Toxic Selfish People – Keeping Them Out of Your Mind!

Have you ever had a friend which after you speak to for 5 minutes, you feel like you have just finished an exam, after living on Coca-Cola with a side of Kit-Kat’s? Have you ever had a friend that when you see their name on your Mobile Caller ID you think “Oh No – Someone, please shoot me in the head?”

Then they leave you a message and you think “Awww – Do I really want to listen to it?”. Then when you have to call them back, it feels like you are giving birth to a litter of kittens?

Well, I certainly have had friends like this in my past.  Some are really really nice people who are just a bit down temporarily.  This is not what I am talking about, as I have been down in my own life and there have been some great friends there to “Pull me out of the gutter” (who would have put up with a lot of my own pointless negativity). What I am talking about are truly “Toxic People”.  These are people which are known to manipulate, lie, coerce, use and I have noted are generally selfish in nature.  The people I am talking about are ones that choose to continually “Churn & Burn” and are consistently acting like this.

Now, some of you may be either nodding your head right now or thinking “Ed’s Just Labeling People”.  In that case, you are right – I try and avoid labels, but you got me on this one. In fact, there have been some dark times in my life, where I allowed “Toxic People” to really get in my head.  This can be by “Feeling Sorry” for them, not having the “Self-Esteem” to disagree actively with them or just simply when I ignore my mothers advice and hang out with the wrong people.

One thing that I have really learned was the importance of being careful who you hang out with.  One key experience was when I was in my early 20’s.  I lived in this great apartment block in Melbourne and made friends with a few guys & girls around my age (living in the same block).

One of them, I noticed from day 1 was always a “Little Bit Odd”.  Quite friendly at the start and being a young man we did hit quite a few bars and clubs together.  We had a nice group of friends there.

But then, this person had a disagreement with another in the group.  And wow – this is where things turned pear shaped!  This person would always try and attack the other publicly (even without being provoked) and then all the “Toxic People” tricks came out. Public bullying, back-stabbing, lying about what the other person was doing everything and everything!  They even got really paranoid as well and did a great job at roping me into all their problems.  In fact, they were so  certain that:

– “I was right and the whole world was wrong”

This person was just an enemy maker. In fact, because everyone was “Out to Get Them”, they would attack first!  Well, wasn’t this a self-fulfilling prophecy! And they were  depressing! Everything was bad – life was terrible, no opportunities out there and even I was under blame from them! But here’s the problem, because I was associated with them (and wasn’t careful around this obviously “Toxic Person”) they were temporarily successful at pulling me out of my own “Happy & Focused” state and getting me on their level. Now, I eventually sniffed out the rat for who it was, but at the same time – I wasted a few good months!

I should really listen to my mother more in that she always has the best advice:

– “Hang around with the wrong crowd and you will become the wrong crowd!”

If only, I just paid more attention to her when I was growing up?

Your Own Goals & Purpose – Pick it yourself or someone else will?

Our world is becoming more and more cluttered and all of us are just being bombarded by thousands of messages a day!

We all try and ignore many of these messages, but there are many savvy advertisers out there that are experts in subconsciously “Getting Into Your Mind” to often force certain commercial outcomes (be it buying their products or behaving in a way that is at least beneficial to them).

In fact, there is just so much information in our world today and there are many parties out there which have a clear agenda to “Control You”.  We are getting it all the time, Corporations telling you how to think, Bosses telling you how to think, Advertising Campaigns telling you what the “Best” products are, Friends telling you what to think, Media telling you what to think, Celebrities telling you what to think, Politicians etc etc.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes when I go on “Autopilot” I find it’s easy to really get into a “Rut” and just go along “with the flow”.  That is, if you don’t consciously think about your own life and set your own purpose and goals, there are lots of people which are only to happy to set goals for you.

Unfortunately, the goals are usually for their own interests!

So let’s think about it, if you don’t set your own personal goals (that are designed too “Benefit Yourself”) who else is going to do it?

Picking your own goals and figuring out one’s purpose is an ongoing journey and one that I think few are able to really “Come Up With” overnight.  But – if you can come up with something and a goal that really compels you and that also “Gets You Out of Bed” in the morning -You are probably miles ahead than most of the Australian Population!

Now, I am not saying it’s easy – but then living someone else’s life and feeling empty isn’t either!

Truth & Lies – Making Up Your Own Mind

“You can’t handle the Truth!” is one of my most favourite movie lines which I think really sums up how many of us (especially myself) can feel at times when confronted by “Reality” or “Truth” that is painful to accept.

