How to Get Wiser, Stronger and More Prosperous Each Year
Today is my birthday, and it’s very appropriate that I’m writing this post in the middle of an email marketing conference.
While most people would celebrate and take their birthday off, I’m learning the latest email marketing strategies so that I can be more effective with my online marketing.
This idea applies to this week’s topic on five things that I did to get wiser, stronger, and more prosperous.
Grandma and Taichi
The majority of people that I know approach their age with a negative attitude.
It seems like, ever since we graduated from college and entered the “real world,” people accepted the notion that “that’s how thing are when you get older.”
Their idea is that as we age, we tend to gain weight, get stuck in our habits, lose our physical strength, and lose our ability to learn new skills.
Some people also say they just can’t remember as well and, “It’s not like the good old days.”
Two Ways to Confront Aging
My attitude is that you either have to:
1) Accept it and decide to get worse each year so you can wither and die a slow, painful death, or
2) Refuse to allow it to defeat you and work to become better and better each year and create a lasting legacy.
One of my early inspirations was my grandmother on my Dad’s side.
For years, she would do taichi every morning until one day she had both a hip and knee replacement surgery. She was confined to non-weight bearing exercises for the rest of her life.
When I visited her in Hong Kong one year, she was lying in bed and could not really walk, but she still did her taichi!
She would lie in bed and raise her legs in the air and do taichi while lying on her back.
She said to me, “I’m a fighter, and I don’t let old age stop me!”
Wow! I don’t even know if she was aware of the impact her statement had on me. I was 50 years younger than she, complaining about being sore from playing sports. However, here was this 85 year old women saying that she was not letting anything stop her.
From that day on, I decided to be a “fighter” as well.
Instead of letting age slow me down, I would use it to motivate me to become wiser, stronger, and more prosperous everyday.
Perhaps that is why I love challenges and embrace the tough times. Not only do problems make life interesting, they force you to fight and be better. They make you grow.
Five Changes That I’ve Implemented
Since Father Time is always fighting us and making us weaker, we can’t be stuck to our routines.
If we do the same thing, not only do we often get the same results, we get WORSE.
The status quo makes us worse because of the aging factor.
That’s why we must change.
Humans are creatures of habit. We hate to change, but change is necessary if we want to grow and become better.
In the past few months, I’ve reluctantly changed five things that had an immediate impact on my growth as a person.
These five tips have helped me become wiser, stronger, and more prosperous in business.
1) Learning to “Read Differently”
I’ve always loved reading and learning, but I realized I had two challenges.
1) The birth of my son made it hard for me to “have the time” to read everyday, and
2) There were so many books I wanted to read, and often, there were numerous subjects that I needed to learn simultaneously. I found myself unable to concentrate on reading more than one book at once.
I reluctantly forced myself to change and this is what I did:
Limit every reading session to ten minutes
No matter how much more I wanted to read, I could only read for ten minutes at a time. This technique helped me out in three ways:
1) Created urgency and helped me speed read even faster
Since I always want to read more and never want it to end, I need to read faster so I get can through more of the book before the timer goes off.
2) Prevented books from being “boring.”
Have you ever been excited to read when you first open a book, but then you find boredom settle in after reading a few pages?
Well, when you have only ten minutes, there is never enough time for boredom to settle in.
Just when you start to lose focus and get to the point of diminishing returns, (The concept of diminishing returns is that, after a certain point, the more you do, the less you get back.) you end your reading session.
3) Allowed me to read multiple books at same time.
I do four ten-minute reading sessions a day, (My total daily reading time is 40 minutes.) and each session is on different subjects that I need to learn.
Before I implemented this technique, I’d always feel guilty about moving onto another book before I finished the current one. However, since I instituted the rule of only ten minutes per book per day, it created a mental breakthrough. I no longer felt that I should be reading the same book since my ten minutes was up for that book.
2) Exercising Differently
This change happened by chance since I was afraid of changing my workout routine.
As you may already know, I’ve been doing the same workout, more or less, for close to ten years!
It became so easy for me and kept me in shape.
It didn’t, however, help me get stronger or more fit.
With this special birthday approaching, because I wanted to make a statement that I was fighter and not letting age bring me down, I decided to get in the best shape of my life.
