I am Serious – And Don’t Call Me Shirley!

Man I am a sad guy.  My first reason of sadness is that one of my childhood heroes Leslie Nielsen has passed away.

Second is that I feel like I am getting old! It feels like only yesterday when I was watching good old Flying High or even watching the Naked Gun Movies at the Cinema (in fact I was quite young – I am lucky they let me in!). Leslie Nielsen passing on has got me thinking about what people have thought about for thousands of years. Not taxes, not divorce, but death. It has really got to me to think of what I have achieved / contributed in my life so far.

That is, if I was to die tomorrow – what have I achieved? How will I be remembered? Now I am not coming at this from a need to “Protect me ego” or anything, it’s more like:

– In this one life I have and so far, what have I contributed?

The scary thing for me, is that it doesn’t feel like much! If anything, my good old hero Leslie passing on has made me really sit up straight in my chair and think about areas of my life where I can lift my game.

Interesting! When I pass away, I certainly want to be remembered for more than what I am today.  If you feel the same way I do, I suggest you think long and hard (as I am) about how you can contribute more in the world.

I doubt people will remember you for having a “Nice Car or House”, but far more likely the people you helped!  After all, I think what makes Leslie Nielsen so powerful is that he has contributed to many lives – by simply making us laugh!  We aren’t remembering him for all the money he has or whatever the case.

One thing that I have stuffed up recently (but picked up again) was how I lost my focus.  That is, my purpose got a little bit lost in the “Events” around me and I put on weight and suffered in more ways than one. The big lesson for me was that you don’t have long on this planet, so you better now waste too much time!

After all, I’m Serious.  Life is no laughing matter.  And (here it comes) don’t call me Shirley!

* Many thanks to Alan Light from Flickr for the great Leslie Nielsen pic!

[Edward’s Reflections Years Later after writing this post: Leslie Nielsen was an amazing man who had a massive impact on my life.  His youthful energy and vitality was so touching and I miss him still.  Reminds me that I won’t be around forever, so I better take advantage of what I have and go hard for it!]

People Who Say One Thing & Do Another!

I am sick and tired of Bastards in life that say one thing and do another.  For whatever reason, hypocrisy is something that drives me completely mad!

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying or expecting that everyone lives up to some “Unrealistic Standard” or anything like that – as I can be a hypocrite at times.  I am talking about those extremists/bastards who 80%+ of the time, don’t practice what they preach! Many years ago, I was involved in a pretty hostile takeover.

Fortunately, I was in the “Taking Over” company – but unfortunately I was moved into the company being bought (and then ironically became classified as “One of them”). I was given a wide range of diverse clients that was incredibly hard to manage.  That is, it wasn’t so much the time required, but it was near impossible to understand all the complexities involved.  That is, you had radically different clients, using radically different products in radically different industries – and you were expected to be a complete expert.

This was near impossible as myself and other’s would:

– Have no F&$(#%G idea how their industry works AND

– The Customers Knew It!

What made this incredibly funny was that Senior Management put these “Stretch Targets” on us to grow a mature business by 10%+ per year.  Meanwhile your competitors are specialists who can easily meet the specific needs of such clients.

Now, before you think of me being a “Whinger” I just want to explain that I am a strong believer in Stretch Targets and getting those most out of your team and employees.  But, if you give all your employees a crazy task which they are not supported for – then no one is going to win.

Anyway, due to this credibility problem that myself and my colleagues across Australia was facing it was barely possible to introduce new products – let alone protect your business from the competition.

We had this new “Crack Shot” from overseas arrive that just “Knew All the Solutions”. The first thing that this person said was that I “Couldn’t Handle My Customers Properly” and that I needed to “Work Harder”. They also explained that they knew how to “Sell” so well, they could talk things around very easily.  So okay – maybe it’s my fault? Let’s Learn. So I bring my new boss to one of my top clients.  This client was a clever and very impatient man working for a large Australian Company (who was a known leader in their industry). So this “Elite Boss” walks in and tries their so called “Elite Selling Skills” on him.

Wow – this didn’t work at all! This client clammed up and several days later told me over the phone to NEVER EVER bring this person with me again.  I remember one of this clients famous quotes:

– Your Boss is just a Salesman. Bring me someone who’s knows what they are on about.

