Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Greatest Thief Of All Time - Part II

Although it’s quite obvious that every action has a reaction, it’s a little less obvious that every in-action also has a re-action. It is not just what you do that makes the difference in your life, but also what you fail to do. Procrastination is that strange (lack of) behaviour where you want to do something, but still you don’t

It is natural to avoid things that are unpleasant, tiring, difficult or anxiety provoking. Although it is natural and understandable, procrastination is the greatest threat faced by most aspiring successes. Procrastination will poison your productivity and maim your chances for tenure. It is the virulent disease that annihilates success. You need to get yourself inoculated from it

This habit chips away at the life you COULD be living, right now. It stifles your potential to make the money you deserve... it holds you back from enjoying rewarding personal relationships... And it prevents you from achieving your true potential! Can you even put a price on the opportunities and potential this bad habit is holding you back from -- right now? Of course not! Because your goals and dreams are priceless!

Can you remember the relief you experienced the last time you completed something that took forever to get done? "That wasn't so bad after all," is usually the sentiment. Procrastination is a habit, not a fatal flaw. It takes persistence to change, but you can do it.

So, why do people (you and I) procrastinate?

Cause and Effect #1: The Fear Of Failure

The fear of failure is a major cause for procrastination. In fact, all forms of procrastination have some kind of fear at its roots. The fear of failure is a common fear that we all share. As human beings, we are not designed to fail. We are designed to consistently progress and improve. This fear then keeps you locked up in procrastination as a way of keeping you from failing. The effect of this form of procrastination then is quite obvious: failure to utilize opportunities. If you don’t act on opportunities they aren’t really opportunities are they? It is never a case of whether opportunity is knocking, but rather a case of whether you are acting on this opportunity and utilizing it.

Cause and Effect #2: Feeling Overwhelmed

We all have a limited mental and emotional capacity. Just like your physical capacity, you have a limit to what you can take on at any given time, and only you know what that limit is. When you overload yourself physically, your body usually breaks down in some form or another. When you overload yourself mentally and emotionally, your mind will intervene, usually in the form of procrastination, to keep you from a ‘mental overload’. The effect of this form of procrastination is that you start to avoid tasks, especially the important ones that you know you ‘must’ do.

Cause and Effect #3: Postponing Important Tasks

Procrastinators are actively seeking out diversions, not because they are lazy, but because at some level they fear the task that they are avoiding. By postponing a task you actually ‘lie’ to yourself. Instead of giving up or quitting – all you are doing is to make yourself feel a little better by saying ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’. By postponing important tasks, you postpone important results. Remember that for every cause there is an effect and when you postpone the actions you also postpone the results.

Cause and Effect #4: Perfectionism

A type of erroneous thinking that leads to procrastination is perfectionism. Thinking that you must do the job perfectly the first try will likely prevent you from ever getting started. Believing that you must do something perfectly is a recipe for stress, and you'll associate that stress with the task and thus condition yourself to avoid it. You then end up putting the task off to the last possible minute, so that you finally have a way out of this trap. Now there isn't enough time to do the job perfectly, so you're off the hook because you can tell yourself that you could have been perfect if you only had more time. But if you have no specific deadline for a task, perfectionism can cause you to delay indefinitely. If you've never even started that project you always wanted to do really well, could perfectionism be holding you back?

Cause and Effect #5: Poor Time Management

Procrastination means not managing time wisely. You may be uncertain of your priorities, goals and objectives. You may also be overwhelmed with the task. As a result, you keep putting off things for a later date.

Do you know any other cause/ effect of Procrastination that I have not mentioned above? Please feel free to share…before I take you through the practical steps to break free from this habit.

Stay on right on top! That's where you belong!

Monday, February 26, 2007

The Greatest Thief Of All Time

Recently, I came across a story that detailed the greatest robberies in history. Let me share with you two of the documented robberies that caught my attention.

