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?

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.

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.

Staying Focused

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Learning to stay on task is quite possibly on of the most important skills you can endeavor to master.

It is responsible for your effectiveness when executing a goal efficiently and is the determining factor between meeting a deadline with ease or rushing to finish something at the last minute.

There has been much research regarding the association between listening to music and effeciency and although many people believe that music helps them execute a task this is generally speaking not the case.

The ideal state of work is the state known as “flow” this is the state in which your full attention is dedicated to the task at hand. As such it is hard to dictate against the reality that for flow to be truly achieved full attention must be given to whatever it is you are attempting to accomplish.

The easiest way to improve your ability to do a task quickly and simply is to cut off all distractions, put your phone on silent, clear your mind before starting, remove all sensory distractions and prepare yourself mentally for the activity you are about to engage with. If you do this prior to starting all major activities you will find yourself completing your goals in record time and becoming more productive than you could have ever imagined.