Let’s Talk About: Diligence

“Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth.” – Proverbs 10:4

 

Diligence is another character trait that stems directly from an individual’s attitude. Our attitude towards whatever it is that we are doing will determine the level of diligence in which we do that task.

 

Diligence means to do something carefully and with endurance. With that being said, the questions I ask myself is, what if we don’t want to be doing what it is that we are currently doing?

 

My father always answered this question before I had to ask it growing up. Very rarely do kids actually like having to do the chores they have to do or their school assignments. My father always explained to me that diligence has to do with one’s character.

 

If you cannot manage the small things in your life, how can you be trusted to manage the larger things that may come your way? It has to do with an individual’s character on whether or not he or she will be diligent in the small tasks.

 

I think of it comes from the same attitude that people have for how they treat a janitor vs. how they treat the CEO – It’s about character.

 

Doing something with diligence means doing it thoroughly. With each task the diligent person double checks their work, asks themselves clarifying questions, and makes sure that their work is the best it could possibly be.

 

One of my favorite stories about diligence comes from Will Smith:

 

 

Diligent workers brainstorm, plan, focus, persevere, and are self-motivated. They don’t need someone to be looking over their shoulder so that they provide their best work.

 

A person’s best work attracts attention and opens up additional opportunities. No one wants to miss out on an opportunity just because they decided to procrastinate on a task or not give 100% to the task.

 

Diligence is a character trait that is not instant. It takes time to develop a diligent attitude. It takes practice to continuously try your best on each and every task even if you think it doesn’t have much meaning.

 

Staying faithful to the decision that you make to be a diligent worker means daily discipline. Diligence is often times something I struggle with when it comes to doing tasks I don’t believe to be that important to my end goals.

 

When speaking on productivity I talked about prioritizing your tasks and focusing on the tasks that have a bigger effect on your end goals.

 

Yes, it is important to do this, but I believe that if you do end up deciding to start a task it is your responsibility to follow through and complete it to the best of your ability – no matter the level of importance.

 

If you are looking for ways to take control of your own life a great spot to start is with your diligence. Diligent workers are self-starters and they do things without being told.

 

They don’t need a boss to tell them how to do a good job – they are their own boss. In my opinion, diligence is becoming more and more rare in our culture and that means opportunity to those who are willing to be diligent.

 

Cultivating diligence as a character trait is worth your time as it will increase you value in the market place and overall improve your life in many areas.

 

 “The hand of the diligent will rule, while the slothful will be put to forced labor.” – Proverbs 12:24

diligence

Let’s Talk About: Waking Up Early

I LOVE waking up early. It has got to be one of the best feelings to be up before the sun. The day hasn’t started, I’m up before the majority, I feel productive, and I have more ‘me time.’ I started waking up early in the last two years and even though there have been periods where I haven’t been able to stay consistent due to working late or a variety of circumstances, I for the most part have found a consistent groove. Depending on if I am able to get into bed by 9:30 or 10:00 I wake up between 4:00 – 4:30. Like I said, there have been periods in my life where it has varied — for example, I was waking up at 5:00 for quite a while cause I wasn’t able to get to bed until 10:30 consistently.

 

I’ve become so addicted to the feeling that if I wake up even only 15 minutes late I feel like I’ve lost an hour of productivity. Even though I’m groggy, sore, and exhausted when my alarm goes off, I know that I will later regret not responding with getting out of bed right away. Has it gotten easier? Absolutely. Is it easy every time? Never. I know that in my life the benefits outweigh the costs – not getting near as much done, feeling rushed, no time for personal development, and no quiet time.

 

Waking up early has been an awesome discipline to add to my tool belt. Not only has it made my mind stronger when it comes to staying disciplined in my life, it has also helped me develop myself in other areas. I try to focus on reading and studying in the early morning, learning everything I can about what I want to accomplish and what I am passionate about.

 

This discipline has helped me develop other disciplines such as goal setting, affirmations, reading, working out, and preparing for the day. To me it’s all about preparation. Not only for the day but for the rest of my life – short term and long term. Waking up early ensures that I am able to prepare.

