Time to think

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The most valuable time spent is often times the time spent in thought.

On the weekends I have my son, he comes to me for several nights and we spend time time together as during the week he lives with his mother.

After dinner this Saturday night we sat in my lounge room, he was happily drawing on the floor, pencils and pens scattered across the carpet with countless sheets of paper surrounding him. I sat on the couch with a whiteboard marker in my hand, motionless and staring at the 3 whiteboards that I utilise to write down ideas and figure out ways that I can get to where I want to be.

My son looked up at me and said “what are you doing?” to which I replied, “I am doing my goal setting” which is a fairly regular occurrence in my house. He has waited for a a few seconds and then said, “but your not doing anything”…I paused… I looked at him once again and said “No Cy, that’s wrong actually, the hardest work that anyone can do is to think”. He has nodded his head in a manner that said to me something along the lines of “okay dad, whatever you reckon”. He has then gone back to drawing and I have returned to silence.

In my mind I have then gone off on a tangent, thinking about what I had said to my son, realising that although the thinkers in the long term are rewarded for their work, often times in the short term what they do is under valued. It is very easy to put a price onto the work of a bricklayer, for each brick laid there is price paid, a pretty simple equation really. But for someone who’s thoughts are their work I have found that it can be difficult to explain exactly what it is that you are doing especially to those that don’t quite understand the value in thought.

As someone who has worked on site and had several labour based jobs over the years I understand that for the majority of people being paid for your thoughts is a tough concept to get your head around.However, I believe fully in the statement that I made to my son. Ideas are a dime a dozen, great ideas are a little less common and amazing and innovatinve ideas or concepts that can actually be implemented by anyone, especially in terms of personal development, are pretty few and far between.

The issue being that many people that are in a position to utilise their ideas in a way that can effect society, often times don’t actually designate much real time to doing what Cal Newport
describes as “Deep Work”. In my case this is often time that has been allocated specifically for the purpose of thinking and nutting out ideas.

Had it not have been for my son’s random comment whilst I was sitting on the couch I would have had a solid hour of thinking without disturbance, I recognise that Ideally there would be no disturbance and this is the reason that I also wake up at 5 am and get to work before the world around me starts to interfere with the clarity that I require to think things through.

What I am talking about is not research time and it is not “creative time”, however, it is time in which you will end out being creative. It is time where all you have with you is your pen and paper to jot down your thoughts, the ideas that you have, strategies that you can implement, Changes that you would like to make in your life or business.

By the end of that hour I had thought about the age old saying, “your network is your networth” and I had made a list of everyone that I knew personally and professionally that I believe my services could add value too. On top of that I had also thought out a video content strategy and had come up with a way that I could deliver visual content consistently to a high standard. I also became very clear about what area of my business and creative endeavours currently needed the most focus for growth and I realised the area that I now need to dive deep into learning about. I hadn’t intended to think about any of those things, But without putting that time specifically aside I would not have come to the realisations that I have had.

At the end of the day my recommendations are fairly simple really,

Put time aside to think, removing all distractions, no phone at arms reach or television on in the background, just you, a piece of paper and a pen, or in my case, a white board marker and whiteboard, and maybe if you have one easily available, a 6 year child who can ask you a question mid thought, a question that might spur on more questions.

And now for the big one, How do you go about allocating time to think? And What are you thinking about?

The Three Rules of Success… Musings on Pablo Picasso.

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Whilst travelling France recently I went to the MuseePicasso, a beautiful 17th century mansion that held many of Picasso’s well known and lesser known works, along with the work of many of his contemporaries.

I have always liked Picasso’s bizarre cubist paintings, however, I had never explored him properly as an artist. I didn’t fully understand exactly why he was such an incredibly well known artist and what it was that caused him to be seen as one of the 20th centuries greatest painters and innovators.

My previous knowledge was that Picasso had started off doing drawings, I had seen some of his still life and portraiture work a few years ago at an exhibition in the Art Gallery of Western Australia, but it was only after I went to the Musee Picasso in Paris that I realised the full extent of who he was and what had caused him to rise to such heights of fame and success and to ultimately cement himself in the sands of time as one of the greatest artist to have ever lived.