The boss who was “Elite” then said I just don’t know how to work with my clients and being a “Typical Bastard” didn’t take any responsibility for the clients reaction to him as it was somehow “My Fault”. I was still fairly young at the time, but years later all these events started to make sense to me.  This Boss was one of those people who just lives by:

– Saying One Thing. Sounding Good. Doing something else. Blaming Others.

The good thing about this so-called “Boss” was that they lost their position a few years after I left. Well that’s Karma for you! All I can say is, if you Talk A Big Game – Make Sure You Can Deliver!

Successful People Are Completely Nuts and or Fruitcakes

One thing I have really learnt lately is that “being normal” doesn’t always produce the best results.  A lot of my successful friends I would not say are “Normal” by any stretch.  In fact, some of them are completely nuts – but it’s their “Nuttiness” that seems to aid their success.

As a few examples, I know several top Currency Traders and also a few property investors that have been down this track:

– They start a business with warped expectations.

– The find out how difficult it is.

– They fail a lot.

– In fact, they screw up heaps.

This is where I noticed that “You have to be nuts” kicks in. Most normal people, would accept common sense and reasoning and:

– Give it up and move on.

– Because it just doesn’t work.

The completely nutty people would ignore common wisdom and stick at it far longer than “Normal People” would.  As a result, they really learn from their mistakes, master it and go forward (as I noticed some of my successful friends had). Ironically (at least I did), many people go through times of their lives desperate to fit in.

But then, you strangely get people who don’t who really nail it and rubbish this approach. Although I am a strict Vegetarian, have a big thing against Cage Farming practices (and hate their Coleslaw even more) – I am a big fan of Colonel Sanders. In fact, I have heard that story many times of how he failed hundreds of times to get Kentucky Fried Chicken going.  Any normal person would have given up, but this fruitcake just kept at it!

I say thumbs up to being a fruitcake!

Charity: “Don’t Give to Them, They Will Never Help You!”

Charity is a very interesting topic.  Since our beloved GFC – there have been a wide range of reports of people giving less to various Australian Charities.

I can’t say I blame them! If you were unlucky and got retrenched or had your contracts cut short during this time (as I did) and if you are struggling to pay your bills, the last thing on your mind is helping the poor.  Still it’s very important and I always try to give what I can (but honestly not as much as I would like to give).

I came across wealthy individual that honestly had done quite well for themselves.

Even though they have really nailed their finances, they unfortunately fit the stereo-typical “Capitalist / Industrialist” with the 80’s greed mentality in that:

– They openly are focused on their own situation.

– People around them are a means to getting what they want.

– They pay little attention to how they get money, as long as they get it.

– They are a complete glutton when it comes to luxuries, food and alcohol.

– They know everything (because they have money).

I know many much richer people than this person, that fortunately aren’t like this.  In fact I am glad that not too many rich people are like them – we’d all be working in slave labour camps! The big thing that really baked my noodle was this perspective they have towards charity:

– “If you went broke, would they give money to you? So why on earth are you giving money to them?”

Wow – this view I thought was very dangerous.  This person is extremely selfish with their money and have really taken it to the extreme. Now, before you think I am trying to ride the “High Horse” or “Play Expert” or something please understand I am not suggesting an extreme.  At the end of the day, you don’t want to give away everything you have to punish your own family or become “The Poor” you are trying to protect – and at the same time, you don’t want to spit at and abuse homeless people in the street.

The danger of this position, I thought was scary in that – it gives rise to a growing poor. What scared me is that an individual with this strong type of belief could easily build on this to think:

– Why should I give to people who don’t help me?

– Because people don’t help me, it means they don’t care about me.

– The poor are stupid anyway – all they do is “Take, Take & Take”.

– They should go and get a job or something.

– If the poor are stupid and all they do is “Take”, then I don’t care about them.

– As the poor are “Wrong”, there is no problem for me to use them.

These “Poor People” don’t know what’s good for them. Thank god I do! And so on.  History is paved with examples of this type of thinking used to exploit various classes of people.  Be it not just economic, variants of this can be used to exploit races, lands and resources.  Key examples of poorer people being exploited include:

– French Revolution.

– American Revolution.

– Cuban Revolution (ironically to the “Saviour” Fidel Castro).

– Russian Communist Revolution.

– China Communist Revolution.

– Vietnam Communist Revolution.

I am sure if I jumped on Wikipedia now, it wouldn’t take me long to find more and more examples! As you read this article, please don’t think I am a hippie under the tree or something! I vote Liberal and consider myself a strong capitalist.  I believe in economic growth and free enterprise with a strong welfare system that helps to protect those that are less fortunate that others may be.