 

I try to sell people on the benefits of waking up early quite often. I tell them it will radically change their lives. Most however, do not listen to me, which is quite alright. Maybe my influence isn’t strong enough at this point. I only wake up early because I was influenced by some of the world’s most influential people to ever live. So if  I can’t persuade people than maybe those who persuaded me can. Below is a list of some of the “greats” that always woke up before 6:00 am or currently wake up before that time:

  • Tim Cook
  • The Rock
  • Mark Wahlberg
  • Benjamin Franklin
  • Jack Dorsey
  • Richard Branson
  • Howard Schultz
  • John D. Rockefeller
  • Andrew Carnegie

 

That is just a list of the ones that first inspired me to wake up early. Very disciplined and successful people will forever endorse waking up early as a benefit. If you have always wanted to wake up early but don’t really know how are when to start I suggest you do a little bit of your own research. Here are a few tips I found myself that really seemed to help me:

 

  1. Have a goal and a plan. Write out why you are wanting to wake up early. Also, know exactly what you are going to be doing when you wake up. Schedule it out and stick to it. If you want to adjust the plan and schedule for the next day then do so, but not having anything planned will make you bored.
  2. Put the phone across the room. Most of use our phone as an alarm so just plug it into the charger across the room so you have to get up to turn off the alarm. All that is required next is making sure you don’t get back into the bed.
  3. Keep your eyes closed. This may not work for everyone, but I noticed that if I kept my eyes closed all the way from stepping out of the bed, turning off my alarm, and getting into the bathroom, I could get out of bed easier. When I tried to open my eyes, they felt heavy and stung, which would make me want to go back to bed. Keeping them closed helped me get to the bathroom where I could…
  4. Wash your face with cold water. Splash your face a couple of times and it will wake you right up.
  5. Read something. I wouldn’t recommend starting on work or leaving the house for a run right away. Read something in a well-lit area that will stimulate your brain and help you become more motivated – study your passion.

 

Those are the tips that really helped me get started waking up early. One of the best ways to learn how to wake up early and be inspired to do it day-in and day-out is to read “The Miracle Morning” by Hal Elrod. I read this book while I was in high school and it totally transformed my view towards the morning time.

 

The link for ‘The Miracle Morning’ is down below. It also provides a lot of great tips for waking up early and goes even further in depth in regards to the benefits. The book gets 5 stars from me.

 

““Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” – Benjamin Franklin

 

The Miracle Morning

mircacle morning

Let’s Talk About: Failure

WHENEVER people tell me about something they are working towards or a dream they have I get incredibly excited; almost to the point to where they think I’m a crazy person. They can’t understand why I am so excited they have a dream or a goal they are pursuing.

 

I absolutely love hearing that an individual is striving for something better in their lives. What I find happening far too often when talking to people about things they want to do, dreams they want to live, or goals they want to “someday” accomplish is they talk in a tone where they don’t really believe it’s possible.

 

I ask them why they aren’t doing whatever it is they should be doing to live their dream or accomplish their goal and I get a response back filled with “time” excuses. “It’s not a good time right now with…” Or “Once I do…”

 

Whenever I see these people a year later after talking to them, guess what? The majority of the time nothing has changed. In my opinion, the reason is clear – fear of failure is playing the largest factor in keeping individuals from fervently pursuing what they want to accomplish.

 

WHAT IS FAILURE?

 

I honestly don’t really believe in failure, only lessons – lessons from mistakes made. The only thing that I could consider failure would be a situation where an individual tries to do something they really want to accomplish and then give’s up because it’s either too hard to succeed or because they don’t see any success at all and believe it’s hopeless.

 

This does not mean I believe quitting the pursuit of a goal necessarily labels someone a failure. If an individual quits something they had hoped to accomplish after they feel like they have given their all and have made peace with letting the goal or dream go then I do not believe that is failure. I believe that is learning about what one prefers in life. Gary Vee describes finding your passion like eating. You have to try food to figure out what you don’t prefer and what is worth spending money on to eat.