Three things stood out to me about Picasso as an artist and the way that he produced his work and although they are simple things I believe that it is often the simple things that are overlooked. I believe These three points can be applied to any endeavour not just in the arts, but also in business, relationships, health, wealth, happiness and well-being,

After a lot of consideration I have concluded that these appear to be the fundamentals that are consistent with everyone that becomes successful and the perfect part is that they operate within a structure that’s really fairly straight forward.

From my visit to Musee Picasso in Paris I learnt 3 things, the first being,

1. Picasso studied the masters.

From a very young age Pablo Picasso was replicating the great works of art that had been before him, His father would sit him down and get him to trace and redraw pieces that had been painted or produced by the most incredible artists of the time. His father was an arts teacher and was disciplined in his approach to teaching the young Picasso, he had him drawing pictures of the human body from live models and sculptures and he ensured that Pablo was ever focused on his artistic endeavours, often to the point of detriment to his school work. At the age of 16 he was sent to study at Spain’s most prominent art’s school and began attending art exhibitions and admiring the slightly haunting and vaguely distorted work of the famous 16th Century artist El Greco.

As he got older he was spending more time in art circles and began viewing, obtaining and collecting works from other artists, with his collection including pieces by Joan Miro, Auguste Renoir and Henri Matisse, he studied the artists past and present that were making an impact on Europe and the world at large and he aimed to learn from their works and the path that they had gone down.

He was always the student, even into his later years when he would be considered one of the greats he continued to absorb new art from new artists and continued to study those that had been before him.

2. Picasso experimented with different mediums

Prior to entering the Musee Picasso i personally had no idea the full extent of the work that Picasso had done over the course of his lifetime, obviously he has a massive amount of reputation that revolves heavily around the cubist movement that he helped to co-found with George’s Braque, but what is very rarely shown is his exploration of different mediums aside from his drawings and his paintings.

The man was a chameleon.

Just when people thought that they could pin point who he was and what he was about he would start working in a different style and with new techniques. I was gobsmacked by the way that he utilised buttons and other random objects to make beautiful sculptures and was taken aback by the fact that he didn’t limit himself to one art form for his creative expression. At the end of the day this experimentation with new mediums and ways of doing things meant that he gave himself multiple perspectives and ways of viewing the world and what he was doing, with each new skillset that he learnt he added another layer of depth to his work, Subsequently it led to originality and an outside the box approach to creativity.

He is known best for the cubist work that he started doing at the age of 28, but the cubist period was only possible because of the work that had been before it, the drawings and paintings that he did throughout his youth, the blue and rose period of his early twenties and the African influenced work that he did just prior. This early analytic cubism developed further into the incorporation of bits of paper and other mediums into the work which further developed the ideas behind cubism.

The reason that Picasso is associated with so many big idea’s in the artistic world during the early 20th century is because he was fresh with his thinking, he did not limit himself to one way of doing things, on the contrary he tried his hand at almost anything and everything visually creative and that approach led to him being considered a real innovator.

3. Picasso was prolific, 

If you are successful or do something good once you may have just been lucky, but if you do well or produce many works worthy of consideration over an extended period of time then people start to take notice. Relentless in his creative spirit, Pablo Picasso produced MASSES of work over a career that spanned over 70 years. From a very young age Pablo Picasso was drawing and painting and by his mid teens he was doing it a lot, becoming more and more productive as the years went by. His life was in many ways governed by his work and his work was a reflection of his life. Just like the many mistresses that he had, the artwork depicting the many women of his fancy was in dumb-foundingly high quantities.

To be great at something you must practice, nobody starts off particularly adept at any skill-set, the more that you practice the better you get.

You can not increase the quality of your output without increasing the quantity of your output.

Pablo Picasso inherently knew this and through his career he did over 1,000 sculptures, close to 2,000 Paintings, thousands of prints and over 10,000 drawings, which alone is a phenomenal amount of work, on top of all that he also did hundreds of poems and wrote many plays. Life is a numbers game, you must do things many times over before what your doing makes a difference or before people will really take notice and once it does make a difference or they do take notice you must continue to do what you are doing and amp up your output.

Productivity is king and the individual with the most amount of work to show for their efforts is the person that has practised the most, simple.