But, I find this person very scary! These “Exploitative” views are really what leads to trouble in our world. Be it a country screwing a race, or an individual exploiting another individual – you can’t do it forever!  In terms of a more closer to home example (in particular corporations), you can see this type of thinking come out in the worst of individuals.  That is, people who really don’t care about others and are there to “Command and Conquer”.  Other people are simply another “Asset” to their own cause. My suggestion to anyone out there is watch out for these type of people.  They tend to be good at “One Thing” which generally isn’t your own prosperity or success!

The Arrogant Moron: Always Right and Never Wrong

I have worked with some really brilliant people. I mean really brilliant. People that are either great artists, fantastic property investors, superior currency & option traders, excellent cafe operators and people who have mastered their health (or any combination of the above). I learn a lot from friends like these and some of them really have it together. In just watching them kick goal after goal, it has always made me ponder “What are they doing, which I am not?”

In my own observations, I found:

– They are hard on themselves and push themselves to achieve more.
– They don’t believe they are the smartest person in the world, but believe they are “Good Enough” to do a decent job.
– Can ride out the “Bad Times”, stick to their guns and build on what they have.
– Respect that there are both people who are “Better” and “Worse” than them in the world.
– They think the above is fine and are focused on their “Own Race”.

I have also had the unique pleasure of working with people (some, but not many of which have had good results) that:

– Aren’t hard on themselves at all.
– The “Successful” ones on quite a few occasions have either “Got Lucky” or have had “Rich Parents” – but then, they perform “Mental Back flips” or lie claiming that they did it themselves.
– At some level they “Know they are so much smarter than everyone else”.
– When someone close to them outdoes them in a given area, they are quick to criticise or act in a way to try to “Bring Them Down”.

Contrary to the heading of this article, I once worked with a person that was actually “Not a Moron” at all. However, they really had some strong inflexible beliefs that in practise made people think of them as a “Moron”. For example, they were:

– Never Responsible for losses – If something went well, it was due to them. If something failed, it was due to their Manager not supporting them, the Supplier Stuffing up and one of their Staff Members not doing their job.
– Was always “Right” – Every idea that wasn’t from them had something wrong with it, but their own ideas were very “Accurate”, “Sharp” and “Powerful”. When their ideas didn’t go according to plan, they simply used the belief above to ensure they are “Always Right”.
– Complete distrust for their own Staff – They managed a team and were known to completely ignore their own Staff’s advice. That is, they hired people with specific functions – and then would quite often ignore them and “Just do what they want” with little justification (or at least a very limited understanding of the area in which they make a decision).

What made this person “Dangerous” was that they controlled a significant budget and had quite a bit of power. Their decision-making was miles off and they made one bad call after an another. As this person believed they were “So Smart”, it made them highly inflexible so that they couldn’t adapt and improve.  Eventually, this person lost out and was forced to leave. Even though “Justice” was served, there was a path of destruction that took quite a lot of time to heal. What was sad, was that this person was more than Smart Enough to win. They just blocked and ignored all the people trying to save them from themselves.

Now, I am not advocating the other extreme of being a “Yes-Man” and just following whatever you hear around you. Quite often, we have to make tough decisions that may go against what people around you are telling you. But, if taken to the extreme – you can go down the famous “Kevin Rudd Path”, ignore common sense advice and bring down yourself and lots of people around you. In my own life, sometimes I have gone a bit down the “Arrogance” Path and got into trouble. Then, I went down the “Yes-Man” path and got into trouble.

One of my most favourite older managers used to have this saying “Firm but Fair”. They would also say “Listen, but you are responsible for the call”.  This man was very clever and I think he really got the balance right. And guess what? He is highly successful in his health, finances, family and relationships.

Being Left Out & Excluded: How it’s worse than Being Insulted!

I had the strangest weekend – ever! My other half is Malaysian Chinese and we went on a holiday with a few of her friends to Port Stephens for a weekend getaway (if you don’t know, it’s about 45 minutes east of Newcastle, NSW).

The weekend seemed to get off to a smooth start, but during the weekend – about 8 / 10 conversations were in Mandarin Chinese.  So as you can imagine – languages are hardly my speciality so I didn’t get involved that much.

