Say what you like about me, but my closest friends and clients know that I do what I do because I care.
People also know that when they ask me a question that 99% of the time they’re going to get an honest answer. The 1% is reserved for when I really believe that people can’t handle the answer.
When my friends get haircuts I don’t like – I tell them. Why? I do my best to put myself in their shoes and if I had a haircut that made me look bad, no matter how much it hurt to hear, I would appreciate it because it would allow me to not make the same mistake twice.
Now if only a select few think it’s wonky then no big deal, but if my close friends, my parents and even a few strangers comment on it then I know something’s up.
The key is getting feedback. Or as it’s often referred to – criticism.
Once I know then it is up to me to choose what to do with it.
In the excellent book The Starbucks Experience one quote stood out above all the rest, but its author is unknown if I’m correct.
“Don’t mind criticism. If it is untrue, disregard it; if unfair, keep from irritation; if it is ignorant, smile; if it is justified, it is not criticism – learn from it.”
So to change what we are today we must first educate ourselves.
Education comes in many forms today. There’s the standard education which comes in the form of school and books. The newer forms of education in the Internet, audio and DVD trainings. It can be found in sermons, in speeches, in documentaries, on the Internet…in fact education can be found anywhere.
And let’s not forget probably the most powerful form of education – that from other people. The most influential of that being our own family, followed by peers and then teachers.
Yes, it’s all around us.
We have the power to begin change, but still many resist it. I suppose the answer to that lies in our own mind. But rest seems to be easier than effort. What people forget to factor in is the long term effect.
Short term cutting corners looks pretty good.
You can finish earlier. Hang out more with your friends. And have more time for yourself.
Long term shows the effects of cutting corners.
Our projects run into trouble at later stages. We have problems because we didn’t spend much time looking into every eventuality.
As my mentor Jim Rohn once said, “We must all suffer from one of two pains: The pains of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.”
There is always a price to be paid.
Still not convinced?
Let’s take a look at marketing today and what separates the winning companies from the losers.
If you’re like me, you subscribe to a few newsletters from various companies – which do you choose to keep reading?
The ones that educate us about what we are interested in.
The ones with a nice fancy site might catch our eye, but in the end, it’s always about what’s inside that matters.
“Don’t judge a book by its cover” is so true when it comes to education. Who cares if a school looks good, the teachers dress well and the prices are ultra-competitive when their results are substandard?
Here in Japan the biggest English conversation school went belly-up a few years ago. They looked the part – no doubt.
What they forgot somewhere along the line was to deliver service to their customers.
Suits are professional, no question there. But they have their time and place.
In my studies of success, marketing, and business I have learned to give every book, audio lecture and DVD training its fair shake. Sometimes it’s on page 351 of the book that I’ll find the secret that will change my life forever. Any good author will do his or her best to get you there.
If they haven’t at least caught your attention by page 100 then it’s possible you should put the book down.
Not every book is a winner, just like not ever business is a winner.
Sometimes we have to cut our losses.
With the little free time that we have, we need to be selective in our choosing.
So…if you want to make some changes you might be asking yourself, “Where should I start?”
In response to this my answer is always the same, “What do you want?”
Once I know what you want I can advise you, much like a doctor can only diagnose you after you have shared your symptoms with them.
If you want to a more personal answer feel free to write to firstname.lastname@example.org but for now I’ll leave you with a few suggestions:
- Men Are From Mars And Women Are From Venus – is a good place to start on improving relationships
- Rich Dad, Poor Dad – opens your eyes to how to succeed financially
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – great for both self-improvement and business
- iSucceed: secrets for the average joe and jane – a quick, easy read on ways to change your life as a whole (now who do you suppose wrote that?!)
And let’s not forget this site. I spend two to four hours a day studying and next year I aim to improve upon this.I do it for myself as much as I do it for my clients.Just today a friend asked me what my dream is – to change education.To find the best people. To find the most practical information. And then to share it with others.I took a look at what I’m good at and I believe that my greatest talent is inspiring people to become more. I did that as a teacher, I have always done that as a friend and I am doing it now as an author, speaker, entrepreneur and educator.I may not be perfect, but I always give it my 100%.And if the results are any indication then I would say I’m on the right track.
So if you’re looking to make some changes in your life; start by educating yourself in whatever area you are passionate about or need the most help in.
The decision to educate myself was probably the best decision I ever made and believe that if you’re reading this, you’ll do the same.
If you ever need me, you know where to find me.