Past and present Mentors collapse timeframes

A while back I had attended a National Post sponsored event at the Ted Rogers School of Management, a section of Ryerson University. It was titled ‘The Annual CEO Outlook Conference’ carrying a theme that certainly struck a chord with me: ‘Engaging India: Doing Business with a Rising Giant’. The event showcased Indian born, now Canadian CEOs.

While it may take a while to regurgitate and discuss their opinions on doing business with Indian counter parts, I am instead going to talk about their hard-as-steel yet malleable business mindsets. Over the course of their introductions, Mentors shine a light ahead of youbrief speeches, and question and answer periods, I was paying close attention to how they looked at the recent economic downturn and what mental tools they used to overcome relevant issues in their minds before setting the gears into motion.

I strongly believe that to be a successful business person in this day and age, one needs to collapse their timeframes. One way to do this is to understand the mindset of current business leaders – realize that they arrived at this juncture after going through many of the trials and tribulations that you may look forward to. The ‘So What?’ to you is that if you can leverage their experience, and begin thinking like they do right now, you stand to benefit dramatically when it’s your turn to cross those bridges.

These guys and gals have set precedents, in mind or in action, so just do like they do. No need to re-create the wheel. Earlier in the year, one of my mentors told me, “You want the long way, or the short way?” It’s a no-brainer on the choice I made, “Short way”. The response, “Look for who is doing what you want to do, and work with them. Why build a staircase when you can use the escalator beside you?” I trust this mentor because he is at a point where I want to be in 5 years, and has accomplished everything that I had planned to do in my particular business.

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Chose to believe something? Consider the source.

Wow, it’s been a little while since I’ve posted a blog entry. Have no fear, I’ve got a good one for you today.

The following is an excerpt from an informal e-mail I sent a friend who is prone to watching too much tv including those prime time talk shows. It contains some generalizations and is an expression of my opinion only (/end disclaimer):

“This is why you shouldn’t believe the information coming from tv ‘experts’. A bunch of basketball sports stars who millions of people look up to were paid to advertise this stuff as healthy but in fact it’s just unhealthy artificial-sugar coloured water.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-robbins/the-dark-side-of-vitaminw_b_669716.html

Doctors do the same thing. Consider the source of medication. Who creates the medication? Pharmaceutical companies. Who pays for the research? Pharmaceutical companies. Who pays for consumer testing and reports? Pharmaceutical companies. Who do these pharmaceutical companies need to get people to buy their medicine? Doctors. So doctors are given the materials necessary from the Smoking doctors say cigarettes are good for you!pharmaceutical companies so that when they come across an ailment, they have a pill on top of their mind to prescribe. Next time you go to a doctor’s office, see who’s name is on the bottom of all the charts and pictures in their office.

In India, your cure could be a herb growing in your garden. In North America it’s a pill that people have to buy that creates multiple side effects; for which there are more pills which then create more side effects.

The peole who have the most to gain are the pharmceutical companies because their primary mandate is to provide a return for their investors (shareholders); it’s a business after all. Most drugs are just a product to sell, like cars, loans, books, computers, etc. to make a profit. These companies rely on your willingness to trust ‘doctors’ or ‘experts’ so you won’t question why you may have to buy so many pills. They’ve simply gone after the path of least resistance: those people you already look up to and trust blindly. Very clever.

It’s quite simple. Always consider the source of the information. Why does a bank investment advisor suggest that bank’s investment products? Because that’s what they’re trained and paid to do. So the client may have some benefit, but the bank has a relatively bigger benefit because now they will have a larger pool of money to purchase other banking businesses to add to the bottom line for greater profit. And who does this really benefit? The shareholders.

It’s all business, but if you don’t “THINK”, you don’t win. I’m not a doctor, however I like to prescribe a healthy dose of skepticism.

Intelligence and Ignorance

My wife  and I recently watched a documentary titled “The Genius of Charles Darwin”. The ignorance revealed throughout the 3 part series is overwhelming. Not on behalf of the narrator/presenter Richard Dawkins – the former Charles Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University, a position he held from Who says we didn't come from apes?1995-2008 – but rather on the part of many people he interviewed, most notably in the third segment of the series.

The question he poses is this: why is there even an ounce of disbelief in the theory of evolution? In fact it isn’t even a theory any more due to the amount of irrefutable evidence showing that evolution is a natural function of the known and unknown universe. Energy is always in motion, always changing, but never destroyed. Nevertheless, it isn’t the lack of evidence or prove-able material, quite the contrary; it is the absolute denial of the very things that make up one’s surroundings that absolutely rattles one’s skull.

Consider this: over millions upon millions of years of the Earth’s existence, life, in all its various forms and permutations, has been changing and adapting to its environment. Let’s take a very obvious case of the dinosaurs. Museums and Palaeontology labs around the world are stuffed with the bones of dinosaurs which we can see and touch. I’m sure if you spend enough time out in the plains of Arizona, you’ll find some for yourself. Moving on, amongst these dinosaurs existed herbivores and carnivores – those who ate plants and those who ate other dinosaurs respectively.