At the start, I thought “Well, it’s not their Primary Language” so Ok.  Let’s keep the peace and let’s “Just Work with It”.  As the weekend proceeded, be it anything from a conversation about a topic or dinner – they just kept leaving me out, after one conversation to another.

My other half though was fantastic! She worked really hard to include me in conversations (even kindly translating) but the others didn’t really care.

So the weekend proceeded and I “Kept the Peace” – but my blood pressure was rising! I kept putting up with it, but my “Good-Natured” points where being exhausted and exhausted. Then, at the end of the weekend (after I was already burnt-out) it was decided that I should cook dinner for everyone.  I played along and did it – and guess what happened at the dinner table?

You got it. Ignored me again and again!  I then left the conversation and did something else – but I at least kept my cool.  In fact, what made it worse was that I was doing all the cooking and cleaning – and these people just didn’t care! I was basically a waiter for them and that is how they treated me.

About 1 – 2 days afterwards, I simply burst like a balloon! These people were just excluding me and excluding me – and I found something interesting – being ignored / excluded is worse than being insulted!

At least when you get insulted, someone is acknowledging you – but when you get ignored for so long and left out – man it grinds on you!

Now, I know what you are thinking “Ed’s just complaining, after all English isn’t their first language”.  Well that’s fine, but their English is alright – and besides it’s the intent, they just excluded me as much as possible!

Besides learning that I shouldn’t go away with these people again (or probably even go near them), it really gave me some interesting insight into my behaviour.  I was so focused on “Keeping the Peace” and “Being Friendly” I really did myself a strong injustice on this weekend.   Instead of asking to be involved – I was too much of the pushover and let everyone have a good weekend at my expense (except for my poor other half of course who tried her best!).

Strangely enough, it took me a few days to get over this one – being insulted is much more fun! At least you can reply and people are paying you attention.  In fact, what I found fascinating was that in being ignored so long – it made me recall a great deal of child-hood experiences where I had a similar experience.  Interestingly, it was stuff that I had long consciously forgotten and in a strangely positive way – it got me to consciously interpret and understand these painful experiences.

I really paid a lot of attention to these painful experiences and realized, that I have a thing about “Being Ignored”.  It actually really bugs me based on some childhood experiences that I have carried through into Adult Life.  The good thing was that I could “Close these experiences” by understanding that some of the subconscious beliefs and views I am holding make no sense to my life these days.

One of the beliefs were that:

– People don’t care about me.

It’s obviously not true, but this experience really triggered this old repressed belief in me. When I dealt with it, man I felt better!  So in a strange way, I am glad these people were rude & mean to me. If they weren’t, then I wouldn’t have had this breakthrough in my own thinking!

Still, although I got a lot out of it – my advice to you if you are ever in this position, don’t sit there and take it like I did! Now, I am not saying you should be the centre of attention – but at the same time, if people are acting in a way against you to an extreme – Politely say something and protect your own rights! I wish I did at the time!

They won this one, but I can promise you, I am more than prepared for Round 2! * Many thanks to “Wayne Silver” from Flickr for the great pic.

Following the Herd: And Being Eaten by the Wolf!

I wish that I could honestly tell you that I am really tough and a “Critical & Independent Thinker” but at times throughout my life, I have made the mistake of following the herd.

Now, just to be clear – please don’t think I am doing what a lot of books and “Positive Motivational Speakers” do and slam the entire population and tell you how bad our society is and that you must be a rebel and sign up to their $10,000 course or anything like that.

When I am using the term “Herd”, I don’t mean to label anyone else.  I am actually using it as a metaphor for when I personally put my own opinions aside, forget about the concept of leadership and just “Blindly Follow” someone.

Throughout my life, I have had the “Painful Lesson” of not being Critical & Independent enough and have followed other people (often to my own detriment).  That is, I have made the mistake of:

– Political Agenda’s – Allowing people to use me as a “Pawn” or either trample me in their power quests in Corporations.

– Accepting some bad idea’s as fact – Instead of really standing back and critically evaluating what I am hearing, sometimes I have settled in with the “Wrong” people and have subconsciously accepted some really poor views as facts. This can be that of opinions of others to that of over-eating or over-drinking.

– Compromising my own personal goals for someone else – The big mistake of cutting my own goals to “Keep someone else Happy”. This would then result in me being more unhappy and then “Rebelling” against the own negative situation I created for myself.

– And Many More!

Now although I am being quite hard on myself here, I have some great examples of when I really have been Critical & Independent and made mistakes – but also in having some fantastic wins.