The interesting thing about Pablo Picasso is that he is a man that has experienced some serious hardships and is not without a few personal shortcomings. He had his sister die when he was in his early teens from Diphtheria, in his early to mid twenties whilst living in Paris France he was living in borderline poverty and to top that all off his lover Eva Gouel died prematurely when he was in his early 30’s. He was a member of the French Communist Party and is said to have had some fairly outlandish political views. Meanwhile in his relationships he was far from a saint, cheating on his wife’s and partners, with many of them indicating that he was borderline abusive, further more he had tarnished and disconnected relationships with his children. No one is free of flaws.

But that isn’t the side of Picasso that get’s publicised, the largest discussion happens around the incredible work that he did and looking into it further it is highly likely that a part of the reason that he was so prolific and driven came from the underlying factors that contributed to the pain and hardship that he experienced and ultimately that he further perpetuated.

Picasso died at the age of 91 whilst he and his wife Jacqueline Roque were throwing a dinner party, his wife suffering from depression and unable to move on afterwards shot herself several years later.

During his life he produced countless amounts of work, with estimations being close to 50,000 pieces, spanning across masses of mediums, including drawing, painting, ceramics, fabric work, sculpture, poems and even plays, many of which were still in his possession at the time of his death.

Pablo Picasso’s name, his art and his successes have been cemented in the walls of history and his hardships and failings as a human being will slowly become less and less prominent as time passes by, undoubtedly his weaknesses will be even more down played and his greatness will become further exaggerated. He became a master because he studied the masters, He was an innovator because he experimented with different techniques and mediums and He will be forever remembered for his work because he was prolific, he contributed more to the arts than anyone else of his time not only in quantity of work but arguably in quality.

The rules that governed his success are applicable across all fields of human endeavour although as his relationships would show Picasso focused them primarily on his art. If you want to be the greatest or your greatest in any area you must understand, study and replicate the greatest. If you wish to innovate you must go through the process of experimentation and if you desire that your legacy becomes one of legend then you must be prolific, contributing more to your field of focus and constantly pushing yourself to produce to reach bigger and bolder new heights.

And that my friends, is what I learnt from the MuseePicasso.


Two Simple Questions To Unlock Blocks to Progress.

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We all have times when we struggle to do the things that are going to give us the most positive progress in our lives. Whether it’s in the areas of health, relationships, business, career or anything else that we want to improve upon.
I often find that I hit roadblocks regarding producing certain things and taking actions that I know will make the most positive impact on my life. I recently found myself hitting a complete roadblock regarding finished a product that I was making that packaged up the core things that I have learnt about creating change over my last 5 years of complete immersion in personal development.
I got to a certain point with the project where I found myself daunted by the task ahead of me, it was an overwhelming feeling but at the time I couldn’t quite put my finger on what was causing it.
The thing is that I believe that with this program I have the ability to really help people improve the quality of their lives but my progress on developing it had stalled. I started telling myself that I didn’t need to make it, but over the past several months of putting it aside I can not stop the voices in my head from telling me that I need to finish it and they keep reminding me that it is important work that must be finished.
I found myself sitting in silence at my computer desk contemplating my program yesterday and I picked up a piece of paper and wrote two questions in the hopes of finding some answers for my internal block.
The first question that I asked myself was
What fears do I have about my product launch?
. That it wont sell.
. That I will blow my chance to get my first product out there successfully.
. That it wont help people.
. That I don’t have the audience to sell it to.
When I looked at the page and my answers to that question I was confronted by the truth that I hadn’t previously acknowledged that the reason I hadn’t moved forward was actually based in fear.
The second question that I asked myself was
What is the truth about what I fear?
. That I am able to sell it in person and that over time people will find out about it.
. That as long as I continue to put it out there it will become successful.
. That what I have learnt and what I know is important information and that I can impart skills and knowledge to an audience that is currently unserved.
. That through consistently adding value to people’s lives I will build an audience, the product will help me build an audience.
Once I had written down my fears and what I believed to be the truth’s about those blocks I came to a shocking realization. When I initially began to develop the program and put everything together I was doing so because I sincerely wanted to help people and was driven by that factor but somewhere along the lines in the creative process my motifs began shifting to trying to figure out how I could monetize it and once my energy had shifted my drive almost completely disappeared, I feel in myself that this was because once money became the focus the creative work that was involved lost it’s essence and purity of intention.
I re-centered myself in the reason behind why I was creating a program in the first place, it is to “give people who are struggling in various areas of their lives the help that they need to feel motivated and driven to make lasting changes in their lives and to provide them with resources and information that assists them in doing so”. After thinking about that I felt an instant sense of relief about what I was going to do and it removed the mental blocks that I had about creating what I needed to create.
If I hadn’t of asked myself those questions I wouldn’t have come upon the answers that I ended out with, but in doing so I was able to peel back the layers of what was driving my behaviour and what had caused my internal resistance.
If you feel blocked or stuck regarding something that you are working on or trying to progress with and you want to delve deeper into what the fears that are holding you back are then there are two simple questions that you can ask yourself in times of doubt and difficulty.
1. What am I afraid of about….
2. What is the truth about what I fear?
Now here’s the important part, you need to then reflect on those answers, have you lost sight of the real reason why you were trying to do what you were doing in the first place?
I had lost track of my intention, but after I dug deep I found the truth nestled in amongst my fears and now after seeing the truth for what it is I feel release over the fact that if something I create manages to help one person improve the overall quality of their lives then I have created something worthwhile and all the work and hours put in would be well worth it.
Often what we are afraid of is simply masking confusions that we have deep down regarding our intentions, clear the fears and you will uncover your deepest intentions which will in turn make way for the progress that you want and deserve to make.

