From Ashes Part 1: Stuffing up my life and losing everything!

From Ashes: Never Stop Smiling!

From Ashes: Never Stop Smiling!

I have been working with some amazing people lately and this blog post I want to dedicate to two people, one of my old friends Theepan (who is now a big manager at the RTA “Sydney’s Road and Transit Authority) and this great man I met by the name of Luke Goodman – a rising mortgage broker based in Sydney.  I also want to mention my mum! Tiani who was there for me, when the cards were down too! I feel that these people are kindred spirits and can relate for sure!

I am 34 years old (turning 35 in June) and when I was about 28, I totally stuffed up my life and lost everything.  I was lucky not to be in any legal trouble and I kept my health which is good – but from a social, financial and career perspective I lost everything that I previous took for granted.

Like many it was around GFC time and as much as I want to blame it on an external event, it was my fault.  I grew up in the “milk and honey” days were the economies were growing and anyone could make money.  It gave me that “wealth creation / seminar / happy clappy / retarded” mindset that I can make millions in moments and I was spending money left right and centre on luxuries, bogus get rich quick schemes and luxuries that a man in his 20’s should not be buying.

Even though I was a Christian,  quit drinking (which I had some massive issues with) and I donated to the poor – I won’t lie to you, I had a sense of arrogance and would frequently put myself above others all the time.

Then I wasted tens of thousands on failed business ventures, stuffed up some relationships with fantastic women (one a long term one), quit my job only to move interstate and lose my own social network.  The GFC was at it’s peak then and I lacked necessary business skills then and I could get work!

I went from $120,000+ salaries to nothing – eventually found a job selling health goods in shopping malls for a measley $15 / hour.

If you know a bit about psychology, some of the pillars talk about “death” or “emotional ending”.  What this means is that throughout our lives, events (be it positive or negative) hit us which ends the person we are.  Positive examples can be having a child, a big promotion, getting a license or even making a big decision.

Negative examples are probably more common, divorce, death, injuries, sickness and the most common cliche is finding out as a child that “Santa Claus isn’t real”.

It’s basically an experience where your old self is gone and in the negative case, “from ashes” the new shall rise.

My own arrogance, stupidity and laziness got the better of me which led to my destruction. I got in a big trap of depression for a few months and to get me through the hard times, I actually turned to the Bible! Ha, what a religious nut I am – but it helped me survive and I have nothing but JC to thank for that one!

What losing everything and not being able to get that old job again like the old days taught me was to get over myself and get back on my feet.  I got some work that was rubbish compared to my 20’s peak which tied me over, but what I started appreciating was good friends.

The big thing I realized is the whole “from ashes” theme – I took me a while to accept it, but using a I suppose “city / nuclear war” analogy, my whole “planet” as I knew it was destroyed.  I had suffered many old times blues, but after a while (maybe about 3 – 6 months) I accepted that the old times were gone.

Continuing the nuclear war analogy, it was about pulling together what I had left and working out what to do next.  At the time and looking back, I coined it the “from ashes” part of my life.  To be frank, it was hard looking back there but as I am now “successful” business wise – I can reopen that book and not shudder at the horrors written on the pages.

Getting back on track was about me accepting my old planet was destroyed and with what I had left – rebuilding something new.  What I found amazing from this experience was this:

– Without destroying the old, I could not rebuild the new!

That is, my old-self HAD TO DIE. My old self wasn’t allowing me to experience the success I am lucky to enjoy now.  I am going to write much more about “from ashes” in coming posts, but I just wanted to say if you have stuffed up your life like I have – or you are in the process of it, please go easy on yourself! You stuffed it up and you can un-stuff it up! Just have faith, work ahead and pull together what you have left and figure out how to get back on track.

I am working with some amazing clients and people who are divorcing or have divorced and many are an example the human spirit. In some cases, they have no money, their children are taken, and they pay child support to a scenario where the other half is loaded!  The reverse is true, they are getting child support, but say the ex-husband is terrorizing them as much as “legally” possible.

I hope I never do experience that type of pain, but I can relate – they are truly great people who are really coming “from Aahes” and trying to re-take / re-build what they lost.

If you are doing it tough – I can relate! If I know you and we have spoken great, but if we don’t know each other and may never meet I just want to say this to you:

– I care for you whoever you are! I hope you are okay and please have faith and hang on! Life get’s tough sometimes, but you are tougher!

Action: Feels Bad, But is Good For Us?

We always have to earn the good things in life!

I have seen some absolutely brilliant, talented, intelligent and Good-Natured People fail in their Careers and Business.  I have then seen “Average” people really succeed beyond their wildest dreams and achieve amazing things in their businesses!

There are often quite a few reasons, but what it often comes down too is how much people can handle doing things “They Don’t want to Do”.  I know this sounds obvious – but let’s face it, if we want to achieve something in our lives – then quite often we have to do things that may “Hurt” but is good for us!

One time I was unemployed for a while (before I had a Business).  Any logical person would know that the solution to being unemployed would be to get a job.  However, if any of you have had trouble finding a job – it can take a lot of work and be a very painful process!

NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, YES!

The trick is that the Rejection and Pain is part of the process and it can really hurt, but it is good for us! Even in our own businesses as well – dealing with rejection is a key part of it (be it from banks, to clients to suppliers) and the NO, NO, NO, YES process is very common!

Also as well, even though the “NO’s” may hurt at the start, as we get better – the NO’s lose their intensity and become part of the process.

The other common example is running 10km, it can be completely inconceivable at the start, but after lots of training – it can become fairly standard and even quite enjoyable!

Where extreme Positive Thinking goes wrong is that it tries to get us to “Distort” what reality means so that we don’t actually accept that stuff hurts and we pretend it’s all easy when it’s really not.

The trick is to accept that when we embark on something new, it is going to be unfamiliar and many of the actions will “Feel Bad, But be Good For us”.

However, if we stick to it – it will start to “Feel Good” and hence we get the results we want in a fun manner!

So if you are doing lots of things right now that “Feel Bad”, but are “Good for you” well done! Make sure you avoid those dangerous “Feel Good, but are Bad for You” items! (Awful Vices and Addictions!).

Boy I wish I learnt this 20 years ago!

Positive Thinking: And how it has robbed me of Money & Time!

"Positive Thinkers" - The Common Thief?

“Positive Thinkers” – The Common Thief?

I met this complete “Douche Bag” at a Networking Event recently. Well, actually – they more met me.  This person just was so “Positive” and really “Nice” to me.  In fact, this person kept following me around at the Networking Event!

I had this strange conversation with the person in that he was asking me a lot of questions, but when I asked him – I got vague answers such as:

– I help people make money.

– I build teams to help people make money.

– I am a Networker of Businesses.

I kept asking precise questions such as “What do you do?” and this Weasel kept ducking them again and again!

This conversation went on for a few minutes and I decided to move on.

On a funny note, this “Slime Ball” tried their stuff on others – and was actually alienated from other people in the room! (And left very early).

You know and I know, this person was one of those lovely people from some certain Pyramid / Multi-Level-Marketing Shonk that was obviously looking for new people to prey on.

Over the years, I have had very good friends get caught up in these “Shonky” schemes.

The true sad part of all this is that out of at least 10+ people I have seen caught up, NONE of them have actually remained in the schemes or have made money.  The sad truth is that “Positive Thinkers” have used this as a means to try and not only rip people off – but they end up selfishly wasting the time of others.  In my own life, I have encountered many of these “Bottom Feeders” who want nothing other than to rob me of both for their own Selfish Agendas.

Are Rip-Off Merchants New? Of course not – but what I find just fascinating how the are really “Con-Men/Women” and they use the whole “Positive Thinking” / “Abundance” / “Rivers of Cash Flowing” – to get us to overcome our natural intelligence so they can take our hard earned cash. Our Time and Money is precious (especially time as you can’t make it back) – watch out for not only the Rip-Offs, but also how “Positive Thinking” can make you inactive.

Remember, while the intelligent people are working hard, overcoming real issues and making money – while the “Positive Thinkers” are busy imagining stuff that won’t ever happen to them. Be careful out there and stay realistic! It’s a Jungle out there and watch out for lions disguised as “Positive Thinkers!”

Positive Thinkers: Why do they Feel more Pain and Earn Less?

To All "Positive Thinkers" who rip off poor people - I can't wait till you are taken out with the Trash!

To All “Positive Thinkers” who rip off poor people – I can’t wait till you are taken out with the Trash!

If you are like me and had the privilege of working with and knowing wealthy people (i.e. not people on $50K / Year Pretending, but people of say at least $5M+) – you would already know that “Extreme Positive Thinking” really only has a place for scammers, people who don’t like to face facts or those who really use it as their “Religion” to help them sleep well at night.

Now my own Business is healthy and things are actually playing out well for me (Finally Thank God!) – I have really been working with two types of people when you boil it all down.

– Those that are having tough times – but pushing through and making it.

– Those that are having tough times – but are spinning around in circles and failing.

The alarming trend which I have confirmed (yet again) is that the people who are making it – are very similar to the people I know who are worth at least $5M.  Now, I know you may be thinking “Jesus Christ Ed, you stupid Capitalist, is it just about money?”.

My response to that is – of course it isn’t just about money, but come on and work with me here – Money is one of the top drivers of our satisfaction in our society (if you have ever been unemployed like I was for a while and you pay your rent with your Growing Credit Card Debt – trust me! You learn how powerful money is!).

The reality is that when someone is over-engaged in “Positive Thinking” and are saying things like “Oh it’s easy”, “Money flows to me in rivers of abundance”, “Money Grows on Trees like Apples”, “If i just visualize happy things Natalie Portman or Sam Worthington will visit me in my bedroom at 2AM etc” – they really aren’t grasping reality.

Where it get’s worse for these poor people, is that instead of just accepting reality in that “Well it’s tough – but things are going to get easier” and solving them problems and going for it – it encourages one to become inactive.