I don’t know about you, but in the past I have been very guilty of either:

– “Being Positive” and just sticking my head in the sand and pretending the issue is not there.
– “Finding Distractions” or something to do, so I don’t have to deal with the problem (or issue) at hand.

Any logical thinker can easily say “Just Handle The Truth” – but it’s one of those things that are easier said than done.

I remember once I took up work with a very unscrupulous employer (i.e. it’s not just my opinion, if I reveal their name to someone, without any solicitation or bias I often hear a lot of negativity about them).

This was the toughest job of my life in that the job was easy; But the environment was extremely political and cruel. There were cut backs going on and because I chose to do my job properly and focus on the bottom line – I really put a few noses out of joint. In fact, I got some really good results that scared other people – which made them come for me even harder.

So that’s life – but here was my big mistake:

Instead of just saying my work environment sucks and doing something positive about it – I blamed myself for all the problems and took it on.
Because, I took this on and “Blamed Myself” it lowered my Self-Esteem, which then made the problem even worse for me.
What made it even worse, was that someone I was accepting career advice from, just “Blamed it all on Me” and just said things like “Enjoy Your Time There”, “Stop Complaining” and even the good old line of “Be Positive”.

This was my biggest mistake of it all – listening to the wrong person and substituting my common sense for another’s opinion (because I felt they were “Smarter Than Me”).

Now, I am not saying you should complain and blame the world for your problems – I am all for taking personal responsibility.

What this life experience taught me was the importance of:

Accepting the Truth for what it is. That is, you accept your responsibility and hold others responsible for their actions. Don’t blame yourself for Global Warming and at the same time, don’t complain that the cat scratched you after you bit it’s tail. Make up your own mind and be an independent thinker. That if, even if 100 people say you are “Wrong or Stupid” and you know you are not – you stick to your guns.

Be careful who you take advice from. There is nothing wrong with making up your own mind. Even if “You are Wrong” here and there – it doesn’t mean that others advice is anymore accurate than your own.
This was a very painful experience in my life – but that’s good. If you are going through some BS like this, believe me – I can relate to you! After all, you don’t become a tough cookie without being baked in the oven at 220 Degrees for at least 45 minutes?

** Many thanks to soundlessfall from Flickr for the great pic.

Staying Positive In a World of Negativity

Throughout my many adventures in Corporate Australia, Tony Robbins Seminars, Small to Medium Enterprise, Prestigious Law Firms and people I have known being mixed up in organized crime – it has given me a great view of:

– People with honourable motives (regardless of wealth).

– Inglourious Basterds (regardless of wealth).

– People with everything – that still complain.

– People with nothing – that are focused.

The latter people completely amaze me – in fact, I have a good friend from Hobart by the name of Manfred. He is a strong preacher and he is so strong in his faith, I could see him going toe-to-toe with Dalai Lama one day. He was from the mean streets of North America/Canada and now works out in Regional Australia devoting himself to helping others.

I had another friend (notice the key word “had”) that used to complain because he only used to earn $120K + Super and didn’t get the extra $30K Bonus he “was promised”. This guy, I don’t see going toe-to-toe with the Dalai Lama anytime soon. If anything, this guy ended up losing his job completely and had nothing at the end of the day.

Now this bit fries my brain. How come some people who get nothing really make something of themselves, and why do some who get beaten up all their lives just stick at it?

I think it’s the “Why?”. That is, people who tend to be bullet-proof and just keep soldiering on have a reason or a goal in what they are doing. That is, they seem to have a solid goal or a solid understanding of “Why they are here and What they have to do”. Now talking the other extreme, you get people who get everything who lose the plot, enter addictions and really abuse the opportunities they have. Some of these people are lucky and survive a while, but we only see too many people in our society just stuff up what they originally have. Does David Jones ring a bell to anyone? I think this is a good example of someone who has it all that obviously doesn’t appreciate what they have and chooses to misbehave!

My own view of the world so far that “Truly Inspirational” people don’t do it by “Being Positive” or painting on a smile. Their genuine positivity comes from within by being compelled by an amazing goal or purpose of living. Negative People who “Pretend to be Positive” can only fake it for so long! Now let me leave this though with you… Why are you here? * Thank to “antonkawasaki” from Flickr for the great pic.

The Unfair World We Live In – Not Letting it Get to You?

One thing, that I have honestly struggled with over the past year is the world we live in. It’s not a very fair place – and being a Christian myself I have pondered again and again the time old question of:

If there is a God, then why do bad things happen?
Now, before you think “Oh No, this is one of Those Preachy Blogs and Ed’s Going to Preach to Me” I just want to make it clear that that is not my intent and I respect whatever God or No God you choose to believe in. Thanks to Mel B from Flickr for the angry kitty pic.