Build For Tomorrow, Today.

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It’s that one asset that you never get anymore of, the one asset that if you use it wisely you will create anything that you want to create in your life….it’s Time

And its precious, and it’s most precious because you can only use it once.

You don’t get this second again, you don’t get this hour again and you don’t get this opportunity again. But if your always spending your time on things that aren’t getting you to where you want to be, your always going to end out where you don’t want to be.

I spent a long, long part of my life not understanding and appreciating the concept of time, and when you lose your freedom, when you lose a period of your life that you will never get back and when you look back on your life and realize that a large proportion of your life was wasted time, you realize how previous it really is, you realize how valuable it is to have good friends and to have family members that mean something to you.

You realize how important it is that you spend your time wisely, how important it is to make sure that every second that you have of life counts, that every second that you can create, you are creating, that every second that you can progress you are progressing, that every single step that you take uses your time properly and uses your time wisely.

Because you will never get another today, and in today you create tomorrow, and you will never get another tomorrow.

So make sure that today, what you are doing with your time today, that it adds up to what you want tomorrow, because one way or another the time of tomorrow is coming and you either used today wisely and built up the tomorrow that you want….or you didn’t.

So make sure that you use your time wisely and make sure that you build what you want to build for tomorrow, today.

Equal Respect

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No matter the size of the Audience, treat every engagement with equal respect

As I walked up to the stage, I was mentally going through what I was going to say, reviewing my delivery and reciting the key points that I wanted to deliver. About to speak to my biggest audience yet, 250 people that have pro actively supported Passages Resource Centre in its endeavours to positively impact the community and help the youth.

I believe in what Passages are doing, after all, not only am I someone that is advocating for them, I am also someone that has been massively helped by their services. My aim was to get across to their audience the real reasons why Passages is a service worth supporting, I was there to benefit the audience.

Fast Forward by two weeks and Entering the community centre me and my best friend looked around, a couple of small fold out tables scattered around the room and a male Lions Club member there to set up their meeting before the members arrived.

We started to talk about the club, it was a small club, about 15 members, most meetings roughly 10 people arrived, quite a different environment to the fundraising day that I had spoken at two weeks prior.

In my mind I started going over what I was going to speak about, what I needed to focus on in order to add as much value to the clubs members as possible, after all, I was there to benefit the audience.

I would attempt to speak to them with as much passion and enthusiasm as I had delivered to the audience of 250.

Regardless of the audience present I aim at giving people as much of myself as possible, on adding as much value to their lives as I can. Every speech is tailored and although some speeches may require masses of research, run for longer periods of time, or require slide show presentations and resources, ultimately I aim at giving as much of my energy to the audience when I am delivering my speeches, regardless of the audience.

Whether an organization meets in a function area with beautiful table settings or a community room with fold out tables, I believe that everyone deserves to get the most presence from me when I am there with them.

It is this attitude towards respecting people and respecting the quality of your work that I believe differentiates the people that make an impact in peoples lives and those that don’t. No matter what you do in life, it is important to remember that when you are “On” you must be “On”, no matter the audience.