In March 2003, on several occasions beginning on March 18, the day before the United States began bombing Baghdad, nearly US$1 billion was stolen from the Central Bank of Iraq. This is considered the largest bank heist in history. Approximately $650 million was later found hidden in walls in Saddam Hussein's palace by US troops. It is believed that this was the bulk of the stolen money. The remaining money is currently unaccounted for. Diyaa Habib al-Khayoun, general manager of the state-owned al-Rafidain Bank, claims that $250 million and 18 billion now worthless Iraqi dinars were also stolen, but by professional robbers unconnected to Saddam. Later, a hand-written note surfaced, signed by Saddam, ordering $920 million to be withdrawn and given to his son Qusay. Bank officials state that Qusay and another unidentified man oversaw the cash, boxes of $100 bills, being loaded into trucks during a five hour operation. Qusay was later killed by US troops in a firefight.

The Brinks Mat Robbery occurred on 26 November 1983 when six robbers broke into the Brinks Mat warehouse at Heathrow Airport, England. The robbers thought they were going to steal £3 million in cash; however when they arrived they found ten tonnes of gold bullion (worth £26 million). The gang got into the warehouse thanks to security guard Anthony Black, who was the brother-in-law of the raid's architect Brian Robinson. Scotland Yard quickly discovered the family connection and Black confessed to aiding and abetting the raiders, providing them with a key to the main door and giving them details of security measures. Tried at the Old Bailey, Robinson and gang leader Michael McAvoy were each sentenced to 25 years imprisonment for armed robbery. Black got six years, and served three.

I can share with you the names of several other robbers and thieves that have made world headlines. The list will surely be long. However, none of them can stand side by side with a thief that I know. In my opinion, it is the greatest thief of all times. It has stolen from Presidents as well as Chief Executive Officers. It has stolen from business men as well as entrepreneurs. It has stolen from the executives and legislators. It has stolen from the rich as well as the poor; from the young as well as the old; from cities as well as from whole nations. The interesting thing is that it is still at large! It has managed to stay out of the public glare. It has been smarter that the CIA, FBI and other security outfits. It has probably even stolen from them- right in their offices! Guess who/what I am talking about – Procrastination! Procrastination is the greatest thief of all time, and it is still at large! Guess what? It has stolen from you several times even without you knowing!

Everyone procrastinates. We put things off because we don't want to do them, or because we have too many other things on our plates. Well, we all suffer from procrastination at some point (often many points in our lives). Sometimes we can get completely paralyzed when we think of just how much we have to do. But however busy and well-organized we may seem to the outside world, most of us have things lurking around that stubbornly don't seem to get done: learning a new skill, sitting for an exam, clearing out the attic, defrosting the freezer, going to the dentist, reading a book e.t.c. Putting things off -big or small- is part of being human. Isn’t it?

Procrastination, the habit of putting tasks off to the last possible minute, can be a major problem in both your career and your personal life. Missed opportunities, frenzied work hours, stress, overwhelm, resentment, and guilt are just some of the symptoms.

In the next couple of posts, I will be sharing with you the causes of procrastination and practical steps to overcome it. Watch out

You will succeed!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Organize or Agonize

Something simple but profound struck me this morning. Our bedroom looks much more spacious when everything is in order- in its place and well arranged. Are you familiar with this? Try arranging your office table and you’ll discover there’ll be room for more things. Try arranging the clothes in your wardrobe properly and it will be evident you can still handle a few more clothes. The message is then very clear and simple – order makes for increase. The more organized you are, the more ready you are to handle more!

Let me start from what I hope to conclude with – It takes far more time to be disorganized than it does to be organized because disorganized people loose so much time to inefficiency.

Have you ever been looking for something you misplaced of late? You know the thing is somewhere around you…maybe in your bedroom. You are dead sure you kept it there the last time but you can’t seem to just find it! The experience can be very frustrating (I get really frustrated) and can make you loose quality time. Worse still, you will most time eventually see the thing in a place that will not take you 30 seconds to locate it if you had known it was there at the very beginning! Can you relate with this situation…or even worse ones?

