Monday, September 27, 2010

How to Gain the Upper Hand in Any Situation

Benjamin Franklin knew the value of preparation. “By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail,” the influential author, inventor and Founding Father once said. Planning and preparation will give you a 10-times greater chance to achieve your goals. It will reduce wasted time and effort, while improving and maximizing results.

Here are four ways to out-prepare your competition:

1. Study: While others are filling their time with entertainment and escapism, superachievers are studying and improving their craft. Having more knowledge, data, background and intelligence will always give you the upper hand in any situation.

2. Develop: Develop the skills necessary to achieve excellence in your game. Brian Tracy explains that every skill you need to succeed is learnable. There is nothing you cannot learn and master to achieve anything you want in business and in life.

3. Practice: Sporting teams practice for games. Musicians practice for concerts. Busy professionals and entrepreneurs should practice the skills they need for success—public speaking, impactful writing and interpersonal communication. After all, practice makes perfect.

4. Play the Game in Your Head First: Before making a presentation, an important phone call or having an important meeting, play the event out in your head exactly as you want it to happen first. It is amazing how your posture, energy and expectation will change, and your performance will rise to meet it. Try it.

17 Principles of Personal Achievement by Napoleon Hill

Lesson 1: Definiteness of PurposeDefiniteness of purpose is the starting point of all achievement. Without a purpose and a plan, people drift aimlessly through life.

Lesson 2: Mastermind AllianceThe Mastermind principle consists of an alliance of two or more minds working in perfect harmony for the attainment of a common definite objective. Success does not come without the cooperation of others.

Lesson 3: Applied FaithFaith is a state of mind through which your aims, desires, plans and purposes may be translated into their physical or financial equivalent.

Lesson 4: Going the Extra MileGoing the extra mile is the action of rendering more and better service than that for which you are presently paid. When you go the extra mile, the Law of Compensation comes into play.

Lesson 5: Pleasing PersonalityPersonality is the sum total of one’s mental, spiritual and physical traits and habits that distinguish one from all others. It is the factor that determines whether one is liked or disliked by others.

Lesson 6: Personal InitiativePersonal initiative is the power that inspires the completion of that which one begins. It is the power that starts all action. No person is free until he learns to do his own thinking and gains the courage to act on his own.

Lesson 7: Positive Mental AttitudePositive mental attitude is the right mental attitude in all circumstances. Success attracts more success while failure attracts more failure.

Lesson 8: EnthusiasmEnthusiasm is faith in action. It is the intense emotion known as burning
desire. It comes from within, although it radiates outwardly in the expression of one’s voice and countenance.

Lesson 9: Self-DisciplineSelf-discipline begins with the mastery of thought. If you do not control your thoughts, you cannot control your needs. Self-discipline calls for a balancing of the emotions of your heart with the reasoning faculty of your head.

Lesson 10: Accurate ThinkingThe power of thought is the most dangerous or the most beneficial power available to man, depending on how it is used.

Lesson 11: Controlled AttentionControlled attention leads to mastery in any type of human endeavor, because it enables one to focus the powers of his mind upon the attainment of a definite objective and to keep it so directed at will.

Lesson 12: TeamworkTeamwork is harmonious cooperation that is willing, voluntary and free. Whenever the spirit of teamwork is the dominating influence in business or industry, success is inevitable. Harmonious cooperation is a priceless asset that you can acquire in proportion to your

Lesson 13: Adversity & DefeatIndividual success usually is in exact proportion of the scope of the defeat the individual has experienced and mastered. Many so-called failures represent only a temporary defeat that may prove to be a blessing in disguise.

Lesson 14: Creative VisionCreative vision is developed by the free and fearless use of one’s imagination. It is not a miraculous quality with which one is gifted or is not gifted at birth.

Lesson 15: HealthSound health begins with a sound health consciousness, just as financial success begins with a prosperity consciousness.

Lesson 16: Budgeting Time & MoneyTime and money are precious resources, and few people striving for success ever believe they possess either one in excess.

Lesson 17: HabitsDeveloping and establishing positive habits leads to peace of mind, health and financial security. You are where you are because of your established habits and thoughts and

Building a Successful Team by Jim Rohn

Once you've set a goal for yourself as a leader—whether it is to create your own enterprise, energize your organization, build a church, or excel in sports—the challenge is to find good people to help you accomplish that goal. Gathering a successful team of people is not only helpful, it's necessary.

So to guide you in this daunting task of picking the right people, I'm going to share with you a four-part checklist.

Number One: Check each candidate's history. Seek out available information regarding the individual's qualifications to do the job. That's the most obvious step.

Number Two: Check the person's interest level. If they are interested, they are probably a good prospect. Sometimes people can fake their interest, but if you've been a leader for a while, you will be a capable judge of whether somebody is merely pretending. Arrange face-to-face conversation, and try to gauge his or her sincerity to the best of your ability. You won't hit the bull's-eye every time, but you can get pretty good at spotting what I call true interest.

Number Three: Check the prospect's responses. A response tells you a lot about someone's integrity, character and skills. Listen for responses like these: "You want me to get there that early?" "You want me to stay that late?" "The break is only ten minutes?" "I'll have to work two evenings a week and Saturdays?" You can't ignore these clues. A person's responses are good indications of his or her character and of how hard he or she will work. Our attitudes reflect our inner selves, so even if we can fool others for a while, eventually, our true selves will emerge.