Now, putting that aside – this has been doing my brain in! For example:

– Why does someone genuine like Michael J. Fox suffer from Parkinson’s?
– Why do children starve in 3rd world countries, who have never done anything wrong?
– Why do “Good People” suffer?
Then, this bit fries my brain:

– Why does Paris Hilton do no work and have lots of money?
– Why do some people have rich parents and don’t have to work like me?
– Why does Nicolas Cage still get work and star in movies?

These above questions which have been bugging me, I bet have bugged man since at least 5,000BC. But I finally figured out the answers to this question:

No one really knows. The people that “Say They Know” probably don’t.

You have to control your focus. That is, you can never figure this out and you will go mad in the process.
If anyone does find out this answer, they will probably know the meaning of life – which means if you have, please let me know 🙂

This article leads to another lesson I think, which is that it’s critical to “Choose your Focus” wisely. What do I mean by that? Well, you can for example focus on:

– How unfair the world is?
– How rude people are?
– The fact you are alone right now.
– The fact you haven’t achieved what you want in life right now.

Or alternatively, you can focus on:

– What you need to do to improve your own situation.
– Who you care for and vice versa.
– Jumping on Facebook and saying hello to your friends.
– Focusing on what you can do now to improve your situation.

I am not saying “Be Positive” and ignore problems around you – I am just saying that sometimes we can focus on “No Win” situations that will just send you mad.

Here’s to not going mad! 🙂

I can beat 200+ Applicants by being Positive?

I have quite a few friends in the recruitment field in Sydney and it’s amazing that even post GFC the market is still very quiet (compared to the years gone past) – at least in the Sales & Marketing Professions.Quite a few of the recruiters I know told me that for any job they have come up – be it a relatively Junior Marketing Assistant to that of a Marketing Director you usually get 200+ Applicants for each. In fact, they even take the ads of pretty quickly now.It is a very different world we live in now and depending on your area of expertise – ouch! Certainly, I am very lucky to have the job I do now, because if I didn’t I would certainly be toast. In that context I am very lucky – and at the same time, I know that there are still many good people in a range of professions who our out of their professional line of work.

This brings me to my main criticism of a lot of so called “Career Advice” you get in some books that are out there. They will tell you things like:

– Take your time, do what you want to do! – Find something you love and go for it! – Visualize you winning and go for it!

Now, before you accuse me of being negative, stupid – silly or want to criticize what i am saying, please understand this. I am a strong believer in understanding your life purpose and really going for it.

What I am critical of is that many of these books completely ignore unfortunate realities such as:

– Visualization doesn’t pay your rent. – Visualize all you want – you are up against 200+ Candidates who probably at least 30 are doing exactly what you are. – You can take your time finding your “Dream Job” – does that mean I don’t have to pay my bills in that time?

The 80’s and 90’s (well most of it) and the early 2000’s were great economic conditions – but things are very different now. I think we all need to be very pragmatic and aware of the reality – but at the same time, being “Reasonable Positive” about what we want to achieve.

Thank you to “I don’t know, maybe” from Flickr for the great pic.

No Selling, No Work – But Easy Money?

Hi Folks!

I am reflecting on how people pretending to be “Positive Thinkers” took me for a ride. This week, one company comes to mind.  They are basically a type of selling organization that sells overpriced “Motivational Packs” and get’s you to hook your friends in and rip them off.

Well, let me tell you about my bad experience there.  But before, let me give you some context.  I have just moved to Sydney and after a contract ending on me early (due to a very bad experience with the GFC).

Anyway, out of work – 4 months passed and I was honestly quite desperate. So, I came up with this “Great Idea” of a great “Work From Home Business”.

Wow! This was the start of all my problems.  After looking at many things, I found this so called “Amazing Business”.  It works like this:

– You pay lots of money to buy a motivational pack (and you give it to your upline).
– They train you and stuff.

– You then sell the motivational pack to other people.

Although this sounds very Multi-Level Marketing, they claim it actually isn’t (because after a few sales you don’t have to pay you upline).  It’s not far off Pyramid Selling I think!

Anyway, so I pay my money and join.  Oh no, once I join they give me this online audio program.  It talks about “Being Positive”, “Visualization”, “Focus” and that good old film “The Secret”.

Okay great.  Let’s do this thing.

Well during the training, they have this “Seminar” that costs like $6000 and “if your serious” you will do it.

Wow, they EVEN ENCOURAGED you to just “take the plunge” and even go into Debt to buy all of their Premium Products!  Also, the upline (who sold me the product) just wasn’t having any luck (besides me) and she claimed that her mentors wouldn’t even help her (i.e. their advice for selling the packs was to “Just get out there” – What does that mean in realistic terms?).

