Have I uncovered the secret to success? Not yet ! But I truly believe that the following 7 “must knows” ultimately turn the success dial in the right direction.
You are valuable and have gifts to offer the universe
“Once you start believing in your capacity to change the world in a conversation, in a glance, in a smile, and in a moment you start awakening your purpose”
You are the only person that can be you and simply by showing up as that person you fulfil your purpose to the world.
We lose this natural fit within the order of the universe because we let self-doubt and low self-esteem intrude. This takes us away from the natural order and into the space of struggle.
When we step out of our self-made shadows and into the beautifully glorious space of being our unique self, we are enough and all we need to be. Be more you!
The power of challenging your thinking
We are bombarded with so much information ever second of the day that it is impossible for us to process it all.
Our clever brains have figured out a way to simplify this information processing, by filtering out new data that doesn’t resonate with something already in our database.
The result, we develop develop subtle, or in some cases not so subtle, biases in our view of the world.
No two people experience and remember events in the same manner and as a result cannot possibly ever be on the same map when it comes to their views.
Assuming that we all think alike is one of the most dangerous outcomes of our biases. This leads us to believe our views are correct.
Our biases are strengthened by the fact we only absorb information that conforms to our existing beliefs and filter out anything that challenges them.
Biases mean we apply potentially damaging irrational views to making decisions.
By challenging our views and thoughts we can open our minds to a whole new experience and understanding of the world. And because we can only “know what we know” the best way to do this is by interacting with people outside our comfort zone. People who are different to us who act different and come from different backgrounds.
You are a guest on earth, treat her with respect
“We have forgotten to be good guests, how to walk lightly on this earth as its other creatures do”
Our earth has existed for billions of years, we visit her for only a few.
She graciously provides the perfect atmosphere, warmth, food, water and countless other resources, sights and experiences that fuel our souls.
Have we forgotten the rules of being a thoughtful and grateful guest?
The first rule I was taught was to always bring a “thank you” gift for the host. Imagine the positive impact we could have if each of us gave the gift of our commitment to conserving earth’s beauty by taking steps to maintain our immediate environments and those further afield.
While we may feel our action is weak and our gift inadequate it only takes one small stone to cause an avalanche.
The second rule I was taught was to not overindulge but rather to enjoy in moderation.
We pillage and plunder the earth’s resources and then have the audacity to throw out the surplus we no longer want.
The final and favourite of my mother’s socialisation rules was to help clean up. It is easy to leave the mess for someone else to sort out or to blame industry or history for the earth’s damage and deny all liability. But this is not useful. A more effective approach would be to start with the easiest actions that we all can take to turn the tide of the earth’s degeneration. Use less electricity and water, buy local, avoid the use of plastics, use less polluting transport and stop the excessive consumerism that is supporting the earth’s demise.
The earth is breathtakingly beautiful and unveils her glory in so many unexpected ways. Be grateful for being invited to visit, for having the opportunity to enjoy her offerings and to serve her by being uniquely you.
The art of being a listener
“Nature gives us one tongue and two ears so we could hear twice as much as we speak”
I am a notoriously bad listener, I have a short attention span and get easily distracted or zone out when someone is speaking.
I know I am missing out on vital information and really knowing people and have been practising to get better by following these simple guidelines:
The first is to stop talking.
The second is to stop thinking about what to say next. By simply focusing on the other person, asking questions, and clarifying our understanding we are building our knowledge and empathy,
The ability to listen effectively is a powerful tool for solving problems and uncovering new opportunities, make sure you have it in your box of tricks.
Success is the reward for giving value
In his book, “Give and Take” Adam Grant uncovers why helping others drives our success.
Grant’s version of the successful giver is someone who is focused on giving value and servicing others interests without negating her own interests.
This doesn’t imply a “what’s in it for me” mindset but rather a slow process focused on giving value, and reasonably determining a “worth metric” for that value.
Because the successful giver has taken time to build wide networks held together by genuine trust, collaborated extensively and established a solid reputation of giving genuine value, the value metric becomes a natural give and take flow in the value chain
The error of borrowing money from your future
Debt is borrowing money from your future self.
When we use the debt to buy things that don’t grow in value we have squandered our future money and possibly our future financial stability.
In separating the “now” purchase from the “later” pay we either forget or simply overlook the true cost of borrowing.
Let’s assume we borrow to buy a car costing £10,000. We are charged 10% interest per year on our 5 year loan.
The car loses around 20-25% of its value per year so at the end of 5 years we have a car worth around £3,300. After 5 years it apparently loses another 60% leaving us with a £1,980 rapidly depreciating hunk of junk, likely costing us a ton in maintenance.
Our loan on the other hand has cost us £2,621 in interest, and a total repayment of £12,621.
Clearly you would much rather be the lender in this scenario rather than the borrower and you could have been by forgoing the loan for the new car and rather investing the monthly loan repayment of £210.
The eighth wonder of the world – compounding
Albert Einstein is said to have called the power of compound interest “The Most Powerful Force in the universe, he who understands it earns it, he who doesn’t pays it”
Compound interest is the magic that happens when an investment or loan earns interest on interest. It works to your advantage when you are saving and investing and against you when you are paying off debt.
Think of it as the snowball, gathering snow and momentum as it rolls down the mountain.
To access this magic you simply have to save or invest regularly, earn a reasonable rate of return and leave it to let time work the magic and grow your nest egg.
Similarly, pay of debt as fast as you can to stop the momentum of the growing interest to be paid.
Our brains find it very difficult to conceptualise the power of compounding and as a result we undervalue its power and give up on our savings and investments before they have hit exponential growth.
Imagine you were offered a choice of £1,000,000 now or 1 pence doubled every day for a month.
Assume you are a risktaker, or alternatively you understand the power of compound interest, and go for option 2.
After 7 days your investment would be worth £1.28, after 14 days, £163.84, after 25 days, £335,544. At this point you may be very tempted to throw in the towel, ignore the lost £1,000,000 opportunity and spend what you have. However if you wait until the 31 days is up, guess how much you would have?
And that is the power of compounding.