Number Four: Check results. The name of the game is results. How else can we effectively judge an individual's performance? The final judge must be results.

There are two types of results to look for. The first is activity results. Specific results are a reflection of an individual's productivity. Sometimes we don't ask for this type of result right away, but it's pretty easy to check activity. If you work for a sales organization and you've asked your new salesman, John, to make ten calls in the first week, it's simple to check his results on Friday. You say, "John, how many calls did you make?" John says, "Well..." and starts telling a story, making an excuse. You respond, "John, I just need a number from one to ten." If his results that first week are not good, it is a definite sign. You might try another week, but if that lack of precise activity continues, you'll soon realize that John isn't capable of becoming a member of your team.

The second area you need to monitor is productivity. The ultimate test of a quality team is measurable progress in a reasonable amount of time. And here's one of the skills of leadership: Be up front with your team as to what you expect them to produce. Don't let the surprises come later.

When you're following this four-part checklist, your instincts obviously play a major role. And your instincts will improve every time you go through the process. Remember, building a good team will be one of your most challenging tasks as a leader. It will reap you multiple rewards for a long time to come.

Good Game by Ron White

I was eight years old. Looking back I remember walking across the baseball diamond of a Little League field and forming a line to pass the team that we had just played. The drill was to shake their hands and say, “Good game!”

I learned something at the age of eight. It is a lot easier to do that when you win!

When you lose, you have a tendency to slap the hand—instead of shake it—and look at the ground instead of the eyes. This is not only true at eight, but it is true for adults as well. A few years ago, I played 16 games in a softball league. You know you are on a bad softball team when motivational speaker Ron White is the standout superstar of the team! We lost 15 games in a ROW! It was humiliating. During the age-old “Good game” handshake after each loss, I made a point to look each player in the eye and shake, not slap, the hand. I did this because I knew that when I was eight years old I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t look my opponents in the eye and congratulate them on a good game. Somehow I took the loss as a hit on my self-worth and felt my self-confidence had been slapped; therefore I did what most eight-year-olds do and I slapped the opponent’s hand, not giving the satisfaction of a shake. I was wrong at the age of eight. I’m happy today as an adult that I have learned this lesson, and the lesson is: There is something to be said for losing well.

In 1960, Richard Nixon could have contested the close presidential election. He didn’t. He lost well and was elected a decade later to the same office. A few years ago, John Thune lost a razor thin election in South Dakota. He could have contested the election. He didn’t. He lost well and eventually won a Senate seat.

In 2000, John Ashcroft lost a Senate race to a woman who was standing in for her husband who passed away months before. He could have contested. He didn’t and became attorney-general.
Whether it is a baseball game, office promotion or political race, you can tell a lot about a person by how they handle defeat. The individual who handles defeat as a minor setback is not allowing the event to define him. On the other hand, someone who cannot handle defeat is allowing the event to define his self-worth. Events can only define your self-worth if you allow them to. You cease allowing events to define your self-worth when you handle defeat as a learning experience and remount the horse that has thrown you for another ride.

In money, your career or love, when you lose—as hard as it may be—look them in the eye, refuse to allow the events to shape your self-worth and shake their hand literally or metaphorically as you say, “Good game.” You just might find yourself winning the next game.

Success Is Easy, but So Is Neglect by Jim Rohn

People often ask me how I became successful in a six-year period of time while many of the people I knew did not. The answer is simple: The things I found to be easy to do, they found to be easy not to do. I found it easy to set the goals that could change my life. They found it easy not to. I found it easy to read the books that could affect my thinking and my ideas. They found that easy not to. I found it easy to attend the classes and the seminars, and to get around other successful people. They said it probably really wouldn’t matter. If I had to sum it up, I would say what I found to be easy to do, they found to be easy not to do. Six years later, I’m a millionaire and they are all still blaming the economy, the government, and company policies, yet they neglected to do the basic, easy things.

In fact, the primary reason most people are not doing as well as they could and should, can be summed up in a single word: neglect.

It is not the lack of money—banks are full of money. It is not the lack of opportunity—America, and much of the world, continues to offer the most unprecedented and abundant opportunities of the last six thousand years of recorded history. It is not the lack of books—libraries are full of books—and they are free! It is not the schools—the classrooms are full of good teachers. We have plenty of ministers, leaders, counselors and advisors.

Everything we would ever need to become rich and powerful and sophisticated is within our reach. The major reason that so few take advantage of all that we have is simply neglect.
Neglect is like an infection. Left unchecked it will spread throughout our entire system of disciplines and eventually lead to a complete breakdown of a potentially joy-filled and prosperous human life.

Not doing the things we know we should do causes us to feel guilty, and guilt leads to an erosion of self-confidence. As our self-confidence diminishes, so does the level of our activity. And as our activity diminishes, our results inevitably decline. And as our results suffer, our attitude begins to weaken. And as our attitude begins the slow shift from positive to negative, our self-confidence diminishes even more... and on and on it goes.

So my suggestion is that when giving the choice of “easy to” and “easy not to” that you do not neglect to do the simple, basic, “easy”; but potentially life-changing activities and disciplines.

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