It’s important to note that order makes for increase. A simple illustration to prove this is when you are packing for a trip. If you decide to dump all your clothes and personal effects in a suitcase just like that, the suitcase will be full in no time. However, if you take your time to neatly fold your clothes, and arrange your personal affects in an orderly manner, you will be amazed at how much space you still have more! If you want to increase in your life, business, career and what have you, pay attention to order. If your life is in order, then increase is guaranteed. If your life is surrounded by clutters and you don’t just seem to get organized, you will have no room for more.

There is a mystery about order. Order makes for increase. Anywhere you see order, increase will not be far off. Have you noticed something about developed countries and economies? There is a high degree of order. You’ll see order everywhere. The opposite is true for developing countries and economies. Little wonder why we are still where we are!

Getting organized is a process and it doesn't happen overnight! It's like quitting a bad habit. In the beginning it is very difficult but it gets easier until one've begun the new habit of "being organized" without even thinking!

One of the greatest lesson I have learnt about order and organization is this “A place for everything; everything in its place”. Let me share with you some tips that I have learnt about getting organized. Some of these tips will work for you, others won't. You don't have to do everything; you just have to do something!

- Have a plan for each day

Before you leave for home each day, take the time to review your calendar for the day and prepare any documents that you might need during that day. The truth is that you will most times not follow this plan 100% but you will be more organized and get more done when you have a clear plan.

- Give every object a home

Assign a home to each item. Where will you put those old bank statements? Where will you keep the magazines? Where should all those design notes go? If you had a box for trash, go through those items and note what should have been thrown away. If you assign a convenient home to every item, you will be much more inclined to put them away.

- Put it away!

It’s very important that you act fast on things that you do not need. Put them away as fast as you can. Throw away junk mail without even bothering to open it! If there is a trash bin close to the mailbox, dump junk mail there and don't even bother taking it to your office. Touch each piece of mail only once. This means you need to make a decision on what to do with it. You can:

-POST it wherever you post information
-DISTRIBUTE it to the person who should have gotten it in the first place
-FILE it in the appropriate file (Not a "to be filed" file!)
-ACT upon it.

- Prioritize

This is not as easy as it sounds but it is a vital point in creating order around you. It’s not likely that you will be able to do everything you want to do every single day. The chances are that you won’t! When your list of “to do’s” is quite long, you will be more organized of you learn to prioritize. This simply means putting the most valuable items on your “to do” list at the very top of your list. Schedules should follow a progression of priority, energy, and natural setting. My priorities begin with the Lord, then my wife, then my daughter, then work. When I have time left over, I can dedicate it to items lower on my priority list.

I am not an expert on this one, so, if you are, or have any other idea, the floor is open. Shoot!

Friday, February 9, 2007

The Greatest Of All Investments - Part II

What's the most profitable investment you can make?

Some people would tell you it's the stock market. Other people would point to mutual funds, precious metals or municipal bonds. Make no mistake, all those investments can offer you a great payback. But there is another investment that promises far greater rewards. I am talking about investing in yourself. Dollar for dollar, investing in yourself promises vastly greater benefits than any other investment you can name.

When you invest in a savings account, you can draw on that account when necessary. Knowing the money is there provides a sense of confidence and security. It's just as important to invest in yourself, so that the resources are there to draw on when necessary.

The best money hedge or inflation hedge is not gold, real estate or stocks. It's investing in yourself. So, my question to you is this – what will you do today, and the day after, to invest in yourself and in your future?

I started sharing with you some thoughts on why and how you can invest in yourself the last time I posted on this blog. Permit me to continue from where I stopped.

5. You Can Achieve Your Goals

Investing in yourself dramatically increases the probability of achieving your goals and is a real demonstration of your commitment to achieving them. When you invest in yourself by improving your skills for example,or taking a certification course, you at least double your chances of meeting and exceeding your goals.

6. You Create Your Own Future

Your career and future is yours to mold. Investing in yourself gives you the clarity, power and tools to create your own future and take the path less traveled. Sometimes, investing means taking a risk, but that's the price of entry for success and happiness. When you consciously invest in yourself and in your skills, you are better prepared for the future.