In one of my early jobs (when I was only in my early 20’s) I was actually told that I was to be kept in a job because “I was doing a good job and they couldn’t replace me”.  This was very frustrating in that colleagues who didn’t have as much responsibility (or put in my equivalent hours) were getting Promoted, Paid More and far more recognition than me.

I then realized that this company is “Taking the Mickey Out of Me” and did what most people do – look around for a better job.  After a year or two – I got this fantastic Marketing Manager job that ended up being the best and it really changed my life for the better.

When I resigned to take this job, they all “Put it Down” and tried to talk me out of it! It was very unethical in the sense but it confirmed my original thinking of them.  I suspected these guys were taking advantage of me, but I wasn’t sure.  However, when they weren’t getting what they want, their “True Colours Came Out!”

They didn’t care about my own goals at all, but they just wanted to “Shonk Me” as long as possible to stay in that job.

I sometimes think, “What if I listened to them?”.  This really scares me in that if I did, I can tell you my life wouldn’t be what it is today and the big break I took would never have lead to another big break and so on. Don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting you should take the extreme of being a “F$&#*$G Know it All” and just ignoring common sense (as I have made some big mistakes too by ignoring others). I am just pointing out how dangerous it can be substituting your own common sense with advice from others who are in it for themselves. If you are in a situation where you don’t feel like your are living your own life or “Others are calling the shots” – I really encourage you to:

– Sit back and make sure you watch what’s going on.

– Make sure “The Wolf” isn’t going to visit you at 2AM in the morning.

– Think carefully about what you want.

– And Go for it!

At least when you make your own decision and take responsibility for it – you are living your own life!

* Many thanks to “manitou2121” from Flickr for the Poor Sheep & Wolf Pic.

Getting Really Really Fat: And Not Loving It!

I did something very very silly.  I used to have the “Best Body” and I really lost the plot over a 12 month periods. I just lost all my old standards and my eating every day just kept “Slipping and Slipping”. Then all of a sudden, “12 months” later, I ended up putting on an extra 15kg!  I have already lost about 7kg of them (and the rest isn’t too far off) – but I keep thinking:

– “Why the hell did I do that? Why did I let things slip like this so now I have to work extra hard to fix it?”

When I look back on what I did, I just really lost my focus and sight of my goals.  That is, instead of having a clear vision to work towards (be it my own career, business and physical goals)  I got into a bit of an “Auto-Pilot” mentality. That is, as I wasn’t paying too much attention to my weight (but more importantly all the bad food I was eating) I got bigger, bigger and bigger!

I can honestly tell you now, my biggest mistake was just “Going with the Flow”.  If I paid more active attention and really monitored myself much better, I wouldn’t have lost it and now am forced to do all this extra work to catch up! I feel good in the respect that the weight has been coming off – but damn! I wasted lots of time and effort! My strong advice to any of you (not just weight) which have a problem somewhere in your life.  Don’t do what I did and pretend it’s not there!

It just gets bigger and bigger and bigger.

Unfortunately like my belly did! * Thanks to “Tripp” from Flickr for the great pic of me 6 months ago.

Rudeness is an Epidemic: The Angry Man lashing out at me

I really like my coffee.  In fact, despite the number of times I have tried to give it up – I just simply go back to it.  Be it that I am a full vegetarian, I don’t drink (and don’t smoke or do any drugs or anything like that) I figured that I still need a vice or two to keep me in balance.

I work in the Western Suburbs of Sydney in a large Industrial hub in Bankstown. Each morning when I arrive to work, I walk down the street (often dodging trucks coming in and out) to the local Sandwich & Chicken Shop. A really nice Lebanese Woman by the name of Rita makes fantastic coffee.  I mean really good coffee.  She could open up her own shop in the Melbourne CBD and easily go Toe to Toe with some local operators there.

One time I went there, I came in and there was this guy that was waiting quite a distance from the counters (i.e. as you do if you are waiting for your coffee or still deciding what you want to eat).

So anyway, I walk up the counter and then place my order with Rita.  Then this guy starts having a crack at me (in front of everyone) for pushing in – despite being back quite a large distance.  I was quite shocked (as this is the last thing I expected at 7.30AM Tuesday morning in my regular shop) and I just politely said I am only after a coffee.