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The long winding road to personal fulfillment

An interesting day today. I find myself yet again consumed with the quest for polishing, clarifying, and if necessary, redefining my sense of personal fulfillment. I have come to realize (like many many others I’m sure) that personal fulfillment is a state that is acquired and maintained from within, not from without. In my opinion, it is one’s own feeling of success and well being that is requisite enough to sustain a state of personal fulfillment because in the end, that is all Gadgetsthat a person really needs anyway. Material stuff is just stuff after all. People are terribly connected to their ‘things’, so much so that not having a blackberry, iphone, mp3 player, etc around is reason enough to get depressed or hopelessly bored.

Well that’s quite a lot for a first paragraph, so let’s break that down into smaller bits to digest.

While people have a distorted sense of fulfillment – i.e. absolute nonsense like working a job, getting married young, having kids while you’re still young, buy a house/condo, end up in a financial mess, and plan for retirement as if you were still in the 1950’s, retire old, die without having lived – I look to differentiate myself, not for profit’s sake, but for my own sake! Can you imagine running around in a rat race all your life, waking up every morning to work for someone else, do the things that you complain about the most over and over again, and come home to watch tv shows so you can be further dumbed down, and then rinse and repeat the process.

Vomit. Excrement. The typical modern life has turned out to be pretty nasty. And that’s even when you’re not in any financial trouble.

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Fire unproductivity (includes people)

Have you ever realized that it takes up a very small portion of our day to be truly productive? The rest of it is fluff stuff. Think about it. I have come to this realization a long time ago, and I keep refining the process of eliminating “stuff” to narrow down to productive tasks. Counter-intuitively, the more productive I am in a shorter amount of time, the more free time I have.

Let me explain.

Productive: I’m sure people have an understanding of what this term means, but do they really have an understanding of what this term means outside of your typical 9 to 5 workday context? Productivity is comprised of precisely those tasks that either directly generate income or are in a succession of exact steps that eventually generate income. That’s it. The key here is the precision of the action steps taken. Productivity in the income-generating facet of your life can be anywhere from 10 – 20 actions on a daily basis that can easily be completed in a matter of minutes (personal goal – complete income-generating or income-building tasks between 8:30 am and 11:00 am). Naturally, as with any other habit, this becomes easier with practice. Chances are you weren’t able to do the following tasks without any practice:

–       Walking
–       Bicycling
–       Putting food in your mouth with cutlery
–       How to keep stains off your clothes (some of us are still struggling with this)

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One small step for me, one giant leap for my blog

Let’s get it out of the way shall we? Yes, I bastardized the famous one liner by Neil Armstrong. I feel it’s appropriate. Also, as a disclaimer, I make certain generalizations in this post, and at times it can be seen as being politically incorrect. Now you know.

Moving on, my topic today is about momentum – one of those things that Sir Isaac Newton talked so much about. From a Wikipedia article (LINK) about Newton’s Laws:

“… mass, acceleration, momentum, and (most importantly) force are assumed to be externally defined quantities. This is the most common, but not the only interpretation…”

Just as the laws of physics are applied to the universe, so too can they be applied to the race of intelligent beings upon a blue and green planet called Earth. What? I’m sticking with the Neil Armstrong bit. Although momentum can be observed and measured quite literally in physical objects, we have almost no way of accounting for momentum in our own lives – more specifically the daily outcomes we experience in our lives.

It seems that over the generations progressing towards 2010 a frame of mind has steadily and increasingly taken root in our consciousness – that you are not responsible. In browsing through a typical newspaper it becomes quite pronounced. I see this most with a lot of parents who prefer to blame teachers for their kids turning out rotten, while teachers blame parents for kids being rotten. Or how about obese people blaming fast food restaurants for adding on their extra pounds. Or how about people who order hot coffee, and are then amazed that it is still hot when spilled on their laps about 2 minutes later and then proceed to sue the company who sold them the hot coffee – which they ordered mind you.

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And so it begins…

Hey everyone,

I finally dedicated the time to create an online presence for myself outside of the popular Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin. I use those too, but I feel like this is more specifically for me – I guess it wasn’t obvious enough with my name plastered all over this website.

Oh well.

More importantly however, I intend to use this blog as an online journal, a personal accomplishment log, if you will, that will help maintain my focus on my goals. Sharing this information with a global audience (potentially) creates the additional (and necessary) fire under my ass to continually achieve my goals and inspire anyone who comes across this. How’s that for a mission statement!

I’ve got a lot accomplished recently – including building this website; putting some business action steps into play, and reading. Currently, I’m shaking my head as I turn the pages of Tim Ferriss’ book The 4-Hour Workweek. If outsourcing your business / income-earning life and living the life of a globetrotting vagabond instead is in your deck of cards, then you need to play at Tim’s table. Step-by-step actions and analysis of potential worst case scenarios (98% of which never happen) helps one understand how they can live the life of your dreams without having to work your entire life to enjoy a little at the end of your life.

Amazing stuff, highly recommended, and it is my new bible. More than anyone else, Tim shows you why you don’t need to go big to get the life you want.