And here is the big thing, everyone who I know that has an unhealthy obsession with “Positive Thinking” – they aren’t the ones making the big bucks.  They are usually quite Good-Natured, Loving and Kind – but very poor, pressured and frustrated people.

If you were like me once and got sucked into this “Positive Thinking Fad” – it’s okay and don’t panic! Just start undoing the brain-washing all the Positive Thinking Cults have forced on you.  And if you are paying some “Guru” tons of money to help you -please stop it!

Just go down to your local Church, Mosque, Synagogue, Buddist Temple or Liberal Party office and ask for some free advice.  As for you stupid, pathetic worms who are using “Positive Thinking” to rip poor honest people off with your schemes and cults – I sincerely hope you twist your ankle going down the stairs today! You people are Garbage! And I hope you get taken out to the curb!

Why is it so easy to get sucked into Buying Rubbish?

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Even though I have worked in Marketing for over a decade, it has taken me a while to become really “Aware” of all the Advertising & Marketing being thrown at us to get us to “Act” in a way that benefits a given company.

When I was getting my weight back in control, I really started to think about how hard it can be to effectively lose weight.  At almost every step in the supermarket, marketers and companies are busy pushing sugar-laden confectioneries, high calorie cereals – They even take a swipe at you on the way out, by putting those great “Impulse” chocolates in front of you!

Now, before you say “OK Ed, take some responsibility, you chose to eat those chocolates” I am the first one to agree with you.  However, you got to acknowledge – companies are throwing lots of money at us to get as to act in a favour that benefits them.

In fact, is this fair doing it to Children?  OK, you can blame me because I am an “Adult”, but the marketing directed at Children? Come on – you can’t just pin that on the kids.

One thing that has really got me thinking lately is that:

– If you don’t know what you want, you can (and most likely will) get sucked into things that aren’t to your better interests.

If anything, this makes perfectly logical sense.  If you know exactly what you want to do and why you are doing it – it’s actually very hard to get distracted.  But if you are “Going with the Flow” – I have found this can really work against us.  When I did this myself, I really got into Chocolate and got very fat!  Fortunately I lost most of it (But it wasn’t easy!).

There are so many people out there (such as in my confectionery example) who are spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year to get you to act in a way that suits them.

Scary Huh? Besides picking on Chocolate (which is a personal love of mine) – this can really apply to many areas of our life.  A good example (as my mother always reminded me), if you hang out with the wrong crowd, you can really up becoming the wrong crowd!

Even better (and especially relevant Post-Christmas) is Consumer Credit Card Debt.  Once you get sucked in to this arrangement (i.e. Easy Credit Payment Terms, Easy ability to withdraw etc) it can be a tough one to get out of! If you know what you want (and why), I have found it really protects you from getting sucked into other people’s plan. If you are sucked into something that doesn’t suit you, then I really ask you to be “Critical and Independent” and ensure you act in your own interests.  After all, who else is going to look after what’s important to you?

Is Being Too Competitive Making Me a Loser?

I have a bit of an Inferiority Complex.  Yep – I said it.  In writing, so you have proof that I said it.  One thing that I have realized in myself is that if I am working in an area and someone is way better than me – I tend to “Shut Down” and think along the lines:

– If I am not the best, it means I am pathetic and worthless.

Really positive stuff! I really deserve a Tony Robbins Positive Thinking Medal for this one! As part of my Business Coaching Course I have been working through these exercises that are designed to uncover “Unconscious Junk” such as this in our thinking.  That is, 90%+ of our actions are controlled subconsciously we have a great deal of “Hidden Beliefs and Views” of the world that shapes our thinking and our actions. By bringing them to the conscious level, it really gives you a change to change them – so you don’t act or think like this anymore!

Don’t get me wrong, I am a friendly guy and I don’t put people down or anything like that – but if someone beats me too much it just bums me out.  It got me thinking, no matter what area we have in our lives there is always people better and people worse! In fact, one of my good Trading Mentors Vic Noble advised me on how to correct this thinking.  That is, you:

– Need to focus on your own personal best. That way you will always be improving.

Will you have the body of Hugh Jackman in Fitness? Will you own as much property as Donald Trump? Will you trade like George Soros? Will you have the connection to God as like Mother Theresa or Saladin? (An ancient Arab Leader known for his chivalry, against people that deserved the sword).

Maybe, maybe not.  The thing that I am learning is that no matter what area we work in – chances are there are people on both sides of your success level! It taught me a good lesson, in that if you are “In competition with people” around you, you will always be a “Loser!” Now, don’t get me wrong.  I am not advocating a hippie view, suggesting you start a commune, get high on marijuana or L.S.D or listen to Peace Songs – in fact I am suggesting quite the opposite.

That is, some of the top performers I know actually don’t care about people around them and having to beat them.  Their focus is lifting their own personal best each day.  In a day it may only lift say 0.5% – but after 100 days – that’s a 50% improvement! It’s time I stop “Keeping up with the Jones” and straining myself unnecessarily!

* Thanks to DVIDSHUB from Flickr for the image of the poor guy!

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!]

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.

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!

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.