It was very scary and irresponsible I though and thank god there as a cooling off period (so I got out).  I though this was very wrong in that these people used “Positive Thinking” and “Visualization” as a way of preying on people who are either desperate or in a desperate mood.

What’s more, is that they just said “You create your website and all your leads come through that way”.  Well, I saw at least 30 similar websites selling the same products.

Now I got a few questions for you:

– If my upline can barley make sales, how will I stand a chance?
– When another 200 join, if people are stepping on each others toes now, what will happen then?
– How come they wouldn’t help my upline besides just saying “You have to get out there?”

I really think that businesses like this aren’t just sustainable.  You can’t build a business on a house of sticks or set up situations where people try and prey on each other.  Not because they are bad people, but because they are desperate and are convinced by a charismatic positive thinker “They are helping others”.

Anyway, as a good trader Chris Lori once told me “Be Careful, it’s a Jungle Out there!”

Thank you to “lululemon athletica” from Flickr for the great Human Pyramid Pic.

The Dangers of Hype – Look for substance

Over the years I have done a bit of Business Coaching informally – however lately I have been looking into taking it up as a serious option.

I know I have some great Marketing / Business skills that can really help.  Anyway, I have been speaking to a few different places that offer Accredited Courses in coaching which also have a strong component to help you launch your own Coaching Business. So that’s great.  I had a funny experience, the day after filling in the online forms I got 2 x Seperate Phone Calls.  I won’t name the companies, but I will tell you one is from Melbourne and one from Queensland (these companies BTW cannot be found at the top Google Search results if you type in “coaching courses”).

Anyway, here are the strangely polar results from two providers with a similar product & cost:

– Melbourne Mob – Hi! How are you? GREAT Day Huh? It amazing what you can offer. Think of the Passive Income. You can go on holidays and still make income WITH THE POWER OF LEVERAGE. Thank you soo much for your time and have a FANTASTIC afternoon.

– Queensland Mob – Hi There. Good to meet you. Yes, we teach coaching and help you get started. Yep, it’s really hard work but you can do quite well. Yep, it’s not for everyone. Yep, the course has the following modules and our intakes are XYZ. Glad I can help. Just call me if you need any help. Bye.

The Melbourne Mob immediately put me at a state of questioning – i.e. it doesn’t mean that they are better or worse, but don’t let hype replace substance!

“Positive People” Trying to Take My Money

Hi Folks,

Why on earth would I start a blog like this? Well for sometime, I have been considering starting a blog and thought – I just don’t want to tell people what I ate on the weekend or show pictures of my pets. I thought out of my life of 32 years so far, I figured that I have really been in and out of a lot of “Positive Motivation” Seminars.  Don’t get me wrong, some have been fantastic but there is this strange “Pattern” I picked up.

Let’s say you are thinking of becoming a Trader, Starting a Business, Going back to Uni and the like.  In fact, let’s run with what happened to me when I was in my 20’s considering doing a PhD.  I did really well in Analytical Chemistry and (at that time) decent PhD.  So as a young egotistical man, it only made me “Feel Good” that lectures were in competition for my attention.

Now, I remember one Lecturer (who was a great Salesman – but I don’t know about a scientist) really wanted me (i.e. he had an agenda).  One nice student, didn’t.  Here is what the Salesman/Lecturer and the Nice Student had to advise:

-Salesman/Lecturer with Nest Feathering Agenda:
“Hey Ed, you should really do a PhD. It’s great, you will be Dr. Ed. And think of all the possibilities. You can get a job anywhere with great pay”.

– Friendly & Honest Co-Student with nothing to Gain or Lose:
“Why on Earth Ed are you even here? Just tell me in Australia, who is going to hire you after this? Besides you, who cares that you are a Dr. of Science?”

Wow that was interesting, and as you can appreciate my PhD didn’t last much longer. I can tell you my friendly Indian Co-Student was completely on the Money and the Lecturer was using me as a means of strengthening their Funding & Reputation (i.e. as a Lecturer, the more PhD’s you get the more Powerful you become). This was my first experience of the “Awesome, Positive Thinking”. But strangely enough, someone had something to gain from me? Thanks to “Melody Campbell” from Flickr for the great Photo.

[Edward’s Comments Years Later on 7th January 2014: My blogging style has changed so much over the years and I can see not only my improvement, but the many cycles and changes I have gone through in my life.  I can also see how “Frustrated” and “Angry” I used to be with failure after failure.  Not only as I have made money out of it, but I am so happy I have blogged.  Commercially one great move and it has totally enriched my life.  Thank you for going back this far and reading this article!]