Anyway, this man left – and I double checked my behaviour (to see if I was actually in the wrong).  Rita and a few of the familiar regulars made it clear that I didn’t push in or anything (i.e. I was in the right on this one).

Since then, it has been a common joke between myself in Rita – i.e. “Is he waiting for me in the car park?”, “Will the angry man abduct me?”, “Is the angry man sent by the government?” and so on.

If anything, I was not angry at this man at all – I just think of him as a fruitcake. One thing that really got me thinking is that you get some really unhappy around the traps.  That is, you get people who get so angry at others while driving, you get people that give people attitude in lines, you get people that treat waitresses badly, you get people who are generally rude etc.

Then, you get some people that despite what bad things happen to them, they are really polite, well-manners and treat strangers with respect. Sometimes I find myself just simply “Hating Rude People”but when I really think it through – I kind of think that these people must be really sad and miserable. I still find though, Rude people really do frustrate me.  In fact, I could only agree with the line of Hannibal Lecter from “Hannibal Rising” in that “Rudeness is an Epidemic” in our world.

We all can slip up every now and then, but people that behave this way consistently should really look at themselves and stop acting so selfishly. That is, if they lash out at people at random or are rude to others – it’s probably a safe bet that these people feel that way about themselves.    If anything I am starting to really feel sorry for these sort of people – in that, they probably are just acting on Auto-Pilot and don’t mean to harm / upset others in the way that they behave.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I really really don’t like rude people and I am not saying that you just take what they give you or excuse them from what they do.  Rude people need to be held accountable for their actions just like anyone else.

I am just simply saying that although we want to pour a Hot Cup of Coffee on their laps (well at least I do at times), we should take a step back and probably realize that very few of the “Rude People” actually indent to disrupt others. I have found that some people who have been quite “Rude” to me, are actually really “Nice” people who are just going through some tough times.

But still Rudeness is an Epidemic in our society today! What I think that “Rude” people fail to realize is, that you often get back what you give.

After all, what is more likely to get you beaten up by a stranger? A smile or the finger? * Many thanks to “istolethetv” for the Hannibal Pooch pic.

Being Average: How it makes you Completely Suck!

Right now, I am holidaying in a really nice spot with my other half and some friends in a place called “Port Stephens”.  It’s about 1 hour east of Newcastle (in NSW) and it’s a really nice spot.  Taking holidays is something I almost never voluntarily do and they often give me a long chance to think.

After I think “About Work” and what I have to do, I eventually slow down just enough to really think about far more profound topics that “What I need to get done?” and “Who is trying to get me?”

One thing that has really been bouncing around in my mind is the logic that I one heard in that “If you do only an average job, you can’t get an exceptional result”.

In my own life, in some areas I have done quite well – but in some areas I have done a “Real Average Job”.

Now, I am not saying that you work 24 hours a day or anything like that – but also the other extreme is just as bad.  If you go through life (in a given area, be it Relationships, Finances, Health, Spirituality, Friends or whatever floats your boat) and you do an average job at something – I really notice that you end up sucking at it!

In terms of my physical health I really used to put a lot of work into it and then I slid into an “Average Job”.  I wasn’t doing anything bad or extreme or anything – but then I watched the “Fat Build On”, to the point where I got really unhappy with it.

I am almost back to where I was, but I proved this profound piece of advice.  That is, if you don’t put in 100% into a given area, you will probably keep slipping and slipping until you eventually suck (at least that what happens to me).

If I don’t give 100% to my trading, I don’t keep up with my friends.  If I don’t give 100% to my job, my work piles up and I slip.  If I don’t focus 100% on what I eat, Chocolate and Cake creep in and I slip.

What I find really tough is getting the balance in between.  It’s easy to go overboard in one direction, but getting a balance in life seems to be very hard – if not impossible!

At the end of the day, you have to lean in the direction as getting a complete balance seems impossible.  How can you eat Chocolate Cake and be toned? How can you “Take it easy at work” and get amazing results? How can you get a business going if you only put in a “Half-Ass Effort and take it slow?”.

Well, from everyone I know who has made it in a given area,  being “Average” just doesn’t work.  You just have to get a “Little Extreme” to get what you really want. Now, what does “Little” mean in this context? Well – if you are competing with a stack of “Average” people, “Little” means much more than them! What taught me this “Average” lesson as well is job hunting.  In some Marketing Manager jobs I have applied for, I have been up against 200+ Applicants!

