use your senses when looking for opportunities

It’s funny.

Having traveled all over the world and having spent years in an International School, there is one truth about people and I believe Depeche Mode sang it best when they said, “People are people.”

It’s not the color of our skin, where we were raised or what schools we attended – we each develop our own personal philosophy on life.

We might not even be aware that we have one, but each of us makes a conscious decision to focus on some things and not others.

Such as if we’ll study or how we’ll invest our money come from years of being influenced by our family, friends and school.

What’s ironic is:

  • The people who need to exercise the most are the ones who exercise the least.
  • The people who need to save money are the last ones to save.
  • The people who need to study are the ones least likely to even bother picking up a book.

Having been a teacher for many years and now being a success coach, I run into one problem time and time again – resistance.

When I taught English, students would often ignore my advice…without even trying it.

I offered up tips on how to improve their reading, their writing, how to get better scores on tests and numerous other suggestions, but year-in and year-out only about 10-15% of the students actually applied them.

50% applied them to some extent and the rest simply couldn’t be bothered.

Now I teach time management, finance, success principles and marketing and I still run into the same problem.

It reminds me of the old saying, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink it.”

At home or at the office, it’s the same.

Children are probably our greatest challenge. Many of them are intent on NOT studying while parents are decidedly in the opposing camp.

And sadly, many children win unless parents get creative or are good examples themselves.

The problem is that unless people are actively seeking answers, they don’t want to listen.

It makes no difference if people have advice on how to live better, eat more healthily, invest successfully or achieve more. If people aren’t listening, then even the best ideas will fall on deaf ears.

I know because I used to be one of them.

Back in my 20s, I used to ignore suggestions my mentors and my father passed on to me.

They would just go in one ear, and out the other.

Life was good. I had money in the bank and was enjoying my life. It wasn’t until later when I actually decided to get serious about my life that I understood what my mentors and my father had been saying.

Now I’m older, and a whole lot smarter. (at least I hope so)

Now I’m constantly jotting down notes.

In meetings, in discussions, in the car when the light turns red (I listen to audio lectures while I drive), even when I watch Looney Toons with my son.

A good idea is a good idea no matter where you get it from – and that’s something worth remembering.

You’ll be surprised just where the best ideas come from.

But be sure you get your ideas down on paper. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve forgotten a good idea in the time it took me to find a pen.

I used to use a physical journal, but with the iPhone today it’s no longer necessary.

I use Evernote.

Just yesterday I transferred just one of my notes into a Word Document and noticed it was 99 pages long.

One note, hundreds of ideas.

That’s where this post came from. Let me explain.

A while back I had lunch with a friend of mine who I hadn’t seen for some time.

After telling her all I was up to, she asked me how I was able to fit in everything I do. I explained how I used NET time.

NET time is nothing new but I believe Tony Robbins coined the term.

Essentially, it is using your time wisely by doing two things at the same time without diminishing either one. For example: exercising while listening to an audio lecture on how to improve our sales.

Your body gets the exercise it needs and your mind gets some ideas to implement at the office. An awesome use of time.

She almost laughed when I told her about how I use my driving time to study success principles and marketing techniques.

When we got back into my car, ironically my favorite speaker was on so I decided to leave it on and see her reaction.

It didn’t take long – 15 seconds, and she said, “and this is interesting?”

I decided to skip ahead to the second track where the author made a joke…nothing amazing but it made me chuckle.

Her comment was, “Is that meant to be funny?”

Nothing I or the speaker could have said would have changed her mind at that point…she had decided.

She had already made up her mind it was garbage and that was that.

She had simply turned her ears off.

Too often in life we jump to conclusions, and in doing so we limit our options. This story illustrated this nicely, which is why it ended up in my journal.

Don’t just give up on a book after 10 pages, go at least a quarter the way through the book before you deciding it’s not for you.

Don’t just listen to 2 minutes of an audio lecture, give it at least half an hour.

Give each person, movie, audio lecture, presentation or whatever its fair shake.

Ideas are everywhere, but if we refuse to listen, then we’ll never hear them.

Do yourself a favor and open your mind to the possibility that you don’t have all the answers.

Really listen to those people who have been there and done that.

Don’t take my word for it…try it for yourself.

I think you’ll be glad you did.

Adrian Shepherd

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