This does not take very much effort, and it allows you to beat the traffic. Have your work planned out for the day so that when you get into work you can then put your head down and go full blast.You will be amazed at how much you can get done before anyone else comes in. Research proves that you can do three hours of office work in one hour of uninterrupted time.
Second, work through lunch, using the hour when your coworkers are all off together eating to get ahead of your work. Resist the tendency to take an hour off at ”lunchtime” or to go for lunch with whoever is standing there.
Third, work one hour later, after everyone has left. This third uninterrupted hour will enable you to wrap up your work from the day and plan the next day in detail. Also, by working later, you will miss the rush hour traffic.
By starting one hour early, working through the usual lunch hour, and staying one hour later, you will double your productive working time each day.When you combine this with working all the time you work and focusing on high-value tasks, you will more than double the amount of work you get done.You will quickly become one of the most valuable people in your organization.
- SCHEDULE YOUR FIRST APPOINTMENT EARLYIf you are in sales, schedule your first appointment as early as possible. Many of the most important people you could want to see get into the office at 7:00 and 7:30 in the morning. Arrange to meet them at that time.
A salesman friend of mine, who is at the top of his field, found that the key to getting appointments with the key decision makers was to call their offices at 7:00 or 7:30 in the morning or 6:30 or 7:00 in the evening. He discovered that at these times all the staff either weren’t in yet or had gone home. The only people working were the key people. They would answer the phone personally and he would get an opportunity to talk to them and arrange to see them later.
- CREATE YOUR OWN OPPORTUNITIESDevelop the habit of moving fast. Successful people in every field have a sense of urgency. Only a small percentage of the population moves quickly when opportunity or responsibility presents itself. You must be a member of this small percentage.
When I was younger, I used to think that when my opportunity came along I would take advantage of it at that time. I soon learned that your opportunity never does just come along.
Russell Conwell made this point in his famous story, Acres of Diamonds (Berkley, 1986). In summary, it says that in most cases your greatest opportunities lie under your own feet. They are right where you are. They lie within your current talents, skills, ability, and experience. They lie within your own business or industry. They lie within your own background or career.Your acres of diamonds are very close at hand, and that is where you should begin your search.
- TAKE ACTION RIGHT WHERE YOU ARETheodore Roosevelt once said, ”Do what you can, with what you have, right where you are.” This is the key to success. ”Do what you can, with what you have, right where you are.”
Focus on the present moment and on your current situation. Don’t wait for things to be ”just right.” It is you who will make things just right. By throwing your whole heart into what you are doing every minute, you will open up doors of opportunity that are not now visible to you.
Look around you at this very moment and ask yourself, ”What could I do to add value to the most important people in my work life?”What could you do to make things faster, easier, or better for the people who are depending on you? Be proactive rather than reactive. Be the kind of person who reaches out and grabs opportunities, and if you don’t have any opportunities, create them personally through your own efforts.
- MAKE YOURSELF INDISPENSABLEA secretary in Boca Raton, Florida, told me an interesting story at one of my seminars. She had listened to one of my audio programs on personal achievement. As a result, she had set a goal to increase her income by 50 percent over the coming year from her current income of $1,500 per month. She told me that she didn’t really think it was possible to earn that much more because she was part of a large secretarial pool where salaries were fixed. Everyone made almost exactly the same.
Nonetheless, she decided to look for ways to add value to her boss. She noticed that he spent a lot of time replying to routine correspondence. One day, she took all of his regular mail and wrote replies to them. She then took the finished letters to him to edit and sign. He was delighted with her work and encouraged her to do more of it. Soon, she was handling 90 percent of his routine correspondence.
She then began to take additional courses to upgrade her skills in word processing, page making, and report preparation. Bit by bit, she began to take his smaller tasks and handle them herself. Each time she took over a smaller task, she freed her boss to work on more important tasks. And he noticed.
- MAKE YOURSELF INDISPENSABLEAfter about three months her boss called her in and closed the door. He said that he really appreciated the work that she was doing for him, and he wanted to increase her pay. He asked her not to tell anyone else so that it didn’t create any waves around the office. He then raised her salary from $1,500 to $1,750 per month.
She thanked him, and continued looking for ways to help him in his job. Three months later, he increased her pay again, and three months later, he increased her salary once more. By the end of the year, she was earning $2,250 per month, a 50 percent increase, while the other secretaries around her were still earning an average of $1,500.
She said it was absolutely amazing what happened when she began to focus all of her energies on adding value to her boss and to her company. And this same strategy can work for you.
- SERVE PEOPLE BETTEREvery job is an opportunity for you to solve problems and to satisfy the needs of other people. Since the problems and needs that people have are unlimited, your opportunities to create value are unlimited as well.
Every fortune begins with an idea to serve people better in some way. Almost all entrepreneurs who start and build successful companies have worked for other organizations where they continually looked for ways to increase their value to the company.
The primary sources of value, the keys to wealth building, are time and knowledge.Your job is to continually increase your knowledge so that the value of what you do becomes greater and greater. Over 400 years ago Francis Bacon said that knowledge is power. But this is only partially true. Only when knowledge is applied to some good purpose is it power.Your job is to gather the knowledge that you need so that you can do your job fast and well.
There is a saying in Texas that goes, ”It’s not the size of the dog in the fight; it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”
What is most important is not the hours you put in, but the value of the work you put into those hours.Your success is determined by your ability to contribute value to your current job, either as an employee or as an employer, as a company worker or a company owner, that determines your income and your financial future.
- PRODUCE MORE VALUEIn its simplest terms, successful people are more productive than unsuccessful people. Successful people have better habits. They dream bigger dreams.They work from written goals.They do what they love to do, and they concentrate on getting better and better at it. They use their natural abilities to the fullest. They are continually generating ideas to solve problems and to achieve company goals.They focus on using every minute of their time to get maximum results.
Above all, they are constantly looking around them for opportunities to add value to everything they do. They have a sense of urgency and a bias for action.They work all the time they work.They develop and maintain a sense of forward momentum. As a result, they soon become unstoppable.
- Identify the most valuable things you do at work. How could you organize your time so that you do more of them?
- Resolve today to develop the habit of punctuality. Go on Lombardi time, and start arriving 15 minutes early for appointments.
- Organize your day so that you come in and get started one hour earlier than your co-workers.Work through lunchtime, and stay one hour later.
- Work all the time you work. Don’t waste a minute. If someone tries to distract you, say you have to get back to work, and then do it.
- Look under your own feet for your personal acres of diamonds, opportunities to add more value right where you are. What could they be?
- Resolve today to become financially independent. Become a student of money, wealth accumulation, and wealth creation. Becoming rich is a skill that you can learn.
- Begin today to implement the 40 Plus Formula in your daily work life.Work on your job, or work on yourself to get better at what you do, 50 to 60 hours each week. Put yourself on the side of the angels.