 

With that being said, failure only occurs when someone gives up when they know they could go longer, further, and harder in pursuit. Being able to hit a baseball is a perfect example. No one is going to be perfect when they first are introduced to swinging a bat at a ball and making contact. After a little while though, with some mistakes made and lessons learned, eventually an individual becomes better at hitting the ball. Is an individual who is set on being able to hit the ball consistently a failure if he keeps striking out? No, of course not. He is only a failure if he quits trying to get better when there is clearly room for more improvement.

 

I understand that some people will be confused by me saying that not all quitting is failure, but I think that when you get to the point when you want to quit a pursuit you will know whether or not it is giving up or changing your mind. And changing your mind is totally acceptable.

 

HOW TO FIND THE LESSONS

 

It’s all about embracing the mistakes you make and viewing them as stepping stones. It’s really about your perception of what it means to make a mistake. We as motivated individuals should never be paralyzed by failure. Even the most talented beings on this earth that may exude perfection in our eyes have made many mistakes that have ultimately led them to the success they have achieved.

 

So where do we start? We can start by taking responsibility for the mistakes that we make. There are instances when outside sources cause the mistakes that are made in the pursuit of a goal, but we should always take responsibility for the success we’re after. It’s up to us as individuals to decide how we want to view a situation as it currently is and what it could turn into moving forward.

 

Secondly, we must turn our mistakes into knowledge gained. How on earth can we find out which way is right or wrong, which way will work for us or not work for us, or which way will create the success if we have nothing to learn from? We have to try, make mistakes, gain knowledge due to the mistake, and then try again. It’s so simply said, but the second part, making mistakes, is what often keeps people from doing the first part of the equation, trying. We must improve with each mistake made.

 

Lastly, we must take more opportunities that come our way. As our instincts and attitude towards making mistakes changes we must be more willing to take on opportunities. By doing this we open up ourselves to more mistakes which can ultimately create more confidence and knowledge. We must try and make the most of each opportunity that comes our way. This will help us make the most of making a mistake.

 

If you would like to improve your ability to handle the mistakes in your life, below are the top 3 books I’ve read on “Failure.”

 

Failing Forward

 

The Upside of Down

The Dip

 

“You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.”
― Richard Branson

 

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Let’s Talk About: Productivity

WE’VE all heard that just because we’re busy that doesn’t mean we are being productive and effective. So how do we know when we are actually getting things done versus just getting the feeling like we are doing a lot? How can we use our time more efficiently without feeling too regimented? How can we stay productive without feeling overworked and exhausted after all the productivity? In my opinion, productivity is all about purpose. You cannot keep up extreme productivity every day and every week without knowing the purpose behind your productivity. The purpose is the motivation to regiment, plan, and work all sorts of hours to get something done. It is what keeps you focused. If you are wanting to enact change on your productivity levels or perhaps the people around you, we must start by asking ourselves what the purpose is behind the need for better productivity in our lives.

Productive people look at their day and they think about what needs to be done that will have the greatest impact on the results they are looking to generate. They don’t just do things so that they can check something off on a list. Going off of this concept, productivity also has large increases when there is clarity before any action is taken. Look at something that may need attention and analyze it, ask questions, figure out the best way to be efficient with it. Rather than figuring out the most efficient way on the fly, take a few moments to prepare and plan and possibly save yourself a headache and time.

Busy people say yes quickly, productive people are slow to say yes. Value your time – it’s the one thing you can never get back or generate for yourself. By saying no to small things you’re able to have time for the bigger picture tasks that will ultimately have the biggest result in your life. This doesn’t mean you can just ignore something small that needs to get done, but creating the habit of saying no to the things that don’t have that large of an effect can help you in all areas of life. Also, by focusing on the big picture tasks in your life you help develop the habit of focus. Productive people are ultra-focused on finishing a task rather than being distracted by multi-tasking on things that ultimately don’t serve an individual’s purpose for productivity.

 

Productive people know how to start a task. They also know how to prepare for the task. They don’t just dive right in, but they also don’t put off the task by over-preparing like many people. They have a balance between preparation and actually getting off their butt and getting it done. They’re motivated. Why? Because they know why the task needs to be completed and how important the result is to their overarching goals.