I didn’t know what type of workout I should do, so I picked up
Tim Ferriss’s book The Four Hour Body. I read and implemented the book’s workout routine and within a few short weeks, I saw the results.
Can I toot my own horn and brag and say that I’m in better shape than most people half my age?! 🙂
By the way, thanks to Lukas Vetrak for these great pictures that he took.
3) Giving Up Control in Business
Learning to give up control is one of the major things that has helped my business grow dramatically in the last 12 months.
Giving up control may sound easy, but it’s one of the hardest things to do when you are a perfectionist and have high standards.
The temptation is always to do everything yourself because you can do it better.
In business though, doing it better doesn’t count if it doesn’t get done!
And as an entrepreneur, I am always juggling ten different things at a time. This means that balls will be dropped sometimes. It’s better to give up that ball than to let it drop.
Mentally, it’s learning to accept that a job 80% done well is better than you doing it 100% because you can use your time for bigger projects.
I guess because I have a good business partner who holds me accountable, I was forced to give things up.
It was, however, still VERY uncomfortable to do.
I had to get to a point where I realized that things would never grow unless I gave up control.
The good thing is that, as with anything else, you get used to it. Today, I can’t believe some of the things that I was doing as recently as six months ago!
4) Adopting Mindset that Nothing is Too Expensive
I’ve learned to change the way I view the price of objects.
In the past, I would consider many things way too expensive (e.g, a $3,000 purse), but after reading Think and Grow Rich by Napolean Hill for the tenth time, I discovered that my attitude toward “expensive” and luxury goods was a limiting mindset. I considered them “expensive” and “not worth it” because of the lack of an abundance mindset.
If I truly believed I lived in a world of abundance, then spending $600,000 for four years of college for Ethan is pennies…
Paying $22,000 a month to live in a $5 million dollar house is a simple mortgage to pay.
Do you have things you consider a “rip off” or too expensive?
Ask yourself, “What does that tell you about your belief in money and what you can achieve?”
5) Giving Up Attachment to Physical Objects
I’ve also learned about the mental clutter that we must clear out.
Clutter comes not just from emotional stress, but also the stress from physical clutter.
By that I mean, things in the house that you keep even though you don’t use them.
Do you have things that you feel you need to sort, organize, or clean up but never get around to it?
Well, if you are like me, you never get around to it and when you don’t do it, it doesn’t feel good.
It lowers your self-esteem.
It sucks up your mental energy just thinking about it.
I’m going to share with you an example of how I had to deal with these old clothes that have been piling up in my drawers and closets.
I’ve discovered two options to deal with this situation.
1) Just Do It
Go take the time and do whatever task needs to be done, (e.g, sorting out my old clothes.)
This often is not an attractive or smart choice since a task like sorting out my old clothes is not worth my time.
2) Give it Away
A better solution is to get rid of everything and donate it all!
Recently, I donated every single piece of clothing that I have not worn in the past six months. I had strong feelings and memories attached to many such items, but I gave them all up.
Once I gave them up, I felt so much better about myself!
Being attached to something materialistic is not good for us anyway.
Seriously, if your good memories are dependent on physical objects, what does that tell you about the life you are living?
Your memories should flow from your relationships and the things that you have done, NOT from physical objects.
After I cleaned out my closet and donated everything, it felt so good to have an empty, clean closet. I was also able to cross off that task from my checklist.
With this freed up mental energy, I’ve been able to spend time with my son without feeling the guilt of knowing I have to clean out the closet.
A Humbling Realization
I’m grateful for what I have, but there are also many situations in which I wish I could be different.
The scary and humbling realization is that in your life, the results you are getting are a 100% direct result of your mindset and “how you are.”
For example, I’ve attracted both my successes and problems from my beliefs and mindset.
If you want to change your outcome, you must make the uncomfortable changes that are necessary.
If you don’t know how to change, then simply just change and do things differently. Whether it is changing something like a workout routine, changing the way you go to work, adopting a new perspective on your business, or altering the way you view money, the change will help.
It doesn’t matter how you change, but you MUST CHANGE!
I just shared with you five tips on how I changed in the past six months. These changes have given me dramatic results.
Don’t let age stop you…
Instead, go out and become wiser, stronger, and more prosperous today!
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