Deliver to your audience, Put your best energy into your work no matter your field and remember to treat every engagement with equal respect.

A Few Words of Kindness

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The smallest compliment can make the biggest impact on someone who may be otherwise down and out, and oftentimes it is all that is needed to bring them back to a happier place.

I remember being at the shop center getting groceries a few weeks back and was confronted with an incredible experience that uplifted my soul. I met a man there who was in his early twenties who was working at the checkout, he was tall, a bit over weight and he had a dark cloud over him, I wasn’t sure what it was, but there was something about his story that seemed lonely or hurt. Regardless of that cloud, he greeted me with a smile, positivity and real sincerity, asking me how my day had been in a way that showed that he really cared. It’s a generic question, “how has your day been?” but when someone really means it, it shows. He was just really sincere when he asked and the presence that came off of him impacted me in such a positive way that as I was walking off I felt uplifted by the fact that someone wasn’t just going through the routine of asking that generic question, but that there was real emotion behind it.

As I approached my car I thought for a minute that I should go back and tell him how I felt from talking to him, but a little voice in my head said, “its too late, you have walked away from the checkout, just go home.”

But then another voice chirped in and said, “he has no way of knowing that his presence impacted you if you don’t actually tell him” So, just before getting to my car I decided to turn around and go back.

I approached the counter and said to him “I just wanted to say, you have a really beautiful presence, it really uplifted me

He lit up, his stance changed, the cloud that was over him dissipated and he immediately held himself with confidence saying to me “thank you man, that means a lot” his energy had completely changed. In a few words someone else was able to positively impact my day and in a few words back I was able to positively impact theirs.

I haven’t seen him at the shops again and I am really glad that I spoke up when I had the chance.

The thing is, that although not much was said between us, what was said….“said a lot”.

It wasn’t superficial, we were creating sincere connection between the human side of us. Focusing on something more than an outward appearance.

You have to remind yourself to look at something about someone that shows who their true character is, and shine a light on it, help them bring it out. Most people that have something inside to express, that inner beauty, rarely get acknowledgment of that. In a world were people are so focused on the material aspects to life it can be hard to look past appearances and although outward appearances can be a great way to start a conversation, if the conversation doesn’t move on to anything deeper it means nothing. The thing that lies past appearances is depth of character, it is real human connection.

Its a small thing, a simple thing. To bring that light out in someone else by saying a few words of kindness. Simply try complimenting 1 person, every day on their character, with no ulterior motive except for the fact that you want to acknowledge their true essence.

It will brighten them up, it may even help to shift a cloud from over their heads, it may be all that they need to bring more light into the rest of their world.

A little bit goes a long way.

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Everyday we have the ability to do something little and yet something great for someone else, something that may seem small or trivial, but something that actually has the potential to positively lift their spirits.

Its not the big gestures that hold together our relationships, friendships, families and communities, it is the little actions of acknowledgement, the small signs of encouragement and the sincere statements of unity that bond us together and that help to connect us all together.

To show people you really care, try giving someone that extra bit of recognition.

Try sending that old friend who you dont talk to anymore or may have had a falling out with a message, or better yet a phone call. Tell them that no matter what has happened you still care about them.

When you see a homeless person dont ignore them, try and engage, maybe you cant afford to give them money…but im sure they will appreciate having just a couple of minutes of your time.

Give a loved one an unexpected hug, let them know how much you love them, what they mean to you and that you are by their side regardless of circumstance.

Try acknowledging the person behind the counter at your local shopping centre, they spend their day serving people and are often treated as though they are simply another obstacle in getting groceries.

Remember that a little bit of kindness, a little bit of care and a little bit of recognition goes a long way in lifting someone else’s spirits!