Productive people know how to be effective. Effective is the key word. Being effective creates results in your life, your job, your relationships, your marriage, and in every other area of your life you can think of. So how can we be more effective with our time? Prioritize, learn to say no, prepare, get rid of distractions, delegate when you can, and be selfish with your time. Each one of those tactics that help us to be more productive could be broken down further into learning how to do each of them. More on those in the future.

 

Time is something we can never get back no matter what. We need to take control of our time and learn to use it as wisely as possible to create the results we want to see in our life. Peter Drucker is the king of effective time management. I recommend reading up on his works and spend some of your time learning to manage your life to become the most effective individual you can be. Below are the books I’ve read of his and that have helped me to become more productive and more effective.

 

Top 3 Peter Drucker Books:

The Effective Executive

Managing Oneself

The Practice of Management

 

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Let’s Talk About: My Top 3 Speakers

Jim Rohn –

My father has always said that Jim Rohn is like the father every person needs growing up. His simplicity in speech and the way he breaks down the principles he lives by are incredibly easy to understand and follow. He makes people look at something in their life and say “Oh yeah, I guess I never looked at it that way.” His best example of this? Jim Rohn asks the question, ‘How can two people working the same job, with the same opportunity, and pay structure earn a completely different amount of money?’ He answers this by saying one individual has found ways to make him or herself more valuable in the marketplace. Jim Rohn claims it is possible to double your income by making yourself more valuable by learning everything you can. He says, “Work harder on yourself than you do on your job.”

By working more on yourself you will become more valuable in the marketplace and people pay more for those that can offer more. He says to read every book you can, learn as many languages as you can, earn all you can, give all you can, and be all you can. The philosophy is to stretch your potential in all areas of your life. Humans are the only species on this earth that are okay with settling with less than our greatest potential. Jim Rohn is a great speaker to listen to over and over again until the principles become ingrained into our psyche and his words translate into instincts.

Tony Robbins –

Many people have a lot of varying opinions on Tony Robbins. I’ve heard that people say he’s fake and unrealistic and uses showmanship to blind his audiences. The way I see it – Truth is Truth. I’ve been listening to Tony Robbins for years and I have yet to hear him say something that isn’t true and applicable to my life and everyone else’s life. All his tactics and strategies are ones that have been talked about before, he just combines them and conveys them in a different way to help people see how they could potentially help their own lives.

My favorite Tony Robbins principle? Raise your standards. Tony Robbins talks about this a lot. This goes back to what we believe should be done versus what we believe must be done. “I must make time for my marriage.” “I must make 10 cold calls every day because I know at least 1 will turn into a sale.” If we raise the standards we have in our lives than we’re able to experience fulfillment and our highest potential on a level that most people will never know. Raise the standards you have on the people you hang out with, the people you date, the individual you’re looking to marry, your income, and your overall happiness. If you decide that you must be happy then you are going to do everything in your power to figure out how to make it so. If you have any problem that must be solved you’re going to figure out how to get it done because you have made the decision to raise your standards and not settle for anything less.

Les Brown –

I love listening to Les Brown. In my opinion, he is one of the best speakers to listen to constantly to help shift an individual’s mindset and attitude. Growing up Les Brown was labeled ‘Educable Mentally Retarded.’ Today he is now known as one of the greatest motivational speakers across the world. My favorite principle of his? Believe in yourself. So many of us have a hard time believing that we are able to accomplish what is we believe would make us happy. We have a hard time believing that our lives could ever amount to something like we read about or see on Television. Les Brown is here to remind you that “It’s possible.”

“Don’t let someone’s opinion of you become your reality.” Les reminds us that we are just like every other human being on this earth in that we all have something inside of us that could be used to accomplish something great in our lives. No one and nothing around us determines our future. Not our family, our circumstances, or our situation will determine where we will end up or what we will do with our lives. The only thing that determines that is our own minds – and that we have 100% responsibility over. Les Brown and I both implore everyone to believe in yourself, believe you can accomplish whatever it is you want to accomplish, and believe that you can have and do so much more than you think is possible.

 

“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference”. ~Winston Churchill

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