Holy Shit! How are you meant to compete against that? Unless you are bloody exceptional you stand no chance! As you don’t get prizes for coming in second (i.e. you “Win” or “Lose”) if you are average, you won’t get the job and you will just continue at the level you are.  As I then have cruised along, I have just felt like I totally suck! One thing in my own life.  In some areas I have done a 10/10 job.  In some areas I have done a 5/10 job.

Guess which areas of my life I suck in?

Dodgy “Get Rich Quick Schemes” & How They Suck You Dry

Just like myself, you have probably been bombarded by “Get Rich Quick Schemes”.

Be it those writers trying to sell a book, a shiester selling an overpriced seminar or even the blatant pyramid schemes that focus on you “Preying” on your friends to get them to sign-up so you can profit from them.

I actually got a call from a good friend of mine from Hobart today.  He is an amazing property investor and someone who has really set an example for me.  I actually met him in “Dodgy Course” in Sydney that was teaching these outdated “Passive Cashflow” Property strategies.

We got sucked into this dodgy course – but him and I certainly got out of it and learnt quickly that we were being manipulated by those promises of “Passive Cashflow” and just “All the money you can make”.

Now don’t get me wrong, I have many friends who are making excellent money from Property, Trading (i.e. Options, Forex and straight Shares) but all of them will tell you it took them years to get there and you really have to “Know what you are doing”.

But then you get these Shonky Operators that try to sell you courses that make all sort of unrealistic claims that in some cases are blatant lies.  Here are the “Buzzwords” that make my skin crawl:

“Financial Freedom”
“Passive Cashflow”
“Out of their old job within X Months”
“Almost no work required”
“No selling required”
“Easy, proven success formula”

What is interesting is that people selling courses can make some ridiculous claims whereas if you speak to people who actually have made it – they tell you another story.   My great trading coaches, Andrew Jeken, Jarratt Davis & Vic Noble have made it clear to me how hard it really is – but let’s say I type in “Forex Trading” into Google.  I get shonks telling me how “Easy” it is and I can get started “Immediately”.

Many unethical players out there prey on people’s lack of experience, or worse – their desperation to improve their current circumstances.  It’s very sad, but it’s great to see in Australia that advertising regulations are tightening to keep such people under control as much as possible.

I have been sucked into quite a few things, but here is what’s difficult:

Without getting sucked into the junk – there is no way I could have figured out what was good.

I know logically that this is a process I had to go through, but man I think back and think “Why did I do that?”, “Why was I so stupid?”.

Let’s hope Captain Karma teaches those shonks a lesson! 🙂

Paranoia: Be Alert, Not Alarmed

Whenever I have worked in companies going through restructures, that contain vicious politics (or even with a Manager that pushes around their reports) I have noticed that it can be very easy to be paranoid.

One great Manager that I have worked with was a really good person – however they reported to a very mean and vicious manager above them.  The vicious person was not only petty, but really gained delight from putting people down (they were really a nasty piece of work!).

Anyway, this Great Manager would get beaten up by their boss and as a result, sometimes would act like a “Kicked Puppy”.  That is, you can walk up to them asking a question – and out of pain and frustration they would often attack you or defend themselves against something random that they think you are going to criticize them for.

I felt really sorry for this person in the respect that they were extremely competent and good-natured, but had trouble standing up to their manager and as a result lived as their “Doormat”.  Still, this vicious manager was so dogmatic – unless you are really on-top they are quite a challenge to take on (but it was certainly possible and eventually done).

This Good Natured Manager was often quite Paranoid about most things to the point where it really impacted their performance, quality of life, relationship with other staff and their General Reputation.

After working in some tough companies, I have learnt (the hard way!) the Coalitions old advertising campaign made some sense:

– “Be Alert, But not Alarmed”.

There are two extremes here.  You can’t be paranoid and attack everyone else first, but at the same time you can’t sit under a Rainbow with your Guitar and pretend that everyone around you is “Honest & Loaded with Integrity”.  I have done that myself and been burnt many times. I think John Howard’s statement is perfect in that:

– Be aware and observe what is going on, so you don’t get manipulated.

– But don’t think that someone has poisoned your lunch milk (unless you have run over someone’s dog and burnt their house down).

At times I have been “So Positive” and have ignored my own instinct.  Well! Didn’t I pay for that in more ways than one! Whether you like it or not, there are some sharks in the fishing tank! * Many thanks to Alexandra Bellink from Flickr for the great pic.