7. The World Is a Complex Place

Life is complex and you’ve got to be wise. You cannot know everything you need to know or do everything you need to do alone. You can't be your best without help. Find and invest in those who can teach you, show you the way and help you achieve your goals.

8. Life Is Too Short for Mediocrity

You don't have the luxury of being mediocre -- period. Or do you? Whether you opt for self-improvement or outsourcing your weak areas to someone who can do them better, determine where you are mediocre and get help. And do it quickly! Time flies away fast. You had better be it’s pilot!

9. It's a Cliché, But on Your Deathbed...

The reason we hear this often is that it is so true. The passage of time will provide a perspective we don't have now. One day, you'll look back at your problems and successes and see them as bumps in the road. Your focus will be on the big picture: the life you led, opportunities pursued or abandoned, how happy you were, and the legacy you left behind. Investing in yourself will give you the courage and determination to be happy and do your own thing.

10. Who Else Can You Count On?

Let's face it: You're alone on this. No one has as much to gain or lose as you do. No one else is going to make those consistent investments in your development to maximize your career and life. Others can surely help, but definitely not as much as you. You need to lead this move to better your life and your career. Who else can you count on?

Invest in understanding yourself better and developing your goals, plans, professional skills, knowledge, career management skills, networks, and your personal brand and profile. Do it yourself or pay experts to do it for you (try www.deoluakinyemi .com)

Try thinking, planning, self-assessment tools, goal development, reading, consulting experts, getting coached, taking courses, upgrading or acquiring skills, and proactively marketing yourself. Recognize that investing in yourself often requires that you don't play it safe.

See you at the top of the topmost top! That's where you belong! You are sure to meet me there!


Tuesday, February 6, 2007

The Greatest Of All Investments - Part I

In the last few years, I have taken conscious steps to know more about investments and investment opportunities all around me. I have also gone ahead since then to make some investments. So many people I know have also done same. In the middle of it all, I discovered the greatest investment you can ever make in this life – it is an investment in yourself; an investment in a company called “You Inc”. While it is great to invest in shares, real estate and what have you, nothing comes near to investing in yourself. You reap the fruit now and in the future.

Not investing in yourself is like floating down a fast river without a paddle, map or knowledge of what's around the next bend. Things may go fine for a while, but at some point, you're going to realize you made a giant mistake. To avoid such unforeseen disaster, you need to make a proactive and thoughtful investment in a plan for achieving your career -- and life -- goals.

Permit me to share with you my thoughts on why and how you can invest better in yourself…and in your career.

1. It's the Greatest Return on Investment, Anywhere

I have seen investments giving returns of over 500% percent and this is exciting. The return on investing and improving yourself is astronomically higher than any financial investment you could make. Believe me. From increased lifetime earning power and unimagined opportunities, to protecting yourself from unemployment and the satisfaction that comes from personal growth and success, the returns are enormous. You can’t beat the offer. Can you?

2. You're the Boss of You

If you're the president and CEO of You Inc., then it's your job to ensure you don't go out of business. It's your job to nurture growth and prosperity. You do this by planning carefully, performing consistently, operating true to your mission and investing in You Inc. If you use yesterday’s ideas to do business today, be sure that you won’t be in business tomorrow! For this reason, you need to constantly invest in yourself in order to stay current.

3. You Become More Valuable

Draw up two balance sheets for yourself. On the first, list your financial assets and liabilities. On the second, list your skills, ideas, knowledge, marketability, personal networks, passion and ability to make things happen. It will be great and helpful to do this exercise. Then, increase your personal net worth by investing in your second list -- that's how you'll increase the assets on your first list. That’s the way it works. That’s how to climb to the top. Your financial assets will most likely sky-rocket as you pay attention to increasing your skills, knowledge and marketability.

4. You Can Become Great

There is greatness within you and around you. Investing in yourself will bring it into the open. You are capable of greatness. Most of us settle for just getting by, using a fraction of our capabilities. This is tragic. Realize your greatness by identifying your talents and investing in your potential.

I'll continue from this point the next time. Till then, stay right on top!

You are destined for the top of the topmost top! See you there!!