Career Direction

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So much of our happiness, healthy and well-being is related directly to our jobs, it is where we spend a large amount of our time, it is where we establish a lot of our personal values and it is where we build a massive amount of our personal identity.
Once I personally figured out where I wanted to go in the long term regarding my career goals I began to make progress that was light years ahead of my previous efforts. The reality is that without a clear sense of career direction we are unable to get anywhere even close to our ideal.
This doesn’t mean that your career has to be set in stone, rather it means that you should aim to have a general sense of a long term objective. These long term objectives can be applied to all areas of your life, your health, your well-being, your work career, your education, your creative projects, the sky is the limit as to how you can apply your objectives.
The reason that knowing where your heading in the long term is so crucial is because it gives you the ability to differentiate between irrelevant information and the information and learning that is actually relevant to the career growth that you want to experience.
The most practical thing that you can do to get a real sense of where your heading with your career comes down to questioning. That is, questioning where you want to go and what you want to achieve.
A great way to start this process is by properly assessing your current career, this is because our career dictates so much of
the rest of our lives and ultimately to achieve a positive career will mean that you must build the rest of your life to support that career growth.
There are four simple questions that you can ask yourself that will help you to gain a better sense of your career direction.
They are:
1. If I could do whatever I wanted to do every day, how would I fill my time?
2. How can I utilize my interest to add value to other peoples lives?
3. To go down this career path are their employers offering this opportunity or will I have to work for myself?
4. What must I learn to be able to add the most amount of value to other peoples lives?
For example:
Sarah loves reading in her spare time and feels as though her 9-5 work takes away from her ability to engage in a lot of books and because she has home commitments her time constraints on reading effects how much she is able to read.
To answer the questions,
1. Sarah would love to spend every day reading and to make an income from her reading.
2. She could add value to other peoples lives through written book reviews, book summaries or book promotions.
3. There are employers that hire people as book reviewers, as-well as newspapers and online blogs. Sarah could alternatively start her own business in which she could potentially operate her own blog or create her own book review website.

4. If Sarah

wished to work for someone else she would have to learn how to write an excellent review, she would have to build up a portfolio of book reviews to increase her desirability to potential employers. If however she wished to work for herself she would have to learn how to create an online business structure or whatever business structure was relevant to her getting her information out into the public domain.

Regardless of the route that you wish to take, Once you know where you want to go with your career you are able to choose what you put your focus on, you are able to cut out the unnecessary activities and you are able to identify what actions will move you towards your desired career outcome.

PRACTICE what you Preach!

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If you want to impact peoples lives in a positive manner you must PRACTICE what you Preach.

For what you say to truly resonate with people their must be congruence, congruence between what you say and what you do. For those that wish to practice what you preach their are four simple steps that you can take to have what you say impact people positivly in the way you desire.

1. Be Responsible

Although many people say that you need to dive head first into something to really learn about it, the truth is that if you want others to listen to you, you actually have a responsibility to provide those that you are talking to with the strongest information that you can possibly provide them with. You need to ensure that you are being responsible, it is not enough to just think that you know something, you need to really know it, to have internalized it if you wish to be able to truly pass it on to someone else.

2. Be “THAT guy” or be “THAT girl”.

If you want people to take you seriously you have to “Be THAT guy” or “Be THAT girl”, in other words, you need to embody your preachings fully. Your life should rotate around how you can be the living embodiment of what you are endeavouring to tell people about. It is not good enough to talk about work ethics and to tell others how they can improve their work ethics if you yourself have trouble working for longer than a couple of hours, this principle can be applied to whatever it is you wish to do in life. “Be THAT guy” before you try and tell other people how to “Be THAT guy”

The question to ask is if someone came to my house, would my life reflect that which I am preaching?

3. Experiment

To practice what you preach you should have experimented, it is not good enough to only know one solution to a problem, you should know multiple solutions to multiple problems within a given area and should have experimented in various techniques. If for example you are a personal trainer and someone came to you saying that they wanted to lose weight and you told them a specific way of training that would get them the results they wanted but you yourself had not experimented with other techniques of training then how could you possibly be providing them with what they need?

4. Talk only on what you know, have learned and have experienced

There is no experience quite like personal experience, however, your personal experience may not be relevant for all those that you have the potential to impact. For this reason you must take in a wider variety of learnings, learnings that you can apply to what you endeavour to teach others, learnings that will ultimately expand your ability to communicate to multiple demographics. This is done by reading, watching documentaries, attending seminars, discussions with mentors and any other form of informative process where you are not relying on your own personal experience for a reference point.
You should aim to look at all your relationships that you have with people from the perspective of either being a teacher or a student, or being both both and remember that in the same way that a child will rebel against that which their parents preach to them but will follow the behaviours which they see. So to will all relationships follow in the same process.
It is important to remember that people are intuitively receptive of congruence and that if you wish for people to take on what you say, you must practice what you preach.